November 26, 2012

Multitude Monday

Another week... another multitude of blessings... Thankful for these gifts :)

101 - Cozy story times with AJ. I love the lengthening attention span and that we can actually read full stories now!

102 - Attending the Christmas parade with my little family Saturday morning. It was SO C.O.L.D. but hey - it's a winter Christmas parade! AJ loved the music, the big trucks, the fire-truck and... seeing lots of dogs. Oh, and all the kids around us - that captured his attention as much as the actual parade. :)

103 - While it was cold and windy Saturday during the parade, it was sunny and SNOWING. Perfect atmosphere, and perfect timing for the first snow in our little area.

104 - A country drive Saturday afternoon... snow covered rolling hills... beautiful. I can just breath easier when we're out there.

105 - Getting a playset off Kijiji for AJ... hopefully having a climber/slide thing in our basement will help AJ get through the long winter months... especially when mom is busy/tired with his new little sister.

106 - Visiting one of the collection sites for Operation Christmas Child... it was such a happy and hopeful atmosphere.

107 - Getting a long phone conversation with my mom... it's been long overdue - skype with the grandchild usually wins out ;)

108 - Late afternoon sunlight shining in the window... there's just something warm and special about early morning sunlight and late afternoon sunlight.

109 - Finally making a trip over to the new Whole Foods - beautiful grocery store! And a great place to go for lunch - so many options.

110 - Watching Little Man take in "Christmas" this year... he loved this Nutcracker at Loblaws :)
Beep! Beep!

Here Mr, let me fix your outfit for you...

November 21, 2012

Multitude Mon...err...Wednesday

I realize today is Wednesday, but since I am still thankful despite missing my Monday post, I didn't think it'd hurt to bend the "rules"... ;)

91 - I am thankful for this study of James that I'm doing, even though it is super challenging/convicting!  Spending almost a week focused on James 1:19-27 (being quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry; what pure religion is in God's eyes; the folly of favouritism; being not only a hearer but a DOER...) is sure to hit a number of sore spots we might wish to keep buried... Here's just one quote from the notes that really struck home for me concerning James 1:23-24:
 "We can underline our Bibles til our pens run dry without a drop of ink splattering our lives.  
The self-deception slithers in when we mistake appreciation for application or being touched with being CHANGED. ..... 
The Word of God, however, is meant to do more than penetrate. It is meant to activate!"

Oh, I can't stop there... here's one more related to James 1:27's command to keep oneself from being polluted by the world... and about the challenge of serving actively, openly and humbly right in this world and its pollution... how do we keep from smelling like it??:
"With serious discipline and determination.  With Courage and deep conviction. With a large daily dose of the Holy Spirit... You don't live this kind of life accidentally.  You make up your mind who you want to be and daily die to the rest.  You surrender yourself to living in the tension where you'll always be stretched and often be broken.  Religion pure and undefiled is grit without the grime.  You accept that far easier ways to live exist, but you were born for nothing less.  
And when we sniff ourselves and smell the world, we run to the One who can wash us!

92 - Starbuck's Holiday Drinks Buy One Get One Free...  needless to say, we took advantage of that sweet promotion.

93 - AJ is loving his crib more and more...  makes his wake-ups and going down for naps and bedtimes much more enjoyable!

94 - A delicious turkey dinner with friends on Saturday night... since we didn't get the "real deal" for our Canadian Thanksgiving, we thoroughly enjoyed our friend's feast! YUMMMM.

95 - My good friends in Halifax had a healthy baby boy! 

96 - A phone call from my friend with all the birth details... it was so nice to touch base and to hear her "mama-in-love"descriptions :)

97 - My friends' blogs sharing their incredible walks of faith (and testing)... it is such an encouragement to me to read of their obedience and to see God working so blatantly in their lives... makes me wonder what each of our lives would be like if we allowed the Holy Spirit to work so freely through us! It challenges me and makes me want more... more of Christ and His power in my life. 

98 - Only 9 weeks until my due date! We're down to single digits here...  (I know, it's likely 10.5 weeks in reality, but right now, I'm just aiming for the due date!)

99 - Packing 4 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child with our little Monday night bible study group! This is my first time participating in this outreach and I love it!

100 - So thankful for the peace we have in Canada... when you see the middle east violence and the pictures of the innocent children on both sides... heartbreaking. I don't want to take our peace for granted.

November 12, 2012

Multitude Monday

It's Monday - time to list some of my multitudes of blessings! :) 

Grateful to God for these 10 gifts...

81 - Finding evidences that we have a little guy in random places... a sticker on a bath towel hanging in by the shower... 2 random potato chips in my bedside drawer (!!)... a kid's sock in my plastic container drawer in the kitchen...  these, while very much out of place, make me smile!

