Thursday, September 29, 2016


No matter what you've heard, this is what you're worth
More than all the money or the diamonds and pearls
Oh this is who you are
Yea this is who you are

So when it's late, you're wide awake
Too much to take
Don't you dare forget that in the pain
You can be brave, hear me say

I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you (oh so priceless)

You are fully loved

Each one of us are fully loved by God but it's often hard to live loved when we don't feel loved. On most days in our lives we feel a bit guilty, sad, ashamed, insecure, hurt, lonely and left out. How can we live loved when we feel rejected in life?

Lysa Terkeurst has put together a six-session DVD-Study based on her new book Uninvited. Lysa explains that rejections from our past can affect our everyday lives, but rejection doesn't have to get the final say over our lives. We can learn to live from a place of love rather than constantly trying to achieve acceptance and approval from other people. Even if we spend our lives doing good things; helping others, loving those around us and serving the poor, we will constantly feel drained if we do all these things to get acceptance and appreciation from others. When our souls become filled up with God's love which is unconditional, relentless, unfailing and something we never have to earn, we can start living from a place of feeling accepted and loved at the start of every new day. We no longer have to walk around on this Earth hungry for love and settling for scraps of love given to us by others.

When we come to God daily and let him fill us up with His unconditional, unfailing love we can go into the world filled up, no longer empty on the inside. When we start living every new day from a place of love and acceptance, knowing that we are loved and accepted by God, we can walk freely through life. We can now love others freely, we are no longer fighting for their acceptance and approval.

The broken world we live in will always try to hold us back from living loved, but if we remember to turn our focus to our instructor in life, God, He will quiet our fears, give us rest, help us grow and fill up our souls with His unfailing love. Rejection doesn't have to get the final say over our lives.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Our self-image is important

Pastor Dharius Daniels preaches a great sermon about feeling inadequate, self-image and our purpose in this video from Code Orange Revival. Dharius Daniels talks about how revival is a space where God reintroduces himself to us but it’s also a space where God gets to reintroduce us to ourselves. Dharius says that there is a you that you haven’t met yet that God wants to introduce to you. There is a wiser you, a stronger you, a peaceful you, a you that has unused potential that you are still unaware of at this point. God doesn’t want you to stay stuck in your past, he wants to introduce you to the new you.

My self-image is important

The way we see God will always impact the way we see ourselves. The more we encounter God and understand how good and loving He is, the more we will love and value ourselves as a result of that. The more we love God the more will also love ourselves.

Pastor Dharius Daniels talks about how God reintroducing us to ourselves isn’t only about us feeling good about ourselves, it is all about God getting us ready for our assignment. We can’t serve God well before we love and value who we are. Why? Because when we sign up to serve God many things will come against us and try to take us down. The enemy will work hard at trying to destroy what God is building through us. When our identity has become secure and anchored in Christ nothing will be able to come against us and succeed at taking us down.

If I’m going to be able to fulfill my purpose in life I first need to have a proper perception of who I am. Before I can figure out what I was created to do I need to know who I am. Dharius explains that the course and quality of our lives are not only determined by how we see God, it is also determined by how we see ourselves. The Bible is full of verses where God tells his people who we are. God tells us: you are special, you are chosen, you are called, you are blessed, you are light. If we don’t know who God is and what we mean to Him it will easily become our past mistakes and things other people have said about us that we will base our self-image upon. The day we finally understand how precious we are to God nothing in our past will be able to hold us back from fulfilling our purpose any longer, we will become unstoppable because we serve a God who is unstoppable.

My personal calling

I also like what Dharius Daniels says about the importance of me following God’s call on my life. We often see somebody else do something in life that worked for them so we try to do the same thing in our own lives. Dharius points out that just because one thing has worked in somebody else’s life doesn’t mean it will work for you. I need to make sure I’m following God’s call on my life and not copying other people. God has created me for a unique purpose, it is not going to look exactly the same as it does for someone else. I need to make sure I’m following God, not other people. I’m unique and God’s plan for me is unique, it doesn’t look the same as somebody else’s calling. In other words: “Don’t do what other people do, do what God calls you to do.

Monday, September 26, 2016

3 things I love about Fall

1.Taking the ferry boat to the Toronto Islands.

The Toronto Islands are popular in the summer but my favorite time to visit the islands is in the fall when it's a lot less busy out there. I love strolling in the parks on the islands with family and friends and enjoying the beautiful views of the city.

2. Going hiking.

I love being able to enjoy hiking again as the fall arrives. Nature only gets more and more beautiful as the trees start to change colors.

