Friday, October 29, 2010

Shoeboxes Collected!


Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes have been collected at my children's school!  Here they are posing with the "Collection Crew" in front of the wall of shoeboxes... 298 shoeboxes have come in so far.  More are going to be trickling in this week as at least 350 gift-filled shoeboxes are expected in total!!!

This makes me smile... I am one proud mama!  This picture truly says it all... children can make a difference!!!  This is much more a faith lesson for me than for anyone else... you can read the story here.  My God is truly good!

I am looking forward to the Shoebox Packing Party this coming Saturday here at our house.  We will be getting together with family and friends to pack another 70 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  It will be lots and lots of fun!  

Here I am.  Lord, send me!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

So Much Beauty...!

Overwhelmed.  Speechless.  Awed.  That's how I am feeling this morning.  There are so many "beauty instead of ashes" moments happening all around me... I don't even know where to start writing!  I can most definitely say this though --- my God is indeed an awesome God!!!

So, where do I begin?  How about starting with... "There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:10 (ESV).  Remember the lady (Ms. X) who ended up in the hospital whom I blogged about last week?  Well, my sister and I continued to visit her a few more times over this past week.  Yesterday, as I prepared to leave my house to head to the hospital... the Holy Spirit nudged me to bring along a Bible for Ms. X.  So I did.

I would say that Ms. X was the most spiritually hungry yesterday ever since we first met her over a week ago.  She indicated that she wants to have a relationship with God... she specifically asked how she can talk to God everyday!  That provided my sister and me with an opportunity to pray and read the Bible with her!  She prayed along and read the Bible too!

My sister talked to her this morning and Ms. X informed her that the Bible is now her most favourite book... along with the Our Daily Bread devotional that I brought her last week!  Please continue to pray for Ms. X as there is still no clear diagnosis... and she is facing the possibility of dialysis!  It is understandably a scary time for her... without any family or friends around... but she now has peace knowing that God will always be with her!!!

A seed planted.  A new creation.  A new daughter of God.  Truly beauty instead of ashes!

Next story... if you have been following my blog you'd know that God has recently led our family to become involved with a ministry to under privileged children living in the Jane/Finch area of our city.  It has been a blast... we are sooooo humbled that God would use us in this way! 

Well, this morning, I met a friend for coffee.  I don't even remember how we got to this topic but she ended up telling me that, as a teenager, she spent a considerable amount of time in Jane/Finch!  I had no idea that was her past!!!  Well, I said: "Funny you mentioned Jane/Finch... I have to tell you something!"

So, I started to tell her how God brought our family to become involved with UrbanPromise and how they are doing great things in the Jane/Finch neighbourhoods!  One of the neighbourhoods they work in, Driftwood, is exactly where my friend used to hang out at.  Coincidence?  I think not.

My friend continues on to tell me that she's had this feeling of being unfulfilled in terms of the way she is currently serving God.  She wants to do more.  She's always wondered about going back to Jane/Finch and making a difference... but she's never known how or where to start!  She had tears in her eyes... she's wondering if... through our involvement with UrbanPromise is the way God is bringing her back to Jane/Finch!

Awesome God-appointed coffee date.  Exciting possibilities.  A life going full circle.  Again, beauty instead of ashes!

So... as you can see, it's been an exciting couple of days around here!  Tomorrow is another exciting day coming up --- Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes are being collected at my kids' school!  Can't wait...

Here I am.  Lord, send me!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What If...

What if we all just give Christmas away?  I'm still singing the song Give This Christmas Away... and thinking... what if we all did that?  The world would indeed be a more beautiful place!

God has sooooo encouraged me this week.  Upon taking on the project to buy Christmas presents and to provide the cost of busing to a Christmas Party for a group of under privileged children who live in one of the toughest neighbourhoods in our city... I silently wondered if our family could do this well enough on our own.  Little did I know, God was already one step ahead of me.  He just wanted our family to say "YES" by faith first... then He'd show us His plan after that!  

So... after saying "YES" to what seemed like a huge project (both financially and time-wise) to me, God provides!  I mentioned the project to my sister and, as a result, she has her whole Bible Study group taking part!!!  As I sit here writing this post, I am truly amazed!  If we are willing to obey, God will take care of the details.  A HUGE portion of the bus cost is now covered and eight (out of the 28) children now have gift sponsors!  God has, again, successfully blown my socks off!

