Thursday, June 27, 2013

Follow Through

I'm a person who loves getting organized. I make lists all the time. Lists for grocery shopping, packing, what projects I want to get done around the house, creative things I want to try to make. I love to create charts like menus, chores, family schedules, etc. I love going shopping for baskets, buckets, and tins to organize my pantry, closets, or baby things.  I love looking up Bible studies and writing about verses that speak to me. I have every intention of getting organized and staying in the Word daily.

Following through... that's a whole nother story.

The most important part of my day, should be the time I spend in my Bible and praying. But let's be honest... I spend more time on the computer, playing with my son (which is important), running errands, cleaning house, or watching TV then I do actually getting into the Word. Here's another husband feels respected and able to rest when he comes home to a clean house. And let's be honest once again: he works all day and I don't have a full time job. I work at home, but it's not a demanding job and it's something I can choose to do when I want. So I am home all day with my 11 month old son. I know have the time to clean, to get organized, to be creative.  I know have the time to get in the Word and really study what God wants to teach me. And I spend a lot of that time just looking at ways to do these things, instead of actually doing them. I also just want to be lazy sometimes... I'm can be a lazy person. There I said it. It's selfish. Yes, stay-at-home mom's definitely need their rest and alone time too! But everyday, all day laziness? What does God say?

"But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up?" Proverbs 6:9
"Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper." Proverbs 13:4
"Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone." 1 Thessalonians 5:14

So here's something I've started...

1. Set two reminders on my phone
     Both reminders say "Get on Your Knees & in the Word". One reminder is set for about 9:15am, which is just after my son usually goes down for his first nap. Once he's down I can take 20-30 minutes and just dig into my Bible and write in my prayer journal. AND still fit in a shower, hair, and makeup before he wakes up.
     The other reminder is through my Holy Bible app and is set for 8:30pm, after my son is in bed and on most nights I'm just watching TV anyway. I downloaded the app a long time ago and it's awesome! You can read the Bible on the go, get different versions, and even download devotional plans to follow everyday! I'm currently doing a Joyce Meyer one that has a short devotional and Bible verse. I have this time to quiet down, breathe, and just come before God with my heart open. So no matter how my day goes: busy, crazy, lazy, whatever... I have no excuse to "forget" or "be too busy". I'm choosing to start and end my day with Christ.

2. Prayer/Bible Study Journal
   This has been a big thing for me since high school. I very much enjoy writing, and have found comfort in being able to express my feelings to God in this way. It's awesome to read through some of my prayers and the verses that have spoke to me and see how God has answered prayer. I always date my entries, and hate when I look back and see how long it's been since I've written. It keeps me accountable in a way. Often when I'm not sure what to read in my Bible, I'll start with chapter 1 of a book I haven't read through. Currently, I'm going chapter by chapter through Romans and writing down the verses that speak to me and a short prayer to God about how to apply them. It's amazing what I've missed before or verses I've read, but just are speaking to me in a different way.

3. Get Organized - start somewhere!
    Like I said, I like the process of becoming organized, but DOING it and be consistent is what I'm working on. So with my downtime today, I created my own organizational chart. It took a bit, but it's going to help make the most of my time, keep our family organized, my house clean, and keeps me accountable. Here's how - I created a cleaning list of everything that needs to be done on a daily basis. I'm sure you've seen something like this on Pinterest. Every day I have 3 things to do, that's it. It will keep my house clean, my husband happy, and leave me with more time with my family and with God. I also made a Menu chart. Both of these charts will be framed and put in my kitchen where I can write on them with a dry erase marker... checking off those chores as I go! Sometimes seeing your own progress is enough to make your continue to follow through.

Take time to be on your knees in prayer before Christ. Open your Bible, or Bible app, and start reading the promises and teachings of Christ. And don't be lazy... it's easy to be lazy, but there is little reward in it. Choose to work hard for God, your family, and yourself!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Image Building

