Believe In Your Capacity To Set And Achieve Your Goals

Each day I set small and big goals for myself. Sometimes, it is as simple as cleaning one closet or doing a facial or calling a friend. Sometimes it is as big as setting a goal to go back to school. Today, I start a new goal which was planted 15 years ago – to be back at university. I am starting my new MA program – Masters in Migration and Diaspora Studies.

Look out for my next post where I will talk more about my journey and how I eventually got to living this goal.

What I know for certain, is that we have the capacity to set and achieve our goals.

What are your small and big goals?



Celebration Party – Inspiration 2015

Inspiration 2015! was fun, energizing, inspiring and simply soul-fulfilling! As promised, Wilson and I hosted our guests with music, travel experiences, writing and dancing! We have so much to be grateful for and to celebrate with a group of enthusiastic people was rejuvenating for our souls. As always, the universe conspires the moment we set the intention and every single detail fell in place – from getting the venue, securing Nile Groove, my favourite band in Ottawa, to play live music; to have two amazing inspirational speakers – Lisa Anna Palmer and Hani Rached. We honoured our earth angel Nubia Cermano who also blessed us with singing and music and brought her friends along to share in the celebration. We shared our traveling experience to Kenya… now we have a group of excited people who want to go on an adventure!

Crowd 2

Inspiration 2015! was fun, energizing, inspiring and simply soul-fulfilling! As promised, Wilson and I hosted our guests with music, travel experiences, writing and dancing! We have so much to be grateful for and to celebrate with a group of enthusiastic people was rejuvenating for our souls. As always, the universe conspires the moment we set the intention and every single detail fell in place – from getting the venue, securing Nile Groove, my favourite band in Ottawa, to play live music; to have two amazing inspirational speakers – Lisa Anna Palmer and Hani Rached. We honoured our earth angel Nubia Cermano who also blessed us with singing and music and brought her friends along to share in the celebration.  We shared our traveling experience to Kenya… now we have a group of excited people who want to go on an adventure!

Why do we put effort and energy in building Mags Magazine?  We do it because we believe that each one of us have a mission in life to fulfill.  Mags Magazine provides the inspiration for us to leap out of our comfort zones and live our  future now by living our soul mission every single day.

Here is a look at what happened at Inspiration 2015 and the inspirational messages from our speakers and entertainers. 

WilsonWilson Jn. Baptiste, CEO of Gems of Saint Lucia and Gems of Africa and I shared of our travelling experience to Magical Kenya. The audience were completely engaged with the  presentation and the photos from Kenya. Many have already expressed a desire to travel to Kenya.

This year,  the 2nd edition of Mags Magazine,  will expand to add a travel section.  Look out for our spotlight on Kenya!

Inspiration tip #1:  ‘Travel brings love and power back to your life.” Rumi.  Plan a trip…go somewhere…

Inspiration tip #2: Don’t give up on the little, tiny inklings of inspiration that pull at your heart strings.  If your imagination sparked a dream, there is a great chance that life will provide you with the opportunities to build on your dream.

Hani and Magdalene - couch

Hani Rached, a rising entrepreneur shared his story of how he is building a successful  enterprise right here in Ottawa.  He  came to Canada in 1990 from Lebanon and by 20o4 he purchased the garage where he worked as a mechanic and by 2012, he expanded his business by purchasing a new and bigger property to house the garage.  he has increased his team to  six staff, which also includes a young lady who is mechanic!

Inspiration tip #3: “I don’t see my customers as numbers. Every customer is important and I pay attention to their needs. It is important in our profession that we communicate effectively with our customers and that they leave our garage feeling happy and satisfied.”  Hani Rached. (Below with his staff)Hani and team

Mags adn Lisa - bookLisa Anna Palmer inspired us to get outside of our comfort zone, face our fears and move towards our dreams.  She shared her own experience of having a great fear of public speaking but now she is able to speak to increasingly larger audiences.  She  thinks back to the time that she could not even speak at her own wedding!

Inspiration tip#4: You, too, can begin by taking it one step at a time.  Go ahead, venture beyond your comfort zone.  Leap towards your heart’s desires so that when you look back at your life you will be grateful that “I wish I could have” was replaced by “I am so glad that I did.” 

