Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Living Proof Live Toronto

So, this past weekend was Living Proof Live here in Toronto!  I went to the conference together with my two sisters and two of our childhood girlfriends.  It was all of our first time hearing Beth Moore teach in person... we had a GREAT time!  Great chats, good food and no sleep!!!

Beth spoke from Isaiah 43:16-21, specifically on verses 18 and 19:
This is what the LORD says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters, 
who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past. 
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.

The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the desert
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen, 
the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.
The whole message was broken down into seven points and they are:

1. God is up to something new.
2. God rarely does a new thing the old way.
3. God can do something new in an old place.
4. Just patching up the old won't result in something new.
5. We, too, must be up to something new.
6. God grants new mercies for each new day.
7. I'm making everything new!

In The Message, Isaiah 43:18-19 is written like this:
Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history.  Be alert, be present.  I'm about to do something brand-new.  Don't you see it?  There it is!  I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.
I love it! God is up to something new... am I ready? Are you? We need to be alert, be present; don't be caught up with what's behind us or what's in the future. Be in the moment. Take it in; be alert!

Francis Chan: Lukewarm and Loving It

40 minutes --- that's all the time it will take to watch this video.  I promise that it will be time well-spent, one that will change you for eternity!  It is a great follow-up to my post from a month ago.

Here it is: (Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar while you watch this video.)

Revelation 3:14-17, 19-21
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.  I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm --- neither hot not cold --- I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, 'I am rich, I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.'  But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest, and repent.  Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.  He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gift of an Ordinary Day

I came across this video on Facebook this morning... made me cry!  Cherish those ordinary days with your kids... for one day, they won't be there anymore!

Enjoy... (please pause the Playlist on the sidebar as you watch this video)

Monday, March 8, 2010

That's My Girl!!!

Yesterday, my daughter participated in a Public Speaking contest.  She had to decide on a topic to speak about and write a speech about it all on her own.  As I sat there listening to her deliver her speech, I had goosebumps!  I had read her speech before but it would be the first time I'd hear her deliver it orally... she did it with such passion!  Let's just say, I was one proud mama --- my heart was overflowing!!!

As I listened, my heart truly beamed!  I was extremely humbled... standing before me delivering this speech is my daughter, a young lady that is living out her faith.  It is truly in spite of our parenting... it is truly the work of God's Spirit, Holy Spirit, in her young life!  And for that, I give God praise and thanks!

Here is the text of her speech.  She wanted to share about her faith yet according to the rules of the contest, she wasn't allowed to talk about God or her faith at all.  I do think that she did an excellent job achieving both criteria.  Please read on... and you'll see why I'm one proud mama!!!

As tears slipped down the little girl’s face for the 3rd time that day, I sighed as I sat down beside her. I didn’t mind if she cried when she got hit in the head by a football, but this time, she was crying for no reason.
I was volunteering at Ignition Sports Camp: a low-cost and fun day camp. As I sat with this girl, I remembered why my church ran this camp. We ran the camp to help. To help! This girl, along with many of the other boys and girls had probably been through more hardships in the past year than I had all my life. And they were seven. I was twelve.

Later that day, as I signed out kids, I received many “Thank Yous.” I smiled at parents and told them it was our pleasure. As I did this, I wondered why no one had ever decided to run a camp for only $25 a week before. Why are families like the ones coming to our camp not being helped? Why is it all being left to “someone else”?

I realized how much being a part of Ignition and my church had changed me. My eyes were opened to all the things that before I had overlooked. We all know about poverty in Africa and the war in Afghanistan, but what we don’t realize is that there are big needs right here in our own communities and cities. My church often does things in our community on Sunday mornings instead of having a service. Collecting food for the food bank is one example. Did you know the local food bank in Pickering serves around 600 different families a month? Imagine how much food is needed! A lot. Visiting the elderly at the local retirement home is another example. Or serving hot chocolate at the Santa Claus Parade.

Those are big things, which someone with limited resources (like me!) couldn’t do alone. But then you don’t necessarily have to put together a sports camp to make a difference in someone’s life. Small things can make a huge difference in someone’s life as well. Buying a coffee and bagel for that guy near the highway exit who always seems to be there, asking for spare change. Bringing cookies to our firefighters, cooking dinner for a family with a lot going on right now, or simply picking up someone’s dropped groceries in the parking lot are all examples of random acts of kindness. People appreciate the fact that you just went out of your way to help them. And it’s actually fun! I love the feeling of knowing that I just caused a smile in someone’s day. Don’t you?

Human beings may all be different, but we all share one feeling: the need to feel loved. Many of us feel loved every day. Others hit problem after problem without anyone to help them, and they suddenly feel that, even though they share this world with almost 7 billion other people, they are alone. I think back to that person who I helped pick up groceries in the parking lot. I will never know what else could’ve been going on in their life that day. If their life was as I just described, that they feel alone, then now, in a small way, I had just made them feel loved, and not so alone after all. I can’t help but think, if I had just simply walked by, they would’ve thought that I don’t care either, and that nobody cares. By helping them, I just gave them hope. Hope that someone does care! And we all need our daily dose of hope. Think about your life without hope. No hope for anything. Your life would feel pretty empty.

