Monday, November 12, 2012

Holy (Wedding Day) - The City Harmonic


Guess what. We took our engagement pictures last weekend! Engagement pics are just another thing to check off the list...or so I thought. The whole experience was so fun and memorable. Such a great way to freeze this moment of our lives. I'll put some of them up as soon as I get them but in the meantime enjoy this one engagement photoshoot from the blog: Love Is A Big Deal. Beautiful, cute, and creative photos. Love 'em!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I've had a bit of a one-track mind lately. Everything, it seems, relates to and concerns one thing. Marriage. My boyfriend proposed a couple days before my 25th birthday and ever since we've been so busy with planning and just being plain excited! I missed the half marathon I had planned to run Sept. 30th because frankly I didn't care. I was way to excited to go to church with Steve and tell everyone!
It's been interesting telling people. Christians seem to be very excited for us. Most of the people I work with are too, however, some give their congratulations followed by: "good luck" or "we'll see how long this lasts".
One co-worker told me that now the average marriage lasts 2-5 years. As she told me that statistic, I smiled. I can't wait to break societies' norm.
We can't do it on our own though. If we didn't model our relationship after Christ's selfless love for His people we would probably fall into that statistic as well. The fact that a guy with most of his twenties ahead of him would propose speaks of a phenomenon most of the world does not understand. It shows the design of our creator that started in Genesis. It shows that he wants to experience knowing someone at the level of knowing himself,  similarly to the holy trinity (I say that loosely), that he wants to run from sin, and that he wants to live life radically by sacrificing independence and single-ness for the sake of love. It speaks of the gospel. I can see why girls cry when they're proposed to...I got a bit teary...but didn't full out bawl.
I know full well that marriage will be hard but I also know its one of the most rewarding, amazing things you can experience. I'm so excited! That's a sum up the heavy things on my mind lately. Those thoughts are intermingled with plans for a beautiful, fun day when we'll say our vows :)

(Cute pic. eh? Not sure who this couple is but their wedding looks lovely)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Does this count?

Does this count as persecution? This is from Tim Challies' blog, (09/10/12). It talks about what our church plant and many other churches who rent space from TDSB are facing. God is sovereign however, and I'm excited to see how He'll use this to build His church in the end.

