Monday, February 29, 2016


Personal growth requires effort. We need to be committed and disciplined to grow stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. Life is a bit like a race and we need strength to finish the race strong. The body we are given needs healthy food and exercise to become strong and our mind also needs some type of exercise to stay sharp. We can train our mind by going to school, reading a book or taking an art class for example. Our spiritual strength grows stronger when we practice things like warm friendliness, generous love and reverent wonder.

Pastor Holly Wagner gives a sermon on the topic of strength in this video. We all want to be strong, but sometimes we lack the discipline or commitment to develop the strength we need. Holly didn't prioritize her physical strength before she was diagnosed with breast cancer which became a wake up call for her. No matter what area we need to be strengthened in we can't escape the need to commit to it and wow to take daily steps towards becoming stronger.

Why is Commitment Good?

I love to follow people's journeys in life and hear about how they have overcome hardship and found a healthier and better life. "Feel alive" is a youtube channel about a woman who used to struggle with depression, anxiety, low self esteem and a lack of desire to live. Today she is taking steps toward a healthier and more fulfilling life every day. This is a video where "Feel alive" talks about why commitment is a good thing for our well-being in life.

My Weekend

This time of year it's easy to start dreaming about spring and warmer days, but since spring won't be here for another month I like to come up with fun things to do in February. Sunday brunches are one of my favorite things to treat myself to during February, a big waffle with strawberries can make any grey Sunday special! This weekend I decided to go see a movie on Saturday, popcorn and a good movie that can make you laugh makes February fun.

On Saturday I also got to visit a beautiful newborn baby in the hospital which totally made my day. On Sunday I did some home décor shopping and was happy to find a painting that I loved. I'm very picky when I shop these days so I seldom find something I really like but this time I found the perfect new addition to our home.

Tomorrow we enter a new month which is exciting, the month of March means we get to celebrate Easter and my husband and I are also celebrating our wedding anniversary this month. Every new month brings something to look forward to.


Being yourself and embracing who you are sounds like a good idea, but it's often a lot easier said than done. How do you embrace who you are when everyone tells you to do something different or be different? Being who you are can come with a high price at times, it can make you an outsider, but maybe being an outsider is still better than being somebody who is not you? Lecrae knows what is feels like to be rejected and laughed at for being real and he has written a song about his experience called "Outsiders". Hopefully this song can encourage you and give you strength to be more authentic in life.

4x7: Sheri Fogel

Life is filled with choices that we need to make, and sometimes we get ourselves in trouble because we don't know what advice we should listen to. Our society is filled with voices telling us what to do and what choice we should make. We also have different voices in our own head, some are for us and others haunt us. It's not always easy to know what voice we should listen to when we need to make a decision. Sheri Fogel shares an example from her own life where she made a foolish choice and teaches us how we can know the difference between wisdom and lies.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Adopting siblings

I love listening to people's adoption stories because it's so nice to get to see the happy ending to every journey. Every adoption journey is a great love story. Every adoption includes pain and hardship, sometimes it's from an unplanned pregnancy, or parents who are addicted to drugs, have mental problems or are financially not able to take care of a child. Every child that needs a new home has gone through hardship. The adoptive parents have also gone through their struggles, many times they have struggled with infertility for years. Every time a new family is created through adoption it brings hope and healing and something beautiful can come out of all the pain in the end. Love has conquered over darkness.

This video tells the story of how three boys who had lived in many foster care homes finally got their forever family and a place to call home. Veronica became the adoptive mom of three boys and her biological son Styles was finally able to have brothers, which he had always dreamt about.

Open Adoption

Kristen&Brian adopted baby boy Leo through an open adoption. Open adoption means that there will be some contact between the child and the birth family. Sometimes the contact can be only a few letters and pictures per year and other times visits between the birth mother or birth father and the child, every open adoption is different.

Baby Leo's birth mother is Callie who became pregnant through an unplanned pregnancy when she was 25 years old. Callie and her boyfriend decided to give up their baby for adoption and eventually Callie picked Kristen&Brian as the family who would get to become Leo's adoptive parents.

