Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monthly Round Up: December

Wow the end of the month and end of the year round up. Well, as I am writing this I am truly grateful to the Lord for all that He has done in homeschooling. He amazes me!

On Dec 26, I went to Target and picked up some sight word flash cards for my tot (they have some pretty good resources right now). As I type, she is reading through them and I can't believe how many she knows. Some that we didn't even go through together. Only You Lord!

I am also so thankful that Hubby has been more involved in what the girls are learning. Our new scheduling system makes this possible and enjoyable for all.

The girls have been progressing very well and excelling for God's glory. Holy Spirit is their teacher. My tot is so excited to finish the study of the New Testament by May. We are currently studying the resurrection of Christ. The family is looking forward to our Bible reading plans. My tween finished reading the Bible and is so grateful to God for the perseverance to finish. She kept looking at the finished pages of the calendar with such a big smile. We are also starting a family character study taken from here.

The girls also received some Torchlighters DVDs from the church and my tween has already started reading Richard Wumbrand's Tortured for Christ. She also listened to Anita Dittman's testimony on Brannon Howse's radio show.

All in all, we are seeing HIM which is the most important part of the girls education.

BTW: 2nd Quarterly due soon (for us at least!) That was fast! I am also working on next year's curriculum (mentally working on it that is). How about you?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not An Option

Have you ever felt like a failure? looser? incompetent?

Last week, as I was scrubbing my bathtub I started thinking on the miracles God does in a human being. And since we celebrated our wedding anniversary on Saturday, I began to especially think on the miracle the Lord has done in me. Believe I am not boasting...all the glory is His! I boast in nothing but the cross.

When we had just gotten married, I was self-centered, spoiled, childish, immature, prideful, vengeful (you get the picture although the list can go on for a while see Galatians 5:19-21 for a clearer picture). The thought of me being a devoted wife and mother was the least thing on my mind. I considered serving weakness. I liked to call the shots. No need to help me, I could do it all on my own, because let's face it no one did it better than me anyways. I wasn't going to rely on anyone, let alone a man. Not me! Never!

But I remember when the Lord asked me to give up my teaching job and stay home. At that time our eldest daughter was six and in school. What was I going to do home all day by myself? I had forgotten that I had asked the Lord to make me a worshipper. And this was His time to do so. I didn't understand it and resisted Him. I would look at my husband and think and say at times, "You have it so easy, anyone can go and work a 9-5. I could work a 9-5 come home and still do everything in the house without a problem!" How arrogant. And in all reality I probably could have done it but without love, joy, or peace.

I didn't like staying home because I had to admit I was a failure of a wife and mother and daughter of God. It was all about me and not about God.

Fast forward some six years, I am scrubbing my bathtub thinking, "I want the house to look beautiful for when Hubby comes home. I want him to do the least amount of work because I realize (and am so thankful) he is such a hard worker." No more complaining. No more failure.

In that time period, I had to confront myself and come to the understanding and revelation that not only could I not be a successful wife and mother but that I should not want to one without the Lord. He created me to be His daughter, a wife, a mother, and now once again a teacher. I am no longer a looser, failure, or incompetent. In Him, I am victorious, triumphant, and capable. Because in Him and only in Him, failure is not an option.

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
2 Corinthians 2:14

Monday, December 28, 2009

Doesn't Matter

Red Poppies And A Dramatic Sunset Sky

It does not matter what I don't have, it matters who I have
It does not matter who I was, it matters whose I am
It does not matter what I lost, because I've gained it all in HIM!

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Planning Ahead

I had been asking the Lord for an opportunity to go deeper in His Word. I was thinking of doing a Bible Study (like one from MacArthur), but then this book divinely presented itself to me.

So for the upcoming year, I will be reading Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender by Beth Moore.

I have experienced first hand what it is to be in Christ and be captive. And I have also experienced the power of liberation and ministration through Holy Spirit. Thank You Lord! So I am passionate about being free and staying free in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a continual process until the coming of Jesus. Amen!

I will be ordering the book soon so I will have enough time to read the first chapter and post some questions/comments on it beginning January 11, 2010 and every following Monday until I am done. There are 47 chapters, so I will tackle a chapter a week. It gives me plenty of time to read it and really study it alongside the Word of God. It also has discussion questions. I plan to be done by late November early December.

If you want to join me, you're more than welcome. Just leave me a comment/email me to let me know. And in the name of Jesus, I will also be committing myself to Bible memorization. Although I praise the Lord for allowing me to learn several Scriptures during my tot's homeschool, I want to focus on specific scriptures He's ministering me on. I will attempt two every month. I will post these on the 1st and 15th of every month. 24 Scriptures!!!!!! You are also most welcome to join in.

I look forward to what the Lord has in store for us all this upcoming year. The most important goal is getting closer to HIM and staying there!

