Elisabeth was born in Ontario, Canada and was homeschooled until she reached high school. She loved being home because it gave her time to focus on her passions, to be with her siblings and foster siblings, and to pursue a high level of music.
Since 2014 she has been a student at the Virtual Learning Centre, which is an excellent online high school, where she has enjoyed being a peer tutor, a club and committee leader, and part of the Student Council. Doing school online has inherent challenges and joys, but Elisabeth loves it, and it has been very convenient since her family recently moved to Saskatchewan, Canada to serve in an aboriginal community.
When Elisabeth’s not studying, she loves reading, writing, being with friends, running around outside, and playing music, especially the piano. One of her favourite ways to worship and glorify God is by making music with others: singing with her sisters, accompanying soloists and groups, and being part of choirs and other musical ensembles. One day Elisabeth would love to be a teacher and serve God with her words and music in whatever context He has for her!
Marie has always had a deep love and respect for the wonderful gift of Music. It has consumed and directed her life in the avenues of ministry, career choices, and entertainment. Her great joy is helping to develop the gift within others, and to nurture a deep love and respect for the giver of this invisible gift.
Marie is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music/Toronto University (ARCT), the Royal Canadian College of Organists (CRCCO), University of Ottawa Teacher’s College (Music Specialist), and the Canadian Federation of Musicians (RMT).
Marie has been the music specialist for the Carleton Board of Education, a primary school teacher, instrumental and vocal teacher for the Renfrew County District School Board, the soloist, musician and composer for the national television program “The Master’s Touch”, and Music Minister in many local churches of various denominations. She is the coordinator for The Royal Conservatory of Music examinations in her area, entertains for a variety of events and charities, and teaches private piano lessons in area schools and in her home studio. Marie is a licensed Lay Leader with the United Church of Canada, has completed F.L.M. from Queen’s Theological College, and has been Wesley’s Music Minister since 2003.
Sara is a grade 9 student at Bell High School. This is her first year in high school and she is looking forward to it!
Sara enjoys playing every sport however, she especially loves soccer! One thing she enjoys doing is making people happy and helping others. Sara can always be found raising money for charities, donating to the food bank or shoveling the snow from driveways for others in the winter time. She also enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family.
Born and raised in Belleville, Ontario, which is situated along the Bay of Quinte in the beautiful Prince Edward County. Anne Cameron’s interest in painting and talent was at an early age side her father and mother. (well-known artists from the Bay of Quinte Area).
Her siblings, Jean oldest, Mairi identical twin, and Donnah youngest sister. Anne was influenced at an early age in the visual arts both from her Father Allan Cameron a portrait painter and her mother a hair dresser and taylor, painter and designer.
Anne became a born again christian in a Pentecostal bible study and the Lord healed her of her addiction of smoking. Anne began to help out in a children’s christian bible club, teaching them small stories on God’s Word. Anne has taught children art lessons. at Cameron’s Art Gallery. In prayer meeting Anne received prophecy from an elder in church that she would be writing poetry. Ann started her Christian writings about the father's love in poems and her Visual art renderings putting the two together to glorify and edify her saviour and bring the Word of God to glorify and is now writing many of her talents on paper, to glorify the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings owned and operated art Gallery and framing Store, Taught children’s art in drawing and watercolour, organized Art show for students with write up in the Intelligencer.
Heather is a mother, grandmother, organist, author, community and church volunteer and a retired teacher who lives in Beachburg, Ontario. Retirement has meant more time to pursue her love of writing.
Heather chairs the writing club “The Henscratchers” which meets monthly. She has five books of memoirs to her credit: “The Show Must Go On”, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People”, “Because You Asked”, “Sunny Side Up” and her latest “Heather’s Musings and More”, a collection of 70 true, entertaining, short tales. Since April of 2010, Heather has been a weekly columnist for the Bancroft Times. Her column is titled “Heather’s Musings”. She loves to read her stories to groups or share her “writing voice” on topics such as “journaling”.
As Lauren nears the end of her teaching career, she is looking forward to having more time to explore her other passions: food, gardening, and creative DIY projects. She also hopes to spend time travelling, learning and spending more time with my friends and family.
You can enjoy Lauren’s cooking passion in the Just Saying food section!
Braelyn Cheer is a 14-year-old aspiring author. She loves writing, painting, reading, her dog, and, of course, God.
Braelyn's future dreams include travelling the world with her closest friend and becoming a psychologist. She lives in Ottawa with her parents, older brother and two younger sisters. Most days find her in the company of friends and family, whether real or fictional!