Lisa Anna Palmer is a contributing author to the collaborative Amazon bestseller “365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul,” with her entry entitled “Leap Towards Your Dreams!” Lisa is a Certified Passion Test® Facilitator, career and leadership coach, and workplace consultant. She is also the author of the upcoming book entitled, “Light a Fire in Their Hearts: A New Leader’s Guide to Igniting Employee Engagement.”

Nubia Cermano was honoured as Mags Magazine Earth Angel for 2015. 

Mags Magazine definition of Earth Angel: An Earth Angel is someone who uplifts another human being through a ‘miraculous intervention’ under circumstances which could not have been predicted. The miraculous intervention happens in response to someone else’s needs or difficculties which may not be known by the Earth Angel. They happen to be in the right place, at the right time and do the right things to lift the human spirt. When you look back at the experience, you will utter words like, ‘That was a miracle!’

Nubia earth angel - flowersWhen we launched Mags Magazine in 2014, our singer for that night was sick and could not perform. We were disappointed because we only had one performer. I called Nubia and without hesitation, she responded, ‘YES. I will, for sure. I will be there for you!’  She was our miraculous intervention that night. However she does much more that that in our community. Her work is her life and her life is her work, regardless of where she is.  She is an earth angel for many others. “Nubia, you have touched the lives of hundreds of newcomers to Canada by opening your heart and soul to them.  You have a great listening ear and the manner in which you embrace human beings, especially newcomers is remarkable. Your sense of humour, your ability to challenge them and to make each one feel strong as they re-build their lives in Canada is truly a gift to our building our community. I appreciate the manner in which you bring music and dance to the lives of newcomers and provide the space in which sadness can be danced away and music can infuse the soul. Today, as Mags Magazine select you as an Earth Angel, I want you to know that I / we value you and appreciate all that you have done in my life and in the lives of the hundreds of women and men in Ottawa.” Mags

Inspiration tip #5:  “Let us dance the sadness away instead of crying about it.” Nubia Cermano.  She can be found teaching dancing classes every Friday evening at the Catholic Centre for Immigrants.

Mags and Wilson with Band

Nile Groove:  I first met this diverse band in 2012 at a club in Ottawa.  I was fascinated with Roxanne’s voice and especially that they also performed a great blend of reggae and blues.  Back in  2012, I wanted to do a story on them to give them more publicity and support their work as rising musicians.  I was so elated when they committed to performing at Inspiration 2015. Nile Groove was founded in May 2012 by Salah Adem and Abraham Loboi. Following the creation of the band and its 6 piece band members, Nile Groove became a known original Reggae, R&B, and Funk local band playing in Ottawa’s nightlife live venues and festivals. After the release of their full-length debut album “Uncovered” in February 2015, Nile Groove became an internationally known indie band on the airwaves. Moving ahead, they are recording their new single and second studio album set to be released in 2016.

Roxanne – Born in Ottawa, Canada is Nile Groove’s singer-songwriter; Abraham Loboi – Born in Chukudum, South Sudan is Nile Groove’s bass player; Steve Patterson – Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, is Nile Groove’s tenor saxophone player; Michael Grewal – Born in Ajax, Canada, is Nile Groove’s keyboardist; Daniel Grewal – Born in Wichita Falls, Texas is Nile Groove’s guitar player. Salah Adem – Born in Asmara, Eritrea is Nile Groove’s drummer and percussionist.

Inspiration tip #6:  “We love what we do.  Music is our life.  We love music.”  Salah Adem. What do you love to do?  How much are you willing to commit to it and do the work necessary to take you to excellence?

Nubia and musician 3 Nubia and more friends Nubia and Mags stand Nubia 5 Nubia - Inspriation 2015 Roxanne and Salah Raffle odette raffle 5 raffle 4 raffle 3 Raffle 2 Raffle 1 raffle - starfish prize Nubias son and fiance Nubia's neice Nubia with same friend Nubia with guitarist Nubia with Alama Nubia earth Angel Nubia and musician singing Singing 4 Singing 3 Shaunette Shaunette and Odette Roxanne Nile groove Mags stand Mags stand with Fouzia Mags and Wilson - Mags stand mags and Lisa - couch Mags and group Mags and friends and Wilson Mags adn Lisa - book Magical Kenya Magdalene magdalene and nubia Magdalene 2 Lisa Lisa reading Lisa and Magdalene Lisa and Magdalene 2 Jelan Jelan and Mom Jamaila Head table Hani's staff (girl) Hani Hani with book Hani inspriation 2015 Hani and Wilson and staff Hani and team Hani and team 1 Hani and Magdalene Hani and Lisa Hani 1 Guitarist group photo


