Saturday, February 27, 2010

Monthly Round Up: February

I am so amazed at how much the Lord has turned around homeschooling for us. I've done things I never thought I would do (reading on my bed with the girls cuddled around) and we're loving it. The Lord really did a work in my "teacher" mentality and helped me so much to see that indeed learning takes place anywhere, anytime.

So this month has been really about that--change. The girls are waking up a lot earlier and that has helped ALOT. My tween and I are really talking about what we're learning and not just rote learning which has been invaluable to me because I get to see her thoughts.

My tot is advancing in reading and math. She's learning to much which reminds me of how fast she's growing. There are some really good resources here. As we plan our curriculum for next year, there are a lot of things I want to use from there. Sometimes the old way works better than these "new and improved" methods.

The girls have also been learning from one another. My tween has enjoyed reading to her little sister which I love to see. They talk about what they're reading and I am thanking the Lord for the bond they have.

We also started working on a time capsule of sorts with the girls, more my tween though. She's keeping a history of her life at this age, things she wants her future children and grandchildren (if the Lord permits) to know about her life at 12 years-old. It's so beautiful to see her work on it and thoughtfully select her history. This idea came from an assignment in God's World News which we enjoy so much.

Although we haven't done much outings, we have gotten out of the house more, which is only the Lord. We're anticipating more outings as the weather gets warmer, God willing.

So how was your month? Any changes?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19


1. God uses the most unusual situations to minister us--but thank You Lord that even in Rite Aid, You are Lord!
2. I was able to get caught up in the journaling part of Project Life


(no, I didn't fell up every one of those cards...HA!)

3. On Sunday, as we prayed together as a family, the Lord really brought a brokeness that was needed...You're faithfulness endures forever!
4. Papalito is finally back from Dominican Republic...yay!
5. Were able to stick to our monthly food budget....and stock up for next month:)

(This includes free eggs, tuna fish, and toothpaste:)

6. Hubby and I surprised the girls by taking them to National Pancake day at IHOP!!!


7. Went over to Syd's and enjoyed time with the girls and got my hair done:)
8. Spent some real intimate time with the Lord in prayer and in His Word...thank you Lord for fortifying me...continue to deposit hunger and thirst
9. MIL gave me some cute blazers...perfect fit:)
10. Pastor and Co-Pastor wrote such a beautiful letter regarding Hubby...it almost made me cry...thank You Lord
11. Hubby and I continue to enjoy time together before the presence of the Lord in prayer...volviendo a la senda antigua
12. It was a great mail week and my tween even got a little surprise


13. The Lord continues to amaze me during homeschooling...not by might but by His Holy Spirit!
14. My tot has finished her addition booklet and we're moving into subtraction for God's glory
15. We had a photoshoot with the girls at the park...the pictures came out great!!!
16. Hubby's shoes arrived...new shoes to dance for the Lord in:)


(Hubby came home and tried them on and ohhd and ahhd:)

17. We're making a payment to the principal of the mortgage...help us Lord to be debt free in the name of Jesus!
18. Had a blessed conversation with a SIC...Lord continue to bring healing to our hearts
19. Syd's in-laws are spending some time with her here, so we'll get to enjoy them
20. More snow...tonight when we got home, it was so nice to step on fresh snow

"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
Revelation 22:14

Thursday, February 25, 2010

BF Homework: Chapter 8

Wow, another day of rain! I don't remember February being filled with so many days of rain and snow!?

They have forecasted snow all the way to Saturday, but we know God is in charge. So if He wants snow, it will snow but if He doesn't want it to snow, then it won't. Either way, we rejoice! We actually have an earthday party to go to this weekend (God willing) for a little SIC who is turning 6 ! I can't believe it, already 6!

So onto our homework assignment.


Read Mark 6:1-6 and Matthew 8:5-13.
After reading these Bible passages,
do you think Jesus is more amazed at your unbelief or your faith?
Why?


We will meet back here on Monday to share/link up. I am really excited about what Holy Spirit reveals during prayer and meditation of these Scriptures:)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Warning

As we're approaching the obstacles to freedom in our Breaking Free study, please be advised against the following--the enemy will attack.

As humans, we can be real enthusiastic and all fired up and filled with gusto about starting something and then give up or continue just to say we finished.

So inorder to continue with this study with zeal, Holy Spirit pointed out some common pitfalls:

1. Laziness
We want quick fixes and band aids, but these don't last. Instead, let's let the Lord really dig deep and reveal our hearts' condition and allow Him to make eternal changes in us.


Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12


2. Lack of accountability
We don't want to confess. Pride will prevent confession, the tearing down of walls, the coming out from behind the masks. Remember pride comes before the fall. Instead, let's ask Holy Spirit to guide us to whom we should be confessing. I have personally witnessed the Lord wanting to minister someone but the person's refusal to confess his/her sin prohibits the ministration. The Lord will not violate His Word.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9


3. Letting our guard down
We tend to get comfortable and careless. Just because I have had the victory in an area of my life doesn't mean I let my guard down in that area. Remember our enemy is subtle and disguises himself.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8


4. Looking back
We tend to to let one failure/setback render us as hopeless. Let us remember that this is a process until the coming of our Lord Jesus.

13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14


5. Loosing sight
We tend to look for results. We walk by faith not by sight. Whether my physical eyes see anything or not is not the correct representation of the reality of God's work in my life.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7



So to recap, beware of the 5 L's:
1. Laziness
2. Lack of accountability
3. Letting your guard down
4. Looking back
5. Loosing sight

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Busy Bee

Last night, before the girls went to bed, I told them that we were going somewhere the next morning. My tween automatically said, "It's not a run right?" She meant whether I was going to CVS or something like that. Does she know me or what? My tot guessed, "Are we going to the library?"

I didn't give them any clues other than it was fun and not the library.

I told Hubby that I thought it would be a good idea for us to go and have a free breakfast all together over at IHOP.



Hubby was so cute. He was so surprised that I wanted to go. So we woke up early and headed out. While we were driving over there, my tween was still persistent it was a run.

They were delighted when we pulled up and parked right in front of IHOP. They were even happier knowing that Papi was going to have breakfast with them too!

The waitress sat us down and we ordered a carafe of orange juice and a stack of free pancakes for each of us.



My tween was so shocked that they were free. She couldn't understand why someone would order something other than the free stack. It was so funny to see her mind at work.

Well, we ate and dropped Papi off. Then yes, we went to do some runs. I made it home a little bit later than I had wanted, but it was worth it. The girls and I and Hubby had a good time.

I know that the Lord is continuing to minister me in this area, since I am more of a stay-at-home person than a let's get up and go kind of girl. But he's molding me. So much so that later today, it's off for a visit to my in-laws (FIL comes home today from the Dominican Republic--we are all so excited to see him again after like four weeks:)

What are your plans today? Do they include pancakes?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chapter 7: To Enjoy God's Presence

What is the most satisfying part of your relationship with God?


Hands down--His voice!

I love to hear His voice. I love whatever He is saying whenever He's saying it-whether through His written Word, through Holy Spirit, through an instrument in His hands--I love hearing His voice!

For me there's nothing more satisfying than talking with Him and hearing him however He chooses to "speak" to me.

And I think for that same reason, it can be the area in which He uses to grow my faith. Recently, I have cried in His presence (as I am crying now) thinking of how things use to be between us. I would speak, He would speak; He would speak, I would speak.

Not so now. I know with all of my heart He continues to speak to me, but He and I know that it's not the same. It had to change because I have some growing up to do. And I am no longer fighting it. I'll take whatever and however He chooses to speak to me. I will receive joyfully. But like I said by far I love His voice.

I think that so often we make the statement--"I love the Lord's presence" or "There's nothing like the Lord's presence." I know I have. But then why don't we spend or really invest more time in His presence? I know that I am always before the presence of the Lord, but nothing can compare to being with Him alone, silent, and listening. I am resolved to do that--to give God what is God's and I am God's and I will give myself to Him in His presence.

Will you?


You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11


Friday, February 19, 2010

Count Your Blessings


Picture 19


1. God uses anything and everything to get us into prayer!!!! Enjoyed some beautiful time with the Lord and Hubby...these moments are precious to me!
2. Went over to Syd's for an impromptu cleaning session...glad to help her organize even if a little
3. Hubby mentioned not having recent pictures of us @ his job, so the Lord provided a beautiful collage photo for free from CVS with a $1 ECB back:)
4. The girls and I are reading about George Muller and so enjoying to see what God did in this man and through him because he was willing to surrender
5. My nephew, my M&M, David, turned 1! Lord continue blessing him with more and more of You in Jesus' name..and we had such a good time at David's Earthday party...who knew a game of musical chairs could get that intense?!



6. My SIL got my tot some beautiful headbands and some nice boots...thank You Lord:)
7. Got our taxes done:) and he said I kept pretty good records which is a compliment coming from Mr. Tax



8. Spent some time with Mami and she's such an evangelist giving out her tracks and sharing her testimonies with us...she encourages and motivates me:)
9. Am so grateful that when we got home on Sunday, I had already a baked ziti waiting to be put in the oven:)
10. Hubby had Monday off and we were able to spend some time together;)
11. I got to witness a father and daughter reunion which was so beautiful I didn't want to miss it by grabbing my camera:)
12. Was able to chop of this and next week's veggies and whip up a batch of these



(so cooking once and serving x times is working for breakfast too!)