82 - Having a warmer Sunday afternoon and taking AJ to the park. He's always so happy to be outside!
Park days:
(Photo Cred - Jersey Girl)
(Photo Cred - Jersey Girl)
 Sunday afternoon:
Oops - after trying to escape Mom to go back to splash in the mud puddle - he fell in! And thought it was very funny... haha

83 - Watching AJ discover a squirrel and beginning the chase... he will run after it waving as long as it is in his sight.  Seeing his excitement over these little creatures has given me a new appreciation for a critter I had become to umm... strongly dislike for their peskiness. :)  Little man better not turn his affections to raccoons... not sure my heart can be changed there. ;)

84 - Getting my first Starbucks Holiday Cup and Drink... peppermint mocha... and again, at the end of a long Wednesday after AJ was in bed. I love my man! :)

85 - Finding Italian Job on Netflix! I think this was the first movie my man and I watched together not long after we met... along with Jersey Girl and her husband. Sweet memories ;)

86 - Getting to skype with Mom and Dad. It felt like ages since our schedules and AJ's happy awake times all worked together!

87 - Knowing my friend is over halfway through her long 23 days in China and now has BOTH her little boys in her arms... I know they have a long journey (physically and emotionally) ahead of them, but the wait is over and they will soon all be reunited as a family again... all 11 of them. :) :)

88 - After a long hiatus (after just starting), our little bible study group is getting together again tonight. Back into the book of James we go!

89 - Lots of movement from this little girl growing inside me...  so thankful.  Makes up for how uncomfortable I am getting and I still have 10ish weeks to go! Can't wait to meet this little girl...

90 - Seeing AJ fall in love with books. He now has a favourite - The Jolly Barnyard (Little Golden Book)... at naptime this morning it was missing from his usual stockpile of books in his room. He found another Little Golden Book (same back cover) and got excited... I opened it, and he looked confused. He started grunting then flipping through the pages... then closed the book - not the right one. He didn't seem to be satisfied with looking through a different one, so we had to go downstairs to find his favourite. His face lit up when I found it and off he went upstairs carrying his book. He loves Farmer Brown and all his animals... :)

November 9, 2012

End of Year and Christmas giving - A few options for you to consider!

As the end-of-the-year and Christmas holidays quickly approach, here are a few links for you to check out and see if you're led to participate, give, or help in some way. There are thousands of worthy causes and charities out there to support, so this is just highlighting a few with a christian-focus that have caught my attention as we seek ways to show Christian kindness and generosity... and to serve the least of these in a small way. Some organizations are specific to Canadians or Americans only, but I have made a note of that to help you know where you might fit in. 

*I did a lot of copying/pasting into this post, so the formatting has been hard to get consistent... my apologies!

Here we go:

Gifts of Compassion (Compassion Canada) - Whether or not you sponsor a child through Compassion (I RECOMMEND IT!:)), you can do some Christmas shopping through their Gifts of Compassion catalogue. A few examples of what you can purchase/give are chickens; malaria nets; medical care for moms and babies; books/education; help build a library in a remote village; lots of skills training for moms, dad or teens (computer training, silk screening, sewing, vegetable gardening, etc); help teach a mother to read and write... There are a lot of options with different price tags that range from $8 to $5000!

**American friends - your link is here

Operation Christmas Child - Operation Christmas Child provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands-on project of Samaritan's Purse that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas - Jesus Christ - God's greatest gift.  Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the message of God’s unconditional love.

Here are a few ideas (like 101 ideas!) for packing a shoebox - great to get you started whether this is your first time or you just need a couple fresh ideas.

**National Collection week for the shoeboxes is Nov 19-25.  For my American friends, it looks like your collection week is Nov 12-19. USA details are here.

ABBA Canada "ABBA Canada exists to raise the banner of God’s call to care for the fatherless. We exist to respond to the biblical call of James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” It is the hope and prayer of this ministry that it will develop awareness, compassion and conviction to minister to orphans, through a variety of different means. Our dream is for every believer to be engaged with helping vulnerable children and we long to see thousands of children around the world cared for through this ministry, and others like it."

Spirit of Adoption Alberta - (started by a friend of a friend... while limited to helping Alberta adoptions, it is a Christian organization and you could help bring a child home to their forever family!) "It is the hope and prayer of Spirit of Adoption Alberta that it will develop awareness, compassion and conviction to minister and provide financial aid to Alberta Residents on their adoptive journey."

Jewels for Jesus Hope Centre - (Ontario based) "JFJ Hope Centre offers support and education related to unplanned pregnancies and parenting struggles in a caring Christian environment.  JFJ Hope Centre Adoption Services provides professional adoption services in a caring Christian environment. "

**For those in the GTA, check out their current "Needs Corner" in their November newsletter - you might be able to fulfill a need!

Safe Families for Children - This is a really cool program that I didn't know existed until this week. Even if it isn't something you can support right now, I think you should take a look around their site to see what they do. :)  "Safe Families for Children is an innovative collaboration between area churches, volunteers and Christian organizations designed to support at-risk children and parents in need. Safe Families for Children is an opportunity for volunteers to have a powerful impact in the lives of others while practicing biblical hospitality and extending the love of Christ to people in need — all from their own home!"

As Our Own - For my American friends, I love this organization but so far only US citizens are  eligible for charitable tax receipts. They do fantastic work with vulnerable children in India:  "There are 44 million vulnerable children living in India. Some live on the streets. Others are enslaved in brothels. Most are poor, hungry, and exploited. Hope is hard to come by."  They have three focuses - Rescue, Aftercare and Prevention.  Please check out AS OUR OWN. 

