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my son..the almost teenager || ponderings by tracey

nov 11, 1997 in the afternoon, caleb michael joined the world.

the first born. the one you prepare so diligently for.

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i can relate with caleb on so many levels, being a first born and a more melancholic personality. it’s tough being the first born; you should know better - you’re older. because you are older than other siblings, you should be more responsible. and so on and so on and so on.

every day i am careful to try not to put unreal expecatations on my kids..especially caleb. cuz i mean really..they are just kids. but i know that being human means we are not always perfect. and so parenting isn’t always perfect.

my son is almost a teenager..in fact in 7 months he will be 13. wow. i can’t believe that. how time has flown. from him having his first mcdonald’s french fry on his 1st birthday to being totally INFACTUATED with dinosaurs at 2 and 3 to moving across the world from all that was familiar to him in manila to rural saskatchewan at 4, homeschooling at 5, his first public school at 6, staying in grade 2 again cuz “mommy didn’t teach you all about reading so well, son” at 7. walking to school all big with his little sister at 8 and then moving to a new city and new school mid-year in vancouver that same year.

up until this point i have always known how sensitive my boy is..how deeply he feels..how angry he can get when upset…yet from a young age he always knoew that jesus is all he needs when he feels overwhelmed, scared, confused or lonely.

caleb’s names were chosen not only cuz they sounded great but mostly because of their meaning:

caleb - brave, warrior  || michael - who is like god

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no wonder my son loves war ANYTHING! hahaha.. but seriously..he is a young man that once he makes up  his mind about something, he will not change it for nothing. a good attribute for peer pressure resistance that’s for sure.

caleb has always been tender towards others…espcially if they are in need. who is like god. ya.

since we moved to vancouver 3+ years ago, to see caleb grow into a  young man among his friends has been so interesting. his friends are good boys…altho i am always grateful when caleb will call and ask his dad, “dad can we watch this movie? what are the ratings on pluggedin online?” and when jonathan just reads the ratings, caleb is the one who is making the decision whether or not he should be watching that movie. it’s amazing. i have to believe god has helped us to do something right in raising our boy.

at times i tend to forget that i’m dealing with an almost teenage BOY. this means, as i’m told by jonathan who was told by his mother, that you can’t tell them too much at one time or they forget. i have seen this to be absolutely true. :) ” do this one thing and then come back to me, son.” never, “can you take your dish to the dishwasher, fill up the dog’s dish and then pick up your shoes from the hallway” that leads to nothing but his brain turning off. i have literally seen this happen. i have dually noted such things and try to do the one thing at a time thing - for his brain and for my sanity. :)

when we as a family talked about the possibility of moving from vancouver, the philippines was one of the first two places he wanted to go (both of them actually). the first 4 years of his life were there..the years that have molded him into who he is today. and now there are even more benefits, as he says, moving there: his favorite cousin elijah, who he will go to school with…going to his DAD’S school (every boy’s dream). those two there are more than enough for him to say unanimously YES to moving there. :) plus the fact that we are bringing his dog.

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caleb..you are a remarkable young guy..you are talented - your ability to play basketball and move so swiftly on the court even when there are HUGE guys towering over you is amazing…your ability to sit at the piano and figure out songs with no music…your ability to breakdance and hip hop impresses me…you are so smart - you get amazing grades when you dont’ really push yourself…you read like no other 12 year old i know…you are passionate - whether its sports or something you really love (or dont!) you are passionate about it. i love that about you. you are sensitive - you feel deeply for those around you who are hurting or lonely…your conscience functions more than anyone else’s i know…

son you are an amazing person.

and you are an incredible big brother to your sister. jesus knew that she needed you as a big brother. you guys get along, for the most part, so wonderfully..i love hearing you guys “make up stuff” and laugh and giggle and play. she thinks you are the greatest guy next to her dad. you have been so good in helping us raise her - you have helped get her toys, read her stories, fed her food all the way up to watching out for her at school. you should be so proud.

