Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Casa de Gozo in Nicaragua

Guest post: Melissa Hartwick

In Nicaragua, there are many children who are orphaned, abandoned, or unwanted. There are children who turn to prostitution in their preteens and early teens so that they can eat the next day. There are children who are without love and care for today and without hope and vision for tomorrow. 

I spent the summer of 2011 in Nicaragua, and I met so many children there who beg all day on the streets and then sleep huddled under an overhang to avoid the rain falling on them. I became friends with children who would come running to hug me with a giant smile on their faces, thrilled to have someone to hug them and show them a mother's love.

I saw so many needs, and so many children in need of love. I knew that I had to do something, and so Casa de Gozo was born. At the end of January, I am moving permanently to Nicaragua to open and run a rescue center for roughly 15 children who have been orphaned, abandoned, or are at risk of prostitution in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua.

I want to love on these children and give them the feel of a permanent family and a home. I want to show them that someone does care for them, and that they have a precious worth. I want to fill their stomachs with food and their minds with learning, to find their talents and passions and equip them to have a successful future. I want to see health return to starved bodies, smiles appear on weary faces, and joy fill hearts to overflowing.

As Casa de Gozo grows, I also want to work with neighboring villages to start fair trade programs which will enable women living in poverty to better provide for themselves and their children. One dream, one life, one future at a time.

The Casa de Gozo rescue center is a project of Back to the Roots, a nonprofit which works to raise awareness of and help end sex trafficking worldwide. To find out more about us, visit www.casadegozo.net and www.backtotheroots.org

Photos courtesy of Melissa Hartwick and Casa de Gozo

Okay, Sarah here again.

First of all, Casa de Gozo means "House of Joy" and oh, I love that.

So if you would like to help Melissa open and run Casa de Gozo, here are a few ways to do so:

  1. Pray for her. This is a huge undertaking in many ways. She will need physical, emotional and spiritual strength. 
  2. Friend Casa de Gozo on Facebook to stay up with what is going on there. Share the link on your wall and tell your friends.
  3. Visit her website and read up on the project. 
  4. Consider donating.
  5. Melissa needs actual physical STUFF to start this house. If you have gently used baby clothes, children's clothes, shoes, baby bottles, toys, books (all in good condition, of course), please consider boxing them up and shipping them to her for use in the rescue centre. Email her through her website or Facebook page for more details on how to do that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

REVIEW: Jesus Calling Devotional Bible

One of my favourite devotionals is "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young.

Now her journaled prayers have been featured in a new devotional Bible in the New King James version.

You can purchase the Bible here and the devotional here.

From the Publisher:

The Jesus Calling Devotional Bible puts readers in touch with God and His answers for their life situations.  Missionary Sarah Young had been journaling her prayers for years when she began "listening" for what Jesus was saying to her within the words of Scripture. In this Bible, 260 scenarios pose life struggles to which Sarah Young gives answers from her Savior—words that Jesus has lovingly laid on her heart—words that have comforted and inspired Sarah and many others around the world.
Features include:
  • 260 scenarios with devotions by Sarah Young
  • Hundreds of inspiring scriptures highlighted throughout the text
  • New King James Version® (NKJV) in paragraph format
  • Index to devotions
  • Two-color text
  • Presentation page
  • Ribbon marker

Now closed GIVEAWAY: "Creating With God: The Holy Confusing Blessedness of Pregnancy"

Winner has been notified. Thanks!

Creating with God by Sarah Jobe is a boldly truthful, sometimes funny, and deeply spiritual account of where babies come from and where babies take us. Jobe reads the Bible through the lens of her back-to-back pregnancies and finds that God shows up in pregnancy when we least expect it. Weaving together biblical reflections, her own story, and the stories of the moms around her, Jobe reveals the ways in which pregnancy is at the heart of God's work in the world. She invites her reads to see the image of Jesus in pregnant women, feel God abiding in the work of pregnancy, and to consider the ways that pregnancy can train us in the very practices we need to live a life of faith.


You could win a copy of Creating with God.

Open to Canadian and USA address only. 

Just leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite pregnancy book along with an email address (or way to contact you) if you win.

That's it! If you want to Tweet it or Facebook the link or otherwise share it for this giveaway, that's great - just leave another comment telling me that you did so and you'll get another entry.

Contest closes December 1 at midnight. I'll draw a winner using Random.org.

Good luck!

REVIEW: Cardboard Playhouse

We recently received one of Cascade's Children's Cardboard Playhouses to review.

It came in a long, flat packing box and once we got started setting it up, it came together very quickly. It's lightweight, easily pulled apart and gracious, did the tinies have fun drawing and decorating on it.