Two engaged gentlemen


Two gentlemen and one lady

Charles and Fouzia 2

As we move forward in 2016, Wilson and I would like to wish you all an Amazing 2016.  Leap out of your comfort zone, grab a hold of your dreams and make your life your legacy.

Follow this blog, like us on FB and keep on adding inspiration to our world!

Live your future NOW.



Thanks to all of our sponsors for Inspiration 2016!

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Nature Expeditions

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Doctors Rocking and Rolling for Charity!

They are known as doctors rocking and rolling for charity and have raised over two million dollars for charity in Ottawa. The band started in 1978 when they entered a contest at a fundraiser at the Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa and surprisingly won the first prize! Since then, with more than 37 years of gigging, they continue to make a difference in our community by performing ONLY for pleasure!

The guests at the Immigrant Women Services Gala were happy to have the legendary band ‘The Star Tools’ perform at its Annual Gala on November 26th, 2015.

They are known as doctors rocking and rolling for charity and have raised over two million dollars for charity in Ottawa. The band started in 1978 when they entered a contest at a fundraiser at the Queensway Carleton Hospital in Ottawa and surprisingly won the first prize! Since then, with more than 37 years of gigging, they continue to make a difference in our community by performing ONLY for pleasure!

It was a great pleasure to meet them in person. This memorable photo with Rima Aristocrat, who was the Honorary Chair of the IWSO gala, is another great reminder for us that when we choose to live our soul mission and passion, we can make a huge difference in uplifting the human spirit and transforming lives and communities.

Thank you Star Tools. Thank you Rima Aristocrat for a great evening. Learn more about Immigrant Woman Services Ottawa.

Dreams Do Come True – Highlights of our Trip to Magical Kenya

What I experienced in Kenya far exceeded my expectations and erased many of the negative perceptions I had about Africa and to be clear… I know now that Kenya is a unique country in Africa, with its own distinct characteristics.

I have always believed in the power of dreams and imagination. When a dream like going to Africa becomes true, I remain speechless about the power of our minds.

“Live in your dream. Refuse to wake up until it is completely over. Then dream again.”
Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom

IMAG4502“Come to Kenya while I am there.”  My friend Rosa Maria, who works in Kenya, encouraged me to visit while she was on holidays in Ottawa in December 2014. I browsed with great interest of her photos with wildlife on FB  and wish that I could be a part of it.  It seemed almost unreal to see the human beings so close to the wild side of nature.  Less than ten months later, I could not believe that I was actually in Nairobi with Rosa Maria!

The idea of going on a Safari became rooted in my mind way back in the 1990’s when my friend Aubrey Webson, who is a blind, would tell me of his amazing safari experiences.  When I met my partner, Wilson, we both shared that dream to visit Africa and to do a Safari.  The dream has been in the subconscious and conscious realm for the last decade.  This year, it inched closer towards reality when we actually made the time to visit a travel show and learned more about Africa.  The dream continued to expand in my imagination.

As if my magic, a series of events happened quite quickly this summer to inspire us even more to go to Africa.

In August 2015, Wilson and I attended a couple of conferences by Africa House, an organization within the New York University which promotes Africa.  It was an eye-opening conference for me.  Although the dream of going to Africa was alive in me, I must also say that I had my internal doubts due to the many other negative things which I had heard about Africa.  The poverty, the wars… it left a dark image in my mind. Africa was just one BIG place to me. After attending the conference, I had a better understanding of  Africa and the countries within Africa.

The speakers at the conferences painted a picture of excitement, hope, confidence, a rising nation, a growth rate of 6%, a youthful population, hospitable people, amazing wild life and a beautiful country. Best of all, we learnt that the 40th Annual Congress of the African Tourism Association was going to be held in Nairobi, Kenya. Wilson and I instantly decided that we were going to attend. One of the women whom I met at that conference, Valentina,  told me that she loved Africa and that her father fell in love with Kenya and went back to Kenya every year until he died.  She now goes to Kenya every year too and sometimes twice a year!

