May 26, 2010

Give me Your Eyes

God keeps nudging me. As lazy as I continue to be (seriously, it's pathetic), God keeps prodding and letting me know I can't stay on like this. There is a much greater purpose... and I have a much greater power at my disposal...  am I going to waste my time forever??

Over the last few months a lot of thoughts have gone through my head (surprise!)... I'm doing a study on the book of Daniel and the first 6 chapters have focused on living with integrity in a society of "Babylonian Mentality"... we're learning about trials and various reactions to trials and what God wants as our "go-to" reaction (prayer and trusting Him!)... we're learning a lot about pride and its seriousness and consequences... we're learning a lot about how we need to resolve and stand firm in Christ so as not to drown and give-in to the Babylonian mentality, but stand up (and likely 'out'!) and see the world as God sees it.

At missionary conference, Phil Coulson had a word on the Person and the Work of the Holy Spirit. Seriously - we need to hear more on this. You should take a listen to his message - I won't even try to recap here because I'd fail greatly.  But I left with the solemn realization (you know how you hear things your entire life, yet suddenly you WAKE UP and hear it??) that I truly can hinder and stifle the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. But if I let Him work with free reign - watch out! :) You can download the message here:

I'm also slowly reading a recommended book by Eric and Leslie Ludy - Wrestling Prayer . I'm not very far into it, but today it was looking at David and how once he was anointed King, he started to act like one just where he was... he knew God was with him and that his little flock of sheep was his sphere of service - his stewardship. While he could have let one little lamb escape by the lion's grasp - he didn't. He leaped forward to fight for what was entrusted to him by his God. How am I treating and protecting what God has entrusted to me? Do I see myself as God sees me - redeemed and in training to reign? How do I act or react when one of God's sheep are wandering off or in danger? Do I just sit there and worry or gossip? Or do I call upon the Lord for wisdom and help and go after that sheep? I know I'm not an assembly overseer.. but does that mean I have no responsibility? I don't think so. What about the lost all around me... can I just sit here, holding my little corner of truth and hope and not share it??

Monday coming home from the cottage we listened to one of Ravi Zacharias' messages... and he tells us about his morning routine. After spending time alone in the Word and getting refocused on what matters to God, he drives to a nearby coffee shop and sits there looking... watching... seeing the world through God's eyes... and praying.

How do I see the world around me? As a bustling place where I work, run errands, etc... ?  Or can I stop and take a new look and see the individuals ... the souls... the lostness and loneliness that God sees? I must stop. and see. through His eyes. I must.

I've been listening to a song mentioned by a friend recently, and the chorus always hits home... here are the words to the whole song:

Give Me Your Eyes
(Brandon Heath Lyrics)

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black tile
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
To ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work
He’s buying time
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

I’ve been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all alone

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

May 25, 2010

Hot, Hot, H.O.T.

Ok... I was longing for summer, but it looks like it's going to be one of those hot stifling seasons..... I can handle it at the beach, but it's hard to bear in work clothes and when you try to sleep at night! It's only May and that terrifies me for August! But... I am thankful for the sunshine. :)

Weather in Markham:
Today: 31°C
Wed: 32°C
Thurs: 30°C

The Toronto Star says:
Toronto has issued its first extreme weather warning of the year as a result of this week’s expected record highs.

City officials upgraded the heat alert to an extreme alert after forecasts that Tuesday’s high temperature was expected to break the daily record of 28.1 C set in 2007. 

Temperatures are predicted to remain high until the end of the week.

Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips said Toronto’s current hot spell could equal the total number of hot days the city had last year

“This shows you we will likely have more summer this week than we had all last summer,” Phillips said.

Janna says: No kidding!! This is what we get for complaining about last Summer's weather! :)

In other news - a small plane crashed into a building a block and a bit away from where I work!

May 21, 2010

Buyer's Panic?

So... I've gone and done it. After reading for months and growing more confused by the day, I went with the Nikon D5000 .   Mainly because it was a toss up between that and the Canon Rebel T1i and the D5000 was on sale. :) And now I'm panicking. Did I make the right choice? Especially now that I find out the nice little inexpensive 50mm lens I want doesn't automatically focus and I would need to focus manually... how I missed the fact that the D5000 doesn't have an auto-focusing engine in its body and WHY that is important is beyond me ... well, not really - it just totally proves I don't have a *clue* what I'm talking (or reading) about!! :P

My only sanity-saving-grace is that I have two weeks to test this camera and if I change my mind, or really feel I'm in over my head, I can bring it back for a full refund. So I'll be very careful with it until I decide it's mine. Until then, if anyone can convince me it's worth spending a few extra $'s for the Canon (why does that name have such a comfortable ring to it??) than I might just do that. But for now, I'm enjoying the beautiful little (but not so little) machine in my possession. And I'm taking all tips, advice and training from anyone who uses a DSLR. :)

Hope you're all ready for the long weekend. I know I am! Another hour or so to go, and then I'm off to pack and join the traffic heading to Grand Bend. Enjoy everyone! :)

May 19, 2010


Wow. Why is choosing which camera to buy so confusing?? I *want* a DSLR camera... definitely not a need at the moment, and I still need to convince my wonderful husband... ;) I'm looking a Nikon D5000 or D3000 or a Canon Rebel T1i or XSi... and I really don't know what the best bang for my buck is. The more I read online the more confused I get! I think I'm leaning toward the D5000... if you have any comments, reviews or recommendations (or warnings!) - please feel free to share.

