Friday, March 22, 2013

World Water Day

Happy Friday, friends!
Today is World Water Day... for us here in North America, clean water is a given. It's just there... flows freely from our taps. Did you know that this is not the case for millions and millions of people in the developing world...?

We saw this boy and his friend in the red shirt behind the bike {during our family's missions immersion trip to the Philippines in the Summer of 2011 when we visited both our Compassion child and LDP student} scooping water from the curb to drink. So heart-breaking...


My kids had the opportunity to try {notice I said "try"?} pumping water from a manual water pump. It is expensive to get one of these pumps installed. Often, a whole community shares one pump... most communities don't have one.


Most people get their water from a creek, river or a spring... and it is definitely not clean water!
As the world's leading child development ministry, Compassion International tackles the root causes of poverty in the lives of children around the globe. Providing safe water is a critical part of Compassion's holistic child development programs that begin with a pregnant mother and continue through childhood to young adulthood. This proven, one-on-one approach is releasing more than one million children from poverty in 26 developing countries today.
{Please pause the playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch this video.}


Will you join in the movement to help save the life of a child who, without you, risks his/her health daily, just by drinking dirty water?

Water = Life! 
Let's do our part. Live simply, give generously. Sponsor a child today!

One of my favourite quotes say, "Live simply, so that others may simply live." (This quote is attributed to Mother Teresa.) In this North American lifestyle, there is much we can do without... so that we can be in a better position to give generously. Our family is learning the lesson of simple living too... to act justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with God. Join us?


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

Monday, March 18, 2013

Our March Break

It's back-to-school Monday... 

Another March Break has come and gone. It started with Spring-forward Sunday, when we had to get up extra early to drive across the city to our church's main site so that my girl can meet up with the youth compassion team for their week-long compassion trip to UrbanPromise Wilmington.

We woke up at 5:30am, which felt like 4:30am with the time change! Lots of coffee kept me awake that day for sure! :-) I am, however, loving the fact that it is still bright at 6pm nowadays. Yes, Spring is finally coming!!!

My girl had an awesome week! She was assigned to update the youth group's blog with a couple of posts about their week. You can check out those updates here and here.

When we picked her up last night, she told us story after story about her week... talking non-stop through dinner and on the drive, all the way home! Yes, our chatterbox girl is definitely back! :-)

Seriously though, I see evidence of God opening her eyes even more to the things that break His heart, as evidenced by her Facebook status update upon returning home...
my heart is so unbelievably full. Jesus is doing amazing, wonderful, beautiful things through UrbanPromise Wilmington and i am so blessed to have been a tiny part of it. i don't even know if i'll be able to put it all into words but i'll try over the next few weeks and months.
God is just so good and that's all.
So, back to the start of our March Break, it was pretty quiet around here {with our Miss Chatterbox being away :-)}... it just wasn't the same without her! But, we had a good week nevertheless... mostly, my boy and me, as hubby was mostly working.

This is why I love the flexibility that my job offers. I was able to work less {I'll have to catch up a bit this week} in order to spend some time with my boy. The highlight of his week was definitely getting to meet Eric Limeback, one of Canada's top speed cubers at a cubing demo event at our local shopping mall.

Another highlight of his week would definitely be the fact that hubby drove him literally all over the city to find a special lubricant for his cubes. A lubricant that has managed to trim off a few seconds of his cubing time --- this is huge for speed cubers! ;-)

While at the speed cubing demo, my boy caught the attention of a local news reporter which resulted in a video of him posted on their Facebook page, yet another highlight of his March Break! Here's that video:

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


I also had the opportunity to bake over the March Break! Baking is one of those things that I love doing but don't often find the time to do so therefore this was such a treat for me. Having an actual reason and purpose to bake helps, too.


My sister had a fundraising event for her upcoming July missions trip to the Philippines and I'd organized a bake sale at church for Sunday in support of our AIDS Care CampaignThree cheers for reasons to bake!!!

