Saturday, November 28, 2015

Our Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving season started with the Thanksgiving Dinner at church on Saturday.  This is our 5th Dinner, and each year it grows.  We try to have a traditional turkey dinner with the trimmings, and we decorate.  Well, I don't decorate, we have a team for that.  I did carve 10 turkeys. (Never Again)(Ever)  It turned out as good as a turkey dinner for 180 people can.  
Everyone seemed to like it.  

So, when that is over, I don't feel compelled to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner at home.
This year was different, though.  Eileen is off at school and they had her scheduled to work over the holiday weekend.   For weeks she and I planned a surprise visit.  She managed to get Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday and Thursday off.  I can't believe we pulled it off, but she managed to get into the house on Tuesday night and give her dad the surprise of his life!   He kept staring at her in disbelief.  Then he started crying.  It was all she ever hoped for in a surprise. 

After all that emotion, and the hard work of the previous weekend, we decided to take it easy.  No big mess, ham instead of turkey, no homemade rolls or pie. We did get out Grandma's china, and the table looked really good.  Most importantly, we were thankful.  Thankful to be together.  We spent the evening putting up Christmas decoration, per Eileen's request. 

Eileen left on Friday morning.  Ronnie went to work.  Neil worked in yard, and I finished with decorating.  We ate leftovers.  It's been a great Thanksgiving weekend. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Getting ready for Thanksgiving!

From our first year here in Tucson, we have had a Thanksgiving Celebration on the Saturday before Thanksgiving for the Spanish Church at TBT.  This is our 5th year and we are so excited!  I'll be sure to post photos!

Thanksgiving is so important!  First, to remember the Pilgrims, what they did, what they went through and why. Second, to remember to be thankful to the One who gives us all we could ever need or want.

Thankfulness is a key ingredient to a happy, healthy life, and it's something that I want to cultivate in
my children.  Thankfulness is a powerful anti-depressant. Actually, it's more like a depression vaccine.  It's hard to stay discouraged when your are constantly remembering all that God has done for you.   Here are the lyrics to a song that has been a blessing to me recently.

Jesus Thank You
The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend,
The agonies of Calvary.
You, the Perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son,
Drank the bitter cup reserved for me.

Your blood has washed away my sin,
Jesus, thank You.
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied,
Jesus, thank You.
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table,
Jesus, thank You.

By Your perfect sacrifice I’ve been brought near,
Your enemy made Your friend.
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace,
Your mercy and your kindness know no end.

Your blood has washed away my sin,
Jesus, thank You.
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied,
Jesus, thank You.
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table,
Jesus, thank You.

Lover of my soul
I want to live for You

Lover of my soul
I want to live for You

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Taking care of yourself....physically


 Right before I get into Taking care of yourself... physically,  I want to add one more thing that will keep you from ever being healthy, no matter what you eat or how much you exercise.  Here it is......
Do not bottle up your emotions.  Do not bury or mask your anger, fear, frustration, sadness,  you name it. 

A lot of Christian women believe that they must always put on a happy face and never let anyone see any different.  First of all, that would be a lie.  We aren't always happy.  Sometimes we feel any number of negative emotions.  These are not necessarily wrong or sinful, but they must be dealt with properly .  To bottle up and cover over these emotions is stressful, and living in a stressful state is just setting yourself up for any number of illnesses and conditions.  We become susceptible to migraines and headaches, digestive problems, immune system problems and back pain.  These problems keep us from sleeping well and exercising,  and a vicious cycle begins its destructive downward spiral.  

  Starting with the spiritual,  take care of yourself.   Make sure you are praying, reading, and surrounding yourself with good Bible teaching.  If possible, cultivate friendships that help you spiritually.

  Second, take an inventory of your emotional life.  See what is healthy and identify what has been hurting you and keeping you from living your life as abundantly as God intended. 

 Third, be wise with your health.  Learn to cook and eat a variety of good food.  Exercise regularly.  Take care of your teeth.  I truly believe that if you follow Step One and Step Two, Step Three will be a piece of cake. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Taking care of yourself..Emotions and your finances.

     Along with your home, one of the things that can greatly affect your emotions is money and how you deal with it.  We all get pretty giddy around here at payday.  Tight finances tend to make us a little tense and negativity levels rise.

    As women, we can also experience fear, worry and panic when it comes to money issues.  Dave Ramsey says that women have an Insecurity Gland that spasms when we get nervous about money.  Or, we are totally, on purpose, oblivious to money concerns and we spend ourselves into deep debt.
Mary Hunt is a Christian financial expert.  When she was newly married, she got herself into 100,000 dollars credit card debt, without her husband knowing it!  She got her act together, paid off the debt and now helps others.  Can you imagine how stressful it must have been to be responsible for so much debt?  Can you imagine how hard it must have been for her emotionally?

Take care of yourself by taking control of your finances and your feelings about your finances.  You know that it all belongs to God anyway.  You know the He will supply all your needs according to his riches in Glory.  You know that you can be content, no matter what your circumstance.   Educate yourself.  Listen to Dave Ramsey or read Mary Hunt. Tithe and give. Refuse to try to keep up with other people and their toys, clothes, cars, houses, you name it.  You will never catch up, and you will never be satisfied.

Godliness with content is great gain, so your first financial goal should be godliness with contentment.  Then educate yourself about earning, saving and investing money.  The money that you make and save can make a difference in you life, and the Kingdom of God.   There is tremendous satisfaction and power when we are not indebted to anyone.   We  can give freely and take care of ourselves and our families when we are smart with money.  We can avoid marital woes that plague others when we are smart with whatever money God sees fit to entrust to us.