Just a few weeks before this, Wilson also met Jane Adam, managing of Expedition Adventures in Kenya, who encouraged him to visit Nairobi.  The two started discussions on forming ‘Gems of Africa’ a similar concept to Gems of Saint Lucia.

The dream started to reel into reality very quickly.  We received an invitation from  African Tourism Association to be speakers at the 40th Annual Congress of the ATA – a timely opportunity.  Within a couple of weeks, all the concerns we had about travelling to Africa melted away as every single detail fell in place cover the trip. Read more about the highlights of the ATA Conference.

What I experienced in Kenya far exceeded my expectations and erased many of the  negative perceptions I had about Africa and to be clear… I know now that Kenya is a unique country in Africa, with its own distinct characteristics.

I have always believed in the power of dreams and imagination.  When a dream like going to Africa becomes true, I remain speechless about the power of our minds.

Thin landrovere safari trips were amazing.   The wide expanses of lands and lakes were the greatest freedom. I enjoyed the enthusiasm of our colleagues as they clicked away with their camera and uttered expressions of amazement as they saw an animal for the first time.   I watched the wild life graze away peacefully and although we were safe in secured land rovers, being so close brought on this feeling of awe!


My favourite moment was watching a giraffe strut down the road.  The majestic beauty and elegance of the this tall creature took my breath away.  It strutted past our land rover without a flinch for the humans who were all busy trying to photograph it.  It owned the land!






The water buffalo at Lake Nukuru

elephants at David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphan Trust

(The orphan elephants from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Orphan Trust, photo credit Andrea Papito, ATA)


The Great  Rift Valley below



Hippos in Lake Crescent.

Look out for more about our experience in Kenya! Follow me my blog or like my FB Fan Page.

More post on Kenya

Join Gems of Saint Lucia and Mags Magazine Inspiration 2015!

Make Kenya your destination of choice in 2016 and we can help you get there!

When your soul speaks to your imagination… it is the beginning of creating a dream.

Live your future now… do what matters to your soul.



Why we lose sight of our dreams – and how mine came together.

I know that when God implants a dream in your soul, you were born to live it. To not live your dream, is an injustice to the freedom of your soul. Magdalene Cooman


In The Pilgrimage, by Paulo Coelho, Petrus talks about three symptoms of losing our dreams:

1. Lack of time

2. Our certainties – Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct about asking so little of life

3. Peace – life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give

I can relate so well to this.  For years, boxes of material  have been stored in my room with the hope that I would publish something one day.  I became almost at peace with my excuses – I did not have time, why not just be satisfied with what I  had, why bother with all of it?  Who cares about me or my writing?

Even when we made decision to publish Mags Magazine, I was filled with self doubt but each time those doubts came over me,  the universe would send a sign to remind me to fight for my dream.   The team which  pulled Mags Magazine together was created overnight.  On the  evening we decided to publish, it was exactly 4 weeks to the date. I sent an e-mail to Mila, the graphic designer, to ask for a meeting and met with her the very next day.  I presented the project and with no hesitation she gave me her full support, with no idea of how either of use would get paid.

Here are some more  distinct signs which demonstrated to me that the universe was in full support of me:

a) My partner was coming in from New York and we felt we needed a place to be away from the day-to-day distractions to focus on the Magazine.  We had exactly a month to get the entire thing done.  One evening I started searching for houses to house-sit – I thought that would perhaps make it more affordable.  I did not find anything that evening but the next day, I met my girlfriend Viviane who excitedly told me that she was going to Brazil for a month and would need someone to stay at her house. Of course I volunteered and it was perfect timing!

b)  I had a meeting with Lisa Anna Palmer to discuss some work stuff in general and to thank her for the work which she had done for us at the office.  Somewhere in the middle of that meeting, I started talking to Lisa about the Magazine.  At that time, I did not quite know her – we had only been having  work related meetings.  I could feel Lisa’s energy rise during the conversation and I pulled out my computer to show her some of the writings.  We spent three hours that afternoon speaking about the content and my experiences. Lisa listened attentively and pledged her  full support to helping me get it done.  Two days later, she connected me to Lynn, who was one of the editors for the project. A few days afterwards, I also met with Shamsia who also agreed to edit.  This was from a very informal conversation.

