Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Preparation

It is here. The Christmas festivities begin, and you begin to wonder why you don't feel all light and fluffy inside because of it. We decorated the house and our tree yesterday. So, it should have been a wonderful day, right? No, it wasn't. In fact, it was a rare day that Reson was having a "bad" day. It is so like Satan to do that.

So, needless to say, yesterday did not go as planned, however Luk has a great way of reminding us of how wonderful our life really is even when your planned day goes all over the place (which confuses my organized self). This is the first year that I have ever had a star as a the tree topper. I am used to this wonderfully plain angel that my mom has had for years. I love it. So, it was not easy for me to give that spot up. However, Luk said," The star tells us that Jesus is here!" He's right, isn't? Jesus is the whole purpose for our celebration of Christmas, and he wanted to make that clear.

Luk also picked out this ornament.
I'm thinking his decision in this ornament is 1) Daddy is the Youth Pastor. 2) We go there all the time. 3) It represents where he learns more about God. These are all things he mentioned while I asked him about this choice. What I love about my son is that he knows the truth behind Christmas, but he still knows how to have fun with the spirit of Santa Claus.
If you ask him, he will say: 1) Santa is dead. He fell off a roof. (per "The Santa Clause") 2) He is pretend. 3) He is St. Nick, a real man that gave gifts to orphans. It has been fun hearing his explanations for this Santa guy.

We had fun with out house decorations, here they are so that you may enjoy them:

Why no Santa? Well, we wanted Luk to appreciate the real reason behind Christmas. He has been taught about Saint Nicholas, and that he was a man that gave to children in orphanages. He knows that through that parents give to their children, however for us Christians there is more to that story. We honor the coming of our Savior. We remember the prophecies being fulfilled. So, he gets gifts as a remembrance of Christ birth. May I also say that this reduces the amount of gifts we have to buy, too. Which is very nice! So... I leave with this:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Take Everything Concert was

worth every bit of stress, time, and effort that was put into it. Were there 800 people? No. Did we sell out? No. However, the 325 people that were there got to learn about the importance of amazing ministries like Compassion International and hearing that God loves them. We had 15 Compassion children sponsored, and there were 57 decisions made that night. It was emotional to see these people that live right down the road from you share that they have struggled with suicide, worthless, and loneliness. Needless to say, we will definitely be doing a concert again because the people in our community are hurting, many cannot go to other locations for these events, and what a wonderful ministry to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is a glimpse into that night:

Stage Crew: Awesome group of guys that helped lift, carry, and move 600lb speakers/equipment.

Isaac: SDS, not only friendly but has the the gift of encouragement sound and production man.

Joseph listening in during the sound check.

 Chris Greenwood aka MANAFEST: He has such a great caring personality.

We took this picture to send to a friend of ours that wanted to take Chris to Sonic. We were letting him know that wasn't happening. =) They did get to chat before the concert, though. See we weren't that mean.

Her husband, Mark.

Then Matt and Mat.

Two of my wonderful WOW ladies, Joleyna and Linda with Joseph's mom, Mary. She is an incredibly sweet woman. 

Mitch and Jennifer at the Compassion booth. We love our pastor and his wife. They are so supportive of Reson and me. We couldn't ask to work with anyone better.

SDS: Joseph




Worship: I love this picture.

This was the majority of those that worked hard for me the day of the concert. They were such a blessing to me. I am grateful for their love, prayers, and support to make this event a success. Now... let's do it again...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shutterfly’s Holiday Card Promotion

I’m really excited to do this Shutterfly Promotion. As a past costumer of Shutterfly. I love having the variety of card choice and the ease of adding the photos that are near and dear to my heart. This year’s cards in the running are the following, and you may just be lucky enough to get my handsome broad in your mailbox. Here are some of my favorite cards that Shutterfly offers:

This first choice is mainly because it is so "classic;" who doesn't love this movie:

Get this one here

The next choice would be because we are a Christian family, and the only reason we celebrate this Holiday is to honor His birth and fulfillment of the prophecies!
Get this one here

Here is a fun card, that I really enjoy for six reasons. Polka dot tree, polka dot tree, polka dot tree, polka dot tree, polka dot tree, and last but least polka dot tree!
Get this one here 
 Another fun card because I'd like to think of us as a fun family, so this is one that I really enjoy!