Taking care of yourself.......emotionally. part 2

I think I need to stay on this "emotions" thing just a bit longer.    I've thought about two categories that affect our emotions.  They can also eventually affect your health.

1. Housekeeping
There are two extremes in housekeeping.  One is homemaking perfection.  I know several homemakers like this and they are a wreck emotionally.  Everything has to be in place.   Children are a bother, and must be tightly controlled so that they don't make a mess.  Visitors are seen and treated as an intrusion.   This is not healthy nor helpful for a woman who wants to serve the Lord.  This is Martha to the extreme.  Your home, whatever it is, it a tool in the Master's hand. It's going to get dirty, and messy.  What you want, as a servant of the Most High, is for your family and others to feel comfortable and welcome in your home.  Trust me, you can clean up later.

There is a certain pride in having a magazine-worthy house.  But, as we know, pride is dangerous!   There is also insecurity in the thought of not being perfect.   You don't need to be perfect!  He is perfect.  Using your hospitality to serve is a must, and you can't allow your emotions, pride and insecurity, to keep you from it!


The other extreme is a lack of housekeeping.  This can and will keep you from serving God with your hospitality.  This can also affect your health and your family's health.  You have a hard time cooking creatively in a mess.  A messy house is not a peaceful house.  We eat and sleep better when we are at peace. I have seen children  embarrassed by the condition of their homes.  It's depressing to walk into a messy, dirty home.  It may be part of a vicious cycle.  You're depressed, so you don't clean your house, and then your house isn't clean, so you are depressed.

So many homemakers today were not trained by their mothers, as they were in past generations.  Homemaking skills were learned from Mother, who learned from her mother, who learned from her mother.  Since so many mamas have had to join the workforce, homemaking skills have not flourished.   We are overwhelmed by the mess, and can't see our way out.  

There are dozens of good housekeeping systems and helps.  The very best one is.......the one that works for you!  Find the one that makes sense to you, and dive in.   Personally, I love Flylady.  I don't even follow here system exactly, but I truly like her homemaking philosophy.

No matter where you are now, in a dorm, apartment, trailer or mansion, you can be a better homemaker.  For God's glory, and your peace and good health.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mini Vacation!

I went out to California for a few days last week to see my dear daughter.  Of course, there is nothing to do in Lancaster, so we met at Disneyland.  Honestly, it seems to bother people that we go so often, and we go as often as we can.  I often feel that I can't or shouldn't mention it, because of some people's negative reaction.  "You're going to Disney again?!?!?"

We live a wonderful life.  Every single day is a blessing and it is my great joy and privilege to serve the Lord.  We are so blessed.  But every once in awhile, it is so good to get out of the routine, and go someplace special.  Let me say it this way: if you don't want to go to Disneyland, fine.  Don't.  But go somewhere with your family!  You can be amazed to see how great it is to experience something wonderful as a family.  It is great to get away.  I love roadtrips!  We enjoy the journey.   I love the fact that it seems to me that my kids enjoy being with me as much as I enjoy being with them  We like hanging out together.  When was the last time you enjoyed an awesome fireworks show with your kids?

Life is work and work is a gift from God.  Work hard and teach your children to work hard.   But, teach them to play hard, too.  Both are a gift from God.  All good and perfect gifts come from above.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Prepare for ministry by taking care of yourself.

Sometimes I think about what they are teaching at Bible Colleges.  I know that the good ones are teaching the Bible, (hence the term Bible College), but is that all that a girl needs to be ready to serve the Lord? In thinking about my own dear daughter away at Bible College, here are a few of my thoughts about preparing for ministry.

Take Care of Yourself! Part 1
Spiritually
I am not just talking about being safe, I am talking about becoming spiritually self-sufficient. Not in a proud, arrogant way.  That is not at all helpful.  I am talking about being able to help others, because I am not needy myself.  Not that we will never be needy.  We are all needy for Jesus and the wise woman will learn to go directly to the only One who can care for all her needs.  Learn to find in the Lord what you need for yourself.  Know that no human being, not the most loving husband, nor the most devoted mother or father can be and do for you what God can. Learn to glean from Scripture all that you could ever need.

Emotionally
Learn early on to identify and control your emotions.  We live in an age where we allow emotions and moods run rampant until someone needs a pill.  The key, for me, is to identify unhealthy emotions early and, as the Scripture says, take them captive, 2 Corinthians 10:5.

An emotionally unhealthy woman cannot really be that useful in ministry.  She tends to shy away from what needs to be done or from people.  Or, worse, she alienates people with her caustic, irritable manner.  The Fruit of the Spirit includes temperance and that means self-control.  A woman who is controlled by her emotions is not controlled by the Spirit.  It seems that every lovely emotion has a horrible counterpart.  Learn the difference.  Don't wait until you are overcome by emotion to do something about it.

Find a person who loves you enough to be honest with you about your emotions. No one likes to be confronted with an uncomfortable truth, but we need it.  We need that friend who lets us know when our fear-negativity-anger-discontent-anxiety or whatever, becomes apparent.  A good friend or parent will help you nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand.

I love Tim LaHaye's Transformed Temperaments.  His classifications make sense to me and I feel better-equipped to see myself honestly.  Another thing I see is that as I become more Spirit-filled, my negative personality traits will become less apparent, and I will take on positive traits from all the other personality groups.  I will still be me, but better, and more completely useful in His service

Next: Take care of yourself physically.

