Learn to be thankful!!

You woke up this morning in a great mood. Everything seems to be going your way. Those new shoes you bought this past weekend have added a little bounce in your step. You are convinced your jeans make you look ten pounds lighter today. Your hair is doing just what you want it to, finally. You’re feeling confident.

And then, it happens – whatever it is. Maybe you notice that your waitress at lunch is gorgeous. She’s thinner than you. Suddenly, those jeans that made you look ten pounds thinner, you now hate. Maybe there’s a new girl at work who is receiving countless accolades, and you’ve been doing your job well for five years without so much as a thank you. Or maybe you have been super-grateful for your 1992 Honda Civic, until a tall, blond chick rolls up next to you at the red light in her 2014 Mercedes.

What does she have that I don’t? Rarely would any of us say that aloud, but we have surely all thought it. We are in constant comparison of what someone else has and what we don’t. Comparison is a joy-stealer. It’s a bottomless pit of self-doubt and self-deprecation. Comparison is coveting, and it replaces gratitude. It allows us to turn our thoughts selfishly inward. I wish I had her body, her job, her life, her husband. The truth is when we struggle with comparing our lives to others, her life, her job, and her husband would still never be enough. The grass would always be greener somewhere else.

If you find yourself in that pit, here’s some Biblical wisdom on how to handle it:

1. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4-5

In other words, do what God has called you to do. Run your race. Stay on your path. Focus on doing your thing well rather than focusing on where someone else’s path is taking them.

2. Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith. Philippians 3:1

Genuinely rejoice with others when they get blessed. When your friend gets married, be thankful for her new spouse that you know she prayed for, rather than focusing on your own loneliness. When a neighbor gets a new car, rejoice with them. Be excited when you see God move in someone’s life. He has great plans for you, too. It may look different. It may be on a different timeline. But the plans are great, nonetheless.

3. I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. Philippians 4:11-12

Learn to be thankful for what God has put in our hands, not what we think we should have. Trust that God has our best interest at heart. He knew us before we were ever born. He chose us. He loves us.

Comparison causes division. It causes us to dislike the pretty waitress serving us, the new girl at work, and the Mercedes-owner. We all have our own crosses to bear. We all have triumphs and defeats, joys and heartaches. Don’t secretly wish for her life.

Be filled with gratitude for your own.

Devotion by Jennifer Maggio


When WINTER shows up!

Early October, we chose the Elk Island National Park for our Autumn walk. This has been a family tradition since Belgium. 


But this time, the walk was among Buffaloes, coyotes  and beavers, unusual animals for us. It was exciting and  scary! Fortunately, we did not meet Wolves or Bears …  A friends told us this joke: “we need more engineers in  the country because they are eaten by wolves or  bears”. We do not like that joke at all: Marc is an  engineer, so you do understand our relief when we did  not meet them lol!



Autumn or Fall in Edmonton has beautiful colors: orange, yellow, red, brown … you just want to get out your brushes and capture it on canvas!

And then, an event that we did not think about was almost imposed on us: HALLOWEEN. It was madness here, strange and dark decorations, scary costumes: which we will never put on … Well, in our family, we have spoken about it: “can a Christian take part in Halloween?” Then, we decided to ask for advice to the brothers and sisters of our community. Boom: different opinions, speculations, more confusion… So finally we decided this:

– Allow our kids to have fun with their friends at the Halloween party organized by the school. 


– Wear reasonable costumes.

– Do not participate in the trick or treat.

– Lock our self in the basement to avoid the “witches and wizards” visit and enjoy our bags of candy purchased the day before! That reminds us that we haven’t seen the dentist yet for our annual visit … ouch!

For or against Halloween celebration? The decision was unanimous!

Three days later, a new event: SNOW! Edmonton was covered with 5 to 10 cm of snow, a bright white that rejoiced our heart. But chilled our body. We reached -25°C! If you never experienced that, I can assure you that it will chill you to the bones, unless, you’re dressed as an astronaut ready to exile on the moon!WP_20131119_005

Then, came what they call “shoveling” and this has nothing to do with anything  we ever done in Belgium! We use huge shovels (in Canada everything is big) in  plastic or steel that turns you into a snow shoveling machine!  My friends, if  you shovel 3 or 4 times a week, it is a very effective way to burn fat and  discover inactive muscles  lol!  So, there is an advantage to visit us in the  winter!

Meanwhile, we often go from temperatures of -25°C to 2°C in a couple of days and  that, believe it or not, real Edmontonians wear a t-shirt with short sleeves,  saying: “the weather is nice”!  We will let you know by April what we think  about that!

See you soon for more wintry news!


Four months in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada). It is said that “a newcomer has his eyes wide open but sees nothing.” We are no exception. But for now, we certainly have no wish to wake up but keep dreaming: admire the beauty of nature, be surprised by the kindness and the amazing hospitality of Canadian people, enjoy every blessing that God allows in our way in this fantastic COUNTRY OF DREAMS!

Seriously, why not  marvel and find it perfect when these things happen to you:

– Marc’s company welcome us at the airport with a limousine

– Our house is close to the children’s school 

– Stores open 7/7 and some 24/24, we forget to buy milk or bread, no panic, we can get them at any time of the night WOW!

– I (Debora) put my resume on Canadian job sites and I got 7 jobs offer in less than two weeks, including five for which I have no training and even with my limited professional English, they were willing to hire me! Incredible!

