Monday, December 31, 2012

December's Joy Dare

Friends, here is my last 2012 Joy Dare post... I did it... counted an extra 1,000 Gifts in 2012!!! It has truly been fun, life-changing, JOY-inducing!

#1006 - #1098... December's grace-gifts... from the Giver of good gifts, the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

3 gifts white:
:: My new iPad mini... it's simplifying my life! Loving it.
:: White ribbons and bows on the Christmas wreaths on the front of our house.
:: A glass of yummy farm-fresh organic milk!

3 gifts bright:
:: The lights on our Christmas tree.
:: This smile! ♥
:: Neighbourhood streets brightly lit with Christmas lights!

3 gifts shining:
:: My boy's trombone... so proud of him teaching himself how to play this instrument.
:: The Light of the world!
:: The star on top of our Christmas tree.

a gift circling, crowning, crafted:
:: Silver ribbon circling our Christmas tree.
:: The star crowning our Christmas tree.
:: Beautifully crafted ornaments adorning our Christmas tree.

3 gifts silver:
:: Silver twirling ribbons on gift packages.
:: Huge silver Christmas balls hanging by our living room window.
:: Silvery, glittering raindrops... a December that feels more like Spring!

3 gifts sweet:
:: Cheesecake!
:: Banana bread!
:: Eggnog!

3 gifts from your Saviour:
:: Peace.
:: Joy.
:: Love.

a gift hung, held, heard:
:: Christmas stockings on the mantle.
:: Reading the Bible on the iPad.
:: Great music... ushering us into a time of worship each Sunday morning!

3 gifts ugly beautiful:
:: Serving a meal to the homeless... it will always feel ugly-beautiful.
:: A teacher being mean to my boy and him learning not to be the same.
:: Ugly = our broken world. Beautiful = Jesus being born into our broken world.

3 gifts unframed art:
:: This quote...
:: The art of giving... that extra touch to make gifts even more beautiful!
:: The art of grace... painted by the Master Artist! ♥

3 gifts ice cold:
:: A glass of ice cold Coke.
:: Ice cream!
:: A tall glass of fresh cold milk.

3 gifts berry red:
:: This Christmas plate.
:: Red Christmas Kisses chocolate!
:: The reds on our front-door wreath!

3 gifts striped:
:: Candy canes!
:: Gift packages wrapped in striped papers for our friends at UrbanPromise!
:: Striped cookies baked for Christmas hampers... to bless those in need.

3 gifts stamped:
:: Christmas letters, ready to be mailed.
:: Family Christmas photos turning out well, a stamp of approval!
:: Christmas crafts from kids at church, stamped and sticker-ed!

a gift gold, scented, bent low:
:: Gold tinsel, to decorate tables at a dinner for families in need.
:: Nice scent from greenery in Christmas urn by the front door.
:: Bent low in prayer... for families in Newton, Connecticut.

3 gifts Bethlehem-unlikely:
:: A young, unmarried, virgin girl chosen to bring the Messiah into our world!
:: Lowly shepherds chosen to be the first people to hear of His birth!
:: Today, God still chooses the unqualified... to join Him in doing Kingdom work!

3 gifts frosted:
:: Cookies!
:: Cupcakes!
:: Cakes!

3 gifts miraculous:
:: Joy to the word, the Lord is come!
:: Away in a manger... no crib for a bed...
:: Hark! The herald angels sing, "Glory to the newborn King."

3 gifts manger-small:
:: A random act of kindness.
:: A spontaneous gesture of compassion.
:: A small expression of love.

3 gifts angelic song:
:: "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
:: "Do not be afraid."
:: "I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."

3 gifts lit:
:: Christmas lights...
:: Christmas lights...
:: And more Christmas lights! Everywhere. So beautiful.

a gift rejoicing, wonder, praising:
:: Rejoicing that Jesus is the Gift!
:: In wonder and in awe of God's great love for us!
:: Praising Him for giving us the greatest Gift of all.

3 gifts starry:
:: Dark night sky.
:: Starry eyes of little niece and nephews anticipating their Christmas gifts.
:: The star that led the wise men to the Saviour! ♥

3 gifts humble:
:: Jesus' humble birth.
:: Jesus' humble life on earth.
:: An example for us to follow...

