Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shoexbox Packing Party 2009

We had a shoebox packing party for Operation Christmas Child with the kids' cousins from both sides of the family.  They all had lots and lots of fun packing a total of 66 shoeboxes!!!

This is one of our best loved family traditions! 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Externally Focused Church

I just finished reading The Externally Focused Church by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson. Awesome book!!! Wow, it is very exciting to know that what we are doing at our church is actually being written about in a book. 

There are so many good ideas and pointers in the book that I can write a super long blog post about it but I think I'll stick to the main things that spoke to my heart. Here they are:
"Service is only truly service when it is done without the expectation of a payback."
"All of us who know Christ personally would say that he has radically changed our lives. But often we limit these changes to what Christ does in us without allowing him to work through us. To belong to Christ, to be adopted into his family, is to begin to care about what he cares about --- to move outside of ourselves and toward others in mercy and justice."
"We need to earn the right to be heard with a message that can heal the holes in people's hearts. Serving provides a bridge that can build those relationships."
"It's not what you add to your life, it's what you abandon that will make the difference. As you expand your externally focused ministries, what will you abandon? You can't continue to do everything."
"Once a church moves outside its four walls --- its well --- and begins to experience the big world of ministry, things will never be quite the same. The well will seem small and provincial, safe but boring. The world of externally focused ministry will seem dangerous but exciting. Each church will have to decide to opt for safety or danger, boredom or adventure."
"If we are going to get well, if our churches are going to get better, then some change is likely. Our lives are likely to be disturbed if we allow the One who can heal to lead."
"The best years for the church are still ahead, and the best ideas have yet to be invented. The challenges and opportunities are too massive to rely on old, tired methodologies."
"To create a different future is going to take leaders with the vision to see, the passion to feel, and the courage to do. These leaders must keep pressing forward despite inevitable squalls, adjusting the rudder and the sail as they go."
"Sometimes it may seem that you are not making progress, but you are. You are learning; you are growing. You are becoming more useful for the kingdom. After all, you are simply the helmsman, not the Captain, of this ship. You may not have a map, but you do have a compass. This is about the journey and adventure more than the destination. This is really about the kingdom, not programs. It's about relationships, not numbers. It's about changed lives, not endless activity."
"God meets us when we step out in faith. He reveals solutions as we go; we mustn't wait to act until we have all the answers."
May we, as a church, persevere in what God has called us to do in this time and place! Just like Moses as he is described in Hebrews 11:27 (NIV): "By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw HIM who is invisible."

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hippie Girl and Captain Rex

Halloween already? This school year is just zooming by. Treats, movies, party and a dance at the school this afternoon... lots of fun!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reaching Out To Youth...

In a previous blog post I mentioned an interesting discussion that hubby and I had with our daughter about Youth Group. Even with the hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving weekend, the topic never really left my heart. I admit that this is new ground for me as my daughter is just entering the teen years. So, my dear blog readers, please bear with me... this blog post is mostly me, myself and I organizing my thoughts into words so that I can make more sense out of them!

This all started a few weeks ago... I found myself thinking: we are part of a new church plant and we have no organized Youth Group yet apart from a Sunday School class for preteens. Since my daughter is now entering the teenage years, I started to wonder whether it is time to initiate starting a Youth Group.

The thing is... the current way most churches define what Youth Group is bothers me. This is why:
"...the most potent data regarding disengagement is that a majority of twentysomethings - 61% of today’s young adults - had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying). Only one-fifth of twentysomethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences. Another one-fifth of teens (19%) were never significantly reached by a Christian community of faith during their teens and have remained disconnected from the Christian faith." ---Barna Group
Based on the above research results, the current definition of Youth Group doesn't make teenagers want to stay in church once they reach early adulthood. Why is that??? It really bothers me!!!

I could be wrong... but this is what I glean from this whole situation. Churches structure the Youth Group in such a way that it is difficult for teens to bring their non-churched friends because these friends feel like outsiders. If teenagers can not successfully bring their non-churched friends to Youth Group and make them feel welcomed, they will start to feel that the church is hypocritical; it is not welcoming; it is not engaging; it is not real! The result? Once they reach early adulthood and feel that they are able to make their own choices, church suddenly isn't part of the equation for them anymore!

