..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Who Do You Say I am?"

I am reading through a book called "Speaking Mom-ese" by Lisa Welchel. It is a short devotional book with ispirational thoughts, prayers, and reflections. As I was reading this mornings reflection I was really challenged by a reference she made to a bible study by T.W. Hunt called Disciples Prayer Life. In this book you are challenged to reflect on your relationship with God and the way you identify yourself with him i.e. master to servant, teacher to student, coach to team member, etc...

At the end of the chapter you are encouraged to rewrite Psalm 23 from your own perspestive, using the relationship you identified as your unique prayer identity with the Lord. I was so encouraged by Lisa's reflection on Psalm 23 as she identifed with the Lord as her "daddy."

Here is Psalm 23 from her perspective:

The Lord is my Daddy,
I will be loved and adored.
I crawl up into his lap
and am safely wrapped in his arms.

I lay my head against his heart
and find rest for my mind body and soul.
I learn to trust.
I take his hand; he takes mine,
and we walk together through my life.
Surely I will face fear, hurt, disappointment, and loss,
but you are bigger than any ugly monster hiding under my bed.
I will not be afraid of the dark because you are the Light.

I don't even think about tomorrow,
what I will eat, wear, or where I will live,
because you are my Abba.
I don't need to worry;
you will take good care of me--I am your little girl!

You are the Father of my future,
and You have blessings and hope planned for me.
You enjoy giving me good gifts.
I make you smile when I dance
with giddy thanksgiving in your presence.

As I read over her personalization of this Psalm I was really moved by it's sweetness and innocence. At one time I feel like I viewed God in this way but over time my view has changed. Experiences have broadened my perspective so that I identify with God in different ways depending on the season of life I am in. I think this is true for all of us....yet while I was reading over Lisa's Psalm it really made me long for more of a relationship like this. To crawl into my "daddy's" lap and bury my head in his chest as he protects me from the "monsters under my bed," simply because I am his little girl.

He said to them, "but who do you say that I am?" Matthew 16:15

So, who do you say He is??

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Isabella's Princess Birthday Party!

Where has the time gone! I can't believe Isabella is already 3yrs old! This year we had a "princess/pirate party!" The girls dressed in their favorite princess gown and the boys dressed up as pirates..."arrghh matie!" We even had a little cat walk where the kids were announced as princesses or pirates from their respective land (their last name). Tim had fun adding animated commentary from their earrings, to sparkling shoes and or captain hook, while parents snapped pictures! We also had a castle moon walk set up in the back yard and had the kids hunt for pirate money--gold coins hidden throughout the yard in order to help the princess collect her taxes. We had lots of fun despite the rain which ended up sending us inside a little early!

It was so neat seeing Isabella get into her party this year. We had a blast shopping together for all of her princess and pirate paraphernalia. She had fun picking out which princess invitations she wanted along with the matching plates and napkins; which by the way I knew was going to be cinderella. She also helped pick out some fun party goodies for her princess and pirate friends!

Here are some fun pics from her party!

Isabella, the birthday princess!

Isa and Papi

Luke...argghhh matie!

Asher the pirate!

Princess Sydney

More Princesses and Pirates!

Quick, let's jump before it rains...

Group pic after the catwalk

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

First Step Towards Adoption!

We did it! We submitted in our application for adoption! So many feelings but most of all we’re excited! Tim and I have always known that we wanted to adopt but what really confirmed the desire God had already placed in our hearts was becoming parents to two beautiful little girls of our own.

After doing a little research and discovering the need my heart became so deeply burdened to share with another little boy or girl what my two little girls have so graciously been blessed with. I know we cannot save the world but we can make a difference in one life…and God can do so much more!

We finally settled on an organization. We don’t know what to expect but are really looking forward to what God has in store! We know that God has been preparing our hearts so we’re trusting his timing and his provision in this process.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I was worried...but God had a plan all along!

I still have to be beat over the head sometimes before I FINALLY get it! But thank God for his patience, love and mercy. Transitioning to being at home meant leaving a job, a ministry that I passionately loved! It was through CARES that God really grew and stretched me. It was there that I really began to discover for the first time what my gifts are. Though I had years and years of intense fear when it came to public speaking, (or doing anything for that matter in front of a large crowd) I was for the first time discovering that I actually loved speaking/training.

I was enjoying what I was doing and had finally come to the place where I felt like I had "just taken off"...I was flying! As I was challenged with letting go and staying home, I couldn't help but wonder….what now? What do I do with all of the things that I have learned? How do I continue sharpening the gifts that God has given me? As I poured out my heart and brought these questions before the Lord, I knew that though the whole picture was not completely clear, I was going to have to let go and "trust" Him. So the real question for me was how much did I trust God?

I have recently seen God's answer to my prayers and am once again in such awe of his goodness and faithfulness. There I was one day surfing the net when I came across the Dale Carnegie website and I realized this is exactly what I have been looking for. It is a training center for people who want to improve their leadership, communications, and presentation skills, etc… I couldn't believe it! This was exactly what I needed…an avenue to keep learning and sharpening the gifts God has given me. As I read over the website, two pressing questions came to mind 1) how much is it? and 2.) how much time would it involve?

To my surprise, my friend Sheila, who sings with me on the worship team at church called me up and asked me what my interest was in Dale Carnegie because she had seen the interest forms I had completed on-line. I was a little confused at first until she reminded me that she worked in the sales department at Dale Carnegie. I couldn't believe it! I knew that Sheila worked at a "communication training center," but it never really clicked.