Lord, I pray that You would help us to stay focused on YOU. Your Word says that if we draw near to You, You draw near to us. Help us to understand that having You is indeed having it all, in Jesus' name. Amen

Friday, December 25, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19
1. God has been bringing such an amazing message to our lives through our Pastor...he who has ears listen to what the Holy Spirit is speaking to the church
2. Celebrated our wedding anniversary giving thanks to God, good food and snow:)
3. Double blessing-Our niece was born on our anniversary...Thank You Lord that You manifest Yourself to them
4. My little BIC and SIC celebrated their Earthdays last week and brought cake to share with the church (lots of sweet treats this week;)
5. The Lord has been really ministering Hubby and I on serving one another. It's so beautiful to see the Lord dealing with us at the same time about the same thing
6. Hubby and the girls got to play in the snow...winter wonderland:)

7. Our family plus Mami went over to my in-laws to enjoy a nice dinner before tonight's service (have lots of there's a gift)
8. FIL really liked our gift to them...Praise the Lord!
9. Hubby got out of work early on Wednesday and has two more days off this week as well as next...You are our rest Lord!
10. Wednesday, I enjoyed a girls night in with my Sis and niece. She did my hair and we laughed and laughed. We had a great time and I already set up my appointment for next week...Ha!
11. Enjoyed some baking with the family
12. Church gift seemed to be a hit with children and parents...Thank You Lord for using the sister to make the suggestion:)
13. We received an email letting us know our boxes had been delivered to Central Asia and the Philippines!!!!
14. This is our last Count Your Blessings for 2009!!!! How I have enjoyed sharing in all that that Lord has blessed you and your family. Looking forward to what the Lord has for us this upcoming year!!!!

15. Hubby's cousin had asked my MIL to ask me to make her a hat, which I didn't agree to because I didn't want to commit myself and then not do it. But the Lord tugged at my heart and I bought the yarn around November 20. Still didn't make it. Last week, He was telling me to make it but I disobeyed (I already repented...this is why I didn't want to commit to doing it) and then I ran into her at Abuela's house. Well, I knew there was a chance she was going to be there at my family-in-laws' dinner, so I worked on it Wednesday night and Thursday morning and got it done. When I gave it to her, she yelled, jumped out of her seat, and gave me a hug and kiss. She said it was the best present and she wasn't even expecting it. All the Glory is God's. Her reaction just showed why it was (and is) so important to obey Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Update: Wedding Anniversary

So remember when I had written here that we were going to have a great meal for our wedding anniversary...we did!

Hubby actually made a scrumptious meal for us while the girls and I made desert and it turned out d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s!

So here's the recipe for pumpkin bars and the frosting:
(You can find similar recipes at All Recipes)

What You'll Use:
#1 Mixture
4 eggs

2 cups of sugar

1 can of pumpkin puree (I think that's about 15oz)

3/4 cups of melted butter

1/2-1 cup of chopped walnuts (depending on how much you like them)

Mix all the above

#2 Mixture

2 cups of flour (I like to do one cup whole wheat the other white flour)

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2-1 teaspoon of cinnamon (depending on how much you like it)

Mix all the above

#3 Mixture
1 package of 8oz cream cheese (softened)

6 teaspoons of butter (softened)

1 teaspoon of vanilla (don't want to skip this step)

1 teaspoon of milk or creamer (french vanilla or hazelnut anyone?)

1/2 cup of sugar

What You'll Do:
Mix everything in Mixture #1 then everything in Mixture #2 then combine and put batter into greased pan for 25 minutes at 350º degrees.

While that's in the oven mix everything in Mixture #3 and leave in refrigerator until pumpkin bars are ready to be iced. Ice, cut, serve, and enjoy!

Note: I am now using about 2 cups of natural pureed carrots instead of the canned pumpkin puree:)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wrapping Things Up

Is it just me or do you like to clean your house at the end of the year? I know I sure do. You know my train of thought when deciding to keep or throw something away, "If I were moving today, would you come with me?" If the answer is no, then bye bye. No I don't want to store you just in case. Just in case I ever have to use you God will provide. So for now adieu, bye bye, ciao!

Besides cleaning up, we're also working on the budget and tightening things up a bit. Couponing has definitely cut some of our budget. Also, eating healthy has eliminated some products from our shopping list altogether. As per our Co-Pastor's wife advice, we're now checking the food labels a lot closer. Anything with MSG is a no no (salad dressing, canned soups, and potato chips). We're also committed to getting off a SAD (Standard American Diet) diet and onto a more natural food menu. So instead of buying processed foods, we're homemaking more things like cookies, ice cream, salad dressing, and will try more things. Cooking once and serving twice method will also reduce eating out. And planning ahead will avoid paying full price.