I don't want my daughter to be part of such a Youth Group. Do you?

Well, since our church does not have an organized Youth Group yet... this is the best time to define one, right? Well, hubby and I have decided to start a "Hang-Out Night for Girls" in our home and our daughter can invite whomever she wishes to invite. This will be one of the many youth groups, hopefully, that will define Youth Group at our church. There is already another group (mostly for boys) that is on the go at another family's home and it is going very well.

I'm not saying that we have found the answer... as this could totally flop! But, I am willing to keep experimenting until I find a method that works (one that can reach non-churched youth) because I know that the current method does not work and I am not willing to keep using it just because it exists.

My prayer is for God to show us the way; to give us wisdom in how to shepherd the next generation; that today's youth will see that God is real; that they will want to live their everyday lives for Him. Help us, God!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Cousins At Thanksgiving

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone... we have SO MUCH to be thankful for, one of which is our children! Here they are with their cousins (my two younger sisters' children) --- my kids (the ones in orange shirts) look like giants!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gobble, Gobble!!!

As we head into the Thanksgiving Weekend up here in the Great White North, I am having a lazy Saturday morning before the busy-ness of this holiday weekend sets in. As I sit here, in my pajamas, tapping away on my keyboard... I am thinking about the many things I am thankful for: 

~ Our church plant is one year old! Church planting is hard work and progress is slow... but it is good, because God is good! I am thankful that my God is a good God; an awesome God! 

~ My family is growing and healthy. Last night, we had a great 'spiritual' discussion with our daughter about Youth Group (another blog post is taking shape, I can see it already!) and the role it should play in our family. Physically --- the kids have grown! We've moved their computers out of my office and into the hallway, which we have set up as a "media room". It was just getting too crowded in here when three people work on their computers at the same time. I am thankful that God has grown us spiritually (physically too!) as a family; that He gives us strength each day in order to serve Him. 

~ Hubby and I have jobs especially in these tough economic times. I am thankful that my God is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides! 

Those are just the first three things that came to mind; there is so much more that I am thankful for... if I continue to type, it will take all day!!! I am reminded of the lyrics of a well-known old hymn called The Love of God...

Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made. Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade. To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.

The Love Of God By: Frederick M. Lehman, 1917

So true. So amazing. So awesome. 

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, our family will head to the grocery store first and stock our carts with food for the local Food Bank. Then, we will spend Sunday morning with the Body of Christ --- being His church, knocking on doors to collect more food for the Food Bank. Then, we will gather with friends and family to celebrate! 

As for me, I should log off now and head to the kitchen to start cooking and baking. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Puffs Has Nuts?!?

My son is anaphylactic to peanuts and he is also mildly allergic to tree nuts. Last week, he had a massive nose bleed which resulted in him using a massive amount of tissue. We had just bought a new batch of tissues, a kind we've never purchased before --- Puffs with Lotion.

After the nose bleed, I noticed some rashes/redness in and around my son's nose and eyes. I attributed it to skin irritation resulting from wiping too much over the weekend. But it didn't get better, instead it got worse --- looking more welt-like, resembling more like an allergic reaction.

Right away, my thoughts went to the tissue. I thought that he might possibly be allergic to the fragrance in the lotion that is in the tissue. I did a quick search on the Internet and found this blog --- the author wrote about Puffs with Lotion tissue containing a tree nut. A TREE NUT!!! I couldn't believe what I was reading! True enough, I looked on the box and it lists an ingredient called shea butter. Upon doing some more research online, I quickly found out that shea butter is derived from shea nuts, a tree nut!

Now everything made sense... hmmmm, who would've thought to check "ingredients" on a tissue box?!? Well, I already read every label on foods that I purchase... reading tissue box labels wouldn't be that hard, I guess!

Seriously though, I thank God that my son only had a mild reaction and that is wasn't life threatening. He did get a secondary bacterial skin infection as a result of the skin trauma... but he is on the mend now that he's on antibiotics.

What can I say? Another new lesson learned in the life of mom with a peanut/nut allergic child!!! Life is never boring!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

One Year!!!

Tomorrow marks one year since the public launch of The Sanctuary Pickering. It has been a wild ride, to say the least, since God plucked hubby and me out of our comfort zone and plunged us into something very unfamiliar to us --- church planting! 

