Friday, July 31, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19

1.  Enjoyed time with the FIL and got to pray with them...I know you're working in their hearts Lord
2.  Our Pastor blessed our daughter with a piano book...may you find in her Lord that worshipper You seek
3. Happy Earthday to our eldest who turned 12!!!!!!!!  May you grow in the fear of the Lord in the name of Jesus
4.  I got my Lysol rebate so I paid $.33 for all three Lysol products!
5.  We went on our first ever family va-ca to PA!!!!!
6.  God glorified Himself on our vacation and we got to see Him minister our lives...Thank you for your faithfulness Father
7.  I got to learn more about my girls on the trip
8.  We had previously explained to our tot that lobsters are sea roaches so she told the waiter @ Red Lobster, "We don't want no cockroaches please."
9.  I still have one more day with my hubby on vacation:)
10.  My sister didn't give birth yet...we are so thankful to the Lord we didn't miss it!!!!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Home Builder: Budgets




Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Proverbs 29:18


1.  Make it black and white
Sit with your spouse and write down every expense (from house payments to laundry).  

2.  Look for the foxes
After seeing your expenses in black and white, also check your bank statement. What were some purchases that could've been avoided?  Are there money pits (eating out, impulse shopping, late fees)?
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.  
Song of Solomon 2:15

3.  Set a Goal
No matter how small, start saving.  Set a goal for this savings fund whether it's next year's hs curriculum or a family vacation.  

4.  Work Together
Since you and your husband now have a goal, hold each other accountable. Remember you're one working towards the same goal.  
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.  
Proverbs 15:22

5.  Review and Revise
At the end of the month, review what worked and what didn't.  Do you handle cash better than using a debit card?  Were your goals realistic?  Were your goals too easy?  Did you forget to factor an expenditure?  How do you handle unexpected bills (car, medical)?  Can you be giving more (consider sponsoring a child, sowing a special seed, or giving a love offering)?
 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What Keeps Me on the Throne


 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting:
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Proverbs 31:30

As I was getting ready for bed, the Lord spoke to me and said, "Beauty may get you the crown, but submission will keep you on the throne."  I just stopped within myself and was wondering what the Lord was talking to me about.  He then began to minister to me regarding Vasti and Esther. Both women were beautiful yet one submitted whereas the other didn't.  And true beauty is a gentle and quiet spirit in the eyes of the Lord (1 Peter 3:4).

In Esther, we see a physically beautiful women who was also spiritually beautiful because of her submissive spirit.  She submitted to Mordecai, Shaashgaz and Hegai (the king's enuchs), to her husband, and thus to God (Esther 2).  Now I must admit, this is an area that I pray that I may continuously grow in.  When I was first married, I didn't understand the concept and didn't want to.  Yet, when the Lord began to show me through His Word that my relationship with my husband is a direct reflection of my relationship with Him, things started to change (Ephesians 5:22).  It's easy to say we are submitted to God, and yet, if we are not submitted to our husbands, we are fooling ourselves into thinking we are truly submitted to God.  

I use to regard submission as demeaning and weak.  But Holy Spirit showed me otherwise.  It's easy to throw a fit when you don't get your way.  It's easy to pout and manipulate.  It's the strong woman who can control her emotions and not be led by them. It's a strong woman who can trust and rejoice that the Lord's will is being done and not her own.  It is a strong woman who can confide that because the Lord loves her, HE will work all things out for her good without her influence (Romans 8:28).  It takes strength and character not to always have the last word, be right, and prove your point.  It takes a strong woman to know that her self-worth doesn't come from what she has, what her husband can give her, what  she can get; her identity comes from Jesus.  

There is strength is submission.  Because when I am weak, He is strong.  When you no longer can see Karen, you will see Jesus.  When I no longer live, He lives in me.  When I am crucified, He is resurrected and glorified!  Yes, the only thing that keeps me seated on the throne is submission--submission to Him, His Word, His Will!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Baby Advice



Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 15:22


Since my sister, Sydney, is due this August 5th with baby girl #2, I thought it would be fun to give her a list of other mothers' best advice,  best product, and worst product.  Thanks to all the ladies who shared their thoughts on the subject with me.  I know that not everything works for everyone.  I trust that God will guide each of us on what works for each family according to His Word. Enjoy reading and be sure to add your own.  