We're also setting up some financial goals. We want to pay off our mortgage ASAP. We have a specific number in mind, but are believing the Lord for more than we can think, ask, imagine, or dream of.

Another goal is time management. And how we can struggle with this one. We're purposefully setting up our schedules around the Lord instead of trying to fit Him into our schedules. Lord help us.

So are you planning for next year? What are your goals? Anything you want to change? improve? eliminate?

Note: If you're wondering how I made the bow above and want to make your own click here:)
It was a hit with my little nephew who kept asking me during Sunday's service, "How did you do that?"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wedding Anniversary

Today, Hubby and I celebrate our wedding anniversary. Well, at least one of them. Today commemorates our civil ceremony and in August we celebrate our wedding anniversary through the church. And believe me when I say I am using the word celebrate loosely. Tonight we plan on enjoying a great meal and enjoy some family time together.

Last night when speaking to Hubby, I asked him what's his favorite part of our marriage and he answered quickly, "Our laughter!" And I completely agree.

However, our marriage was not always characterized with laughter. There were simply hellish times in which neither of us (and some other people as well) did not think we were going to make it. But we serve a faithful God who has sustained us.

Despite our marriage having a lot of low's, the highs are higher than the lowest low. Make sense? So today we are celebrating God's faithfulness, might, and power. We are thankful for His love and long suffering and patience with us.

I thank you Lord for our marriage. I thank you that Your thoughts are so much higher than mine. You've given me more than I could have thought, asked, or imagined. I thank you that Your Will prevailed over the enemy's plans and even over our flesh. Thank You for manifesting Your love to us. The mercy You have showed us is immense. Please continue to bless us with love, unity, and joy. Truly, Your joy is our strength. Thank You for the laughter and the tears throughout these years. Continue to mold us, transform us, and renew us in the image of Jesus Christ through Your Holy Spirit in Jesus' name. Amen.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Genesis 2:24

So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
Matthew 19:6

Friday, December 18, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19
1. We got to celebrate with a lil' sister in Christ her 1st Earthday!
2. We got to meet Baby D and he is sooooooo cute...Lord continue to bless him all the day of his life that he may live for you and serve you every day you grant him in the name of Jesus
3. Went out and got some good deals at Walgreens and Rite Aid
4. Caught a ride with Syd and fam to Tuesday's prayer service...almost got them to laugh so hard their tears came out...maybe next time (baby wipes refills have me laughing right now with tears in my eyes:)
5. Got a master price list without the work...HA (you can find almost everything on the internet)
6. My sister worked (and walked) to get me a deal...thank You Lord for her persistence and then she gave me an organization goody...yipee
7. God has been using our Pastor to bring such correction to our lives through the Word, for which we are so thankful
8. Our Pastor declared a prophetic word over us and I believe it and receive in Jesus' name for God's glory
9. I got to enjoy my nephew and niece in tonight's service (lots of cuddles and kisses)
10. Received a Christmas card from Abdi, our sponsored child (have you sponsored a child...if not what are you waiting for? You can do so here and here)
11. Hubby and I have been laughing LOTS and LOTS and we are so grateful to the Lord for it
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
Psalm 30:11

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Want to Be My Friend?

Friends Forever

Do not champion my effort, challenge my results
Do not champion my results, challenge my intentions
Do not champion my intentions, challenge my convictions
Do not champion my convictions, challenge my faith
Do not champion my faith, challenge me
Do not champion me, challenge me

If you want to be my friend, challenge me do not champion me.
Challenge me to be the best child of God daily.

To flatter friends
is to lay a trap for their feet.
Proverbs 29:5

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Are You Worldly?

Pondering Greatness

Yes, there I said it, the W word. Worldly. Not wordy but worldly.
Well, are you?

Immediately, thoughts of, "Me? No, never! I have given up TV, and the movies, and I dress and talk differently. So me? Worldly? Never!"

But let's see what the Word says.

We know that according to the Word, if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us (1 John 2:15) But what does it mean to love the world?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Simply put, to love the world is to conform to the pattern of this world-to love what God hates and to hate what God loves, to approve of what He disapproves, to condone what is an abomination to Him, to pervert justice, to condemn the innocent.

And what is the pattern of this world? 1 John 2:16 states:

For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.

Within this list, there is a long list. In simple terms, to love this world is to conform to it's way of doing things as opposed to obeying God's Word. Now you may say, "You see, I knew we weren't talking about me, because I am all about obeying the Word."

Well, let's see.

What do you think about having 20 kids?
The world says you're crazy! God says you are blessed to have a quiver full of them. (Psalm 127:5)

What do you think about going to family functions where Jesus is not honored?
The world says blood is thicker than water. God says if you do not hate father and mother, you are not worthy to be His disciple. (Luke 14:26)

Why do you dress the way you do?
The world says first impressions are everything. God says to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12)

These are just some questions. We should ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts daily. Why did I do that? What are the real intentions of my heart? Did I do that to bring glory to You Father, or so that I would get recognition and/or praise? Did I do that because it's easier to bend (thus break) the rules than to stand firm and suffer persecution?

