• Support Casa de Creatividad (House of Creativity)

    _MG_1119 (1)

    Every Wednesday morning  I load my car with a bunch of faithful sewing machines and head to to Las Aves where several women are usually waiting for me.  We all unload and set up together at a local church in the community and spend the next couple hours sewing, chatting, learning and laughing together.  Most of the women have no experience with a sewing machine, and nervously touch the pedal the first time with giggles.  They proudly show me their first projects, usually a curtain, then a simple quilt or a bag.  A local tailor in the community teaches beyond my simple skills, helping the women advance.

    IMG_7940

    A couple ladies already make extra money from home by making and selling school uniforms and baby clothes.  The pride they have in learning to make something is worth investing my time and money with.  It’s not just about making something crafty, it’s about gaining confidence, learning new skills, dreaming about a different life and being supported to actually make that happen.

    Simply put, it’s helping people out of poverty.

    Here is a little glimpse of what we do…

    Thanks to the hard work put into a fundraiser by my home church, I now have the funds to finish the work on the house that will soon be used to host our program.  The funds raised will provide much needed security measures, electrical work, and needed supplies including work tables, chairs, shelving, new sewing machines and a serger.

    Now I would like to focus on getting funds to fix up the outside part of the house, where the ground is uneven, the fence is in bad condition and it is generally unsafe for kids to play around.  Most of the ladies that participate in the program are Moms, with many of them bringing small children along with them.  It’s important to have an area outside that is both safe and fun for the the kids to play in.  That said, funds are needed so that we can level the ground, pour a cement slab, build a new fence with a gate, buy a shade and  purchase some outside toys.

     

    IMG_7953

    Please consider supporting my friends in Las Aves.  I care for them so dearly, and really want to invest in their lives in ways that will really make a long term impact!   If you would like to support this project here are a few ways you can do that…

    1.  Make a donation on this gofundme page
    2. Share this post on social media (Facebook, e-mail, etc.)
    3. And/Or Share the gofundme page

    Thank you for your love and support!

  • Carmela’s House

     

    _MG_1119 (1)

    I didn’t get to say goodbye to her, my friend, Carmela.

    I never imagined she wouldn’t be around when I got home from Canada last year.  She was a very unlikely friend of mine, more than a little rough around the edges.  She wasn’t much to look at, with a missing eye and a twisted leg.  My kids were a little scared of her at the beginning.

    I met her a few years ago at an evening outreach we used to help with in Las Aves.  There wasn’t a lot to like about her.  I know that sounds incredibly rude, but its true.  She swore more than any person I have met before, was verbally and emotionally abusive to her grandkids, and spent a good amount of time doing random dirty jobs just to get by.  Her house was often filled with sacks of beer and pop cans she was gathering up to be recycled, with the lovely smell that goes with it.  To put  short, Carmela was an angry and hard person, not easy to like… let alone love.

    I’m not sure how it happened, but over time Carmela became more than just a cranky old lady to me…. she became my friend.   We invited her in when ever she showed up.  Her visits were sporadic, and our conversations often brought her to tears.  Her grandaughters were placed in orphanages and sadly she was left alone.  As hard as she seemed on the outside, her heart was so broken.  I often had a hard time understanding her, but I knew I could listen. I admit, I still think she was a little crazy, but even the crazy deserve to be shown grace and love.

    “I’m sorry for being such a bother” She would say to me.  “You are not a bother!” I would tell her, I’m so glad you came by!”  And I meant it.  We knew she didn’t have much, so when she stopped by, we would give her food.  After while, even if I wasn’t home, the older kids would invite her in, make her a warm meal, and chat at the table with her.  After getting used to her grumpy ramblings, we all grew to love that lady.  She would sit at our table and just watch us interact as a normal family, and I could tell by her big eyes and mouth hanging open with awe that she was witnessing something she had never experienced before, a home full of love and our own kind of crazy, ha ha.

    I cried the day I found out she died.  I was in Canada waiting for my baby girl to be born.  It was unexpected and I was so sad I never got to say goodbye to her.

    Carmela had no idea she changed my life.

    Her presence in my life was a constant a reminder of the life of love Jesus is calling us to.

    He’s not calling us to easy, convenient, pretty or comfortable.

    No.

    He’s calling us to love and it’s difficult, messy, and just plain hard.

    The best news is, I am sure Carmela is heaven now.   Dancing around on her perfect legs and beautifully complete with her big eyes, bright smile and restored heart, knowing what real love is from the one who Created her.  What could be be be better then that?

