Thursday, June 30, 2016

Be One

We don't feel ready, we don't feel steady
Question what we really have to give

Stay where it's safer, claim faith but waiver
Is this how we're really meant to live?

We pray, but never move
We say, but never do

It's time to get our hands dirty
Be love, there's a whole lot of hurting

Calling all hearts, calling all hands
Calling all feet to take a stand

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Call: Clean Water for all

Scott Harrison was living "the good life" as a night club promoter in New York City for ten years until one day when he got enough of the party lifestyle. He had come to a point in his life where he felt completely emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. He had finally created the life he thought he always wanted, he had the BMW, the Rolex watches and the famous girlfriend but he wasn't content. He knew that he had to change his lifestyle completely and he started asking himself some tough life questions.

Scott started reading a Christian book that his Dad had sent him which helped him rediscover his faith that he had abandoned as a rebellious teenager. Scott's faith was no longer only something he was raised in, it was becoming his own. He became more and more aware of the big lifestyle change he needed to make. He no longer wanted to be the "party boy" who would have fun by taking cocaine.

Scott started asking himself what it would look like to live a life where he would serve others rather than serve himself. Scott went on a spiritual journey from that point on and today he is the founder of the organization Charity:Water. The organization builds wells and works to provide clean water in areas of the world where people have to walk for many hours to find water.

The Call: Caring for the poor, Adoption

This video features three different married couples who have been called to three very different lifestyles. The first couple are newlyweds and they have decided to move into a high needs neighborhood in order to be able to love and serve the poor in their city. They decided that one way that they could get to know their new neighbors was to invite them all to their wedding.

The second couple felt God calling them into adoption and have spent their lives inviting many children with different special needs to become a part of their family. The call on their lives means that they have had to sacrifice being able to go on nice vacations to the Caribbean, but instead they get to be apart of something that will make a lasting impact on the world.

The third couple is an older couple who are busier than ever during their retirement because they have started a non-profit. The organization is currently building a Children's clinic in Africa and serving the poor in the US. Their passion for missions is something they have in common as husband and wife, and it's what keeps them together and in love.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Day Trip to Cobourg

On Sunday we took a day trip to Cobourg, ON. I love visiting this cozy small town in Southern Ontario.

Cobourg has a nice sandy beach, the perfect place to enjoy an evening swim on a hot day.

Cobourg also has many nice little restaurants and cafes like this colorful place where you can enjoy some ice cream.

The town is built on the shores of Lake Ontario and has a big marina.

Summer is the perfect time to take little trips to different small towns, many towns that are asleep during winter come to life in the summer.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Your Dream is Your Destiny

Pastor Brian Houston from Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia gives an inspiring sermon about dreams in this video. Brian Houston talks about the importance of dreaming dreams and always having a vision for your future. I like what Brian says: "Anyone who loses their vision for the future, will always return to their past, and that's why you should never stop dreaming."

Brain Houston also talks about the importance of surrounding yourself with other dreamers who will encourage you. If you surround yourself with people who will laugh at your dream you will end up discouraged and stop believing that your dream can come true. Brian Houston points out that there are three things we will all need to see our dreams come true:

1.) The will to live.
2.) The will to succeed.
3.) The will to serve.

Your Love Awakens Me

It's a very exciting season of growth in our community church right now, our church is on fire! :) During the last couple of weeks 207 new people have signed up to serve in anything between parking cars in the parking lot to volunteering at the shelter for the homeless in the community. It's so exciting to be a part of a community of people who are not afraid to step out of their comfort zone and sacrifice a few things to be able to help others. Seeing people embrace the call on their lives and abandoning their selfishness to live to love God and other people always gets me excited and filled with joy. God is truly on the move in the hearts of these people.

Hello Summer!

Monday June, 20th was the first official day of summer in Canada so on Friday we spent the evening down by the marina enjoying the first weekend of summer.

My husband wants to start taking sailing lessons soon he says.

I love taking a walk on the pier at sunset.

Ah, the beautiful summer sunsets, so peaceful.

On Friday we enjoyed a baby strawberry shortcake for dessert.

On Saturday it was time to celebrate my birthday with some summer drinks at Milestones.