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i love you son…and as we watch you turn into a 13 year old, i pray that they will be just as awesome as the first 12 years.

xoxo your mama..your meaner-meaner ;)

{private joke between caleb and me..giggle}

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who is for you? || pondering by tracey

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the last week has been a blur.. a fun blur..but nonetheless a blur…

jonathan comes home from being away for 10 days (oh single parenting!) and we jump right into my dear friend from SK coming and running a half marathon with me, that i failed to train adequately for. but i finished!! :) then the same more that friend left, another friend from CO came til just today.

on the way home from the airport today i just was feeling “low”..maybe the post-high of having people around for a while..maybe cuz i’m PMSing (just being real!) or maybe just an inner call of where i am..

i said to Jonathan today something about what i was feeling and how i wonder if this is how i feel now, what on earth will i feel like when we are actually gone from all things familiar…clean, drinkable running water… regulated heat/cool… my favorite things to munch on… the way i wash my dishes..and the list goes on.

with a bit of a feeling of “alone-ness” whispering into my hearts corridors, my darling husband sends me this song…

Kare Jobe - You are for me

So faithful
So constant
So loving and so true
So powerful in all you do
You fill me
You see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to you

I know that you are for me
I know that you are for me
I know that you will never forsake me in my weakness
I know that you have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who you are

So patient
So gracious
So merciful and true
So wonderful in all you do
You fill me
You see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to you

enjoy the video…it moved me… xo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tCXObtC_fk

 

{photo courtesy of my iPhone}

indescribeable - personal tuesday ponderings by tracey

do you ever sometimes stop what you are doing and really take a step back from this crazy thing we call life and look around?

people..mountains..the sky..stars..how they all work together just so (for the most part!).

i was sitting in church on sunday and my friend jj was singing this song that instantaneously brought me to tears..

here are the words…

Indescribeable by Chris Tomlin

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea

Creation’s revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God

All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God

All powerful, untameable,

Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim

You are amazing God

Incomparable, unchangeable

You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
 

i don’t know what your belief or value system is..but i had to stop and collect myself..every single bird that flies by my window. every tree that sprouts from the mountain to the northwest of me. every drop of rain that falls from the vancouver skies (and there are a heckuva lot!) every gorgeous cherry blossom that springs forth. they are all with purpose. god placed them in their little places here on this great earth.

and that i, too, have such purpose.. wow.. 

thanks god for stopping me in my tracks to reflect how fricking amazing you are, how you know i’m gonna fall on my face, and how i’m going to triumph.  you rock. xoxo

i found this video on youtube..amazing..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmTxZAl7ceU

person post from tracey - the mother blogpost of all friday night blogposts

this post is from my personal/photoblog..but it has some info on it, to get a glimpse of my life, currently.. :)

* * * *

this is a freaking miracle of sorts i’m witnessing tonight folks… both of my children, who LOVE to stay up late on friday night both announced, separately, that they were going to be..and it was BEFORE 10.

i’m still a little stunned. and with Lover over at scott’s tonight, i’m sitting here with my laptop! could life get any better for a social media addict/web surfer/photo taker-blogger person? i think not. :)

and so we will begin this blog post…

* * * *

i have been slacking on the 98 things the last couple days..no excuse other than a couple of WAY too busy days. so i will do up 3 tonight to make up for the loss. no..make that 4.. 1 more for good measure.

#17 - release one grudge a month.

#18 - organize a day spa for women living at a domestic violence shelter with services donated from a local beauty school.

#19 - audition for community theatre.

#20 - get published.

wow! i totally love EVERY one of those.

its so easy to hold grudges, no? not just for big traumatizing things that happened when we those little children, but even for those times when we are older and someone pissed us off, or hurt us - intentionally or unintentionally - or if for our significant other forgetting something really important.

there is something so freeing about truly, “letting it go”. sometimes it seems like it is instant..and sometimes we have to let go of the same incident over and over for a month. but when we can feel truly free from that grudge - wow!! liberating with a capital L!!

(wow that was a soapbox..maybe i should sip my vino slower…!)

how i would love to collaborate with a beauty school to do something remarkable with women..and for me, i’d do it a step farther - take amazing photos for them to see their beauty on film.. wow.. i feel a project brewing. :)

auditioning for a community theatre. the last time i did that was in high school.

i will do it again. .maybe not anytime soon, as we are planning to leave vancity soon but i will do this i am thinking. how much fun would THAT be?!?

oooooooooooo..get published. i have been once. unintentionally tho. and my name wasn’t on it.. chuckle. a wedding i second shot with a photographer a few years ago..they had submitted a wedding to WEDLUXE. and the publishers of the magazine chose one of my photos that the photog included, as the MAIN full page photo. chuckle. i kinda felt bad for my friend. for a minute. :) giggle..