And, can I just add that the bake sale was overwhelmingly successful? I had a goal of raising $300, but was secretly hoping for $500, which I thought was hard to achieve. Well, at last count, we had raised $600! I am still waiting for the final count which should come sometime this week. God is just so amazing and so awesome like that!!! 

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... to The One who is so amazing and so awesome... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #2876 - #2883:
:: An awesome week for my girl, being Jesus' hands and feet at UrbanPromise Wilmington {Delaware} with our church's youth compassion team.
:: The stories that she has been telling us of her experiences this past week, ones that I suspect have been etched into her heart for eternity.
:: A quiet and beautiful and fun week spent with my boy.
:: Sharing dinner with our Home Church peeps.
:: Some time off work.
:: Baking, baking and more baking!
:: Overwhelming response to the bake sale at church in support of our AIDS Care Campaign... I am blown away by God's goodness! 
:: Seeing the Body of Christ come together to make "portable church" happen this past Sunday {the regional site that we attend meets in a movie theatre inside a shopping mall} despite the late arrival of all our equipment due to the truck and storage trailer being stuck and frozen in mud! What a Sunday! So humbled to be part of such an amazing faith community!
Hello back-to-school, back-to-work Monday!
There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
Choosing to live a surrendered life... because Christ's love compels me... and giving thanks for everything that my good God so freely bestows, so lavishly gives and so extravagantly showers!

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!

Monday, March 11, 2013

One Awesome Grace-Gift!

I am one proud mama! 
This past Saturday was a very special day for my girl because... she became a published writer! Yes, you read that right... a published writer!!!

She said, "Mom, I have writer's block." It was the night before her literary piece was due, for a province-wide writing and creative arts competition open to all public secondary school students that her teacher invited her to join, the Student Achievement Awards.

She was to submit a piece for the Prose and Poetry Academic category, for students in Grades 9 and 10. She was to write a literary piece that would explore this year’s theme: Dis(obedience): Stand By or Stand Up.

"Just write honestly." I remember telling her. She tapped on the keys of her Mac laptop late into the night, and finally... out from the printer came two sheets of paper, The Moment It Went Dark.

I was its first audience. The story captivated me... a truly powerful piece. "This is going to go far." I said with a smile. She didn't look like she believed her mother...

But, she had faith in her Heavenly Father. "With the little time I had to write this, I'm not confident... but God will take this where He wants to take it, Mom." Yes, that's my child... it never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from her each and every day. So mature, so much wisdom. God's grace... for which I am so thankful for!

The Moment It Went Dark was declared the winner at the school level. It was now on its way to the Local District. Soon, she received a letter from the Local District letting her know that it won there too and that it was on its way to the Regional Level... and if successful, to the Provincial Level. But, this letter would be the last time we hear anything unless her submission wins the top prize.

It was exam week, in late January, when the email came. The Moment It Went Dark won!!! She stared and stared at the iPhone screen, not believing what she's reading --- she won! Provincial winners will be awarded $1000 each in prizes and will be invited to an awards ceremony in March where a video showcasing their work will be screened and a booklet published with all the winning pieces in it!



Then came filming day, on February 20. The video production company came to her school and spent almost the entire day with her. In the days leading up to filming day, she sent out prayer requests --- because she very much wanted to be able to talk about her faith in this video. We prayed that those very words will be deemed fit to be included in the film.

When hubby came back home from driving her to school on filming day, he told me that he shared Romans 1:16 with her, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation..."

I flipped my Romans Project booklet one page over, to start the week of February 20-27 and what did I see? That. very. verse! I knew right then that this video is going to be awesome because God is just so awesome like that! :-)


This past Saturday was The Day!
I didn't think that this mama's heart could contain all that happiness, so proud of my baby girl... and so thankful for God's goodness and His grace in her life!

Holding her first published work in her hands!!!