Monday, October 26, 2015

God on the Mountain

I was teaching my Sunday School class about joy yesterday.   We talked about the mountains and valleys of the Christian life.   We were discussing the fact that the Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians while in prison.  I know that we know that, but we don't often meditate on the fact that Philippians is one of the most upbeat, encouraging epistles in the Scriptures.   Paul seemed so happy to be there, in prison, chained to guards who were themselves captive audiences for Paul to share the Gospel.

 Suffering is real, and so many of the ladies in my class are truly suffering.  However, how great would it be, if they could learn to see suffering the way Paul did?  What if we could truly see suffering as an opportunity to grow and serve.  Mountain-top experiences are great, and we sure had one this past week during our missions conference. But, so often, the life-changing experiences are in the valleys.   Oh God!  Let us see You, walking beside us in those dark valleys!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Tomorrowland

I saw this movie last night. Gotta love Redbox!   It was OK, if you don't mind seeing a lot of robots being destroyed!

I really liked the whole idea of the movie.  Basically, everything is bad, and going from bad to worse.   What can I do about it?  What can I change? Can I fix it?

Being the eternal optimist that I am, I feel encouraged to keep trying, keep looking, knowing that anything I do can help.

Of course, the whole premise of the movie is a humanist one, and I am not a humanist.  I do believe, however, that the same idea is applicable to the spiritual realm.  I am not a wacky-doodle optimist that thinks that things are going to  be OK just because I want them to be OK.  Things are going to be OK, because I am going to find God's will, obey God's will and then watch Him do His thing.  He will perfect that which concerns me.   I can also look for things that I can fix.  Not that I mean to do God's job, it's just that He does his job, and trusts me to do mine.   I love that I am not doomed to anything.  There is always something I can do. "Trust and Obey" are action verbs!

I am sick of politics!


I am so tired of all the complaining.  As everyone knows, I am as opinionated as the next person. (Probably more)  However, I am tired of the politics of politics.   I know that things are bad, and are probably going to get worse.  I vote, and I encourage others to do so.

But, I firmly believe, and I cannot say this emphatically enough, that if half the time spent complaining was spent in prayer for our country, we would have nothing to worry about!

No matter how many Facebook posts people put up about how bad the current administration is, if someone is predisposed to vote for that ticket, they will do so again.  Even if the Administration are baby-killers. "Don't confuse me with the facts" seems to be the attitude of the day.  People will vote what they think will be best for their own pocketbooks.

So, what is a christian to do?  Pray.  Vote and pray.  Pray some more.  Love those who disagree with you and pray for them.  Be a christian in action.  Pray and witness.  Pray and disciple someone.  Live the Truth.  "A man persuaded against his will is of the same opinion still" is still true.  Pray that the only One who can change his mind will do so.  Be prepared to accept that it might be God's will to allow our country to continue to sink, based on the fact the our nation has turned its back on the living God.

Instead of focusing on your candidate, focus on Jesus, and on bringing people to Him.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Insecurity

This has been a topic on my mind a lot lately.  I am not too insecure, in fact most people who know me would probably think that I never struggle with it.  But I do.  We all do. I wish I could say that I don't care what people think about me, but I do.   I wish I could say that it doesn't bother me at all when there are people that don't like me.   I always wonder, why don't they like me?  What is it about me?  And I go into a mental tailspin trying to figure out what it is.

I still have no answers, so I shift my focus to something else.  Do I do things that cause other people to feel insecure?  I analyze the behavior that causes me to feel bad, and try to see it in myself.   Honestly, I would feel so awful if I was the cause of pain to other people.

I know that the best thing is to just 'Let go and let God".   When I figure out how to do that, I'll let you know!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

"Poor" Firstborn!

Sometimes I feel sorry for my firstborn.  I had no clue what I was doing when we had her.   I mean, I had the theories, and I had Scripture, but putting it all into reality is different.  I was tough on her,  and I expected a lot.

Now that I have my Second-Born in highschool, and the Little One in elementary, I realize all that I did not know before, that I learned with the first one.   Geometry and algebra are easier now,  there are no tears of frustration this time!

So, sometimes I am tempted to feel guilty about my ignorance.  Then I look at the great young woman that my Firstborn is, and I realize a few things.  One of them is this, love does cover a multitude of sins.  Where I failed, the grace of God took over.  I believe that God saw my heart, and my desire to please Him, by raising her right.  He has done a great work, and I know that He can and will use her for His glory, in spite of me and my failings.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Celebrate Babysteps!

I cleared and organized a shelf yesterday.  Of course, that is not all that I did, but it was one extra thing that I did.  The shelf looks good, and I want to continue.  Yay me!  (I also had a periodontal cleaning that was horrid, but I don't want to talk about it.)

Too often we succeed, but not fast enough.  Too often, others progress, but we want their progress to be as fast as we want it to be.  Somehow, it is not good enough if it is not fast enough for our tastes. Today, let's give others the grace that we desire, and celebrate their achievements and progress.  Let's let them know that we see that they are trying, that they are making an effort.  Sometimes, we are harder on those who are closest to us! Let's extend to our nearest and dearest a heaping helping of grace.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Start with one thing

   I am always so fascinated when I see beautifully organized homes.  I get all excited to read about how they did it, and like a New Year's resolution, I determine that one day soon, my house will look like that.  I am reading now about Marie Kondo's tidying up methods. Fascinating, as usual.

 More often than not, I crash and burn before I start. It's too overwhelming.  We've got too much junk.  My DH is a packrat.  (This excuse is true).   I always have this feeling that I am going to fail miserably, so I don't start.

  Then I remember my Flylady training, and remember to just start with one thing, one change.  This is how we do anything.  For me, maybe it's one drawer.  Today.  
 