3 gifts in Luke 2:
:: Joseph's obedience and dedication.
:: The angels' singing!
:: Mary treasuring up all these things in her heart.

3 gifts in Christ:
:: Freedom.
:: Abundant life.
:: Eternal hope.

a gift found, shared, saved:
:: Time for some Christmas baking!
:: Christmas goodies and treats for our neighbours!
:: And some for ourselves! :-)

3 gifts lingering:
:: The aroma of Christmas baking filling the house.
:: The spirit of Christmas...
:: The awe of Christmas' true meaning, lingers on year-round.

3 gifts of hope:
:: Hope in times of despair.
:: Hope in times of waiting.
:: Hope in times of joy.

3 gifts remembered:
:: A year of grace-gifts!
:: Blessings received, in abundance.
:: His faithfulness, through every generation.

3 gifts anticipated:
:: A new year.
:: New mercies.
:: His enduring faithfulness.


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!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Grace-Gifts

It's Christmas Eve morning...
And the house is quiet. Hubby and the kids are out and I'm left alone with my thoughts. I've been working on sending out Christmas greetings this morning via email and Facebook... and also finding some time to update the blog a bit as well.

Also, our family is looking forward to the Christmas Eve service at church later today... where we will get together with our larger church community to celebrate Christmas together!

And, friends, here is our family's Christmas Letter...


Merry Christmas, friends!
May your Christmas be filled with love, joy and peace... because "moments come as wrapped gifts and we simply have to trust the Giver." {from One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp} 

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... to The One who so loved the word that He gave... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1697 - #1703:
:: Delivering sandwiches, for the homeless.
:: His grace sustaining me through a busy week.
:: Our church family coming together to make a Christmas Dinner happen for families in need at UrbanPromise Toronto.
:: Christmas get-togethers starting!
:: God continuing to open the door towards a seemingly new opportunity for me... continuing to trust His heart, knowing that He only gives good gifts.
:: Last day of school!
:: Time to do some Christmas baking! Yum!
Happy Monday, friends!
May your Christmas week be merry and bright...
God giving Himself to me - for me - a surrender of love. "Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you are... a divine choice," writes Henri Nouwen.
~ 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!

Monday, December 17, 2012

There Are No Words...

I am utterly heart-broken...
The tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut this past Friday, there are just no words! I weep at the sight of photos of those beautiful children... I cringe when the news reports how it all unfolded... I get mad reading people's debates about why guns should remain accessible to the public. {Side note: I'm glad they aren't easily accessible here in Canada and I think it should stay that way.}

Friends, the ugly truth is... we live in a broken world. A world where innocent little children can die an evil death. A world where mental illness is very real. A world where private citizens see the need to carry and own guns.

In all this ugliness, it brings me much comfort and deep joy knowing that Jesus chose to be born into our ugly and broken world that very 1st Christmas Day... and that He is going to make all things new.

As I try to process this tragedy... I've come to the conclusion that some things will just remain unfathomable and I will have to settle with shedding tears and a broken heart. But, there's been a few things I read over these last few days that have brought some comfort to my aching heart. 

Here they are... 
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." ~ Romans 12:21, NIV.
A Christmas Prayer by Max Lucado.
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." ~ Psalm 34:18, NIV.
Where is God in the dark of this weekend? by Ann Voskamp.
As for our family, we are choosing to overcome evil with good. Here are our few attempts at it these past few days...

Purchasing "Gifts of Compassion" as Christmas gifts!

Preparing Christmas gift baskets for families in need.

Like-new winter wear... being donated! We don't each need multiple coats!

Grocery list... for a Christmas Dinner for families in need.

Sandwich Run... bagged lunches for the homeless.