    Until heaven my dear friend, we won’t forget you.  Your spunky spirit lives on.

    Carmela’s purple house sits empty on top of the hill in Las Aves.  With the help of some friends we just finished paying off the land, and now we have a dream to  redeem the house that once held a broken old lady and her family.  Some day her granddaughters will get to have the purple house to come home to, which is what Carmela always wanted, but till then we will use it for good!

    _MG_1134 (1)

    I started  a small sewing program a couple years ago after been given a few used sewing machines, and have held a class one morning a week in borrowed spaces in the community of Las Aves.

    I dream of equipping women with skills to create hand mades items that will  eventually help them create more income to support their families and keep them from working in the fields.  I want to give my dear friends in Las Aves a place where they are welcome to do that.

    _MG_1131 (1)

     

    Carmela’s  house will be called Casa de Creatividad (house of creativity) and will be used to teach women various skills including sewing, crafts and many other artisan skills by both local and foreign teachers.  It will be a house where community and creativity thrive.

    _MG_1124 (1)

    I am raising some money to get the house ready as it needs some electric work done and some security aspects added to prevent break ins once we have moved in.  I will also need to buy some tables, chairs and shelving.  I need some start up funds to get the place open, but plan for it to be self-sustainable once it is going.

    If you are interested in supporting this project and you live in or near Edmonton…

    This coming Saturday, November 18 the women in my home church, North Edmonton Christian Fellowship are doing a fun womens event and using the proceeds for Casa de Creatividad.  If you are in Edmonton area please consider bringing a friend with you to have a night out for food friendship, a silent auction, raffle and more.  Tickets are only $10, you call 456-7890 for more info.  I will share the event on my Facebook page if you want more info.

    _MG_1149 (1)

     

    If you would like to support this project I will have a way to do that next week.  Thanks for your love and support!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Raising Kids with Compassion

    _MG_0551

    Have you ever stopped to think about the kinds of adults you are raising your kids to be?  Hopefully you have, and as a result have some specific goals in mind for your kids.  Some parents hope for their kids to be extremely educated or financially successful.  Others hope for their kids to be famous or known for something important.  Others want their kids have a specific skill or sport mastered whether it be dancing, the tuba, or a star soccer player.  Encouraging our kids in their giftings is not a bad thing at all, but at the end of the day (or of their life) it’s not whats going to matter most.

    More than anything I desire to raise kids with hearts of compassion.  I want my kids to see people as more imporatant than anything else.  I don’t long for my kids to be famous, rich or successful by the worlds standards.  I want my kids to be known for their kindness, for their desire to see and notice others, especially the ones overlooked by most.

    _MG_0567

    One time we were teaching at an evening outreach in an little village on the rocky side of a hill.  Suddenly, my oldest son, who was helping me  said, “I’ll be right back, as he looked past me to the window outside that faced the steep rocky hill.   He slipped out the the door and I watched my son, run to help a little girl who was carrying two heavy back packs.  I watched him remove both back packs off of her and place them on himself then walk with her up the slippery hill, and beyond where I knew it was just as steep on the other side.  He carried it all the way home for her.  He was gone for about 20 minutes, and came back sweaty and out of breath.

    I was so, so proud of him.  He noticed some one who needed a hand, and he jumped in to be the one to give it.

    I’ve often thought of that moment and asked myself this question…

    What makes some kids or adults more kind, generous then others?  I don’t think being kind and helpful is natural for most of us.  It’s not always for me any ways.  So why are some people more compassionate then others?

    Honestly I can only come up with one sound answer, and please hear my humility in this…. it’s the ones who have some one to model it for them and teach them.

     

    _MG_0543

    Our kids, are watching us.  They notice everything we do or don’t do. They see when we share what we have with some one who doesn’t.  They hear our words full of gentleness and compassion, and the ones that aren’t.  They see when we go out of our way to help some one else, or if we just pass on by.  They see how we react when we haven’t been treated fairly, when we extended grace instead of anger or revenge or when we don’t.  But they aren’t just watching us.  They are copying our addititudes, beliefs and behaviours._MG_0544

    I am no saint.  I don’t always help.  I am often distracted, busy and messed up in my priorities, and I am not pretending to have it all together or saying that my kids do either.  We are normal, messy people, believe me.  But I do pray to have open eyes to see those in need of a helping hand, a hug, or a word of encouragemnt, and to do my best to give it to them, even if it’s inconvenient to me.