Best Advice:  
1.  Never wake a sleeping baby, everything else can wait
2.  Breastfeed
3.  Burp after each feeding
4.  Enjoy every minute
5.  Let older siblings help
6.  Lay gassy babies on your lap face down and pat their bottoms
7.  Swaddle newborns
8.  Get baby on schedule 
9.  Lots of cuddles
10.  Do what works for you

Best Product:
1. Nojo baby carrier
2.  Onesies
3.  baby carrier from lucky-baby.com
4.  bag dresses
5.  anything that serves more than one purpose
6.  baby swing
7.  Store bought diapers
8.  Fragrance and dye free detergent 
9.  Natural baby food

Worst Product:
1. Dreft
2. Soy formula
3.  Expensive diapers
4.  Baby anything-make your own baby food, use ivory soap

Friday, July 24, 2009

Count Your Blessings


Picture 19
1.  Enjoyed a road trip to our uncle's house with my sister and her family
2.  Girls had soooooo much fun over there
3.  Got the funniest phone calls from Papalito from Saturday to Sunday regarding the trip:)
4.  Enjoyed my sister's day off with her
5.  Took a surprise trip to the zoo with the girls...God is sooooo creative:)
6.  Today is my sister's last day @ her job...thank you Jesus she finished the race well:)
7.  I got a looooooooonnnnnnnngggggg kiss from my nephew and a funny conversation with my niece...Isaiah will be free (3) on Staturday:0)
8.  The praise and worship and message in Thursday's service ministered me immensely...we have His anointing!!!
9.  My tween and her cousin have been playing librarian reading soooo much 
10.  Laura from My Lovely Days has joined us...welcome Laura:)
11.  God is good and faithful, He's promised never to leave us nor forsake us...His mercies are new everyday...He commands us to taste and see how good He is and indeed I can testify He is GOOD!



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our Trip to the Zoo

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good... 
Genesis 1:31








Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Unemployed


for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.
Hebrews 4:10

When Jesus died on the cross for us, He did so willingly so that we would be saved by grace and not by works.  For there is nothing in anyone of us that deserves salvation.  We can't impress Him.  No matter how many hours you pray, days you fast, chapters you read, missions you open...nope none of it makes us worthy of salvation.  It is by His grace and not by works so that no one would glory (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Should we do the above?  Of course, but out of love for Him who shed His precious blood for us and not out of conditional love (if I do this that and the other, then I'll be good enough to receive His love).  

Today, if you are tired from trying to do things for God, enter into His rest...receive His grace!

Father, I thank you for your love and grace upon our loves through Jesus.  I pray that everyone who reads this would receive a fresh revelation of what it is to enter into your rest and receive your grace.  Renew our minds, that we would never want to operate under works but under Your grace which is sufficient.  In Jesus' name I pray.  Amen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

No Need to be Alone



God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.  
Psalm 68:6

Have you ever felt lonely?  Abandoned?  Wanting to reach out to someone? Well, the first person we should reach out to is Jesus;  He has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).  

God also reveals His love through those around us.  I have been blessed to be part of a wonderful family in Christ, and I regard them just as that-family.  We use the terminology my brother/sister in Christ, but do we really feel it in our hearts?  God says in His Word, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another." (John 13:35)  God wants us to reflect His love to one another so that the world would know His love.  

This weekend, I was blessed to share His love with my husband's family and my sister's family. And although, I refer to them as my husband's family, I do it for distinguishing purposes. Because in my heart, I love them with Jesus love and I don't make distinctions in my heart regarding them. I didn't grow up with my extended family, so when my husband and I married, God blessed me with a large family.  Before we left, we prayed and I am confident that God is working in their hearts, in Jesus' name.  

God has given us of His love to in return share it with everyone else. Remember, we are to give by grace what we have received by grace (Matthew 10:8).  So instead of having the enemy deceive you into thinking you're all alone, remind him that first, Jesus is with you and in you. Secondly, in his infinite mercy, God has surrounded you with people to receive love from and also to give love to freely.  Just look around you; they (anyone you come into contact) are there wanting and waiting to receive God's love.  