Oh, come... oh, come, Emmanuel! 
Jesus Christ who came into this world "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many," (Mark 10:45) will one day come again and "he will gird himself and have them sit at the table, and he will come and serve them," (Luke 12:37) and even this very day He faithfully serves that we might say, "The Lord is my helper." (Hebrews 13:6)
~ from the book, One Thousand Gifts.
As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... to The One is close to the broken-hearted... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1690 - #1696:
:: Dinner with new friends from church!
:: An opportunity for hubby and I to serve 'the least of these' by washing and massaging the tired feet of homeless folks at an Out of the Cold location. A humbling experience... a holy experience.
:: My son's principal... for speaking into my boy's life and as a result, inspiring him to start reading the devotional, Our Daily Bread. :-)
:: My parents, in town for Christmas.
:: A quiet Saturday, some time to slow-down. 
:: My work-from-home job, for days when children are home sick.
:: The buzz at church on Sunday morning, everyone excited about our faith community being the hands and feet of Jesus this Christmas season to an inner-city community in need.
Happy Monday, friends!
On this day when words don't seem adequate enough, this is my prayer:
Here you can enact eucharisteo; here you can become a current in a river of Grace that redeems the world. Here I can become the blessing, a little life that multiplies joy, making the larger world a better place.
~ 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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Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Busy Weekend, Crazy Start To The Week!

Wait a minute...
Is it really Wednesday already?!? Consider this my mid-week update then, friends! The weekend that just passed was crazy busy which I'll tell you more about in a bit. It was followed by a crazy start to the week, with me being out-of-town on Tuesday. Hence, this is really the first day this week that I've been able to sit down and even consider a blog post.

So, we spent all day Saturday at the Qualifying Tournament for FIRST Lego League for our Region. Hubby and I coach our son's team. This is the first year for us to attempt FIRST's program. And, boy! True to its reputation, it's a lot of hard work!

My son and his teammate during the Robot Game where our robot failed to do anything significant!

The team presenting their Project - a handheld device for seniors called the SCA!

During the Awards and Closing Ceremonies

We faced many obstacles, few unknowns and some disappointments. We were literally "facing giants" --- as one of the parents so eloquently described our situation. We arrived at the tournament venue and quickly realized that we were up against some pretty tough competition: private schools with unlimited budgets {we're a public school with a very limited budget}, with years of experience {we have none!}, with ultra-knowledgeable coaches {certainly not hubby nor me}, teams who spent over 500 hours preparing for this {in comparison to our 50+ hours}! Giants, indeed!

We looked {and felt} mighty small and unqualified beside these giant teams. Plus, due to our lack of experience, we were unprepared for many things. The day progressed with small victories, here and there.

That one parent on our team further pointed out... when David was facing Goliath, all God asked him to bring were a few stones and his slingshot. So true, isn't it?!? Well, she and I both... we prayed hard, prayed that at least our team wouldn't be disappointed after all the hard work. I prayed that we would at least win the "Rising Star" rookie team award, or even the "Against All Odds" award which goes to a team that "improvises and overcomes a difficult situation while still making a respectable showing."

Well, a huge shock would soon confront us... in a good way! :-)

As one by one the winners were announced, our hope slipped away. We never heard our team number called... not for the "Rising Star" award, not even for the "Against All Odds" award. As participation medals were being handed out, they didn't even call us up! Being newbies, we didn't automatically know that this meant we were up for the BIG awards. We actually thought that they just missed calling up our team for the participation medals. We were going to just ask for our medals after the Closing Ceremonies were over.

I scan the kids' faces at this time, and I won't lie... they were pretty downcast and disappointed. I felt so very sad!

Then, it was time to announce the Champion Award recipients. In Third Place... and earning a spot at the Provincial Tournament, is Team 2260... Westcreek Einsteins!!!

Wow! I could not believe what I was hearing! I had to look around to see other people's reaction to make sure I did hear what I heard! The kids' faces all lit up with HUGE smiles... it was sooooo heart-warming to see! I just love it when the underdog wins, don't you?!?

Our prayers, our "five stones and slingshot"... they were truly all that we needed!

My boy posing with his medal and the team trophy!

So, that was Saturday! A pretty intense day, I must say.
Needless to say, the weekend quickly ran away from me with all that excitement. Monday was a blur... and Tuesday saw me and my girl driving out-of-town to visit the offices of Compassion Canada in London, Ontario... which is about 2.5 hours away from where we live.

My girl helping out in Compassion Canada's mail room! So much fun!