3. The clothes.

Finally it's cold enough outside to wear jeans again (my favorite piece of clothing) and to cozy up with long tights and sweatshirts. Today it's rainy outside and I plan to spend my evening relaxing with a cup of my favorite tea and lit a few candles. Did I mention that I love living in a country with 4 different seasons and that fall happens to be my favorite season of all? :)

Everlasting Father

Even when I wander far
Your presence never leaves me
Your voice of mercy calls me home
Draws me close

Everlasting Father
Enduring love forever
Your kindness makes me stronger
You run to me
You run to me

Why Read the Bible?

Why should I read the Bible? The Bible is more than 2000 years old, how could this book possibly have anything relevant to teach me today? These are some common questions surrounding the Bible. On the other hand, it's quite fascinating that a book that is more than two thousand years old is still a bestseller today. This book is not 100 or 500 years old but 2000 years old, that in itself is pretty incredible to me. Every time I read through one of the books in the Bible I'm surprised by how little has changed over the past 20 centuries. We still have the same problems. Us humans have a tendency to be self-centered and foolish, which leads us to repeat the same mistakes over and over again, century after century.

People in the Bible hurt each other through wars, cheating, stealing, murder etc. and we do the same things today. It's the human condition. When we try to rule the world all by ourselves we quickly get led astray by greed, selfishness and pride. You could say we do a terrible job when we try to take God's role in the universe. We aren't very good at loving each other and getting along. It makes sense I guess. Imagine you let your children live all by themselves without the help and guidance from their parents, they would self-destruct pretty quickly. In the end we are all children in a big universe and on our own we are lost and helpless. Whether we like to admit it to ourselves or not, we need God.

When I read through the whole Bible for the first time I was annoyed by how stupid the people where in my opinion. It's easy to look back at history and see how the people should have done this instead of that and so on. It's a whole different story to make the right choices in your own life. The wonderful thing with the Bible is that it's full of people who made foolish choices and ended up in big trouble as a result of that, but God had mercy on them and as they turned back to God and cried out to him for mercy he saved them and put their broken lives back together.

The good news is that although nothing has changed when it comes to our human problems neither has God changed. Twenty centuries may sound like a long time for us humans but it's not a long time for God. God is still the same today and he offers us the same love, mercy and grace as he offered the people back in Israel many generations ago. When we come to Him he starts to soften our hardened hearts and he starts to heal what's broken inside of us piece by piece.

God's love for each one of us is the most beautiful thing we can experience during a lifetime on this Earth, no love is greater than this. No matter what we have done or where we have been we are never too broken or too far gone for God. Our Father in heaven loves each one of us with an unfailing unconditional love. He can restore anything that is broken and redeem anything that was once lost. Having seen these sentences become true in their own lives is what makes people raise their hands and sing really loud in churches all around the world.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Making Memories

We took a drive to Toronto Premium Outlets, we watched the Finland-Sweden hockey game at Air Canada Center and we took the ferryboat to the Toronto Islands. It's been so much fun to have Mom and Dad visit us in Toronto for the past two weeks. Their visit made me realize how much I love and appreciate my family and how wonderful it is that I can be friends with my parents as an adult. As a child I grew up watching my Mom and Dad have a close friendship with my Grandfather and Grandmother and today my husband and I have a similar friendship with my Mom and Dad. Life is so short and I want to make sure I value all the time I get with my loved ones. During these past two weeks we have made many wonderful memories that I will treasure forever.

The Word

The Word of God gives me peace and wisdom, it anchors my soul on days when I feel stressed, confused, insecure or worried. Here are three of my favorite passages from my Bible readings this week:

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.
Psalm 31:19-20 NLT

The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you."
Psalm 32:8 NLT

Walks in nature help me relax

Ever since I moved to Toronto six years ago walks in nature have become one of my favorite ways to relax. I strive towards getting 2-3 nature walks into my schedule each week. Time spent in nature helps me stay balanced and feeds my soul.

My husband and I dream of buying kayaks one day. I feel like going kayaking together would be a fun and relaxing way to spend time together as a couple. I doubt we will prioritize buying the kayaks this year but it is fun to dream about the future, for now we will stick to nature walks, biking and hiking.

Monday, September 19, 2016

4x7: Coryn Epps

Coryn Epps shares her story at Oasis Church in Los Angeles. Coryn talks about how she spent many years of her life building her identity based on the praises and attention she got from other people. Coryn was chasing happiness in all the wrong places and over time she ended up in a hopeless place. Coryn developed an eating disorder and depression and was wondering what her purpose was in life. After learning about Jesus everything changed and Coryn was able to take the same passion she had felt toward pursuing success and apply it toward loving other people.

