Wednesday, May 23, 2018


I have found myself many times in this place.  My rooftop has become my sanctuary.  My place of worship, praise and prayer and yet times of wonder and emptiness.  I have seen brilliant sunrises and watched beautifully painted skies descend behind mountaintops.  I have watched dark clouds form while rain showered distant hills. Some nights I have escaped with my love to gaze upon stars,  make wishes and dream big dreams together.   I have laid at the altar of His throne here weeping, rejoicing and praising.  

This tree symbolizes God’s faithfulness in the seasons we enter. Recently I have watched the leaves drop and new growth appear.  It was almost overnight that this tree was full of life again.  I love how God allows us to shed old leaves to make room for new life.  No matter how long this tree has been here or will be, it must go through this process.  Shedding old to have new life, new growth.  

I sat here in front of this tree 3 years ago with the devastating news that Lily was chosen for another family.  I kneeled here and begged God for His best for her life.  I worshipped and thanked Him for allowing us to be that family. And now, I am yet again completely undone by His unfailing love and blessing as Lily was approved for a visitors’ visa to Canada!  Thank you Lord for seasons of new growth. Canada look out, because you have one seriously excited little girl coming!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

New Life

One of the most beautiful expressions of a fathers' love was witnessed in a humble block home.  A man in his wheelchair  reached up to pray a blessing upon his 17 year old daughter who was in labour.  For months she has carried the burden of this unborn child.  Every visit we had, her head hung low in shame and tears would flow down her cheeks and every time she looked at her sick, crippled father, the regret only grew deeper.  She felt ashamed, regretful embarrassed and an inconvenience. The phone call came in yesterday afternoon that the labour pains had started.  I volunteered to be on standby as a support.

I felt so helpless as I drove her down the bumpy road as fast as I could.  Coaching her to breathe during each contraction, I was reminded of the birth my children.  My husband was amazing in getting me to where I needed to go.  And I knew that I would be in good care upon arrival.  So far from the reality I faced with this precious young girl.
Upon arrival at the hospital we tripped over a construction site only to find a long corridor filled with patients waiting to be seen.  The tiny room where they took her vitals wreaked of urine and feces.  I gagged as I stood on the sideline waiting patiently for them to move her along.  We were directed to sit in the hall on an unstable wooden bench across from 4 other young teenage pregnant girls.  They were there for simple checkups.  My girl clenched her fist tight with every labour pain as I gently stroked her back.  I was confused.  Why was she not being attended too.  A lady a few feet away writhed in pain and a young 3 year old boy screamed on the floor clasping his broken arm.  I didn't know where to look but down. Dirty cotton scattered the floor and the little curtain that hung in the doorway was bloodstained and grimy. The sound of pounding cement and jackhammer might of drowned out the noise of the pain inside.  But I still heard it.  It was chaotic and felt like a bit of hell.  I had to get out.  I couldn't stand the suffering.  I stood to look out the tiny window fighting to hold back every tear.  "Lord please don't ever let me forget this experience", I prayed.  The comforts of home seemed too far away in that moment, but I knew I would climb back in my car and head back to it.  But so many people don't.

After hours of waiting, the doctor sent her home.  False labour. He said she was too early.  With purchased medicine we climbed back into the car to go home. I wasn't completely confident over the diagnosis, but trusted God had His hand on these precious lives.  Two days later I received another message only this one with the news that she welcomed her baby girl into this world.

As I visited the other day, I watched the family surround this young mom with joy, love and support. I love that we serve a God that loves us no matter where we've been and welcomes us stained by sin and raises our chin and tells us He dearly loves us.

Friday, June 2, 2017

My Normal

I just want to feel normal, I told her as I sat in the airport waiting for my flight. I literally erupted in laughter as my friend responded over text with "you are a Canadian living in Guatemala on donations, with a backyard full of birds and chickens,  neighbours that kidnap your dog and hold them for ransom, and you drive around on a moto with perfect posture while wearing a gas mask.  You will never be normal." I have often thought back on those words last December as those feelings surface from time to time.

 Part of the journey living here in Guatemala has been finding a new normal.  A new way of speaking, grocery shopping, preparing food, dressing, exercising, doing church and the list goes on.  Balancing the extremes of great wealth mixed with extreme poverty and trying to make sense of it all.  My mom was just down visiting and asked the million dollar question.  "How do you balance it?"  Time for the truth.  I am still trying to figure it out.  I feel like it's never enough; that I'm never enough.  And the truth is, it never will be nor will I.  I pray everyday that I am a good steward of the gifts God has given me.   He has blessed us abundantly and  we have a responsibility to share our blessing with others.  I can't feel bad and own the burdens of what I see, but with prayer I can share what God has given to me.