but seriously..i will get published..one day.. whether for photography or writing or both.. i have far too much in the depths of my mac-brainage aka computer, that i would love to give the world.

just saying.. :)

* * * *

buona sera!!

come stai?

mi chiamo tracey!

io canadese..non italiana.

io sono bene!

ok ok..so i only know a few lines of italian from my very first class of italiano that i took on thursday night. i am SOOOO pumped! and my teacher, liana…oh my word…i love her!

why am i doing this, you may ask?

well because of the magical photo tour i’m organizing for this fall to tuscano and umbria. :)

if you are a photographer, this is JUST the photo tour for you. call it a glorified photo excursion if you will. :) castles, monasteries, medieval small towns…amazing food and wine…engagement and bridal sessions in ITALY. hello. for more info on the trip check out my FOLLOW YOUR HEARTTO ITALY website.

grazie mille for reading my italiano babble.. ciao!

* * * *

i have made a blog specifically about our journey towards moving overseas to the philippines. the kids have even blogged on it.. :) i love that they were such a part of the decision to go. honestly, we have amazing kids. :)

the humanitarian organization, my sisterinlaw, charity, runs.. check it out - Gentle Hands.

i can’t WAIT to be there getting involved! i also want to dabble some in wedding photography in manila and asia..but we will see how that all pans out. :)

follow our blog at: http://heppnersinasia.myfotojournal.com/

and be a fan of our page to follow our journey, on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/the-HEPPNERS-in-ASIA/108047809222942?ref=ts

i’m already concocting a FOLLOW YOUR HEART….TO THE PHILIPPINES tour for next year. :) :) :)

* * * *

the vancouver wedding photogs & second shooters group i co-founded with michelle libby, affectionately called “libby” by some, has been one of the most incredible, fulfilling endevors i have been involved in, in a long time… to see something that was birthed, over lunch (greek lunch i might add! bring on the tsiziki!!) with the dream of building a community for photographers to collaborate together and better themselves TOGETHER, now be 250 strong and essentially functioning on it’s own. WOW. simply wow!

i thought long and hard on how i was going to “hand it over” as we are moving…yes..i will admit - i take on a bit much sometimes…but only SOMETIMES! but i knew that the task to do everything i had been doing was rather..how shall i say.. daunting for just one. so i divided it up into a few parts..and HELLO! that was much easier to swallow!! so i’m so thrilled to have laura lui doing admin stuff like email, facebook, twitter, miranda lievers helping with website and putting together social GTG’s, jason ho taking charge of getting some photowanders together throughout the year, michael wachniak coordinating workshops and such..and libby will continue to bring her steady, lovely, fun self to keep it all from getting to serious.. i’m so thrilled with the team that has come together..i know that the 5 of them will be able to do MUCH more than i ever could for the community…5 brains are better than 1. ;)

not gonna lie..a part of me is sad..to leave the community that is so “family” for me.. but i know that they will go places and to be able to say that i had a little part in it..that’s good enough for me. :)

* * * *

just looked up and saw, that this blog post if a freaking novel!! hahahah

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to end i will boast of my amazing new tee shirts i have acquired today. a dear pinoy friend here in vancouver started this little “side” business that has grown into something freaking amazing. i bought a couple shirts just after christmas for friends -

[b]ecker owns this one in green:

and so does my dear friend lani..you have to know lani to know why i bought her this shirt. ;)

well i decided on sunday morning i was gonna order a couple different ones for myself. and did i mention she has these ADORABLE neenja buttons?!?!? ya she does..she’s is the bomb. :)

well i got the package and when i opened it there was a surprise -

isn’t it awesome? i am so happy. i can’t wait to wear it. in fact..i washed it already tonight and plan to wear it tomoro.. :)  and the other shirts i got, cuz i just had to have them:

thanks for the amazing goodies, kym!! to check out more of her stuff, go to her etsy store: herroachi

* * * *

well friends..i am going to put you out of your misery.. :) and go to bed.. :) happy weekend!

xoxox

contact me  || view my online portfolio || check out  my facebook page || follow me on twitter

it's time: part 2 - the MORE info as promised...