 Who knows what I might be able to accomplish tomorrow?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My need for a peaceful Sunday


    Sunday at our house is not exactly restful. Since it is the Lord's day, my goal is to make it a great day.  In my dream world, this would include Sunday lunch out at a restaurant.  There are a few factors that make this not as desirable as it would seem.  First, we don't have the budget to eat out at a nice place every Sunday.  Second, since there are larger crowds at restaurants on Sunday afternoon, there is usually a longer wait, which cuts into our customary Sunday nap before choir practice and evening service.
   The reality though, of coming home to make lunch after the morning service is appalling to me.  Everyone is hungry and I don't have the time to make anything good.  So the best option is Saturday night cooking.  This is harder than it sounds because it seems like there is some social event or another going on every Saturday evening.
  Tonight was different.  I was home this evening, and I cooked and cleaned.  All I have to do tomorrow is reheat and serve.  All the cooking mess is done, and loading the dishes into the dishwasher will be a breeze.  The Sunday dinner stress is gone, and the budget has survived to see a new day!   My mom, Flylady and Dave Ramsey would be proud!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Homemaking Link Up!

Raising Homemakers is having a link up!

A Home like God intended


It's always interesting to me that God created the family in the beginning.  The family is what God designed so that we could grow and thrive. He created the family, and he gave us instructions on how to maintain it.  He made it to be a place of refuge and comfort.  He authorized it to be a place of instruction and correction.

Sin has all but destroyed what God intended for the Home to be.   Generations of selfishness and sinful behavior have defiled what God made on Day 6, and called good. It's so bad, in fact, that we sometimes don't even know what a godly home looks like!

Thankfully, God loves us all enough to teach us in His Word, and through others, and through His Holy Spirit, what Home is supposed to be.  The sad thing is that so many have given up, for whatever reason.  Here's what I know.  God loves us all, and He wants us to have the homelife that He intended.  It may not, and will not be perfect, but the feel and love of Home can be found!

In Titus chapter 2, God commands the older ladies to teach the younger ladies how to be Keepers at home.  It's a big deal to God, and if he wants us to learn about it, then he wants us to do it!  No matter where we are right now, we can start learning to be keepers at home.  Why should we do this?  Well, besides being obedient to God, it blesses us!

My belief is that a Keeper at home is about two things.  The house, and the people in it, and not in that order.  A Keeper at home grows daily in her walk with the Lord.  She educates herself in becoming a godly wife.  She learns how to train her children according to the Scriptures.  She strives for a clean and orderly home.  Step by step, she grows in her ability to cook and feed her family.  She does her best to be a good home economist, being wise with the Family's money.

That seems overwhelming!!!!!!!  Here is the sweet truth.  God does not want me to be overwhelmed!  He says that we are to cast all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us.  God has a plan for helping me be the Keeper at home that He wants me to be that is not overwhelming.
He wants me to start and the He will grow me to be what He wants me to be!

Thank you, God for not expecting perfection from an imperfect being.  Thank you for helping me grow and thrive as a Keeper at home. I love You.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Be honest!

Yes, I am sure that you are probably not a liar. But I am not talking about lying to others, I am talking about being honest with yourself about yourself.   

Its so easy to complain about how I am being treated, about how he is behaving towards me.  We wonder why our spouse/family member is acting that way.  Often, their behaviour has absolutely nothing to do with us, and we need to "let go and let God".    However, many times, they are reacting to us. "I don't know why he/she is acting that way".   Really?   Then the time has come for you to get honest with yourself about you. The Bible says to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  Don't we want so-and-so to realize what they are doing?  Then we need to do the same!  Scripture also says to pull the beam out of our own eye first.   "Search me, oh God" is something that should be our constant prayer.

Dealing with difficult people in difficult circumstances is made easier when I am in an open and honest relationship with God.   When I can honestly admit to God that I am the one who is critical/nagging/grumpy/demanding/you-name-it, I can do my part to fix the relationship that is suffering.  When I realize things about my life need working on, I can be more patient with the other person who is working on their faults. Maybe he will change and maybe he won't, but I will have changed and my relationship with God will be better for it!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

An image from my old blog

Still true, and I am still thankful. 
 This is still the reason I do what I do.

One thing that I have learned along the way

When we got married, way back in 1993, I didn't really think about what it would take to stay happily married for life.  I just assumed that we would, as I am an optimist. But as often is the case, marriage does not always bring out the best in people.   You no longer "put your best foot forward" like when before you were married.  You no longer practice the self-control you did before.  Then, you are surprised when problems arise and you argue and/or fight.
    A lot of marriages don't survive, and many that do, are not happy.  So here is one thought that I had about what I have learned.

1. Be teachable. Always.    Having and "know it all" spirit is terrible for marriage. Even thinking that God is somehow going to solve all of your problems isn't helpful.  Can He? Of course he can, but that is not His goal.  His goal is to transform me into the image of His Son.  He often uses marital discord to show me my failings, my sins.  If I am open, He will teach me what I need to do to fix myself, and ultimately, keep my marriage going strong.  
   You can learn about marriage from anywhere and/or anyone, but beware!  God is the Creator of marriage and He alone gives me truth about marriage. So, everything that I read or listen to about marriage had better line up with the Word of God.  If not, toss it out, quickly!  I like to read, so I read a lot about marriage in books, and online.  If you know the Scriptures, it will be easy to spot bad advice.
  I have learned alot.  For example, I know that, biblically, I must respect my husband.  But I didn't really have a good idea about what that meant in practicality. So God sent me several books and teachings that have helped me put the theoretical into practice.
  Do I always show the respect that I should in the way that I should?  Unfortunately, no.  But thanks be to God, love covers a multitude of sins.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Greatest Marriage Secrets!