Growing Stronger

Jennie Lusko teaches a great sermon in this video called "Growing Stronger". Jennie talks about how we have to learn to fight if we want to grow stronger in our souls. Working out to build a strong body isn't easy. It's easy to lay on the couch and eat donuts, it's difficult to get up early before work and head to the gym. We have to fight if we want stronger bodies and the same way we have to fight if we want stronger souls.

The first thing we might ask ourselves is "Why?". Why do we need to continue to grow in life, why can't we just chill and float through life? We need to keep growing to make sure we are not wasting our lives and to make a difference while we are here. When our lives are over we will be leaving something behind for our children and the next generation so the question is: "What do I want to leave behind, what do I want my legacy to be?" We can ask ourselves what kind of old person we want to become one day. Most of us probably want to become a loving, gentle, joyful and grateful old person rather than a bitter, angry and self-centered old person. The second question we can ask ourselves is: "What can I do this year to make sure I'm taking steps towards becoming that old person one day?" Research has shown that even the most introverted person will impact and influence around 10 000 people over the course of one life. How we choose to live matters.

Jennie Lusko talks about how we can learn to fight for our own soul, our relationships and our everyday lives. Jennie also talks about how we can fight through the trouble that will come our way during a lifetime on Earth. Jennie shares a little bit about her own worst experience with pain so far, when her daughter Lenya died, and how she got through that very painful time in her life.

The Story Behind The Song

Through Your Eyes

Friday, September 16, 2016

Spending time with friends & family

I've had a couple of wonderful weeks with friends and family coming to visit us in Toronto. It's so fun to get to spend a lot of time with your loved ones. I don't get to see my friends and family from Finland very often since I moved abroad six years ago so when we get to see each other it's a party every day!

The weather has been great in Toronto this month so it's been fun to be able to eat dinner outside on the patio and show our guests the city. We get to do a lot of different things together because we all like different activities. My mom wants to go shopping, my dad wants to go see a hockey game and I want to go hiking. When you mix all these different activities together it becomes a very fun and relaxing vacation. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Don't find a job, find a mission

Celeste Headlee gives a great TED talk about finding the dream job. Nine out of ten people in America don't like their jobs, so it's safe to say that we are terrible at choosing the right job. Research shows that we tend to pick our jobs based on things like how much money we will make or how close to home the job is situated. None of these factors have been linked to happiness at work. Out of all the different factors that affect how happy we are at work the most important factor is purpose. People who feel that their work has significance and meaning are more than 3 times as likely to stay in their jobs and they also have higher job satisfaction and are more engaged at work.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


The boot camp of spiritual growth

God's ultimate goal for all humans is to soften our hearts and to make us more and more like Jesus every year; loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. Code Orange Revival is an event at Elevation Church where different pastors and Christian speakers from all over the world visit Elevation and speak on different topics that can help us grow. Code Orange Revival is a little bit like a boot camp for spiritual growth.

Christine Caine speaks on the topic of timing in this sermon. Most of us are fully aware of our personal issues that we need to work on but instead of dealing with our issues today we say "tomorrow". We postpone dealing with our issues until tomorrow or until next year. Personal growth is uncomfortable, a bit scary and quite inconvenient, so we put it off until tomorrow and let our issues continue to mess up our lives. We let our relational issues sit there undealt with and one day they may ruin our marriages and lead to divorce. We let our financial issues be postponed until next year and one day they may grow so big that personal bankruptcy is the only option left. Change is always possible with God. God is willing & able to change us and heal us but it starts with us saying "I am willing". I will deal with this issue today, not tomorrow. What issue in your life is plaguing you like the frogs in the story about Pharaoh?

Most of us sincerely want a breakthrough in our lives, we want to see a change but we keep coming up with excuses why we can't do it today or why we are too busy to deal with our issues this year. Freedom is awaiting us and God did not create us to live in bondage. God wants to set each one of us free from what is holding us back in our lives. It all starts with me deciding to take that step of faith and say: "Today is the day to deal with this issue".