    I want to notice those around me.  Really see them, and be a help when I can.

    I want to show kindness when it costs me something and I want my kids to see and do the same.  Not out of duty or obligation but out of love for the people around us.  I can’t think of anything that would bring me more joy than that.  More importantly then what I want, isn’t that what loving Jesus is all about?

     

  • Yum – Zucchini Muffins

     

    _MG_8970I want to share one of my families favourite snack recipes… Zucchini muffins.  All of my kids eat them (that’s saying a lot right there), even the zucchini haters.  I promise that you can not taste the zucchini at all, they mostly add moisture and fibre (among many other good things).  They are moist, fairly healthy and quick to make.  You don’t need a mixer or more than one bowl to whip these up.  I usually make a double batch and put most of them in the freezer.  They are great to take to work, or school, with coffee or for an afternoon snack.  We never seem to get tired of them.

    _MG_8972
    Print

    One Bowl Zucchini Muffins


    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 45 minutes
    Servings 20 muffins
    Author Amber Machado

    Ingredients

    • 3 cups grated zucchini
    • 2/3 cup melted butter or coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 3 cups white flour (or half white and half whole wheat)
    • 2 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 3 tbs ground flax optional
    • 1 cup chocolate chips

    Instructions

    1. Prepare muffin tins with paper liners OR grease tin with oil. 

       Preheat oven to 35O F

    2. In a large bowl combine sugar, eggs, vanilla and melted butter with a whisk

    3. Stir in grated zucchini

    4. Add the flour gently onto the top of the wet ingredients, proceed to add remaining dry ingredients.  Gently stir dry ingredients with a whisk on the top surface of the bowl, not mixing in the wet ingredients from the bottom.  Once top dry layer is combined use a wooden spoon to mix everything in the bowl together. 

    5. Stir in chocolate chips.

    6. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins filling 3/4 full.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Muffins are ready when you touch the tops and they bounce back or a toothpick comes out clean after you poke the center

    7. Enjoy

  • The Shirt

    _MG_0780

    It was one of my favourite shirts.  The one I fought myself to keep instead of giving it to the lady that wonders the streets.

    Every now and then I see her walking around town, dirty, with bags in her hands and a doll clutched under her arm.  I have seen her sleeping on the side of a back road, and not too long ago I found her digging through my garbage can.

    Her clothes are usually filthy, and her outfits a modge podge of what she must find thrown out or what others may have given her.  These past couple days she has been wearing jeans, an open jacket, a prom dress hanging half off, and nothing else underneath.  When I saw her as I was driving by, the sight of her walking along the road with her breasts exposed, made my heart sink a little.

    What has a person like that gone through?  What has been done against her, that she no longer feels shame from being so exposed?

    When I came across her that  morning, digging through my garbage, I remembered the shirt in my purse.   I had it in there from  a trip a few weeks before.  I don’t normally carry extra shirts with me but we had gone on a day trip to the city and I stuffed one in my purse in case one of the kids spilled something on me or, lets be honest, more likely in case I spilled on myself,  ha ha.  I wanted a back up.  It was one of my favourite shirts, actually.

    I knew instantly that I should give it to her, but I am not going to lie, I hesitated.  It wasn’t that the shirt was worth a lot, not to any one else anyways.  I just really liked it.  I also knew there was a good chance that she would never even wear the shirt, but neither of those thoughts are the point.  I actually considered running inside my house to get another less loved shirt.  Bottom line  I wanted to do something  nice without is costing me any discomfort.  I was being selfish and materialistic.  Nothing to be proud of.

    This lady deserved to be treated with love and compassion.  She was 100% worth  receiving a favourite shirt.  I only share this to say that the one changed in the shirt exchange was me.  For all I know, she walked down the road and tossed it aside, and thats ok.  I’m not going to let my love for stuff hold me back from giving compassion with out expectations and strings attached.  The struggle is real though, isn’t it?

    Who said loving Jesus and loving people was easy, convenient or comfortable?  It’s not and it shouldn’t be.  If you live your life in a tidy, easy Christian comfortable bubble it may be time to dig deep into God’s word and be willing to live the life He has called all of us to live….

    And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.[b] Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

    Because of the privilege and authority[c] God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.[d]  

    Romans 12:1-3 NLT

    Maybe you have your own “favourite” (stuff, attitudes, comforts, etc)  you need to be willing to give away?  I’m still working on my own, it’s not really a one time thing.  The shirt was just the beginning.

    _MG_0777