13. Took the girls to the library this week and God willing we'll have more outings:)
14. Enjoyed a precious time in the presence of the Lord in Tuesday prayer, you know one of those moments you know His hands are moving and you just want to be still and silent...beautiful
15. The girls and Hubby enjoyed another day of playing in the snow...this time at church!


16. Hubby and I continue to enjoy time with the Lord...truly it was beautiful to be there with God and Hubby
17. God is ministering me in ways I can't even explain, but it's good (maybe He doesn't want me to explain it to cut my 20,000 words...HA!)
18. Hubby spoke life over me and the work God is doing in my life...thanks Honey for not flattering me but glorifying God!
19. My tween wrote something that brought comfort to my heart and an answer to prayer...she know whose she is!!!!!
20. Syd's in-laws are finally here! and we got to meet them at tonight's service:)


the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:8

Thursday, February 18, 2010

BF Homework: Chapter 7

I really can't believe we're already at Chapter 7!

How has it been for you?

I am enjoying this study tremendously. I was commenting to Hubby that the Lord begins to deal with me about the next chapter's topic a week in advance (I guess since I don't read ahead:). I am loving it because I am not just simply reading a book and posting about the wonderful things the Lord has done for me years ago, the Lord is really dealing with me-my heart, marriage and children today.

I know that the Lord deals with everyone differently and praise the Lord for that! I am enjoying the conversations with Him and the long, hard looks into my heart. I don't want to casually, accidently, or haphazardly follow Jesus but purposefully live for HIM.

So with that said (written), let's move on to homework which is Question #3 from p.279:


What is the most satisfying part of your relationship with God?


So we'll meet up on Monday to share. I pray that you may have some wonderful time in His presence.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Who Are You Wearing?

Waschetikett

That's a question usually asked by reporters to "famous" people as they walk the red carpet. But today I am asking you that question:

Who are you wearing?

When you wake up in the morning and get dressed who are you wearing? The Bible clearly tells us that we are to put off the old self with its practices and put on the new self (Colossians 3:9,10).

So even before we can get dressed, we have to be naked. Naked from our previous dress designers Satan and his partner called Flesh. Their line includes designs such as:

sexual immorality
impurity
lust
evil desires
greed
anger
rage
malice
slander
filthy language
lies

(Colossians 3:5-9)

Once we clean our closets from these outdated and deadly designers, we can put on the clothes of our new designer-Jesus.

Some of the designs in His collection include:

compassion
kindness
humility
gentleness
patience
long-suffering
forgiveness
love

(Colossians 3:12-14)

So today look in the mirror and in the closet of your heart and ask yourself:

Who am I wearing?

And if you catch yourself with some clothes from the old self, not a problem. You can easily change your clothes in the dressing room of prayer.

And if even you don't own any more clothes from the old self but your clothes from the new self have gotten faded or maybe even wrinkled or torn from lots of wear, not a problem. You can just as easily have your clothes altered in the dressing room of prayer by the Expert of mending and making things new-Holy Spirit.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Scripture Memorization #4

165 Great peace have they who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.

Psalm 119:165

Chapter 6: To Experience God's Peace

1. Name a specific and recent situation in which you did not have peace? What did it reveal about your heart?


Before we went to bed last Saturday 2/6/10, Hubby and I prayed for God's help and strength to get up and pray, include our weekly blessing, and start on our new character study. We went to bed in peace.

We woke up on Sunday in peace. We didn't have any milk so Hubby went to the store to buy some. I was explaining something to Hubby and he was like, "Uh huh, uh huh." This is what I consider him yes-ing me but not really paying attention. So he was off.

Holy Spirit quickly began to minister me that indeed Hubby had not paid attention but not to lose my peace about it. I prayed for the Lord's help as I continued getting ready. I earnestly didn't want to lose it over this.

Hubby comes back and guess what? Holy Spirit was right. He hadn't paid attention. At first, I just looked at him and was thinking, "why doesn't he just admit-Karen, oops I wasn't paying attention, that one flew right over me." Say anything other than what he did say. Hubby sits down in peace and looks at me and says, "I just don't get this. I don't understand." I look at him like, "of course you don't get this because you weren't paying attention!" Instead I said something like, "Honey, please don't lie to me. It's not that you don't understand or get it. You were not paying attention. I prefer you to be honest and say that than to lie to me." At this point, Hubby's demeanor changes because he knows what's about to come. He knows I HATE lies and become passionate about voicing my utter HATRED of lies.

After some words, I sit down and know the Lord is tugging at my heart, "You're not being honest. Tell him what is hurting you." So I say in my most matter-of-fact voice, "Honey, I am upset because you weren't honest about paying attention." But in my heart, I was hurting. I didn't want Hubby to talk to me and thank God he didn't. I wanted the Lord to talk to me. But I never did get to really pray pray with the family, have the weekly blessing, or start on our new character study. He asked for forgiveness and so did I. We had peace.