The journey has definitely not been a bed of roses; it's been like a roller coaster complete with its peaks and its valleys. I've laughed and cried. I've smiled and frowned. I've been elated and been angry. I've trusted and doubted. I've been confident and been scared. You get the picture! But throughout it all, my God has remained faithful and He is good! And, I have grown in my faith!!! 

As we launch into this second year of existence as a local church here in Pickering, I am excited! I want to be reckless for God, to be dangerous for Him! God has been opening doors like never before. Reaching this city will not be easy. In fact, spiritually-speaking, it is very hard ground to break. But I have no doubt in my mind that God will accomplish what He has set out to do here, in this city! 

You’re the God of this city I You’re the King of these people I You’re the Lord of this nation I You are I You’re the light in this darkness I You’re the hope to the hopeless I You’re the peace to the restless I You are I There is no one like our God I There is no one like You, God I For greater things have yet to come I And greater things are still to be done in this city I For greater things have yet to come I And greater things are still to be done here. 

Happy 1st Anniversary, The Sanctuary Pickering! My prayer is that God will be glorified through this church, in this city!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Reckless Faith

reck·less (rĕk'lĭs): adjective
Lacking or marked by a lack of care. Characterized by unthinking boldness. Utterly unconcerned about the consequences of some action; without caution.

Today, my morning devotional reading challenged me to live a life of reckless faith. Upon reading the definition of the word "reckless" (see above) --- I have come to the realization that I am living too safely when it comes to my faith.

Here's what gripped me this morning:

We are to be reckless in our faith – not habitual, not routine, not guarded. Reckless.

Reckless faith is… living out loud for God, regardless of the consequences.

Without thinking, without distress over consequences, without anxiety over what might happen, and without concern for what friends might think.

It is so much easier to stay afloat in the safety of our comfort zone than to step out into stormy waters, putting all of our trust in Christ.

How is God calling you to be reckless for Him today?

Do I really believe I can trust God enough for me to be reckless in my faith?

Wow! Talk about a wake-up call or being hit in the head with a hammer!

God, I desire to be reckless for You. Help me to live a life of reckless faith!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Disturb Us, Lord

I saw this poem today somewhere in blogland... it is too powerful to pass up and forget about that's why I'm re-posting it here.

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

By Sir Francis Drake, 1577

Beautiful. Powerful. Thought-provoking.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Our Summer in Pictures

Summer's end comes with the arrival of Labour Day --- that is today!!! Wow, this summer sure went by FAST (yet again)!

Here's a little snippet of our summer...

My daughter walking with my nephew to the park.

My son (in red) and some friends at the park.

Having fun at the park.

Helping little cousin down the twisty slide.

We went to an Argos game at the Rogers Centre. It was a treat to have the dome open on a nice, clear, warm summer evening; nice view of the CN Tower.

Great company!!!

The Ignition Staff after the game; the Argos lost!!!

My kids with Pinball!!!

Our end-of-summer road trip; this and the following few photos were taken at Preque Isle State Park (Erie, PA).

At the Maritime Museum (Erie, PA); in front of the "Niagara" --- a vessel used during the War of 1812.

In front of the Bicentennial Tower (Erie, PA).

Henry Moore sculpture; in front of the Columbus Museum of Art (Columnus, OH). The following few photos are also taken at the CMA.

My daughter cut her hair and donated it through the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program --- 12" long grown over two years!!! Way to go!!!

We celebrated our son's 9th birthday by going bowling and having dinner at his most favourite restaurant, Baton Rouge!!!

...having ice cream before dinner!!!

...very yummy dinner!!!

That's our summer in a nutshell... there is so much more to share but I would have to upload so much more photos!!! I think this is a good enough snippet.

Goodbye summer --- we look forward to your arrival next year!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009


Nine years old already? Wow, my baby boy is now NINE and off to Grade 4 next week!!! How time flies. It seems just like yesterday when we welcomed him into our family that one crisp, cool Labour Day Monday evening nine years ago... his arrival made our family complete! He is truly a gift of God --- true to the meaning of the name we chose for him!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

World Changing Family

While on vacation this past week, I read 'Becoming A World Changing Family' by Donna S. Thomas. While it focuses mainly on world (overseas) missions, it has a ton of great food for thought.