Driving the Churches Away

Toronto is a city of 2.6 million where churches are small and real estate is costly. For this reason many churches meet in gymnasiums and cafeterias they rent from the Toronto District School Board. But now, very suddenly, theTDSB has taken action to get churches out of its schools. At the end of August each of these organizations was notified that they would face an imminent increase in rental fees. The next day they learned that this increase would range from 140% to 800% and that it would begin to go in effect in just four days. Unless the Board can be convinced to change course, they will effectively drive hundreds of churches from its nearly 600 schools.
At the end of August, the TDSB announced to their permit holders that effective September 1, 2012, they would streamline the organizational categories under which they distribute rental permits. As of that date, religious organizations (and only religious organizations) would no longer receive subsidies offered to other not-for-profit and charitable organizations. These subsidies are provided by Ontario’s Ministry of Education in their Community Use of Schools Program which allocates funds to underwrite many of the costs associated with fair, equal and diverse use of school buildings.
As the Board revoked subsidies, it simultaneously announced that it intended to raise rental prices for all tenants by 43.7% effective January 1, 2013. Between the rental increase and the loss of subsidies, most churches will no longer be able to afford to rent school buildings. Many of them will have nowhere else to go.
Grace Fellowship Church of East Toronto, a two-year-old plant of Grace Fellowship Church (where I am one of the pastors), has approximately 70 people in regular attendance and meets in Greenland Public School in the heart of Don Mills, a neighborhood on the east side of the city. Pastor Julian Freeman received notification on August 27 that his church’s rental rates would be subject to an imminent increase. The next day he learned that effective September 1, just four days later, the rental fee would increase from $468 for 4 hours of weekly use to $2,300 per month for 3.5 hours of weekly use, a 391% increase.
Pastor Freeman told me,
We were saddened by the news of our rate hike. I grew up going toTDSB schools, and worked for the School Board as a young adult. I’m glad to be in this facility, which is situated in the middle of a residential neighborhood, close to malls and bus lines. On the School Board’s website they indicate that they desire for their facilities to be “hubs” for community activity, and that permits will not be seen as an opportunity for revenue, but rather, as a service to the community. It’s too bad that they are not living up to their word.
But more important than just the cost issue, it seems to me, is the blatant discrimination against religious groups in general, and Christian churches in particular. The changes to the permitting policy specifically target “faith-based groups” alone. This doesn’t affect anyone else and is for no other reason than the fact that we are “faith-based.” It seems to me that decisions like this sets a reckless trajectory for the future of our city and our country. Our Trustee was friendly and helpful and offered to help us work on bringing down our cost somehow, but to me the issue is the systemic discrimination even more than the particulars of the cost increases we’ve incurred. The TDSBmust be called to account for this.
As of August 30, Grace Toronto Church, with approximately 450 attendees under the leadership of Pastor Dan MacDonald, was already paying the highest rental rate of any church renting Rosedale Heights School for the Arts for $6,561 per month. On that day Grace Toronto was notified that effective September 1, only two days later, they would be reclassified so they would now have to pay premium rather than charity rates. This nearly doubled their rent to $12,224 per month; effective January 1 the rate will rise to $15,895 per month, an increase of 142% over the previous year.
Pastor MacDonald is calm but perplexed:
We are glad that we just finished studying the book of Daniel when this broke out! God is sovereign, and He will be glorified in this, and we are strangely excited to see what He will do. However, we are mystified: we were told that the reason for the increase was that the school board was losing money on renting to us. I find it hard to fathom how this could be when we paid almost $400 an hour. The interesting thing is that the actual people we pay to be there on Sundays, from the school board, are more angry with the school board than we are over this.
I think the Board needs to be held accountable for three things. First, on what basis do they justify changing our classification as a charitable organization? The provincial and the federal governments recognize us as such; why not the school board? Second, under any reasonable judicial system, raising rents 150- 800% requires more notice than 48 hours notice. In any landlord-tenant situation, this would be a lawsuit waiting to happen. Third: rental fees should have some basis in actual cost, since the school board’s own policies state that rental costs of their facilities should not be used as a revenue-generating device. So, we invite the school board to show us actual costs that would be the basis for their fees. I am pretty sure that renting Rosedale Heights school for 4 hours a week costs them less than the $190,000 they are planning to charge us in the future.
If you are not a Toronto-area resident, please pray that the Lord would work through this situation. Toronto real estate prices are extremely high and to this point public schools have been nearly the only affordable options for new and small churches. Toronto is among the world’s most unchurched and most diverse cities, with over half of its residents having been born in another country. This action threatens to drive away churches from a city in desperate need of far more, not fewer, churches.
If you are a Toronto-area resident, please contact your School Trustee to ask them to reinstate churches as subsidized organizations, and your Member of Provincial Parliament to register your protest against the unfair and unwise use of Provincial subsidies.

Monday, August 27, 2012

From Relevant Magazine:

