#c3tointerns: our mission trip to uganda, east africa

october 3rd, myself along with my fellow C3 Toronto interns set out on our 2 week mission trip to uganda, east africa. with this being my first mission trip i wasn’t sure what to expect. taking the time to look back on the 2 weeks, i can’t help but realize how grateful i am for my church, my fellow interns and lead pastors, each person i met and had the opportunity to interact with, and to come home feeling filled and inspired.

if it wasn’t for c3 toronto developing the internship program and offering to fund a church planting conference in east africa i wouldn’t have been blessed with this incredible opportunity to travel to east africa!

a bit of background information… towards the end of the summer we launched our internship program. this opportunity was announced at our leadership retreat back in june, and i had felt called to apply, and to through the program to develop my leadership and creative gift (design skills) working under chrissy burrows (for those of you who don’t know chrissy, she’s a creative powerhouse!). we have a total of 15 interns (including myself) all working in different areas of the church, every wednesday, under different leaders. the mission trip to east africa was a part of the internship and only available to the interns. the goal of the trip was for us to go and help our c3 church planters, spread the word of god, visit with and supply families in the villages of uganda with hope while delivering care packages. we spent most of our time in kitigum and kampala.

together, the interns and myself, spend a full day together at the church office and we see each other at church on sundays… if we weren’t already close we definitely became a family during this trip. we spent MANY hours on a small bus together (named rosa), saw each other at through every phase of the trip: our most vulnerable, tired, hungry, hairy, smelly… you name it we probably saw it in one another! we learned a lot about each other too: who’s deathly scared of insects (aimee), who has a newfound love of animals (summer), who can rap like eminem (cam), and i’m proud to say we got to watch each other grow, in our gifts and god’s calling, as well as our capacity! i wouldn’t trade this experience for anything (i feel like a proud sister saying this)!

nothing made my heart smile more than touching the lives of those we had the opportunity to interact with! seeing their eyes light up during our visits or conversations. i felt like everyone was a sponge and want to interact with and look at you as long as they could! during the church planter’s xpress conference we shared how we are actively working to spread the word and love of god in our city and the opportunities for church planters in east africa, like connect groups that create community and build supportive and lasting relationship (some of my closest relationships i have not were formed through connect groups)! it was incredible being able to meet with the young leaders in our church community there, we were able to not only instill hope in these individuals but we left with hope and ideas to bring to our church community here in toronto! it was awesome to realize how c3 truly is a global family, and the feeling you get interacting with our family around the world is something i’m excited for us to continue to do and reach out around the world. this was our first mission trip at c3 toronto and i see many mission trips to come in the future!

while the conference took place a portion of the time we were there it was a blessing being able to touch the lives of those in the community. we met one girl in particular, kevin. kevin is a 22 year old with nodding syndrome. those with nodding disease experience a complete and permanent stunting of growth along with the growth of the brain, leading to mental handicap. kevin lives out in a remote village with her family. she used to visit ps david livingston’s church. ps david planted the first c3 church in east africa and was our guide during our missionary work in the villages. kevin, being unable to walk the usual 40 minutes she would to church on a sunday, is unable to leave her home (a small hut, with very little for her and her family to survive). it is overwhelming for ps david to visit her and she this disease get stronger, a few of the girls and i circled around kevin and ps david, we were asking ps david more questions but he got teary and it became difficult for him to speak, that’s when denise (worship intern) began to sing “i believe in miracles” to kevin, and immediately you were able to feel the presence of god over our circle and kevin, we all began to sing and you could tell kevin couldn’t have felt more at peace, we could only imagine how much she missed going to church and the least we could do was worship and bring the presence of god to her!

DSCF4616.jpg

one struggle i had weighing over my heart for a portion of the trip was the feeling that i wasn’t doing ENOUGH. i was fighting the thought of we can walk one more kilometer, visit one more family, sing one more song… i was glad to be able to have such an incredible group around me to remind me of what lowis had said, every drop in the bucket counts. that every interaction we had made a difference and planted a seed of hope and welcomes the presence of god into this wonderful area of the world!