Carolyn and her husband Brad will celebrate their 19th anniversary in October, 2017. They have 4 beautiful children and the family was recently blessed as they welcomed a new edition to their family, a Coton de Tulear puppy named Jasper.
After the kids are off to school, Carolyn loves to spend her time in the mornings with God and listens for the Tidbits of Treasure that He so willingly imparts to her. She is working towards a career in writing and has learned to wait more on God and his timing. Carolyn is learning to depend less on her own plans.
Diagnosed with ADD almost 3 years ago now, Carolyn has been on a healing journey, working hard to learn how to be a good steward of this gift which God has given her. Although life can get messy and chaotic, she is working towards finding and celebrating her strengths as well as seeking more peace within her own life.
Mahwish was born in Pakistan and came to Canada as a toddler. She is the youngest of six kids. When Mahwish was 8 years old, she lost her mom. Her dad has been her hero for supporting and taking care of six young children single handedly. Mahwish had to quickly learn how to cook and clean and keep the house running to help her dad. It is at that point that she began searching for God and looking for strength to get through the toughest, most difficult time of her life.
With God’s grace Mahwish has always been very independent and has gotten herself through a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree and is currently working on a Doctor of Education degree. She is determined and perseveres through everything.
Mahwish is also blessed with a wonderful and supportive husband as well as three beautiful daughters who are ages 6, 4 and 2. While her life is busy at home, work and with her education, she is always willing to be a friend to anybody in need.
Mahwish has always dreamed of writing devotionals and sharing her experiences through the word of God. When people ask her how she does it all, her answer is, “through Christ who strengthens me”.
Devon Cornelius is a husband, father and writer. His wife and two daughters inspire and humble him. Devon has a heart for those who are vulnerable and hurting, whose voices go unheard, and those who have yet to realize their full potential. He also loves gardening and experimenting in the kitchen.
Bringing hope to life through honest and vulnerable storytelling is his aim. You can read more stories at devonwrites.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniela De Ciantis-Whitley
Daniela was born in Toronto to an Italian and Irish family which means she was raised to appreciate good food and loud company. Despite not currently living in Toronto it still remains one of her favourite cities.
Daniela received her undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto St. Michael's College, and later moved to Ottawa to complete a Bachelors of Education from Ottawa University. The two years that Daniela spent in Ottawa teaching high school Religion and English helped to affirm her desire and confirm her need for further formation in ministry which she knows will help her in the teaching profession.
Daniela is currently in her first of three years at the University of Notre Dame in the Master of Divinity program. Although she is now seven hours from home, Daniela knows that she is exactly where she needs to be to grow into her most authentic self.
The Donatwins are two brothers who have a passion to create innovative photos and videos. Their passion first began as a hobby, however, it is now turning into a real job!
Giacomo was the first of the brothers to begin making videos just for himself. Within less than a year, coupled with a lot of practice and determination, he started to produce videos for small private companies.
At that time, Gianluca had worked for approximately four years in a street-wear clothing store in Italy. He decided to leave Ravenna (the city where they live) to study English for three months in Ireland. Upon his return to Italy, Gianluca made the decision to join his brother Giacomo to develop a company that features designing and producing creative videos and still shots.
Giacomo and Gianluca are continuously studying as to how to enhance their skills in the area of editing videos and photos. They are also actively evolving in the Social Media milieu - especially Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.
Pastor Chad Fisher serves as a Staff Pastor at Cape First Church, Cape Girardeau, Missouri. He is a professor at Cape First School of Ministry. Chad also leads the Remix Young Adults’ campus and serves at their House of Hope Campus. He has been in full time ministry for a decade and also served as a Senior Pastor of a growing church in the Bootheel of Missouri for five years prior to joining Cape First.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministries with an emphasis in Pastoral Ministries from Williams Baptist College. He also holds a Masters of Organizational Leadership from Evangel University. Currently, he is finishing his Doctorate in Pastoral Ministries from Trinity Seminary in Evansville, IN.
Chad is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He has served on the Church Planting and Church Revitalization board for the Southern Missouri District of the Assemblies of God since 2013.
Chad is the author of the book, “Dancing with Destiny.” It’s a book that challenges us to pursue our destiny at all cost and can be found on amazon.com. Pastor Chad is married to the love of his life, Monica. They have one daughter, Kyndal June, and are expecting their second daughter in the fall of 2017.
Kyla is a dedicated writer who covers a number of different platforms and genres while working for a national non-profit during the day; this way she is able to do her dream job and her day job at the same time.
