Sunday, December 23, 2012

Count Your Blessings


Picture 19

Week of 12/16-12/22

1.  Drove a FIC to church and enjoyed fellowship during the car ride...they encourage me so much for God's glory...they also celebrated their 1yr wedding anniversary on 12/15 and we are believing God to be glorified in their lives and marriage

2.  My nephew celebrated his 8th Birthday (today when he went to say good-bye to me, he actually puckered up and I wasn't expecting it since he had stopped PDAs a while back, but I jumped on it and he gave me a kiss good-bye)

3.  We enjoyed dinner at Mami's

4.  Began our family read aloud 

5.  Spoke to my Daddy...God, You are just so wonderful to bless me in this special way

6.  Tuesday was no class for me...instead it was prayer and praise!



7  On Wednesday, we celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary...we went bowling (Team Glam Bam fell to the Mighty Tighties) then came home baked and enjoyed a feast

8.  God brought a good word on waiting on HIM--impatience is fleshly!

9.  Went shopping with Sydney and picked up some Body Shop goodies and leg warmers

10.  Went to the gym late night on Thursday and Friday but we finished another full week:)

11.  Visited Sydney at her J-O-B with Randy

12.  Randy's uncle sent us some homemade food:)

13  Randy got out of work early on Friday and we are excited to have him home with us for two days:)

14.  Put my baby niece to sleep...again:)

15.  Mami sent us some food too:)

16.  Randy took girls to a basketball game and they came home with Judah:)

10Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bible in 90 Days Review


At the end of this year, 2012, I will have read the Bible in 90 days for the the third time.  So, after having done this a few times, I have formed some opinions regarding it:)

Pros:
1.  Discipline
You are IN the Word.  You have to be disciplined since you are reading about 12 pages a day.   

2.  Cohesive
Genesis to Revelation becomes more cohesive when you are reading it at this rate.  You are more likely to see the correlations among the books.

3.  Familiar
I did not notice this benefit immediately, but I actually was able to recollect certain Bible passages that I was not able to do so before.  

Cons:
1.  Getting Backed Up
It can be discouraging if you fall behind one or two days tempting you to give up.

2.  Reading not Studying
Because the focus is finishing, studying the Word does take a back seat (at least for me it does).  

3.  Skimming not Retaining
Once again because there is "pressure" to finish and not get backed up, you can find yourself skimming and not really retaining what you are reading.  

Overall, I would recommend you try this method of Bible reading at least once.  Definitely do not do it alone.  All three times I have done it alongside my daughter, Alicia.  It helps to keep you motivated and accountable.  Also, choose a time frame that works for you.  I have done it January-March, June-August, and October-December.  Consider holidays, vacations, and other calendar events when choosing a time frame.  

Why should you give it a try?  You will never again have the excuse that there is not enough time to read the Word of God daily:)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Count Your Blessings

Picture 19
Week of 12/2/12-12/8/12

1.  Enjoyed shopping with the girls soooooo much...we picked up some goodies to get started on our 30 in 30

2.  Able to give a little surprise to a BIC...had fun just wrapping it up

3.  Traded in some books to Amazon...d-e-c-l-u-t--t-e-r-r

4.  So grateful that my husband bought me these cookies:)  He's the best husband EVER!

5.  Enjoyed getting some packages this week too...Body Shop...oh yeah:)

6.  Loved waking up and seeing the sunlight hit Sara's face while she played

7.  Finally got the girls their passports:)

8.  Visited my in-laws

9.  My oldest sister celebrated her B-Day and she came to church with us

10.  Enjoyed drinking hot chocolate (white chocolate latte for me please:) as we wrote our top ten of 2012(to be revealed on 12/31/12) and our letters to friends

11.  We also had a Trouble tournament (that got pretty loud), had ice cream party, threw out 3 items each, and started our vacation jar...all part of our 30 in 30


Week of 12/9/12-12/15/12
1. A dear FIC came to church and we are so blessed to see ALL that the Lord is doing their lives

2.  Sunday's service was S-U-C-H a H-U-G-E blessing...to God be the glory forever!

3.  Listening to Randy pray with Sara from the other room...priceless

4.  Laughing so hard with Randy at night that the girls had to come and "correct" us:)

5.  Girls night in with pedicures (note to self-must become monthly thing:)

6.  A SIC sent us some goodies...the Lord knows our exact taste...may He bless her richly

7.  Prayed with Mami regarding my cousin and believing God for his salvation

8.  Able to declutter even more...you see, it's a continual thing

9.  Finished our workout week in victory...wooo hooo!

10.  This week was a "hard" one in regards to receiving news about families we know BUT Jesus is still in control!

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:9


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book Review--The Captain's Bride

Lisa Tawn Begren's The Captain's Bride is a gripping tale of love and betrayal on the high seas as well as on the new land of America.