We have received so many responses to our last email that we have been overwhelmed. The responses have been so positive and filled with requests for more info on what we will be doing and how others can be involved. I trust that this note will provide you with some of those answers.

The big question has been why? Let us chat with you a bit about this…chuckle.

Have you ever been afraid of what the world has become?
We have all pondered how the world might become a better place. We’ve all experienced that warm, fuzzy and motivating change-the-world feeling after watching an inspirational movie based on a true story. You know the one – where the average person does something extraordinary…and the world changes. And we sit there and say, I wish I could do something like that…and it stirs us deeply…how long does it take for that feeling to fade? And why? I mean, the feeling was so strong…where did it go quickly if it was so authentic? Could much of it be that we don’t really believe we can change anything? That we have succumbed to just accepting the world as it is?

We believe that the average person can change the world. Stephen Lewis commented that “the world desperately needs our voices”, and we want to use ours. We want to take creative ideas, connect them with great passion, what we love doing and be catalysts for something potentially powerful. We want to partner with people from every walk of life and inspire them with a belief that God has placed in the heart of each man, woman and child, the ability to do something that has world changing potential. We want to release the heroes among us…the hero in you.

“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom”
Bob Dylan

Here are some more details:
Where?
We ARE moving to the Philippines.
When?
Our goal is to be there by Christmas 2010 or Summer 2011.
Why?
We are going with a deep sense of destiny. We want to be world changers.
What?
3 specific areas in which we will serve:
We are going to work with Gentle Hands;
We are going to work with a leadership development network called D.E.L.;
And create an opportunity for people from 1st world countries to engage the 3rd world with hope. If you are reading this, that’s you! Most of us find it easy to live our lives against the backdrop of our own reality. Our goal is to challenge that. Too often we have opted to intellectually engage the issues of our world and hide behind incomplete views of reality. The result is a culture that feels sorry for those who live in the darkest parts of our world, but no responsible connection that calls us to invest some of who we are in being a change agent. Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Gentle Hands
Gentle Hands is an accredited child and youth welfare agency meant to be on the front lines of rescue and rehabilitation of the medical, social and educational needs of at-risk children and youth, working towards improving human community life through the love of Jesus and family-centred care.

We care for children all in various stages of rehabilitation, legal paperwork, adoption, and reunification.

Our accreditation with Philippine social services makes us one of three in Metro Manila who can serve as Foster Care Placement centre and adoption agency.

We are the only centre in the Philippines that will take sick children. The result is steady referrals from hospitals, police, social services and the community.

We are the only facility that takes undocumented children- meaning children without papers, birth certificate, or proper government documentation. Hospitals will not take malnourished or undocumented children so we get a lot of those.

The following is a short documentary (make sure you watch Part 1 and Part 2) on Gentle Hands:
Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtQxBy1gsyQ
Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqLFYFCGSLU

“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age…the time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

D.E.L.
Developing Effective Leaders
The key to any sociological or cultural shift towards change is local and national leadership. There is much to be said here, but suffice it to say, we will be working with national leaders giving them tools, training and education to become progressive leaders in all sectors of society. DEL’s goal is to develop 1000 national leaders who are committed to personal growth, professional development and positive change.

Here is the invitation:
We want you to invite you to partner with us. Living in the Philippines as humanitarian workers and missionaries means that we cannot work. We need to raise support to live there and do the work that God has placed in our hearts to do; AND we cannot go until we have done so…

How?
We need 220 partners who will choose to invest in us:
10 people who will commit to investing $100 a month
40 people who will commit to investing $50 a month
80 people who will commit to investing $25 a month
100 people who will commit to investing $10 a month
*all donations are tax receiptable.

I have had lots of people say to me that if they can’t contribute large amounts they feel like they are not really doing anything. That is not true. The power of participation lies in cooperation. Everyone doing a little bit creates a movement with great potential. Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something.”

This is the short version! Chuckle. Would you consider partnering with us?

If you want more details, we would love to chat with you. Give us a call or send us a note and we will send you more information on how that can work!

Dreaming a dream,
Jonathan, Tracey, Caleb and Rosie.

we are moving

so we are moving to Asia and that should be exciting. i will be happy to being going to the same school as my dad and my family.so going to faith should be fun to be in the same class as my cousin Elijah.so i am sad that were moving away from Canada but i scored by moving to the Philipines.