Whenever I find myself making the comfortable choices, I know that worldliness has crept in. Yes, there, I used the W word again. Or didn't you know? Yes, worldliness can creep back in our lives (if indeed it has ever left). We must be sober and vigilant (1 Peter 5:8). One sure way to know if I have worldly thinking is to ask myself, "Am I viewing this (whatever this may be) through the Word of God or through my emotions, my past experiences, my rationalization?"

Jesus warns us to watch and pray so that we will not fall into temptation (Mark 14:38). And temptation abounds. So let us be careful not to be bending (breaking) the rules, not making exceptions, not taking the easy way out, not conforming. Let's take a stand and stay standing firm (Ephesians 6:13-14).

Remember: If you're not standing up (for the Truth), you are bowing down (to the devil, the world, your flesh).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fun Fun Fun

Last week a little sister in Christ celebrated her 1st Earthday and on Saturday, we went to her party and what FUN!

I was so blessed to see how the Lord directed us (Hubby and tween stayed home as per His directions and now I see the fruit...Glory to God). So it was me and tot and Syd and Nani off in her car.

We got to meet SIC's family and hear some of her testimony. Looking forward to hearing some more.

The kids got to enjoy playing some games and me too (to show an example of course...I'll be asking my brother-in-law for a re-match in Red Light, Green Light 123:) I enjoyed the fellowship with the family in Christ. I also got some really good pictures that when I got home the family enjoyed hearing the stories behind the scenes. The food was also sooo good. I hope her family didn't find it weird us taking a picture of it.

Fellowship is so important and I thank the Lord for every opportunity He grants us to enjoy it with our family in Christ.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Home Builder: How to Start Coupon Shopping

Now that we've discussed coupon shopping and how to organize your coupons, let us start with hitting the stores. Although, it may seem overwhelming, it doesn't have to be.

We're blessed here in the city to get the circulars delivered right to our doors. So now that you have the circulars and coupons, make a list of things you want to buy.

Start slow and don't let mistakes set you back. I would personally begin at CVS. Their coupon policy is a lot less complicated than Walgreens. You have to calculate your spending before tax because ECBs don't cover the tax. For example, if the purchase is $5.44 and you have a $6.00 ECB, it won't go through.

So if you're looking to get started this upcoming week (12/13/09)would be great.

Buy 2 packs of tissue paper for $1.99 each (only until Tuesday)
=$3.98 + $0.35 (tax)=$4.33 (oop)
get back $3.98 in ECBS

Use those $3.98 for next week's purchases and keeping rolling them to minimize your oop (out of pocket) expense.

Now Walgreens is a bit different. You can only use the amount of coupons (including RR) that you have for products. For example, if you have 3 coupons and 1 RR (register rewards) you must have a total of 4 products.

For example this upcoming week in Walgreens:

Transaction #1
Buy (1) Crest Glide Floss for $3.49 get a Register Reward (their store money) for a free one on your next purchase
Use $1 coupon from 11/29 PG Saver (if you have it)
=$3.49+.31 (tax)=$3.80-$1.00 (coupon if you have it)
=$2.80 (out of pocket)

So to recap, you got:
2 Crest Glide flosses for less than $2.80 which is good considering that floss even in Target is about $2.50 each. Note: When printing from the internet, most sites will let you print each coupon twice. Make sure to follow all the regulations on the coupon.

Rite Aid is the easiest but you have to wait for your rebate in the mail. But it is a check so you don't have to use it in Rite Aid. Submit your rebates immediately but do not request your check until the end of the rebate campaign. Their website will let you know this when you click to redeem your check.

This upcoming week they have:
Buy Chapstick for $2.99 get $2.99 in rebate so you'll end up paying the $0.26 tax on this one, which for chapstick is good.

The scenarios will change depending on whether you have the coupons or not, but you get the gist. For more information visit these sites for CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens.

Weather Won't Stop Us

We're a dangerous team, Syd and I (and the girls, got to start them young you know). The 30º degree weather isn't going to stop us (they just went to Target). And praise the Lord because the savings were great!

All of this for guess what?????

Total OOP= $0.94 ($0.35 at Target for the batteries and $0.59 for (2) Twix and $0.00 for the pasta) AND I got $1.00 ECB back!!!!!

I didn't take a picture of my CVS, Rite Aid, and Key Food run on Monday but my totals were something very minimal ($0.35 for 4 rolls of toilet paper). Maybe next week I'll get in a picture before I put everything away.