I got a nice romantic card from my wonderful husband.

I decided I wanted to spend the afternoon and evening at Wasaga Beach, what better way is there to celebrate your birthday in June? :)

Wasaga Beach, I've missed you all winter long!

Not bad for the first weekend of summer. Next up, Canada Day weekend! The stores are already filled with everything from clothing to flowers in the colors red and white. :)

Friday, June 24, 2016

From the Day

From the day You saved my soul
'Til the very moment when I come home
I'll sing, I'll dance, my heart will overflow.

Small things that bring me joy

1. Healthy& tasty dinners

I try to keep my diet about 50% vegetarian so I love finding new inspiration for healthy and tasty vegan or vegetarian dinners. When I found this new vegan cooking book a while ago my dinners got much more interesting and tasty than before. I love Ella's recipes!

2. My morning coffee

I'm not fun to be around before I've had my first cup of morning coffee but afterwards you will find me with a big smile on my face. :) Homemade, organic and fairtrade morning coffee is the best!

3. Morning workouts

During the winter morning workouts require a lot of discipline, getting out of bed on a cold and dark morning isn't a whole lot of fun, but this time of year I absolutely love morning workouts! Many days it's way too hot to workout during the day so morning workouts are my favorite.

Summer in Toronto

4. Sunsets by the lake

There's no better way to end a hot summer day than hanging out by the lake at sunset if you ask me. Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How to approach God

Harrison Conley preaches a sermon about how we can approach God when we feel unworthy of his love. When we have been running away from God for a long time and done many things wrong we sometimes feel like we can't approach God. We feel guilt and shame over what we have done and believe that after all our mistakes God could never love or forgive us. The first thing we need to understand about God is that no human ever receives God's love or mercy because he/she has been so good, there is not even one perfect person on this Earth, we have all sinned against God. We all receive God's mercy, grace and love because of how good He is, not because we are so good people.

The second thing we need to know is that we come to God in humility. As long as we come to God blaming someone else for our mistakes or trying to justify what we have done wrong God can't forgive us. We receive God's mercy when we take responsibility for what we have done wrong and come to him with a humble heart.

The third thing we need to know is that we come to God in faith. If we don't believe that God will forgive us we won't come to him. If we believe that God couldn't love us after what we have done we will run away from God every time we mess up rather than run towards him. When we have enough faith to believe that God's love, mercy and grace will never fail we can come to him in confidence.

We also won't come to God for help if we don't believe that God can change us, so instead we try to hide our mistakes from God and other people. The more we get to know God's character the more we will understand that no mess is too big for God to help us out of. There are limits to what man can do, but with God nothing is impossible.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Why is there evil in the world?

God is on the move

Any time a heart turns from darkness to light
Any time temptation comes and someone stands to fight
Any time somebody lives to serve and not be served

Kat's journey from the New Age movement to Christ

Katherine was looking for spiritual answers in life and found an interest in the New Age movement. She kept trying to learn more and more about New Age but never felt satisfied or fulfilled. Katherine eventually decided to take a trip to Peru to spend some time with "the enlightened people". She was encouraged to try a drug that makes you hallucinate, and according to the New Age movement can help you get more "enlightened". Katherine's gut feeling told her to stay away from the drug so she never tried it.

Katherine ended up getting really sick during her trip to Peru and was in a lot of pain, both physical and mental pain. She couldn't get any rest or peace so she decided she wanted to end her life. As she was laying in bed she suddenly remembered the Bible and Jesus and cried out to God to help her. She instantly felt peace and relief and started crying and thanking God that night.

When Katherine got back home again she didn't want to let go of some of her New Age books but a friend encouraged her to get rid of them. Katherine eventually chose to completely let go of her New Age stuff and she could feel a weight lifting off her when she finally did.

Monday, June 20, 2016

My Weekend

On Sunday we celebrated Father's Day here in Canada and I got an opportunity to wear my new maxi dress. We went out for dinner to Milestones in Toronto.