Days later, still in peace, the question is still tugging at me, "Why did I get so fleshly? Why did it hurt me?" Hubby and I sat down and I really wanted the Lord to minister me. Holy Spirit let me see that while I have forgiven my father for events in my childhood, I HATE lies because he lied. I wasn't HATING lies because my Heavenly Father HATES lies; I HATED lies because they made me vulnerable to my husband hurting me. I figured if we're honest to one another then everything is out in the open-there's nothing hidden therefore things are secure-I have peace. My security came from truth. But it is only Holy Spirit that should guide me into all truth (John 16:13), not my husband. Jesus is who I have to know to be secure.

I am so grateful to Holy Spirit for revealing this. This was something "small" that happened. It didn't last long and wasn't dragged out, but it wasn't and isn't God's best for me. He wants us to be free! And I get into agreement with HIM for our freedom, not only from the "big" things but the "little" day-to-day things as well.


2. List three Scriptures that bring you back into the reality of God when you do lose your peace.

1. Hebrews 13:5-6
5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you." 6So we say with confidence,
"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"

I love knowing that He will never leave nor forsake me...I am never alone!


2. Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I love knowing He has it all figured out for me; I don't have to figure it out-He already has and it's good!


3. John 14:21
21Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

This one really keeps me grounded. The only way I can show God I love Him is OBEDIENCE!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wake Up Call

Fire Escape

On Thursday night, the girls were tucked into bed and fast asleep. We had prayed and Hubby even asked me to pray for him before we were down for the night. I knew the Lord was calling me to a late night prayer session which I was looking forward to. I finished listening to Brannon Howse and was making my way to the living room so as to not disturb anyone.

I bundled myself with a cozy sweater and some socks; my alone time was to be intimate and quiet. I realized the fire escape had remained opened from when I yelled out of it earlier to Syd as she parked her car. I grabbed the metal in my hand and didn't give it another thought. I slammed it tightly to insure it's proper closure.

Then suddenly, I hear a bang on the floor. Bang! Bang! Bang! I had woken up Hubby. I yell, "Babe, Babe!" so as to reassure him it was only me. But no, he runs out of the bedroom to the dark living room and at this point I don't know what he's going to do. I have to let him know it's me. I yell, "Babe, babe, it's me!" He stops in mid track and mutters something like, "Oh, honey, you scared me. I didn't know it was you." I start to laugh. Then stop quickly realizing he may not find it as funny. He heads back to bed. I get on my knees to pray. I start then stop and proceed to laugh, loudly. I ask the Father to help me. I don't want to be insensitive to Hubby. I continue to laugh. Then I hear laughter coming from our bedroom. It's Hubby.

I ask, "Would you like to pray with me? Maybe the Lord did it so you would join me. You're awake already aren't you?" Hubby comes from the bedroom laughing. I join him at the carpet and we're on our knees laughing. And I mean some good, teary, sides hurting laughter. We're delighted in the thought that indeed the Lord will use anything and everything to get us to pray.

That night I wanted to be alone. I envisioned a quiet, intimate time with my Lord. The Lord wanted some joyful, united, surrendering from us. His plans are higher and better. We prayed. I cried and cried in His beautiful presence. I heard His gentle voice and felt His mighty hands upon us.

Maybe what you're going through isn't a funny story at all. But maybe the Lord is allowing it to give you a wake up call to pray!?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19


1. Got a milk and egg coupon which is rare...thank you Jesus!
2. Blessed by Jasmine's story...continue to bless her Father for Your Glory!
3. Got some cards I ordered and they came out great:)
4. Was able to de-clutter once again (the house is loosing lots of weight) and NO MORE PILES...we're pile free!!!!
5. MIL celebrated her Earthday!!!...Father grant her days that she may know You:)
6. Sunday's service was so special...the Lord spoke directly to us...Lord help us to be strengthened by Your Word and take heed to it
7. The Lord is really digging deep in our marriage...thank You Lord for revisiting and renewing areas once again
8. Mami cooked a delish dinner for us and we had a good time feeding kiki although she wasn't so thrilled about it:)
9. My nephew was all hugs and kisses during Sunday's service. He even whispered to me that he wanted to come to my house...isn't that the cutest???
10. Papo is back from DR!!! and we got a double surprise at seeing our niece who looked sooo cute with her headband...and I had my camera with me, so I captured some great pics:)
11. Enjoyed a beautiful snow day sledding with the family:)


12. Mami shared with me some prayer requests which is an honor for me
13. Got back into the coupon game and did a CVS run ($0.48 total and $9 ECBS back!!!)