c) About a week before the launch, in a moment of overwhelm,  I was just about to send an e-mail to my partner to ask him to forget about Mags Magazine – I felt that it was becoming too much! At that precise moment, someone came to see me at my office. He said to me, “I saw that  on FB that you are going to publish a Magazine…. I  am so proud of you… I came to tell you that you are not doing it for yourself, you are doing it for all of us. ”  As I listened to him, I resigned by initial thought about forgetting about the project.

d)  On another occasion, just shortly after the one above, I became filled with anxiety again. Once again, I wanted to call it off.  My partner called me in that same moment and told me that should check my e-mail box.  There was the preview of the Magazine from Dr. Edmunds, a well respected writer.   You can see his review in the preview of Mags Magazine

e) A few days before the launch of the Magazine, at Lisa’s invitation, I attended “Refresh Your Passion” day long event which was put on by Kathie Donavan.  There, I sat in awe as I listened to the experiences of amazing people who fought for their dreams and pursued their passions. Kory Kealy, Laura Traplin and Michelle Valberg, in particular struck an inspirational cord within me as I listened to her experiences in pursing their passions.  Laura’s message from Sprit “I am my life purpose.” was just what I needed to hear.  I went back home that day, fully energized and knew in my heart that I was on the right track with my own dream and stepping out of my comfort box.

Kory and Michelle

f) One day,  I picked up one of Oprah’s magazines and instantaneously opened the page with her interview with Paulo Coelho where he spoke about his life and his journey to getting his first book published.  That interview spoke so loudly to me – it was as if I was in the room with Oprah, doing the interview with him.  And the words which resonated deeply were:

“The good fight is the one fought in the name of our dreams.  When we’re young and our dreams first explode inside us with all their force, we are very courageous, but we haven’t learned how to fight.  With great effort, we learn how to fight but by then we no longer have the courage to go on into combat.  So we turn against ourselves and do battle within.  We become our worst enemy.  We say that our dreams are childish, or too difficult to realize or the result of our not having known enough about life.  We kill our dreams because we are afraid to fight the good fight.”  Paulo Choelo

There are many, many other signs, miracles and manifestations which happened in the process to nudge me forward. I am grateful that this universe blessed me with the vision, provided a wonderful team to work with, my partner’s unwavering support, great sponsors and ensured that everything worked smoothly.

I know that when God implants a dream in your soul, you were born to live it.  To not live your dream, is an injustice to the freedom of your soul.



Mags Magazine – Soulful Encounters

After many months of work, we are pleased to announce that you can now pre-order your copy of Soulful Encounters.

Mags“I am delighted to register my Congratulations to Magdalene Cooman on the 2nd Edition of Mags E-Magazine titled ‘Soulful Encounters.’

This edition of Mags Magazine presents bold, deep, engaging content which covers the inner personal dimensions of life with which most if not every person can identify.  The motivational content is written in a manner that is candid

This publication “Soulful Encounters” by Magdalene Cooman makes delightful and thought-provoking reading from which everyone can benefit. I recommend Mags Magazine as a good investment not for the shelf but as a motivator for achieving self- fulfilment.”
Celene A. Gyles (Dr)

Former Dean – Graduate School of Education, Mico University College Adjunct Faculty


“I’ve enjoyed reading your articles thoroughly and have been transported to a different place for the last few hours! Thank you for that experience. I’m not sure which article I enjoyed reading the most as they are all so full and expansive for me, but possibly the one on your mother. I hold my own mother dearly and often reflect on her journey to Canada years ago. Mags Magazine is fantastic! I was engrossed in the content and your story telling.  Thank you for sharing with me and sharing your soul and stories with others.”