Born and raised in Northern Ontario, she moved to Ottawa to attend University where she was able to find more connections to her calling. Kyla has been writing for 7 years now and she doesn’t plan to stop. She loves to travel, try new things and experience life to the fullest. Kyla is best described as aspiring to inspire. She hopes that her writing and the stories that she plans on telling will do just that!
You can follow Kyla by logging into her blog at: email@example.com
A native of Melbourne, Australia Ella’s story really began when she moved out of home at the age of 18 to attend Drama School, she was filled with youthful enthusiasm, a bag of dreams and hopes that one day - she would make it!
After three years of training, her dreams that she once dreamed didn’t taste good anymore. Criticism and judgment left a bitter taste in her mouth, would she dream again? She needed fresh vision.
Fresh vision did come Ella’s way when a friend offered her a job in Real Estate. Negotiating deals, pitching for business and running sales campaigns inspired her, but there was a wide-open unfulfilled space that held her dormant dreams. Ella had no grid for ‘balance’ given her professional life overruled her personal life. Being the hamster in the wheel was exhausting!
The exhaustion prompted questions… what would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail? Am I prepared to get mentally & spiritually fit to jump over the hurdles to chase my dreams?
Destiny disrupted Ella’s mundane with an invitation to attend a school called Bethel in Northern California. A childhood dream to live in America resurfaced. Ella was about to embark on a huge faith journey, leaving the country for two years with no money! It was time to put her faith into action and become a rule breaker of the status quo.
After three years of school at Bethel, life came full circle, a resurrected dream opportunity came her way. Ella is now the Head of Admissions and Marketing at Bethel Conservatory of the Arts!
Walking out her own transformation has made Ella want to coach people into their own freedom. To help them to walk into their own realizations and breakthroughs. To challenge and provoke growth. To coach and teach, both through sessions and through her blog “All That I Am”. In a world full of information, but starved for wisdom, Ella is keen to go deeper with people, to bring true understanding and insight.
Lauren grew up in Ottawa, ON and lived there until she went to Rice University in Houston, Texas, on a soccer scholarship. While at Rice, Lauren fell in love with Jesus through a ministry called Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). After playing and receiving her degree from Rice, God called Lauren to play professional soccer in Iceland.
Lauren now works for FCA at Houston Baptist University in Texas. She loves Jesus, reading, coffee, slow mornings, and getting mail. She is getting married in February of 2018!
Carol Jackson is originally from South Africa. She moved to Australia as a child and has spent the past 9 years working as a school teacher on Queensland's Gold Coast. She loves the beach, the mountains and everything in between and she is always up for a spontaneous road trip or adventure!
This year Carol decided to take a huge step of faith and to move out of her comfort zone. She packed up her suitcases, booked a plane ticket and relocated to California to attend Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry. Carol has always loved the Lord and has a passion to see people not only encounter the Father's heart but come to a revelation of how loved they are by Him. Knowing they are valued and accepted regardless of where they have been or the life they have lived.
Carol absolutely loves children and it is her greatest desire to love those children who have never known what it is to be loved. That is what makes her heart truly soar!
Jocelyne F. Lafrenière, CPA, CA is the President & Chief Executive Officer of JFL International Inc. She is the author of the inspiring book, Hello Marvelous You and co-author of the book, The Soul of Success.
She is the author of 12 business management courses that provide new entrepreneurs, managers and executives with a comprehensive understanding of business topics, including legal considerations for starting a business, business planning, management of financial, human resources and physical resources, information technology, accounting, marketing and sales. For more information, please visit www.jflinternational.com.
Tracey Lahey is a Christian, wife, mother and stepmom of six grown children. Tracey and her husband, Paul Lahey, are in Christian Ministries together focusing on Inner Healing that guides people through traumas and brokenness in their lives. Tracey and Paul are also actively involved in their home church in Ottawa with many activities including leading and teaching Life Groups.
Tracey is also a full-time professional makeup artist, spray tanning technician and glamour hair stylist working in the Ottawa area. Tracey has over 16 years of makeup experience specializing in television, theatre, bridal, photography, film and the beauty industry. You can see Tracey’s unique touch of makeup on local news celebrities, global political leaders and corporate CEO’s.
God has brought much healing and transformation in Tracey’s life and through this journey blessed her with a happy home and the confidence to start a new career and her own business 16 years ago which is now successful and thriving called Beauty by Tracey. You can learn more about Beauty by Tracey by visiting her website: www.beautybytracey.com
Anita loves living life with her creative husband, Mike, in London, Ontario. She is blessed by the great friendship she shares with her two grown sons, Mark and Greg, and has since inherited a beautiful daughter-in-law, Meghan. As far back as she can remember, Anita has always loved words, writing short stories and poems from the moment she could put pen to paper.
