Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Puerto Rico Slideshow

I made a little slideshow of our pictures from Puerto Rico.  I always get frustrated with how pictures load in blogger.  They are always off center from the margins or each other or out of order.   I've used Smilebox a lot to share photos so I figured it would allow me to share our photos here without compromising my sanity.  I also included 2 short and sweet videos of some amazing creatures we experienced there.

Have you heard about Hurricane Earl?!?  A snippet from an article quoting guest at the hotel we stayed at:
"At El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, people lined up at the reception desk, the lights occasionally flickering, to check out and head to the airport. There, more delays awaited.
John and Linda Helton of Boulder, Colorado, opted to ride out the storm. The couple, celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary, finished a cruise Sunday and planned to spend three days in Puerto Rico.
"There was a huge line of people checking out as we were coming in, and I thought it was just that summer vacation must be over," said John Helton, a real estate appraiser. "But we paid for the room, so we might as well stick it out."
"I don't think we could get a flight even if we wanted to leave," Linda Helton added."
We are so thankful to have gotten home before that!

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

I am trying to catch my breath since returning last night from our trip to Puerto Rico last evening.  I hope to share some pictures here soon!

Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:
  • 618. Waking up to so many virtual birthday wishes via e-mail, FB and my blog
  • 617. The coqui's serenade- our lullaby for 3 nights
  • 616. The freedom to live without schedules or agendas for a few days
  • 615. Rest and quiet
  • 614. A long weekend in paradise with my husband
  • 613. My 40th birthday
  • 612. Parents who are willing and able to keep our kids for a long weekend
  • 611. Clean bills of health for my two boys at their annual physicals
  • 610. Getting another dental appointment and pain relief
  • 609. Remembering my weaknesses and Him, whose strength is made perfect in them.
You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in the sidebar and read why I got started here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my 40th birthday!

And I couldn't be happier.



And look who I am with:

And though a little offended that we dared leave them, look how much fun our 3 are having at home with Papa and Abuelita:

The big 4-0 has got nothing on my blessed life!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


On Monday, I thanked Him for carrying me through the week despite chronic tooth pain and a root canal on Friday.  Today I tried to handle it all on my own- and it didn't work out so well.

I had an appointment today to finish the root canal procedure and hopefully put an end to the pain.  I was at church this morning when the dentist office called.  I had just finished working and was corralling two of my three children to head home when I realized my car keys were missing.  Since I have done this twice before I assumed they were locked in my office.  That's when they called to cancel my appointment.  The dentist was apparently sick and they did not know when she would be back to work.  They had no one covering for her and no one to refer me to.  I just started crying right there.  I was tired, stressed, in pain, locked out of my car, and bordering on late for picking up my oldest from the one week of camp he's had this summer.

After a few minutes of searching and some frantic phone calls to get my son picked up on time, I found the keys.  They were not locked in my office after all.  But the damage had been done.  I was a mess.  I snapped at my children and wallowed in anger and self-pity.

I had put my faith in this dentist to fix my problem.  It was ever before me all week.  I knew there was going to be an end to the pain on Tuesday evening.  As long as I had that before me, I could bear the pain. With that hope gone, I succumbed.  And I acted like a selfish, cranky woman for the rest of the day.  I withdrew into myself and neglected my children emotionally.

I am disappointed with how I handled this.  I wish I had stopped all the rushing around and simply prayed for His peace and perspective.  But I had gotten wound up too far.  I'm not sure why I am sharing all this.  It occurred to me, though, that I do appreciate when other women are vulnerable and transparent- baring their weaknesses and faults.  It reminds me that I am not alone- we ALL fall short.  So, I thought it might help someone else who fell short today to know that she is not alone.

Lord, thank You for the reminder to put my hope only in You.  Forgive me for my behavior today.  Help me to run to You right away in the future.  As soon as I feel the anger rise.  As soon as I start to wallow in self-pity, make me to cry out to You for help and mercy and grace to bear up under pressure.  I am convicted about my behavior, Lord, but am fighting off self-condemnation in Your name.  I lift up any of my sisters who might read this post and nod sadly and remember her own sin of the day.  Grant her mercy and peace and strength to get up tomorrow and begin again.  Thank You for mercies that are new each morning, Lord.  Thank You for GRACE, Lord.  Thank You, thank You, thank You!!!  In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

I read this quote on Deborah Anne's blog yesterday and knew I had to share it this Multitude Monday.  It is from the book Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, which I have never read but the quote just captures what gratitude is doing in my life:
"Draw near to Me with a thankful heart, aware that your cup is overflowing with blessings. Gratitude enables you to perceive Me more clearly and to rejoice in our love relationship." 

Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:

  • 608. God's grace and strength to push through pain (tooth) and enjoy all the activities this week and weekend
  • 607. Annual church picnic
  • 606. Leading the kids in song for the VBS Closing Ceremonies
  • 604. Friends who helped me with my kids so I could be present at a dear friend's mother's Memorial Service
  • 603. The grand opening of our family theater (remember this idea from our summer of purpose?)

  • 602. Being witness to their joy at VBS
  • 601. Children learning about, understanding and accepting Jesus for the first time
  • 600. 600 Gifts!
  • 599. TWICE the amount of kids attending VBS as last year!!!
  • 598. A week of teaching song and sign at VBS!

You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in the sidebar and read why I got started here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Praying the Psalms- Psalm 32

Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

Oh, how I love this psalm!  I've actually already written about the first verse here.  And verses 3-5 here.  But, the whole thing is so rich in truth.    

God will forgive and cover all our sin if we come to Him uncovered to acknowledge and repent of our sin. When we keep silent we groan in our misery and our strength in sapped.  I've been there.  

But it is not to late to cry out to Him.  The psalmist encourages us to pray to Him while He might be found.  Let Him be your hiding place.  Receive His protection, deliverance, instruction, counsel and unfailing love.  And rejoice with all those who have found Him!  I've been here too and it is definitely the place I want to dwell.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Endings and Beginnings

This is just how I feel.  

I will miss my babies come September.  I will miss our Summer of Purpose.  I will miss all the time we passed together- laughing and pouting, encouraging and arguing, playing and working, learning and lallygagging, vacationing and stay-cationing.  God has been so very good to us!

I am also expectant- watching for new beginnings.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

That Thing in My Right Hand

My post on Saturday was mostly an exhortation to myself as I have been having trouble praying and climbing that mountain I mentioned here.  So, I took some time Sunday before church to print out my mission statement and some other verses and truths God has been speaking to me about lately (taken mostly from my notes from the Believing God study I am doing) to include in a binder I am making for my morning quiet time.  As I did this, I began to take my own advice and speak out in Jesus name and His Word against that mountain.  It felt good to move out of the corner the enemy has been pressing me in to lately.  It felt powerful to speak God's promises over me and believe them!

Later, as I made breakfast for the kids, I scanned the kitchen counter top for my phone.  And I heard God speak again.  (He sure does use my iPhone for that, doesn't He?  Maybe Apple should make a new slogan- The iPhone 3GS: God's Network. lol)  Anyway...

He asked me clearly, "Where does the use of the internet fit into to your mission statement?"
I thought and answered, "It fits in with my goals to be a well rounded woman and to be a loving and compassionate friend and family member." 
"Yes, ok." He responded.  "But those are your fourth and fifth priorities in life, right?" 
My response was yes.  And conviction fell right away.  Even the hours I had considered when writing my online mission statement seemed too many once He pointed that out.  I love my blog, my readers. I love many other blogs and writing comments to encourage others.  But, if I want my reality to match my stated priorities for this life, then I must cut back even more.  Better yet, I must let go even more- surrender it to Him. 

I found the iPhone soon after that and as I picked it up I heard: "that thing in your right hand is a lie."  Speaking of idols, Isaiah tells of the deluded man who cannot even see what has hold of him:
"He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; 
       he cannot save himself, or say, 
       "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?"  Isa 44:20
When I hold so tightly to the things that I enjoy (my blog, my online time, my QUIET quiet time), they become my idols.  But, praise God, I am not deluded.  I can see through Him- though it may and often does take me awhile.  So, I agreed, "Yes, Lord, it is a lie."  These things are not bad in their essence.  However, when they begin to interfere with my higher priority mission in life- to follow Him, love my husband and disciple my children- they become lies and idols.  

So I am reworking the online times sticky you can see on my blog's homepage and will do so again when school starts and our schedule changes.  I am continuing to pursue His will for my life, for the use of my time.  So, by His grace and strength, I will be holding even more loosely to some things.  I'll still blog, read and comment but only when I feel He is releasing me to do so.  