Following our conversation, Sheila set up an interview with the president and because of her, I was blessed with a scholarship for the Dale Carnegie Humans Relations Class. This class was 12 weeks long and met only once a week for 3.5hrs…very doable and easy on family time! I began the class right away and shortly into the course, I was invited to train as a Dale Carnegie Instructor.

Once I become a certified instructor, I can choose to teach as little as one to five days a week...the schedule is completely up to me! This was an answer to my prayers. Not only do I have the opportunity to continue sharpening my communication skills, but in addition I get to earn a little "mad money" doing something that I love...all without compromising my ministry to my family!

Looking back I realize that I would not have been able to take advantage of this awesome opportunity had I still been working, simply because between work and family there were just not enough hours in the day. I can't help but see how silly I was and how much worrying I was doing for absolutely nothing. I can see that God was at work all along and that he was moving me according to the plans he has for me.

Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." One night when I saying bed time prayers with Isabella, I asked God to give her an obedient heart that trust her mommy to know what is best for her. It was at that moment that I was gently reminded that God desires the same from me…a heart that is motivated to respond in obedience, even though I cannot see what the road ahead looks like. Only a surrendered heart that is secure in the Father's love for them can trust that God "knows best."

Thank you Jesus for this gentle reminder. Give me too a heart of obedience that trusts you!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What...I'm a Stay at Home Mom Now?

With the birth of our second child, Elianna Michelle, I transitioned to being a "stay at home mom" in November of 06. It has been quite an adjustment for me, but has been oh so good. Before I decided to stay home, I questioned why it had to be me to stay home. I mean after all, I went to college and worked just as hard as Tim to get my degree. I was doing full time ministry just like Tim and loved my job….so why did it have to be me who had to stay home? As much as I was wrestling with these questions before God, I couldn’t deny the tug on my heart to stay home. However, I wanted to make sure it was the Holy Spirit and not just guilt as it is so easy to compare yourself to other moms around you. I didn’t want to stay home simply because it was the “Churchy” thing to do or because I felt pressure from other stay at home moms. I wanted a vision for motherhood. I wanted to own this decision. I began to ask God to make this real in my heart...to change my views of motherhood. Let me tell you, he has done just that. I am realizing that being a mom is both the toughest job I will ever have and the highest position I will ever hold.

The work is never done—it requires more hours than the 24 that are given to us each day
It requires more patience than the average person possess
You don’t get time off
You don’t get paid vacation
You always work overtime
You don’t get a pat on the back or a raise for a job well done
You are never first, but always last
You don’t carry a fancy title like CEO or Director Of.....and the world does not esteem you

The sacrifice is steep…but the rewards are so great! Being a mom is the highest position I will ever hold because no one on this planet can love my children the way I do. No one can fill this role except for me. Because of that, God is showing me that I am able to be the greatest influencer in the lives of my children. Wow!! This is a job description that only I can fill...that’s a huge responsibility and one that I don’t take lightly.

Recently I have learned a few new things about the Proverbs 31 woman that I found to be so relevant for the season that I'm in. For those of you who know me, you know that I love to read. I go on and on about this book called "Taking Care of the Me in Mommy" by Lisa Welchel because she is awesome and has an amazing insight into motherhood! In this book as well as her other book "Speaking Mom-ese," she shares insight into the proverbs 31 woman that I have never heard before. It was really profound! Here are two new principles that I have learned that have been so significant in my journey.

1.) We all know that the Proverbs 31 woman sets a high standard for us all, but what I am beginning to understand more and more is that over the course of our life God brings us through different seasons. I am convinced that she did all of those awesome things over the “course of her entire life,” not all in one sitting. And with every new season she had different priorities. Some took precedence over previous priorities depending on the season that God had her in. The key for her as it should be for us is prioritizing!
Realizing this really helped relieve a lot of unnecessary stress as I struggled to balance it all career, family, and etc... This revelation was instrumental in helping me make the decision to stay home. For my family and I, we saw this season as a time where my first and primary priority would be to be at home full time.

2.) The Proverbs 31 woman appears "flawless" to us because her beauty and accompishments are not only done over many different seasons, but they were unveiled through the loving eyes of our heavenly father. You see, he sees his beautiful daughter who is perfect before him because of the blood of Jesus Christ. And as any loving parent would respond when asked about their child, he tells of all the good and the beauty of his child because that is how he truly sees her. Isn't that a beautiful picture of his mercy and grace that is extended to us....His beautiful daughters!

Today, I have a greater vision in partnering with God to raise little passionate followers that know, love and obey his word. What a great calling…it’s a different definition of success than what I’ve always known…and I’m constantly battling old voices in my head. But I am becoming increasingly aware that God wants to use this season of motherhood as the backdrop by which He“makes a way in the desert,” to bring about “springs in the wastelands” of my life. I’m excited at where God has me and embrace this season with a surrendered and expectant heart!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Elianna's First Birthday!

We celebrated your birthday at your Aunt Mono and Uncle Jerry's House. They have a huge yard and great swimming pool. All of your family and close friends were there to help us celebrate the first year of your life! We are so proud of you and the way that you are growing!

The Birthday Girl!

Mom, this stuff is good....
you've been holding out on me

My First Pinata

Me and Papi

Look papaw, my first ball cap...and it's pink!