14. I started a new math curriculum with my tot and we're both really enjoying it
15. Was blessed to intercede with Hubby while the girls slept...I love it when we get to pray together, especially intercession!
16. MIL shared a testimony of God working in the heart of someone we had prayed for...all the Glory is God's!
17. Looking at myself through the mirror of God's Word with Holy Spirit's guidance and learning so much
18. Spirit filled and led Hubby has been guided to get the girls up early in the morning and it has made for a smoother day...thank You my Prince of Peace!
19. Was able to tip Syd off to a good parking...Praise the Lord:)
20. Tonight's Word on holiness is something I will be meditating on and wanting ministration on:)


Thursday, February 11, 2010

BF Homework: Chapter 6

God bless everyone!

This week has included some long conversations with Hubby and some hard looks at our hearts. God never fails. When we want to be free, He will reveal the strongholds in our minds, the emotions and intentions of our heart and yes even the pain. He leads us to take a look at ourselves through the mirror of His Word and not through the justification of our circumstances. It can be hard at times, but so worth it in the end.

This week has been challenging in that aspect-having to confront some things I thought were long ago dealt with. Which brings us to this week's homework assignment.

Warning: This must be a recent situation and beware that if hasn't happened, the Lord may just allow it to reveal something in your heart.


1. Name a specific and recent situation in which you did not have peace? What did it reveal about your heart?


2. List three Scriptures that bring you back into the reality of God when you do lose your peace.


I want to stress that although we enjoy our past victories, let us stay focused on our heart's condition TODAY. Also, when I state "lose your peace" it doesn't have to necessarily mean that you're throwing plates across the kitchen or screaming and cursing. It can be that "ugghh" feeling inside although no visible change occurred on the outside.

So off to some alone time with the Lord and get into His Word. We'll be back here on Monday to comment/link up our finding, thoughts, insights, and encouragement.

Please pray for the study. I noticed that the enemy was not at all happy that so many of us are breaking free and is trying to attack. His tactics are the same discouragement, doubt, and indifference. But he's been defeated by our King Jesus!


7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9

Snow, Snow, and Snow






I had heard that it was going to snow, but I didn't really think it was to hit the area like it did. It was a perfect snow day though. The girls actually napped (well, my tween laid in bed snuggled under the covers) and I took the opportunity to read the Word and pray.


Then Hubby texted me letting me know he was coming home early. We made plans that when he got home, we would take the girls out to play in the snow. My thoughts were, "go out, take some pictures, come right back." But then Syd called me and invited us to go sledding with her and her tween.

Snow+Hubby getting out early+an invitation=sledding!

So we got dressed and headed out.


Can you see the excitement on my face? Syd is so calm and collected and I am like, "Bring it on!" Mind you, I had already begun sledding before we reached the park.



This is me sledding on the streets of NYC! I don't think I could look at that street the same.



This is the hill we went sledding down. Can you find Syd in the picture?

Overall, we had such a great time laughing and enjoying ourselves. I lay laughing on the floor after my turn down the hill that Hubby wondered whether I was OK or not? Syd and I even took a ride down together. We laughed and laughed while we came to a full stop in the bushes!

I am so grateful to God that He allowed me to go. Usually, I am the "go ahead, I'll stay behind" type. I enjoyed the family and I enjoyed seeing the works of His hands!

He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
Psalm 147:16

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thankfulness

These last couple of days, the Lord has been really ministering us in the marriage. The Lord is showing things in our hearts that don't belong. We've been talking A LOT. And something Hubby pointed out was that good communication is not just talking about something or even coming up with a solution and living it out for a while. Good communication is talking about something and making a lasting change.

We've been there before where we make changes for the moment. I even write specific things to keep me on track. But in the end, we reverted to our former selves. So neither of us is interested in artificial changes during a honeymoon period. We want change.

I asked Hubby the other day, "How do you feel when you come home?" He answered, "I feel joyful to be home. I love coming home." He then smiled and looked at me and added, "It wasn't always like that." I am crying thinking about that because it was true. He dreaded coming home and being home and so did I. So to hear him say that, I am thankful. I am thankful to our Father, who loved us too much to leave us conformed and miserable. I am thankful that He restored us and not just a marriage. And I believe that was the key. He and I didn't want and weren't looking for God to fix our marriage. We wanted God to fix us. And He has. He has given us eyes that are fixed on HIM and not each other for His glory.

Our Co-Pastor once preached something like,
"I don't want to be the best designer, or employee, or father, or husband. I want to be the best child of God because when I am then I'll be the best husband, father, etc." I rejoiced in those words last night, today, and will continue to meditate on them.

And I will continue to be thankful for Hubby who loves me and sees me as a finished work although he understands I am a work in progress.



Home Builder: Everything in Its Place

Have you ever heard, "A place for everything and everything in its place"?

Well, we're learning that over here.

While we were once again decluttering, Hubby made the comment, "It feels like we do this a lot." And in fact, we do. Why? Because we really never finish the job i.e. the Brother Box.