My husband and I just celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary, and so far, so good.  Things haven't always been perfect, but God has helped us stay and serve together.  So, after 22 years, I want to share the greatest secrets for a happy marriage.  The greatest marriage secret that I have for a happy marriage is.......... that there is no secret. Fortunately for me, I have all the tools necessary for a great marriage laid out for me in God's Word.  Unfortunately, we all want a magic formula for a marriage, when what a marriage needs is not magic.  It needs the Word of God.

Here are the "secrets"
1. Learn what God says in his Word about marriage. This is only hard because we don't want to do what God says, we want to "follow our hearts".  The problem is that our heart is wicked.   If he said something about the marriage relationship, he meant it, and does not mean for you to change it to suit your current desires. 

2. Love God, love your neighbor as yourself.  Luke 10:27   So simple, yet so hard. What do I want for me?  Love, patience, faithfulness, kindness, forgiveness, respect, the list could go on and on.  I want for my husband not to expect perfection from me, so why on earth should I expect it from him?

3. Be grateful for God's mercy.  God says in Colossians 3:15 to be thankful.   This is hard sometimes, because we should be thankful for everything, not just the "good" things. 

I am thankful that God does not hide his wisdom from us, but he lays it out quite simply in his Word. 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Del Coronado Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort, a (mock) review

Last year we visited the Grand Floridian resort in Orlando.  No, we didn't actually stay there, we just walked around the grounds and checked out the lobby.
The grounds and lobby of the Grand are indeed grand.  The hotel is massive, consisting of several buildings.  The landscaping is done to perfection.   The Lobby is also massive, with a huge atrium ceiling.  The decor was Victorian, also done to perfection.  There is at least a piano player, but usually a band playing.

A few weeks ago, we had the great privilege of visiting the famous Del Coronado resort on Coronado Island in San Diego.  Again, we did not actually stay there.  We just walked around the grounds and through the lobby.
The outside of the hotels are similar, but the Del Coronado seems like a hotel that started smaller, and grew as the need arose.  The lobby was smaller than the Grand, and quite darker.  The only music was the 80's rock coming over the speakers.  The landscaping was ok.  I was expecting more.  As for the shops, well, they were expensive in both!


So, here is my recommendation. ;)  
If you are going for the weather, choose the Del.  If you are going for the hotel, choose the Grand.
It is my desire one day to actually stay at either or both of these fine establishments and give you a real review.  If anyone is hiring a wanna-be hotel critic, I am up for the job!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A homemaking link up!

Go here for a fun homemaking link-up at Raising Homemakers.

Insecurities about Homemaking

I love Pinterest.  That is, I love it until I hate it because I know that I can never do all that cool stuff.  Not only in decorating, cooking, and DIY, there are also how-tos for homemaking.  Menu-planning lists and shopping lists and cleaning lists.  It's all overwhelming, and I feel like a failure.

For some reason, I don't like too many lists.  I think that I feel like I am setting myself up for failure, but making a list of things that I might not get done. Same thing goes for "systems".

I think that feeling like a failure is not what God had in mind for me. Or you for that matter. I truly believe that God wants me to be happy and fulfilled in my own homemaking style, whatever that is.  I need to find what works for me and do it to the best of my ability.  He wants me to be a confident, successful homemaker, making a peaceful place for me and my family to be together.

I am still a bit jealous of all you homemakers who "have it all together", and I will read all the posts about how to do something.  But I will not allow my lack of certain talents to ruin the good thing I have going here, in my own little corner of the world.



Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;  

  Eccl. 9:10

Job

I have been reading the book of Job, which is not an easy thing to do.  That is why it is good to read according to a schedule, that way you don't skip the hard parts.

Anyway, one of the most applicable things I read in Job is not to assume anything about anyone else.  Job's three "friends" thought that they knew for sure why he was suffering, and didn't mind giving Job a piece of their mind.   They were wrong, of course.

Dear Lord, help me to keep my mouth shut, and control the thoughts in my mind.  Help me to be discerning in what I say, so that my words are helpful, encouraging and truthful.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Trusting God

This is Vanessa, my six-year-old.  Since my other kids are older, and not always around, it's often just me and Vanessa.  Sometimes we have to run to the store (in the van, of course. I don't run) for some little item.  Vanessa will often ask if I am going to leave her in the car.  I have never, ever left her alone in the car.  Ever.  So it is weird that she would ask, and honestly, its slightly insulting.

I guess that's how God must feel when we ask him if he's going to help us with something, or mourn because we feel like he isn't doing anything.  He has never left me alone. Ever.  He has a plan and a time table.  For my own peace of mind, I must not question that. Its insulting to my Father.

Our Church

For the past four years, this has been our home, the Spanish church of Tucson Baptist Temple.  My husband, Neil, is the Spanish pastor under Pastor Brent Armstrong.

This ministry has been so different from our missionary work, but very rewarding.  As a missionary, my husband had to do everything, from preaching to maintenance.  Now, there is a whole team of ministers and staff, all working together for the glory of God. I teach a ladies'  Sunday School class, play the piano and teach kid's choir.  Ronnie works in the sound booth, and Vanessa, well, she just looks cute, but doesn't get a lot done!  We miss Eileen, who is a freshman at West Coast Baptist College.  She was such a great help in the church.

Thank you, Lord for allowing us the privilege of serving you!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Israel!


This is the view from Mt Precipice, where the men of Nazareth took Jesus to throw him over.  That behind us is the valley of Armageddon.  So incredibly awesome.  Can't wait to go back next year.