DSCF4586.jpg

i love to have come home feeling so inspired and encouraged to be a laser beam to god through connecting with people and as a creative. i believe in my church and our mission to lead people to follow jesus as lord, and make disciples to advance his kingdom through the local church and i feel that this mission fulfilled that! and i couldn’t be more excited to reconnect with that fire within myself to invest in my future and know that i have a part to play!

if you’re reading this and feel encouraged to go on a mission trip, i would say GO! make sure to do your research but find and organization and trip that speaks to you and go, i promise it will be incredible… life changing!

my baptism #allin

july 15, 2018 marks the day i was baptized at c3 toronto! the day zaina was baptized & the day smith was dedicated! it was such a special day! 

leading up to my baptism, knowing zaina and i were going to be baptized together (on the same day) and how READY she felt to declare her love for jesus... i kept trying to talk myself out of it, not because i didn't feel ready but because i didn't feel worthy. there are too many times in my life where i look to others for approval & support in the decisions i make... i looked to far into past sin & hurt and tried to use them as reasons why i would not be worthy of being baptized. 

INNAYAS_BAPTISM_C3-48.jpg

before i meet heather, erica + colin + smith & family, to sit in on 3rd service, ps gerry met with all of those being baptized & said one thing that stuck with me and gave me so much ease in my desicion, he said "anything you have telling to you're not worthy of this decision, leave it outside of the tank." those words were all i needed. i know god is walking with me and loves me and my decision to declare my love for him is special and i'm so excited to continue to walk with him! 

_STY2921.jpg
INNAYAS_BAPTISM_C3-55.jpg
INNAYAS_BAPTISM_C3-56.jpg

*note to self... jean shorts are very uncomfortable when wet! 

the day felt so special! i'm excited to walk with god in this season and every season to come! 

cops treats // opening tuesday

a good friend of mine, alex (owner of baddies), is opening a drip coffee and mini donut shop called cops treats! cops will officially be opening tuesday june 5th!

alex had friends and family in to visit last night for some drinks and to taste his cinnamon sugar/glazed donuts to celebrate! 

from the pink brick, golden entrance to the pink benches, gold accents on the inside the shop to the delicious donuts alex has so much to be proud of! he did an amazing job with the space and you can tell he put a lot of love into every element - including the delicious mini donuts!!

IMG_0589.JPG

mmmmmmmmmm drip coffee

IMG_0600.JPG

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm mini donuts

IMG_0609.JPG
IMG_0622 copy.jpg
IMG_0601 copy.jpg

stop in this tuesday (and every other day!) for drip coffee and mini donuts... "because too many options are a prison!" 

ny

day 1

this morning I was up and at the airport for 5 am to board our plane for our 7 am flight to ny! 

after making my way through the airport i got to the gate of our plane to wait for the girls. when it was time to board and the girls were still making their way through all of the checkpoints, i told them to ask people to move in front of them in line (i had seen others doing the same when i was in line)! i asked the women at the gate if they can hold the plane and she said the best she could do is leave the doors open 10 mins before take off! as i sat on the plane i had a "what do i do if they don't get on the plane!?" moment... as i turned around to take my seat on the plane, i was so relieved to see their heads popping and making their way to our seats! i sat between kris and zoe, sam sat 1 row in front, diagonal from the 3 of us. the flight was on time, sat for our hour and 45 min flight, sped through the airport and took a cab to our hotel, the leon hotel!  

our check in wasn't until later in the afternoon so we quickly changed and freshened up before leaving our bags at the hotel as we hit the streets! 

our first stop was brunch, we made our way to the butchers daughter! we honestly couldn't have picked a better location to stay because we only about a 10-15 min walk from most of the brunch spots we were hoping to visit! 

DSC04704.jpg

we walked in at the perfect time because they had enough room for 4 at their large table! ...and just after we walked in about 2 groups came in and the place was packed! i ordered the acai bowl, it was delicious, totally hit the spot! 

DSC04698.jpg

kris and i popped into their take-away shop next-door to grab a few of their illustrated postcards. i found them very inspiring last visit! 

after brunch we made our way to chillhouse, we got their early but wanted to sit and enjoy some fancy adaptogen drinks, get some wifi to plan a little walk around before sitting and getting our nails done.