It is also good to remember that the enemy wants to keep us stuck in the past, so instead of beating ourselves up for not changing we can be aware of the reality that there is a power working against us. We have the power to choose who we follow. We can either choose to keep listening to the voice in our head that says: "You will never succeed at this so don't even try it" or "You will never change". We can choose to listen to God who says: "For I know the plans I have for you. Plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11) God has the power to heal every broken thing within us. The enemy's goal is to kill, steal and destroy every good thing in our lives. We get to choose who we will give our allegiance to, the enemy or God.

Monday, September 12, 2016

God & Community

Why do we need community? What role do others play in our spiritual growth? The Curiosity Collective brings together thought leaders, subject matter experts, pastors, and theologians to explore these questions.

Coming Home

Pastor Charlotte Gambill from Life Church in the United Kingdom teaches a sermon about God's house, the church. Many of us can sometimes find ourselves spiritually homeless, we are lost and drifting around in life. Sometimes we are lost because we don't know that God even exists but other times we are drifting because we have a consumer attitude towards the church. We come to church with a check list and if the church doesn't live up to all our expectations on it we will move on to another church. We might stay in one church for awhile but when we start to disagree on something with other people within the church we quit and move on. We are looking for a perfect church and we will never find it, just like we will never find a perfect person to marry. God's house, the church, is filled with imperfect broken people seeking God so it's always going to be an imperfect place.

I sometimes hear people say "I'm a Christian but I don't need a church, other Christians annoy me so I don't want to go to church." The problem with us deciding to love God but to avoid his people is that one of God's main commands for us is to love each other. God isn't calling us to love only those who agree with us on everything, who have the same hobbies as us and have the same priorities in life.

It is difficult to love people who are different than us. We are drawn to people who are exactly like us because loving them takes less effort. Loving people who are different than us takes effort, maturity and commitment. We are always tempted to quit a romantic relationship when it gets difficult rather than to stay and figure things out, the same way we can be tempted to quit church every time we disagree with others on something or feel like the church isn't living up to all our personal preferences.

Sometimes God calls us to move, to leave a relationship or a church and go somewhere else, but often he calls us to stay. It is very tempting to quit when life gets uncomfortable. Staying planted in one place can be one of the most difficult things in life but it's also one of the things that will grow us the most. There are some lessons that can not be learned any other way. There are also gifts that God wants to bless us with that he can't send us before we have set our roots down in a church. God knows that without the support, encouragement and wisdom from the church we won't be able to use the gifts well. We were built for community and on our own we can only grow so much. God chose people to be his hands and feet on Earth, we will not flourish in isolation.

God's house is the church and it can become the place where we belong, a place where we learn, get help, advise and wisdom, but if we keep looking for the perfect church we will never find it. God's aim is to transform our hard hearts and to make us more and more like Jesus, this will definitely be an uncomfortable ride at times. Life outside of our comfort zones can be difficult, scary and very inconvenient at times, but those who decide to stay planted will experience a growth that they would not have been able to attain any other way.

It's Not Over Yet

Monday, September 5, 2016

A Social Media Break

I'm so excited, tomorrow one of my friends from Finland is coming to visit me in Toronto and on Saturday my Mom and Dad will be arriving in Toronto. I want to make the most out of this time with friends and family so I will take a social media break for the rest of the week. I know updating your social media accounts often is considered important in today's culture, but if you ask me I say: "Life's too short to update your social media every single day of your life, especially when the people you love are coming to visit!" :) Have a good week everyone!

The Minimalist Apartment

I love Youtuber Rachel Aust's minimalism videos, in this video she gives us a tour of her minimalist apartment. I like decorating our home according to a very minimalist style, I love the feeling of a clutter-free airy home filled with only our favorite things. When it comes to accessories I tend to focus on filling our home with pictures of family members or paintings with quotes that inspire me. Cleaning the home becomes a lot easier when there is less clutter in every room.

Relationships & Breakups

Chelsea Crockett and Lysa TerKeurst talk about breakups and rejection in different types of relationships. Rejection hurts us deeply, whether it's in a romantic relationship, a friendship or in your family. Chelsea and Lysa talk about what we can learn from rejection and how changing our view of breakups will enable us to go through the breakup without having a breakdown. Lysa also points out that what we learn from each breakup we can bring with us into the next relationship and we can let it make us even more kind and loving in that relationship.

Power to Redeem

Alan's Legacy

As I was reading the news story about Alan Kurdi's family and how they are doing one year after Alan's tragic death it made me think about where I should be going next. We were all upset one year ago and like the Toronto Star writes the conscience of Canada and the world was awaken to the Syrian refugee crisis after the news about 3-year-old Alan's death. Alan's aunt Tima Kurdi, who lives in Canada, says in the Toronto Star's September,2 2016 issue: "It was very hard and emotional for me with the reality we live it, that it took a tragedy until somebody would take action,"Kurdi said. "It's the power from God to wake up the world to help the suffering people," added Kurdi.