How to Be a Better Twentysomething

5 things generations before you wish you knew now.
I admit it—I’m old. By 57, I’ve managed to become a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, health care executive and doctoral student from the “I can have it all” generation of women.
Now, I finally realize I am tiring myself out. Upon reflection, I see the new Millennial generation coming up from behind with so much energy and enthusiasm, ready to take over for me. That's a good thing—a promise for the future. I admire you for all your independence, your adventurous nature, your strong faith, your command over communication and your desire for balanced, meaningful lives. At the same time, I remain cautious on your behalf as you come of age in an expansive world in which there are seemingly no boundaries.
As you venture forth, here is my wish list for you to do well.
1) I wish you would make friends with your elders.
Even though you may think we have no idea what is going on or what the world is about, there's nothing like experience and someone to share it with you. We know that no matter the specifics of your surroundings, issues or particular problems, everything comes down to how we relate to one another, to ourselves and to God. We have a lot to share with you about life that spans the diverse width of your circumstances and ours in different generations. Take us up on it—it can't hurt to ask.
2) I wish you would cultivate more slowed down, offline time.
We know you have little patience for delays or system failures when you’re trying to be productive, but those of us who have walked a few more miles know that sometimes God works in ways we don’t predict. The faltering Internet connection on your laptop at the airport can be a life-altering gift to the grief-stricken woman sitting next to you when suddenly you are inspired to share your life in Christ. That hard drive crash can be two days you spend cleaning up your mother’s garden, reconnecting with the smell and feel of the earth, earning the praise from your mother (that never gets old) and the irreplaceable feeling of getting a job done. Patience remains a virtue, still.
3) I wish you would talk to me without checking your phone.
We get the fact that your lifestyle is one of instant and continual contact, no matter what you are doing, where you are or who you are with. This constant, nomadic connection allows you to efficiently blend your day, creating a mix of working, shopping and relating to others via text—all happening interchangeably and often simultaneously.
While it is possible to do this, maybe it’s a bit overdone. Turn off the cell phone during meals and relate face to face. Look into my eyes. Feel the squirm of discomfort in being seen by me as well as experiencing the impact your words are having on me. Learn to be intimate and authentic in person. Anything you can say over a text is an entirely different experience waiting for you if you say it while looking into another’s eyes. Trust me.
4) I wish you would expect to work your way up the ladder (a little).
We know you are faster, brighter, quicker and masterful multi-taskers like none other. We know you also don’t want to work 80 hours a week because balance in life is critical to you. At the same time, you expect to make more than we do and start out of college with very high-paying jobs.
This is admirable and very much in keeping with your high expectations and abilities. Yet until your generation rules the world, you still have to work with people who are not going to hand over the keys to the kingdom to the untried and untested. We would like you to appreciate that we worked hard to build what exists so far and that we have considerable sweat equity invested in it. We get that you are experimental learners and quick on the uptake, but this still does not replace experience. Expect to have to get some until you are in charge and can do it however you see fit.
5) I wish you would teach us what it’s like to be you.
You are inheriting a world so full of choices, where we saw only duty that was necessarily undertaken to raise you. You love all kinds of music; we were stuck with rock, classical or maybe a little country. You are digital natives, fully conversant in all manner of technology and media and manage it effortlessly, while many of us don’t even do email. You stand up for yourselves, making it known that there ought to be a better system, a better way to do something, and then you do it. We focus on trying to make the best use of what exists to get the job done. In other words, we have something to learn from you too.
Mentor us—since mentoring is a relationship of learning on both sides. We can learn what you experience, see and want from life and the world you live in, and maybe even change for the better ourselves.
Many are quick to point out the generational differences between us—of which there are many. But all differences aside, my biggest wish for you is that you’ll thrive—taking up the strengths of the generations before you and pairing them with innovative qualities of your own.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Avodah Coffee

Just discovered this gem. A family run coffee business that supports missions. Genius!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

one down

#8 on the list done!
....riding the Leviathan at Canada's Wonderland did terrify me, but now it only terrifies me a little bit! Thanks Becky for helping me conquer that fear!

I signed up for my half marathon too and chose a passage to memorize! Getting this list done!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

25 Things

The topic of my birthday came up the other day. I can't remember why or how it came up but this upcoming birthday is kind of a big deal because its my quarter of a century birthday. The big 2-5!
I definitely have mixed emotions concerning this. It scares me, it excites me, it scares me, makes me hopeful... sometimes I want to build a bunker I can crawl into on October 2nd because the world is going to implode or something, but lately I've been mostly ambitious.
My friend Peter suggested creating a list entitled: "25 Things to do before I'm 25."
So I decided to do it.

1. Run a half marathon                                      8. Do something that terrifies me
2. Sign up for a course                                     9. Finish a whole book in a week
3. Learn 10 new Korean words or phrases                     10. Memorize a Chapter of the Bible
4. Paint a picture                                          11. Learn to play a song on the guitar
5. Write a letter to Linda W                                12. Send a care package to my sister
6. Go evangelizing                                              .......
7. Save $$

I won't put the whole list on here.