"Image building is the attempt to make impressions that are bigger then we are"..Beth Moore
Wow, that quote hits pretty deep. I can relate. Can you? I am insecure. There I said it.
When I take photos, I filter the filters I use to edit the way I look.
 I wear makeup to cover up imperfections.
I wear roll sucking under garments to hide the fact that I have 3 kids
 over 8 pounds and my body ain't what it used to be.
I dye my hair to cover the grey strands of hair that seem to pop up monthly.
I buy the "good" bras from my girlfriend Victoria...but its no secret that the girls will never look like that at bed time. Hello real life.
I occasionally buy take out and put it on nice dinnerware to fake out guest. Ooooo is that a no no?
I want to be extraordinary, not ordinary!
What was/am I doing?
Image building. Trying to make something bigger and better then it really is.
2 Timothy 3:2-5 (NIV) 2 People will be lovers of themselves..
This is a type of love that is very different from the self-giving love God wants us to have.
It is self-selling.
"we are so thoroughly indoctrinated in image building that I'm not sure we easily recognize the difference between excelling and self-selling..." Beth Moore, Daniel
Can you think of some ways that would be Excelling and Self-Selling for your image?
If we are trying to become something we are not, we are image building.
There are signs of image building all around us a women.
Magazines, social media and entertainment.
In a recent bible study discussion, us ladies were discussing the effect of living in another woman's shadow. That is not what this is about, but it has its similarities. For instance, it was mentioned...
How we sometimes desire to look like a specific celebrity...but in reality, we don't have the entourage that they have to build their "image" that we see and want.
We are constantly sizing each other up.
These things do not build true beauty.
The more we focus on Gods love and mercy, the more we will be able to understand how much he loves us. Then we wont have to focus on building our image for others to love us. We will love ourselves as Christ loves US.
Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.
~Mere Christianity


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

God is love and love is God part 3

(via Dream Center)
In the midst of the worst times of their lives they were encouraging me. They were speaking God 's word to me, scripture after scripture. Telling me to dream.
That was unbelievable to me. How could some be so happy and upbeat when they were living like this?
THEY were still trusting God. They told me God wasn't done with them yet and God still had a plan.
That was so powerful to me.
Some days when I'm down and feeling blue, it can sometimes be hard for me to be that positive. Especially when I'm grumpy.
So how is it that people who lost everything, LIVING ON THE STREETS surrounded by urine everywhere, drug addicted and hungry can tell me that God is good!?
When you really sit back and think about it, on our grumpiest, bad days... God is good.
God is still God.
He never changes. 
Our day to day lives are always changing but God is always the same. Always loving us. Always wanting our attention.
Seeing these people living in their cardboard boxes and laying on the side walk with their trash piled around them was hard. It was eye opening.
Street after street. Sidewalk after sidewalk..
It made my heart ache.
Their faces and words of encouragement will forever be in my heart.
So remember, your worst day is someone else's dream life and even living on the streets they still love God and they still can smile.
Be thankful for what you have and praise God for the good and bad.

Monday, June 24, 2013

It's a generation thing

You know it's a God thing when you go to church & your sermon is over how we are all in this together, one generation helping another generation out. And then you start a new bible study with your sister & a topic of a generation not helping out the other.

Say what? So God what are you trying to tell me?

What He is telling ALL of us is that we need to invest in the other generations too. For us moms, invest in our kids! For us moms, invest in our parents! It's a continuous cycle.

If we don't teach our kids the Truth & about God. Who will?

This morning I went to church & I was checking in my kids, when the thought popped up. Henry just had a birthday, will he be switching rooms? I got excited because that means he'd be with a bit older kids & starting to do activities. Then I panicked. That kid did not want to change rooms. It has been a battle with him. Eventually he went in with a big of a fight. When I went to pick him up they gave me a memory verse + sign language to teach him.

 In my bible study, Priscilla Shirer, said that every morning before she drops her kids off she says Scripture to them.

So 2 things I will be working on this week for investing in another generation is simple - memorize Scripture with them & speak Truth to my kids.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

{DIY} Floral Headband..on the cheap!

Lately I have really been into floral print. Floral print everything...bedsheets, jewelry...leggings (which my husband calls my granny pants) I just can not get enough. It makes me feel really girly in this tomboy body. I have worn silk flowers in my hair for years. Recently I have REALLY been seeing lots of people wearing floral headbands. Headdresses, Head wraps...what ever the "proper" name is for them. I want one! I need one! Many...

After pricing them...I was a little thrown off. $77 for one artificial flowered headband. GASP! Being the DIY-er that I am...I made my own. If you are not familiar with the floral headband trend...Flash back a few decades to the 60s. Yep those are the ones!
Hey it's cool if "Ke-dollar sign-ha" is doing it, right? 
Keep on scrolling if you want to learn how I made my own "tamed down" version for $1! All I purchased were the flowers from Walmart. Everything else I had on hand.

Supplies you will need

Step 1: I started with the ribbon. I measured from one ear to the other and cut. This will be the portion that is used for the flowers.
Step 2: I measured out some elastic to attach to the end of my ribbon to form the headband. I didn't want it to be exact length because I wanted it to stretch some.