Laura Traplin

Medium and Psychic, Ottawa

Mags Cover Page

“It is an inspiring and motivational publication with down-to-earth practical words of wisdom for the young and not so young. It is written in a style which can capture the minds and hearts of its readers with meaningful examples of real life situations which we can all relate to, for it encompasses life’s many experiences related to our different environments and circumstances. “Live Your Future Now” is a wakeup call for all of us, for life is short and we must take full advantage of the many avenues available to us to master our surroundings and take advantage of our inner powers to succeed regardless of our place of birth, circumstances of the environment in which we are nurtured and our past and present challenges. The author takes us through her many vicissitudes and challenges in her life and points out that through determination, hard work, discipline, belief in self, and setting goals she was able to overcome many obstacles. She also calls on us to reach out and offer help to others, not the selfish and self-centered living so typical in our world of today.
I recommend this publication to readers all over our globe for we are all faced with the challenges espoused by Magdalene Cooman form different perspectives but fundamentally rooted in living a life in full now for a future tomorrow.”

Ambassador (Ret.) Dr. Joseph Edsel Edmunds, OBE, The Edmunds Group International (TEG),CRPC Senior Associate

“You have such variety, which supports the entertainment factor. Your reader can start at the top and just keep going for hours in the world you have created. Perfect!”

Dominique Dennery, Career Potential Coach. Group Potential Facilitator. Ottawa

“I read through your magazine and Wow!! Pure talent!! From your write-ups to your graphics and lay-out and most of all the sharing of your life experiences and your beautiful message about soul mission” Lisa Anna Palmer, Principal & Owner, Cattelan Palmer Consulting, Ottawa


More testimonials

The Holiday Dream! A great Christmas Initiative which will bless 500 people with over $25,000.00 of gift cards and gifts!

 This Christmas over 100 families (and by extension about 500 individuals) will be receiving $10,000.00 in gift cards plus over 500 toys and gifts.   This is part of the Holiday Dream Initiative of the Kingdom Culture Ministries (KCM) in Ottawa. KCM contributed the $10,000.00 in gift cards while the 500+ gifts and toys (a total of $15,000.00) were donated by Toy Mountain through Care & Share, another local charity. (See more info at the end of this article). KCM is a non-denominational ministry which has a vision to reach every sphere of influence with the message of the kingdom of God with salvation, miracles, healings, deliverance, and signs & wonders following.


KCM will be hosting their Annual Christmas Celebration on December 24th at 4 and 6p.m where gifts will be presented to recipients. There will be 10 draws for $50.00 gift cards plus every single child who attends will receive a Christmas gift!  If you are in Ottawa – it is certainly a place to consider going to for your Christmas celebration!

At the invitation of my friend Gemma, I attended the gift wrapping event this weekend (and brought my daughter to volunteer as well!). When we walked in, a large number of people were standing in line waiting for their turn to select the gift which they wanted. Inside the church auditorium, the carpet along one wall was lined with hundreds of gifts to choose from. A host welcomed the individual, took him/her to choose the gift and someone else wrapped it and put I it away with the recipient’s name on it – to be given to the individual on Christmas Eve Celebration.  Those who cannot make it that evening, took their gifts home.


I was very impressed with the high level of organization, good energy, enthusiasm, willingness and excitement amongst the almost 100 volunteers who have been working on this initiative over the last three months.  Charity is a HUGE part of this KCM as they make it their mission to reach out to support the lives of the less fortunate, the homeless, those in need of prayers, healing and emotional support.  This year, the Holiday Dream was organized more strategically to ensure that the gifts were presented to people who are really in need of it.  After a thorough screening process, 100 applications were screened in but by extension of family members about 500 individuals will receive gifts.


“Many of the people who are being blessed with those gifts are not part of our regular congregation.   They come from all walks of life and we support them within the community all through the year.  At Christmas time, because it is the season of giving, we do this as an act of love.  We want people to know that Jesus is the gift of love.”  Shawn Gabie, co-founder of KCM.

Shawn and I spoke about the “working poor” and the fact that this group of people is actually widening in Canada.  He defined the “working poor” as those who are falling in between the cracks, those who are unemployed, under-employed, who live in dysfunctional families or who are on social assistance.

“For many people, Christmas is the best or worst time of the year.  The best for those who can afford to both give and receive but worst for those who cannot make ends meet, who don’t have the extra money at the end of the year to afford buying Christmas presents and also those who live in dysfunctional families who are pressured to “feel happy and cheerful” when their reality is not that.”  Shawn Gabie

KCM’s presence is rapidly growing within Ottawa and many see this ministry as a bridge between the teachings of the Ministry and responding to the practical needs of the people within the community.