DSC04709.jpg
DSC04714.jpg

we got to chillhouse about an hour and a half early. each of us ordered a drink, both sam and zoe ordered the give me life, kris ordered spin my wheels, and i ordered make me glow: ube, ginger, goji, rehmannia, acai & mesquite! we had a sip of each of our drink and i would say i enjoyed mine the most out of the 3, i found it a bit sweeter than the others, which was what i was craving! regardless, they were all delicious! 

we realized sezane, a shop kris wanted to visit was close so we made our way over. where we stumbled upon free maman coffee & cookies (i will never say no to free coffee)! they even had a photobooth set up in the shop so we had some fun taking pictures and looking around before we walked back for our 1 pm appointments! 

taken by  kris

taken by kris

they sat us right away! it was an interesting, chill experience to say the least! the girls were all done before my shellac even came off, I wouldn't say I would go back based on their service but the vibes are fun, the drinks are tasty (and healthy) and my company made the visit worth it! also... on the plus side, they gave me a discount and another drink for free - so i ordered the clean me out to try! i still would say make me glow was my fave after trying almost all of the drinks on the menu! 

IMG_5532.jpg

after our appointment it was time to walk to dinner at the little beet table! this was a spot i found on instagram and added to our list (also shout out to kris for being so on top of making reservations). the food at the restaurant was great - dips were awesome (we didn't want them to end)! I got the cauliflower steak and it was worth every american penny (because they still exist here!).

after dinner we walked to the museum library where zoe showed us around. it's great having her as a bit of a guide because i wouldn't know about any of these places if it wasn't for her knowledge! 

we cabbed back to the hotel from the library. i think all of us managed to dose off more than once during the trip back to our hotel where we hung out and we're tucked in by 10 pm!! 

 

day 2

we woke up around 8 am! the 2 alarms we set for the morning didn't go off so good think kris naturally woke up and got us moving to leave for our barre class at physic 57, by 8:15 to make it for 9 am! let's just say we power walked or way from our hotel the the studio! when we got to where the studio should be we didn't see the studio! i caught a lady walking into the building in front of us where the studio is on google map, so I asked her if she knew where the studio was because she looked like she was going to a class, funny enough she happened to be attending the same class! it was inside of the building, there was no visible signage on the outside in our defence! the class was interesting, i would say it was a traditional barre class... let's just say we dropped it low (sam definitely dropped it the lowest)!!! 

after the class we got ready in the bathroom before making our way to de maria for brunch! it was handy having a big space for us all to fit at the sink to get ready! 

walking to de maria was easy enough (it's located right next to where we went yesterday, the butchers daughter)! when we got there the place was as pretty as it looks on instagram (another one of my finds)! It was difficult to decide what exactly to order! the food was so so good! i ordered the chia pudding, and tried some of Kris's coconut home-made tahini yogurt! we feel so in love with their mugs and dishes that we asked and the server came back with a paper and "make a day" written on it! i would love to own one of their mugs! It would definitely be a useful souvenir to bring home!

after brunch we walked to happy bones for a delicious coffee. this was one of the coffee shops alex & missy (friends of mine) visited this coffee shop on there most recent trip to ny, and if anyone's knows good coffee they do so i was really looking forward to trying it! Their coffee definitely met my standards!! i enjoyed my coffee and we took pictures before we headed back to the hotel to drop our bags off and hit the town for a twack (sam & kris word: no objective in mind, but just want to have a look to see what you can see, coffee encouraged)! 

IMG_5614.jpg

we ended up walking from our hotel, through the chelsea market before, making it to the highline and walking it from beginning to end! 

in the market the girls got beer, i got matcha, and sam and kris picked up hot sauce from heatonist

the highline was such a nice late afternoon walk! i can see it being such a great place to go and hang in the summer time, similar to the lake back home! the lighting wasn't the greatest for taking photos but we all walked and rotated partners the entire way! we even sat out on one of the long benches and enjoyed the warmth of the sun for a bit! 