The cashier at Key Food was so happy for my free pasta. She actually called over the manager/owner and told him about my transaction. She was that happy:) Praise the Lord for the grace and happy cashiers!

My tween actually asked me to show her how to coupon. That alone makes it worth it. She sees the blessings for the whole family and wants to bless her future family as well. Glory to God!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19
1. Abuela celebrated her Earthday on Friday and we were honored to visit her and pray over bless her in the name of Jesus!
2. He's here...the baby is here!!!! Congratulations to our FIC...he's so beautiful:)
3. Got lots of cleaning done...the house feels 10lbs lighter...HA!
4. Sunday's service was sooo anointed...there is nothing difficult or impossible for our God!
5. Got to pray with Hubby which is always a blessing
6. We were actually in bed before 12:00 AM, which is a HUGE improvement for us
7. Driving home on Tuesday from prayer, Hubby and I laughed SO much, his sides literally hurt, what is funnier is that my sister caught us and her description is as follows, "You (meaning me) were driving with your eyes closed, head back, and mouth open from laughing and Hubby (she doesn't call him that:) was with his eyes closed, face forward, and mouth open laughing. She was thinking, "Now that's a conversation I want to be in." The next day we were still laughing!!!
8. A little SIC turned 1 this week and we'll be celebrating it this weekend, God willing
9. My mother came over for an impromptu visit...she usually has the weirdest observations that make us laugh
10. Hubby got us the Fosforito cd and it is so anointed for God's glory:)
11. A SIC came to visit us b/c she had to testify about God's glory in her family's life...we rejoice with her and thank the Lord that He allows us to see Him

My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
Psalm 27:8

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Not a Waitron

Italian Restaurant Waitress bathed in light
I was listening to Brannon Howse sometime last week and couldn't help but burst out laughing when he spoke about a "waitron." He discussed the culture war going on in the public school's textbook. For example, a picture of a woman cooking can not be included because it is not culturally correct and may offend. He went on to say that now the word "waitron" is being used because it is offensive to say waiter or waitress because it is gender specific. Of course, he is not in agreement with these terms, he was must making references to them.

Umm waitron? Gender neutral? Who does that sound like? The enemy!

I am not a waitron! I am a daughter of the Almighty God through the shed blood of King Jesus at the cross at Calvary. I am a wife to a God-fearing man. I am the mother of two girls who love their Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus and are guided by His Holy Spirit.

Waitron? No way!

God designed us to have specific gender roles. Any time I step outside of His parameters for my gender role (for example, I am the head of my household instead of my husband), I am in direct disobedience to God.

I love that God made Hubby and I different. And I mean different. But that is the beauty of marriage. There are no weaknesses, only strengths. Since we are one, where I would be weak alone, I am strong because Hubby is there. Hubby doesn't complete me but rather compliments me and I him.

God knows what He's doing. His Way works and only His Way works. Think about how many times you have been grateful that indeed you and your husband are different. I know I am especially thankful for our differences:

1. Hubby is super duper patient
2. Hubby is soft spoken while I am a passionate speaker:)
3. Hubby doesn't dwell on things
4. Hubby doesn't loose his peace easily
5. Hubby is not grossed out by mice and I am...ugggghhhhh:)

In the world, differences lead to conflict. In Christ, differences lead to love and appreciation. And believe me, I am grateful that my Hubby is not a "waitron" but a man, made in the likeness and image of God.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Home Builder: Coupon Organization

As much as I enjoy coupon shopping, the mess, oh the mess I was experiencing. Paper can be my worst enemy at times. It piles up silently and then it is overflowing on top of desks, computer, tables, etc.

So to avoid this, I am imposing strict rules for myself. Remember the key to couponing is organization. So, to avoid paper piles ups:

1. Look through coupons immediately!!!
2. Toss out any unwanted ads (like for direct tv that have no coupons on either side)
3. Clip the coupons and store them
4. Put the extra coupon booklets away in chronological order (this makes it so much easier when I see online such and such coupon is in SS 10/11/09)
5. Organize all your stuff in one place (coupon bag, binder (if you lug it around), accordion file, pouch (with scissors, pen, notebook, and calculator), coupons attached to circulars, and lastly your reusable bag (CVS gives you a $.25 credit every time you use it (one per day) and prints $1 ECB every 4th visit)

So to recap:
Look, Toss, Clip, Put, Organize

Hope this helps:)