Friends, as I started out this week and inventoried the weekend's result and also what was in store for me this week... God allowed me to be keenly aware that no matter how "small" and "unqualified" we feel or think we are, He can always use us for His glory!

As I've been reading in a Christmas devotional called Joy! to your World! A Countdown to Christmas on YouVersion, I am encouraged and spurred on by Mary's example... she said, "May it be done to me according to your word. (Luke 1:38)"
Has God asked something difficult of you lately? How have you responded?
When God requires one of His children to lay down their will and their way for His best plan, often there is a struggle of the human will.
God is looking for... men and women who are willing to serve Him out of love. God is looking for those who willingly submit to His ways and plans simply because their heart completely belongs to Him. God desires men and women who will allow Him to interrupt their well-thought lives with His unbelievable plans!
"... May it be done to me according to your word." Is that the resolve of your heart as well?
As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... to The One who helps us when we are facing giants... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1679 - #1689:
:: An underdog win! So awesome!
:: His grace... allowing me to face giants without fear.
:: Grace changing my heart, warming it up to desire His will on a change that He is seemingly putting in my path.
:: Our whole family serving dinner to some under-privileged youth. 
:: My girl on a weekend retreat, team building with the group of youth that she will be serving with during this upcoming March Break. They are headed back to UrbanPromise Wilmington!
:: An awesome church family whom we feel right at home with.
:: Prayer support from our Home Church family.
:: Our Lead Pastor, who texts me with a prayer encouragement on Tuesday right before I step into a significant meeting.
:: Friends and family who support in prayer.
:: My girl... for her moral support & prayers! I learn lots from this incredible young lady... so thankful she's mine! :-)
:: His mercies, new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. He is enough!
Happy Wednesday, friends!
On this seemingly shortened week, this is my prayer:
When Christ is at the centre, when dishes, laundry, work, is my song of thanks to Him, joy rains. Passionately serving Christ alone makes us the loving servant to all. When the eyes of the heart focus on God and the hands on always washing the feet of Jesus alone, the bones, they sing joy, and the work returns to its purest state: eucharisteo. The work becomes worship, a liturgy of thankfulness.
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
Let's soar 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!

Monday, December 3, 2012

In Hindsight

On Saturday afternoon...
After a whole morning of being lazy and staying in my PJs and dilly-dallying around the house, the afternoon literally snucked up on me! All of a sudden, I realized... we're going to be late if we don't start moving! We were due, at 5:30pm, to help serve a dinner to homeless folks at an Out of the Cold venue.

We still had groceries to buy and errands to do and dinner to eat... all to be done in two short hours! Hubby and I dashed out of the house and did our grocery shopping in record time. We rushed back home and our whole family piled into the van.

We drove downtown to an area called The Danforth where a Ten Thousand Villages store is located. I wanted to take the opportunity to drop by the store and grab a few fair-trade Christmas gifts there since it's close-ish to the Out of the Cold venue where we were headed.

When I finished my shopping... my next mission was... find a place to eat dinner! We exited the Ten Thousand Villages store and there she was... hubby pointed her out to me... a homeless girl camped out by the sidewalk near the store's entrance begging for food.

I glanced at my watch... 5:15pm... and I said to myself, "No time to help this homeless girl. We have to eat dinner and get to the Out of the Cold venue, all in 15 minutes!"

As it stands... we're going to be late already... no time to waste! So, we passed her by... and headed to a restaurant where we scarfed down our dinner, in record time! My son didn't even get to finish his dinner when I announced, "It's time to go!", while simultaneously packing his rice-and-chicken-teriyaki-dinner into a take-out container so that he could eat it later, if he's still hungry.

I was herding my family along... take-out container in hand, very impatiently... the whole time ranting about how we're going to be late... it's now 5:40pm... we are late! I was literally running back to where our van is parked... my family trailing along behind me.

And, I saw her again... still seated at that very same spot. I had no intention of stopping. Honestly, I didn't. 

Just when I passed her... I heard her say, "Any leftovers?"