I'm so proud of my husband who is an amazing dad to his two sons. One thing I love about our multicultural family is that we get to celebrate a lot of different holidays. Next weekend we are celebrating the Swedish holiday Midsummer's Eve and the weekend after that it's time to celebrate Canada Day. Life never gets boring in this Jamaican-Finnish-Swedish-Canadian family. :)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Through All Of It

I love that Colton Dixon decided to include people's life stories in the music video to his song "Through All Of It". It's amazing what we can make it through in life as long as we don't loose hope and stay close to God. Life won't be easy, but if we don't give up we will make it out on the other side of each storm stronger than ever.

How do you get through really hard stuff in life, like someone trying to murder you, cancer, eating disorder, or a death in the family? The people included in this video share their very personal stories.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Taking care of me

Things I like to do to "take care of me" this time of year is to take bike rides along the lakefront, treat myself to healthy breakfasts with fresh fruit and to prioritize time for rest every weekend. One of my favorite relaxing and restful things to do on a Saturday morning is to grab some croissants and coffee and have my breakfast in the park on a sunny summer morning. The month of June is definitely one of my favorite months of the year! :)

Doorways, Hallways and Gateways in life

I love this sermon by pastor Charlotte Gambill from Life Church in England. Charlotte shares great wisdom and encouragement in this sermon that will be helpful to anyone who has had a dream that died. This sermon will also be very helpful to anyone who is in a season of change in life right now. Whenever I'm tempted to give up on something I'm fighting for I go back and watch this sermon online to get my hopes back up and find the strength to keep moving forward.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Let's be nicer to ourselves (&others)!

You know that something is changing in society when you actually like a commercial and the message it sends. I love this commercial from Special K and I'm hoping that more brands will take a similar stand in the future. Brands can either choose to continue to add pressure on young women and contribute to something negative or choose to help us love ourselves. What matters more in the end, how much we can sell or how well we took care of each other during this short life?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Everything Comes Alive

In the evening when my bones are tired
You're my strength and my heart's desire
You're the light when the sun expires

I remember how far I've come
I'm not lost with You I'm home
I didn't find You on my own

I'm made alive
Now I'm by Your side
I've come alive
I've come aliv

Jesse and Kara's story

Darren and Heidi's Story

Friday, June 10, 2016

Who I Am

Turning down 
Tuning out
Every single word
That caused me pain
And unafraid
Cause I believe You mean it when You say 

I am strong
I am good enough
I belong
After all
Cause of what You've done

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What's the purpose of Marriage?

How to put together a capsule wardrobe

Do you want to start using a capsule wardrobe but don't know how to put one together? In this video from the Youtube-channel "Use Less" you can get some tips on how to pick out the pieces that you want to include in your capsule wardrobe. She also shares some of her ideas on where you can find style inspiration. Enjoy!

Virginia Beach

I think the pictures speak for themselves. Sun + the ocean + swimming + walks along the beach + good company = the best kind of rest and relaxation! :)

Monday, June 6, 2016

I Can't Believe

You gave your life upon the cross,
to make your home within my heart.

Oh what a faithful God you are,
your praise forever in my heart.

The rewrite of your life will take some time

Pastor Holly Wagner from Oasis Church in Los Angeles teaches a great sermon in this video called "Rewritten". I like what Holly says in the sermon: "God is more interested in your character than your comfort." Us humans are often very focused on building a comfortable life here on Earth and tend to sometimes ignore the things that God wants to change in us.

Three things that are important to remember when we are in the midst of a hard chapter of life is that change takes time. We are a generation who tend to give up quickly if we don't see instant results but God doesn't work according to our schedules. God's timing is always perfect, he is never early or late.

The second thing to remember is that we need to be careful who we listen to when we are going through a tough time. Some people will tell us that we will never change so why even bother, or that this difficult season is going to last a very long time. If we listen to these negative voices we will stop believing that things will get better. We need to surround ourselves with people who can encourage us. People who will push us to keep going and not give up up when life gets hard.

The third thing to remember is that while we are in the midst of a struggle we need to keep living. If we think that we can't enjoy life at all before the results we are waiting for comes to us we will miss out on a lot of joy and we might become depressed. Trust God in the midst of your struggle and keep living.

Cameron's Story

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Find Your Brave

"Find Your Brave" is the new book by pastor Holly Wagner. You can find the book and more content at #RefuseToSink