But just in case you're more of a visual person, here is a video for you to watch:)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19
1. God spared me the Bright Friday shopping...Your mercy is great!
2. Hubby got to stay with kiki and the girls and she was too much
3. Ate leftovers at Mami's house with Syd and family...yummy
4. Hubby and girls played a Bible trivia game and my tot won!!!! She was so happy and I was so amazed at all that she knows
5. Sis got Hubby and I a great text plan...makes the phone a lot more fun!!!
6. VERY surprising trip to Target and some great baby wipes:)
7. Got a $25 courtesy coupon from Staples...woo hoo!
8. Hubby got a compliment in his job that could've come only from the Lord...He said, "Grace upon grace!" and we're definitely seeing it
9. Hubby was able to get the tire fixed, oil change, car wash, and inspection in one day for His glory...thank you for answering Hubby's prayer...You are soooo faithful
10. Tuesday's prayer service with the kids was great...we walk by faith and not by sight!!!
11. We made a nice size payment on our mortgage believing God for a COMPLETE debt free home
12. Was able to clean up the house, getting rid of more stuff and organizing what is staying
13. What a wonderful, glorious, worship service tonight...Psalm 34
14. 12 For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5:12

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Home Builder: Coupon Shopping

As you may know, I enjoy coupon shopping. But is it worth it? I would say a resounding YES! This is a case in point.

But how can you maximize both your savings and time?
Organize, organize, organize.

This is a lot less intense than it looks:) I don't want to waste time looking over circulars over and over and making lists. So instead of wasting time I:

1. Look over the circulars and make a list
2. Take out the coupons I will use
3. I also look up other blogger's list to see if I missed any deals and to find extra coupons
4. Put a binder clip with coupons and circulars for each store
5. Take list in notebook and pouch (with scissors and calculator) and coupons just in case

This made shopping on Thanksgiving very easy. I went in the store with my list in hand, filled the cart, took out my coupons with circulars and checked out. No surprises for me and no frustration for the cashier or other shoppers because I'm tying up the line. The cashier in CVS enjoys seeing me "at work." He is amazed at the total and checks if I beat my own record in saving. Praise the Lord for the grace!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Setting up Fences

fence Pictures, Images and Photos
Adultery, just the word invokes certain thoughts and emotions. Have you ever thought about how a woman/man could fall? I have. And what I've noticed is that neither man nor woman just fall from one day to the next. It happens in small steps, letting your guard down slowly, little by little.

The Lord has ministered Hubby and I on certain no no's to avoid letting our guard down and thus holding each other accountable (example: not ministering the opposite sex alone, for more on fence building click here). When the Lord first began to minister us on this, I thought I was being overly cautious and extreme. But the Lord put the peace that this was His will for us and not our own.

My husband remembers his breakthrough coming when I discussed with him 2 Timothy 2:22,

"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."

The Lord here directs us to flee from the evil desires, not to pray about it or fast, or counterattack, but clearly to flee! Once you flee what should you do? Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Speak to your wife/husband, elder, pastor about what happened. Pray and fast and make sure you have someone to hold you accountable. I know that if my family in Christ saw me stepping out of the faith I profess, they would correct me. Turning a blind eye, not bringing correction, avoiding confrontation because of awkwardness is not love. Love me enough to care if I loose my salvation please.

The enemy was trying to make Hubby think that fleeing meant he was scared. But what does the Bible tell us? Philippians 2:12 clearly states,

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,"

We should have the fear of the Lord, and this fear make us flee from sin.

The Lord began building these fences rather quickly in our marriage, and I am grateful that although we didn't understand them, we obeyed. I now see the fruit. We can talk honestly and without fear regarding this subject. Our salvation is more important than any "feeling" of hurt, shame, or guilt.

Have you allowed the Lord to build some fences in your life, your marriage? None of us is strong enough that we can sustain ourselves. A big mistake is to think that you don't need fences or accountability. Remember Galatians 6:7,

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."

If you sow self-confidence and self-reliance, you will reap destruction. Proverbs 16:18,

"Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monthly Round Up: November

Another month gone by. This one was kind of different since we had to submit our first quarterly. I am grateful we haven't heard anything from them besides our return receipt.

This month we're also incorporating new things into our homeschooling. My tween is reading Psalms in Spanish to thus further help her (and me) learn the language.

I also came up with my own calendar/time recorder/grade book/lesson planner. Sounds a lot more sophisticated than it is. I just couldn't have two different books and then a calendar. So I decided to make my own.

I really like the way it came out. I just check the assignments once they're done and/or place a grade in the little circle. This gives me a clear view of what got done or what has to get checked. Hubby can look at it and know what we're studying and even help check the assignments.

My tot is progressing very well and her flex binder is finally complete. It's divided into 5 sections:
1. Bible memory verse

2. Fun Fonix

3. Site words

4. Tracer pages

5. Calendar and weather graph

Having all her work (besides the workbooks) in one place helps us stay organized and keep a routine with her. She grabs her binder from her bookbag and knows what to do without any help from me. This has also helped me for next year. I was trying to hold off from buying a full curriculum for her until another year or so, but she's advancing so I may have to get something more formal starting next September. Any ideas?

