Thursday, May 31, 2012

Planks of Thanks...

~*~ My Backyard :: Spring 2012 ~*~
Thanks is what builds trust.
... if I'm grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again.
Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks. Remembering frames up gratitude. Gratitude lays out the planks of trust. I can walk the planks - from known to unknown - and know: He holds.
And, friends... mark your calendars... Saturday, September 29 in the evening... Ann Voskamp will be the Guest Speaker at Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy, a music concert in the Toronto area that my sister {Soprano Aileen Lee} and her choir and her friends are performing in... all proceeds to benefit a Compassion Child Development Centre in the island of Masbate, in the Philippines!

This is the "Wow, God!" news that I was itching to share with you all earlier this week!

I am... beyond. excited! God is always, always, always good!

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

Monday, May 28, 2012

Oh How He Loves...

"God's reckless grace is our greatest hope..." ~ Tim Keller, The Prodigal God.
His grace truly is enough... 
What an awesome Sunday at church. The teaching we heard reminded me anew of God's extravagant love for each one of us. How He is ever the Faithful One, especially in times when I am not.

We also sang the song How He Loves --- just. beautiful!

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


This truth especially hit home for me this week. It's been a whirlwind of a week... full of God-things and God-moments... reminders that He loves to fulfill His purposes through us, His children... even though how unqualified we might be... for His strength is made perfect in our weakness!

This thought brought me to tears over the weekend as I chatted with my girl about some things in my heart. To say that I'm overwhelmed by His goodness and His grace would be an understatement. You see, our family is in the midst of helping {my sister and her friends} to plan a classical music concert, a Benefit Concert for early Fall of this year... to raise funds for the Compassion Child Development Centre that our Florianlyn belongs to... so that they can improve the facilities in order to serve their community better... to make even more of a difference in Jesus' name!

The details of planning this concert are beyond my experience and my expertise. I was feeling a little (okay, a lot!) overwhelmed by it all... then God showed me that He has it all under control... in a big way... immeasurably more than all I can ask or even imagine!
Even in all its beauty this story cannot fully articulate the great truth about how the One who created us loves you and me with passionate joy. ~ Henri Nouwen, Home Tonight.
Wow is all I can say! I can not yet share details... as I am still awaiting confirmation on some things, but I promise I will share as soon as I am able to! He truly, truly, truly is an awesome God!

As I continue to count grace-gifts, these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1410 - #1415:

:: Grace, grace... God's grace!
:: A great day at a Robotics Competition with my son and his team.
:: Volunteering with my girl at the Planet Shaker's concert where 18 beautiful Compassion children were sponsored, including identical twins sponsored by two girls who are cousins! ♥
:: A relaxing, slow-paced weekend.
:: A Sunday afternoon nap... bliss!
:: Hubby and my boy making us all personalized omelets for dinner.

Happy Monday, friends!
May you be looking forward, as I am, to a new week of basking in the love that the all-powerful God has for each one of us!
I can always give thanks because an all-powerful God always has all these things - all things - always under control. I breathe deep and He preaches to me, soothing the time-frenzied soul with the grace river in whisper.
Life is not an emergency. Life is eucharisteo.
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!



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

Monday, May 21, 2012

On this May Long Weekend...

What an awesome Victoria Day long weekend!

We had the most fabulous sunshine... all. weekend. long! On top of that... a BBQ with our friends at UrbanPromise's Camp Freedom, lots of time in my garden, some basketball, some time with family and... a Compassion letter-writing fest --- long overdue letters are finally on their way to all our sponsor children!!!

Me. Grilling burgers at the UrbanPromise Camp Freedom BBQ!

UrbanPromise kids playing. Notice the cop car in the background?!? >:(
My guess is... the cop came to make sure that the crowd isn't trouble.
Sad right? I was not impressed at all.

Dismantling our backyard play/slide set.
My kids are growing up waayyy too fast!!! Slow down, time!

Mr. Squirrel having a snooze on our backyard fence. Cute!

Our whole family writing letters to our sponsor children. :-)

And... earlier this week, we got word {via Facebook} that the two houses {in the Philippines} that we helped to rebuild for some families affected by Typhoon Sendong have been completed! Oh. the. joy!