May 18, 2010

Looking forward to the Long weekend!

Ah.... a nice weekend with great company has passed (still catching up on sleep!), and now there's a LONG weekend ahead of us. Sweet. :) For my first 27 years, this long weekend was known as "PEI Conference"... it came with such a mix of emotions. It was usually a good conference with good ministry (usually) and lots of people. It was the conference that a lot of young people attended and the conference with the FUN Monday to complete a great weekend. It was the conference our little family home was "invaded" with the Stewart Clan and anyone else who claimed the title for the weekend... everywhere you turned there was a person. We had ... o.n.e. shower. I think I wouldn't have such claustrophobic memories if we had more than one shower. :) But I wouldn't trade my big family for anything, so a house-full with very little personal space comes with the other blessings.  Those weekends leave a lot of memories of laughter, late nights, long talks, and LOTS OF FOOD. Oh how I miss the food of home. Home being Mom's... Home being Grammie's... Home being my various Aunts'... I am blessed with a family of good cooks who ENJOY baking. Hopefully someday it will rub off on me... Evan will sure be happy! :)

The last 2 years I have been away enjoying married life so have missed the annual event back on PEI. I'm usually lonesome. I can picture where everyone is and what they're doing. Day and night. I'm praying for a good weekend for all of them. I'll tell you more about our plans for this year's long weekend in a minute (I'm excited). But while I'm reminiscing, I have to share news Dad sent me a couple hours ago. Mom was injured while cleaning (this week is also known as the busiest cleaning and stressing week in our household..) She'll receive stitches... and then she'll try to be tough and STILL get everything done all week and be on her feet all weekend. Why such bad timing?? I don't know. Only God does and in His plans, this isnt' bad timing... I'm praying He gives her the strength and pain relief to help her through the next bunch of days. She'll need it. :(  For now, I wish I were home to help her!

But as for our weekend - we're heading to our little piece of heaven here in Ontario... we're going to Grand Bend! Our friends have a cottage there, and they've generously invited us up for the weekend. It's not beach weather, but almost any weather is just fine for wandering a beach... and Grand Bend has a beach!! :) :) :)  Here's a summer picture of what we enjoy up there:

May 14, 2010

The weekend is almost here...

A busy weekend is ahead, but one I'm looking forward to... Company is coming - all the way from the East Coast! :) I'd love to post pictures of these fine people who I'm honoured to call my friends, but I don't have any that do them justice. Maybe I'll have a few at the end of the weekend. Shhh - don't tell them.

While visiting us isn't the main attraction, I'm thankful for any opportunity or excuse that allows "Easterners" to come our way. The main attraction this weekend is the Missionary Conference at Langstaff. I'm looking forward to the reports on El Salvador, St Lucia, and... Burma!!

Trent & Rebecca are our faithful visitors for this annual conference, and we're thrilled to host them again. The newbies this year are Grant & Cathie - Hurray! :)

I'd much rather be home cleaning my house, getting groceries (ugh - one of my LEAST favorite activities) and preparing for our company than to be sitting here at work. You know that cloud that hovers over you when you have so much to do but CAN'T get at it?? I'm not stressed out about my guests (thankfully!), but I would like to offer them a semi-ready home!  aahhh  :)

Ok - back to work I go... this was just a momentary distraction and I don't have a lot on my "work plate" today.  Enjoy your weekend!

May 8, 2010

May 8th... 22 years ago

22 years ago I was a little eight year old girl living in Souris, PEI. I had very few cares and concerns in my little life...

But this day was different. I had a beloved Sunday School teacher who was very sick with cancer. It seemed like she had been sick for a long time. I feel sad that I don't remember specific moments with her, only that I truly loved her and knew that she loved me. She was special and she made me feel special too. On this day, May 8th, 1988, it was a Sunday and it was Mother's Day... and it was the day my perfect little life came crashing to a halt: I heard my Sunday School teacher, Sybil MacDonald, had died. 

It was a solemn afternoon for me... I was sad. I knew what death was... unlike many kids, I had attended funerals from my earliest days... my grandfather died from cancer in 1987, and that heartbreaking sadness is still very vivid to this day. I knew death was real.

I had the whole afternoon to think.... to think about how much I would miss Sybil.... and to think about what death means. Death is a solemn wake up call - even for an eight year old.

That night was a gospel meeting - a church service focused on sharing from the bible God's good news of how one can know for sure they will be in Heaven... how you can know for sure your sins are forgiven and you are ready to meet your maker - the Holy and Righteous God. (

The first speaker was nearing the end of his message, which I don't remember. Suddenly he was pointing down at "me" and he said - "If you died right now, right where you are, where would your soul be?"

