thank goodness



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Scroll down this page for good news stories and a final thought we are leaving you. Use these as illustrations and meditations for your next meeting.

Toronto carpenter builds tiny shelters for the homeless

Alan Syliboy - his generosity with his art is a true Canadian treasure.

Mom Pays Homage to Schitt's Creek with costumes

PEI Teacher reaps Sunflower Gift from Student

Esther - Canada's Wonder Pig

Halifax Teen aims to make 200 Masks

Only the Good News

At thank goodness, we want you to be inspired by all the good things happening in the world. We want you to be able to use our stories as illustrations you can take to meetings, use in church sermons, or in any way that you find helpful. Each article is followed by a "thought" about what spiritual "good news" it demonstrates. Check back often because our stories change several times a month.

Khaleel Seivwright is using his skills as a carpenter in Toronto to build "tiny homes" to help the homeless get through the winter in the city. The shelters are insulated against the cold.

Toronto man builds tiny shelters for homeless people

A Toronto carpenter is building tiny, insulated shelters for the homeless as winter prepares to set in. Khaleel Seivwright has also set up a GoFundMe page and has already surpassed his goal of $20,000 to build them.

   Each of the small home structures are insulated and cost around $1,000 each to build. He also needs money to pay for storing the building supplies, including plywood, small windows, door hinges and roofing materials.

   Seivwright says that he is aware of the huge problem Toronto has every winter with supporting its homeless population and he wanted to do what he could to help. He acknowledges that it is a worse problem this year because of Covid-19 when the shelters have to limit the number of people they can house.

   “As shelters are usually at capacity at some point in the winter in Toronto and also because of this coronavirus, making space to allow for social distancing will put even more strain on Toronto’s capacity,” he says.

   Seivwright posts updates of his project so that donors can follow along with the building journey. As of October 28 and after some publicity, he has raised $65,000, far surpassing his $20,000 goal.

   If you think you can help him out with money or materials, check out his Go Fund Me page.

And the Good News is: Every single one of us has been given a talent of some kind. We owe it to the rest of Creation to find ways to share these talents with others for the good of community. Sometimes, the less-talented among us (or at least that's the way we would describe ourselves) think we have nothing or so little to give. And yet, maybe you are the very person who can give encouragement to the other person with the talent! Maybe, it's your company - your very presence - that is needed by another person. There is ALWAYS something we can do to help. When you have a focus, such as Khaleel has found, it is wonderful! So  think about the kind of person you are and what you have to offer. How can you be a "Khaleel" to others in your family, your community, your country ... think about it and find a way to do it!


The Daily Drum (Thursday, Oct. 22)

This week features Syliboy's “Eight Pointed Star Drum”. The eight-point star is believed to be an updated version of the seven-point star; which the Mi’kmaq used to represent the seven districts of their nation. The inner star represents the four directions of East, West, North and South. (Alan Syliboy)

A Great Canadian Treasure - Alan Syliboy

Alan Syliboy was born and raised in Truro, Nova Scotia. Living in the Millbrook First Nations community, he journeys through his life with a demeanor of strength. Alan has built an eve-growing list of accomplishments throughout his lifetime, although many people are most familiar with his beautiful and unique works of art that captivate and inspire us. Here we will share just a small portion of some of his great contributions to the world of art.

   In 1971 Alan began his private study with influential artist and activist Shirley Bear who is an Order of Canada recipient.      Four years later Alan decided to further his education in the art world and joined the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

    He created a limited edition Butterfly gold coin for the Canadian Mint in 1999 it was limited to 25,000 copies which sold out. In 2002 he was presented with the Queens Golden Jubilee Medal. The year after that Alan was the featured artist and Aboriginal consultant for the production Drum!for CBC television. He was also involved with Muiniskw, a CBC animation special which included his artwork. Within that same year he also became a juror for the Canada Council for the Arts!

    Alan has traveled world wide, graciously sharing his gifts with us all. He traveled to France multiple times throughout his career participating in shows and trade missions. He was delegated by the Department of External Affairs of Canada to take part in a trade mission to Japan where he was joined by several other Nova Scotian companies. He obtained an agent and was involved with exportation of his works. He also took part in Art demonstrations at Ludwig Beck store in Munich, Germany.

    He has illustrated several books including: the novel “The Stone Canoe: Two Lost Mi’kmaq tales,” and has created the animation for his “Little Thunder” who appeared at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. The animation was later featured in a travelling show called “Canada’s best” which travel nationally and internationally. It has been in 40 different festivals around the world and was voted best animation in Montreal in 2011.

    He is truly a Canadian treasure! He continues to show his spirit of generosity by posting a daily drum on his Twitter account, which is made available to the world!

And the Good News is: We are all born with talents and gifts that have been freely given to us by the One who created us. For  thousands of years, our First Nation neighbours have both been conscientious stewards of all the gifts the Creator has given this world - but more importantly - they have generously shared these same gifts with all Creation. We should certainly look to the Indigenous community of Canada as examples of generosity and sharing. We owe them a debt of gratitude from the past, for keeping this country so pure, clean and bountiful in years past. And we owe them today for sharing their ancient knowledge and wisdom with us - as well as their culture and the beautiful drumming, song, music, and visual art. We are a better country of amazing communities because of them. In Mi'kmaq, we say: Wela'lin! Thank you!