The first thing that caught my attention is a story about a family with three grown children who are all living "on mission". The father's account is as follows:

It was a concious decision for my wife and me early in our marriage. We were in college then and members of the student volunteer group. The group challenged us to make a commitment. Here is what we signed in faith: I will live my life, under God, for others rather than for myself. I will not drift through life but will do my utmost, by prayer, by investigation, by meditation and service, to discover that form and place in which I can become the largest use in the Kingdom of God. As I find it, I will follow it under the leadership of Jesus Christ, wheresoever it takes me, cost what it may.

I shared this commitment with our children when they were young. They witnessed it in our ministry. We considered it important to let them know why we were giving our lives to the church, why a call to serve is among the highest calls one can possibly receive from the Lord, and why material gain was never a factor in our ventures.

We certainly cannot take credit for what God has done in the lives of our children, but I believe we have helped in the process.
Beautiful story, isn't it? This is exactly what hubby and I are doing. We are trusting God for this type of response from our children. It would be awesome when we'd be the ones telling the same story in the near future! In the meantime, it takes a lot of hard work to model for our children how it is to "live on mission" in this world of ours!!!

I only have this one chance to mold my children... I can't go back! I feel that it is of utmost importance to get this parenting thing right. The book ends with some very encouraging words which makes this whole concept of becoming a "world changing family" quite doable. Here are those words:
God sent His only Son to bring us salvation, and look who He used to help get the job done. Not anybody important. No one considered outrageously successful. Some common fishermen. A tax collector. Workers. Ordinary. Never had a course in public speaking. Just obedient. Yet they set the course for changing the world.
So, what am I waiting for? I say, LET'S GET ROLLING!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Redeemer is Faithful and True

Today, I am rejoicing and giving thanks to my loving Heavenly Father for great health news that my mom received yesterday afternoon. For the past week, we have been anxiously awaiting follow-up results due to an abnormal mammogram. We've been especially anxious because of her bout with ovarian cancer three years ago. Yesterday, we were told that the mass is benign and nothing to worry about. Praise God!!!

A song came to mind... it's been tucked deep inside my soul from my teenage years. I can't find a good video of it to post, nor is it available on for me to add to my playlist... so posting the lyrics on here is all I can do for now. The song is...

My Redeemer is Faithful and True
By Steven Curtis Chapman and James Isaac Elliott
As I look back on the road I've travelled,
I see so many times He carried me through;
And if there's one thing that I've learned in my life,
My Redeemer is faithful and true.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

My Redeemer is faithful and true.
Everything He has said He will do,
And every morning His mercies are new.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

My heart rejoices when I read the promise
'There is a place I am preparing for you.'
I know someday I'll see my Lord face to face,
'Cause my Redeemer is faithful and true.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

And in every situation He has proved His love to me;
When I lack the understanding, He gives more grace to me.
This is very true in every believer's life, but it is very much real in my mom's life! And for that, I give God thanks!

God's love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said.
---Psalm 103:17-18 (The Message)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Five Loaves and Two Fish

This past Sunday, our guest speaker at church spoke to us about the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 people. He focused on these two phrases from the Bible passage:
"You (disciples) give them something to eat." "Bring them here to me (Jesus)."
The first phrase was Jesus' solution to the problem. Jesus presented the disciples with an impossible (humanly speaking) solution. Our guest speaker reminded us that it is when God presents us with the impossible that we see His power most at work! 

"Coincidentally" the night before, we watched Evan Almighty (again)... this time on DVD. This second time around watching the story of Noah told in a modern-day setting seemed to resonate with me way more than the first time. I think it has somethng to do with our being part of a church plant now... the idea of God asking me to do outrageous things is now suddenly very real to me!!! Here's one of God and Evan's conversations (paraphrased):
Evan: God, this is impossible!
God: This is when I accomplish great things!
Wow, so true! Hubby and I have seen this truth time and time again during this new church's very young life. 

Our guest speaker shared with us that the second phrase reminds us to give our all to Jesus; to bring our five loaves and two fish to Him; then He will multiply them! Got me thinking --- what are my five loaves and two fish? Am I holding on to them? Is there something I need to give to Jesus so that it can be multiplied for His glory? 

