Monday, February 27, 2012

Something's Gotta Give.

Have you ever gotten that strange feeling where you know you're supposed to do something but you have no idea why? There is just SOMETHING inside of you that is pushing you towards this idea placed in your mind? Some call it a gut feeling. Some call it intuition. Some call it their conscious. Some call it God talking.

No Make-up March.

That's the idea that has been placed in my mind for the last week or so. When the idea came up in conversation with a few girls a while back I had no objections towards going through the month long haul without a touch of make-up on my face. I am quite aware of my facial "imperfections" and "blemishes" but I am content in knowing that I no longer need to rely on make-up to feel beautiful. Yes I will admit, there was a time when I would not leave the house till my face was "perfect". But years later, I have found that the women who I find most beautiful are the ones who are radiant with confidence - whether in sweats and with no make-up on, or strutting their stuff with a blazer and heels. Confidence is key. Being content in who you've been created to be is key. Loving yourself - at all times - is key. Those are lessons I learned a few years ago. So why do I feel so challenged to go a whole month without make-up now?

I began to think about my make-up routine: all the things I put on in the morning (foundation, eyeliner and mascara), what I considered the basic essentials (mascara always wins!), what I would skip if I was in a rush (who really needs eyeshadow?), what I would put extra time and effort into if I was going somewhere special... etc. 

I thought it all through trying to find something that I relied on...something that would be a struggle for me to give up...something that would make this upcoming month worthwhile for me... and I could honestly say I didn't mind giving any of it up...all I could think about was the extra half-an-hour of time I would get to sleep in every morning! How wonderful!!! - and then my words came back to haunt me! A few weeks ago I remember telling a friend how the only thing that would seriously challenge me and my relationship with God to the next level was if I sacrificed some of my oh-so-precious beauty sleep, and got up earlier so that I could do morning devotions.

I wish I could take that back. If you know me - you know how much I love sleep. The essential "8 hours" is just not enough for me! But at last - I have found my challenge. I have found the purpose and motivation that I was desperately looking for behind "No Make-up March". For the next month, that extra half-an-hour I spent on my make-up routine in the morning will now be put to better use - spending time with God.

Why am I telling you all of this you may ask? So you can keep me accountable. And maybe, just maybe you'll be inspired to join me. Maybe you're motivation is different. Maybe you can't go without make-up for a whole month - maybe try doing it a few days a week, or maybe go without that one thing that you always rely on to feel beautiful. Be challenged. Pray about it. If you decide to join, let me give you one tip of advice - whatever your motivation - be confident and go through with it expecting to see change!

Monday, January 2, 2012


It's been a while since I've written on here... but I currently cannot sleep and am struggling with my thoughts so I thought I'd process it all out in a blog and clear my head. This may not be the best idea... but goes nothing.


This year I spent my New Years Eve with some friends from out-of-town that attend my school. It was a blast... we had some good laugh's and had fun together. I really am fortunate to have people like them in my life. They inspire me, encourage me and challenge me to the core without even realizing it I'm sure. I am so blessed to have them in my life. We spent the big night downtown at Parliament, and after midnight hit we began to walk back to our car which was parked a few blocks away. As we made the chilly walk back to the car, my mind began to reflect on the past year. I began to reminisce about the amazing things that happened in my life in 2011. I excitedly recalled the many things God did in my life and the provisions which he made available to me throughout the year. However, I also recalled the not-so-great moments of 2011. The challenges that I faced. The mountains that I miraculously conquered, and the mountains that I hate to admit conquered me. I silently decided in that moment not to let certain struggles take a hold of my life in this new year. I made a pact with myself that I would conquer mountains in my life that I had been facing for several years now. I can recall the previous New Year's Eve making the exact same inner-agreement with myself, but this year was different. In my mind, I promised God, I said "God, I am done dealing with this. This year, I will conquer this mountain in my life. It's gone and done with." I was determined. And they say when your determined...nothing can stop you.

It's now January 2. The second day of a New Year. The second day of what many consider a fresh start. A new beginning. A second or third or fourth chance at making a change... and I already blew my agreement. I did exactly what I said I wouldn't do. Was it something huge that will haunt me for the rest of my life? Thankfully no. But still, I was determined. I wanted this mountain gone. Removed. Out of sight, out of mind. And I promised myself that I would not let myself see it again.