Here's the video again of Give This Christmas Away by Matthew West and Amy Grant... this one has the lyrics: (Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog while you watch this video.)


What if I told you... you have the power to give someone hope beyond their wildest dreams. What if I told you... it’s right there in your hands, in your hands.
It’s hard to imagine how something so small can make all the difference... tear down the tallest wall.  What if December looked different this year...
What if we all just give this Christmas away. If there’s love in your heart don’t let it stay there. Give this Christmas away and your life will be changed by the gifts you receive when you give this Christmas away.
It’s feeding the hungry, serving the poor.  It’s telling the orphan: "You’re not forgotten anymore." It’s doing what love does even when no one’s watching you.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so we could be His hands, His feet, His love. His love.
Give Christmas away. Give it away.
Here I am.  Lord, send me!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Two Months Until Christmas...

Today, my thoughts are of Christmas!!!  It's not that far away, you know!  It is exactly two months away from today.  Why Christmas?  Well, it all started with our family writing Christmas cards to our Compassion children last night... because the cards still need to be translated, they need to be sent off early.  So, they are off --- on their way to India and Honduras!!!

This is also the week for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to come back to my kids' school.  350 shoeboxes!!!  I can't wait for Friday... my children are beyond excited as well.  It will be awesome to see their project "come to life" --- it will surely be a sight to see!!!

And... today, we finalized plans for our family to help get Christmas presents to 28 under privileged children who live in the Jane/Finch neighbourhood of our city and to be a part in the plans for these children and their families to have a Christmas Party!!!  This is through an organization called UrbanPromise where a friend of ours is the Site Supervisor.

So... as you can see, our household is abuzz with Christmas activity.  This is why Christmas has been on my mind!  I should say "giving Christmas away" has been on my mind!!!  I am very humbled, awed and grateful that God would so graciously allow our family to be a part of such amazing opportunities to be His hands and His feet.  It is truly a blessing!

I've been singing the song Give This Christmas Away by Matthew West and Amy Grant all day!  I thought I'd share it here so you'd be singing it too!  It's contagious, you know! ;-)

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


Why don't you give this Christmas away too!  Here I am.  Lord, send me!    

Friday, October 22, 2010

Still Thinking About That Middle Ground...

Since my blog post last Friday about not becoming comfortable in the middle ground... I find myself still deep in thought about it all week long.  My thoughts dwell mostly on how to make sure we do not leave our children with a legacy of being comfortable in the middle ground.

One thought is truly bothering me and this is it: If the only thing our children are familiar with is the middle ground, then it is all they are going to live for and be passionate about.  This thought got illustrated very clearly to me one afternoon this week as my kids and I drove towards my sister's home.

The drive there is very scenic, a lot of nature, especially at this time of year when all the leaves are ablaze with their beautiful Autumn colours.  I remarked at how beautiful the sight is... and noticed that my children were not as captivated by the beauty as I was.  At first, their reaction (or the lack of it...) puzzled me, but then the truth hit me.

Here's the truth.  I grew up in a country where the seasons didn't change.  I had absolutely no idea that Autumn could be sooooo beautiful until I came to Canada at age 17.  But to my children, there really isn't anything that special about Autumn.  It's just plain old Autumn... it's always been the same way as far as they can remember.

Same thing with the middle ground... my children have only ever known North America, a culture where everyone strives to live in the middle ground!  To them, there is nothing wrong with the middle ground... it is the norm.  This truth moved me to tears... I had to stop driving and compose myself before continuing on to our destination.

The real question is... are we doing enough to make sure our children don't get sucked into the lifestyle of being comfortable in the middle ground?  That is precisely why our family intentionally gets involved with groups who minister to under privileged children locally, globally with Operation Christmas Child, feeding the homeless from downtown Toronto, sponsoring and writing to Compassion Canada children (in India and Honduras) and worthwhile causes like Habitat for Humanity.

The next step would perhaps be a mission trip to countries like Haiti or Guatemala... or a trip back to the Philippines... to places where my children can see people who do not have the luxury to live in the middle ground.  It is only when one has seen with their own eyes that a response can ensue.  Our prayer and our hope is that... for our children, their response will not be a non-response.  Instead, it will be a resounding... 