Most of my list is full of things I've needed to do for awhile but procrastination got the better of me. Some of the things are just plain fun, while others are things I know will push me out of my comfort zone.
To be honest though I just want to go into the next stage of my life loving God more. They say the older you get the more you realize its not all about you. Maybe its because when you're younger the world seems like your oyster. You're busy establishing your life or you're filling your time with fun and adventure. Then as you get older and the responsibilities start piling up you start thinking less about yourself and more about the people who depend on you. I think that's actually a positive change. I remember the first sermon I heard by my old pastor, Paul Martin (p.s he's not old...but I switched churches so he's my former pastor). He said at one point in the sermon: "nothing kills love like selfishness". Authentic love is sacrificial, its selfless. To take up your cross and follow Him is the most rewarding life you can live. A life spent in pursuit of the God who first pursued you will only end in glory. Romans 8:18-39
I only have about a month and a half to complete my list so I'd better get going on it. It encouraging to think that God's going to continue to change me for the better. Its a reason to look forward to 25, or to even look forward to tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hummingbird Cake

Serves:  12 -16 servings

·         Prep/assembly time: 45 minutes

·         Baking time:  25-30 minutes

·         Cooling time: 15 mintues

Ingredients (cake):

·         3 cups flour (gluten free or regular)

·         2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

·         1 teaspoon baking soda

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         1 cup granulated sugar

·         1 cup packed light brown sugar

·         3 large eggs, room temperature

·         1 cup vegetable oil

·         2 teaspoons  vanilla extract

·         1 cup fresh pineapple, crushed (see below)

·         2 cups roasted bananas*, mashed (approximately 4 large or 6 medium-small bananas with peel left on)

·         1 cup chopped pecans

·         Parchment paper to line bottom of the cake pan

Cream Cheese Frosting:

·         1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, chilled

·         3-8 ounce packages of cream cheese, chilled

·         1 teaspoon vanilla

·         1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted

·         1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans

It was one of the those weeks that took a lot of prayer and will power to stay calm and behave naturally! It seemed like one thing after another and by Sunday I was like: "Seriously?? Why, why, why?" *hitting forehead on desk.
Coming back to the Word brought perspective and peace though.

Matthew 9:12
But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick."

Ephesians 2: 8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

It's so good to be reminded that there is a Saviour who can heal - the past week was a good reminder of my need for Him. Humbling! There's definitely nothing I or we can do to earn His love. Good can come out of rough weeks... they bring us closer to the great physician...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

To all my faithful followers,

You may have noticed the new blog look. It was time! Thank you Becky is all I can say. Becky is my blog guru friend who re-vamped my blog. I highly recommend you check out her blog too: Its so lovely!



Tuesday, May 29, 2012


A week or so ago summer really began for me. It was a georgeous, warm day...the water was so calm and the fish were biting!
This was the catch of the day. A nice big walleye on opening weekend. We could go home satisfied after Steve caught this guy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Night shift

Tonight is a particularly slow night in the much so that I'm actually able to blog. Its almost 0400am and I'm fighting the overwhelming desire to sleep. My eyes want to close and if a doctor comes in here and asks me to do something its gonna take alot of will power to make these legs start moving again!
Night shifts are really good times to think and pray though. Rarely in the ER do we get nights like this..usually the nights are a lot like the I've been thinking a lot. And praying..a little... Kinda reminds me of my spiritual walk sometimes. Like when Christ told his disciples to stay awake, pray and wait for him in the garden. The night he was betrayed by Judas. Its comforting to know our Father never sleeps nor slumbers. Yet discouraging how I am always prone to want rest. Instead of running hard for him, instead of denying myself, staying awake and praying..I always fall asleep!
Christ is our sleepless interceder and for that I am grateful. Only 3 more ours left. Gonna turn Pinterest off..and spend some time with the One who always works nightshifts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

We would see Jesus. - John 12:21

I wanted to share what I read last night from Charles Spurgeon's "Evening by Evening". I was given this book from my Mother a long time ago for helping teach her Sunday School class. It's been an encouragement to me ever since.