So this time around, we're making a place for what stays and if there is no place, it gets tossed out.

These are just some places I created around the home to keep things tidier.

Mail Center


This little basket holds all the mail. On Friday, it gets sorted (filed away, thrown away, shredded away, or recycled away). This avoids mail floating around the house and ending up in a pile somewhere.


Stationary Center


This little vase turned stationary center is right by the computer. It contains envelopes, stamps, bank envelopes and deposit slips, cute stationary, calculator, and pen. This little center makes it easy to calculate things while I'm on the computer, get the deposit slips ready for Hubby, and get any mail that has to get sent out ready.


Control Center


This is a dish/bowl that is at the center of our coffee table in the living room. Here we keep the remote for the dvd and ac, our phones as well as the camera (obviously not pictured:). This keeps me from hunting for these things throughout the house.


These are just a few of our "centers". I have truly found that if there is a specific place for things, you'll cut down on your messes and thus decluttering parties (as I like to call them). By the way, by the time you read this post, we will have cleaned all the little piles around the house. Now it's just about maintenance which will be easier with these little centers in place.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Comments

Syd just called me and let me know that for whatever reason, the comments is not showing on the Chapter 5 homework post. But satan can't stop us. Feel free to comment on Chapter 5 in this post.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chapter 5: To Find Satisfaction in God

How about you? Does your hungry soul ever manifest physical symptoms such as irriability, selfish ambitions, anger, impure thoughts, envy, resentments, and eruptions of lust?

Ummm, yeah!

First, let me start off by stating, "I am ugly without prayer!"
Really, Karen without prayer is not someone you want to be around. I NEED prayer!

But right away, I identify with irritability, anger, and resentments as physical symptoms of my hungry (starving soul). For example, something could pop up. If I haven't spent time with the Lord, I may over react, speak a little louder or longer than I have to, and not be as quick to forgive as the Lord commands. Prayer truly makes the difference. Praise the Lord, the outbursts are fewer and shorter, but I do not want to conform. I want to be free, completely free!

The Holy Spirit wanted me to talk about something completely different though, which to be honest I am not the most comfortable with. When I asked Holy Spirit what he wanted to talk about, He answered, "Eruptions of lust. Marriages are not dealing with issues in My presence instead they are using intimacy to cover up the issues."

So how's the intimacy in your marriage? Some questions to consider:


What is your view of intimacy?

Do you have a "taking one for the team" (we're intimate to please my spouse) mentality?

Do you have a "it's great to break up (argue) to make up mentality"?

Do you use intimacy as a weapon (withhold it when things aren't 100%)?

Feel uncomfortable being intimate with your spouse because you're uncomfortable with your appearance?

Think that your spouse is not satisfied with you because of your appearance?

Being intimate makes you feel dirty?

Do you think it's wrong to enjoy intimacy with your spouse?

Are you comfortable with discussing intimacy with your spouse?

Do you see a difference in your intimacy compared to your practices in the world?


Hubby and I discussed some of these questions Saturday night and I encourage you to do the same. Now I can start to see why the Lord started getting the husbands involved in the study:) God is so good. This talk will definitely being eye-opening.

Years ago, Hubby complained that in the world (we were together five years before we came to Christ and got married) we never had any issues in the intimacy department. We were lying in bed and I turned to look at him and said something like, "Oh honey, get over it, of course we didn't have any issues, I had like a thousand demons!" I turned around and Hubby got ministered. He remembers wanting to go and take a bath after I said that. The Lord works in mysterious ways:) Yesterday, Hubby said that is was that conversation which made him look at our intimacy in a completely different way.

So please, pray and then go and talk to your spouse about what the Lord puts in your heart. Expect freedom!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19


1. I received a call from a SIC and was honored to listen to her and pray with her...Only You Lord
2. My tot gave me the greatest compliment...she said, "I want to be just like Mami."!!!!!
3. We were blessed at church with the visit of a dear FIC:)
4. My class got to participate in the service and I think they did grrreaat for God's glory!
5. God brought such a good word of warning to the congregation
6. I was able to whip up a batch of carrot waffles and bake carrot bars for God's glory
7. We restocked our refrigerator and seasoned this month's meats:) and cleaned out the fridge too!