Almost every toy we own was piled inside and the imagination fun began.

If you've been daunted -like I am - by the prices of other playhouses, this is an eco-friendly option for considerably less.

Purchase here.

Contest Closed // GIVEAWAY: "Theo: Teaching Children God's Word"

Winner has been chosen. Thanks!

From the Publisher:

Theo Presents is centered around the adventures and teachings of the main character, Theo, a student of Godʼs Word. Theo lives in a cozy corner of a quaint English village, in the heart of the Cotswolds, and entertains many guests, including two mice, Belfry and Luther.
The animation series of Theo guides children and adults through a careful study of systematic theology. Theo discusses doctrines about sin, Godʼs character, the Bible, salvation and godly living with easy-to-understand illustrations that make children want to learn more about the Christian faith.

I have one copy of "Theo: Teaching Children God's Word"to giveaway.

Open to Canadian and USA address only. 

Just leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite kids' movie along with an email address (or a way to contact you) if you win.

That's it! If you want to Tweet it or Facebook the link or otherwise share it for this giveaway, that's great - just leave another comment telling me that you did so and you'll get another entry.

Contest closes 1 December at midnight. I'll draw a winner using Random.org.

Good luck!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

GIVEAWAY: A clean home (You know you want this one)


The winner is Jenn

Jenn said...
I don't mind vacuuming…..so satisfying so quickly…never for long though.



The nice thing about cleaning is the immediate result. You can step back at the end and say, well, look at that! It wasn't clean before and now it is. I actually accomplished something today.

I prefer to either make my own cleaning products or use natural ones. One that I have grown to quite like is Green Works. 

Green Works surfactants are made from renewable resources (think corn and coconut)—meeting the sustainability criteria of the NPA Standard. Green Works surfactants—which are ingredients that help make a product foam up and remove dirt—are derived from corn, coconut and other renewable resources. They work just as well as a conventional petroleum-based surfactant but have the added eco-friendly bonus of being a renewable resource.

Green Works solvents come from corn. The ethanol solvent used in Green Works products comes from a popular summer vegetable: corn. This natural solvent helps both in cleaning and to help bind together the cleaner.

The fantastic fragrance in Green Works products are thanks to essential oils—remember “natural” and “sustainable” are both criteria for the NPA Standard. Essential oils, such as lemon and lavender, are a renewable resource and also perform double duty by helping both to clean and give Green Works products a fresh, natural scent.

Green Works buffers are all naturally derived, too—and have never been suspected to risk human health or the environment, meeting the “safe” criteria of the NPA Standard. Green Works buffers, which help keep the PH of a product stable to optimal cleaning, are all derived naturally. Some that are commonly used in Green Works products include boric acid (a weak acid that is found in most fruits and plants) and potassium carbonate (a water-soluble white salt).

Last but not least, Green Works products have not been tested on animals during the formula development process, meeting the responsible criteria of the NPA Standard. 
All Green Works natural cleansers are made from ingredients derived from coconuts and lemon oil.  
The products are biodegradable, non‐allergenic, packaged in bottles that can be recycled and not  
tested on animals. The line includes the following natural cleaning products for use in the home,  
kitchen and bathroom:  

Available across in Canada in grocery, drug and mass retailers. 


You could win a free 3-hour home cleaning session from a household cleaning professional using Green Works products. 


Open to Canadian address only. 

Just leave a comment on this post telling me the household chore that you don't mind doing along with an email address or way to contact you if you win.

That's it! If you want to Tweet it or Facebook the link or otherwise share it for this giveaway, that's great - just leave another comment telling me that you did so and you'll get another entry.

Contest closes 31 October at midnight. I'll draw a winner using Random.org.

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Free movies at Cineplex October 22

SAVE THE DATE FOR FREE MOVIES! October 22nd is Community Day at Cineplex. Join us on the morning of Saturday, October 22nd at all Cineplex Entertainment theatres for Community Day in support of Starlight Children's Foundation. Doors open at 8:30AM with a great selection of FREE movies beginning at 9:00AM. Plus, enjoy a regular popcorn, regular fountain drink and selected candy for only 2 DOLLARS each with 100% of the proceeds donated to Starlight Children's Foundation! For more information, please visit: 

About Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada:
For more than 20 years Starlight Children’s Foundation has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and life-altering injuries. Through a broad array of in-patient, out-patient and online resources, Starlight works hard to support seriously ill children and their families from diagnosis through the entire course of medical treatment and beyond. Whether it’s a trip to the zoo, a toy-filled playroom or an exciting sporting event, Starlight’s mission is to bring fun, joy and giggles right where they are needed the most!