'The constant cry of the world is, "Who will show us any good?" People seek satisfaction in earthly comforts, enjoyments, and riches. But the convicted sinner knows only one good: "Oh that I knew where I might find him!" (Job 23:3). When a person is truly awakened to feel his guilt, if you could pour the gold of India at his feet, he would say,"Take it away. I want to find Him!" It is a blessed thing for a man when he has brought his desires into focus so that they all center on one object. When he has fifty different desires, his heart resembles a pool of stagnant water, spread out into a marsh, breeding disease and pestilence. But when all his desires are brought into one channel, his heart becomes like a river of pure water, flowing swiftly to fertilize the fields. Happy is he who has one desire, if that one desire is set on Christ even though it may not yet have been realized. If Jesus is the soul's desire, it is a blessed sign of divine work within. Such a man will never be content with mere laws. He will say, "I want Christ; I must have Him. Rules are of no use to me; I need Him! Do not offer me these. You offer me the empty pitcher, while I am dying of thirst. Give me water, or I will die. Jesus is my soul's desire. I would see Jesus!" Is this your condition, my reader, at this moment? Do you have but one desire, and it is Christ? Then you are not far from the kingdom of heaven. Have you but one wish in your heart, and that one wish is that you would be washed from all your sins in Jesus' blood? Can you really say, "I would give all I have to be a Christian. I would give up everything I have and hope for, if I could only feel that I have an interest in Christ"? Then, despite all your fears, be of good cheer. The Lord loves you, and you will come out into daylight soon. Rejoice "in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free" (Gal. 5:1).' (pg.116)

Saturday, March 24, 2012


How much does theology matter to you? Sometimes I feel that the topic of theology is a touchy subject amongst Christians. To some, being a theologian or discussing the finer points of doctrine is to provoke conflict, arrogance and division.

We are all theologians though. All of us. Christian or not we all believe something about God and who He is. Atheists even believe something about God. They believe He doesn’t exist. These beliefs about the Lord come from something and if you are not reading the bible then experiences, observances and your own philosophies shape your view of who He is. The problem with this is, we all have different life experiences. People and experiences change and fluctuate like the weather. Thankfully God does not change, and His Word doesn’t either.

So I guess the question is. Do we crave the truth? Do we actually want to know the truth about who God is and who Christ is? It comes down to a heart issue…would we opt for potential conflict and deny our own experiential philosophies in pursuit of knowing the intricate details of an amazing God. The people who would do that see the value and purpose of living a life for a Father they know through a Saviour they have a relationship with. Doctrine is not so much adhering to a certain denomination or being called Calvinist or Armenian, its about pursuing the One who pursued us and drawing close to Him. Joshua Harris in his book “Dug Down Deep” summarizes the need for sound theology in a clear and applicable way. He states: “Being a Christian means being a person who labours to establish his beliefs, his dreams, his choices, his very view of the world on the truth of who Jesus is and what he has accomplished - a Christian who cares about truth, who cares about sound doctrine.”

God is not a God of division…unity is His desire for us which is why He gave us the Bible… “making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:9-10)

As Christians we’re all on a mission to figure out who God is. A strong commitment to truth is crucial but we can’t forget grace. Humility and grace…. even when we don’t entirely agree with our sisters and brothers in the Lord. We’ve got to encourage each other to strive hard for the truth that will be our foundation when the world throws a million other beliefs at us.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Eva Black Design : Blog: Valentine's Day Card Download!

Valentine's Day Card Download!: Happy Valentine's Day everyone! This is from Eva Black Design but I saw it originally on The Ardent Sparrow blog. Spread the love!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

sans cafe

Coffee is lovely. It's so comforting... and warm... and great during the winter or when you need to stay awake in the middle of the night. I enjoy coffee so much that I knew it was the thing I had to fast from. That ..and chocolate. :S

I wanted to start off this new year differently. I really wanted to dedicate 2012 to God, and instead of running around trying to accomplish things in my own strength, I wanted to completely give everything to the Lord. I have made some goals or resolutions but I know that neither coffee or chocolate will help me accomplish them. Obviously.... but this next week is a small lesson in discipline. Disciplining myself to forget myself and my superficial desires and instead focus on the Lord. It will be a time to pray and seek guidance.

"Self-indulgence is the enemy of gratitude, and self-discipline usually its friend and generator. That is why gluttony is a deadly sin. The early desert fathers believed that a person's appetites are linked: full stomachs and jaded palates take the edge from our hunger and thirst for righteousness. They spoil the appetite for God."

- Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., The Reformed Journal (November 1988)

Throughout the bible there are so many examples of people who fasted: Jesus, Ezra, John the Baptist, Moses, Daniel etc. These people denied themselves for a period of time to focus on Him who provides that which gives life and comfort. Often times of change or uncertainty or key times to fast. Times when the Lord needs to be our compass. I know that the decisions I make for this next year need to be made out of a love for God and not myself. So I'll start out by denying myself...even if its just coffee and chocolate...