10.22.2018

A confession. A grateful heart, And a desire.

The only way you can be saturated with the thoughts of Christ
is to saturate yourself with the book that is all about Him. 
- John MacArthur

But He answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4

Oh, how much I needed to read this quote and this verse today!
I am lazy.
Negligent.
A procrastinator.
Not in every area of life, but in some.

As my girth declares, I do not forego food.
I find time to shop for, prepare, and consume food - every day of the week.
It is not gourmet food or even delicious, nor is it presented with artistic care.
It is sustenance. And it is rarely (if ever) forgotten.

And yet ...
I cannot boast the same about my Bible.
Like everyone else, I have p-l-e-n-t-y of time to read God's Word. Every.single.day.
But do I? Not always.
I think about God's Word. I quote God's Word. I encourage others with the truths of God's Word.
But pick it up, hold it in my hands, find a quiet place, and bury myself within its pages? Not every day.
And I am embarrassed to admit that. As I should be.

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
I have no problem eating bread. I find joy in doing so. But God' command is abundantly clear: Bread is not enough! You need ME!

I KNOW this.
Yet I neglect the very thing I need most.
The only way you can be saturated with the thoughts of Christ
is to saturate yourself with the book that is all about Him.  - John MacArthur
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8

I know I am not alone in this battle of the flesh. I talk to countless women about their time in the Word and listen to them sorrow over the same neglect I confessed. The reasons/excuses are always the same, as are the consequences of succumbing to the excuses. It is in the midst of this battle that I fully identify with Paul when he proclaims in Romans 7, For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

Lord? Help!

Isn't that the beauty of every struggle we face as believers? He has already provided the help! He has given us Himself! The Holy Spirit, dwelling within us, purposely given by the Father to convict us, encourage us, guide us into all truth, and increase in holiness. Every day. All day. Each time we need Him, He is present with every available resource to enable us to choose the Savior instead of Self. To choose righteousness instead of sin. To choose wisdom instead of foolery. To choose humility instead of pride. He is THERE!

As if that is not enough reason to rejoice, He also gives us - each other!
If I am unable/unwilling to discipline myself to read the Word of God daily, I can call on my brothers and sisters to stand beside me until my feet are adjusted and my stance is secure.
Accountability.
One of the many beauties of being part of the body of Christ.
Love one another – John 13:34Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11, 12
Build up one another – Romans 14:19Ephesians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Serve one another – Galatians 5:13
Be devoted to one another – Romans 12:10
Care for one another – 1 Corinthians 12:25
Encourage one another – 1 Thessalonians 5:11Hebrews 3:13
Pray for one another – James 5:16
Confess your faults to one another – James 5:16
Be truthful with one another – Colossians 3:9
Admonish one another – Romans 15:14Colossians 3:16

The only way you can be saturated with the thoughts of Christ
is to saturate yourself with the book that is all about Him.  - John MacArthur
May this be true of me, Lord! Make me a woman who longs for Your Word in such a way that absolutely nothing else satisfies. And may it fill me to overflowing so that my thoughts, my words, my actions, and my responses reflect nothing of me, but solely - of You.

A day with our G3!


It was a BEAUTIFUL day, so we chose to spend our time together outside at a park!




This was my attempt to capture the view while I was on the swings!
I love swinging. Since childhood. I feel happy and free when I am in the air!
(Note: It is difficult to take photos when trying to hold the chains!)


For the first time ever, we managed to be at this particular park when the Nature Center was OPEN.
And what a treat it was!
Science lessons completed today? ✓




And then - the Zoo!





Best photo of the day. I call it "Chivalry."
There wasn't enough room on the bench, so Isaiah made himself into a chair for Grace.



Ebony and Ivory! 
I L-O-V-E this photo!

10.21.2018

A beautiful day AT SEA!


We had the privilege of enjoying an afternoon of sunshine and sailing due to the thoughtfulness and generosity of our friends, the Falcsuans. It was the perfect way to spend a Sunday!


All three littles took a turn at the wheel, but Ellie spent the most time as co-captain to Costel,
and loved every minute of it! 