“We are tired of living in Ottawa and not knowing who are neighbors are.” said Sandy Rasiciot, the Benevolence Supervisor who works under the supervision of Pastor Joe Mebrahtu. “We want our congregation to know that we work together – this is what building community is all about.” 

Sandy has been one of the key leaders in coordinating the Holiday Dream Initiative. I asked her about the level of effort it takes to make it a reality.

“It is about four months of preparation with over 100 volunteers giving about 3 – 4 hours daily, doing a variety of tasks from screening in applications, working on sponsorship, assessing family needs, working in various committees such as gift wrapping, hospitality, coordination between the ministry and families, managing correspondences…” she explained. “At Christmas time we do the Holiday Dream but we have initiatives going on all year round to help support individuals and families who are going through difficult times.”

Shawn shared with me that KCM gives back to the community 10% of all the funds that they receive which further allows them to work more into the community. KCM is supported by the congregation, local and international partners.


One of the stories I heard yesterday touched my heart. This Muslim woman walked in and donated $600.00 towards KCM.  For a mom with five kids, this is quite a substantial amount of money to donate to charity.  However she was very convinced that it was the right thing to do.

“Kingdom Culture Ministries have helped me all along the way – since I first came to Canada as a new immigrant five years ago. They are not only here for us at Christmas time. I am a Muslim – I come from a different faith but it does not matter. We are all human beings who have the same need.  KCM was here for me when I had my first son.  They provided so much emotional support for me. Last year, they brought me a new stove and refrigerator because the ones we had were none functional.”

I questioned her more about her $600.00 contribution.

“I want to give it to them.” she said. “Our family saved the money which we receive from the Child Tax Benefit and the interest from that savings accumulated to $600.00.  As a practicing Muslim, we cannot use the interest.  We have to give it back to charity or the community.  Therefore I have chosen to contribute back to KCM.”

Another donor, Rachelle Steele, initiated a challenge for her work place to donate to the Holiday Dream. She raised one Galaxy laptop and twenty five gift items for the Holiday Dream Initiative.


Excitement brimmed in the air. Volunteers eagerly directed people and a hospitality team (above) happily ensured that there was enough coffee, cookies, cupcakes and pizza to feed everyone who was participating.


Ian Wotherspoon is one of the volunteers who takes great pride in volunteering for the ministry for the last several years.

“God has blessed me.” he shared.  “In turn, I can bless others who cannot afford. It is all about giving.”


Natahsa Richmond, an elementary school teacher is another volunteer with the program.

“As a teacher, I see how Christmas affects children who don’t have as much.” she told me. “This is an opportunity for us to share love with each other.”


(Above:  Pastor Joe Mebrahtu, Shawn and Michele Gabie (Founders of KCM), Gemma Follini and Magdalene Cooman-Maxwell)

I asked Shawn to list five key elements that others (organizations and individuals) would have to consider to take on such an initiative within their own communities. His top five things were:

1) Establish a vision: why do you want to do it?

2) Step out and make connections:  what other organizations are already engaged in similar efforts?  Who can you partner with? How can you engage your community, build relationships and utilize and leverage resources?

3) Rally support from others who share the same values:  you will be surprised at how people would be willing to jump in to help make a difference

4) Create an environment where the values is NORMAL and it is sustainable: leadership must see the value of reaching out to the community as a normal everyday practice in order to step out and bring the community together in a dynamic way. How can we create an influence on others through our daily actions?

5) Offer everything in an unconditional way.  “NO strings attached.” God’s love is unconditional.  Be genuine.  At the end it is an ultimate win-win.

About Kingdom Culture Ministries


Holiday Dream Christmas Eve Service

Dec 24, 2013 – Ottawa, ON
Time: 4pm & 6pm

(Every child who attends the services will be given a toy!  There will be 10 draws for $50.00 gift cards at each of the services!)

Address: 8A-2016 Ogilvie Rd

About Care&Share:

 About Toy Mountain:

TuneIn to how you can support great community initiatives around you!  StepUp and become an instrument of positive change to bring happiness and joy to the lives of others.  YOU have so much talent, so much love, so much to give to others.