We try and teach our kids this life lesson as well and yet I am learning so much from them.  One day while out doing our weekly soup/food drop for 2 of our local widows, Max taught me not only to bless but bring my best.  My oldest son has started his own chicken farm project.  He is raising chickens, selling eggs as well as birds for meat consumption. A simple poster taped to our front door is his marketing strategy. Week after week his sales were low and he was feeling discouraged after making a large investment.  He asked me that day if he could join me for the rounds.  To my surprise he ran and grabbed his prized hen.  It was so huge it could have had it's own seat in the car. I mean huge like flapping feathers in my face as I drove.  As we bounced along the bumpy road, he referenced a biblical story of sacrificing the best sheep.  He said that God had given him an opportunity that many don't have and that it was time to give to God what belongs to Him.  This was Friday night.  Upon arriving home, the door would not stop calling.  By Sunday, Max sold all his birds.

Today while I was out doing my rounds I just may have stepped in human feces as I delivered soup,  I   was chased by an angry goose, I stood in a dark smoke filled shack, held weathered dirty hands, was labelled 'gringa' by kids in the street, and was stared down as I went looking for a lady in the dump community.  All of this may sound abnormal or call it crazy but it's my normal and I will never be the same.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Family Matters

The adoption journey for us has been a crazy one to say the least.  When we got Lily back in August 30, 2016, I thought most of the difficult journey was over.  In reality it separated our family from being complete for nearly six months.  Whether it was myself working in Canada to sustain my status with the school board, Mandy visiting family and sponsors, Max studying in high school, Gabe and Mercedes travelling to and from Guatemala with mom or dad, or running fundraising events each time Mandy or myself would have to stay in Guatemala with Lily while the other travelled.  This fragmentation of our family was premature.  Despite the discomfort created, God used this opportunity to shape us a bit as we were put to the fire yet again.

We are now entering the next set of battles that need to be conquered: the jostling of sibling position; living as a biracial family in an almost pure latino environment; eliminating contact between Lily and the orphanage as she establishes our family as being home; gathering all legal documents to apply for a Canadian visa; and living as a family unit that has jumped into having a family member being in the toddler stage.  Regardless of all of life's challenges we know as a family that we are doing this together.  Breaking up the troops is not an option, at least until the time is right to deploy one from the platoon for their next set of battles into adulthood.  We give praise daily for our family and what lies on the road ahead.  To God be the glory, for the great things He has done and still is doing.

Friday, November 4, 2016


"Don't trip at the finish line"...he says. Now he's speaking my language. Being a long distance runner, I know full well that the last leg of the race is by far the toughest. It's in the last few km I just want to give up, stop, quit. This past week has been by far the toughest week while Matt has been away. I wanted to give up, quit and stop on a few occasions. The subtle whispers of 'why are you here, you will never make a difference'. The green eye monster that envies someone else's life style and the struggles go on and on. And I press in closer to His Word and have felt more of His love than ever before. I had the most intense dream the other night. I was being crucified. And I woke up hardly able to breathe. It was so crazy real to me all I could feel was a weight on me. I realized that the Lord is ever so near in times of pain and struggle. The enemy may try to trip us up but we have Christ's power in us. It was a beautiful reminder that my sin is crucified on the cross and that I am covered in Jesus' redemptive blood.
As much as these last two months at times have felt lonely, my prayer was to grow deeper with God. To love Him more than my marriage and children. I have experienced the most intimate times with God and in that have grown closer to my husband. Seventy five days have passed since I saw my children last and sixty five since I have seen my husband. And all the while people would make remarks of 'I don't know how you do it'. The truth is I didn't want to nor could I alone. When we re-set our lives for Him and focus on what is in front of us and do the very best with what we have, anything is possible. Now hurry up and come home FAMILY!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

~Lily Grace~

I praise the name of Jesus!  I shout it from the rooftops that my God is a God of divine purpose.  It is all for His glory we worship Him.  He has found favour with us and is faithful.  May this story be a testimony of His goodness.  We aren't good enough.  We never will be!  But with faith we can come humbly before His throne and ask and He will listen.  I don't feel like I deserve this privilege to mother this beautiful girl.  The reality is it's nothing that we did, but God's ultimate favour and the story He is unfolding through Lily Grace.  I wake up every morning with the sweetest treasure at my bedside.  The gentle whisper of 'mommy' that I have waited for 2 years to hear.  Two years of praying, fighting, hoping and dreaming.  There came a time where my hopes faded to dreams and my dreams faded to numbness.  I wondered if God still heard the prayers from my rooftop.  The alter that I fell upon over and over as I asked "why God, when God?"  God took me on a journey of trusting Him and praising Him through the pain that I felt.  Where I recognized that everything is His.
We brought Lily home August 30th.  It was like she had been waiting her life to come home.  We sat anxiously in the CNA office that we frequented many times with lots of questions and little answers.  That Tuesday was different.  It was filled with much anticipation and excitement that felt surreal. We finally had an answer and it was YES!
paper signing