Thank you all who are following my journey here.  I pray my words bless you as your presence and your words bless me!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:
  • 597.  Learning to believe and speak
  • 596.  His prayer also that God would help him help any kids who were nervous at VBS
  • 595.  My six year old's spontaneous prayers for a friend who is anxious about VBS
  • 594. Celebrating the life of mother and grandmother we lost one year ago
  • 593. Feeling more blessed than anyone we "served"
  • 592. The opportunity to bless by hosting, serving, feeding
  • 591. Church family gathering at our home for baptisms
  • 590. Watching the kids savor their time with their (now) faraway friends
  • 589. Spending time with friends home from overseas
  • 588. Getting ready for a blessed gathering- errands, organizing, praying
  • 587. Learning the songs and signs for VBS- can't wait!
  • 586. Still getting dinner on the table despite the unexpected and lengthy errand
  • 585. Remembering to take care of an important task for church just in time
  • 584. Quite possibly the funniest interest my boys have ever gotten in to- mastering step aerobics on the Wii Fit! Laughter is medicine for the soul!
  • 583. Watching them freely pile toys on the giveaway pile until it covered the whole playroom rug!
  • 582. No complaints from my little workers!
  • 581. Working alongside my 3 to get the playroom cleaned out and organized
  • 580. A productive planning meeting
  • 579. Special aunt who lovingly cared for my little girl while the boys and I were out
  • 578. Fighting not to let the inconveniences and the lack of grace in the world take away from a beautiful day
  • 577. A day of fun with friends on our day trip
  • 576. Peace during the "looking for tickets moments" because I know He has the best plans for us
  • 575. Ticket lost then found in time for our day trip with friends
  • 574. Watching little boy learn to ride a two wheeler- his determination and courage
  • 573. A perfect Sunday- church service, fellowship and breaking bread together, playing outside with our children, a simple, delicious meal, lots of love
You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in the sidebar and read why I got started here.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Praying the Psalms- Psalm 31

Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.
          "You have not handed me over to the enemy
                but have set my feet in a spacious place." Ps 31:8 NIV
"You have not handed me over to my enemies
      but have set me in a safe place.
"  Ps 31:8 NLT
"And You have not given me into the hand of the enemy;                                      You have set my feet in a broad place. " Ps 31:8 AMP
"And have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy;
         You have set my feet in a wide place." Ps 31: 8 NKJV
Same verse, four different translations and I love them all!   We have an enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  He wants to immobilize us.  To back us into a corner where we are crowded, overwhelmed, confused, ineffective.  

But God!  He has not given us into the hand of the enemy.  He has set our feet in a spacious, broad, wide, safe place!  We have not been shut up either but given the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  

So what can we do when we feel backed into a corner, shut up into the hand of the enemy?  Fight back with the weapon He has given.  Believe God and His Word over our feelings and circumstances, meditate on His Word, pray His Word.  And walk with Him.  Hold tight to His hand and step our feet in unfamiliar yet spacious places!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Mission Statement

Last week, I downloaded and read Kat's Mission Statement for Moms e-book.  I started working on my own Mission Statement and finally finished it this morning and wanted to share it here.  As I have shared many times on this blog- and it is purpose of my blog in the first place- I am trying to be more intentional about how I live and the choices I make.  I want to examine my life in the light of God's Word and my position in Christ.  So, creating a Mission Statement for my life seemed a natural step in this process.

Here is my first attempt:

To find soul satisfaction through the pursuit of a love relationship with Jesus and to walk in freedom, victory and abundant life with Him.

To pursue a passionate love relationship and deep friendship with T by being a compassionate helpmate, esteeming him higher than myself and being one who does not keep a record of wrongs .

To be a loving, patient, gentle, engaged and fun loving mother to my children who points them always to Jesus with my words and my actions.

To be a well rounded woman and grow into all the potentials God has created in me by taking time to rest, refresh, reflect and process this life through prayerful writing and sharing with others.

To be a loving and compassionate friend and family member by listening to and serving others as God gives me opportunity to be His hands and feet.

Kat suggests that you live with your first Mission Statement attempt for awhile- seeing if it fits, revising and tweaking it as necessary until it truly reflects and inspires you.  In all honesty, these words seems to be quite a stretch from where I am right now as a believer, wife, mother, woman and friend but that's the point, right?  To be inspired to grow by His grace!  For He is "the God who gives life to the dead and speaks of things that are not as though they were."  Romans 4:17

Now, hop on over to Inspired to Action and get the tools to write your own Mission Statement.  If you do write one (or have already), please share!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

The brevity of my list this week reflect the hectic schedule and pace we were on this week while visiting family.  Looking forward to getting back to lingering on his multitude of gifts this week!
Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:
  • 572.  Preparing for VBS- just a week away!
  • 571. Safe and easy airline travel with my 3 littles
  • 570. 5 days with my cousin's baby- baby drool, baby gurgles, baby giggles and baby squeals
  • 569. Winning
  • 568. Women's Home Fellowship
  • 567. Cousin vacation!
You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in the sidebar and read why I got started here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Praying the Psalms- Psalm 30

Jenny has begun a journey of praying her way through the Psalms that I have decided to join. Each weekend, we will pray through one psalm and post our prayer and/or meditations on that psalm as the Lord leads. Check out her journey and join us in Praying the Psalms.