IMG_5572.jpg

once we reached the end of the highline we taxied to jajaja but the hostess told us it was a 3 hour wait with a smile on her face and let me tell you... she was being serious! instead of waiting the 3 hours we walked to lalito (bless kris and her back-up resos)! we were laughing at how much enjoyment the hostess probably had telling us how long the wait was!

when we got to lalito we were about 45 mins late for our reso but the server was nice enough (she said she had a feeling we'd show) to hold our table for us! to start, we ordered their chips and chickpea guac, they were amazing! i couldn't believe they didn't use any avocado to make it (it was made with chickpeas, pickled onions, fried shallots, moringa, roasted garlic.)!! sam and zoe ordered the lovers drink they thought i would come in 2 glasses but it turns out the drink it truly for 2 lovers to share - 2 straws and all - not what they were expecting but they went with it like the troopers they are! i ordered and had the best vegan caesar salad i've ever tasted! the girls ordered a few dishes to share! they found the mussels they had tasted off (east coast gals would know!!) so we sent them back and the server surprised us by giving us 2 free deserts (one being the vegan key lime cheesecake that was on special an the other a chocolate mousse)! 

after dinner we walked back to our hotel! we turned on the tv and watched a bit of toy story, it happened to be playing on one of the channels, before falling asleep!  

 

day 3

we had another 8 am wake-up to cab to brooklyn, well williamsburg, for our barre class at the bar method. the studio was gorgeous - brick walls, modern furniture, and the change room had all the amenities could need. or imagine! the class we took was a lot of fun, definitely more of a traditional barre class compared to yesterdays! 

after the class we headed to by chloe for our brunch! i got the smoothie bowl with the snow white base and it was really good, the girls all ordered the loaded oats. i asked for a generous scoop of almond butter and the gal gave me me extra on the side to pour in - god bless her! 

after we finished eating we headed straight across the street to the sweatshop for coffee! the last time i was in ny (oct 2017) this coffee shop was at the top of my hit list and was the best coffee i had during that trip so i was excited to take the girls there this time, and they really enjoyed it! we sat and enjoyed our coffees and took pictures under the "don't look for love look for coffee" mural before heading to c3 for their 12:30 pm service!

taken by  kris

taken by kris

kris had planned to attend service with me while sam & zoe planned to explore the city a bit. kris was fighting a headache so she decided it was best for her to sit somewhere to rest while i attended the service on my own, which i was totally okay with! although i'm an extrovert and c3 is such a welcoming space & community i definitely had a moment where i wanted to turn away but i knew i would feel incomplete not going, i was really looking forward to it leading up to & during the trip - as usual even though i am attending c3 in another city i still received the message i needed to hear! the pastor began the preach with matthew 6:21! the preach was focused on knowing your worth... something i definitely struggle with. the main message focused on luke 9:23-25, people tend to lose what they try so hard to keep, this illustrates the more you give the more you'll receive! know that no one places more value on you than jesus! your worth was decided before you were created and before your performance, your worth is not reminisced of your failure... if you take a $10 and crumple it, throw it on the ground and stomp on it, when you pick it up and un crumple it it's still worth $10 - this was a powerful illustration and truly hit home for me and tied everything together! 

taken by  kris

taken by kris

i met up with the girls once i left the service, we had perfect timing because right as i left i spotted the girls walking down the street towards the church!

we had a leisurely afternoon wandering into vintage shops, jewelry shops, cat bird, cool home/general shops, we tried to visit the make a day handmade shop to buy the mugs we were served coffee in at de maria but it was closed, visited scosha (1 of the designers we carry at work), butler coffee shop, and a few other places that caught our eye! sam picked up a few jewelry pieces, 1 stacking ring from a shop we visited and she got a bracelet from scosha that she fell in love with!

we walked all through brooklyn to walk accross the brooklyn bridge! it was something i had wanted to do on my last visit, but bike the bridge (maybe next visit, in the summer - warmer weather!)! first we stopped to take pictures down a street where you were able to get a good view of the manhattan bridge, the lighting wasn't the best but we got a few nice shots of each of us thanks to kris! i love that the sky was so blue during our walk and that the sun was still shining bright, we really couldn't have asked for better weather for the middle of march! i was happy we walked across the entire bridge (check! off the bucket list)!