My Grandma

So blessed to be able to visit with my Grandma.

Marching on in the wake of discouragement

   We march on!  No plodding along, not dragging our feet, not whining, complaining or spending the afternoon at a pity party.

   I have seen so many people around me going through tremendous trials. We belong to a large Church, and since we are in the Spanish Church, sometimes its weeks before I find out that a friend has been suffering a disappointment or huge trial.  As I see my sisters around me going through so many things, I am often at a loss as to what to say.  Sometimes a hug is just what they need, or a shoulder to cry on.

   But after the tears, I try to encourage them to march on!  As the song says, "God never moves without purpose or plan, when trying his servant, or molding a man".    My friend's father was admitted to the hospital with blood clots in his lungs.  She was afraid of the possibilities that faced her father.  My pastor/husband went to visit him at the hospital to witness once again to this man whom we have known for years.  That night, my friend's father became a believer in Christ.   God allowed this man to be put into a position to listen!  You know what?  He's still in the hospital, slowly growing in his young faith.  I told his daughters how pleased I was that he was still in the hospital.  I know that sounds weird, but being in the hospital  gives him the chance to mull over his decision before going back out into the world and his old life.

  How much change and growth we would miss if we didn't go through trials and tribulations!  As the years go by, I can see more clearly the attacks of the evil one, and I realize that they are opportunities to grow and give the glory to God.  Forgive me Lord when I allow disappointments and trials to make me lose my joy.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sad News

I have been in California for the past 4 days, without a lot of internet.  As you can imagine, I was shocked and horrified about Josh Duggar's confession of adultery. Mostly because of the adultery, but disgusted at the hypocrisy brought about by a love of money (in my opinion).  I mean, if a non-believer wants to cheat, he'll cheat.  No one really thinks less of him as a person.  But in Christian circles, adultery is a still a biggie, and quite a disqualifier.   If you can't be faithful, then you can't lead others in a fight for fidelity.  Plain and simple.

Although I have never been a big fan of the show,  my heart breaks for Anna and her children, and for the rest of the family.  I am not very sorry for those who were "in the know" and continued to perpetuate a false image of purity and innocence.

Is purity even attainable?  Is it worth it?  Don't all those wackos who preach purity end up in pornography or worse? Yes, yes, and absolutely not.  God said "Be ye holy".    The problem is when my quest for purity is for my own glory and/or wealth.  My God is a Jealous God and will not share his glory with another. If our motives are not pure, I do not believe that He will help us live in purity, and we can surely not achieve or maintain it on our own.

A man has fallen/jumped into sin.  Thank goodness we follow Christ, and not man.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Successful Parenting




What is successful parenting? Well, I guess that depends on what your goals are for your children.  Are you into sports?  Then I guess success means that your child becomes a professional athlete.  Success may mean that your child becomes a lawyer or a doctor.
 
  What if they don't make it to the Big Leagues?  What if she never becomes a rich doctor or a leading scientist? What if he doesn't fulfill all of your hopes and dreams?  Does that make you a failure as a parent?

What if your idea of success is a healthy child?  There are many American mamas that are obsessed with their child's health.  They tightly control their child's food and activities.  What happens if they should become ill with some horrible disease?  Does that make Mama a failure?

We all want what is best for our children.  We want them to be healthy, wealthy and wise.  We want them to be popular and well-liked.  We want them to be happy.

What I want is for my kids is for them to know that they are loved.  By God and by us, their parents.  They should know that we will try to instill the necessary discipline in them so that they can achieve whatever it is that God has for them, and the wisdom to follow God's will for their lives.

I also want them to know that I like them  I like being with them.  I like watching TV with them.  I love going to Disneyland with them.  There are no other people we would rather spend our time with than them.  We are not perfect parents, and only time will tell if we have been successful, but we love our kids.  If they know that, deep down inside, than I will be a happy mama.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Vacation

We had an amazing time.  First, we went to San Diego.  I had never been to San Diego as a vacation destination, and I am sorry now for that.  San Diego is beautiful.  The weather was indescribably lovely, especially when you consider that I live in the desert.

We started our journey very early, as we wanted to take advantage of the day.  The drive over was just as yucky as you might expect.  We did stop in Santee to see the Creation Museum.  That was very interesting.  Especially so was the Tabernacle that they had there.  Not exactly creation-related, but very Tom Cantor-related, so it made sense.  The symbolism in the Tabernacle is so powerful.

We then went to check in to our hotel, a very "iffy" Days Inn.  Ronnie got bitten by who-knows-what on the sofa bed.

We went to the beach to look around, as you can see above. We walked around Belmont Park, and that was fun.  We wanted to eat some of the junk food there, but we waited, as we were going to the Corvette Diner later.  We drove over to Coronado Island to check out the beaches there.  I want to live on Coronado Island!  The houses were beautiful and charming.  I've already checked out the prices.  We can buy a lovely one-bedroom cottage for 1.2 million. (!)  We also walked around the Del Coronado hotel.

We went to the Corvette Diner, which is really cool, except that we were really tired by then and the music was really loud.  It seems like a really fun place and the food was excellent.

The next day was spent getting sunburned. We ate at the Coyote Cafe in Old Town.  It was so good! Fresh, house-made tortillas were awesome!  Seems to be a "thing" here in San Diego, as I saw several restaurants with tortilla-makers out front making fresh, hot tortillas for people to buy or sample.  We walked around the museums of Old Town, which totally fascinates me.  Not so much my family, so we didn't linger at all the different places so much.  So ended the San Diego portion of our trip, and I was sad to leave.  We decided that we are coming back to this lovely place and spend some more time.