– I’ve never seen a country where so many job offers are posted along the roads and they even offer to train you, if you’re up to the challenge and motivated.  Wow!

– We go to a consultation with the family doctor and leave without paying. We were so surprised that we asked the doctor at least 3 times to confirm. He must have wondered which planet we came from :)

– Not to mention the stunning nature parks and green space around, Magnificent!

– Incredible festivals according to the season and free activities for families throughout the City of Edmonton  wow!

To mention only a few. Here are some pictures in power point that speak for themselves!

See you soon!

The Miracle: immigrating to Canada!

Despite the disappointment during the job fair in Brussels: our desire to immigrate to Canada remains in our heart as ever and we feel the need to further push the door. Ken suggested we come to visit Montreal and drop resume to see how God is going to run things. Good idea, so we planned our trip for early April 2013 because, drum roll, God has provided!

January 2013, Marc felt bad: what if he has a serious job offer during our visit to Quebec, how will he announce this to his boss with whom he has a great relationship ? It wouldn’t be right. This is tricky, it’s a risk but he felt he should be open with his boss about our project.

February 2013, Marc took his courage and shared his desire with his ​​boss and suggested that he would stay in the same company if there was a job offer on the Canadian side.
Much to his surprise, his boss, not angry or upset at all, tells him that he knows the head of BD (Becton Dickinson) Canada and that he would speak to him on Marc’s behalf. We thought, well, he just wanted to be polite otherwise why would he take the risk of losing an essential element to BD Europe! We had no choice but to have faith and be patient. WP_20131108_001
Three days later, Marc was on-line with the service manager of BD Canada. He told Marc: “I have a position of Field Service Representative in Edmonton, Alberta If you’re interested it’s yours. Only, know that winters are freaking cold in Edmonton (can reach -45 °C)  

Wow, incredible!  Marc’s boss has really kept his word, it’s a Miracle!  At that moment, I think we just heard the first part of the miracle: the JOB! It was a joyous moments of thankfulness to God. But wait, suddenly we felt a freezing cold shudder: the second part of the miracle: EDMONTON WINTERS REACHING -45 °C!  Oh boy we thought this only happened in Siberia or Alaska … We must seriously consider that. We have already experienced temperatures of 45 °C and beyond (Burkina Faso) and we survived the furnace, but -45 °C?? We were already cold just thinking about it, brr! But the de Vries-Ouattara  tribe has adventure and risks in their blood. Besides, did we not pray for a miracle?

We decide to consider the offer but remain cautious, just to be sure, to have total peace that this incredible and unexpected Wide open door is the will of God.

April 2013, leaving our children in the care of Opa and Oma (Marc’s parents), we flew to Quebec for a week. But this time, the purpose of the trip was exciting: spend quality time with our precious friends (Ken and Anne and their children) we had not seen for 6 years and go down to Toronto to meet Marc’s probable future boss !  

The pieces of the puzzle felt into place: the employment contract for Marc: check, peace to go to the freezing cold: check, the sale of our house: check. Yes THIS IS A MIRACLE!

July 30, 2013, we flew away to our dream: CANADA. Grateful to God for our relatives and friends  who have supported us, and helped along in this dream, project and MIRACLE! 




P1020518Juf Elke and KidsThe Garcia

An idea … a dream … a project … A miracle!

Everything started with dear friends who moved to Montreal, Canada. They told us about the beauty of this gigantic continent. Sounds like a dream location, an ideal place for raising children …

But for us, it was just a beautiful and attractive idea. Perhaps a visit to our friends one day, when it’s possible. You know, when finances can keep up with the brilliant idea we had!!
Our family grew and now we have four children. Canada? We didn’t even dare to dream about it. It was feasible with two children but the budget with four kids: impossible! 
Gradually, the idea  went away and disappears somewhere… It was just an IDEA!

In 2010, the idea resurfaced: immigrate to Canada! Well, maybe we need to consider it. We decided it would become our dream. But the dream stayed between mom and dad (Marc and Debora). We must first talk to God, that is our principle: pray, make sure that it is God’s plan for our family . We dreamed for a year. 
This time, the dream does not go away, instead it became a strong desire.
Mom and Dad said, “what about having it as a family project? Yes, let’s share it with the kids and bring together our project before God in prayer. It is a good idea, then the dream became a PROJECT!

The project was born in 2012. Children were incredibly excited, they talked incessantly about it. Michael didn’t stop visiting Canada via youtube. He would leave the next day if possible. Daniel, was torn between the excitement of this adventure and the idea of ​​having to leave friends. But he was curious and asked for a world map to explore canadian territories. The girls: Nema and Dara, still young, didn’t have real ties, they thought that this  adventure was a great idea! But, we still need to be sure that God shares our enthusiasm. For months every night, the project to immigrate to Canada was in our prayer requests. And the more we prayed, the more we felt that it should be realized.

But … We didn’t want to just go on an adventure with our family, too risky. Marc needed to get a job offer first. We shared with our friends (the Taylor) and they gave us advice and were on the lookout for opportunities for us.

November 2012, there was this job fair in Brussels: Destination Canada, where Canadian companies recruit skilled shortage employers in Canada. Great, an opportunity to find out if God endorses our project. We participated. But surprise, we get the same response over and over about Marc resume: too specialized for Canada. Are you kidding me??

After a long exhausting day, we left empty handed, no one seems interested offering a job to Marc. We were disappointed but not discouraged and wondered if God wanted to tell us something through this failure …   We really need a MIRACLE!