Psalm 30
There are so many familiar verses in this psalm:
"For his anger lasts only a moment, 
       but his favor lasts a lifetime; 
       weeping may remain for a night, 
       but rejoicing comes in the morning."  Psalm 30: 5
"You turned my wailing into dancing; 
       you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,"  Psalm 30: 11
Verses I sing or have memorized or have used to comfort and encourage myself or another.  In some things there is danger in familiarity.  It can lead to staleness and boredom.  That's why we work to keep close relationships, especially marriages, fresh by pursuing new interests together.  It's why we often choose to vacation some distance from home.   It's why we try new recipes.  It's why there are 31 flavors of ice cream at Baskin Robbins.

But familiarity cannot breed staleness or boredom with God's Word!  Because His Word is alive and active and sharper than any two edged sword.  It divides soul and spirit, joint and marrow.  It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.   In fact, familiarity with God's word breeds stability, fruit, life and spiritual prosperity!

So as I read and pray the familiar words of this psalm today, I invite them to divide and judge and examine.  And they do.  And I remember from whence I came.  I remember how He has lifted me, helped me, healed me.  And my heart sings to Him.  It will not be silent.  I will give thanks to Him forever!

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm a winner!!!

If you've been reading here for a while, you probably already know, I'm just a wee bit excited by a blog called Inspired to Action.   In her own words, the mission of Kat's blog is:
"practically helping moms develop the habits and skills they need to effectively manage their homes and raise children who are prepared to change the world."
Now who would not love that?   I know I can always use a little inspiration in this journey called Motherhood. 

As you can read from the many posts in which I have mentioned her blog, some of the things I have gleaned from Inspired to Action include our Summer Planning and Purpose, my Online Mission Statement and my Mommy Mission Statement (still in the works).  I've also read and applied many of her tips from her Maximize Your Mornings e-book

Each Monday, Kat posts a Motivation Monday in which she encourages her readers to comment if they have taken action that week- had a consistent quiet time, a date with one of your children or your husband, working on setting goals, etc.- gives you a chance to win a prize.  And last week, I won!  I can't wait to listen to the CD.

If you need some practical tips, encouragement or inspiration on your Motherhood journey, stop by Inspired to Action,  you'll be glad you did!  If you are in need of a push to get into a consistent morning routine, join my friend Michelle's Maximize Your Morning challenge- she is going through Kat's e-book with a group of ladies online!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Movers and Shakers

You just can't hold us down!  The kids and I, that is :)  We are away again for a few days having a cousin reunion of sorts.  There are 9 kids 9 and under- in total- and so far we are having a blast.  My husband is home holding down the fort and bringing home the bacon :)

I am working on a post with my Mommy Mission Statement and hope to post it later this week.  But there is also the distinct possibility that the craziness of 9 kids 9 and under (did I mention that yet?) will interfere with that goal.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with my three cuties at the airport.  They thoroughly enjoyed the flight!  They got to see up close just how powerfully the Heaven's declare the glory of God.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Multitude Monday

holy experience

Here are some of the things I was thankful for this week:

    •     566.  Imperfect Prose
          565.  A visit from Ann and Ann!
      • 564. Date night with my man
      • 563. Anne Shirley!!!
      • 562. Children's Audiobooks!
      • 561. Leading Children's Worship alongside the Holy Spirit
      • 560. TWO HOURS to myself on a Saturday
      • 559. The soundtrack for The Sound of Music
      • 558. Seeing niece perform in The Sound of Music
      • 557. Having the forethought to buy the furniture protection plan- 3 years later and they replaced the ripped couch!
      • 556. Pondering sound advice
      • 555. So many little things bringing me joy!
      • 554. A change in plans led to seeing Despicable Me
      • 553. Hosting friends for lunch and a swim playdate
      • 552. Laughing so hard during zumba- that was a better workout than the dancing- lol
      • 551. Zumba with friends
      • 550. Prayers offered that her passing will serve to open unbelieving eyes and ears of much loved family
      • 549. Unexpected visit with faraway family due to Grandma's passing
      • 548. Paying tribute to Grandma with a speech at her wake and a reading at the funeral
      • 547. All three had easy checkups and a good report at the dentist
      • 546. Fighting in the spirirt in the dark of a Sunday night to lay down my burdens and rest
      • 545. Laughing and squealing and running with brothers and sisters from the park when the
      • rain poured down
      • 544. Sunday afternoon picnic in the park with church
    You can find my running list of 1,000 gifts in the sidebar and read why I got started here.


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