taken by  kris

taken by kris

taken by  kris

taken by kris

we stopped back at the hotel before heading to the fat radish for dinner (another alex & missy reco)! it was such a sweet little spot, candle lit on the inside and we sat around a round wooden table! our server was phenominal! they served us a plate of radishes right as we sat down! there was the sweetest man who was constantly walking around filling up our waters (later we found out by the hostess he has been there for 8 years - he's just the cutest, dedicated man - he had the most gentle smile)! i ordered the special fat radish plate - it was to die for!!! kris & sam ordered the artichoke lasagna, and zoe ordered the fish dish! we all loved our meals and agree we would recommend this restaurant to anyone! when we were leaving we asked the server if he knew where the girls could pick up a few drinks to bring back to the hotel for the night, unfortunately he was from brooklyn so the hostess came over and we chatted with her for a bit first about where to find a deli and various other things - she was a lot of fun to talk to - we were joking about hanging with her after... we were 75% joking! on our way back i spotted a deli so we stopped in to check! same got a local brew and the gals were wondering if they sold singles (we assumed yes, but sam asked), the guy told sam he would even tell her single smokes if she wanted! so after joking with him he gave same the full experience by putting her beer in a brown paper bag for her to carry back to the hotel! 

when we got back to the hotel it was just after 9:30 pm, big daddy was on tv so we watched that until we fell asleep! we cancelled our workout class for the next day, the girls were a bit sore and it would give us more time to sleep and take our time the following day, since it was going to be our last day and we knew we had to head to the airport around 3:30/4 pm! 

day 4

although we didn't set an alarm we all woke up and were out of bed by 8:30 pm! we each got ready and packed our bags to check out and hit the city!

we headed to the egg shop for brunch - kris really wanted to check it out after seeing hannah (@HBfit), colin's best friend brendan's wife, posting a youtube video about the spot, and the girls love their eggs! i must say, i don't eat eggs but i had the warrior one dish and subbed the egg for avo and it was tasty - i didn't expect it to be a cold dish but it was a pleasant surprise!  

after brunch we walked around to cha cha matcha! i had to get my cha cha on before heading back to toronto! 

DSC04742.jpg
DSC04751.jpg

we made another stop into the athletic clothing store kris had hoped to purchase a new outfit from and she was able to find 1 that she loved to bring back (they don't have any shops or ship to canada!)! next stop was sel rrose (candice designed the wallpaper in the coffee shop & i really wanted to see it in person)! funny enough, right as we walked in to the shop, the owner kristin was about to head out! i introduced myself and mentioned i know candice - she was so sweet and let me take pictures of the space (talk about good timing)! 

DSC04756.jpg

right after i got my coffee and snapped a few pictures we hopped on the subway and headed to the new york library! zoe had mentioned it and we all wanted to wander around! we attempted to walk to central park but as we got there it was time to head back on the subway to grab some food, grab our bags from the hotel, and hop in a taxi to head to the airport! we stopped at black seed bagels for a bite, a place zoe found - i had the buffalo veggie and it was good, the gals didn't really enjoy their bagles but at least we checked out the spot! 

the taxi ride to the airport was a wild one! but we managed to get through the airport in time to relax for about 40 minutes before it was time to board our flight.... which happened to be delayed but by the time we left the flight back was quick and we managed to land the same time we had expected to! i was lucky to get a ride home from the airport to settle in and head back to work tomorrow - back to the old routine! 

i truly had a great weekend with the girls! we had a good variety of plans throughout the weekend and covered everything we had hoped to! i would say my highlights were spending time with the girls, walking the brooklyn bridge & highline, happy bones & sweatshop for coffee, & not being on a schedule! ny... i miss you already! 

*already, mentally planning my next trip....*

#internationalwomensday

to all fearless, inspirational, empowering, kick-ass, groundbreaking women in my life: happy international women’s day xo

i think it's important to take these days of celebration to reflect... seeing how much i have grown with the women i am blessed to have in my life, i truly understand why quality relationships is important! having women in your life to relate to, to push you (in the best way possible), to hold you accountable, to encourage you, to celebrate you, to be an ear, to tell you what you may not want to hear but need to, to laugh with, dream with, go to brunch or grab a coffee with, to dig deep & grow with... i love all my ladies & today i celebrate every single one of you xo

in celebration, i participated in spinco's internation women's ride with zaina, kris & sam (4:30 pm at their downtown location)! for those of you who don't know, michelle august is the founder of spinco, which she started in 2014 when she was only 22 - talk about a kick-ass woman! the ride was in support of ywca. ywca toronto is dedicated to helping women escape and recover from violence, move out of poverty and access housing that is safe and affordable!