Great message... food for thought!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Week-Long Bible Lessons

As we complete a whole week of Bible teaching at Ignition Sports Camp today, I am in a reflective mood... there's been a bunch of "firsts" this week and I am just awed by God. 

Some of those "firsts" are: 

~ FIRST TIME the Good News is being presented at Ignition by our church's own children's ministries volunteers. I am beyond excited --- for some of these children, it would be their FIRST TIME to hear about the Gospel; the same is true for some of our staff members!!! 

~ Two of the teachers are ladies from my Bible Study group. I have seen these two ladies grow in their spiritual lives, from mere babies to full-grown adults! It is truly a blessing to see and experience such transformation. As far as I know, it is the FIRST TIME for one of them to teach a Bible lesson to children in a setting such as Ignition. 

~ My daughter came home from a week-long overnight camp a couple of weeks ago challenged to share more about God to other children. She volunteered to write (from scratch, with themes provided to her by our pastor) all the lessons that we are teaching this week at Ignition!!! This is her FIRST TIME to write curriculum; and it is the FIRST TIME we are using lessons written by a child (okay, preteen!) for children! As you can probably already tell, I am ONE PROUD MAMA!!! She did an excellent job... her talent in writing is definitely a unique gift from God!

For all these "firsts" --- all glory be to our gracious Heavenly Father!!! 

As I reflected upon this week and as I prepare my heart to teach the last lesson in a couple of hours, this verse came to me... 

2 Corinthians 9:9-11 (The Message) God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


My daughter got braces this week. I can't believe that my little girl is turning into a teenager right before my eyes!!! Time sure flies --- make the most of it!!!

Church People vs. Kingdom People

I saw this quote on my Facebook news feed page this morning: 

"Church people think about how to get people into the church; kingdom people think about how to get the church into the world. Church people worry that the world might change the church; kingdom people work to see the church change the world." ---Howard Snyder 

Made me think --- as a Christian family which category of people do we belong to? Are we a kingdom-minded family? Do we structure our activities so that we are going into the world as the Bible has taught us to? Do we work to see our family effect "God-change" in the community around us or do we keep to ourselves because we worry that the world might "influence" our family? 

I sure would like to think that we are a kingdom-minded family! I believe that it is the harder category to belong to... but the results are much more glorifying to God than the alternative. 

This summer, we are playing our part in making an affordable summer sports camp happen in our very own community; making close to 1,000 camp spots available to families that need help; so that people may know that God loves them and that we do too! 

Becoming a world-changing family is definitely a work in progress... one day at a time!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fifteen Years!!!

Fifteen years ago, I married 'the one whom my soul loves'! Today, my soul loves him more than ever. Everyday I am thankful that my Heavenly Father is gracious enough that He gave me a hubby who "fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments." (from Psalm 112:1 NASB)

How could we have known fifteen years ago today how much our Heavenly Father would "enlarge the place of our tent, stretch our tent curtains wide, not hold back; lengthen our cords, strengthen our stakes" (paraphrased from Isaiah 54:2 NIV) in all areas of our lives --- not only by blessing us with a great marriage and two wonderful children; but also by graciously enlarging our capacity to serve Him in ways that we couldn't have imagined ourselves; stretching and molding us into the family that He designed us to be!

It is with a humble and grateful heart that I look back at these fifteen years --- seeing God's great faithfulness, His goodness and His abounding grace; His guiding hand and His loving discipline in our lives; He truly never lets go!!! Thank you God!

"But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”
--- Joshua 24:15 NLT

Monday, June 8, 2009

Thoughts About June...

Is it really June already?!? This year is just zooming by... I heard someone say that when time seems to just fly by, it's a sign that one is getting older. Oh-oh... not a nice thought on this day, my birthday!!!