Get this one here

And last... I love angels. Our Christmas Tree ornaments are all angels. Here it is:
Get this one here

Shutterfly has other things like Mugs that I find to be a great Christmas present for anyone in your family. Take a look:
Get this one here

What an exciting time of the year. It is a great time to catch people up on how your children and family are doing. I know that we are!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Faith in Take Everything

Yes, it is obvious. God is in Control. Yes, but for someone that likes to plan everything and dot the "i" and cross the "t" this is testing the faith for me. The fact that Reson and I are the promoters for the Take Everything concert with Seventh Day Slumber, Manafest, and The Letter Black is a bit intimidating.

There are a few things to consider in this, really.
1) Getting everything the band is asking for, making sure they are happy with where you have them for the evening, and that they want to come back
2) God makes it known clearly that this is what you are to do, but everything is not going the way you thought.
3) You want to show God's glory through this, and you can't see the whole picture yet.

Caleb Chapman says it best; when you are going through things in life you are so close to the painting you can't make a thing out, but as life and time goes on you are stepping back seeing more of the picture. That's how it has been for Reson and I with this event planning.

Yes, this is event was/is taking all the proceeds made and going towards a Foreign Missions trip in 2012, but the bigger picture here is that Joseph Rojas has a story to tell of God's deliverance and mercy. There will be lives touched if not changed completely by what is going to coming to Wauchula November 20. The song "Take Everything" is so solid. It is so passionate. Take a look at the lyrics:

Another melody
Another empty song
I tell myself that
I have praised you
And try and make believe
This is all you want
But once again
I know I’ve missed it
Praising you is not just the songs I sing
Jesus here I am
Take everything

Take the pain inside
Take the brokenness
Don’t stop til there’s nothing left
My arrogance
My pride
The loss of innocence
Jesus, take everything

There’s nothing left I need
That’s when I feel alive
Holy Spirit fall
Fresh upon me
You can have it all

Wow, complete surrendering to God. That is what this event is about. As I fight my anxiety this morning for my list of things of perfecting this event. God is looking at me saying, "Seek me. I have it all. I have an inner peace that this is going to be perfect for the way God has it planned. I know it. I feel it. The anxiety is more out of nervous excitement to what God has in store for this. I am trying to prepare for it, but I'm not sure that my human capacity can comprehend it all. I'm too close to the painting. I can't wait. This is really going to show the glory of God more than I can imagine. Why do a concert to raise money? Why not a car wash, a bake sale, or even a yard sale? Because I have learned through this and through reading other mentors' blogs that it's not about the money. No, it's not. It's about the fact that God is going to be glorified more than what I could have done in those other things.

Our live is to glorify Him. What can we do to show His glory. For us in this season, it is bringing Seventh Day Slumber here.

You take a step of faith like this and God shows you some amazing things.
Even if only 10 people show up, where two or more are gathered in His name He will present. He will be glorified. We will be blessed by it.

I highly recommend seeing a video that we have posted on our website about Joseph Rojas and his story. www.echohistruth.com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Apologetics 101

1) What did God say to Adam and Eve when they ate from the fruit?
2) Why do we sin?
3) Is Satan red?
4) What does Satan look like?
5) Will we be put back into our bodies after Jesus comes back?
6) Do Heaven's gates close if we don't have Jesus in our hearts?
7) When will Jesus come back?
8) What if we aren't ready?
9) Are their ghosts?
10) Was Satan an angel?
11) Did Adam and Eve have kid after kid, and they had kid after kid to populate the world?
12) How did God make Adam and Eve?
13) Will the world in 2012?

This is just a few (yes, just a few) of the question my class of second to fifth graders asked me tonight in our Wednesday night Bible Study class. If there is one thing I can say about these kids is that they have tons of question, they want the answers, and they hear ALOT of things from their FRIENDS! There were many times before they asked a question that the kids said, "Well, my friend said this..."

I think it is important to make clear that if you do not talk about these things in your home, your children WILL hear their friends' opinions and others. I'm not too sure you want that if you are a devoted Christian. If there is one thing I have a strict policy on is that I tell the truth especially when it comes to teaching the Bible. There are many times that I can look back at my classes, and think man, no one said the BAD stuff.