That's exactly where I went wrong. Little did I know at the time, that the exact moment when I made that deal in my head was where everything went wrong. That's where I failed my plans. I had good intentions, but you see, I promised myself that I would not let myself struggle with my mountain anymore. I was determined that I was going to conquer my mountain... Have I made my point clear? Although the purpose behind conquering my mountain was to further my relationship with God, I did not include God in my equation. Just a "minor" detail I missed. Oops. I actually laugh now as I realize that my own strength only lasted me two days. How weak am I when I do not rely on the one who gives me strength. It sounds so cliche, but that previous statement holds so much truth. The situation I find myself in reminds me of something I read in Romans just last week. You see, the story that I am given is a God-story. Not an Allison-story. Its a story about what God is doing in my life and how He conquers the various mountains in my life when I rely on and trust in Him. It's not about how I muster up the strength and determination to conquer a struggle. In Romans 4, Paul writes that Abraham entered in to what God was doing for him...and the moment that Abraham entered in to God's plan, he allowed God to set the pace - and that was the turning point in Abraham's life. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own. Paul uses Abraham as an example to teach us that if you consciously acknowledge that the job at hand is too big for you, and trust that God can accomplish what you never possibly could, then your trust in him to do it is what will set you right with God. It's our shift in focus from what we do, to what God does, that causes us to become less concerned about the mountains in our life, and more concerned about our faith in Christ. ...and consequently, as we focus in on our faith, the mountains in our lives will fade away as confirmation of our faith. Yes, there still will be challenges and new mountains will come our way - but they are no longer our focus as we keep our eyes fixed on Christ. In a way its all about trusting God. It's about me figuring out that in order to accomplish anything, I must first submit it to God. ...and when I say submit, I don't just mean saying "Here God, take this.".. I mean, genuinely coming to the realization that I cannot do it on my own. I am not capable in any way shape or form and I need God to accomplish it. And in turn, as I admit my weakness by surrendering each situation to him, I gain his strength. It's a beautiful exchange - it really is, if you think about it. Why would he do such a thing? To prove that he is almighty and powerful? Or for the simple reason that he loves us, and he desires to see us soar and share what he has done in our lives with others. Because remember, my story is not an Allison-story. When all is said and done one day I hope that my life is not a show and tell story of what I have accomplished. But I hope that it is a God-story. He should be the main character on display - receiving all the glory... because he has done great things... and this year I have faith that he will do even greater things and move mountains that I never could, even if I tried.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's a love story, baby just say yes.'s been a long time since I've posted on here...I've been pretty busy lately with life which is surprising because it is summer time. Most students are usually ecstatic for summer time to come because a) no more school, b) no more routines, c) no more deadlines... d) no more pressure... During summer you can do what you want. Well, pretty much. So what have I been doing? I've been working. I've been spending as much time at the cottage as I possibly can. I've been catching up with old friends. I've been saving money. I've been savouring the last few weeks of summer in any way I can before September comes around and I  move across the country to start a new adventure. You know, moving away for school didn't seem like that big of a deal to me at first...I thought 'well...I'll be back for Christmas and it's no biggie...' It's nothing like moving away and never coming back. However, there still is a lot to do before I can head out...and although I still have a few weeks left, I feel like my time is running out. There's not enough time to hang out with all my friends one last time. There's not enough time to do the crazy things that me and my closest friends had always said we'd do this summer. There's not enough time to make new friendships while still maintaining my old ones. There's not enough time to get everything ready that I need for college. There's not enough time to mentally prepare to leave my family and friends for eight months with just one visit. There's just not enough time. 

I'm frantically searching for time... meanwhile, I've forgotten about the one who created time -- the one who gives me time. I think about it now I feel stupid. Why didn't I make more time for God? Why didn't I draw closer to Him this summer? I'm going to just speak my mind here and express that sometimes I wonder why God leaves us with the choice to make time for Him. Why didn't he just create us to naturally be close with Him. Everything would be so much easier. Why does it always take so much effort to set aside everything in our crazy lives to sit down with him? Why didn't he create us to resist temptation without struggle. Why do we constantly have to chose Him over the other things in our life? Why didn't he just create a perfect world where humans were just automatically in love with Him. It could have been the greatest love story ever. But then, I realize...that's all wrong. 