Step 3: I hot glued the ends together. You can opt to sew them...up to you.

Step 4: Taking a couple small portions of the ribbon I wrapped them around the exposed ends to give it a cleaner look AND added security.


Step 5: Remove all the flower buds from the bushel.
 Step 6: Using scissors or wire cutters, snip the remaining plastic stem. This will make it easier for your flower to lay smoothly on the ribbon.

Step 7: Most flowers are put together is layers. (pictured above) if you glue the flower without removing the layers...your flower will eventually fall apart.

Step 8: Glue each layer on the headband. Just a small amount of hot glue is needed in the center of each layer.

Continue this process until you reach the desired amount of flowers you want on your headband.
 Finished product!
Go my pretties and be creative. Go crazy like Ke$ha or keep it mellow like myself.
Have fun. Mommas...this would be a fun DIY project with your tween this summer.

Friday, June 21, 2013

She Washed His Feet With Her Tears - Women of the Bible

Today my quiet time in the Bible led me to start studying about who some of the women of the Bible were.  There were some that I have heard about quite a bit and some whom I'm sure I've never read about.  Some are amazing women of God, some have stories that would make most blush.  I'm excited to share with you a little glimpse of who some of these women were for the next few weeks.  I think that we, as girls of God's heart, can relate to most of their stories as well as learn from them.  At first I wanted to write about Mary, mother of Jesus, since she was one of the best known and certainly an important woman in the Bible - and I most definitely will write about her.  But, I have to share with you one of my absolute favorites first!  Her story, though it's fairly short, evokes so much emotion in me...


The Sinful Woman Who Washes Jesus' Feet

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisees's house and reclined at the table.  When a woman who had lived a sinful life in the town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears.  The she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is - that she is a sinner.  Jesus answered him, Simon, I have something to tell you."

"Tell me, teacher," he said.

"Two men owed money to a certain money lender.  One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both.  Now which of them will love him more?"

Simon replied, "I supposed the one who had the bigger debt canceled."

"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.  Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman?  I came into your house.  You did not give me any water for my feet but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

Then Jesus said to her, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace.


Is anyone else at least a little teary eyed right now?

This is such a beautiful story with so many lessons to be learned.  It says that the woman lived a sinful life in her town.  It doesn't say what she did or why she was "sinful" and I suppose it really doesn't matter.  In my imagination she was probably an adulteress or a prostitute... it seems that was a common way for a woman to get into trouble in those times.  I think the fact that it doesn't state her sin makes her even more relatable.  We all know what it is like to be a sinner...

She heard that Jesus would be at Simon's house and she obviously knew who he was and that she needed to see him.  It strikes me that she approached him from behind and began to weep.  She was coming before him broken and longing for forgiveness.  Was she not facing him because of her shame?  Did she not feel worthy to approach him face to face?  I know I have been there before.  As she wept she wiped his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.  This is such an incredibly raw and personal moment.  I think of times in my life where I have literally been on my knees in tears...  She came prepared with a jar of perfume, likely something that was of great value to her, and as she kissed his feet she also poured perfume on them.  

It basically says that Simon couldn't believe that this was happening, that if Jesus really was who he said he was he would know who was touching him.  She was "that" girl, the sinner, the dirty one... we as girls know a variety of nasty words that could be interjected here to describe her.  We've heard them or we've said them ourselves about someone else.  Surely she wasn't even worthy of washing his feet.

Jesus replied with a story, which he commonly did to help people understand a point he wanted to make.  He helped Simon answer his own question by showing him just how worthy this woman really was of being in his presence and opening Simon's eyes to the reality of the situation.  He pointed out to Simon that she showed him more hospitality in Simon's own home than Simon did.  He knew exactly who she was and he knew her heart.  And most importantly, he forgave her.  

Father, please show us as your daughters how incredibly precious we are to you.  When we feel broken and unclean, remind us that all we need to do is fall at your feet in worship and you will forgive  us.  Thank you for your never-ending grace and mercy!  Amen

Thursday, June 20, 2013


When I was little and I had trouble sleeping, my mom would always tell me to just start praying for people I knew. So instead of counting sheep, I would pray for my family; from my great grandparents down to the youngest cousin. Then, if I hadn't fallen asleep yet, I would start praying for my friends. My mom's intention was to teach me that when you are restless, go to God. Well lately I've been restless. It's more than likely the 3 hour time difference/jet lag that's still bothering me from my trip to Indiana last week, but when I wake up at 6am or just can't sleep at night, I hear that little voice in my head saying, go to God.