Here I am.  Lord, send me!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hanes It Is! :-)

A very cool God-thing happened today... and I'm going to attempt to tell the story here.  Although I don't think that I can accurately capture the amazement I felt (still feeling!) in words, I will try my best...

On Thursday of last week, a woman (let's call her X) was found passed out in her apartment here in Toronto.  She ended up in the hospital with what she later finds out to be partial kidney failure.  She lives alone and keeps to herself.  She has no family nearby.  Her closest relative is a sister who lives in California.

On Saturday, I went to Wal-Mart to buy underwear.  I grabbed two packs --- a total of 13 pieces of underwear.  At the checkout, the cashier told me that underwear are final sale items.  No returns.  After paying for them, I thought to myself... I think I *might have* bought a little too many!?!  Oh well... too late.  Final sale, remember?

Yesterday, X's sister who lives in California is frantically looking for someone here in Toronto who could visit and help X at the hospital.  She tells a friend, who in turn tells another friend, who emails a guy who attends my sister's church.  This guy then forwards the email to my sister... thinking she'd be the best person to visit X at the hospital.  Very quickly, by the end of the day, my sister was in contact with X's sister in California!

At around lunch time today, my sister decides to call me.  She didn't want to go to the hospital alone and was wondering if I would like to go as well.  So... off we went... to visit a stranger at the hospital!  Bizzare, but true!

We had a good visit.  X was moved to tears... she was thrilled to know we speak the same Chinese dialect as her!  When we were about to leave, she told us that she is very happy we went.  We left her our phone numbers and promised to be back again tomorrow.

When I got home, in my inbox was an email correspondence between my sister and X's sister.  She was wondering if we would be so kind to bring X a pair of slippers and some underwear tomorrow when we go back.  X was taken to the hospital so quickly last week that she didn't bring anything with her!  She specified that the underwear needs to be size 8 Hanes.

I emailed my sister back... I told her this may sound weird... but, I happen to have some new size 8 underwear sitting in my closet drawers... you know the "might-have-bought-a-little-too-many" ones!  I also have a pair of slippers I received as a gift last Christmas that I never used.  I told her I would just bring them tomorrow...

So, I head over to my closet drawers to take the underwear out.  I could not believe my eyes!  At Wal-Mart, I had just mindlessly grabbed two packs of my size without looking at the brand.  This afternoon, I paid attention to the brand for the very first time... and they are... you guessed it... Hanes!!!

Unbelievable!!!  Hanes it is!!!  Size 8 Hanes!!!

This is yet another one of those beauty instead of ashes encounters that God has been graciously allowing me to experience these past few weeks.  You see, I know without a doubt that if hubby and I were still busy with our previous ministry involvement, my answer to my sister's request to accompany her to the hospital would have been: "Sorry, I'm too busy. I can't spare any time!  Find someone else to go with you."

Instead, today... I had the time... and, in turn, I was able to be a part of an amazing God-thing!

Please pray for X.  The doctors don't have a diagnosis for her yet... and it's been almost a week since she was found passed out in her apartment.  X is not a believer.  Her sister in California is and her wish is for X to open her heart to Jesus as her personal Saviour.  Please pray that X will see Jesus in my sister and me as we continue to be His hands and His feet!

This is a story I will remember for a very long time... it has truly been one amazing day!!!

Here I am.  Lord, send me!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thinking Deeply...

I read Ann Voskamp's blog post yesterday and I haven't stopped thinking deeply...

The blog post really was just a continuation of my thoughts... I've been thinking the same thread of thoughts for weeks now... since experiencing beauty instead of ashes!

Here are questions I ask myself: How do I fight the middle ground?  What is my response because a non-response is a response just the same?  Am I losing this fight?  Will I become too comfortable living in the middle?

The world, your community... even your family — they are going to try to push you back to the middle. North America feels pretty comfortable in the middle. Balance, everyone says. I don’t know what Jesus is going to say to you... How He might direct your life now… just don’t assume He wants you to live in the middle. Be open to the possibility… Of something radically different.
Powerful words... reaching down into the depths of my soul.