I literally did an about-face... I wasn't even conscious of the take-out container full of food that I held in my hands... I looked at her and realized that she was looking at the take-out container I had... at that very moment, I got jolted out of my zone... and into the moment, I quickly handed her the food... and was again, hurriedly on my way.

Then I heard her say, "God bless you!"
My response? "But there's no fork in there!" To which she replied, "Oh, that's okay... thank you!"

We were finally on our way to the Out of the Cold venue... then it struck me... "God bless you!" Are you kidding me? God bless me? For ignoring a homeless girl? For passing her by? For not intending to help her because I was in a hurry? For shoving leftovers in her hands? Seriously?!?

The irony of the moment hit me, it hit me hard... we were literally going to pass her by without helping because we were rushing to serve at a dinner for homeless folks. Why? Because the 110 homeless folks at Out of the Cold are more worthy of our time than that one homeless girl on the street?

Didn't the shepherd leave the ninety-nine to go find the one lost sheepIn hindsight... what we should have done is invite her to come with us... to enjoy this:


As I dished out rice noodles on plate after plate after plate at the Out of the Cold dinner... she kept coming back to mind. I prayed that the meager leftover rice-and-chicken-teriyaki would at least curb her hunger and asked God to forgive me for being selfish, for not stopping... for not taking the time to buy her a proper dinner, for not caring for the least of these.

After Out of the Cold, we drove back to The Danforth to look for her. She wasn't there anymore...
Let us consider a biblical philosophy of wealth... when God bestows the world's riches on any person, he is giving such people a ministry of helps. He wants them to use their largesse to lift up the fallen, to alleviate the burdens of the downtrodden. There is no choice; God expects us to share with the needy, and the more we have, the more we must share.
~ Grant R. Osborne, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.
There is no choice... God expects us to share with the needy... 

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... to The One who is faithful even when I am not... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1667 - #1678:
:: For grace that pardons and cleanses.
:: His faithfulness... especially in times when I am not.
:: Our family checking out the ministry of Ephraim's Place and exploring ways we can help.
:: Some organizational reshuffling at work... and trusting God to clearly show me the way.
:: His sustaining grace on a tough week.
:: Countdown to Tournament Day for my son's Robotics Team which hubby and I coach. Getting excited!
:: Fun Friday night taking family Christmas photos in our basement!
:: That God would see fit to partner with us... even when we miss the mark.
:: An amazing boss, who has been so good to me all these years! She is a gift!
:: A great conversation with her... very encouraging, her support means a lot.
:: Awesome church leadership team meeting. God truly is faithful.
:: A new week, a new beginning. His mercies, new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.
Happy Monday, friends!
Looking forward to living out this quote this week... with God's help...
And at the last, this is what will determine a fulfilling, meaningful life, a life that, behind all the facades, every one of us longs to live: gratitude for the blessings that expresses itself by becoming the blessing.
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
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, November 30, 2012

November's Joy Dare

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

#916 - #1005... November's grace-gifts... from the Giver of good gifts, the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

3 gifts eaten:
:: A quick drive-through McDonald's meal with my girl before going to serve the least of these.
:: KitKat chocolate bars!
:: A fruity kefir smoothie at lunch!

3 gifts worn:
:: My warm fleece zip-up sweater for cold November days.
:: My warm woolen socks.
:: My trusty old pair of jeans!

3 gifts that start with N:
:: Nature's beauty.
:: Nurturing friendships.
:: November's arrival.

a gift gathered, given, good:
:: A gathered church Leadership Team; breaking bread at Sunday's lunch!
:: An opportunity given to be a listening ear.
:: A good God... who always loves! ♥

3 gifts acorn-small:
:: Brown sugar cubes for my morning coffee.
:: Yummy grapes for snacking.
:: Sushi for dinner!

3 gifts government:
:: Order in society.
:: Social programs for the needy.
:: Education for everyone.

3 gifts from your window:
:: Our bare ash tree's sculptural branches.
:: Bright orange rose pods knocking on my window with the wind.
:: Sunshine streaming in.

a gift sweet, salty, sipped:
:: Cinnamon buns!
:: Hummus chips!
:: A fruity smoothie!

3 gifts harvest:
:: Honey crisps apples!
:: The last tomatoes from the garden.
:: A bunch of kale from the garden as well.