This TuneIn and StepUp blog is written by Magdalene Cooman-Maxwell.  She is from St.Lucia and currently lives in Ottawa, Canada.  She  blogs ONLY for things which will bring inspiration and help make our lives better.  You can follow her blog or share it with others to continue the flow of good thoughts  and actions into the world.  Contact:

Have The Courage To Ask For What You Desire – Every Small Request Can Be Manifested


Have you ever thought of something and it manifests right away – even when it was a fleeting wish and there was no real possibility for it to happen? I love those magic moments of divine synchronicity.

“I wish a taxi would come along” I thought wishfully. It was bitterly cold and I had underestimated the walking distance to get to my destination. At that very moment a taxi turned around the corner and stopped right at my feet. Someone got out of the taxi and I jumped in. A feeling of deep gratitude settled over me. I thanked God and the universe over and over and over for always taking such amazing care of me. It sounds too good to be true – but this type of situation is a common reality for me which is hard to explain.

It affirms the infinite possibilities that exist and the mystical realm of life that is unexplainable and in some cases completely illogical. My first real experience of manifesting something big in my life happened when I was thirteen. At that age, I started to test God’s power since “God knew all things and could do all things!” So, I gave God two challenges. One was to get a camera for me for my 13th birthday and the other was to travel to England before I was 18. Both looked impossible because we came from a poor family and I could not see any logical way that I would have those two things. I barely had books to go to school or shoes to walk with, so to think of a camera was like living in dreamland. And as for England – well, I did not have a faint idea of how that would be done.

Both of my requests were heard.

On the evening of my 13th birthday, as I walked along to road to buy bread from the local bakery – a usual routine, I met a doctor who volunteered in the local hospital. We had met each other a few times before. She stopped on her bicycle and we chatted. I told her that it was my birthday and right away she said “Why don’t you come up to the hospital? I have a gift for you!” Low and behold, she gave me a camera! I stood there shocked! (I can still remember the feeling!). God really heard me! No one else knew of my secret wish – it was only between God and I! For an entire year, I took photos in abundance. I loved my camera and best of all, after Dr. Michele completed her volunteering and went back to the USA, she developed all my films and posted the photos to me.

This event in my life was a MAJOR affirmation that I could ask for anything I wanted. God and the universe would hear me. Before my 18th birthday I continued to experience big and small miracles. The next challenge was met in another unexplainable way. At 17, I was attending Teacher’s Training College in St.Lucia. One day as I walked in the corridor, my English teacher, Mr. Allan Weeks, stopped me and asked, “How would you like to go to England?”
“What?” I asked, completely baffled. “Why would I go to England?” I asked.
“I am producing a play and you are the perfect match for the part. The play will be produced in England.”
Six months later, I was in England performing at the Commonwealth Institute with a great group of actors/actresses from St.Lucia. It was six months before my 18th birthday!

I have experienced so many, many manifestations of my thoughts and I like to call them “miracles”. They are all unexplainable and I am convinced that there is a formula unique to each of us that make things happen faster or slower. I believe that the formula is a combination of the mind and soul merging together. I have experienced manifestations / miracles at the speed of light – immediately from thought to manifestation. I have also experienced manifestations over a longer period and when I look back I can only thank the universe that what I asked for before did not happen earlier. When we trust in the great wisdom of the universe, we know that all things will happen as it should.

One thing I know without any uncertainty is that we need to ASK for what we want and don’t worry about when it will happen. Although we have to work towards what we want, I believe that if we are clear, then the universe arranges things in front of us to help our desires manifest. When we are not clear, it is hard to us to grab the opportunities, no matter how obvious they may be. Sometimes we ask for something and feel frustrated when it does not happen. It is not our job to worry about timing. The important thing is to ask and let it go. In time, all things work out for the best. The more we have that trust, more we invite miracles to happen in our lives.

TuneIn today to those things you secretly desire. Have the courage to ask for what you want, need or desire. Write them in a journal and keep checking with yourself now and then. As small miracles start manifesting in your life you will automatically StepUp to attract more and more of what you need to live an amazing life. Above all, keep on expressing gratitude each day, throughout the day, for all what you are blessed with. Abundance begins with a seed of gratitude.