An adopted child tells her story

Elizabeth Hill was adopted through an open adoption. Elizabeth tells her life story in this video and explains what it is like to have a relationship with both her biological mother and her adoptive mother. The only thing that has been hard for Elizabeth is to not know anything about her biological father, but she has an adoptive father who loves her unconditionally.

Monday, February 22, 2016

My Weekend

The Canadian weather continues to surprise me although I've lived in Canada for almost six years now. On Saturday we had very warm weather in Toronto, +11 degrees Celsius. The week before we had -26 degrees Celsius on Saturday and I didn't go outside my house all day.

Here's a picture of the weather in the middle of the week last week.

Just a few days later the weather looks like this, and you could almost have a picnic outside. The funny thing is as we were taking our morning walk on Saturday I saw three people out windsurfing on the lake. They were wearing wetsuits of course but still, Canadian people are not afraid of some cold water that's for sure. :)

Lake Ontario, my "Spa". I grew up on a small island so I have to be able to spend time by the water and listen to the waves roll in a couple of times every week to stay balanced.

I got a cold last week so I spent the weekend eating a lot healthier foods than I do usually. I tried to have two juices or smoothies every day to help my body get well again as quickly as possible.

My husband and I like to go out for brunch on Sundays but this weekend we stayed in and made a healthy bowl of oatmeal instead. We make our oatmeal with coconut milk and coconut water. I like to eat my oatmeal with berries, cacao nibs and some coconut yogurt on top.

The weekend also means running a thousand little errands, here I am shopping some pens and notebooks. I fill up about 4-5 notebooks full of dreams, ideas and thoughts every year.

I also made some homemade tomato sauce with chicken and fresh pasta during the weekend. Cooking has become my new little hobby. I love trying fun new recipes and right now I have a phase when I make a lot of Italian food. I bought a new cooking book on Sunday so now I have a lot of inspiration for new recipes to try.

Real Love

A Story about finding forgiveness

Understanding how much God loves every single human being can be hard to grasp. Many people say they didn't fully understand how much God loves them before they became parents. As they think about how much they love their son or daughter and understand that God loves each human that much and a million times more they become overwhelmed. 

God loves every human being like a parent loves a child and so much more than that. He loves you and he loves me. He loves the people with high status in our society and he loves the people our society considers worthless and unimportant. God loves us unconditionally, there is nothing we can do to make him stop loving us. This doesn't mean that God approves of everything we do, just like no parent would approve of their children doing what is wrong, but he will never stop loving us. We can lie, steal, cheat, murder, and be completely selfish and he still loves us. Many times people who have been through much hardship in life tend to understand God's love the best. They know what living life outside of God's will looks like and feels like and they know that they have done many things wrong, so God's forgiveness becomes overwhelming to them. God's grace blows their mind.

I once heard a pastor say that the people who will come to God last are the ones who think that they are "good people" and have done nothing wrong. The murderer, the thief and the prostitute knows very well that what they have done is wrong so when they learn that God can forgive them for every single mistake and give them a new life they celebrate. The man who thinks he is a great person and that his mistakes in life are "no big deal" is the one who will come to God last. This man can not see his need for God.

The truth is that we have all done mistakes in life, there is not one truly "good person" on the planet. We have all done things that are the opposite of love, and we will have to pay the price for each mistake when this life is over unless they have been forgiven by God. God's forgiveness can't be earned, it's freely given to every person when we come to him and truly regret what we have done and ask for forgiveness.

Nobody will enter heaven without first having all their sins forgiven, we all know that, so why do so many of us run away from God? Sometimes it's because we have decided that there is no such thing out there as a "God", so we won't go looking for him. Other times it's because of our pride, we don't want to admit that we did something wrong. We all remember how "fun" it was as a child to go back to our parents and say "I'm sorry". Nobody likes the feeling we get when we need to admit a mistake, but the freedom that comes when we receive forgiveness and the weight is lifted off our shoulders makes it worth it. Carrying around the guilt and shame that comes from mistakes that haven't been forgiven is no fun way to live a life. When we receive God's forgiveness there is no more shame, there is only freedom and joy.