As you’re listening to me, you might be thinking, “this girl thinks she has everything right,” but really, I don’t. Everyone has one of those days, those days where every little thing gets on your nerves. I know I’ve had plenty of those days. On those days, it’s super hard for me to reach out and help the people around me, because I’m thinking, “Why should I help them? My day’s going awful, they could help me!” I know on days like that, I’ve spoken harshly to my brother, rolled my eyes at a kid who need help again or simply gave someone a dirty look. But sometimes, helping someone or even just smiling at someone who looks sad is just what I need to lift my own spirits. It helps to take a step back and think about what other people go through and suddenly my problems seem tiny in comparison.

Small random acts of kindness as well as taking part in big worthwhile causes can both make a positive difference in someone’s life. So next time you think about rushing out the door without holding it for the person behind you, or telling yourself “I have no time” when someone asks you if you’d like to volunteer at the food bank, think twice. Think about what kind of an impact you could make with your decision to help. I know I will. Thank you for listening.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Flat Stanley's Canadian Adventures - Post #5

Flat Stanley goes home today... we had a wonderful time with him visiting our home!  We hope he had a GREAT time as well.

One of his last outings with us was to our Aunt Ranee's birthday party.  Here is Flat Stanley with Aunt Ranee's birthday cupcakes.  They were very yummy!!!

Our cousin Joshua is enjoying his cupcake with Flat Stanley looking on.

This morning, before heading to the Post Office where we dropped off Flat Stanley for his journey back to Merritt Island (Florida), we went to Alyssa's last basketball game of the Winter session.

Alyssa is the one wearing the white jersey, with the white head band.

Alyssa is the one with the ball, the one facing us.

Here is Flat Stanley posing with Alyssa and her trophy!!!

Goodbye, Flat Stanley!!!  We will miss you...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Flat Stanley's Canadian Adventures - Post #4

One night this week, we had a One-Of-A-Kind Jewellery Party at our house by Response Jewellery.  All of the funds raised went towards Compassion Canada's Haiti Disaster Relief Fund.  At the end of the evening, we were able to raise a total of $800!!!  Flat Stanley was in on all the action...

First, Flat Stanley got to meet our cousins IJ and DJ whose mommy (our Aunt Ranee) brought them to the party with her.

Then, he checked out some of the necklaces, bracelets and earrings!!!

Flat Stanley decided that he would try on a necklace just for fun!

Here are more of the jewellery...

Over the course of Flat Stanley's visit, we also took him to the following places:

Pickering's City Hall where our mayor works.

Canadian Tire - no, they don't only sell tires.  It is more like a department store really!

Tim Horton's - the coffee and donut shop where every visitor to Canada should go!!!

The local post office or "bureau de poste" as it is called in French.  If you don't already know, Canada has two official languages, English and French.  In French, Flat Stanley is known as "Clément aplati".

Swiss Chalet - the best chicken and ribs restaurant in Canada!  This is the restaurant where people go for lunch after church on Sundays.  The restaurant has a nickname called "Christian Chicken".

Flat Stanley goes home tomorrow.  We have one more place to take him to tonight.  Our Aunt Ranee's birthday party --- so please stay tuned for one more blog post before we bring Clément aplati to the Bureau de Poste!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Flat Stanley's Canadian Adventures - Post #3

On Sunday, Flat Stanley went to church with us. Our church is a baby church, less than 2 years old only! It is called The Sanctuary Pickering and we meet inside a school gymnasium.

Flat Stanley got to meet our church family and we were able to snap a few photos of him with some of our church folks...

This is Pastor Dan!

This is baby Isabella and her mom Amanda.

This is Trevi. Trevi is holding one of the cupcakes that Flat Stanley helped to bake!

These are a couple of Jon's friends --- Johnnie and Caleb.

These are Josiah and Josiah! :-) There is actually another Josiah at our church... he wasn't there that day!

On Sunday afternoon, Flat Stanley watched the Olympic men's hockey GOLD medal game with us. We were much too excited that we forgot to take pictures! Team Canada (again!) won the GOLD medal and Team USA got silver. It was a very exciting game.

Overall, Canada won a total of 14 GOLD medals during Vancouver 2010. This is a new record for the Olympics: it is the most gold medals won by a country in the history of the Winter Olympic Games!

That night, we went to a restaurant called Kally's to celebrate a birthday. The birthday celebrant is Andy and following is a photo of Andy's wife, Carol and their baby Nat.

Carol was especially excited to meet Flat Stanley because Carol knows Faith's parents, Steve and Gay. Carol has been on Teen Missions trips before, that's why! Carol wants the TMI family to meet Nat through this photo!!! Nat says: "Hello, TMI family!!!"

On Monday night, we went to Aunt Aileen's house where Alyssa has piano lessons. This is our cousin, Anika.

And this is our cousin, Joshua!

Flat Stanley is checking out the yummy dinner that Aunt Aileen cooked for us.

Flat Stanley decided that he would peek inside the rice cooker!

After dinner, we went to our school. Once a week, our church hosts a free sports drop-in programme in partnership with our school for the families of our community. Behind Flat Stanley is an artwork of our school's mascot, The Wizard.

Behind Flat Stanley are some of the children who come to the sports drop-in. We play sports like basketball and volleyball. We also play games like dodge ball, octopus and pinnie-pinnie!

Stay tuned for more of Flat Stanley's Canadian Adventures...