Mom pays homage to Schitt's Creek with creative costumes

What an ADORABLE photo taken by a South Carolina Mom and artist, Lauren Mancke. She is a renowned costume-maker who made these for her three kids as an homage to the Canadian show "Schitt's Creek" after its amazing sweep of the 2020 Emmy Award's Show earlier in September.

    Her 3-year-old twin, Marigold and Lera are mother-daughter duo, Moira and Alexis Rose, while her 6-year-old son, Fox, does double duty as father-son duo, David and Johnny Rose. (doctored photo to make Fox appear twice!)

    Lauren makes costumes ever year and posts them on Facebook an d Instagram. This year's photo got noticed by the cast of Schitt's Creek who psoted their own appreciation of her creative way of honouring the show which ended this year.


Great things come from a little hard work - and a seed

    A wonderful story for the end of gardening season comes out of P.E.I. thanks to CBC. Earlier in the summer, 7-year-old Landon Jorritsma, of Meadowbank, PEI, was given a few sunflower seeds he could plant by his Grade 1 teacher, Loretta Anderson.

   Imagine Ms. Anderson’s surprise when – on the first day of school – Landon showed up with a sunflower that was so long, a vertical picture of it inside his classroom is near impossible!

   Of course, Landon is probably already a pretty good agriculturalist as he lives with his parents on the family’s beef farm. As a budding farmer, he would know that growing and tending takes work, patience, and care. And as he gave that to his little sunflower patch – Wow! Did they every grow – and grow!

   It is estimated that the one he brought to class was more than 3.6 metres in height.

   "I was really surprised, I never expected a sunflower that big or tall," Ms. Anderson said. "It was around 12-feet tall so when I saw it I was just amazed … and he was pretty proud of himself that he had grown that."

   The teacher said that she had hoped her students would learn about what little seeds can do and that it takes time and work to see the results.

   “It's not just something that happens instantly," she said.

   Landon says there are other sunflowers still back on the farm that are continuing to grow. And he wants to see just how big they can get.

   And the Good News is: It is so important for adults to continue to see the world through the eyes of children. We need to look at our surroundings with the wonder of a child like Landon who has seen proof that from a little seed – big things can grow! Just like the stories of the mustard seed and how faith the size of a seed can grow and grow – especially if it is tended to and taken care of.

Esther -Canada's social media powerhouse

   Want your daily smile? You have to check out Esther, the Wonder Pig – a real Canadian treasure!

    We thought we would check in on our true Canadian celebrity and beauty: Esther the Wonder Pig. We were very pleased to find that, at 8-years-old now, she is doing very well and still enjoying her life in Campbellville, Ont.

     Have you heard her story? Two young men named Steve and Derek were offered a tiny, “micro pig” who needed a good home. Well, of course they took her! Trouble was – she didn’t stop growing at “micro” size! In fact, she kept growing to the point where she outgrew the men’s home and they had to buy a little farm!

     It’s turned out just wonderful for all three of them and assorted other pets in the household. Esther has become the most famous pig in Canada and has her own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Website pages!

    And trust me – she is quite a character! She loves to dress up, to sleep, and to eat, eat, eat!

     If you want to follow her escapades and search her store for all things Esther and pink piggy, just google “Esther the Wonder Pig” and check her out.

 Esther the Wonder Pig relaxes in her home after a busy day at work as one of Canada's biggest media stars!

And the Good News is: As we explore all that Esther has to gift us with - joy, laughter, amusement, gratitude, etc. - we are reminded that in the Bible, we are told that God created animals before they created humankind! That was how much God loves the animals of the earth, birds of the sky and fish of the sea. It's no wonder, then, that we are all called to be good stewards of the land and help maintain and sustain every living creature on earth! 

   Did you ever give an animal a "forever home?" Or have you helped raise funds for organizations that take care of animals? Did you know that even as simple as throwing your Christmas tree way out in the backyard every year, you are providing shelter for the wild little ones? Do you have any other ideas about how to help improve the quality of life for all God's Holy life?

 Thirteen-year-old uses skills to protect others

   According to a CBC report by Emma Smith out of the East Coast, a 13-year-old from Halifax has been making masks to protect her family, and has been kept busy supplying others with her one-of-a-kind, colourful kente cloth creations.

     Damini Awoyiga uses African-patterned material she got from her grandmother to make the masks. The patterns have deep meaning in African culture. It comes in a colourful mix of yellows, blues and blacks.

    So far, Damini estimates she has made 200 masks, but figures more are in her future, since Nova Scotia implemented a mandatory mask policy on July 31.

     "Wearing masks can be sweaty and hot, but it will keep the people around us, and us, safe from COVID-19," she said.

     The province is distributing free masks at public places including local libraries and provincial museums. Private retailers are also handing out masks at their doors.

(With reporting from Emma Smith - CBC)

The Good News is: 

It doesn't matter how old we are - from three to 103 - there is always something we can do to help others. What skills do you have that can improve another person's day?

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