Instantly, one is drawn into the story line as one after another, the characters' secrets start unfolding.   Even the most "perfect" of characters soon discover life is not so perfect thus shattering dreams but creating new ones.  

That is exactly what this novel is about--new beginnings.  Each character desires a new beginning for various reasons.  Whether to start their married life or save their marriage, the characters find themselves leaving their homeland in search of the their new beginning in America.  However, things start to unravel as life on the seas, despite it picturesque vistas, starts to experience physical and emotional storms.  Will they be able to weather the storms even when unexpected cargo--Tora Anders threatens to destroy one life after an other in pursuit of her selfish goals?

Their life at sea and the arrival in America is not so much a travel journey but one of growth.  The protagonists learn that marriage is not the same as the captaining of a ship or the painting thereof.  While other characters learn that their actions have consequences often times hurting the innocent.  Restoration and forgiveness is a lesson they will have to learn over and over once their sea journey ends and their land one begins.  

Overall, this book captivated one's attention and heart.  One could not help becoming distraught as the characters lived through tragedies and becoming angry as the nemesis continued to wreak havoc on those around her.  This is an excellent read for a mature audience, since some themes and innuendos are explicit. 

For more information click here or to read the first chapter click here.  

I received this book for free in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.   

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Unplowed Ground

12Sow for yourselves righteousness,
reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
and showers righteousness on you.
Hosea 10:12

What we sow, we reap.  Here the Word commands us to sow for ourselves righteousness, and we will reap the fruit of unfailing love. Sometimes, we can be sowing and reaping in areas that we have seen growth and fruit.  For example, if we struggled with submission to our husbands but are now experiencing the fruit of peace and love in our marriages, that's great!  To God be the glory!

Let's not stop there though.  

Look at the next step--break up your unplowed ground.

You see, we can get comfortable and complacent.  We've experienced change and victory.  But there's more.  There is always more in the Lord.  


Let's look at any unplowed ground today.  Better yet, let's ask the Lord to reveal any unplowed ground.
  
23Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24


Why should we do this?  For it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on us.  

Now is the time to do this.  Not tomorrow, today.

7So, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert,
Hebrews 3:7-9

This is the time to be deliberate in our seeking the Lord as well as persistent.

13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

We must seek until we see that He has indeed come and showers righteousness on us.  That unplowed ground is broken and no longer infertile.  It is producing fruit.

8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Matthew 3:8


Father, today I thank You for all that You have done in our lives.  You have showered us with righteousness and we have seen Your unfailing love manifested in our lives.  Today, we come and ask for more, recognizing that there is unplowed ground in our hearts that must be broken.  We ask that You search us and test us and see if there is any offensive way in us.  Lead us in the way everlasting.  Do not allow our hearts to harden.  Help us to seek you wholeheartedly with faith knowing we will find you.  Help us to be persistent in seeking you.  Help us to do so until You come and shower us with righteousness.  We thank You in advance for breaking up the unplowed ground in our hearts and producing in us fruit in keeping with repentance.  In Jesus' Name.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

Book Review--The Respect Dare

In The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband, Nina Roesner's premise is that a wife's relationship with God is in direct correlation to her relationship with her husband.  The book focuses on the importance of a wife respecting her husband and the consequences is she does not.

The author starts each dare with a Bible verse, small synopsis of it, and a relatable story.  Although I was not able to identify with a lot of the women in the stories, I did appreciate the real life application of the principles being taught.  The author did overdue it a bit by mentioning her online course quite frequently.  After the story, there is a 'Bottom Line' which summarizes the main points.  Then there is the  'So What About You?' section that focuses on the wife's heart condition.  This section includes a few introspective questions that help to assist the wife identify problem areas and solutions.  Finally, each dare ends with a concluding paragraph.  Although the sections are pretty much the same throughout the book, often times, I had to reread certain sections to find what was the actual dare.  It was not as clear cut as it could have been.  

The topics covered ranged from finances to intimacy which made the reader look at the big picture--respect is not limited to any one specific area but must be a key component in each marriage.  This book did not present itself as a quick fix for marriages or wives but rather a deep look at one's heart in order to submit to God's mandate to respect one's husband.  It was about lasting changes as opposed to surface changes.  