Whoa. Talk about being STOPPED. There was no question - I knew where I would be. I didn't struggle with the truth that I was a sinner in need of a Saviour.  I thought, "I would be in hell...... but I don't want to go to hell!" Immediately it came to me, "But I don't HAVE to go to Hell because that's why Jesus died. He died for me!" Almost in a run-on sentence in my mind, the verse came: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31)  And that was it. I had the assurance of God's word pointing me to the Saviour - with the faith of a simple eight year old, I accepted that Jesus died for me. He was punished for MY sins so that I could be free...forgiven...and accepted by God.

In those few seconds, I went from a little sinner on my way to hell, to a little girl thanking God that I would now be in Heaven if I died right then, right where I was sitting. Do you know where you would be if you died right now, right where you are sitting??

Yesterday I asked my mom (or brother) to find a picture of my Sunday School teacher, Sybil. I wanted one for myself, but also to share here with my simple story of God's amazing grace. She is the lady to the far right. :) What is cool about this picture is that 4 of my 5 Sunday School teachers are ALL in this shot! 

I can hardly believe it has been 22 years. I am SO thankful God searched me out as a little child... I am so thankful for His love and His great forgiveness... and for His Son, the Lord Jesus, who came to this earth to live and to die on a cross to pay the punishment for my sins... and your sin. God desires every person to be saved from their sins - will you trust Him?

Congratulations to my little brother :)

I wish I were able to make a quick trip to PEI today. My little brother, who is NOT so little, is graduating from the first leg of his university journey... I can hardly believe Lucas, who I can picture holding his first snowball in a cute little blue snowsuit, is edging closer to his engineering degree! I'm so proud of him! I wish I were there in person to give him a big bear hug and tell him I love him. :) I'm glad Steffani and Timothy will be there beside Mom in the crowd... clapping and celebrating! Dad and I are missing out. Maybe not on the long graduating ceremony - but the brief time Lucas is up there doing the handshake! :)

3 More years to go at Dal.... 

And... he came 3rd in his Engineering program (**Correction from original - I thought Mom said his English class...)! Wahoo!! It had a nice little cash prize too, so good for him!

Here he is - all handsome and grown up. 

May 7, 2010

Thankful for answered prayers...

At the end of this week, there is so much to be thankful for... I'm trying to make it real 'habit' to give God thanks and praise for hearing prayer and answering. So here is a brief list I am thanking Him for today:

1. David Oliver has come through his surgery successfully and is starting his slow recovery. Thank you Lord for guiding the surgeon's hands and bringing the whole Oliver family through this anxious time.  If you want to read a blog about his recovery, check out:

2. Janice and Dean's family seems to be meshing together with their recent additions of their twin boys from Zambia. The children are playing together and helping each other. The twins are going for hugs from both Janice and Dean. There is much laughter in their house. The twins are learning bible verses and quickly picking up english. :)

3. We had 3 new students attend our ESL class last night. We have been going through the life of Jesus in Luke, and have just started the last few days of His life on earth...

4. It's been a not-fun week at work, but I've made it to Friday! I'm thankful the week is almost done! :)

5. My friend's mother-in-law, Maggie, is recovering from a full mastectomy and seems to be doing well - both in physical recovery and emotionally.

I know there's more to the list - but those are answers to 5 specific requests... each answer is cause for further prayer, as I'm sure you can read the unspoken (err... un-typed) requests!

Happy Friday everyone! :)

May 4, 2010

Always something to pray for...

Tonight David Oliver is on my mind... he has surgery tomorrow and it sounds like it is a delicate procedure. I'm thankful we have a God who hears our prayers and can guide the surgeon's hands...

Humbled under God's Hand

"Now I, ___________, praise, exalt and honour (or glorify) the King of Heaven, for all His works are true and His ways are just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride."  (Daniel 4:37)

Everything He does is right. His ways are just. His thoughts and plans so much wiser than mine. He is worthy of my praise!

But it's the last phrase that almost (!) terrifies me.... considering what you have just finished reading when you get to that verse. King Nebuchadnezzar lived THE life of luxury... his kingdom was flourishing - all was running tickety-boo. (really - do we actually SAY that?!) He was now a much older man... he acknowledged God as 'god over the other gods', but not as the One and Only... it was only after his second troubling dream that Daniel interpreted for him came to fruition that He is quoted in Daniel 4. It was only after he spent 7 years (at least it seems to be understood as 7 years) in the field living like a beast that his heart and eyes were opened to WHO the True God is... he was humbled under the hand of God in order to see Who the One and Only is and to place Him in the exalted place of honour He alone deserves.

This passage makes me stop and search my heart... am I walking in pride? Is there even the root of pride that needs to be pulled out?

Scriptures frequently reference "humble yourself" or "he who humbles himself"... Our God gives us ample opportunity to rid ourselves of pride and to humble ourselves before a holy and righteous God...  even when Daniel interpreted this dream for King Neb he begged him to repent of his sins and change his ways and to show mercy to the poor... it seems that if the King had heeded Daniel's warning he could have escaped God's solemn lesson on being humbled before God... am I hearing the warning? Will I choose to humble myself before my God or will I be so stubborn and prideful that God will have to take action... "He is able to humble those who walk in pride..."