Monday, July 20, 2009

Home Builder: Saving Tips



But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.  
Deuteronomy 8:18


God has called us to be stewards of His money. Let us not be fooled into thinking that the tithe (10%) and offering is His and the rest is ours.  Wrong! 100% of any and all money we receive, is His and thus we should consult Him regarding how it is spent.

So below are some ways the Lord has guided us on spending His money:

1.  Be patient
Consult God before making purchases (that's the best saving tip ever).  Once you and your husband have gotten the go ahead from God, wait.  We had wanted a laser printer for hs and I did a little research on one.  Once I saw one that got good reviews, was in our target price, and whose ink was cost effective, I waited until it was on sale. This saved us about $56 on the printer.  Don't rush to buy things, do a little homework, then wait, and you'll see God at work.

2.  Crunch the numbers
I don't like to go shopping without my tools (a list, notebook, calculator, and my coupon bag).  It keeps me focused on how much I want to spend.  But what happens when you see something on sale that's not on your list?  I was in the market for toilet paper.  CVS was having a sale and so was Target. Who's was cheaper?  Target, right? Wrong!  People's mind can think that because Target is naturally cheaper than CVS, when they're having a sale, it must be a super saver.  Wrong!  Know the price per unit and also how much are you willing to spend on the item (what's the maximum you'll spend on let's say toothpaste).  Carry a master shopping list if necessary that let's you know the best sale price you've gotten on an item.  At CVS each roll was $.50 whereas in Target is was $.59 (Costco was $.63).  So do the math.

3.  Look for alternatives
Use the creativity God has given us and switch things up a bit.  For example, make your household cleaners, use cloth towels instead of paper ones, use reusable bags instead of paper ones,   stash goodies in the car (we keep juice packs in the car and at times munchies) so if we're out and get hungry we can snack on something and not eat out, pack lunches when going out so no pit spots:).  Little changes can add up.

4.  Eliminate
I don't want to think about how much we use to spend on junk food and soda along with eating out.  Since the Lord has ministered us in this area, we now don't throw His money into destroying the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).  We'd rather invest His money in healthy eating for the edification of our temples.  What are you buying that is unhealthy?  Cut it from your life and shopping list.  Do we ever buy goodies?  Yes, but random and seldom.  It's not part of our household staples.  Keep on hand instead fruits and veggies (with dips) for the kids.  Also, granola bars, yogurts, cheese sticks are good snacks. So eliminate the toxics from the house!

5.  Think Ahead
In the high paced society we live in, let's not get caught in doing things fast for the sake of convenience while mishandling God's finances.  So do some planning ahead.  Have a list of quick meals you can make instead of ordering out and make sure your cupboards are stocked with those ingredients on a continuous basis.  You can make large quantities of food and freeze them (I really like my handi- vac by Reynold's).  Buy fresh fruits and veggies (beans) and ditch the canned.  You can look at a list of your bills and pick one you would like to either like to lower or eliminate.  When I noticed Geico's rates on our car insurance were going up every cycle, I called them up.  By lowering my mileage because now we're hs and thus driving less, it lowered our premium about $40 a year.  So look at your bills/expenses and aim for lower/elimination.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19

1.  We got to spend a wonderful time in the presence of the Lord along with our FIC...mi vida nunca mas sera igual:)
2.  Bought a laser printer at a great price and it works GREAT
3.  My SIL celebrated her earthday this week!!!
4.  I was able to make A LOT of sofrito for my mother and us:)
5.  CVS savings are really adding up...printed out free photobooks!!!!
6.  Visited my in laws this week:)
7.  My hubby's grandmother made us johnny cakes...yummy!!!!!
8.  My tot began reading...all the glory is God's (at, bat, sat, rat, mat,fat,and she added flat:)
9.  I have been so blessed listening to Beth Moore over @ Jasmine's
10.  I am waiting on Him for Him and in Him!!!!!!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

How do you deal with things?



Today, as my daughters and niece ate lunch at school (free breakfast and lunch...summer treat), two ladies began to get into an argument.  Things quickly escalated and by the time I knew it curse words and threats of, "Let's take this outside," were being hurled back and forth.  And all over who got to the table first!