My heart is full. 
This week started off hairy and stressful to say the least... but ended with the most beautiful weekend. God's grace is truly sufficient! And, how can I forget the wonderful teaching we were blessed with on Sunday morning?!? Here's a summary:
Through Jesus, God redefines "glory". Success means to sacrifice. Victory is to die. To shine is to serve. Fame is to quietly, secretly love. "Hot" is to be modest. Exultation comes through humility. Strength is shown through weakness. Glory is often seen best in suffering.
As I continue to count grace-gifts, these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1402 - #1409:

:: The gift of this beautiful long weekend.
:: The rebuilt homes in the Philippines... though small, yet they are enough.
:: Meeting with yet another ministry group in the Jane/Finch corridor of our city... and trying to discern what it is that God desires for our church family to do there.
:: A total of $6344 raised by our church family for the Pregnancy Care Centre!
:: Watching my girl play in her school's Junior Concert Band!
:: A day at the office for work... and being thankful anew for the work-at-home arrangement that I have with the company that I work for!
:: Great meeting with our Lead Pastor... looking forward to Compassion Initiatives for the Summer months!
:: Lots of time to work in my garden! ♥

Happy Monday, friends!
May you be looking forward, as I am, to a new week of making time for thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving makes time.
Really? Give thanks and get time? Give thanks... slow time down with all my attention... and my basket of not-enough-time multiplies into more than enough time. 
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!



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

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Day After Mother's Day...


With wonderful people from our church family, at the First Response Relay!

I had a wonderful Mother's Day!

The celebration started a day earlier, on Saturday... as our whole family participated in a 5km Walk-A-Thon called the First Response Relay, in support of the Pregnancy Care Centre, an organization which hubby serves as a Board Member.

Walking in support of life and alongside women experiencing crisis pregnancies... what a beautiful way to kick off Mother's Day weekend! The day was made even more beautiful as over 30 people from our church family joined us for the walk... and together, we raised over $6,000 for the Pregnancy Care Centre!

Friends, that is 40% of the $15,000 fundraising goal that the Pregnancy Care Centre set for this event!!! Wow! All I can say is this... my God never ceases to amaze me!!! He truly is good...

I woke up Sunday morning with a stiff and sore body... I guess the fast-paced 5km walk didn't sit too well with my body! :-) {Note to self: Must push myself to exercise more!}

It was an early morning start for us on Sunday as we had to head out to church earlier than usual. As I sipped my morning coffee, trying hard not only to wake up, but also to will away the soreness that I was feeling all over my body, I settled in to read blogs as is my usual morning routine.

This blog post, one that my girl wrote for Mother's Day, made me feel better in an instant! It made me all the more thankful for the privilege of being a Mom! I'm humbled by grace... thankful for the gift of a beautiful daughter! My boy, on the other hand, made me a hilarious card with "coupons" attached to it. They are to be redeemed for any "favours" that I might want him to do... and, they expire in May 2013... what a funny guy!

I am one proud mama... blessed beyond all measure... ever thankful for God's all-sufficient grace!

Because... the truth is... at first, motherhood didn't come naturally for me. Since I didn't have good parenting role models to emulate, I was lost when it came to the "how-to's" of parenting! I largely credit Jill Savage and her book Professionalizing Motherhood for helping me to cast a fresh and meaningful vision for parenting and motherhood. I stumbled through the early years... making mistake after mistake... yet God is always there to give me a second chance... and for that, I am truly grateful!

To my parents' credit though, they did parent me {and my sisters} the best way they knew how... and God is always good, His grace is all-sufficient... who we are today is truly, truly, truly only because of His Grace! I do have to say this... one of the God-things from my childhood that is forever etched in my mind... is how much faith my mom had {and still has} in her Creator despite the extremely hard things that she had to endure and go through. Each day, I was {and still am} amazed at her strength and her willingness to suffer... truly a beautiful picture of grace.