Whereas I think that certain things such as a decrease in the mention of the author's ministry, highlighting the dares, and the exercises to imagine, which I thought were inappropriate, this book is a good starting place for women interested in learning about respecting their husbands.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Prayer Calendar


1.  Dalits (you can read more about them here:)
28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 
1 Corinthians 1:28,29


2.  Unite with parent's praying for the salvation of the children
5Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
6I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
7everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
Isaiah 43:5-7

3. Unemployed
14From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things
as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.
Proverbs 12:14


4.  Reconciliation in Relationships
13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 
Colossians 3:13



December Goals


1.  Mail letters to Nthati & Abdi
2.  Homeschool Evaluations
3.  30 in 30
4.  Print family prayer planners
5.  Freezer cooking
6.  Complete final month in Bible Reading in 90 days
7.  Finish reading book
8.  Start getting tax papers ready
9.  Finish November pictures in family album
10.  Buy New Year's outfit

Sunday, December 2, 2012

November Goals Update


1.  Keep updated in my Bible reading
2.  Finish de-cluttering house
3.  Freezer cooking
4.  Update at least one month of our family album...I have hope:)
5.  Finish reading a book
6.  Keep homeschool paperwork updated
7.  Completing this challenge...it may seem very similar to #2, but it's not in my book:)
8.  Start looking at options for new year's planner
9.  Order Sara's album
10.  Write letters to Nthati and Abdi:)

This was a super duper productive month with a lot of lessons learned.  Yesterday, I could not go to sleep, so instead of idling the time, I decided to get caught up in my Bible reading which I had fallen just a little bit behind on.  I will have to do a review of the pros and cons of reading the Bible in 90 days soon.

De-cluttering the house is an on-going thing around here, because once I see how much less we can really make due with, I want to clean more.  Really, I feel like the house looses weight when bags are removed and thrown out:)  It is surprising to see that I can still find bags to throw out even though this is done regularly.

I did keep up with the MSM challenge but didn't post about it as much as I thought because it didn't fit into my schedule.  This week was dedicated to kitchen clean-up which Alicia did the bulk of work to earn a little extra cash.  While she tackled the kitchen, Sara and I went to the post office and mailed Nthati's  and Abdi's letters.  I don't have any pictures of the kitchen except this one:


Alicia and I also tagged teamed to whip up a batch of pumpkin pancakes for the freezer cooking.  And, not only did I update one month of our family album, but I COMPLETELY caught up (besides November of course:).  We also received Sara's album, and it came out beautiful.

I am currently looking at options for our family album and planners.  I think I am going to stick with this year's options and just tweak things a bit.

December has already begun and we are excited to know that it will be just as productive, God willing, just in a different direction using our 30 in 30:)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Count Your Blessings


Picture 19

Week of 11/24-12/1

1.  Partook in the Lord's Supper on Sunday and afterwards enjoyed dinner at Mami's 

2.  Started off the work out week feeling a lot better and less sore:)

3.  The Lord continues to minister my life and teaching me during Tuesday classes with the children

4.  A SIC called me and it was so nice to hear from her after so long

5.  Enjoyed cooking dinner with Ali

6.  Sara's dress up outfits are a sight to my eyes:)

7.  Seeing Ali grab Sara for some hugs and kisses during church service

8.  Enjoyed seeing FIC in church...thank You Father for Your EVERLASTING, STEADFAST LOVE

9.  Thursday's service was soooo different and yet soooo edifying

10. Girls worked on a card for Randy's co-worker who retired and the homeschool area ended up looking like this:


LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.
Habakkuk 3:2






Friday, November 30, 2012

30 in 30

Tomorrow is December 1!  One more month and 2012 is over.  With this in mind, I wanted to focus more on having quality family time. There's no particular order we will be doing these and no limit on how many in a day--no rules!  Well, except that most of them MUST be done together of course:)  So here is my 30 in 30:

1. Go ice skating
2. Drink hot cocoa
3. Mail a letter to a friend
4. Bake something
5. Write next year's goals
6. Throw out 3 items
7. Write top 10 list for 2012
8. Pick out Bible verse for 2013
9. Have a big family dinner
10. Choose a family read aloud
11. Take a family picture
12. Write a letter to each household family member
13. Try a new recipe
14. Finish a puzzle of at least 100 pieces
15. Work on an art project
16. Look at old photos or family movies
17. Family game night
18. Start a vacation jar
19. Work on a project as a family (ex. clean car)
20. Have an ice cream party
21. Mail a letter to a distant relative
22. Have family/friends come over
23. Have a mom/daughter day/night out
24. Memorize a Bible verse together
25. Slumber party
26. Visit someone we haven't in a long time
27. Have a dad/daughter day/night out
28. Serve breakfast for dinner
29. Play 20 questions
30. Have a couple day/night out

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Review--Twice a Bride

Mona Hodgson's Twice a Bride is an engaging novel that portrays the triumph of God's love over all.  In an attempt to overcome the loss of loved ones, Willow Peterson, a widow, relocates to Cripple Creek in search of a new beginning never imagining she could really have one. Trenton Van Der Veer has also relocated to Cripple Creek fleeing what he once thought would make him happy only to find out it was a deception.  Will each find the happy ending they are in search of?