8. Went over to Syd's for a delish dinner and more importantly time with the family...kiki was too much...she responds to her name and waves...what a cutie!
9. Hubby wrote me and the girls such a beautiful and thoughtful letter:)
10. Our neighbor blessed us with a brand new pj set (for me) and a scrapbook (family vacation theme...Dios habla hoy:)
11. Hubby cooked up some fried drumsticks that were delish
12. My tot was praising God in Spanish which I thought was so beautiful...continue to use her Lord for Your Glory
13. The things the Lord is doing in the Breaking Free study are awesome!
14. The girls enjoyed playing in the snow on Tuesday evening after church...such a sweet surprise


15. I am blessed that Hubby was there to be used of God to bring comfort to me...thank You Lord for him
16. Isaiah told me, "Isaiah won't leave you," in the midst of hugs and kisses:)
17. I was able to rejoice in the Lord thinking from all that He didn't allow in my life...continue to hide me in You
18. Visited Abuela and MIL...we had such a good time filled with laughter:)
19. Our water goal has been working, the girls and Daddy are doing great, me not so much but improving:)
20. I was so edified by today's Word...His Word is more than sufficient

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
John 6:68-69

Thursday, February 4, 2010

BF Homework: Chapter 5

Wow what a chapter! Chapter 4 really got us where God wants us to be-open and honest in our weaknesses so that He could glorify Himself. I am so thankful to the Holy Spirit for what He's doing in our lives through this study. I rejoiced at reading that indeed my sisters and I were being challenged and tested. I am over joyed at our triumphs.

But we must not stop there. No, this is just the beginning of what the Lord is doing.

Michelle had mentioned seeing God working on her husband as well. Amen! Hubby is along for the ride with me to on my freedom quest. As a matter of fact, on Tuesday night after service, Hubby started talking to me about his conversation with Holy Spirit. I was like, "Honey, that's chapter 5! You're skipping!" So, I can testify that this journey is definitely ministering Hubby as well. Glory to God! I would strongly recommend doing the homework with your husbands even if they don't read the book. Sometimes their answers to the questions about us offer more insights than our own view on things.

If chapter 4 taught us anything, I would have to say it is-surrender in prayer my sisters! So please keep all of the sisters' areas in prayer throughout the study as Sydney had suggested. (Maria's petitions can be found here in the comments section)

And remember two key elements of this study are (1) the book is to be read alongside the Bible and not instead of (2) prayer and lots of it and oh I guess there is (3) being open, truthful, and willing to share. I have found accountability to be essential to freedom. There have to be people around me willing to call me out on walking in the flesh.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

So this week's homework assignment is to answer the following question:


Does your hungry soul ever manifest physical symptoms such as irritability, selfish ambitions, anger, impure thoughts, envy, resentments, and eruptions of lust?


We'll link up our answers on Monday:)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Home Builder: Setting Goals

Greatest Goal II

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



Setting and accomplishing goals may seem like a waste of time for some or too cumbersome for others. We have found it to be necessary to walk in self-control and live disciplined lives.

We had already some goals in mind and these were our findings:

1. Success
One of our monthly goals (short term) was to reduce our grocery bill to $200.00 (long term goal). And we did it! We came under $200.00 and were able to stockpile on some items as well. I was determined not to buy the bulk of our meats until our refrigerator looked like this:

(Picture was taken on 1/29/10 so notice there are only two servings of meat for the last two days of the month:)

Then once that goal was accomplished, I went out and bought and seasoned our meats for the month (thanks Hubby). So now the fridge looks like this:


So, according to my spreadsheet, we saved about 32% on our groceries ($73.35 in coupons and a total of $90.73 (this includes coupons and store discounts which I didn't always include:)

2. Failure
If there is not a goal set in stone (and by this I mean a real goal with a plan), it's not going to work. Our Co-Pastor had suggested making appointments with the Lord and now I see why. Unless, you're exclusively carving out the time to work your schedule around the Lord, you either will give the Lord the scraps of the day or nothing at all. A good example is fasting. You may want to fast but unless you actually set a date and think of the preparations (if you're doing a long fast), it is just not going to happen.


So what to do?

1. Start
I would recommend short term (keeps you focused) and long term (keeps you determined) goals.

For example:
Set a long term goal: By the end of the year we want to save $1,000.00.
Short term goal: In the month of February, we're going to work on cutting down our electricity bill.

So each month you can set up a short term goal to help you accomplish your long term goal. I can testify that this has definitely helped us.

2. Assess
Have some way of determining whether or not you're accomplishing your goals. Then have mini-meetings to discuss what is working and what's not. This is great for holding one another accountable. In a marriage, we must always be in accord. Making independent decisions is a violation of trust and can open doors in your marriage that you don't want opened.

3. Rework
Maybe you set a worthwhile long term goal, but the short term goal isn't working. For example, you want to cut your expenses (long term) so you decide to make your own laundry detergent (short term). You may find that making your laundry detergent is not worth it to you. So reworking our short term goals is great. We may think we have a brilliant idea, only to find it flounders under testing. That's ok. We're all learning. During this stage, and all of them really, we are relying on God not our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).



This doesn't have to be a daunting task. It's you, your spouse, and the Lord talking about the vision for the family. You're not limited to just set up financial goals. You can have spiritual or family goals too. The important thing here is to start somewhere.