Taking vacations is not budget-friendly. That being said, there are times when there are more important things than the budget. My husband, as a pastor, has a job that is rewarding and demanding at the same time.  And he would have it no other way.  Occasionally, though, it is good and necessary to come away and just be with family.  Our kids blossom under the undivided attention of their father.  So, I'll have to take on a few more mystery shopping jobs, big deal. It was worth it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How can I help stop abortion?




As Christian, as humans, we must believe that abortion is murder.   However, I am concerned.  All this uproar and outrage about selling parts of aborted babies is right and good.  But why now?  Isn't it just as bad to throw them into the trash or incinerator?

What to do?  We can't count on our politicians to do anything about it.  There are not enough real Christians in Congress to even be able to begin a debate about de-funding Planned Parenthood. Does marching in a protest help? It does make our voice heard, but no one is listening.

What can I do?  Volunteer in a pregnancy crisis center.  Want to do even more?  Go soul-winning!  Witness!  Share the gospel!  Get involved in your church's youth ministry.  Help your youth Pastor. Don't have a teen in the group? No problem!  Sponsor teens for camps and events.  Help with the youth group's outreach programs. Reach out to at-risk youth.  Young people who are saved and serving in their church are much less likely to even be in a position to want an abortion.  As someone wise once said, "It better to place a fence at the top of the hill, than an ambulance at the bottom".  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Amy Carmichael quote





Let us not be surprised 
when we have to face difficulties. 
When the wind blows hard on a tree,
 the roots stretch and grow the stronger,
 Let it be so with us. 
Let us not be weaklings, 
yielding to every wind that blows, 
but strong in spirit to resist.









People's minds are changed through observation 
and not through argument.



Nehemiah!

I have been teaching from the book of Nehemiah for the past two weeks.  In this photo, supposedly, if you look down to the bottom, you can see part of the wall of Jerusalem that was constructed at that time.  I don't know if that's true, but it is a wall, and it is in Jerusalem, so I'll take it!

One thing that impresses me about Nehemiah was his patience.  He didn't just jump in and take over.  He waited, then he observed before making known what he wanted to do.  In my class of women, we know firsthand the pitfalls of jumping in impulsively to "help".  So often we make the mess worse by not observing and praying about how best to help.  I am so happy that the Word of God can teach us, not only how to be saved, but how to live here!

Lord, teach me patience and the skill of observation.  Help me to trust difficult situations to You, and not heed the urge to rush into situations without Your leading. 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Clean and Shiny



Its all clean!    That won't mean anything to many, but it means so much to me.  I was so busy today.  Between babysitting and teaching piano, carting Ronnie to work and taking Eileen to AT&T,  today was hectic.  In another time, I would have felt so overwhelmed that I would have left the mess for tomorrow.  I would have felt like a failure in spite of all that I had accomplished.  Thanks to the tools I get (for free) from Flylady, I will go to bed with the knowledge that the kitchen, the heart of my home, is clean and ready for a new day.  Its rarely this neat during the day, I mean, we live and eat here.  But, at least for a few hours, peace reigns in Rhonda's kitchen.

"How to change the whole look of your house, for free!"

I just read that title on one of my favorite blogs, Money Saving Mom.  I didn't read the post, but I got to thinking about the title.

My mom is trying to sell her house.  In preparation for that, they have cleaned, fixed, decluttered and painted.  They have also "staged" the house for the pictures that will go on the Realtor's website.  I asked her if she was having second thoughts about selling, now that the house is cleaned, fixed, decluttered and painted.  She ruefully said yes.   Its not that she doesn't want to sell her house, its just that it looks really good now.  I know the feeling.  We fix up our house or car to please someone else.  Why didn't we do it for ourselves?  Don't we deserve to live in a beautiful environment?  I am trying to keep the house clean and neat, not for anyone else, but for me and my family.  I owe it to us to make our home as beautiful as I can.  Its our home, and its where we live.

Do it my way

Or, do whatever floats your boat.

It seems like there are two (at least two) camps of thought.  One is that there are those of us that like to tell others what to do and how to do it. My way is the right and only way. The other is the "live and let live, we're both right" idea.  While it's easier to get along with others when you live and let live, it's not true that we are all right.  We're all usually right about something and we're all probably really wrong about something else.

I hate being wrong.  OK, I said it. I like being right.  I hate to be corrected....at first.  Then I have to ask myself if I am so proud as to think that I know and do everything the right way. I sure hope not. And from whom should I take instruction?  From anyone who knows more than I do about a particular subject.

Humility is required to receive instruction.  That is a great thing because God gives grace to the humble.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The fastest way...

....to get people to see the love of God is to smile at them.  Not a fake smile, but a real one, knowing that what you have inside is going to make all the difference in the world to them.

On the other hand, if someone tried to tell you the Good New about Jesus, and wasn't smiling at some point, wouldn't that make you just a little suspicious about the sincerity of their message?

What I have been teaching

I have a ladies' Bible class that I teach on Sunday mornings.  I love teaching Bible classes.  The best part is that I am teaching many women who did not grow up in Sunday School.  Why is that good?  Because I get to be the one to teach them the stories of the Bible.  Sure, most of them have heard about many characters in the Bible, but most couldn't tell me the stories.  So it has been a blast, being a story-teller along with teacher.  We had the most fun with the stories from the book of Esther.  I read the story straight from Scripture, and then dramatize bits and pieces.

Last week, we started the book of Nehemiah.   I love the book of Nehemiah! My mother first taught-shared with me about Nehemiah. There is so much to learn for our lives today.  Last month, at Spiritual Leadership Conference, R.B Ouellette preached on Nehemiah, and it was so good.  So, I am pumped about sharing this with my ladies!