The Beauty Ideal

I used to love buying magazines but every year I get more and more annoyed with the negative messages that are sent to women through magazines. I scanned the magazine isle in the store on Sunday and one of the clear messages was: "you need to look young no matter what". Young equals beautiful in today's culture, but only if you are a woman, men are allowed to have wrinkles and still be considered attractive.

 Headlines like "World's Best Anti-aging Secrets" are everywhere.

You can get "younger skin while you sleep"! How awesome, because getting younger looking skin is obviously what will make me happy and make the world a better place.

Thank goodness there are some healthier messages among the headlines, like "Embrace Your Natural Hair Texture". The natural hair movement has forced the media to adapt and include more than only one type of hair in the magazines.

InStyle magazine wants us to be "Forever Young"-looking but thankfully also included a more positive headline: "Love Your Body".

"Love the bod you're with", now that's what I like to read in women's magazines! Can we also please be allowed to "love the age we are at"? Do we have to start the anti-age beauty routine at 20 and then hate the way our body (naturally) changes when we hit 30 or 40? Is this what it means to be a woman?

One of the most beautiful people I have ever met is my grandmother. Today she is in heaven but she is still my role model in life and I loved everything about her. She was so beautiful inside and out and everyone I know thought the same. Do you think she herself thought she was beautiful? No. She used to always tell me she didn't like her wrinkles. I used to tell her in response: "You are 60+, you are supposed to have wrinkles!" We all grow up in a culture that tells us that we aren't enough, that we aren't beautiful the way we are. A culture that wants us to believe that we need to change this and fix that to be beautiful, so we spend our lives feeling less than beautiful although we are absolutely stunning! That makes me really sad.

I see many millennials all over the world choose something different, they are choosing to love and embrace who they are, and that makes me so excited! Let's make 2016 the year we all stop following the negative beauty ideals in the culture and start loving what we've got! :)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

How to not miss your life

Being able to do work you love is a great gift. It's a wonderful feeling you get when you are able to work with something you are passionate about and put your gifts to use. When we love the work we do it's easy to become a bit addicted to it and end up not prioritizing taking time to rest. Marie Forleo gives great advice on how we can make sure that we don't miss our life in the midst of a busy lifestyle.

Connecting With God

We live in a world where a lot of what we do is about achievements and being able to check things off a "to-do"-list. When we become Christians it's easy to start applying this approach to our relationship with God, to think that unless I read my Bible every day or if I don't pray or journal regularly God won't be pleased with me. It makes sense that we see God this way, because this is how things work with our boss, our spouse and our friends.

You can't neglect your friends for a few months or years and expect them to still be there for you. God, on the other hand, will never leave us. It doesn't make any sense why he would love us that much, but he does. We can neglect him completely and run in the opposite direction but He still loves us. There is nothing we can do to make him give up on us. We can come to him at any moment and he is there, ready to invite us into his family. No matter how many rules we have broken or how many mistakes we have done our God will never leave us. Every day he is there waiting for us to one day choose him, over everything else, to choose to love him back.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Overcoming hopelessness

Nick Vujicic knows all about feeling hopeless and having no dreams of a better future. Nick was only 10 years old when he decided to commit suicide, but he changed his mind. Nick gives a powerful TED talk about how the encouragement and love from his parents plus his faith has kept him alive and thriving despite being born with no arms and legs.

Nick has found his purpose and is using his whole life to inspire and encourage millions of people around the world who are feeling hopeless. We all have a choice to make, we can stay angry and grieve what we don't have or we can be grateful for what we do have and use our situation to help someone else.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


We have all said and done things in life that we deeply regret and maybe we even have entire seasons of life that we wish we could erase. We've all gone through things in life that have left us feeling ashamed, worthless and filled with sorrow and disappointment. Sometimes experiences like these can cause our hopes and dreams to die and make us fearful of the future.