Recognizing that time is a precious gift, Anita desires to use her time and talents to make a difference. She has had the privilege of working with two Christian ministries during the past twelve years, whose purpose is to transform the lives of children and their families, bringing them hope and a brighter future. Anita desires to live intentionally with an eternal perspective. In sharing her thoughts through the written word, she hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Paula Lepore Burrough
Paula is Canadian born. She has been an educator for 21 years and is currently teaching at an International School in Hong Kong.
Her focus of study at the University of Ottawa was Human Kinetics. Paula then continued her studies by completing a Bachelor of Education at Western University. In 2008, she received a Masters in Educational Technology through Michigan State University. Paula continues to explore her current passion which began in 2013 and led her to complete a variety of courses focussed on the use of therapeutic essential oils (aromatherapy).
Paula has been blessed with two fun and beautiful boys. They love travelling as a family to new destinations around the world discovering new cultures and taking in sightings of wild animals. Paula’s boys are third culture kids who love that their mother is from Canada and their father is from England, but born in Hong Kong where they are currently enjoying life.
Paula’s passion includes meeting people from around the globe and connecting people. In particular, she feels led to empower people with their well-being. Paula is passionate about physical and mental health because she knows it is key to living a full life. She is looking forward to sharing this passion that lies very close to her heart through Just Saying. May your journey reading Paula’s articles transform your lives to better health and well-being!
Chris spent his teen years caught up in addictions and crime. His school experience was a wreck. One day a prison chaplain stopped by to talk about faith. It all sounded too good to be true, but it struck a chord in his heart. Over the next few months, Chris would experience a change that would lead to a life far beyond his wildest expectations.
Part of this radical change would be developing a love for learning. Chris would go on to complete a Bachelor of Theology degree and a Master of Divinity.
In 2007, he finished his Doctor of Ministry degree at Providence Seminary, where he studied the effects of adolescent trauma story on the youth worker.
Dr. Marchand is now Adjunct Professor at Providence University College and Steinbach Bible College. Helping teens find hope and training leaders to understand youth ministry has been his passion for over thirty years. Chris also serves as pastor for Niverville Community Fellowship. He writes to inspire, to teach, and to bring hope to people living in dark places. He’s a husband of twenty-six years to his partner Heather and a father of two amazing teenagers. He’s a dog fanatic, a lover of all things wilderness, and a follower of Jesus.
For more information, or to hear Chris speak please visit www.nivcf.ca
Gabrielle is a grade 9 student. She is beginning High School for the first time and really looking forward to it.
Gabrielle, also known as Gabby is a fun-loving, enthusiastic person who always lights up the room with her smile. Gabby enjoys dance, drama and music. She also plays soccer in a league outside of school. Gabby is a great friend to have and supports Just Saying!
Raquel was born in the capital city of El Salvador, San Salvador. She immigrated to Canada when she was five years old with her parents and two younger sisters. Raquel grew up in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada and now calls London, Ontario home.
Raquel has always been a dreamer and a lover of words since she was a young child. It was her love of reading and the written word that led her to major in English Language and Literature with a combined major in her native language, Spanish. Raquel graduated from Brock University in the summer of 2008 and then hopped on a plane to Panama, where she spent a year as a missionary.
She is passionate about the arts, travelling and food. She loves people deeply and the most important thing to her is her relationship with Jesus. Through writing Raquel’s prayer has always been to inspire, encourage and to give people hope.
You can read more of Raquel’s "heart stories" on her blog, gracealongtheroad.wordpress.com.
Georgia is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and yoga instructor. Deep down, Georgia knows that there is more to her than just the roles in life that she has been so blessed with.
She is also an enthusiastic, aware, caring, persevering and innovating woman. Georgia enjoys her life by making sure to do a good deed every day for someone and one for self such as exercising, reading, learning, playing and cooking.
There is so much more to Georgia than what can be written in a few short sentences. She also loves to travel, learn, read and swim. The best of all are dates with her husband and hanging out with family and friends.
Fred has been married for 38 years to his wonderful wife Dawn. They are blessed with four children and five grandchildren. For most of their lives they have been pastors, twelve years of which were spent in Europe.
Fred is currently a staff pastor in a thriving church and he teaches German and World Religions at a local university. Fred enjoys reading, playing music and spending time with family and friends.