I thought this would be a good teachable moment for the girls.  How they see us react will show them how to react when they are confronted with life situations.  It doesn't matter what you tell them, it's what they see you doing that will teach them.

Have my girls seen me act less than like Jesus?  Yes.  But they have also seen me repent for my behavior and have witnessed the fruit produced from repentance (Matthew 3:8) for God's glory.  So next time you're in the supermarket, post office, or wherever and things don't seem to be going your way, remember God is watching and so are your sheep!

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
1 Peter 2:23
 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Home Builder: Cleaning Supplies


My mother has been telling me for a long time, that cleaning supplies are way too strong and should be diluted.  And after feeling like I had to air out the house while and after I was cleaning my bathroom, I admit she is right!

Now this is not to say that I am completely off of store bought cleaners, because I am not, but I did try some homemade cleaning supplies.  I added some vinegar to my already diluted Windex and made my own bathroom cleaner, which I use and it works better, yes better, than the store bought cleaners.  Most importantly, I don't feel like I have to wear a mask while doing it.

So far we're using homemade bathroom, kitchen, and floor (not for wood) cleaners, as well as homemade foam soap (pour 1 part regular liquid hand soap and three parts water into a foam dispenser).

So, although I haven't completely ditched the store bought cleaners, the changes are substantial.  I figured that using cloth towels instead of paper ones and diluting my store bought solutions (bought at Costco) should last me a loooong time and money while cleaning my house in an efficient and breathable manner:)


Monday, July 13, 2009

He Is

My husband is not my better half...Jesus is my everything!
and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 
Colossians 2:10

My husband is not my knight in shining armor...Jesus is!
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.He is my shield, the power that saves me,and my place of safety. 
Psalm 18:2

My husband is not my prince charming...Jesus is!
I belong to my lover, 
       and his desire is for me.  
Song of Solomon 7:10

My husband is not my provider...Jesus is!
Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”  
Genesis 22:14

My husband is not my healer...Jesus is!
O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.  
Psalm 30:20

My husband is not my comfortor...Jesus is!
Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. 
Isaiah 49:13

My husband is not my best friend...Jesus is!
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  
Proverbs 18:24


God did not create my husband to "complete" me or vice versa; that is the Lord's work.  When we stop having expectations of what are husbands should be and should do, and we put and keep our  hope and trust in Jesus, we will never be disappointed (Romans 5:5).  Only then, will we really be able to enjoy our husbands, marriage, and family.  

Friday, July 10, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19
1.  We celebrated my niece's Earthday on Saturday...already a tween...I was there at her birth...and yes, time does go by fast
2.  We celebrated a Blessing Shower for her sister, my other niece...I received my blessing:)
3.  My sister took me to Ikea where we got to spend time together:)
4.  My hubby had 3 days off from work this week
5.  A lady @ Babies R Us shared her coupons with me...that was a nice surprise:)
6.  The Lord is showing me more and more about forgiveness...Thank you Jesus!
7.  I enjoyed a late snack with the fam
8.  I made my own pizza from scratch...and it was yummy...all the Glory is God's
9.  Great week @ CVS
10.  My niece (overseas) turned 11 this week...May the Lord bless her abundantly
11.  In the Lord, there is always hope--the opportunity to change, to be healed, transformed, made new, reconciled, delivered, forgive and be forgiven, and to LOVE

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Clear Choice



When Jesus was taken before Pilate, Pilate declared regarding Jesus, "He is not guilty of any crime. But you have a custom of asking me to release someone from prison each year at Passover.  So if you want me to, I'll release the King of the Jews." (John 18:38-39)

What did the people shout back?  "No! Not this man, but Barabbas!"(v.40)

And who was Barabbas?
1.  a criminal (John 18:40)
2.  a murderer (Mark 15:7)
3.  insurrectionist (Luke 23:19)
4.  notorious (Matthew 27:16)

Do these qualities remind you of someone?  Yes, our enemy, the devil.  The Bible states in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Choosing any other person but JESUS is in fact a choice for the devil.  The devil would like us to believe that there are grey areas, different paths leading to the same god.  But remember, he is the father of lies (John 8:44). The Bible states, "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Pilate presented the people with two choices--Jesus or Barabbas (Matthew 27:17).  We are presented with the same two choices today--Jesus or the devil.  Who will you choose?