What is interesting to me about what I love or what I think is interesting is that it seems as much related to the teacher as to the subject.  If you have a teacher that is excited and passionate about algebra, anyone can learn to like algebra.  That is the kind of teacher that I always want to be.  One that is truly excited about sharing life-changing truth from God's word.  Nothing phony, nothing bland.  I want to be able to shine the necessary light on so that God's words show in all their glory.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My current favorite





I post this every once in a while on my Facebook just because I love it.

Here are the lyrics.

Every power on earth and in heav'n 
is a shadow in His light
No authority, law or government
Challenges His sovereign might
His reign and rule have no boundary
All that is, His hands have wrought
Nothing ever can, nothing ever will,

 overcome the Lord our God


We are well aware, we were orphans once, 

Bent and broken in our shame
Then He sought us out and adopted us
And now we bear his royal Name
Every sin or crime we have ever done,

 Is no match for Jesus' blood
Nothing ever can, nothing ever will, 

Overcome the Lord our God 

We are rescued out of darkest night, 

Free from Satan's evil hold
And the Kingdom of our Savior's light, 

Is our souls' eternal home
Though the enemy tries to steal and kill, 

What the death of Christ has bought
Nothing ever can, nothing ever will, 

Overcome the Lord our God

Our God is victorious He always wins, 

He always wins
In love He reigns over us, He always wins, He always wins



We, the church, declare Jesus Christ is king, 

For He conquered death, once for all
We will live in light of His victory, 

Following His gospel call
And when the story ends, we know Jesus wins, 

For his power cannot be stopped
Nothing ever can, nothing ever will, 

Overcome the Lord our God

My Bloggy intentions





Why do I blog?  Well, sometimes its just nice to express yourself.  However, since blogs eventually get read by someone, I should have a plan of sorts.

My Goals

1. To encourage Christian women in their walk with the Lord and their ministry to their families.

2. To encourage non-believers to get to know Christ.


My desire is that this would be a place to find biblical encouragement and practical ideas for life.  I did an online test yesterday.  It says that I am type-A.  I find that hard to believe since most type-A's out there seem to have it all together and they seem to prosper.  I feel like I do a lot of stuff but I am not great at anything.  I am not trying to be self-deprecating, but I often feel jealous of people who are really good at stuff.  I don't have any particularly marketable skills.  That being said, I am an eternal optimist, trying my hand at different things and being open to learn a variety of skills.  I don't mind failing, and I don't mind not being perfect.  I may be featured in the Pinterest "Fails" but I am sure I had a lot of fun trying!

New series in my Sunday School class




I had the privilege of teaching this in English this past Spring.   Now I will start in my Ladies' class in Spanish on Sunday mornings.    I really like the idea that we are and we behave the way we choose.  We decide.  For better or for worse, in obedience or not.  The choice is yours!



Why I take pictures of my sink

I am sure my Facebook friends cannot comprehend why on earth I would take multiple pictures of a clean, empty sink.   For my Flybaby friends, this is a badge of honor, a joy, and an accomplishment. Ridiculous, you say?  Not to me.  Not when I get up and see the possibilities of the great day ahead, and not the remnants and drudgery of yesterday.

BTW, I really like the new technology.  I can take a photo with my phone, and then upload it directly  to Blogger.  Loving it!

My Bible reading.

As with one of my original posts on my original blog, I will share with you my daily Bible reading.
I read the One Year Bible.  This format has been with me for many years and I still love it.  One change, though, I read it online now.

What's more, what I really like to do, is to go really early to the gym, workout, and then while I get a 10 minute hydro-massage, I read my daily reading on my phone.  Talk about blissful multitasking!

One of the things that is encouraging about Flylady is that she tells you to jump in wherever you are and start from there.  I say the same thing about the Scripture.  Don't wait for New Year's to start reading through the Bible.  Jump in wherever you are and read!

Things I am still doing. Flylady!



Since it has been more that six years since actively blogging, I was thinking about the things that have changed, and things that have stayed exactly the same.  Flylady is still my "friend" and encourager.

Homemaking is still a passion for me.  Not that I am great at it, to the contrary.  However, I am still passionate about the fact that homemaking is such an important ministry to ourselves and our families.  A clean, peaceful home can do wonders for each member of the family.  Flylady is my coach and cheerleader.  I still don't do the Flylady system perfectly, but what I benefit greatly from is the spirit and attitude that Flylady teaches.  Sink Reflections is her book, and I highly recommend it!

Finally, back to Blogging! I hope.

I don't know if anyone can relate, but, I cannot go back and continue my old blog, because I cannot remember my login information.  Isn't that ridiculous?  I had an older email address, which I can't remember, and it's not even worth trying.  I guess it's God's way of telling me to start over.

Our lives are drastically changed.  We no longer live in Chile.  We now serve God in Arizona.  What a change! Climate-wise, it couldn't be more different.  My husband is pastoring a Spanish congregation in a larger English church.  More on that later.

Since the birth of our last daughter, I have not had the time nor the inclination to blog.  And with the rise of Facebook, things have changed.  But I have been feeling the need to write things that aren't really Facebook posts.  Therefore, a new blog is born.  Just as in the beginning of the first on, I wonder if I will get any readers or followers.  I wonder why I should even care.  Not that I don't care about people, because I do, its just that I need to care more about pleasing God, than getting "followers".  Does that make sense?

If for nothing else, I will have my blogs as a journal that my children can read one day to know more about what was going on in their Mother's mind!