Anyway, I'm staring at my calendar for June this morning and it is making my head spin! Would you believe that in our immediate family alone, there are 3 anniversaries and 6 birthdays all in the month of June!!! We will also be celebrating my newest nephew's first month, plus my parents are in town visiting. Plus, there's a graduation... the regional track and field finals... end-of-school field trips... church-related activities and events... and, can't forget life in general! :-)

Speaking of life in general and decisions that have to be made in June... we have another intellectually gifted child in our house! As I have said before, I don't particularly like how the term, intellectually gifted, sounds and what it implies (or not!) but it is what the school board uses to identify (another term I don't quite warm up to!) children who are eligible to attend the full-time gifted programme.

As with our daughter, we are now faced with the decision of whether or not to send our son to the full-time gifted programme or to keep him at the home school. Having gone through this process once already, you would think that it will be less agonizing the second time around... but it's not! Each child is unique and so is each decision.

Although we have come to the same decision as before, and that is to stay at the home school, the thought process certainly wasn't the same as both test results are vastly different; both children have different strengths and different weaknesses. One very strong reason for this decision was the same though... and, it is rooted deeply in the things of God!

Allow me to elaborate...

I've recently read the book Raising Kids For True Greatness by Dr. Tim Kimmel. One chapter in particular sums up my thoughts quite nicely so I will just quote from it:

Many parents are so busy preparing their children for success that they miss the chance to equip them to do something truly extraordinary. According to most parents, a child's success starts with a good education. So they become preoccupied with their child's grades, class placement, cumulative GPA, and SAT scores. They make this a high priority because they think that a good education is the best way for their children to obtain a prestigious career. Well paid, well supplied, well known, and well received - these are the standard characteristics of a successful life.

According to Jesus, if we want our kids to be truly great, we must first teach them to be servants. God has much bigger and better plans for our children than merely indulging them. He has called our children to a much higher set of goals than what this world has to offer. He can create a far more "successful" future - even a forever future - than the best-laid human plans ever could.

True greatness is the only legitimate choice when it comes to preparing your kids for their adult lives. As C.S. Lewis wisely pointed out, "Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth, and you will get neither." God wants to give your children a life that can't be measured by space or confined by time. And guess what? If you give your kids the gift of true greatness, God will often throw in earthly success... for free.

In short, we feel that having our children stay at the home school provides them with the balance that aims them towards a life of true greatness, not success. It gives them more opportunities in which to use their gifts to pour into our community and its people, to give themselves away, to effect change, to do something beyond them, to work for a much bigger and better reason than those of their own selfish ones.

May God grant hubby and I more wisdom as we parent these two wonderful gifts that God has so wonderfully entrusted to us!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Quebec City Trip in Pictures

Here are some photos from our recent trip to Quebec City, just a sampling of the hundreds of shots we took. Quebec City is sooooo beautiful, very historical, lots of character and culture. Glad we went!

In front of the Quebec Provincial Parliament building...

Huge fountain in front of the Parliament building...

Walking ON TOP of the Fortifications... reminded us of the Bible story of Gideon and the Walls of Jericho!!!

We saw A LOT of canons during our trip... my son was thrilled!

In the Lower City, outside the Fortifications --- Cote de Champlain.

An antique canon ball stuck in the tree's roots --- very cool!

At Canyon Ste-Anne. See that bridge on top? We had to CROSS IT!!!

Still at Canyon Ste-Anne; never seen anything like it! I must say it's a lot nicer than Niagara Falls.

Outside the Citadel doors. We had a tour of the Governor General's other official residence inside the Citadel (her other official residence is Rideau Hall in Ottawa)...unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside!

A side trip to Ottawa, on the way home, to see the second newest Leeanueva addition --- Baby Jonah. Baby Jordan is now the newest Leeanueva addition. There are babies everywhere... I feel old!

Three of the five Leeanueva sisters (missing two Lee sisters!) with Baby Jonah.

Friday, May 22, 2009

First Place in Triple Jump

Today was the Area Meet for Track and Field where my daughter placed FIRST in the Triple Jump event. I am one proud mama!!! She is off to the Regional Meet exciting. This is her very first time going to the Area Meet and I must say she did awesome!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our Stories

The words from the song Here I Am by the band Downhere has really struck me. The song has been replaying in my head over and over again these few days! There are a few lines in the chorus that has come to mean so much more to me as I process them:
Here I am, Lord send me. Somehow my story is a part of Your plan. Here I am.
For me, the thought that keeps coming back is that it isn't my story that will count... it's THE story that God writes for my life that really counts! Am I willing to let HIM write it??? It really is something easier said than done, if you really think about it.