The story itself is a slow read but not a boring one.  The author takes time to develop the characters all the while showing glimpses of the would-be villain lurking about.  One can certainly identify with the characters of this novel which are not portrayed in the usual "perfect" style of few, if any, faults.  Their weaknesses actually come to show themselves as strengths once surrendered into the hands of the Lord.    The unlikely heroes have marred pasts and physical hurdles to overcome and they do so beautifully portraying the God-given strength to do so rather than their own.  Whereas one would have liked to see a culmination of events in all the characters, those that were center stage provided enough closure to the book without leaving any loose ends.  

This book is recommended to anyone who enjoys reading about flawed heroes finding victory in the midst of pain.  If you are interested in more information on the author, click here or to read the first chapter of the book, click here.

I received this book for free from WaterBrrok Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.  


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Count Your Blessings


Picture 19

Week of 11/17-11/23


1.  On Saturday, Randy ran a lot of errands...I am so thankful for SUCH a helpful husband...and he even worked out at the gym with Alicia

2.  My father called me...Lord, You know all things and I trust Your will, which is perfect, shall come to pass in his life for Your glory in Jesus' Name

3.  Ate dinner at Mami's and it was sooooo good...my niece told Randy, "Tio make titi stop doing what she's doing:)"

4.  Started off the week working out and working up a s-w-e-a-t!  It felt sooooo good and I even ran into Sydney staking out CVS before they even opened

5.  Got to Skype with a dear FIC in the Dominican Republic

6.  Laughing so hard with Randy, my tears hurt (that's my story and I'm sticking to it:)

7.  We had a little get together, just the girls, at Mami's and I learned some things about her childhood

8.  The girls made cards for a SIC who recently gave birth to her daughter...I praise the Lord for putting His love in their hearts

9.  Randy getting out of work early and having two days off this week...YES!!!!!

10.  Being able to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws and my FIC....double blessing



4Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.
Psalm 26:4



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sagging Rafters & Leaking House


If a man is lazy, the rafters sag;
if his hands are idle, the house leaks.
Ecclesiastes 10:18

Sagging rafters and a leaky house.

Not exactly our dream home.  But indeed the home of any man who is (1)lazy and (2)idle.

In this Bible verse, the consequence of man's laziness are sagging rafters.  Instead of providing support for the roof of the house, these sagging rafters threaten to come crumbling down and crush those inside--the family.  

Why?  A lazy man.

Now that same house leaks.  Where is the leak coming from?  Well, it can be from visible sources as well as hidden ones.

Why?  A man's idle hands. 

This is NOT an encouragement to run to Lowe's and let's build something together.  Rather, it is a call for both the husband and wife to do a house inspection. 

Some questions for thought:
  • How much time do I spend in prayer?  Bible reading?  Bible study?
  • How do we spend time as a married couple?  Do we pray together?  
  • How do we spend time as a family?
  • How do we fellowship with our family in Christ?  
  • Are we investing our time in the eternal or idling it away on the temporal?
  • Are we more about fixing the external issues that arise in our homes or the internal ones of the heart?

If you've found your rafters sagging or your house leaking, be encouraged today.  There is hope.  The Master Carpenter is available for help, because unless He builds, we labor in vain.


Recommit your time, energy, and heart to working on repairing those sagging rafters.  Renounce all laziness.  As the head of your household, you are called to lead your household with the help of the Lord.  If you've found your hands to be idle, repent.  Put them to work in stopping those leaks.  Invest in your wife and cultivate in your children the Word of God.  As the husband you are commanded to present your wife holy and blameless, and as the father, you are commanded to train your children in the way they should go.

And wives, let us remember that we are called to be wise women that are building our homes.  Let us not enable or encourage laziness nor idleness by practicing it ourselves.  May God help us to be the helpers God has called us to be.  May we appreciate the work of our husband's hands.  May our husband have full confidence in us and lack nothing of value because we bring him good, not harm, all the days of our life.  May God deliver us from attempting to usurp our husband's God given authority in the home, but rather let us submit to him as to the Lord. 