3 gifts found in Bible reading:
:: Inspiration.
:: Encouragement.
:: Strength.

3 gifts of remembrance:
:: To remember is to work for peace.
:: A moment of silence.
:: A prayer for peace.

3 gifts at noon:
:: My boy home for his lunch break.
:: A short break from work to spend some time with him.
:: A kefir smoothie for lunch.

3 gifts behind a door:
:: God opening a door... new opportunity on the horizon.
:: Seeing my boy... at the front door, at the end of the school day.
:: Peeking at my baking, through the glass oven door!

3 gifts silent:
:: Silently listening as a new friend pours her heart out.
:: A silently peaceful and quiet house.
:: All alone with my thoughts and silently seeking God.

3 gifts golden:
:: Golden sunshine, after weeks of cloudiness!
:: Golden melted cheese on pizza.
:: Gold bands on my finger! ♥

3 gifts hard eucharisteo:
:: Being too hard on one's self...
:: Difficult decisions... to continue supporting an organization or not?!?
:: Encouraging my boy to focus on being thankful, even when it's hard to.

3 gifts of laughter:
:: Children's laughter as they pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!
:: Happy laughter as my boy's LEGO Mindstorm robot is finally doing its thing properly!
:: Laughter as a community of family and friends share dinner together!

a gift made, shared, passed on:
:: German chocolate cake, with coconut frosting!
:: Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting and {early} Christmas sprinkles!
:: A recipe for beef ribs in the crock pot!

3 gifts Autumn:
:: Warm sunshine through the window.
:: Bare tree branches.
:: Honey crisp apples!

3 gifts of traditions:
:: Christmas music by the end of November!
:: Decking the halls!
:: Putting up the Christmas tree!

3 gifts family:
:: Togetherness.
:: Safety.
:: Love!

3 gifts grateful:
:: Grateful for blessings in abundance.
:: Grateful for opportunities to share those blessings.
:: Grateful for the joy that is found in serving "the least of these" in Jesus' name.

3 gifts only in Christ:
:: My life.
:: My strength.
:: My song.

3 gifts humble:
:: Attending a marriage mentoring training... humbling.
:: The gift of being able to walk humbly with God.
:: How He chooses to use us... humbling.

3 gifts ugly-beautiful:
:: The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season...
:: Children living in extreme poverty... released in Jesus' name!
:: Encouraging a sister who is feeling burned-out in ministry.

3 gifts preparing:
:: Hearts to celebrate Christmas meaningfully!
:: Dinner...
:: Looking over study questions before Home Church.

a gift handmade, held, happy:
:: Christmas urns for the front of our home!
:: Cupping a newborn baby's head in the palm of my hand.
:: Our whole family volunteering together at Upward Basketball.

3 gifts in community:
:: Chatting over lunch with my sister and her friend.
:: A vibrant youth community that our kids belong to at church!
:: Growing relationships at our Home Church.

3 gifts red:
:: Red Christmas ball ornaments by the window.
:: Red apples in the Christmas urn by the front door.
:: Red Christmas plates!

3 gifts astonishing!:
:: The way God loves!
:: How He pours out unending grace...
:: His mercies... new every morning.


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!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday

Two weeks in a row!
My Multitudes on Mondays blog post is late again this week! Well, it's all good... you wanna know why? Because today is Giving Tuesday... and I want to share with you a great way to mark this day!

So... what is Giving Tuesday all about anyway? Well, it's about giving, of course!

Have a look... {please pause the playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch this video}


So... wanna jump in and join in the festivities of Giving Tuesday?

Yes? You are *so* awesome!
Have I got just the right thing for you! Introducing... Gifts of Compassion

The thing is... when you purchase a Gift of Compassion, it's like double giving! Not only are you giving a meaningful gift to that special someone on your Christmas list, you are also giving to a child in need! It can't get any more awesome than that, can it?!? :-)

As an example, here's my favourite Gift of Compassion... yes, you read that right... I love giving bacteria-free water!


I can think of several people right off the bat from my Christmas list that would love to receive this as a Christmas present this year knowing that their gift will give a Tanzanian family living in extreme poverty the gift of bacteria-free water for life! Yes, you read that right... for life!