My husband and I decided to get together with a small Anglican church in Toronto and privately sponsor a family of four Syrian refugees to come to Canada last fall. Together we were able to raise enough money to sponsor this family with a mom, a dad, a toddler and a baby to come to Canada and to support them in every way for a full year. You can't help everyone, but you can help someone.

As the new school year begins next week it's time for us to start thinking about what our role should be for the upcoming year. As Christians we all carry a great responsibility on our shoulders, from the day we become saved by Christ we no longer live for ourselves, we live to serve God and to follow in Jesus' footsteps. God loves us dearly and because he loves us he saved us and healed us, but he didn't save us just so we could go on living "happily ever after" as saved Christians. God wants us to live joy-filled lives but our lives are no longer just about us. God saved us because He loves us, but God also saved us so that through us He can save and heal others. God doesn't just love us, He loves the whole world.

Every year each one of us has a responsibility to think about how we are spending our time, money, resources and gifts in our lives this year. How much are we spending on ourselves and how much are we spending on helping others? God blesses us so that we can bless others, not just keep it all to ourselves. Every year my husband and I make a plan for how we want to use what we have been given in three different categories. We ask ourselves: "What should we focus on in our inner circle, in our community and internationally this year?" Each year we want to take part in some form of outreach project internationally and in our own city where we live. We also ask ourselves what our focus should be in our inner circle this year. Who is going through a tough time among our family and friends this year that we might need to prioritize above others? What outreach program that does work internationally do we want to focus on supporting this year? What outreach project can we support and volunteer at in our own city this year?

It's a big world and we can't do everything. It's wise to pick three or four outreach projects per year where we can volunteer and support the ministry, more than that and the quality of the work will go down. When we all come together supporting different organizations and volunteering at different positions, together we will make a big impact. From the day God saves our souls our lives become a mission, a mission to serve the poor and needy around us wherever we are. Complacency is no longer an option available. Jesus demands us to love our neighbors as ourselves and we love others by serving them. Who will you serve and fight for this year?

Love your inner circle, love your city & love the world. That's the "job description" for life on this Earth.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Summer Moments

Today it's September 1st and next week the fall season starts. Last Weekend my husband and I enjoyed one of the last weeks of summer by taking a trip to Cobourg on Friday evening.

We got the chance to enjoy a nice evening swim in Lake Ontario in Victoria Park.

The beach has been "my gym" during the summer months, biking and swimming are my favorite workouts during summer. I love going to the beach in the evening so that I can take a 30-45 min workout swim in the lake and enjoy nature at the same time.

After I'm done with my swim I like to sit on the beach for a while and enjoy the beautiful sunset.

My favorite healthy breakfast during summer has been a bowl of Greek yogurt with a mountain of fresh fruit and berries on top. I've had this same breakfast on most days during the months of June, July and August.

On the weekends I've made it a tradition to treat myself to a sweet breakfast, usually a croissant or a maple pecan danish. I have enjoyed being able to have my breakfast in the park on Saturday mornings this summer.

After breakfast my husband and I like to take a stroll in our neighborhood and enjoy the summer breeze and being able to be outdoors.

Saturday mornings are very slow and relaxing at our house, a time to catch up and talk about what we've experienced during the week.

Next week when fall arrives it will be time to change out our summer routine with breakfasts in the park and beach trips for other things. I look forward to going on hikes in the fall and enjoying wearing something else than just dresses and skirts, I've hardly worn my jeans at all during the summer months.

The most exciting thing about the fall is that we will have guests from Finland come visit us in Toronto in September. I look forward to spending a lot of time with friends and family. I'm also very excited about our adoption journey entering a new stage this fall, we are getting closer and closer to getting to adopt our children every week. :)

Love The World

Give What You Want

During the last few weeks Steven and Holly Furtick have been teaching a series on relationships at Elevation Church called "The Other Half". This series brings up different topics that apply to not only romantic relationships but to relationships with friends, family, co-workers etc. The more we learn about relationships the better we can become at loving each other in this world.

In this sermon Holly Furtick teaches us about the rule of reciprocation. Here's a description of the sermon by Elevation Church: "When we keep score in our relationships, everyone loses. But since things are rarely 50/50, what are we supposed to do? How can we expect to receive what we need, when we feel like we're the only one giving? "