I have to start by saying that this all came from teaching about Jeremiah. He was "the weeping prophet," and he was called at a young age by God to tell Israel and Judah that through their division, they would be disciplined by God.  As we discussed this it turned into Q & A time with Aislynn. I feel humbled that God has put me in this situation. I have doubts that I deserve to teach these children the truths of God's love and wrath. I do.

When I got the question "What if we aren't ready?" my heart sank. It's sad. That fear of uncertainty. Unfortunately, I had to share the truth that God is not going to ask you, "It's okay, I'll come back later." No, He is going to leave you here. You will not spend eternity with Him. At that moment I saw her heart sink. Her eyes welled up, and she looked down silently. There is no sugar coating it. Hell awaits you if you don't turn your life over to Christ. He makes that very clear.

These children are such blesses, and I don't want to think of any of them going to Hell. We want people to go to Heaven, well let's tell the truth. We MUST fear God. So many of us fear Satan, but he has no control of my eternal standing. No, God does! I fear God more than I fear Satan. I told the kids that. Do not fear Satan. Though he may seem smooth and bring a blind attack, but he is nothing compared to my Heavenly Father.

It was an evening of tests. I was told later by the Pastor that as he looked in through the window in my class the kids had their Bibles opened leaning forward over them looking at me sitting in a chair speaking. They listen. What a responsibility... I am unworthy of such a gift. I love these kids so much. I pray that they are or become ready! I pray that this night and the many others that have questions like this will help them with the fight this world is going to attack them with.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy 36th Wedding Anniversary

36 years ago today, my parents were married in Iglesia Bautista Getsemani that grandfather founded. My parents, my aunts, my uncles, friends, and other family built this church. As I looked at the photo that is at the website inked above it has grown so much. The only part they built back in the day was that part you see on the right (another story for another blog day).

My parents married there with my grandfather (my mom's dad) officiating it. Needless to say, their wedding was a full family event. They met at church, and here they are now. Let's look at a picture because I love photos, and they speak mounds don't they?

This photo is my favorite of the bunch. Sure it is great seeing them smile at each other or give each other a kiss, but this is the foundation of their marriage. The rock solid foundation of Christ in their lives that pushed them through this 36 years. It was not done by their own merit, but by the love and mercy that God has given to them, they too have shown it to one another. I want to look at the overly used verse in 1 Corinthians. I say over used because I think people like the idea behind the verse, unfortunately many don't take it seriously.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
When my parents were dating and first got married my dad was not the most patient man (from what I've heard and remember as bits and pieces of my early childhood). Opposites attract is good for the patience level because from then to today she shows exceptional patience. However, I must say that those that say they are divorcing one another because "he/she was not the person I married" DUH! Those that are unbelievers this would not hold for you because you are self-seeking. As for a Christ follower thank God that He molds us to be more like His image as He pulls us towards Him. My dad is not that same man, and my mom is not the same woman she was. You see, as you allow God to shape your heart, your will, you become a new person. They both share a genuine kindness to not just each other but to others. Love is not one that is envious, boastful, and proud. I am sure that in the 36 years there has been some of this, but along with personal change comes the true understanding of what it is to show this in love.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
I don't want to paint them as being the perfect marriage because that would be far from the truth, and really if there have been things I have learned from them it is when things aren't going too great. I never had a false image of marriage. At times they showed dishonor and self-seeking, and if you know dad anger is one thing that is a work in progress (love you, dad). As I mentioned before the sinner that we are seeks God's righteousness. I would have to give kudos to my dad that though his anger can be an issue. It is one that has changed and gotten better through his age. He has changed in this aspect. He has gotten more patient and less angry. Love will keep no record of wrongs. As a child's perspective, I am sure that at times there was a record as trust was broken or trials occurred. However, marriage is until death do us part. They are pretty good about not having that record anymore. This is of course to say that this could be brought up if accountability is being presented, but that would be love in truth. That is coming up now.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
Mom and Dad hold one another accountable. They are a true partnership. They have a friendship of love that they will confront one another in their wrongs. They may not always like hearing it (as anyone would be), but their love is so strong that they will point out when one is not following laws of God.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  
8 Love never fails.
Over the years, I have to say that though times may have brought doubt in protection, trust, and hope; they persevere. Their love for one another has never failed. As the head of his family my father has been a great protector.
If you know my dad, he WILL do whatever he can to protect my mom. I know that I come third. God comes first and Mom is a close second. The kids are a low third. I'm okay with that. I wouldn't have it any other way. He loves this woman with all his heart. He does. I see it. For what my dad may lack in patience he gains with his gift as protector. It has to be said that behind every amazing man is an incredible woman, and that is mom. However, she could not be the woman she needs to be without my dad being the man he needs to be. Finally, he can not be the man he needs to be if He didn't seek after God.