You can read more about Compasison International's "Water Of Life" water filters by visiting this website.

Wanna give some bacteria-free water to that special someone this Christmas too? 
You can do so by clicking here! I promise it will be the best Christmas gift that they've ever received because it's a gift that will keep on giving!

So... let the shopping and the giving begin!!! Friends, let's give meaningful gifts this Christmas! These Gifts of Compassion will last much, much, much longer than that trendy scarf, that funky sweater, that just-released CD... or even that fancy coffee machine! :-)

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... to The One who gave us the greatest gift of all... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1662 - #1666:
:: A quiet week.
:: Decorating our home for Christmas!
:: Christmas music!!!
:: Volunteering at the George Canyon concert with my girl for Compassion where a bunch of children got sponsored!
:: My new iPad mini! My very first Apple product... love it!
Hope your week is off to a good start, friends!
Loving this quote today, as our family thinks about how to prepare our hearts to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way...
I think of Jesus' beginning, his supernatural conception. His mother bends the knee and submits her will to God's, "Let this happen to me as you say." This is a woman, a womb, a hand, humbly opening to the perfect will of God. In her humility - her willingness to die to her expectations and plans - God exalts her. In her submissiveness to His will, He fills her emptiness with fullness of Himself. Her refrain of humble, surrendered gratitude quietly sings through all ages.
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
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!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Little Late...

Tuesday evening already?!? This means that this Multitudes on Mondays blog post is late this week! Not sure where the weekend went... but all of a sudden, it was Monday and I was faced head-on with this new week without any warning! Needless to say, blogging got put on the back burner!

Until tonight, that is...
My girl and I were supposed to volunteer at an event where Compassion was going to have a display table, but sadly, it got cancelled due to poor ticket sales! It looked like an interesting event too! I was looking forward to learning some meal planning tips... well, maybe next time!

So... because of the cancellation, here I am with some extra time to blog! :-)

Hmmm... where should I begin?
Well, for starters... the Compassion Bloggers are back from Peru! What an amazing week... the stories gripped me. I do have one favourite post... it's written by Angie Smith from Bring The Rain... it's simply called Love Moves and these are some of the words she wrote...
This is how love moves.
It says “we” instead of “they.”
Every step we take in the direction of compassion brings us closer to the cross...
Reading Angie's blog post brought me back to when hubby and I took our kids to visit both our sponsor child, Florianlyn, and LDP student, Rochelle, in the Philippines last year. Meeting them both face-to-face helped to catalyze the "they" into a "we." Life-changing... friends, it's a must-do if you sponsor a child! Love moves!

Speaking of love moving... that's where our weekend went to! 

On Saturday, we got together with my sisters and their families, and a few friends... and we packed Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes! It was chaotic, to say the least, with over 20 people packed into my sister's home... but it truly was a load of fun! When we were done, there was a pile of 79 shoeboxes... love, all ready to move!


On Sunday evening, we got together with a few other people from church and went on a Sandwich Run with Project417... handing out lunch bags to street-involved people. This is just our second time walking the same route and already, we are starting to recognize some faces and names... and, we are starting to engage in some meaningful conversations!

Love moves... when arms grow stiff carrying heavy totes and grocery bags full of lunches and when feet grow sore after walking the downtown streets for three hours... yet hearts are full knowing that biblical justice {even though not nearly enough}, not charity, has occured.

As one homeless folk said to my boy as he handed him a lunch bag, "Thank you, son. You people are very kind. The world needs more people like you." Love moves...    


As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... to The One who is the greatest example of what it looks like to live out love... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1649 - #1661:
:: The opening of new doors.
:: Excellent report cards for both kids!
:: Two friends from church popping in for a chat on the same day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon!
:: A quiet evening at home alone with my thoughts.
:: A week of baking, baking and more baking!
:: A day off from school for both kids.
:: Shopping for items to fill Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Always a fun thing to do for our whole family!
:: Some extra time on Saturday for my boy to work on his Robotics project... thankful that his school principal came to open up the school for us!
:: Packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes with family and friends!
:: Great Sunday morning breaking bread with our church family.
:: Sandwich Runs becoming a monthly thing for us!
:: A frazzled start to the week... and grace that sustains.
:: Awesome time of community and sharing at Home Church on Monday night.
Hope your week is off to a good start, friends!
This... is giving me food for thought this week... all because love moves!
Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control... let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy's fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love, and whisper surprised thanks. This is the fuel for joy's flame.
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
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!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Let's go to Peru!