I grew up in a third world country... I've seen with my own eyes what it means to have nothing.  Then my parents moved us to Canada... ranked as one of the top ten best places to live in the world!  It is in living here for the past 22 years and raising a North American family of my own that has me thinking I have become comfortable with the middle ground... 

Last night... I asked hubby what our family's response should be... how are we distributing God's wealth to those who have less... how do we make sure we don't pass down to our children a legacy of being comfortable in the middle ground.  

It was an interesting discussion.  Lots to think about.  Hoping for action to follow.

Here I am.  Lord, send me! 

Should Just Stop Counting...

So... I've decided to just stop counting for now... stop counting the number of empty Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes that are leaving my doorstep and going to the homes of families from my kids' school community!  I stopped counting at 350 shoeboxes and 195 families.

In exactly two weeks from today... all the shoeboxes will be coming back filled!  That's when I will count them!!!

In the meantime, we have started folding shoeboxes in preparation for the Shoebox Packing Party that is happening here at our house with three other families!!!  Together, we are aiming to pack 70 shoeboxes that day!







My son and I went shopping last night for things to fill the shoeboxes. The excitement is building! It was our first of what will be... maybe three or four shopping trips!!!

Finally... here's a video clip from Operation Christmas Child Canada.  What an amazing story!!!  This is why our family packs shoeboxes each and every year!  Over the last 17 years, it has become one of our best loved family traditions!



Here I am.  Lord, send me!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Weekend...

It is already Monday night and the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend is almost over.  For my Facebook status today, I wrote: I am thankful for "beauty instead of ashes" and for the simple graces that my God gives! Happy Thanksgiving to my family and friends!!!

Our weekend was jam-packed with activity... so much excitement and so much action!  We have sooooo much to be thankful for... words aren't adequate enough to express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father for His bountiful blessings.

Here are a few highlights from our weekend...

~ 3 more Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes were requested by a family from my kids' school over the weekend taking the total up to 346 boxes!  God just keeps adding to the total --- He has definitely successfully blown my socks off on this one!

~ On Saturday, our family and 15 of our family and friends went to the Daily Bread Food Bank and volunteered to sort food.  This is in celebration of hubby's 45th birthday!  We are so thankful that many of our family and friends who came to help also brought along food to donate.  Others who couldn't join us donated food as well.  It was a very fun afternoon celebrating and fighting hunger both at the same time.  To top it all off... we even made the news --- both in print and on air!  Of the many, many people there volunteering, we are still wondering why the news reporter would pick our group to interview.  God must've wanted our story to be heard by many more!  Very humbling thought.

~ After volunteering, we had Thanksgiving dinner here at home with the family of hubby's sister.  Great times!  I successfully made too much food yet again.  Burp!

~ Sunday, we took my sister's kids to a local petting zoo.  It's been a while since we've been there and it was so much fun!


Here are my kids with their little cousins posing with the pony.  


And here I am overcoming my *dislike* of animals and leading the pony on which my nephew is riding on. I'm always amazed at what we, adults, would do for cute little children!!!

~ Today, we went on a nature hike in the woods to soak in the wonderful Autumn colours!  The trees are ablaze with God's artistry... so captivating!!!  We took along our camera and tripod... and took a few family pictures.  We got quite a few good ones that we plan to include in our year end family newsletter.  Here's a sneak peek:



Well, another Thanksgiving weekend has come and gone... but, the thankfulness will definitely be staying!  As it says in James 1:17 (NIV) --- "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  So thankful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!! 
 

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Spoke Too Soon...

So... it appears that I spoke too soon this morning!  My children just stepped in the door... home from school... with more request slips for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!!!

The new total is now at 343 shoeboxes and 190 families participating!!!

When I look at those numbers, I must admit that I can hardly believe it.