To read The Moment It Went Dark, please click on this link and scroll to pages 4 and 5.

And here's the video, please click this link to hop over to the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation website to view it. And, just as I knew it would be, it's awesome... because God is just so awesome like that! It's of the entire event... so if you are interested in the feature portion shot at her school where God came through big time, it starts at about the 26 minute mark and ends around the 29 minute mark. Then, the actual receiving of the award starts at the 39 minute mark.

The booklet.
Receiving her award.
All the award winners from all eight categories.
The prize money.

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... to The One who gives good gifts... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #2871 - #2875:
:: Unexpected gifts!
:: His grace, so extravagant.
:: His love, so relentless.
:: March Break!
:: The gift of being a mom, and the joys that come with it!

Hello Monday!
In the naming that which is right before me, that which I'd otherwise miss, the invisible becomes visible.
The space that spans my inner emptiness fills in the naming.
I name. And I know the face I face.
God's!
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
Choosing to live a surrendered life... because Christ's love compels me... and giving thanks for everything that my good God so freely bestows, so lavishly gives and so extravagantly showers!

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!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Building Cathedrals


So, when does a house become a home? And how does it stay that way? These very questions replayed over and over in my mind this past week... as my recent decision to say "no" to an amazing job opportunity still weighed heavily on my heart, a job that would have had me advocating for children living in extreme poverty all over the world!

I would ask hubby questions like, "Did we make the right decision?" or "Am I crazy to let that opportunity go?" or "Can't we have made it to work by juggling our schedules?"

Each time, our answer was the same --- if it results in us being unable to be here for our kids at a time when they still need us, how can we effectively advocate for other kids and what message are we sending to our kids?

And, each time, I breathe a sigh of relief... knowing that, though it was a difficult one to come to, I made the right choice.

This past Saturday, I came across this video via Ann Voskamp's weekend blog post...

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

"It was as if I heard God say, 'You are building a great cathedral. It will not be finished in your lifetime, and sadly, you will never get to live there. But if you build it well, I will.'" Beautiful, exactly the very words I needed to hear!

I am building cathedrals!
And that is an important job, a very important job. This is how a house stays as a home. These cathedrals might not be finished in my lifetime, but God lives in them if I build them well! What an absolutely beautiful thought!

So, I happily stay at my current job which I can do within the hours my children are at school. Ever thankful that it is still here for me. And I continue to work hard to advocate for children in need in a volunteer capacity, a role I absolutely love! And I continue to wait on God and surrender to His beautiful plan as I fulfill my first and highest calling right in the here and now, and that is to build these two cathedrals well! 

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... to The One who is always good and always loves... these are the things I am thankful for these two weeks... #2858 - #2870:
:: Saying "no" to a good thing in order to say "yes" to the best thing.
:: My girl filming her segment as a winner of this writing contest.
:: A friend's positive attitude and reliance on God, in the midst of devastating news.
:: Positive meeting at my boy's school to resolve some issues he is having to deal with.
:: AIDS Care season at our church!
:: Serving the least of these, together with our Home Church.
:: Going on a Sandwich Run for the homeless, with our church's youth.
:: Getting together and catching up with a friend over coffee at her kitchen table!
:: March is here!
:: My girl getting her learner's driver's license! 
:: Volunteering, with my girl, at a Compassion event over the weekend where 10 children got sponsored and 5 more being considered!
:: Our whole family volunteering at a basketball league for inner-city families! Grateful for future funding for this ministry from our church!
:: A full and meaningful Sunday!
Hello Monday!
Jesus whispers to the surprised, "They are blessed who are humble, for the whole earth will be theirs." (Matthew 5:5) The humble are the laid low and bowed ones, the surprised ones with hands open to receive whatever He gives.
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
Choosing to live a surrendered life... because Christ's love compels me... and giving thanks for everything that my good God so freely bestows, so lavishly gives and so extravagantly showers!

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!