DSC046953.jpg

bluboho babes staff party

i've been working at bluboho just over 4 months now! within that time i have been blessed with so many incredible opportunities: i began as a connector & quickly became maggie & cheryl's in-house designer, i designed our holiday postcards which were given to guests over the holidays, created assets (footer images, etc.) for web & our instagram, touched on product design & have recently been promoted to our queen st key holder! i wouldn;t be where i am today if it wasn't for the group of incredible, inspiring ladies i have the pleasure of working with each day. each of these women are so talented in their own, unique way. i must say... i'm most thankful for heather, if it wasn't for her giving me the kick (in the ass) that i needed to apply for my previous roll with bluboho i wouldn't be where i am today & i couldn't be happier!

sunday, january 28th, after each of our shops were closed, we all headed to batl axe throwing for an evening of throwing very sharp axes. it was great to have all of us together in one room (minus becca - she was in England). we had un celebrating every bullseye & miss! after our round adrienne & i took 1st & 2nd place... the final round was elimination, sabina ended up working her way up the ladder & taking the cake! 

DSC04691.jpg

after throwing we headed to lil' baci for dinner! it was an evening of beloved company, dangerous activity & good food - couldn;t have asked for more!

i can't wait to see what the next year will bring & where we will have our party in 2019! 

birthday love

 

I can't imagine a better start to my 23rd year! I feel so blessed to have celebrated my birthday with loved ones, my heart feels so full!

My birthday fell on a Saturday this year, January 20th. Friday I got to work with Heather all day, I couldn't have asked for a better way to kick off to my birthday weekend! 

Saturday morning my parents treated me to baddies, for brunch! I drove us down and picked up Ashley along the way. Erica, colin & baby smith joined us! It was a lot busier than I expected it would be when we got there, but alex & genevieve were able to move the tables around and we ended up seated at the table closest to the bleachers - where I hoped we'd sit! We enjoyed some drinks and relaxed before we ordered our food! 

IMG_4970.JPG

I was surprised when genevieve brought my frenchie over with a candle and some special toppings! Such a sweet touch - it meant so much to me, It made me feel so special! 

DSC04674.jpg

My dad made a comment when erica, ashley & I were posing for a couple pictures, he said "you three look like sisters." I couldn't help but think to myself, they feel much more like my sisters than a cousin and close girlfriend, words can't describe my love for them both! 

IMG_4965.JPG
IMG_4969.JPG

 

I was hoping to snuggle smith, but I didn't manage to sneak in some baby cuddles because he slept through our brunch! I forgave him this time... next year he better help me blow out my candle! 

After brunch erica, colin & smith headed home. My parents, ashley & I went for a walk around bloor & lansdowne. The weather was incredible, so mild! It was such a great day to walk outside and enjoy some fresh air! Usually my birthday is quite cold so having the opportunity to go on a walk was something I wasn't going to pass up! They dropped me off at work on their way home.

I worked the afternoon with shiv & adrienne! shiv decorated our back room for me with the sweetest birthday message! Usually my birthday is the one day I book off, no matter the circumstances, but this year I didn't mind working - I actually loved spending the afternoon at the shop. This made me realize it makes a difference when you love your job because it doesn't seem like chore or an inconvenience - my job is a true passion. 

Ashley met me after work and we walked over to District Eatery to meet up with the boys (linas, kevin & anthony), gabby, jenn & rida! It felt so special having friends from so many different circles of my life come together to celebrate my birthday, and we all interacted so effortlessly - showed me that quality is something I've learned to appreciate in all of my relationships. 

IMG_4967.JPG

I'm looking forward to every bit of growth, discovery, and opportunities this year will bring! 

welcome baby smith

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 11:27 am Erica gave birth to her & Colin's wonderful baby boy Smith!

That morning, I woke up to a text from Erica, at 5:38 am, to let me know she was on her way to the hospital I was both extremely excited for her & praying Smith's delivery would go as smooth as possible for her! I will forever remember when Erica shared the news with me about Smith's birth along with a picture of him, I cried (tears of joy, of course), he is the most beautiful baby boy, perfect - with all 10 fingers & 10 toes! 

I was over the moon when, the very next day, she invited me over to visit! Words can't describe how happy I am to meet Smith and how honoured I fell to have had the opportunity to see and hold him, being only just over a day old! I can't wait to watch him grow up and to watch Erica and Colin be the amazing parents I know they already are! 

IMG_4806 copy.jpg