I think God tries to get our attention when He knows it's been a while since our last good conversation. If we haven't taken the time to pray with God or dig into His Word, I think He has His ways of letting us know that He misses us and wants our attention. God also knows when there is unconfessed sin in our lives. His word tells us to confess our sins to Him and to ask forgiveness of our sins. If there is something in our lives that we know is a sin and we are not acknowledging it, He demands a response of confession and change. He may be calling us to pray for someone or some situation specifically. I've woken up in the middle of the night to pray specifically for someone I went to high school with; not knowing their situation, but knowing that God brought that name to mind for me to pray for them.  But whatever it may be, I know there is always peace in coming to Christ.

Matthew 11:28 says, "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Proverbs 14:30 says, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."
James 5:16 says, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Are you restless? Waking up in the middle of the night, or early in the morning? Do you hear the still, small, voice of God whispering in your ear? Is He saying that it's been a while since you've prayed to Him? Is He begging you to stop your sinful ways and change your life for Him? Is He sensing your anxieties and wanting to bring you peace? Go to Jesus, all you who are weary, and He will bring you rest.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

God is Love and Love is God part 2

I am being reminded daily of the amazing acts of kindness and love that the people of the Dream Center showed to others. The compassion and willingness to help was also overwhelming. The love was seriously in the air. You could feel it. People from all over the world was there giving their time to help the needy. I was able to chat with people from Australia, Switzerland, Sweden, London, Poland and many others!

One of the days that I was there we headed out to skid row to hot serve meals to the homeless. Hundreds lined up and the amazing thing was that they could come through the line as many times as they wanted.

There were so many different types of people in line. My job was to walk around and talk to the homeless as they stood in line and also where they were sitting down to eat. If you know me, then you know I'm pretty shy when it comes to people I don't know. This was so far out of my comfort zone. I had wanted to serve food but God had other plans.

As I walked down the line I started with handing out flyers to let them know that there are buses that will pick them up, take them to church then drop them back off at skid row every week.

I said Hi, flashed them a smile, asked if they got a paper already and walked on. After a few minutes my shyness was really starting to bother me. I told myself that these people needed more than just that.

I started asking them how their day was going. Some said good, some said they were just hanging in there and so happy to get some food.

There were young and old and all races, all from different parts of life. Some in business suits down on their luck. Some with nothing. Some used to have it all and had lost everything. Now they found themselves in line for a free meal.

I saw a young chinese guy, probably around 20 years old. He had just gotten his plate of food and was trying to find a place to sit.

I walked over to him and asked him how he was. I smiled and he said "not good." I then asked why. He said he was alone and scared. I asked him where His parents were and how he got on the horrible streets of L.A. He then began to tell me his story....

You see his parents brought him to America and left him on the streets then went back to China. He said "they don't want me or love me anymore." "They told me to never come home. They don't love me." I asked him if he wanted to go home and he said so bad.

He then dropped his little tiny bag of chips that he was given with his meal and said, "oh no, oh no," as he picked them up. "These chips are like gold to me, it's like I won the lottery."

My heart sank. I thought to myself... it's just chips.... but to him they were everything.

I continued to talk with him then it hit me. I had to tell him....

"God has big plans for you. You weren't meant to be here on the streets but God is going to turn everything around for His glory. Everything you are experiencing is for a greater testimony. If you just say yes to Jesus, man, He will turn your life upside down. When you are scared, call on Him. When you are lonely, call of Him. He is going to take care of you. You are going to go home and God will provide you with a way. You wait and see. When you knock on your parent's door and they are going to love you and have their arms wide open. With God all things are possible. There are bigger and better things and God wants you to start dreaming again. Dream BIG.

He started to cry.

"God loves you. He loves you so much."

I told him to sit down and relax. He was safe and to enjoy his food.

I looked at him one last time in the eyes and said DREAM BIG.

It was amazing to me that I just spoke hope into his life and revived this boys dreams.

God was using me.

I will never forget that guys face. Lost and hopeless and the moment I spoke Hope, his eyes started to sparkle again.

He was just one of many that I talked to.

Be sure to check back next week for more!

Monday, June 17, 2013

God is my Father

God has so many names. God has a name for our every need.

When you begin your prayer, what name do you mostly call Him? 90% of the time I call him my Father. I love that. I look at my earthly father & how much he cherishes me & loves me & then think to myself... God feels the same way & that makes my heart happy.