We're in the full swing of things and enjoying it a lot. Looking forward to the upcoming changes as well as strengthening what is working.

How was your month?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Turn

In Thursday night's service, the church got to give thanks to the Lord for specific ways in which He has glorified Himself in our lives. And I think that the fact that He even chooses to do so is enough! Hubby participated and shared a much overdue thanks to the Lord. The testimonies were so edifying. I didn't particpate...until now. Well, a little later on that.

Let me begin with how my Thanksgiving day began. Sis and I woke up early and decided to do our runs to CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. My budget was $20. So for all of this

I paid $12.41 (oop) BUT with SCR I will be getting $9.50 back so I really paid $2.91!!!! And this also qualifies me for $5 Rite Aid gift card and I have $7 ECBs left over. You have to have been there to appreciate it.

So, we get back and after resting a bit, it's time to prepare for tonight's dinner at church. Hubby goes out to buy the juices and little did I know that BJ's would be closed and that the supermarkets that were open would be bare. But he got them. We get to work on our contribution for the dinner.

We finish making the salad and get dressed to head over to Sydney's house. On our way out my tween points this out to me

Isn't it beautiful? So we get there, eat, enjoy fellowship, and I even get to do kiki's hair with a clip. Too cute! We leave with salad in hand, kids in tow, and ready for church dinner.

Driving, driving, bump, bump...and then uh oh...this

Maybe you can't see by the angle of the picture, but there is no tire on the bottom of the rim!!! Only the Lord! In His divine protection He actually allowed traffic so we would be driving slowly when this happened as opposed to 50mph on the highway. Thank You Jesus!

So I call my Co-Pastor's wife to let her know we, the salad, and the juices are going to be late. I can't get through but my tween finally relays the message. I also call sis and she offers to come. She gets there and I leave Hubby with BIL and all the girls (me, sis, mami, 2 tweens, 1 tot, 1 baby) head out to church. Did I mention the vomiting? Oh yeah, before sis got there I had vomited.

So now I am in her car heading to church doubting whether I was going to make it because of the out of nowhere nausea. We make it. No Hubby. I call BIL and then speak to Hubby. He informs me another man, a brother in Christ, also got a flat but had no equipment to change it. They are rejoicing in the Lord for the opportunity to help the BIC. Then police officers arrive (four of them) and request for both cars to move. Then guess what? Our car won't start! But not a problem BIC is willing to give us a boost until...policer officer tells him no and gives BIC a summons for the offer. Police officer had already called tow truck which takes our car to the closest exit. Hubby gets a free boost from a taxi (grace) and is on his way to church. Glory to God!

Hubby gets to church, missed the dinner but made it to the service. Of course, he did. He had to give thanks for the miraculous healing almost 5 years overdue. What the enemy will do to stop a blessing?! But he's already been defeat!

O.k. so I wrote that to say this because it's my turn to give thanks. What am I thankful for? That I didn't freak out or even flinch about this. Seven years ago, I would have flipped BIG time. Four years ago, I would have had a meltdown. A year ago, I STILL would have found something to question God about. Why is this happening? What's the purpose? I would have gone down through a long list of possible answers. This year, I was thankful. Thankful that we have a car, that we were safe, that we had the equipment to change the tire, had already eaten, thankful we have a beautiful family in Christ that love us and kept calling to see how Hubby was doing but I had his phone, thankful Sis lives so close she picked us up, thankful Hubby was with BIL (and BIL didn't have a coat), thankful I had a church to go to, thankful for BIC that Hubby got help, thankful for the police officers and tow truck, thankful for the $76 we paid for the tow truck because it's a seed we've sown), thankful I didn't vomit in Sis' car, thankful that it didn't rob my peace or steal my joy, thankful that I could praise Him and rejoice through it all, thankful I am not who I was, and most thankful to have Jesus with me while I go through anything and everything!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19
1. Celebrated a blessing shower for our FIC...we rejoice with their blessings and thank God for them:)
2. F...i...n..a..ll..y got to go and see my SIL's house
3. Packed in some fun with Sis on Friday (2 mamas, 2 tweens, 1 tot, 1 infant, and over 6 boxes of pampers and other goodies...)
4. Hubby and girls went out to the park and enjoyed some daddy and girl time
5. MIL gave me a pretty sweater:)
6. Got great deals on Thankful Thursday...shelves were stocked and budget in tact!
7. Sis invited us to a Thanksgiving lunch in her house....yummy
8. Kiki wore shoes:)...she looked so cute like a little chocolate bar
9. Tonight's service was sooooo edifying...definitely Holy Spirit led
10.23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:23-25

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Warning Against Laziness

Storm - House!
We're going over tween's Bible questions, and they are wrong. How can this be when the Bible references are in bold, italicized, or underlined? I ask her and she calmly states, " I thought I knew the answer." Because she thought she knew the answer, she didn't bother to look up the Bible passages.