Tomorrow...
The Compassion Bloggers are headed to Peru. The amazing thing about this is, you and I can travel along... from the comfort of our own homes! I am excitedly following along and looking forward to reading the blog posts this week. I hope you will follow along too!

Their stories are the closest you will get to experiencing the ministry of Compassion International other than actually going yourself. If you are on Twitter, you can follow them here.

Yes! I am looking forward to this week...
And seeing what God has in store, not only through the stories that will be written by the Compassion Bloggers... but also with regards to a significant potential change in my life!

Friends, it's going to be a good week... because we serve a good God! 

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... to The One who is always good... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1640 - #1648:
:: My girl's school basketball team is in the playoffs!
:: Our Lead Pastor taking the time to come and watch one of my girl's games.
:: Excitement for our church's newest mission.
:: Great progress with my son's Robotics Team!
:: Both kids enjoying a great Fall Retreat with our church's youth group and coming home resolved to "pray with windows wide open"... just like Daniel.
:: Time over the weekend to do some baking!
:: Shaken by the documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls and looking for opportunities of how we can be involved in the fight to end modern-day slavery.
:: Inspired by the Multiply webcast with Francis Chan and David Platt.
:: This warm mid-November Monday!
Happy Monday, friends!
... to give thanks is an action and rejoice is a verb and these are not mere pulsing emotions. While I may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy, begins in the action of thanksgiving.
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
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!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Giveaway Winners!

Last Monday...
I posted an exciting update about Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy... where I announced the total funds raised for this Compassion Child Development Centre... $30,158.42... the fundraising goal surpassed by $158.42!

God is so, so, so faithful!
This gift is truly too wonderful for words. I am blown away... it is utterly mind-blowing, thought-provoking, humbling...

And now, the giveaway winners!
In honour of everyone who helped to make Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy such a beautiful and successful evening, a giveaway is happening today right here on the blog!

Initially, I said that there will be two winners! Well, friends... there will be three! One will receive Dr. Wess Stafford's book, Too Small To Ignore and two winners will each get his newest book, Just A Minute.


The first winner... receiving the book Too Small To Ignore is Jennifer Doiron! This is the comment that Jennifer wrote:
The second winner... receiving the book Just A Minute is G! This is the comment that G wrote:
Either book looks good to me :)
The third winner... receiving the book Just A Minute is Judy Graham! This is the comment that Judy wrote:
What a joy it is to see God work through ordinary people to bring about His purposes. How exciting to see such a goal like this reached...I love how God let's you know that this is His doing by providing just what is needed. Thanks to you and your family and PRAISE to God!
Thank you, everyone, for participating in the giveaway! It was my very first blog giveaway and it was a lot of fun! And to the winners... I will get the books to you as soon as possible!

As I continue to count grace-gifts, with unending thanks... to The One who is the Faithful One... these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1633 - #1639:
:: Getting to know a new friend from church.
:: An opportunity to serve dinner to a group of inner-city kids!
:: A seeming turn into a new direction.
:: Trusting God with the unknowns and knowing that He knows!
:: A timely read blog post from Compassion Family.
:: Lovely evening spent at the Pregnancy Care Centre's Annual Dinner, heart-warming to hear some great ministry updates and overjoyed to see two healthy babies whose moms came to a baby shower that I helped my sister's church to host this past Spring!
:: Sumptuous potluck lunch and awesome meeting with our church's Leadership Team... such a joy doing life and serving Jesus with this bunch of people!
Happy Monday, friends!
The quiet song of gratitude, eucharisteo, lures humility out of the shadows because to receive a gift the knees must bend humble and the hand must lie vulnerably open and the will must bow to accept whatever the Giver chooses to give.
~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
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!