In light of Father's Day yesterday I figured I'd touch a bit on this. Father's Day reflects our earthy father's but why not it reflect our heavenly Father? This year was the first year I actually thought about it in that perspective. I thank Him for my every big & little thing I have on this earth & just knowing He is the Father over all things is simply amazing.

I pray that we realize that no matter how our fathers are on earth, good, bad, excellent, loving, rude.. Whatever it may be.. Our God is nothing short of the Father of amazingness & everything good. I pray that we see Him as our Father each & every day. Amen.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I Need Wisdom Please!

I don't know about y'all but I have been in some situations where I have a decision to make and I have no clue what the right choice is.  In fact, in a lot of ways I feel like I am the prime decision maker in my family.  My husband, bless him, is very easygoing and often says, "whatever you want babe."  Now this was great when we were planning our wedding, and it's super nice when I have a specific place I'm set on going for dinner, but when we have to make a choice that will affect the future of our family it can be overwhelming.  About a year ago we had a really big decision that we needed to make and the path was not at all clear.  At that time I turned to my Bible for answers and began to read about the importance of the wisdom that only God can give us.  The verse that I found that nestled its way into my heart and began to give me peace was Proverbs 2:10: For Wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you and understanding will guide you.  I held onto that verse during that season in our lives.

Since that time I have been desperate for God's wisdom again more than once.  Fast forward to present day and I am once again feeling like I lack the answers and the direction that I need to make some important decisions.  I started reading about wisdom but this time ended up criss-crossing back and forth in my Bible, finding verse after verse about wisdom and understanding.  Seems the Lord has a thing or two to say on the subject!  Hang here with me for a few minutes if you have ever felt desperate for answers that you can't seem to find.  Here's what I learned that I would love to share with you...

1) How do we find wisdom and understanding?

Job 28:28 And he said to the woman, "The fear of the Lord - that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Okay, I think I can do this!  My game plan is to fear the Lord - which to me (in a nutshell) means understanding his power, his holiness and worshipping him with reverence and awe.  I also need to reject sin, follow his Word and grow in my knowledge of who He is.  For me this means digging into His Word and spending more of my day in prayer and relationship with Him.

2) What does wisdom look like?

James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  (All things that I want to strive for)

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. (So when wisdom is found humility, not pride or bragging, should always follow)

3) What will we gain from having wisdom and understanding?

Proverbs 24: 3-4 By wisdom a house is built and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures

Proverbs 4:6-12 Do not forsake wisdom and she will protect you, love her and she will watch over you.  Wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.  Esteem her and she will exalt you, embrace her and she will honor you.  She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor...  I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.  When you walk your steps will not be hampered, when you run you will not stumble.

Proverbs 2:13, 17&18 Blessed is a (wo)man who finds wisdom, the (wo)man who gains understanding... her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed.

Girls, I have a feeling I stumbled on just a glimpse of what the Bible has to say about wisdom and understanding in the hour or so that I was reading!  I had no idea how important the subject was until now.  I will tell you, it gives me great peace to know that the Lord wants to give me wisdom - he wants to give me the answers to my questions!  Not only does he want to guide me and give me understanding, but he wants to protect me and bless me.  He wants to give me a peace that is "pleasant to my soul".  He promises to fill my life with "rare and beautiful treasures."  He will allow me to walk through this often confusing life without stumbling.  Ahhhhh... this to me is a huge breath of fresh air!  This means that when I am actively seeking God and I make a decision that has been guided by the Lord, I don't have to fear that I've made a huge mistake.  I don't have to sit in anxiety as I wait for the fallout.  Now when I wake up in the morning I ask the Lord for wisdom for my day.  My goal is to be intentional about seeking wisdom and understanding.  I would love to leave you with a story - the antithesis of what wisdom looks like: Folly.  You may just see someone you know in this story, I know it painted a graphic picture for me.  As girls of God's heart let's strive to be aware of this person and to never be the woman named "Folly"...

Proverbs 9:13-18
The woman Folly is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge.  
She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out 
to those who pass by, who go straight on their way.  "Let all those who are simple come 
in here!" she says to those who lack judgement.  "Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in 
secret is delicious!" But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the 
depths of the grave."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Scripture Memorization

In a recent Bible study that I have completed, I was asked to write down a few scriptures. I am going to be honest and say, I have always wrote down scriptures. But I have never really worked on memorizing them.

I don't know why I have a hard time memorizing scripture, but I do. I can memorize a song, lines from a movie, but struggle at remember the Word of God. Conviction fell over me. I wrote down the scripture on my neon yellow index card. After that, I made it my JOB to learn these scriptures. These three scriptures on Thoughts, Words and Actions. How to live a life pleasing to God.