Father, I come to You today thanking You for our marriages, knowing that what You have united, man can not separate.  I ask that You strengthen and unite each marriage with cords of love.  Please forgive any laziness or idleness from our part and help us.  Help us to be diligent and work in the homes You have entrusted to us.  Deliver us from working on the externals and seeking temporary fixes.  But rather may our desire be for internal and eternal changes.  I know that only You can help us.  And I thank You because it is Your will to do so.  Fill us today with a renewed commitment to forsake any plan other than Yours.  In Jesus' Name.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review--90 Days Thru the Bible

Author Chris Tiegreen successfully provides a succinct synopsis of the Bible in 90 Days Thru the Bible.  The author is able to capture the essence of each book in the Bible in one or a few days devotional reading.  The readings captivate one's attention and the Questions for Reflection provide just that--moments for further introspection.  A 13-week study plan is also available.    

This devotional reading distinguishes itself from others because the books of the Bible are shown to be interwoven as one story-God's and not just singular/compartmentalized stories.  God's overall purpose--human salvation in Jesus--is reiterated throughout the book.  This enables the reader to see more difficult portions of the Bible clearer when keeping God's overall purpose in constant view.  Jesus is not  restricted to the New Testament either.  God's redemptive plan of salvation in Jesus is in full view from Genesis through Revelation. 

I would recommend this book to form part of any Christian's library whether you are reading the Bible in 90 days or not.  

This book was provided by Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home:Days 5-10

Day 5 Assignment:
Vacuum under couch cushions
15 minutes of something you enjoy

Day 6 Assignment:
10 quick clean of home
10 minute clean up of vehicle

Day 7 Assignment:
Vacuum main areas of the home

Day 8 Assignment:
10 minute clean up of messiest dresser drawer
Wipe down all door handles in your home

Day 9 Assignment:
15 quick clean up of bathroom
Clean light switch plates

Day 10 Assignment:
Dust light fixtures
15 minutes of something you enjoy

Although I haven't been able to post my progress every day, I have been doing the challenges in the midst of the de-cluttering of our home as well.  It is exciting to know that by the end of the year the house will be clean and de-cluttered as well as some little makeovers too!

Here are some pictures of the challenges:

a binder clip and hair tie under the couch cushions

bag of garbage after cleaning the car

enjoying reading

Count Your Blessings


Picture 19

Week of 11/10-11/16

1.  Grateful that electricity was restored to our church (although there were some areas where power has not been restored) and we were able to congregate.  I praised so loudly, I left hoarse!


2.  Randy signed up for Planet Fitness and we went to work it out this week except for Tuesday.  He went with Alicia on Saturday while I got to sleep in a bit with Sara.  Looking forward to going next week:)

3.  Thanking the Lord for the discernment He gave Randy in dealing with a situation at work

4.  Because I am aware of the fact that we have to wake up early to go to the gym, going to sleep early has been a priority

5.  Alicia received Oliver Twist in the mail and we enjoyed listening to it tremendously

6.  Able to put my little niece to sleep

7.  Finished reading another book:)

8. Ability to intercede for my SIC

9.  Gathered all our donations so the de-cluttering has ended...I think?:)

10.  Seeing my daughters spend time together 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Review--Lovelier Than Daylight

In Lovelier Than Daylight, Rosslyn Elliott captures the struggle between love and principle at the center of the issue of alcohol.

Susanna Hanby's heart aches as she has seen first hand the devastation caused to her sister's family by the vice of drinking.  Her wounds leave her righteously indignant to those who do not conform to her views while cold to the supposed culprits.  She is adamant about her views and voices them clearly often being closed-minded.

Johann Giere is the heir to a brewery yet his heart longs to be a New York journalist or so he thinks.  While covering a riveting story in Westerville, Ohio, he becomes all too involved in Susanna's plight to regain her nieces and nephews after their suspicious abandonment by her sister, Rachel.  Contrary to Susanna, Johann's commitment to moral values has not left him callous.  He offers his help in more than one crisis despite being rejected repeatedly by Susanna because of his line of work.

Throughout one crisis after another in reclaiming her family, the devastating affects of alcohol seem to become broader than Susanna imagined.  Consequently, Susanna is able to see her temperance crusade in a new light.  She realizes her desire for righteousness has clouded her ability to love even those hurt by the affects of alcohol.  

The author provided much thought for the reader making this a provocative read and not just another love story.  One was left looking at both sides of the story and able to ascertain for oneself where exactly they stood on the issue of alcohol consumption.  

The juxtaposition of Johann's sensitivity and openness to change with Susanna's staunch and narrow views made the reading of this book enjoyable.  The beginning immediately draws one in with the disappearence of the children and then lulls for a while during the development of the story line.  However, it quickly picks up after that leaving one unable to put the book down.  Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical/romance literature.  



