Last year, I ran the Boston marathon with Team World Vision to raise money for clean water projects in developing countries. I'm planning on doing so again this year. Training for marathons requires discipline and motivation over a long period of time, much like what's required to form any new habit or routine.
We all love spaghetti, but who would think it has a national celebration? Well, it does! January 4 is National Spaghetti Day. Spaghetti Day is more than just a clever marketing gimmick. For those of us who dig the twirly stuff, it's a day to reflect on the history, evolution and universal appeal of spaghetti and other lengthy pastas.
Visiting Tanzania in September changed my perception of what it's really like to go without. The people we met survive with the bare necessities. A roof over their heads, basic clothing and just enough food to survive. Yet, we witnessed such joy and hope in them, and for this, I fell in love with Tanzania.
The trouble is, darkness doesn't go away during the Holidays. If anything, it can feel deeper, more acute. Perhaps that's why we work so hard to brighten things up with lights and candles, and reach out to those who are in need. Sometimes, a little extra care can make all the difference to a friend or neighbor in need.
As a Canadian, it's hard to believe it's possible for teachers to successfully educate 104 children of different grades in a single classroom. Where children sit on a dirt floor, have an empty stomach, don't have sufficient school supplies for their needs. Children excited to be in school, no matter how far they had to walk under a blazing sun.
Gifts are often something we think of as meaningful, but mostly superfluous expressions of our love for each other. But in some cases, gifts can be blessings that change the course of people's lives for good. As Human Rights Day approaches, I've been reflecting on ways to offer hope for a better future to children in need overseas.
In 2013, when the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Haiyan, thousands of people were made homeless and to this date, still can't celebrate Christmas like they used to. But despite poverty and hard times, Filipinos always find a way to give gifts and celebrate. Many charities, like World Vision, continue to work with the people in the country to rehabilitate and rebuild.
One month until Christmas -- and the countdown begins! November 25 is when I typically shift into full tinsel mode. But here's the twist. We've been asked to reign in the gift-giving this Christmas. Can I really do like the people in the movies, and remember the meaning of Christmas without gift-giving?
We've all heard the real estate mantra: "Location, location, location." It means that two identical homes can have completely different value, depending on where they're situated. Location is everything. Millions of the world's poorest children know this all too well -- especially when natural disaster strikes.
Since travelling to Tanzania this September I have a more useful way of looking at addressing food scarcity. I got to see World Vision at work providing communities with the tools necessary to create a sustainable living. We met fish farmers, bee farmers, food and milk processing workers, and saw water projects that helped farmers feed multiple communities.
When you add in the damage to roads, schools and clinics, combined with the risk of waterborne diseases like cholera that are increasing due to flooding, the people of Haiti are in desperate need. But they are also resilient. These photos tell a story of great tragedy, community cooperation, and the strength of Haiti's people to get up and begin rebuilding.
Telling a great story should be the goal of every photograph. Food is chock-full of nostalgia and emotion. Photographing a great meal means styling, lighting, and shooting in a way that invokes a specific emotional response from the viewer. Is it a date night? Game day? Thanksgiving dinner? All very different experiences, and your food photo can tell that story.
On International Day of the Girl Child, I think about a little girl I used to know. She was the daughter I imagined I would have. I said goodbye to that girl on a cold, February afternoon, in an ultrasound lab in downtown Toronto. I learned that the child growing inside me was my second, beautiful son. I would never have a daughter.
In all the bustle of "celebrating Thanksgiving," it's easy to forget everything we have to be thankful for. Not the least of these are the bounty of food, and wonderful people to share it with. A couple of years ago, I discovered the key to gleaning the most from Thanksgiving weekend and in turn, bringing more joy to the table to offer those around me.