Ann Voskamp, in a blog post entitled What Every Mother has to Know {Before Mother's Day}, wrote this:
Everything beautiful always begins with a willingness to suffer. Just ask my mother. Mothers were made to have faith. I don’t want to imagine if you hadn’t.
I could have written those very same words about my mom!
Dear Mom: Thank you for always being willing to suffer! Three daughters, each beautiful in their own way, are a direct result of that. I can't even begin to imagine what would've been if you hadn't had the faith you had {and continue to still have}. God's goodness is evident in your life. You live the Gospel... "If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me. If you want to save your life, you will destroy it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find it." {Matthew 16:24-25}
The endless cycle of grace...


As I continue to count grace-gifts, these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1395 - #1401:

:: The privilege and gift of being a mother.
:: My mom's life and her willingness to suffer.
:: An opportunity to help bless Haitian orphans through a friend!
:: An opportunity to continue sending impoverished Filipino children to school.
:: A lovely time with co-workers at our company's annual Service Awards Luncheon.
:: The opportunity to help raise funds for the Pregnancy Care Centre.
:: Walking the 5km route in support of life! 

Happy Monday, friends!
May you be looking forward, as I am, to a new week of seeing beauty that lurks in every moment!
I am hunter of beauty and I move slow and I keep the eyes wide, every fiber of every muscle sensing all wonder and this is the thrill of the hunt and I could be expert on the life full, the beauty meat that lurks in every moment.
I hunger to taste life.
God. 
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!



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

Monday, May 7, 2012

On This First Monday in May...

Compassion Bloggers: Tanzania 2012

... I am following the Compassion Bloggers as they blog from Tanzania!!! Tanzania is very dear to our family's heart. We hope to visit there one day. Why? Well, because my girl has a Compassion sponsor child in Tanzania. Her name is Happyness!

Our sponsor children have taught us so much... about loving God, about having faith, about trusting... and, about the things that break God's heart! Over the years, as we blessed them with sponsorship... they have, in turn, blessed us with even more... with God-lessons that we would've never learned otherwise.

The endless cycle of grace...

As I continue to count grace-gifts, these are the things I am thankful for this week... #1382 - #1394:

:: All of our sponsor children... each one a gift to us!
:: The ministry of Compassion International.
:: Today... 21 years since hubby and I started dating. ♥
:: Today... 10 years at my job!
:: A new month... hopefully a less busy one for our family.
:: Great start for my boy's Robotics Team as they work on a new challenge.
:: Good meeting... putting plans in place for our church to get more involved in the Jane/Finch corridor.
:: Hearing God-stories and looking to the future at our church's annual meeting.
:: Time to dig in the garden on the weekend. :-)
:: Beautiful sunshine... all weekend long!
:: Going to the Michael W. Smith World Tour concert with my girl accompanying me! ♥
:: Seeing 100+ Compassion children sponsored at the concert! God is good!
:: Great Sunday spent with our church family.

Happy Monday, friends!
May you be looking forward, as I am, to a new week of seeing the goodness of our God!
Eucharisteo curves the moment into a cupola of grace, an "architecture of holiness" - a place for God. Thanks makes now a sanctuary.
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!



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

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April's Joy Dare

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

#274 - #363... April's grace-gifts... from the Giver of good gifts, the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

3 gifts round:
:: My man and my little man playing basketball on our driveway.
:: Bags bulging round filled with food for the Food Bank! ♥
:: Fellow church leaders sitting in a round circle meeting together over lunch.

3 gifts white:
:: Stacked of white papers = income tax returns, all filed!
:: White flower buds on my Pachysandra plants.
:: Winding down the day with just some white noise.

3 gifts surprisingly found:
:: Some extra time to blog in-spite of a super busy day!
:: My boy's bed neatly made. :-)
:: Leftovers, turned into a yummy lunch!

3 gifts in His Word:
:: 2 Corinthians 9:8-15... especially how it it worded in The Message! Just. Wow!
:: 1 Corinthians 15:55-58... thankful for victory through Jesus!
:: "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples — when they see the love you have for each other." (John 13:34-35, The Message).