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

His Face

8My heart says of you, “Seek hisb face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Psalm 27:8

Yes Lord, to seek Your face.  To gaze upon Your beauty.  To see Your face shining upon me.  

That is my desire.

To take the warmth of Your breath and sense Your Word comfort me throughout the day and reassure me of Your love.  

To take the depth of Your eyes upon me seeing my innermost being and knowing You are faithful to finish what You have begun in me.

To take the radiance of Your smile and carry it with me knowing I am the workmanship of Your hands.

To take the beauty of You and let Your presence saturate my heart to overflow.

Yes Lord, to seek Your face.  
Your face, Lord, I will seek.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Count Your Blessings


Picture 19

Week of 11/3-11/9

It's Saturday night and my heart is full, thinking of all that the Lord is doing in our lives.   Knowing that we are on the verge of a Genesis is humbling.  To Him be the Glory Forever!

1.  Family Bible Study and some grooming for the girls:)



2.  Because we didn't fill up the tank before Hurricane Sandy, our car gas tank was running too low to make the hour trip it takes us to go to church, so church came to us:)  Our Pastor and some FIC came and we enjoyed Sunday service at Mami's house:)

3.  Woke up early on Monday and enjoyed prayer and Bible reading. I joined Sara during her prayer time and it was such a tremendous blessing to hear her pour out her heart to the Lord


4.  Found out that Ali is reading this series to Sara and was wowed that she wanted to share something she really enjoys with her little sister

5.  My BIL bought me a "gas jug?" (no clue what they are called) and knew it was only the Lord that he was able to get me one.  Later on, my FIL calls me and tells me he has 5 gallons of gas for me.  The Lord really surprised and overwhelmed me by His goodness!

6.  Voted!  And we realized that our eldest will be voting in the next presidential election, whereas our younger one has 2 more to go...good balance:)




7.  Randy painted radiators.  We are making real progress in de-cluttering the house.  You can see evidence right here

8.  Had a service in Syd's house and it was beautiful to hear how the Word is ministering our lives

9.  Love to hear Sara laughing while playing with her Papi

10.  Late date night just Randy and I and some Kennedy's:)

11.  More Family Bible Study...I emailed Randy this on Friday: "Bible Study a definite. I don't care if we don't eat as long as we eat the Word of God!"

10I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
Exodus 81:10


Friday, November 9, 2012

Dare to Hope

16He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.
17I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18So I say, “My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:16-18

Jeremiah's honesty is refreshing.  Utter devastation and chaos surround him.  The enemy has won (for now) and there's nothing left.  The people are taken captive and the Promised Land lies in ruins.  

There is certainly no peace, prosperity, or splendor.  There is no hope.

19I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Lamentations 3:19-21

There are however memories--memories of affliction and bitterness, of wandering proclaiming the Lord's message to no avail.  And Jeremiah's soul is downcast.

Yet, there is hope.

22Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24

How can Jeremiah hope during the hopeless?  Because of the Lord's great love, they were not consumed.  Disciplined yes, but not consumed.  Captive yes, but not consumed.  

And we too can experience this hope because He is the same.  His great love, never failing compassions, and great faithfulness are right there in the midst of any pain, hurt, devastation, destruction, captivity, or anything else.  

We are not consumed.

Let us say to ourselves, "The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him."  

25The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
Lamentations 3:25-27

How am I to wait?  I will put my hope in HIM.  I will seek HIM.  I will wait quietly for HIM.  I will bear in HIM.  And I will do it knowing that indeed in Him there is hope.  Jesus is my hope.

I am not consumed and neither are you.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home:Day 2-4

Day 2 Assignment:
10 minute quick-clean of kitchen
10 minute quick-clean of refrigerator

Day 3  Assignment:
10 minute quick-clean of your bedroom
10 minute quick-clean of freezer

Day 4 Assignment:
15 minute quick-clean of bathroom
10 minute quick-clean underneath beds/furniture

Like I mentioned here, I had a head start on some things.  The kitchen, refrigerator, freezer, and bathroom had all been done during the weekend...yay for head starts!

But my bedroom made up for it.


Since we are de-cluttering, I wasn't going to be able to do just a quick clean up.  Randy painted the radiators and did a fantastic job at it.  The smell created a little problem--our bedroom became headquarters.  We ended up parked in our bedroom for homeschooling and play which led my bedroom to then look like this.  


Although it may not look like it, this actually looks like progress to me. Everything is up for grabs at this point and I will be ruthless about purging the house, because I want my bedroom back!