Take a trip back to gym class -- remember how everyone always dreaded being the last one picked for the dodgeball team...the last person picked knew they weren't actually picked...the team captain had no choice...they had to take that person...and more often than not, I'm sure the captain never wanted that player on his/her team in the first place, otherwise they would have selected them at the beginning.

Now, imagine yourself in a relationship. Imagine that your boyfriend/girlfriend didn't decide they wanted to be in a relationship with you. They just had to...they had no choice. Arranged marriage? Perhaps. Whatever they case, he/she did not choose you. Where is the romance in that? Where is the love in that? I don't see any. I see a forced relationship that might stick together with a lot of work, a lot of effort from both parties, and a lot of not being happy with the arrangement... but is that really the relationship you want?

God loves his people. He loves us. He loves me -- and he loves you. He chose us. Right from the very beginning he chose us. And if you get a chance to read the Bible, you'll get to read the greatest love story ever...about how God sent his own son to die for us...because he loves us that much. Isn't that true love? Giving up your most valued treasure for the one you love. I think it is.  But the sad part is, so many people in the world don't chose God. He chose them, but they don't choose Him back. They are stuck in this relationship of 'I don't really love you, but I'm stuck with you so let's try make this work.' But it's not love. Imagine how God feels. He made the ultimate sacrifice of giving up his son for us in attempts to woe his bride, and we don't even fall in love. Some never fall in love. Some don't even know they are being pursued. And then there are others who fall in madly in love, but get caught up in all the choices they are offered in life...and slowly they start choosing other things... very gradually they start spending  more time with friends, and less time reading the Word. More time at working trying to make money, and less time talking to the one that provides the money. Slowly, the relationship has become more of a formality, and less of a love story. And don't worry -- I'm not talking about you, I'm talking about me here.

But here is the kicker -- summer is not quite over yet. I still have time to choose God again. I still have time to choose Him above other things in my life. I will love Him because he first loved me...I know I've been distant the last few weeks, but He chose me first..and let me tell you... it feels good to be chosen...and I know as I grow closer to Him again it will no longer be a hard choice to carve time out of my schedule for prayer, but it will once again be something I love to do... because you do crazy things for the people you love. :)  "It's a love story, baby just say yes!"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

real talk.

Can I be honest for a minute?

This evening, the music school that I work for had its "Year End Recital." All week I was actually really looking forward to it... yes, it may sound nerdy or lame...but I was excited for a music recital! I love my job. I love teaching other people at the end of the year I LOVE sitting at the back of the sanctuary with a big smile on my face, proud of how far my students have come along. I don't type this to say "look at me, I'm a good teacher" - no - this is me pointing at the students, saying "look at how amazing they are because of all their hard work!" Tonight was all about them displaying their talent and giftings... and it was incredible.

However, as in most stories, there was a point of conflict. Not only am I a teacher for the music school, but I actually run the whole thing. I was the one who organized the recital... and I was the one who was supposed to mc the night as well. Emphasis on the supposed to.

As students and family members and friends piled into the sanctuary minutes before the recital was to start, it suddenly hit me. The show needed to start. I looked around searching for someone to get the show on the road...and then realized...everyone was waiting for ME to start it.  ...suddenly realizing that the spot light was on me made me nervous... I turned desperately to one of my friends and asked him to mc the night. Thankfully he was more than willing to... and the night was a great success.

End of the story? Naahh...your probably thinking...what's the point. What's Allison's little moral of the story this time... well...just a few moments ago I was surfing the interwebs and ran across this quote:

"The PROBLEM is that you are trying to fit IN, when you were born to STAND OUT."

How relevant is that quote with today's society? I think very...  Tonight was not about me backing out of mc-ing the night because I wanted to fit in... no, but tonight I was given the chance to stand out... to do something that would have challenged me and made me stronger...I could have once again faced my fear of public speaking... but instead, I did what so many others do...and I sat down and passed the torch on to someone else. Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place to pass the torch...but when you find yourself in a situation where you know there is something that you need to do, something that will challenge you to the core and allow you to step out in faith... don't pass the torch in fear... step up. You were born to stand out. You are called to make a difference. 

Yes, I know... the recital wouldn't have been much different had I mc-ed it...the world would not have been changed in one night...BUT i would have been that much closer to conquering my fear of public speaking...which constantly hinders me from making a difference in peoples lives. 