3 gifts @ 11am, 2pm, 6pm:
:: The aroma of bacon frying... mmmmm!
:: Finishing up my work day early.
:: My family all together at day's end.

3 gifts nailed together:
:: Jesus' nail-pierced hands... for my sins.
:: New garden boxes to grow veggies in the backyard!
:: A wooden lattice for climbing plants.

3 gifts waited for:
:: Time to revamp my front garden.
:: Slow-roasted chicken. Yum!
:: Spring!

3 gifts rising up:
:: Tender plants...
:: Beautiful sunshine!
:: Praise... on Easter Sunday morning! ♥

a gift hiding, held, heard:
:: Pachysandra plants underneath dried up grasses... ready for transplanting!
:: Garden dirt. :-)
:: Birds chirping.

3 gifts opened up:
:: Adult hearts opened up by youth testimonies.
:: Teachable moments while volunteering at my boy's school.
:: Door to the backyard letting the Spring breeze into the kitchen.

3 gifts budding/blooming:
:: My flaming yellow Forsythia bush!
:: Tulips! ♥
:: Budding shrubs all over my garden.

3 gifts worn:
:: My Crocs!
:: Waking up with fleece PJs on cold Spring mornings.
:: My plaid Spring coat.

3 gifts bright:
:: The sun... it's been shining all week long!
:: Bright HOPE for tomorrow... for children sponsored through Compassion!
:: Bright news... a merit increase at work!

3 gifts found looking up:
:: Beautiful clear blue skies.
:: Help from the Lord!
:: Birds singing their songs!

a gift in a bag, in a box, in a book:
:: Leftover food doggy-bagged... tomorrow's lunch!
:: Old clothes boxed up for charity.
:: Friendship In The Margins by Heuertz and Pohl.

3 hard eucharisteos:
:: A chronic condition.
:: Coming to an acceptance of things hard to understand...
:: Busy seasons in life...

3 gifts woven together:
:: Faith.
:: Hope.
:: Love.

3 gifts inherited:
:: My kids' love for the game of basketball.
:: My grandma's trivet... and,
:: Her old blue cooking pot.

3 gifts square:
:: A new front-yard garden "square" in the works! :-)
:: The many conversations around our almost square dining table.
:: Our cozy queen bed... a place to rest a tired body each night.

a gift stacked, stashed, stilled:
:: Clean dishes in the cupboard! ♥
:: Letters from our Compassion children stashed in folders!
:: Newborns being stilled by their mommies... saw quite a few this week.

3 gifts found in Christ:
:: The Way.
:: The Truth.
:: The Life.

3 gifts close:
:: Leaf buds... still closed... yet full of promise.
:: Tired eyes... closing to sleep at the end of a busy day.
:: When God closes the door, He always opens a window! ♥

3 gifts reflecting:
:: On a busy but amazingly awesome week.
:: Sunshine through my home office window.
:: On how "hurry always empties a soul..."

3 gifts fragile:
:: How my mind can sometimes be... thankful for grace.
:: Certain relationships... thankful for grace.
:: Emotions on certain days... thankful for grace.

a gift cloth, steel, wood:
:: Purple jerseys... my boy's school basketball team's awesome season.
:: Our still trusty 15-year-old station wagon.
:: Wooden spoon stirring batter for chocolate cupcakes.

3 gifts moving:
:: Hands moving to ice cupcakes for a birthday boy.
:: Hands moving on the keyboard... earning a wage.
:: Hands moving to sew a costume for a school play.

3 gifts "ugly beautiful":
:: Opportunity to be an influence to children at my boy's school... can be tough at times.
:: Speaking the truth in love...
:: Talking to my boy about life's hard things...

3 gifts orange:
:: My home office walls.
:: Freshly-squeezed orange juice!
:: My Roots purse! ♥

3 gifts in dirt:
:: Hands digging in Spring's garden dirt! ♥
:: Chives sprouting up from dirt in plant pot.
:: Dirt in mounds waiting to be cultivated.

a gift given, made, sacrificed:
:: A thank-you gift for my son's basketball coach.
:: Home-made dinner... after many nights of eating out.
:: Time to read... opting for sleep instead.

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




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