OK... here comes the confession.  When my kids initially thought of the idea of introducing this project to their school, I was skeptical.  First of all, I didn't think that their principal would even go for it. It is a public school after all and with all the political correctness going on these day... I thought the chances are slim that he would embrace a Christian organization like Samaritan's Purse.  God quickly proved me wrong... the principal approved the project even before my kids could really explain to him what it was all about!  He, apparently, already knew about Operation Christmas Child and had packed shoeboxes before.  :-)

Then, my kids went on to set a goal of 200 shoeboxes!  My skepticism got the best of me once again.  In my mind... I had set an "attainable goal" of 50 shoeboxes.  I know, I know... I should be ashamed of myself for my lack of faith!!!  I feel like Peter when he walked on water.  What did Jesus say to him again?  Oh yeah... Jesus said:
“You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
---Matthew 14:31 (NLT)
I went along with my kids' goal... and silently prayed that God would not disappoint them!  Well... you all know the rest of the story.  God proved me wrong once again... we are now having to go back to the Collection Centre once again to get more shoeboxes!

343 shoeboxes.  190 families.  Beauty from ashes.  A lesson in faith.  God is sooooo good!

Here I am.  Lord, send me!

Do It Anyway...

I saw this poem in my blog roll this morning... it is definitely worth a re-post, so here it is!  It is Mother Teresa's version of The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
Great reminder... Here I am.  Lord, send me!

305 Shoeboxes!!!

Can you believe it!?! My kids' school community has together requested 305 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes as of this very moment. I just came home from dropping off the shoeboxes at the school. They are going home to the families today!!! Plus, a few more requests are expected to trickle in today and throughout next week... this is sooooo exciting.  I am beyond excited!

Let me just say that I am sooooo proud of my kids! From two children to a community of over 165 families coming together to pack shoeboxes for children living in poverty. What a God-thing!!! I count it a blessing, an awesome privilege, that my children can be Jesus' hands and feet in this way. Words aren't adequate enough to express what my heart is feeling right now... I thank you, Heavenly Father, for beauty from ashes moments! This is truly one of them.

Brian Littrell's song In Christ Alone comes to mind right now... (It is on the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog if you want to listen to it.)
♪ ♫ In every victory, let it be said of me.
My source of strength, my source of hope is Christ alone. ♫ ♪
This is the lesson that I want my children to learn from all of this... that their source of strength and their source of hope is Christ alone... that their every victory is for the glory of God alone!

Here I am. Lord, send me!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How To Behold Beauty

I see beauty in the colours of Autumn --- my favourite season!  This photo shows the maple leaves just starting to change into their attractive Fall colours... a sight that I will not get tired of beholding each time the month of October rolls around!  I snapped this picture during a hike through a conservation area near our home this past weekend with my family.   

Speaking of seeing beauty, in my blog roll this morning are these words from Ann Voskamp...
We see God when we let go. When we let go of the visible, papery skin that surrounds our moments, then we see the sacred jewel gleaming just underneath everything.
When we cup the thinning, fragile places, the places worn right through, the dying and flaking away and hardly-holding-together-places, this is when we see the amber of Holiness.
Stripping away the sheath of self, this is how we see God. In a lace of brokenness, light dances with shadows.
Indeed... this is how I can see God... this is how I can behold beauty!

God is teaching me many things these few months.  Lessons that guide my todays and will shape my tomorrows.  Hard lessons but essential ones.  Molding me closer to becoming the masterpiece that HE designed and purposed me to be.

Here I am.  Lord, send me!

24 More and Other Exciting Things...

Twenty four more shoeboxes have been requested by my kids' school community for Operation Christmas Child bringing the total to 272!  We have run out of shoeboxes and I am having to go get more at the Collection Centre tonight.  I think I will get 75 more just to be on the safe side. :-)  Words can not express the excitement that this household is feeling!  God is truly gracious to us... this is truly beauty from ashes!

Speaking of which... plans are starting to take shape on how our family can tangibly get involved with the ministry for under privileged children at Jane/Finch.  This is an after-school ministry where 25-30 children return everyday for Bible study + worship, homework help, snacks and just to hang out.  God loving, Christian leaders reach these children with the goal in mind to raise a leader in order to restore their community!  I received an email last night from our friend who is the Site Supervisor there... again, exciting opportunities to impact the lives of those who are truly needy!  One item on his list of things that we can be involved in excites me the most... and that is to get Christmas presents for these children!!!  You can be sure that our family will start working on that project right away once we are finished with Operation Christmas Child.