Related to these thoughts... the book The Shack --- something so simple as a life story the author writes as a gift to his children becoming a powerful best-seller! Now, that's a story only God can write. I know that there are people on both sides of this book, either agreeing with it or disagreeing with it. Regardless of what one's view is about the book... there is no denying that this book has opened up so much more conversations about God and faith among people who wouldn't normally talk about such things. I think that is awesome!

For example, the author William Paul Young was recently interviewed on CBC by The Hour's George Stroumboulopoulos. Who would've thought --- an author talking about Jesus being The Word on CBC!

Another thing related to these thoughts... a blog post I read yesterday entitled A Story Bigger Than You and Me. Now, only God would let me bump into a blog post with a title like that at a time when I am processing thoughts about what it means to let HIM write THE story for me. The blog author writes a prayer at the end of the blog post that really gripped me. Here it is:
God, give me a story only YOU can write. Whatever that looks like or what it accomplishes is up to YOU. But give me (and our community) a story that only YOU can write.
I say AMEN!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quite The Week...

It's turning out to be quite the week for my extended family. Today, actually right now as I type this blog post, my brother-in-law is in a 6-hour surgery to remove the cancer in his nasal cavity. This past few months have been quite the journey for my middle sister and him. Through it all, we can still say --- God is good, all the time!


And, amidst it all --- a celebration of new life! My newest nephew, Baby D. Jordan, was born yesterday to my youngest sister! 

We drove home from our trip, dropped by our house to freshen up a bit, and literally drove across the City of Toronto, to the other side of town, to see the newest member of my side of the family --- just in time before visiting hours were over at the hospital! 

Welcome to this world, little one!

Monday, May 11, 2009

There In Grace

Yesterday at church our Pastor talked about two women, Deborah and Jael, during his Mother's Day message. These two women played significant roles in the story that can be found in the fourth chapter of the Book of Judges. Our Pastor called them dangerous women --- women who weren't afraid to be dangerous for God! It made me think of this quote I saw on Facebook! I really like it. :-) 

He went on to say that it would be awesome if our churches today are filled with this type of dangerous women! Interestingly enough, the night before I kept hubby up past midnight because I was in one of my "think aloud moods" when I basically ramble and talk out my thoughts... to release thoughts that have been cluttering my brain for a while, bothering me and making me restless! Picture my hubby... sitting there looking confused... thinking to himself: Where is all this coming from?!? 

My "think aloud" topic was that I am no longer satisfied with being just mediocre where God's work is concerned. There must be more that we can do to help the local church grow; to motivate God's people to do more for His Kingdom; to see people find God. My point was that we should be doing more as evidenced by the lack of fruit... what more can we do??? There must be more to it than what is before our eyes... I want to be dangerous for God... as what was prayed over us as a church planting team when we were commissioned by our parent church at the start. 

These "think aloud" topics of mine don't happen often... but when they do, they consume me. I woke up Sunday morning and the conversation with hubby was still fresh on my mind... to be quite honest, I felt like I'm failing... because I'm not doing the best I can with what God has entrusted to us in this church plant. This song kept ringing in my head, which is the verse found in Psalm 73:26:
My heart and my flesh. Many times they fail. But there is one truth that always will prevail. God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Then, we went to church... then, we sat down to hear our Pastor's message... then, he spoke about dangerous women. Coincidence? I think not! 

The thing is... towards the end of his message, he named women in the congregation by name and said a "little blurb" about each one as an encouragement. What he said about me brought tears to my eyes (remember, I am not an emotional person!). Why the tears? Because I kept thinking in my head: Who is that woman he is describing?... I don't deserve all that he is saying about me... I want to become a dangerous woman... I am not one yet!... It was a moment of mixed emotions. 

I came home to reflect on the morning's message and this is where my blog post title comes in... there in grace. It is there, in God's grace, that we live. Extravagant grace so undeserved. In spite of our failings and our brokenness, He still thinks the best of us. When I don't feel like I've given Him enough, grace is right there. Grace to see us through until that glorious day when we are all victorious!

I like that! Now, enough with blogging and on to tackling this week... grace is waiting!