adventures at the zoo

It has been 21 days since I've seen my children, 11 days since I have seen my husband and 12 days since Lily has come home.  And it is really just the beginning.  Since Lily doesn't have papers to travel yet, Matt went on home to work for 2 months with the intent to apply for an unpaid adoption leave from the DSBN.  Our kids are attending school back in Canada for the time until they return with Matt.  I know there has been a lot of confusion with our family status but everything is complicated and a process so we prayerfully walk one step at a time trusting God through every decision.   There are days that I wonder how I am going to do this and then I remember that God is always with me and it's in His strength that all things are possible.  The truth is I can't do this on my own.  Being a single mom to a 3 yr old in Canada would be hard enough let alone here in Guatemala. I am very quickly remembering what it takes to raise a 3 yr old.  The other day I turned around for 2 minutes and Lily fed an almost entire pizza to our dog.  Needless to say, Lily is our dog's best friend and Samson will let her ride on his back like a horse.  Part of our time has been spent   ministering to the local widows and the other day I watched Lily's tiny hand reach up on top of Lucilla's head as she laid her hand upon her to pray.  I am so very thankful to Shadow of His Wings Orphanage for the biblical teaching and the inpouring of the Holy Spirit and for her house parents that taught her to pray.

I was home in Canada for a very short visit.  We were celebrating my parents 40th wedding anniversary and I had the honour to preach for the first time at church.  I love how God shows up.  My family was all gathered on the rocks of Port Elgin beach for a picture and my son Max came running over to me and said "mom look what I found.."  It was a rock that had the word HOPE written in bold red letters.  Hope that the sacrificed Lamb promises.  Hope that even the rocks shout out.  God reached out and spoke to me that day.  That He is the Hope of this world and that with faith in Him, mountains will move! I often don't have the words to describe the feelings of what I have experienced.  I love what Pastor Isaac Wimberley shared in "Jesus is Forever"
"So it's not just words that I proclaim, for my words point to The Word and The Word has a name.
Hope has a name
Joy has a name
Peace has a name
Love has a name and that name is Jesus Christ!
Praise His name forever!

Monday, March 7, 2016

I would never have imagined it......

I would never have imagined it.  I kick started my motor bike early this morning and took off with nothing but wind in my hair and dust at my heels.  I never would have thought my morning commute to work would involve a mouthful of bugs,  traffic jams of cows filing along the long windy road, and road kill of lizards and squished snakes.  (eek,  as I lift my feet out from under me)  The rolling mountains in the distance, the haze of smoke from fires burning fields and the oh' so glorious sunshine warming the cool, early morning.  There was a time when I actually did my hair before work.  Now this disheveled mop comes in the office with a layer of dust from head to toe.

I used to drive up to the parking lot in my humble mini van to work at Inn on the Twenty.  I detested the idea of becoming a 'mini van driving mom'.  I was way cooler than that.  I would pull in beside the row upon row of sporty looking cars and drool a little.  I thought to myself,  this mini van driving mama will upgrade.  One day I will be successful enough to afford it. I even had planned out what my license plate would say. Those days seem so far removed from any of my surroundings here in Monjas.  God is in the business of changing people and this heart of mine.

I love when teams come full of first timers.  I get to see things that I would otherwise be desensitized to.  A new lens to see.  Whether it's a passing motorist with a calf.. yes a calf on a moto, or the extreme impoverished homes we enter.  Eyes are opened.  We had a time of sharing around a fire at our home last week.  A night of devotion and reflection.  I love how one man spoke up and shared how just before he came to Guatemala, he was complaining that his french fries were cold.  Nothing wrong with wanting hot food that was paid for, but this thought fell on the heels of visiting a dear old lady in our community.  She had such a headache when we showed up to deliver a food basket earlier that afternoon .  She hadn't eaten yet that day.  The next stop .... baby Jeffery who just a few short weeks ago was literally starving to death.  Bringing the food is just a means to step through the threshold of their homes.  It's an obvious need that is met from time to time with our teams, but the greatest joy is bringing the love and gospel of Jesus. God isn't just wanting us to exist. He is calling us to be holy.   It is waking up everyday and choosing to make God first, spending time with our creator, and allowing Him to use us.  And the mission field is wherever you are!

I loved my work back home as a stylist.  I never really thought about how it was impacting God's kingdom.  From time to time I would share my faith when it felt safe.  I strived for success driven by a need to be recognized.  I stumbled my way through comparisons and pride.  I now know it doesn't matter where I live, what I drive or what I do.  I'm not saying that wanting to be successful and striving to do well are wrong.  It's a heart check, one that I know I needed.