The amazing news in the gospel is that no matter what we've been through, no matter what we have done in life nothing is too dark for God to handle. When we come to God he offers us forgiveness for every single mistake we have done in life, big or small. He wipes our past clean and lets us start over, we get a new life. When we let God into our hearts he starts transforming every single part of our lives and makes everything new, there is nothing that he can't fix or heal or restore. Our past will no longer define us, our mistakes no longer get to define us, we have been given a new future. God is rewriting our story. He is working in all things for the good of those who love him.

Julia's Story

Julia Jakus had a very chaotic childhood that was filled with pain and abuse. Julia felt very lonely growing up and became depressed as child. She later developed an eating disorder, became addicted to drugs and had suicidal thoughts. She was in and out of psychiatric hospitals and treatment programs for many years.

Julia lacked hope in life and was afraid of what was going to happen to her. One day Julia decided that she was no longer going to try to do life her own way because it wasn't working, she became aware of her need for God. Today Julia has found hope, freedom and a new life. She knows that her purpose in life is to tell her story and help others, to tell them that no matter how broken they feel they can have hope restored and a new life.

Diego's Story

Diego Martinez experimented with different types of drugs and was part of gang culture in high school. After Diego's girlfriend died from breast cancer he experienced a deep loss and pain that no drug could take away. One of Diego's friends at the gym recommended that he would try out Oasis Church in LA. God's love gave Diego a new chance at life that changed everything.


My past embraced
My sin forgiven
I'm blameless in Your sight
My history rewritten

You delight in mercy
Mercy triumphs over judgment

Oh Love, great Love
Fear cannot be found in You
There will never be a day
You're uncertain of the ones You choose

You delight in mercy
Mercy triumphs over judgment

So I will awake
And spend my days
Loving the One
Who raised me up
From death to life
From wrong to right
You're making all things beautiful

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Hello Winter!

It has been unusually warm in Toronto this winter but this week it finally got a little colder. My husband is from the Caribbean and he loves a warmer winter but I'm Finnish so I've been waiting for some real winter weather for awhile now. I got what I was wishing for, this morning it was so windy and cold outside that my whole face got frozen during my morning walk and on Saturday they are promising -19 degrees Celsius.

I plan to spend my weekend enjoying some hot chocolate, one of my favorite treats during the winter season. We are also having our neighbors over for dinner on Saturday and on Sunday it's time to celebrate Valentine's Day. My husband and I are celebrating 5 years as a couple on Sunday. I can't believe it has already been five years, time goes fast when you are having fun together! :)

Give Me 5: Love

Christina Lowe is given 5 minutes to talk about love. Sometimes it doesn't take a lot of time to deliver a powerful message.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

This I Believe

Facing your fears with a purpose

Cindy shares ways in which one person can make a significant difference by facing their fears and finding courage to follow through with their own big idea. The difference between simply having big ideas and actually making those ideas come to life stems from overcoming your fears, believing in yourself, and having determination, perseverance, and (the biggest reason) the “why.”

Monday, February 8, 2016

Love Works

Whether you are single, newly married or divorced this sermon by pastor Holly Wagner from Oasis Church in Los Angeles will give you some great tools that can help you learn to love others well. Holly Wagner shares insight on the essentials to Real Love in relationships, and how to treat one another with love and respect.

What can I do to make the world a better place?

The moment after the bubble around our own life breaks and we have just woken up to the reality of the suffering in the world it's easy to become overwhelmed. The needs in this world are so great. There are people around the world who lack access to clean drinking water, there's the orphan crisis, human trafficking and modern day slavery. The list goes on and on. When we start looking at the world without our rose colored glasses on it's easy to loose hope.

We wonder if we can really make a difference and if yes then how and where? The Bible makes it clear that us humans are "the body of Christ" we are "God's hands and feet". God looked down on the world and saw all the problems and the suffering and then he created you and me. We all have the skills and the passion needed to solve one particular problem in this world or maybe even a few, but none of us need to feel like the destiny of the whole world hangs on our own shoulders. Each person will play an important part in the big picture, one life is like a puzzle piece in the big puzzle called world change. We are not alone in this world, we share this world with 7 billion other people. Each one of us just have to figure out what particular cause God has called us to during this short life.