I leave you with this photo. When I see pictures like this, I wonder to myself what they would say to themselves if they could go back to that wedding day. Would dad tell his younger self be ready you are going to have to hold tight as you experience seeing your wife go through three miscarriages? Would mom say there is going to be a time when you will be like a single parent raising three kids, and everything that you had shelter in will be gone, and you will have to focus on God as your Sustainer? I wonder... these two beautiful smiles will face frowns that are unimaginable, those cheek to cheek grins are going to bring floods of tears... are you ready for it?

I wonder... I wonder what I will want to tell the me of today. I don't know. I can only live for who I am today with my eyes on my Heavenly Father.

Thank you, Mom and Dad for being an example of Christ love in your marriage and in your daily lives. I love you!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mrs. "Diva"

I found this gem of a photo as I was looking through the photos that I had on my desktop. Low and behold, I came across this stern diva lady (mom) holding a sleeping me at my Church Baby Dedication. Look at those shades. =D I have to laugh looking at it because this just doesn't seem like the mom I know. Doesn't she look a little sharp around the edges? LOL Let me show you her a bit softer.

That's more like it. Mrs. "Diva" with my youngest Logan. Other than Reson, she is my best friend. I was thinking while I looked at that first photo what she would say to herself if she could. If you knew my mom in the first photo, you would know that she was a bit obsessive compulsive about things. The way her house looked, clothes, etc. If you have ever seen the movie "Sleeping with the Enemy" that would have been our home back in the day (without the psycho killer hubby). Bathroom towels evenly displayed, cans in the cabinet all lined and in alphabetical order, and as my brothers and I recall toys were put back in the fighting sequence on the shelves (as if never played with).

However, I don't really remember may of the days of her like that. I remember her as the woman who gets a bit antsy when people see her house in a "mess", but it's still a bit of a "mess." She is passive, which at times drives me crazy, however it she helps cancel out those that don't have that trait. She is compassionate. She cares about everyone, and she was one that everyone in called "Mom" while I was in school. She is not selfish. She listens even when I know it hurts her. The friendship that we have built has come from the years that she mothered me. As we are now both adults, I can openly tell her when she does something that bothers my husband, myself, and I know as the boys get older them. She takes it in, and she starts to pray for God to teach her how to deal with it. Honestly, she rarely does it again. That is a true gift that she possesses.

**I would like to add that Reson would say he loves that she is gullible, and he can play around with her repeated.**

I think the thing I love most about her is that she is always getting better. She embraces the fact that God made her to change and evolve into the full woman He wants her to be. I think that as selfish people, we tend to think that God made us this way deal with it, or this is how I was raised I'm not going to change. However, she is not like that.

She is a true woman of God that I look up to. Her friendship is one that will tell truth in love (her true gift), and is one that has changed my life. I know that it will continue to change my life. So, be gone crazy Mrs. "Diva" from picture one!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Satan Pounces

It is amazing. If I had written my blog post yesterday as I intended you would have seen a post about how great things have been turning out. The blessings of a successful Trunk-or-Treat

You would have also learned about my mom and I going to the Jars of Clay/Brandon Heath Concert (along with a Q&A)

Followed by the blessing of seeing "A Night with the Chapmans"

There is no doubt that with all this Satan is bound to pounce on you. That is what he is doing today. He is attacking my spirit, my mentality, and my emotions. He knows the weaknesses to attack, and it is wearing. It makes me sick, really. He is relentless. He is unwavering. He is my attacker. He is my enemy. So, I sit here writing this listening to "In Christ Alone" covered by Adam Young of Owl City. "This is the power of Christ in me." "Jesus commands my destiny." "No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand."

I know

Christ is my Sustainer
Christ is my Father
Christ is my Protector
Christ is my Groom

 That's all I can muster up through these tears...