Remember: If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.--author unknown.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monthly Round Up: January

The month of January held its surprises for us. I was planning on charging full blast into our curriculum. But the Lord had other plans.

This month was so relaxed and more about me learning than teaching. I had to get together with the Lord and hear for His direction on homeschooling. And that was the lesson.

Yes, I believe the Lord wants me to be prepared and structured but with LOTS of flexibility and trusting on Him daily. The Lord and I are also going over the curriculum for next year. I think that for the most part we are sticking to Rod and Staff. However, there are some other choices the Lord has me looking at. So we'll see.

We also sent out our second quarterly. Already two!!! Time is indeed going by fast. We're looking forward to warmer weather so as to take some trips and do more field learning. Because I am that flexible:)

Scripture Memorization #3

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

Zephaniah 3:17

Chapter 4: To Glorify God

I must say this has been my favorite homework assignment thus far. Hubby and I got together and interceded and it felt great. We trust the Lord is doing a work.

And just as evidence of that work (although we need none since we walk by faith:), let me share something that happened. Last night as I was getting ready to do the Bible study for this chapter, I go to get my Breaking Free book and sit down. When I look at the cover, I notice it is now wrinkled and bent whereas it had formally been nice and neat. I look at the cover and think immediately who could this have been? Was it me being disorganized and that's what caused the damage? No, it was on the shelf. Then I start to think of the next possible candidates. The lot fell on my tot. Earlier during the day, she had been touching things on the bookshelf.

I don't know about you but I consider it funny that God would allow this book of all books to get bent while I'm studying about being free about having my things touched. So I just sat there and calmly explained to her that she was not to touch other people's things without permission because things can get damaged.

So I left it alone and asked God, "Why does this bother me, seeing the cover bent and not nice and neat anymore?" God answered, "Is it that you don't believe that once something is damaged, it can not be repaired? Do you believe that I could do that in someone's life? Take a damaged life and repair it? Have I done it with you?" His beauty...ahhhh! I got it and am still getting it. Now when I look at my book, I see God's restoring hands whereas I would have formally seen a damaged book.

Now let's dig into the word.

In Exodus 34:29, we read that Moses' face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord. But why? We don't read that Moses' face was radiant after his first meeting with God when he received the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant (Exodus 32:15). Both times, he fasted and met at the same place. What made the difference?

In his first meeting with God (this is not including Moses previous meeting with God in Exodus 3), we see a completely different Moses. In Exodus 19:21-24, Moses is actually arguing with God. The NLT version describes Moses response to God's instruction in Exodus 19:23:

"But, LORD, the people cannot come up on the mountain!" Moses protested. "You already told them not to. You told me to set boundaries around the mountain and to declare it off limits."

Moses eventually obeyed, but not without having his say in the matter. Once Moses comes down with the stone tablets and sees the people's idolatrous revelry, in terrible anger, he threw the stone tablets to the ground, smashing them at the foot of the mountain (Exodus 32:19).

After Moses' intercession for the people, we see things change. Exodus 33 tells us that it was Moses' custom to set up the tent known as the Tent of Meeting where the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend (v.7,11).
In Exodus 33:12-12-15, something special takes place. Here Moses asks the Lord, "Please, if this is really so, show me your intentions (way in NIV), so I will understand you more fully and do exactly what you want me to do. Moses reminds the Lord, "Besides, don't forget that this nation is your very own people." Moses declares, "If you don't go with us personally, don't let us move a step from this place. If you don't go with us, how will anyone ever know that your people and I have found favor with you? How else will they know we are special and distinct from all other people on the earth?"

Do you see the difference? Here Moses is no longer protesting, he is:
1. surrendering his will
2. having a teachable spirit
3. fearing of the Lord
4. putting the Israelites in God's hands
5. determined to walk in obedience
6. desiring for intimacy with the Lord
7. distinguishing himself and thus consecrating himself to the Lord

I love how the Lord responds to this,

"I will indeed do what you have asked,
for you have found favor with me,
and you are my friend."
(Exodus 33:17)

And I really love how Moses responds,

"Now show me your glory" (Exodus 33:18 NIV)

I love it!!!

In his anger, Moses had destroyed something that the Lord created. Now a crushed Moses is going before the Lord and is being shown God's glory. When Moses sets out with the two cut tablets of stone like the first ones that he had to prepare, he once again goes to meet with the Lord at Mount Sinai. However, this time when the Lord finished speaking to him, Moses immediately fell to the ground and worshiped (Exodus 34:8).

Moses got it. A complete and total surrender will allow us to be the worshippers the Father seeks: true worshippers that worship the Father in spirit and truth (John 4:23) and only then will we see HIS GLORY.

A total surrender will allow us to see God's glory-God revealing Himself to us. We will then become a true worshipper which will allow us to glorify God-God revealing Himself to others through our lives. And all of this only happens in His Presence.