I placed them in a spot where I always have a few moments of nothing to do....
While I am waiting for the conditioner to set in my hair...
Or searching for a quiet 5 minutes away from fighting kids...
You know that place...

Often I find myself reading the shampoo bottles. Ingredients and all. Why not read scripture. Plus this was a good way to get scripture into my whole family. My boys are beginner readers and my daughter is at the age to understand the word.

That is how I have started keeping some of my scripture cards. Visible. Having them tucked inside my Bible did nothing for me. They were often in the way during church or became scratch paper for the kids. Here I can see them daily.

How do you memorize scripture?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

God is love and love is God part 1

About 2 weeks ago I was privileged enough to go on a mission trip to the DREAM CENTER in Los Angeles, Ca. It was the most incredible experience of my life. It has forever changed the way I think about people and how God really does love us.

The Dream Center is an amazing outreach that started with one man's dream and a word from God, and that man is Matthew Barnett.

He purchased a hospital in the heart of Los Angeles and turned all of the hospital rooms into places where needy people could get their lives back on track.

Some of the programs and outreaches they have going on are rescuing girls and women from human trafficking. I just read on their Facebook that they rescue and take in over 275 girls and women a month! That is a huge amount of women who's lives will be forever changed.

Also, they go out with buses and go out into skid row in L.A to take in the homeless and addicted. If they choose to enter the rehab program then they are  given a room and also are able to go through their programs to get off of drugs and change their lives. Then most of the time those who were once addicted and lost give their lives to God and work at the Dream Center!

Another thing that they do is take food trucks out into the community and hand out food to the needy and feed the homeless. They also take buses out into neighborhoods, show them God's love and then fill the buses with adults and children and give them rides to church.

There are many other things that The Dream Center does and you can take a look at and they also have a facebook. Just type in The Dream Center in the search bar.

I really don't even know where to start with what I experienced. Some things were too heart breaking to even look at. There were moments when I cried, and cried REALLY hard. I was deeply sadden by suffering and hungry babies, filthy children who didn't have clothes that fit and lost homeless people of all ages.

One morning, we separated the food that was just dropped off and donated by Albertsons into  tons of grocery bags. We were basically grocery shopping with the donation pile for the families that were about to get their children taken away from CPS. CPS contacts the Dream Center and then the Dream Center is able to assist, give them what they need every week and help with the children, even teach the women how to clean and cook so they are able to keep their babies.

After we bagged up the groceries we headed out to each individual apartment to drop off groceries, diapers, wipes, baby toys and furniture and cleaning supplies.

I slowly walked up the stairs with a huge box of diapers in my hands and as I approached this woman's door you could smell the stench coming from her place. It smelled so bad. I did not know what I was about to see.

We knocked on the door and walked in slowly. I set the diapers down by the door next to the CPS worker that was observing the children.

I then realized as I looked around how small the studio apartment was. The whole place was as big as my bedroom. THE ENTIRE place. Including kitchen, bathroom and the living area was the bedroom.

In the living area there was a bunk bed with 2 twin beds stacked on top of each other. I looked at it and saw 5 small children sitting on the bed with a baby play pen next to the bunk bed with baby #6 in it. They were absolutely disgustingly filthy. The children smelled of rotten poop and potty.  I don't think they were not potty trained and would poop and pee their pants which was probably hardly cleaned.

I smiled and started talking to all the children as they all rushed around their baby sister in the play pen and looked at her.

I stepped closer and looked down at the baby girl no older than 5 months.

She was disgustingly filthy, smelled so bad and her clothes were black with dirt.

I stared at her for no more than a minute and excused myself out of the door.

I ran. I had to get away. I couldn't believe what I had just seen.

I burst into tears as images of that apartment kept flashing in my head.

The apartment was so disgusting. SO EXTREMELY SMALL for 6 kids plus the mom and mom was pregnant again.

They were kept in the tiny area all day every day with nothing to do. Not a lot to eat.

The baby girl made me think of my own 4 month old daughter. What if my kids had to live like that?

Crud smeared all over the walls and cabinets. Living in that rotten odor. Dirty clothes and hungry.

My heart couldn't handle that feeling. I was so heartbroken for those children. I wanted to take them all and bathe them, give them happy means and toys but I couldn't.

I just had to drop off what they needed and look at them while trying to smile.

The amazing things is that the Dream Center will be helping that family. They will be going once a week to clean the apartment and supply the mom with whatever she and the babies need.

The images of what I saw and experienced will forever be etched onto my heart.