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm Alive!!

On Sunday, as I knelt on the floor worshipping God, it felt wonderful to be in His presence. I began to cry and let Him know that I felt so empty, so dead, so not like Karen.  And although I thought this was a bad thing, Holy Spirit was so beautiful to let me know and remind me that that's exactly how I should feel.Galatians 2:20 tells us, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Many times, we concentrate on what we have given up to follow Jesus as Peter did in Mark 10:28 "Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!"

How did Jesus respond--Mark 10:29 "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life."

There on the floor Holy Spirit reminded me not to focus on what I had "given" up to follow Jesus, but rather focus on what He has given me for following Him.  Those words began to sink into my heart and thankfulness began overflowing within me.  The Lord gently reminded me of my life before Him, that although Karen, felt alive (that was a lie from the devil) she was dead in sin.  He reminded me of the changes  he has done in my life.  He has--

Psalm 30:11 You turned my wailing into dancing; 
       you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 

Isaiah 61:3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— 
       to bestow on them a crown of beauty 
       instead of ashes, 
       the oil of gladness 
       instead of mourning, 
       and a garment of praise 
       instead of a spirit of despair. 
       They will be called oaks of righteousness, 
       a planting of the LORD 
       for the display of his splendor.

1 Peter 2:9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Galations 4:7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

I might be dead in Karen, but He has made me alive in Christ!

Blessing Shower





Thank you Father, that I can see Your glory; that Your love is so evident, tangible and real in my life.  You always surprise me and give me more than I can think, ask, or imagine.  I am so grateful to You for You in me.

On Saturday, myself along with my family in Christ were used of the Lord to co-host a Blessing Shower for my sister who is due with her second daughter this August 5.  And I mean co-host because the Lord Himself hosted this shower.  He allowed us, the members of Christ's body, to participate as instruments to bless this family.  It was so amazing to see each member working together according to their function in the body.  Although I shouldn't be surprised because we serve an awesome God, He always surprises me.  He coordinated every single detail.  Seeing His love manifested is so beautiful.  

Thanks to my FIC who shows the love of Jesus daily to us:) 

Congratulations to my sis, my BIL, and two nieces, we love you guys:) 

Friday, July 3, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19
1.  My mother made us a surprise dinner on Sunday...yummmmmyyy 
2.  The LR and Dr are painted:) thanks to the wonderful and patient work of hubby:)
3.  My tween is out of school!!!!!!!!!!!!...Now hs starts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4.  The body of Christ has new members from Sunday's service...thank you Holy Spirit
5.  We have enjoyed camping out at my mother's house this week:)
6.  We are officially a hs family...we sent out our LOI!!!!
7.  My hubby has Friday off....yippppeeee
8.  My tween and niece helped unload my car...even in the rain...that's love
9.  My family ran into someone the Lord had put in my heart...Lord, touch his heart
10.  We visited my FIL and the girls got to talk to Abuelito on the phone:)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

By-Product

Why didn't the Israelites enter into God's rest?  Was it the murmuring, idolatry, rebelliousness? None of the above.  It was their unbelief (Hebrews 3:19).  The murmuring, idolatry, rebelliousness, and overall disobedience were  by-products of their unbelief.

Have you been murmuring? complaining?  whining? Having the "it's not fair" "why always me" syndrome?  When we see these or any other fleshly by-products in our own lives, we should be aware that we are experiencing unbelief in God in that area of our lives.  

Trusting in God brings rest not confusion, frustration, or disappointment.  So, if we are experiencing any of the by-products of unbelief, let's start believing HIS WORD and receive the by-product of faith--HIS rest! (Hebrews 4:3)  

Remember:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.--Hebrews 11:6



Recipe: French Toast


What You'll Use:
whole wheat bread
raisins
walnuts
honey/syrup
cinnamon
egg

What You'll Do:
1.  beat egg and add cinnamon
2.  dip bread into egg mix
3.  add bread to buttered pan
4.  place raisins and chopped walnuts into bread
5.  cook the other side
6.  Serve and enjoy

Have your little count the raisins or make fun patterns and have them guess what did you make