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 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 <> : “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 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


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.  


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.