Another beauty from ashes item worth mentioning is happening this weekend --- Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  Our family will be going to the Food Bank and volunteer to sort food this coming Saturday.  This is to celebrate hubby's 45th birthday!  Well, get this --- we invited family and friends to join us and 15 of them said YES!!!  I am sooooo thrilled and sooooo excited.  Among these 15 people are 3 ladies from my workplace... God truly is turning people's hearts towards the things that matter most to Him!   

God is truly taking our family to heights we've not seen before and places we've not been before!  I am in awe... we are truly humbled that God is gracious enough to allow us to be a part of these beautiful God-moments!

Here I am.  Lord, send me!

Monday, October 4, 2010

248!!!

TWO HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT!  We just finished tallying all the request forms that came home from my kids' school today --- 248 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in total have been requested by families in our school community!  Plus, more request forms are expected in the next couple of days...

248 more children who live in poverty will receive a Christmas present this year because of this endeavour.  This year, the majority of these shoeboxes will be heading to Haiti!

My kids are beyond excited.  They surpassed their goal of 200 shoeboxes!  Wow!  So humbling.  So exciting.  So cool!!!

I am one proud mama!  My heart is happy and I know that God is smiling!  Truly beauty from ashes...  I couldn't have asked for a better outcome!  God is good.

Here I am.  Lord, send me!

New Blog Header

Happy Monday everyone!

See my brand new blog header? So cool!!! It's designed especially for this blog by my most loyal blog reader, my daughter! Pretty neat, eh? I love it!

Speaking of my daughter, she and my son are super excited today! Today is the day Operation Christmas Child shoebox request forms come back to school. We get to find out by the end of today how many shoeboxes our school community will be packing! Stay tuned...

In the meantime, have an awesome grace-filled start to your week!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Just One More...

Just one more blog post on this truly very exciting day... I love the verses from Lamentations 4:21-24 (NLT) which say:
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
My God truly is faithful!  After posting the previous blog post this morning, our snail mail arrived.  In the pile of letters is one from the Founding Director of the Jane/Finch ministry that I wrote about in my previous blog post.  In the letter he shares about one of the Site Supervisors having to choose between feeding the children or taking them on a fun trip.  Of course, making sure the children aren't hungry is the choice that was made!  The fun trips did not happen...

The letter is yet another confirmation from God letting us know where He would like us to get involved at this time... where we should be giving our time, effort and resources!  One of the topics we discussed this morning with our friend was precisely what the letter outlined... how we can help to make the extras like fun trips, better quality snack items, tutoring help happen in this ministry.

You see, God is clearly speaking to our family.  We must follow!  There is no other way.   

Here I am.  Lord, send me!

Hello There, October!

Well, wouldn't you know it?!?  It's October already.  I welcome your arrival, October... I am actually quite excited to see you.  It's only the very first morning of October and it's been an exciting one already to say the least... before I start writing, let me contain my excitement and compose myself first as I try to catch up to God's speed here!  :-)

Okay.  Deep Breath.  Big Grin.  I think I'm all caught up now! 

You see... yesterday was the official ending of our involvement with a ministry that was near and dear to our hearts... one that our family nurtured like a newborn baby!  Sometimes in life, we encounter disappointments... things just don't turn out the way we expect them to.  The thing is... how things turn out is exactly how God intended it to be all along.  We are puzzle pieces that He is putting into places of His choice in order to complete HIS BIG PICTURE.

So... today marks a new month, a new start, a new beginning.  Best of all, God's steadfast love and new mercies accompany these new things!  One ministry assignment ends for us yesterday and a new one sprouts up today... how much more exciting can it be!  Truly beauty from ashes!

If you're a regular on here, you know that over the summer months God led us to be involved with a ministry for under privileged children in the Jane/Finch area.  That experience has opened our eyes to who the truly needy are in our society!  How can we sit back in our comfortable suburban settings and lifestyles when these needs are calling out to us?

Well... this morning, God arranged for hubby and me to meet up with our friend who is the Site Supervisor of the ministry at Jane/Finch.  We chatted and encouraged each other.  He helped us see where we can fit in to help and serve in this ministry!

Exciting.  Humbling.  Amazing.  God is good... HE has successfully knocked our socks off once again!!!

Our family is very much looking forward to this new leg of the journey.  Life is full of surprises... God is full of surprises... that is what makes life exciting!

Here I am.  Lord, send me!