It's nothing fancy. Just an observation and a little life lesson I learned tonight. Real talk yo.
So when you are given the opportunity...are you going to stand out?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Good things come in little packages.

This past weekend was a riot. Literally. Imagine a group of 10 screaming, hyped up, smelly junior-highs all up in your face...then multiply it by...say...100? Yep. That's junior high convention for you. But don't get me wrong, it was a blast. I love working with junior-highs and seeing the world from their perspective again... It makes me laugh a lot.. it really is fun. But man, it is I was more than ready to hit my bed at 9:00pm on Saturday night when I arrive home...

Then Sunday came around...the alarm went off around 7..ish..something...then...7:30..I think...then 8:00...then..oh yeah, I had to get up because I remembered I was co-leading worship at my church and had to be there and ready to soundcheck at 8:30... all went smoothly till about 3/4 of the way through the actual set when the sheet music infront of me started changing colours and I almost passed out... but the strange light-headed dizzy feeling soon went away with a few sips of water which I stole from the pastor's stash in the front row... oops.

... your probably wondering where I am going with this right now... don't worry I'm getting there soon..

Then Sunday afternoon hit, right after I made myself a delicious lunch that nagging feeling came back in my head, and I felt like the whole world was spinning around me in double-time. ..So I did what I do best, at around 12:30 I laid down for a nap...5 hours later... I woke up even worse forward even more and I was even worse. Monday, basically the only thing my face saw was my pillow and the toilet bowl. ... By  the time Tuesday morning came around, I was feeling a little bit better, however still not my best. But, I crankily got ready and set out to make my morning trek to school. All day, I was sick-tired-don't-talk-to-me-cause-I-don't-wanna-talk-to-you-cranky-Allison.  ...that is, until I came home.

A few minutes after I got through the door my mom arrived home with Grace. This little girl was born 12 days ago. She's so tiny and she is as light as a feather. She's absolutely beautiful. You wouldn't guess by looking at her, that she's unwanted by her parents, or that she's fighting for her life due to the drug abuse her mother put her through during her pregnancy. Actually, she doesn't even have a name... the doctors told my mom that they just started calling her Grace because they didn't know what to call her.  ... Grace.

If you look it up in a baby name book it means "favour" or "blessing." If you understand God's grace it means so much more than just a favour or a blessing...  and that's what she is. She's so much more than a favour or a blessing. I've only spent a few hours with her, and she's already been a blessing to my life. She helped me realize how caught-up I was in how I was feeling about my poor little sickness, when here she is fighting for her life - and no one is there to help fight with her. No one was there to call her their own. No one spent time just loving her, except for maybe a few nurses who had a few moments to spare during their shift.

...So my point? I have learned yet another lesson. Suck it up, there are more important things to worry about. Go be a blessing in someone's life. Do them a favour. Even if you don't feel like it...  and maybe you'll be suprised by grace... often, we receive it, when we don't deserve it.

Friday, March 18, 2011 can't stop me now!

I know, I just talked about my trip to Malawi in my last post but an amazing friend of mine just sent this poem to me and it just HAD to be shared.. enjoy my friends!

We travelled to Malawi on a trip not long ago
And became a group of friends that will miss each other so!
I wanted to remember this long journey with a rhyme,
So her it goes, just give me a short moment of your time!

Now Paula, she's the crazy one, and always laughs out loud.
She not like any other and she stands out in the crowd.
But Paula has a problem, every time she tries to squat;
Urine soaks her panties, more than just a little dot!
Safaris are another minor problem Paula has;
When elephants come near her, our poor Paula has a spaz!

Danielle's a little different, and she doesn't always talk;
But when it's time for a team meeting, to the shower she will walk! But she sure is a beauty, even Mali boys would say,
That chances are Danielle will be Miss Canada someday!

Kristen is the the tallest one and her jokes are kind of lame,
But if she wasn't on this trip, it wouldn't be the same.
Her laugh and smile light up a room and make each person smile
And forget about our problems for at least a little while.

Ashley can be often found with a camera on her neck,
Or a Journal and a pen sitting on the pool deck.
She's friendly and outgoing and will talk to anyone
And she lives her nutella spread out on an open bun.

Katrina bought almost every souvenir she saw
And when we need some kwacha, she just pulls it from her bra. It's normal to be scared of heights or giant spiders maybe,
But Katrina's terrified of a small gecko and a baby!