Everyday at the dream center I saw the love of God working in action...

That was just the beginning of what I saw.

I can't wait to share more with you because there is so much more!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Where is God on vacation?

We all take vacations. Where is your God while you are sitting on the beach, or hiking up a mountain, or visiting with family, or even just relaxing at home for a week?

So many times when I go on vacation my daily reads are put on pause. My bible studies are put on pause. My prayers are put on pause.

It shouldn't work that way. God doesn't take vacations from us so when we're on vacation we shouldn't take vacations from Him.

Joshua 1:9b -- for The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. 

I encourage you, as well as myself to continually stay in the Word while on vacation. I bet our vacations would be just that much better.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Consider it Pure Joy

Let me share with you a verse that I never really understood until this week.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything."
James 1:1-4

Here's what I have learned from this verse:

1. Be joyful, even thankful, when you go through the tough stuff.
     When I faced a really tough trial this last week, I was torn apart emotional. I was distraught, frustrated, hurt.. I was fighting to do the right thing. But when I dug into the Word to seek God's counsel, I read this verse like it was the first time. And I finally got what God was trying to say... Be joyful when you face trials. Welcome them... not that you want to go through them.. but when it happens, understand that by working through it, you will be better for it, and God will be glorified in it.

2. Let your faith be tested - it will develop other characteristics that will help you grow spiritually.
     I grasped the concept that by working through this trial with joy, God was going to develop the fruits of His spirit in me. By allowing my faith to be tested, Christ wanted to see how I would respond. Would I respond with hate, anger, or bitterness? Would I just give in and give up so it would all be over as soon as possible? No... I knew that by allowing the situation to take it's time the way God wanted it to, He was teaching me that through this waiting time, he would develop the spirit of perseverance in me. Trials give us a chance to choose how to respond and grow. Instead of choosing to be angry, hurt, or distraught... I chose to take control of my emotions and understand that through this testing, I would mature and grow. I would much rather become more mature in my faith then just give in to the fight.

3. God's purpose will always prevail.
     Sometimes the trial is not just about you. Sometimes the person or people in your a trial with, need to go through it so that God can see His plan come to pass. God wants you to grow just as much as he wants the person your in trial with to grow. I knew by going through this trial that God had a plan for every person involved. That's not my place to say how, I just felt God speaking to me that He was going to use this trial for His good. What a privilege that God gave me to help see His work in others begin and be fulfilled. Because I knew God was using this for my growth and the growth of others, I had to chose for my words and actions to reflect Him. You see, in tough times, in fight, in trials... we choose how to respond. We can chose to be lovingly honest and work toward building better relationships, or we can chose to be critical, use guilt or blame, and respond with hurtful actions or words.

God places or allows trials in our lives because He wants to see our response. God wants to see us grow from everything we encounter. He knew that throughout our lives, there would be trials and that we would struggle. So He used the Word to share with us how to consider those trials pure joy. To be thankful when we go through tough times, because if we chose to follow His commandments and teachings, we can grow in our faith from every trial we encounter.

So if you are going through something really tough right now... whether it be spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, relationally, financially, etc... consider it pure joy! Because you know, through the power of the Holy Spirit, you will grow in faith and perseverance!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

When is it too much?

During the last 8 weeks my life has taken a U-turn. I needed to get back in the right direction. My schedule life was starting to pull me down. I found myself extremely overbooked and my thoughts and mouth were out of control. Running the kids to multiple sporting practices 7 days a week, trying to keep up with two bible studies, read the word, blog two blogs, cook dinner, wash the clothes, clean the house, work at the kids school, babysit, listen to peoples problems and occasionally wash my hair and update my Facebook status. I was a worn out, haggard, grumpy, and a self conscious mess!

I began flaking on things I had committed to. I was letting people down. I was letting myself down. I was letting God down. How was I to witness to people around me if I was a hot mess. How was I supposed to get anything out of Sunday Service if I was grumbling about having to run my daughter to her next soccer practice in...4 hours, because I was that awesome mom who supports her kids.

Bible studies, psh...those were supposed to be a daily reflective study. I was waiting till the last minute and cramming 5 hours of study time into 2.5. I can almost put money on it that I missed so much of what God was trying to tell me in those lessons, because I was rushing through, Instagraming, tweeting and mentally making my grocery list at the same time. Why, because I had to stay on top of everything. If something fell through the cracks in my day...I failed. I would beat myself up about it, snap at the Mister and choke the kids with my harsh remarks.

