What a way to spend a short holiday!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 by Michelle

Take a deep breath, and let it go right down deep into your toes. Now exhale slowly and feel the tension release from your body. That feeling of release is what it’s like to go to the Oasis Rejuvenation Centre and Retreat in Mission. Even after me being a pain by emailing a myriad of questions and giving a ridiculously long list of foods we couldn’t eat, Teresa nevertheless greeted us warmly with a big smile and a welcoming hug. After settling in our upgraded room, we each sat down with her to talk about the next few days. From our arrival on Saturday to our departure on Tuesday, we were fed magnificently by Bonnie and Rob (Teresa’s husband), massaged and pampered by Teresa, and, in the end, felt like we were a part of the Oasis family. Each gave of themselves and their many talents, and their puppy Sancho bounded into our hearts too. There was a night of Karaoke in their big games/play/fun room that Rob hosted with ourselves and another guest, which was a blast (Chris of course beat us all at foosball)! Will we go back? You had better believe it! Besides all of the obvious spa reasons, we want to see all the beauty of the place that was hiding under the snow!

Urgent: Volunteers Required

Thursday, December 18, 2008 by Michelle

The First United Church Mission have generously opened their doors to homeless people to make sure they don't have to sleep outside on these cold, snowy nights. Many people in the downtown eastside are being given emergency shelter each night, but First United has few people to help out and is asking for volunteers. If you are able to help out for part of or all night on any night (it's at the corner of Hastings and Gore Streets in downtown Vancouver), please contact Sandra Severs at 604-681-8365, ext. 120 or Marion Young, volunteer coordinator, ext. 108 or Email: ssevers@firstunited.ca Your help would be greatly appreciated by both First United and the people in this community who are accessing their church for shelter.

Christmas 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008 by Michelle

Five minutes was all it took to go "Christmas shopping" this year, but I'm hoping our family and friends are happy with the results. Usually we cherry pick charities to give to for each person, matching the gift to the recipient. This year, we decided to give our donation to only one organization; family and friends this year helped pay for shares in a community well through the Canadian Feed the Children's "Best Gift Ever" program. The Western World spends a ridiculous amount of money and resources on bottled water, despite having the cleanest and most accessible water in the world. Yet, many people around the world have little access to clean water, and often women and girls have to walk miles to carry it home to their families. This means girls are not able to go to school and instead have to do back-breaking labour. Our hope is that a village will be able to not only have access to clean drinking water, but that it will also allow the girls to go to school and women to better provide for themselves and their families. Merry Christmas everyone!

Atira’s 25th Anniversary Celebration

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 by Michelle

Enjoying being a bit different, Atira (where I work) chose to honour 25 women at its 25th anniversary celebration (on October 25th, cost was $25). Atira was celebrating 25 years of supporting, encouraging and believing in women! We have been proudly serving, embracing and loving this community for 25 years and showed our gratitude to the women who have made our work possible. An appeal was made to nominate any woman who has touched your heart, mind, spirit or soul... any woman who has made you laugh, taught you something or supported your tears... any woman who has loved, lost or learned... any woman at all. Check out who they are and what was said about them. It was a magical night and I felt honoured to be part of such a creative and amazing group of women.