Brittany doesn't travel well and always gets air sick,
But the song she wrote 'bout nsima is Malawi newest hit!
She always sits right at the front with Issa in the van
And despite her occupation doesn't have a farmers tan!

Jacqui likes to sing out loud, wherever she might be
But its impossible to wake her when she's catching cherished "z's"
She's by far the slowest eater and likes to take her time
But Jacqui would be there for you at the drop of a dime.

Elle is strong and caring but she doesn't like to touch
But happy you will see her when she gets the blitz in Dutch.
She's pretty level headed and deals well with strife
But made it clear that Africa is somehow not real life

Sarah's always smiling and playing the guitar,
Her passion and her talent with surely take her far!
Her giggles and her chatter may have kept you up at night
But Sarah helps to make the day of everyone more bright

Samara likes adventure and doing things outdoors,
But had to see the doctor about her open sores
She's passionate to touch the lives of people everywhere
But we all hope she'll stop and take the time to wash her hair.

Alanna claims she doesn't like to hug one little bit
But secretly we know she does, her snuggles never quit!
She also felt the need to somehow break the only rule
And wanted to get off in Rome when we touched down for fuel

Allison is awesome and her voice is oh so pretty
Her passion and her talents will surely change her city.
The prize for awkward puking is a prize that she would win
As she puked right at security in the plastic airport bin

Kim starts every meeting with "so girls, how was your day"
And thinks we're over budget every time we have to pay.
But she is proud of every single member of this team
And couldn't be more thrilled that you have been part of her dream.

There's lots of other memories that I could still bring up
Like dishes for Adziwa so each kid had a cup
Or the large amounts of nsima that made us all feel sick
Or "Paula likes this" posted on Appy's profile pic

Or how about the time that number five went somehow missing
Or when gift ate issa's poop after your face he had been kissing!
Or what about the countless nights that you spent with "a-net"
Our two weeks in Malawi is a time we won't forget!

Thanks to every one of you for such an awesome time!
And that concludes our journey girls! This trip has been sublime!

Written with more love than I ever thought I could have for 12 girls,
Kim Moran

Monday, March 14, 2011

Maybe it's a slow wagon...

Alright, alright..I said I was all into this blogging thing...but I have found that ever since I returned home from a recent trip to Malawi this past summer, I don't enjoy sitting in front of computer screens that much anymore.

I can look back and see the countless number of hours I have spent on my laptop, in front of a tv, or busy texting someone on my cellphone... and it bothers me. It bothers me that that is how I chose to spend my time. I believe that time is a gift. We humans are not promised tomorrow on each moment that we get to spend on earth should be cherished, and counted as a blessing, and I think most importantly...used for good.

Is it possible to do good on all our fancy technological devices? Of course it is. Chances are, if I am thinking about someone and want to send them a quick encouragement, my immediate response would be to grab my purse and dig out my phone amongst all the junk in there and send the person a text. It's just another way we communicate now. But if I am going to be honest here, I could ask myself...'Allison, were you really doing good by staying up late watching the third season Grey's Anatomy online last night?' I can only answer 'no' to that question.

Spending two weeks in Malawi with very little communication to my friends and family back home allowed me to see life from a different perspective. It allowed me to see just the basics. The basics of pouring out love into people, and in return having love back into me. Lots and lots of love. A love that was not sent with a quick text, a love that was not passed on with a 'poke' over facebook, a love that was not communicated quickly during commercial breaks of my favourite tv show... no. It was a love from taking the time to teach a little boy how to make a paper airplane and decorate it with stickers. It was a love from spending time worshipping in God's presence with house mom's from an orphanage. It was a love from playing tag with a little girl who had been abandoned by her family just weeks ago. It was a love from children who very rarely are blessed with the opportunity to receive love.

That's what broke my heart during in Malawi. Not the sad stories of the orphaned children. Not the lack of food in their families. Not the lack of education. Not the social injustice. It was the love. The endless amounts of love that they poured into my life. I went there to share love, but somehow, I think I came home with more love than I could have possibly ever given to them.

All this to say, I see things differently now. I try to somehow, someway, share that incredible love with someone else. I try to spend  waste less time doing things that please me like browsing through the latest styles that dynamite has on sale, and cherish more time going out of my way, and out of my usual routine to make a difference in someones life.