I had to really reflect about what I was doing to myself. What was I doing to the relationships around me?  I don't own a cape. I have no super powers, so why would I try and do the impossible...I was trying to be Super Mom/Blogger/Team Mom/5 Star wife  {Well, it's possible, just you probably wont be sane} When is it too much? Friends I was at that point. It.Was.Too.Much! I broke down one Monday Morning. I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed. I felt like a huge weight was on my chest. I fell under conviction because here I was proclaiming I am a Jesus Freak, but the fact is, I hadn't had time to even really pray. When was the last time I said, "GOD YOU ROCK! Thank you for my breath, my family and the ability to move in the morning." The kids were still in bed, so I just laid there and cried my heart out to God. I mean I really cried. Possibly in the beginning it was a poor me cry, but during the release of all that self pity, I began to really seek Gods face. Begging him to help me stop this madness. Begging with him, what did I need to do to get my sanity back? I needed to be in that sweet spot with him again that I had slipped away from. I needed that so bad. It was as clear as I am writing you now. He said "let go of Blogging. You need to dig more into the word." Out of EVERYTHING I was doing in my day...he wanted me to stop my personal blog? But WHY? Why can't I pull the kids from ONE of their sports I have to take them to, they are in 3!? Why can't I go on a cleaning, laundry and cooking break? Why...WAHHHHY!?! Because he wanted me to pull away from something that had me so wrapped up in myself and the statistics and less of him. *boom* I felt like such a schmuck. I fell for Satan's schemes. So I said my goodbyes to my blog. I pouted for a little bit. But....

Now that I have left my personal blog, I have started two new Bible studies AND I am actually focusing on what is flowing from those pages. I tell you what....Daniel by Beth Moore, is speaking to my heart. God is showing me how wrapped up in myself and things of this world I was becoming. I can slowly see some women that mean a lot to me headed in that same path. It scares me. I am still praying God will show me the right way to address that, but for now...I write here.

So I ask you beloved. When is it too much to handle? Do we let it get to the breaking point I was at...trying to please everyone, take care of everyone and everything, concerned about how my blog was doing, consuming myself with anger and frustration because I was failing at what I treasured the most. My relationship with the Lord.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, on the verge of a break down. Trust me you are not alone. So many women are dealing with the same situation. Something has to give right? Why not give it to God?

Monday, June 3, 2013

"So I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness.."

Ladies I am so excited to be back writing again!! We took a nice long month "off" but spent the lovely time praying over our children. Not that we don't do that always, but we focused on it last month. 

Before I write I spend time praying about what I should write about. As I was spending some quiet time with the Lord while the children napped it came to me.


Remember those awesome school or even work assignments you got... List all your strengths & weaknesses. I always dreaded those. Or better yet, when you are sitting there for an interview & they ask you that question.

In my journal I was writing out 2 Corinthians 12:9 & I thought to myself I am actually looking forward to making a ginormous list of weaknesses.. WHY? Oh because God will be there with His power & make me stronger. His power is made perfect in MY weakness. Say what? Yes. Amazing.

So that list I was telling you about... Here are my weakness and definitely not all of them.
  • Confronting issues -- this girl right here hates confrontation, ask my husband.
  • Sharing my faith -- I struggle opening up & being like hey guess what, Jesus is my Lord! And it's not just sharing it, it's more of being courageous to speak Truth to nonbelievers.
  • Handling finances -- now, we pay all all our bills, that is not the issue.. the issue is overspending on things I don't need. Like 8 maxi skirts. 
  • Walking in faith consistently -- not just whenever it's convenient for me. When I go on vacation it's like I also go on biblecation. I think God will pick up with me when I get back. Um nope, He's there with me along the way. I need to be committed in those times out of the norm.
  • Resisting temptation -- what can I say? I give into peer pressure sometimes, ie. those 8 maxi skirts because I can't live without them... Right.
  • Trusting God with His plan & ditching my own plan 
  • Sticking up for myself -- who is a pushover? This girl.
  • Debt -- Hello student loans, I would love to say goodbye to you at any point.
And literally this list could go on.. And on.. And on... But I will stop here for now. 

I am here today to tell you...

I encourage you to get our your journal or a notebook or an index card or even what you write your groceries on.. Make a list of your weaknesses. Pray over them. Ask for God to help you through them. Trust that He WILL be the power in those. 

Father, I just pray that our weaknesses as women are not hindering us from being who you want us to be. I pray that You will be the Lord in their life to reign Your almighty power over their weaknesses. Allow these ladies to trust in You to overcome their weaknesses. AMEN.