Caleb

Hi...from Rosie

i am so happy that we get to move to the Philippines. i have so much family there and we have cousins there too. i will miss Burnaby so much but we will come and visit Canada.
i will miss all of my friends here so much but i will also make new ones in the Philippines.
i am not as old as my cousin Merry Faye but i will see her at school every day. and i will
have to see Elijah everyday to. i will miss everyone.

 
From,
Rosie

we are moving to the philippines!

Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see.” 
19th century theologian William Newton Clarke

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”
T.S. Eliot

3 years ago we started on a journey. Long story short…we purchased a home in Burnaby that we affectionately dubbed “the house”. Many people partnered with us as we dreamt. We loved on the community. We explored the dream of living out the reality of Jesus in this city. And we have had so many wonderful encounters with Him and with the people He loves in Vancouver. We lived something that I truly wish everyone could live. Faith. Hope. Life…in the midst of the chaos that we all live through.

I love that following Jesus is a journey. It is not about accomplishment. But it is about obedience. It is about authenticity. It is about walking with Him. It is about pursuing the dream of the Kingdom. 

I was recently reflecting on where we are and how we have gotten here during a conversation with a young leader in Western Canada. He asked me if I still believed in what we were doing. We have worked hard to get here. We have had to spend lots of time raising money and travelling, which is a tiring endeavour. We have chosen to engage our community and learn to breath the air of this city. And sometimes we have had less than kind responses to our passion from fellow believers who ask ,‘What exactly are you doing?’

This is what I know today:
God has a dream. And the dream is called redemption. The transformation of men and women, boys and girls; of people of all races and colours; of all cultures and belief systems; of all languages and geographical locations; of all perspectives and theological persuasions; of all political perspectives and intelligences; of every kind of brokenness and sinful reality; into a people who are called His. 

I am more convinced than ever that Jesus has an incredibly high view of humanity and through the dream of redemption, people have the potential of greatness. I truly believe that He thinks we can change the world.

I think He calls us to dream a dangerous dream of Kingdom Reality. Where the systems and rules of this temporary world are brought into submission to a higher law; the laws of His Kingdom, the law of love. This idea is foreign to so many who have been taught to hunker down and hold on till He comes! God forgive us for allowing the fear of darkness to scare us away from venturing into a place of influence in our communities. 

We truly believe that everyone is longing for Jesus. They are yearning and hungering for what only He can bring. We believe that the role of the Christian in our time is to become translators of the deepest longings of people’s hearts. People are yearning for that which they have no language for…and yet it is a language we speak. The language of His Kingdom.

This means stepping into people’s lives. Into their darkness. Into their brokenness and forsaking the elaborate structures we have built within our own hearts to protect us from the world. A world who desperately needs who we are. 

It’s messy. It’s unpredictable. It’s dangerous. Scared? Look at that word. SCARED. Rearrange the letters a bit. S A C R E D.

We believe that Jesus invites us to venture out…out of where we ‘know’ what we are doing and into places that sometimes require great risk. And sometimes…sometimes we have to venture over mountain ranges without a clear idea of what’s on the other side.

Having said that…we are in transition again. For some time we have been feeling that we are ‘finished’ here in Vancouver. I wish I could explain it more clearly. But that has just been our sense. Whats next? We have had no clue…until now. Chuckle.

As some of you know I have been helping Gentle Hands raise funds. If you are not familiar with what Gentle Hands does, check out www.gentlehands.typepad.or 

They are a child and youth welfare and intervention agency based in the Philippines. They are on the front lines of rescue and rehabilitation, providing for medical, social and educational needs of at-risk youth and children. They work towards improving human community through the love of Jesus and community centred care. 

We have decided that it is time for us to head back to the mission field and throw our energies, efforts and gifting to the work of redeeming the young people of the Philippines and Asia. 

I know, it seems wild. But you have to run with passion. And we choose to.

When? Sometime in the next year. We have much to do in preparation.

We will keep you updated on our journey. I am sure you have questions. Feel free to email us and we will fill you in on the details.

Let me leave you with a prayer by Sir Francis Drake that my best friend, Scott Wall sent me. It has captured my heart and urged me on. May it be so with yours.

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth, 
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back 
The horizons of our hopes;
And push us in the future
In strength, courage, hope and love.

Jonathan, Tracey, Caleb n Rosie.