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


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


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


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.


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.