We did not finish on Wednesday, although we made a big dent.  Today, I ended up finishing it and am super content with the results.  


Eventually, this room is going to get a face lift and be redone just a bit so it's good to know that it's ready and I don't have to go back and do this all over:)!

Monday, November 5, 2012

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home:Day 1

I have attempted to do this on my own for about two months and have failed miserably.  But there is something about doing this together that motivates and keeps me motivated.

I'm talking about Crystal's 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home Series.

I was so excited to find out that Crystal was doing this right before the New Year too!  I am actually working on a de-cluttering project on the side, so I have a head start:)

A simplified version is also encouraging.  


About a week ago, I had begun to do this but quit midway.  Consequently, I went to CVS to do a deal and I had left my extra care card home.  Thank God for sisters who come to the rescue:)  

My purse is perfect for me.  It has 6 interior pockets to keep me organized.  And it works when I actually use them instead of just tossing items inside.  The little exterior pocket is great for my lip care  item (that what it reads on my Nivea, but to me it's plain old chapstick:)


This is not a "what's in my purse" post although that would be fun, but I did want to share an after photo. I usually dive into projects which makes for taking before pictures difficult.  Enjoy!


Even though I might not blog about the challenge every day, I do hope to do the challenge every day.

November Prayer Calendar


Week #1--Election
This is election week.  God is Sovereign!  Our fate as well as this nation's is in the Lord's hands.

But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.
Psalm 75:7

Week #2--Those Affected by Hurricane Sandy
There were so many affected in varying degrees by the hurricane, but we know that God is in control.  He has a purpose and it will be fulfilled.

7Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
Psalm 148:7-8

Week #3--La Lometa
A precious family from our church is working in the Lometa, Dominican Republic.

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,
Ephesians 6:19

Week #4--Fellowship
I would love to get a glimpse of the apostolic church enjoy fellowship.  I desire it for myself and the body of Christ. 

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2:42

November Goals


1.  Keep updated in my Bible reading
2.  Finish de-cluttering house
3.  Freezer cooking
4.  Update at least one month of our family album...I have hope:)
5.  Finish reading a book
6.  Keep homeschool paperwork updated
7.  Completing this challenge...it may seem very similar to #2, but it's not in my book:)
8.  Start looking at options for new year's planner
9.  Order Sara's album
10.  Write letters to Nthati and Abdi:)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Count Your Blessings


Picture 19

Last week, I didn't get to post my CYB.  Not pointing any fingers, but I think that in large part the blame has to fall on my camera.  I wanted a nicer camera to take more pictures and now that I have one, I actually take fewer.  I will have to work on that.  I guess I liked the portability of a point-and-shoot.  It's just taking me time to get used to a "big" camera.

Week of 10/20/-10/26
1.  Seeing my FIC persevere in coming to church in the midst of trials encourages me and makes me appreciate fellowship all the more

2.  Watched Presidential debate at Mami's house

3.  Enjoyed working with children on their Pastor Appreciation cards:)


4.  Swapped some shampoo with Syd for some toothpaste

5.  Took girls to the dentist where they received a good report...I hadn't driven in such a long time (due to my husband's kindness by wanting to drive 99.9% of the time..hey he enjoys it) that I gave myself and Ali car sickness...HA!

6.  After appointment, we visited my in-laws...I have the best family!  I got to meet a new cousin from the Dominican Republic:)

7.  Came home on Thursday from church and enjoyed watching this

8.  Having a teenage niece who actually wants to spend time with me

9.  Randy made lasagna

10.  A BIC sent Randy a heartfelt message that blessed me!

Week of 10/27-11/2
1.  Celebrated Pastor Appreciation Day


2.  Able to pray during Hurricane Sandy at Mami's.  I am so grateful that all three families were together interceding in the name of Jesus.

3.  Sustained through the storm by Jesus!  Everyone is safe, including our FIC in Far Rockaway.  The area was hit hard and they are without electricity.


 4.  Randy went back to work on Wednesday which I am grateful he is able to do.  We also had a service in our home.  Our FIC from Brooklyn came an we just love them!

5.  I went to CVS with Sara after a long coupon hiatus and got a good deal...Syd came because I forgot my club card (in my defense, I had cleaned out my purse which is why it wasn't there)

6.  Finally finished Sara's Shutterfly album

7.  A SIC gave birth...she and the baby are both doing well:)

8.  Took care of my nieces.  I put Genesis to sleep and fell asleep right along with her:)

9.  Spoke to a SIC about her life's storm right now and was encouraged that she and I were still able to rejoice in the Lord at His goodness

10.  Continued grace and favor over Randy in the workplace is a testament to the faithfulness and goodness of our Father!

Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea--the LORD on high is mighty.
Psalm 93:4

Friday, November 2, 2012

Five Minute Friday--Roots

Go.

I want deep, strong roots.

I want to be firmly planted in Jesus.

I want roots that run so deep that no scheme from the pit of hell can loosen me.  And I want that for my family in Christ too.

And we can have it.  We do have it.  As long as we are planted in Jesus.

If He's our Solid Ground, our Nourishment, our Sustenance.

I want Him to root me in Him.  To strengthen me.  To grow me.  

Roots are not shown.  They are not visible.  But their strength surely is.  The fact that the tree remains standing, year after year, tempest after tempest bears witness to the strength of its roots.

I want to be a witness of the strength of Jesus--Who can keep me standing when everything else says I should be torn down.  

I want to be that tree planted by streams of living water.  

Stop.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October Goals Update

1.  Read another book
2.  Finish Sara's Shutterfly album
3.  Update our Family album up to September
4.  Complete Building Her House Challenge
5.  De-clutter house--I know it seems like I do this a lot:) but I consider it so worth it.  It doesn't take days or even hours upon hours...maintenance is key:)
6.  Keep Homeschool paperwork updated
7.  Finish Study on self-discipline with the girls and start a new study
8.  Do some freezer cooking
9.  Get back on track with our daily to-do's
10.  Go semi-paperless in regards to planning

(Update:  Sara's album is done!  Now waiting to be ordered:)

Ok so this month was horrible in terms of goals, but I am determined to finish them one step at a time.  Although, I didn't get a lot done in terms of goals, there were some things I did begin to develop which I plan to build on.

For example, this month I managed to read three books.  Reading is something I enjoy immensely and have to discipline myself to do.  


The Shutterfly albums have been a big wamp wamp.  I think partly because I am thinking of a different approach for chronicling for the girls.  But I have to stay focused and just get Sara's album done and ordered first.  I may just decide to do it after writing this post so that it doesn't make it to next month's list of goals:)  And ours will get done in the name of Jesus!

Because I started decluttering, I realized that there were some little projects lingering about the house that had to get done.  Nothing major besides little touch ups here and there.

Although, we didn't get to finish the Bible study on self-discipline, I think we definitely learned this month what happens when you are not.  Life lessons:)  I may just decide to take these two months off to do more of an informal study.  We have been persevering in family Bible Study which is a blessing.

I snuck in the freezer cooking with Ali yesterday.  We used some pumpkin puree from here and made a batch of pancakes.

As the new year approaches, I like to evaluate what has worked and what hasn't.  As much as I would like to go paperless, I am not sure I can.  I like to check off boxes and cross out my to do list.  But one of the challenges I am having is that it's too many books (I think:).  So, I am still evaluating and seeing if this is the route I want to go.  

For next's months goals, I will have to be minimal.  With the holidays approaching, I don't want to add anything extra to my plate (besides some turkey:).  I will most likely focus on tying up the loose ends around here.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Five Minute Friday--Voice

Go.

Everyone wants their voice to be heard.   That's where a lot of hurt and pain come from--the sense that your voice doesn't count--having someone you love ignore, reject, or quench your voice.

But within in us, there is a still, small voice that wants to be heard.  It's the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Do we quench it?  

Are we so much more interested in having our voices heard that we ignore His?

John the Baptist was the voice crying out in the wilderness.  Now he had a message!  He used his voice to voice the words of Him who sent him.  His voice was not for his own benefit but for the benefit of his hearers.  Is ours the same?

Are our voices more about getting our agendas fulfilled or are they a reflection of the voice Who will always guide us (and our listeners) to the Truth of the Father?

Stop.

Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review--21 Days to a More Disciplined Life

Crystal Paine can be found blogging at Money Saving Mom where she shares money saving tips with her readers.  She actually shares more than that--she challenges her readers to make life changes.  Whether it is creating a budget or organizing one's home, Crystal provides information to help implement and sustain these changes.

In 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, Crystal offers practical steps, tools, and resources how to obtain a more disciplined life.  This book is not a change your life in three easy steps guide.  It is a roadmap for how to create and sustain a disciplined life.  As she walks you through the process, she breaks down  the ultimate goal into small steps.  Each step is explained in detail as well as challenges faced along the way.  There is even a game plan on how to overcome those challenges.  

Anyone serious about committing to a more disciplined life will appreciate her candor, simplicity, and practicality.  It is a recommended resource to develop, progress, and succeed in a disciplined life.

For more information on the book or to purchase, click here.