A mother, wife, teacher and avid traveler are but a few words to describe Connie Russell’s life. As newlyweds, Connie and Peter left their hometown of Ottawa to begin a five year adventure: two years teaching in Japan, one year teaching in Vancouver and two years completing an education degree on Vancouver Island. Returning to Ottawa birthed permanent roots for them with the arrival of their beautiful daughter, Mackenzie.
Connie, along with her family, loves travelling, exploring new places, discovering other cultures and sharing in unique experiences. Connie is always planning the next adventure. Bon Voyage!
Alicia Sam is a writer and event planner who has a heart for teaching and an even bigger heart for worship. Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, she began writing at the early age of four when she won her first fan fiction writing competition. Since then, her passion for writing has only increased and has taken on many forms from short stories, to written poetry and most recently spoken word. Some of her recent titles include, Made Whole, UNI, No Greater Love and The Body. Her motivation for writing stems from her love for literary expression and passion to teach. As a vocalist on the praise and worship team at Ekklesia Kingdom Ministries, Alicia enjoys expressing her love for Christ and sharing the Word of God through song. On a regular day, you can find her catching up on a good book or cooking up something in the kitchen. She hopes to one day to start a family and write a children’s book, of which she plans to share with her own kids.
Jill is a child of God who enjoys the daily journey of walking with God, whether it's with her family, building relationships in her neighbourhood, expressing herself through the arts or reaching out to a stranger. She is learning how to hear the voice of God and walk one day at a time with Him.
This has led Jill on many adventures with the Lord. One way Jill enjoys this is through her current job as an Adult Crossing Guard. It is through this job that she has had the opportunity to build meaningful relationship and enjoy the community around her. Jill feels that her calling is to touch lives one-by-one and to connect with people on a heart-to-heart level. She’s a good listener and loves to pray with others.
Another way that Jill connects with people is by caring for peoples’ feet and hands by giving them manicures and pedicures. Jill recently started her own beauty business. Her love for the Lord has also allowed her to enjoy the arts such as dance, prophetic song, painting and creative writing which are all forms of worship to her creator God.
Dina Talhouk believes that she lives a blessed life and that because of these blessings she knows that she must give back to others. Dina also believes that her home is where she must begin to give back. She is a dedicated wife and the mother of four beautiful children.
Dina is also an inspired educator and a life-long learner. Her strong beliefs are grounded in knowing that everyone has potential and that all people are unique. She knows that through courage, kindness, compassion and faith that we can achieve greatness together.
Her all time favourite hobbies include traveling and spending quality time with family and friends. During her downtime, you can often find Dina enjoying the sunny outdoors, and sipping coffee with a good book!
Zalfa is a nurturing, proud mother of three and grandmother of four, as well as a supportive daughter, sister, and friend. Her priorities in life have always been, and will always be, her family. In her spare time, you can find Zalfa traveling different parts of the world, exploring arts, crafts and good books, and volunteering her time to help others in need.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the LORD Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.” -Colossians 3:17
Donna Wright, (also known as Mimi to her fourteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren), lives on the beautiful Longhorns and Lace Ranch in Texas, with her husband and devoted partner in Christ, Ken. About a year ago, Donna felt compelled to start writing “Mimi’s Mini Devotionals” for her teenage grandchildren. In order to be current with the communication styles of her beloved teens, she decided to text these stories of love, devotion, family, and Jesus. This made it convenient for her grandkids to read her works wherever they may be, enrich their spirits, and create a solid foundation in the Lord. Donna’s efforts to relate to present times and events has made the material even more relevant to her young audience, by making the word of God come alive, leaving their hearts yearning for more.
Donna’s central passion, coupled with the word of God, is teaching people. Whether it’s sponsoring four children in Honduras to nourish them with food and the Lord’s teachings or training her sales team in exceptional customer service at the nation’s largest land development company, one thing is clear…wherever Donna goes she touches the lives of the people around her and leaves them better through her beliefs and teachings of Jesus Christ. Presently, she has over 200 women using her online Bible studies with their children and grandchildren. Donna prays that these devotionals will aid parents in opening the doors to discussing God with their children and that they will touch the hearts of people all around the world.
In her spare time, Donna loves being with her family, cooking, reading, fishing, playing with her two chocolate labs, Smith and Wesson, and sharing the word of God with others. While she has experienced a successful career of more than 35 years in sales and marketing, her goals of writing a book on Biblical Selling and becoming a speaker to share God’s word and hope (especially to women and teens) remain steadfast.