But God is so good and is never surprised although I was. (I mean really bold, italicized, underlined, why not look them up???) Earlier that morning we had read Proverbs 18:9, "One who is slack in his work, is brother to one who destroys." She read it out loud and I followed. As I heard the words she was reading, I paid close attention thinking about the consequences of laziness in my life. Holy Spirit spoke to me and reminded me of Proverbs 14:1, "A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."

So let's look at the verse closer. This verse warns us that laziness and destruction go hand in hand. Who seeks to destroy, divide, and kill if not the devil? So, if we are lazy, we are brother to one who destroys (devil). Our laziness can lead to the destruction of our homes.

Surely, sister, you're taking it too far. Let's see. In Matthew 7, Jesus speaks about two men who built their homes. There are some noteworthy similarities about these men. Both of them heard the Word of God and both experienced the storm. Yet, only one house withstood the storm-the house built on the rock. Why? Because this wise man not only heard the Word but he also put it into practice. His house standing was the fruit of his labor-his obedience. The foolish man's ruined house was evidence of his disobedience to the Word of God.

You see in the Lord, there are no successful shortcuts (Proverbs 21:5). We can go to church, attend retreats, complete Bible reading plans year after year, pray to our heart's content, BUT if we are not practicing His Word, we are headed for destruction. Laziness is a sure path to destruction.

We can see the messes in our homes, hear the defiance in our child's tone, and view the tiredness in our husband's demeanor and choose to be lazy. I'll clean up tomorrow. My child is only going through a stage; they will grow out of it. Once we finish the task or job at hand, then my husband will rest. Let's stop being lazy and address these issues immediately. Let's practice the Word daily and not turn a deaf ear, blind eye, and paralyzed will to these issues.

Remember the storm will come. Will your house stay standing?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blessing Shower

We had sooo much fun at the blessings shower. The Pastor spoke such beautiful words that ministered Hubby and me (in Him Yes and in Him Amen!). He reminded us how the FIC had been praying for this baby AND the church as well. So we as a family in Christ rejoice!

I must say God always WOWS me. First, my SIL surprised us by coming with us. Then we get there and my nephew is allllll over me. He's kissing me and hugging me and calling me Titi and I'm loving it. He even gave me a tour of his room. So little man gave me the V.I.P treatment.

While trying to figure out which entrance SIC should enter through, Sis and I got to pretend it was our shower. Pastor predicted I would scream the loudest unbeknown st to me so when it was my turn, guess what? I screamed and squealed and covered my mouth in shock...HA! And Hubby just informed me I was voted the loudest by my sisters...who me???

Once the table and chairs were set up and arranged it looked so beautiful. God gives so much creativity.

My MIL made the cake,

Sis made the diaper cake and capias,

I made the shoes,

and I'm not sure who brought the favors, but they were so nice.
Doesn't it all look so nice!?
The other sisters helped out and brought some delicious food, chips, and soda. Hubby and I are still trying to figure out how SIC gets the pernil to taste soooooooo goooooooood.

I was so glad to see us fellow shipping. We got to speak to some of our new family members and reminisce of what God has done in our lives (defensive driving courses and all:). Hubby and Co-Pastor even sat in the Daddy-to-be's chair, so maybe God is speaking???

Friday, November 20, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19
1. Went out with sis and got some great deals (more baby wipes $.02-$.64 a pack and other goodies)
2. Our FIC invited us for dinner and we had a GREAT time. I missed the fellowship with this family and we actually had it in prayer, so to see God arrange this dinner was beautiful
3. My Pastor called me on Sunday night with such a heart-warming message...He's such a wonderful Dad to us:)
4. Hubby's counsel continues to minister to me and teach me which I so appreciate
5. SIL blessed be with a copy of Fireproof...thanks sis:)
6. I got my Rite Aid rebate check plus an extra $10 gift card...cha ching!
7. Remember when I had written here that I wasn't thrilled about Walgreens, well still not thrilled but I did like my recent trip. All of this for....

8. Visited FIL and enjoyed to see how much they enjoy their grandbabies:)
9. Hubby FIXED our Reynold's handy handy vac was no match for my hand man..HA!
10. We dropped off our boxes and the ladies at the church (Esmeralda and Ines) were so happy to see us (and the boxes:)...Father bless them according to your riches and glory in Jesus' name
11. SIL gave us some plantains and we sure did enjoy the mangu...y.u.m.m.y!
12. I had a mini-Deacon in training helping me in tonight's service
13. God brought a timely Word for us today and we're so grateful for His divine intervention
14. My tween and I had such an edifying conversation and we were BOTH ministered...Glory to God!
15. Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Psalm 43:5