Lifesong for Orphans - this is also for my American friends if you're looking for a tax receipt. But what a fantastic organization to support! 100% of your Lifesong for Orphans donation goes to directly to care for orphans and their needs. They have several worthy programs worth checking out including -Adoption funding, Orphan care, Foster care, etc.

Pure Charity - One last one for my American friends - check out Pure Charity. It is a brand new concept about redirecting a % what you're already spending day-to-day (think $ spent at Target, Walmart, iTunes, etc) from a personal giving fund to support a project or charity of YOUR choice... tax deductible! Definitely check out the site as they explain it a lot better! :)

Lastly, here are two inner-city missions worthy of your consideration:

"Through Christ's love, we care. We reach out to those who have been passed by. We restore hope. We build community."

The goal of the Mission is to serve Jesus Christ as Lord and Master in faith and through effective stewardship, putting the spirit of Christ into concrete, positive action through well-rounded, spiritual and social services to men, women and children where there is a defined need and as means are provided.

UGM is an urban relief organization based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. With eight locations throughout Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM is positioned to help those who need it most. The heart of the Mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild the lives of the broken and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside.

That's my list folks... feel free to add your own charities of interest for others to check out in the comments section. 

November 6, 2012

"THE Election" - food for thought

Good thing I'm Canadian... and just an onlooker to today's election South of the boarder...

I think most, if not all, of my American family and friends would vote Republican...  How do I know? Most are very vocal on Facebook ;)  I'm not here to lose or mess with those relationships. Just to offer a little food for thought.

As the numbers roll in tonight and before the outcome is announced, I just thought I'd share two pieces (one a blog post and the other a CNN article) that resonated with me - a Canadian Bible believing Christian.

The Election: Thoughts from a Christian Independent

Why My Bible Seems to Differ from Billy Graham's 
(And for the record - I have great respect for Mr Graham and his years of faithful service and gospel proclamation... But I am disappointed with recent events...)

With emotions and opinions high on both sides of the fence, I am thankful our God is Sovereign and the outcome is in His hands.

November 5, 2012

Multitude Monday

Multitude Monday - My heart feels very full today. It's certainly been a newsworthy week, and in addition to all the blessings surrounding me in my own life, I'm also rejoicing with others! I can't help but put some of these into my multitudes this week...  :)

#71 - My sister got the job she interviewed for! Ironically - it's also the job she's been doing for ages without getting the recognition/credit... but as with the wonderful government bureaucracy - she was not a shoo-in for the position when it was officially posted to be filled. She endured the harrowing interview and waiting process - leaving it in God's hands... and He gave it to her! YAY :)

#72 - My uncle's brother trusted Christ as his Saviour! This is the most WONDERFUL news and I am rejoicing with those who love him and have prayed for him for yearrrrs. He is not well, but regardless of when he passes from this life - his believing family now have the joy of knowing he will be safe in His Saviour's arms. Such peace. :)
He's in this picture... enjoying a wonderful family evening after C&V's wedding a couple summers ago in CB:)
#73 - My friend has been on a long faith-testing adoption journey for two precious boys in China... God has shown up in SO many ways to provide, reassure, guide, encourage, give peace, etc over the months... last night, my friend and her husband held their first little boy in their arms for the first time - A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  Her journey is here :)  My heart rejoices with them and I continue to pray as they go on to meet their second sweet boy and then head back to the States for a full family reunion... and their new life as they know it. :)

#74 - A little 2 day get-away to the Cottage - the last visit until Christmas...

#75 - Starbucks' Christmas cups are out!

#76 - My boy ate 3 bananas over the weekend...!  He used to love bananas, and it was a perfect snack. Then sometime in August he started rejecting them... he's eaten about 1.5 since - until this weekend. Here's hoping that he loves them again!

#77 - Kisses from my little man. So. Many. Kisses. :)

#78 - Bought our first Christmas gifts for AJ this year... I think that's the earliest I have ever shopped.

#79 - A quick stop at the beach on Saturday and seeing the pure delight on my boy's face... (until it registered just how cold it was and that this wasn't a normal beach day... ;) )

#80 - My main Man bringing home lattes to savour at the end of a busy Wednesday when the child was asleep.  mmmmm  Always a great surprise!

November 1, 2012

Baby, oh Baby...

A *long* overdue post... this fall has been busy, and AJ keeps me hopping, but I haven't forgotten my growing little one due to arrive the end of January. Precious One - you are SO loved... and your big brother is busy learning all sorts of mischief to teach you. :)

Way back in September, I had my ultrasound to tell us whether this little one will be AJ's little brother or sister. My parents were still visiting, and since my Man couldn't escape work to attend with me, I had the tech write her opinion on a sticky and sealed it in an envelope. Later that evening, we found out the news together while my mom played photographer. I loved doing it this way instead of hearing the news in the sterile technician room!

Here's a play-by-play for memories :)

Look Dad - we're having a little ..........

Baby girl - we welcome you!! And your tomboy mama has a whoooooole lot to learn! :) :) :) x0x