Is it fighting human trafficking that you want to commit your life to or maybe it's orphans around the world? Maybe you are called to move to another country or city or maybe you are called to stay right where you are and serve the people in your own region? Whatever our purpose might be we all need some help with figuring it all out. "All the places to go: How will you know?" by John Ortberg is a book that can help you figure out what your own cause should be in life. Once we are able to narrow it all down to one personal cause that we want to spend the rest of our lives fighting for the suffering in the world gets less overwhelming. Suddenly we feel meaning and purpose every new day when we wake up instead of hopelessness and confusion.

What's my purpose?

Personal development are one of my biggest interests, as you can probably tell if you have been reading this blog for awhile. It excites me to hear stories about people who have overcome great obstacles in their lives and found healing from a very painful past. Every life on this Earth will include both joy and pain so I find it very encouraging to learn from people who have been through both.

One of the most encouraging things about being human is that we can choose what kind of life we want to live. We don't have to stay the way we are, we can grow and develop every year if we are willing, and live to see change we never even thought was possible. There are many different ways we can grow ourselves every year, one of my personal favorites is reading books. I seldom read fiction these days, I love reading Christian books and psychology books because they help me grow the most as a person.

Every year I read 1-2 books that end up changing my life forever and that alters the way I see the whole world. A couple of years ago I read "Drunk tank pink" by Adam Alter, a psychology book about how our environment shapes our thoughts and actions. This book totally changed how I view the world around me. This year one of the books that has changed my life the most is "Restless" by Jennie Allen.

 "Restless" is a book about figuring out the purpose of your life and seeing how your gifts, passions, places and relationships aren't random but deliberate and meaningful. Even the suffering we have experienced in life plays a part in our life purpose. Jennie Allen explains that where we have experienced the greatest suffering in our lives might just be the place where we are the most passionate to create a positive change in this world. If you have gotten tired of living a life without a clear direction this book will help you see your whole life from a new angle and figure out what you were placed here on Earth to do.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The value of a soul

Three different people share their life stories in this video about how they did not know that they were valuable and felt useless for a long time in their lives. Over time God showed each one of these people that he loves them and that they are very valuable and precious to him.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A new standard of beauty

Amber Starks gives an inspiring TED talk about the need to create a new beauty standard in our culture, a standard where uniqueness is valued. Amber tells the story about how growing up she didn't consider herself beautiful because of the very narrow beauty standard that she saw everywhere.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Unconditional Love

We live in a world today where our culture tends to base a persons worth on superficial things like a persons level of success, beauty or based on what kind of possessions a person owns. We quickly adapt to our environments and as we grow up we start to view others and ourselves through this lens. We believe that to matter, to be accepted, appreciated and loved we need to perform well and constantly achieve more and more. We quickly forget that every single person on this Earth has great value. Humans need to be active to be healthy physically, spiritually and emotionally but it's important that we remember that our achievements are not what give us our value. We are of great value because of who we are, not because of what we do.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Healthy Monday

I had a relaxing weekend and treated myself to some pizza and Lemon Meringue Pie on Sunday. Today I wanted to get back to my healthy routine again so I started my day with a morning walk.

It was so sunny and warm outside this morning that it felt more like 1st of April than 1st of February. Today was a good day to get a dosage of daylight and vitamin D.

I took a walk down to the little pond nearby, one of my favorite places during winter season. The kids usually go ice skating here during winter but this year it has been too warm for the ice to get thick enough to skate on.

My favorite healthy snack right now is an organic granola bar and a green smoothie. I like to mix together 1 banana, half of an avocado, some spinach, 1 mango, some almond milk and a little bit of fresh mint into a very tasty smoothie.

Where You Are

When you decide to go to church in your pyjamas

On Sunday morning I wasn't feeling very well so I decided to go to church in my pyjamas, in other words I went to church online. I love that many churches live broadcast their church services these days so that you can catch the service with the music and everything from wherever you are on planet Earth. I like to watch church online at

The services that are currently live broadcasted from Elevation Church are the following:

Saturday 5:00 PM (EST)

Sunday 9:30 AM (EST) and 11:30 AM (EST)