Friends since elementary school/7th grade ... and hopefully forEVER!




The Great Pacific Airshow was taking place while we sailed on the open sea. A spectacular sight!
The adventure of the day increased tenfold when we found ourselves suddenly surrounded by dozens of boats as they came racing back from the airshow. It was if someone called out, "Every boat back to the harbor - NOW!" and each one took off to see who would arrive first.
The waves rolled from the wakes, we gripped the rails to stay inside the boat, and laughed and talked and held our breath when accidents appeared imminent. (there were several close calls)
So-much-FUN!


Thank you, Costel, Maria, Brian, and Bradley, for a SUPERB day of friendship, fun, and adventure!

10.17.2018

A letter to mothers ... because what you do MATTERS!


Dear Mother,

What you do MATTERS.
The day-to-day monotony of motherhood may not seem glamorous, or even noteworthy, but every day that you invest in your child - you are doing something that matters.
Every diaper change, every meal made, every tear wiped away, every bad attitude corrected, every homework assignment worked out together, every car ride to practice, every book read, every hug given, every "I love you" whispered ... they make a difference.
A real difference.
You are not perfect. You will make mistakes. Lots and lots of mistakes. But that is okay because perfection is not what is needed, or wanted. Children want YOU. All of you. The beautiful, the quirky, the odd, the different, the silly, and the embarrassing. They cannot love perfectly, so they do not expect it in return. They forgive quickly, and forget willingly, and run into the same arms for comfort and affection that disciplined them the day before.
Your children don't just want you - they need you. And being needed is a beautiful thing, indeed!
The world tells us we are "just moms" as if it is a meaningless, profitless, or undesirable title.
"Don't you want to do something MORE? Something that makes a difference?"
"Don't you want to be successful and make a mark on the world?"
The answer is, "YES! A hundred times, YES!"
I want to love my husband more.
I want to serve my family more.
I want to train and equip my children to be honest, loving, compassionate people who are quick to serve those in need and willing to comfort the endless tide of hurting, broken people.
I want to raise sons who respect women and are the same men of integrity in front of a Board of Directors as they are when sitting alone in front of a computer screen.
I want to raise a daughter who thinks of others before herself and seeks to serve and bless everyone around her because she knows that by loving others she shows them the love of Christ.
And when I take my last breath, with all of my weaknesses and failings, I want my children to be able to say, "She showed me Jesus every day." If the only mark I leave on the world is the gift of six children who love God with their hearts, souls, minds, and strength - and love others with compassion and humility - then it will have been the best, most profitable use of my time, and I will have no regrets. Only JOY.
Dear Mother ... you are not "just a mom."
You are a nurse. A protector. A comforter. A teacher. A counselor. A cook. A chauffeur. A coach. A cheerleader. A mentor. A safe haven. A prayer warrior. A theologian. A comedian. A joy-giver.
You are a child of God, created in His divine image, for a purpose.
And right now, "for such a time as this," your purpose is to train and serve and love your children, every day. Not perfectly, but like the woman who smashed the vial of perfume and poured it over Jesus' head ... "she did what she could."
What can you do today, Dear Mother?
Your children don't need a five-course meal. They need sustenance.
They do not need a perfectly decorated house. They need a place to run and skip and dream and read.
They do not a size "zero" mother with perfectly dyed hair. They need a mother who sees their beauty.
They do not need music lessons and dance lessons and foreign language tutoring. They need to sing and dance and talk and laugh at home.
What can you do today, Dear Mother? Not what "should" you do because others are doing this or that ... what CAN you do?
Bake cookies? Pick flowers from the front yard? March through the house to fun music? Read books? Nap with a little hand clasped tightly in yours? Write a letter of appreciation to your teen?
The world may say motherhood is "not enough." There "has to be more." "You can have it all."
Dear Mother, stand firm!
Motherhood may be one of the most difficult roles you have ever filled, with many thankless and trying days, but it is not wasted.
We are not raising our children to be Olympic athletes, CEO's of companies, or honor's students at universities. We are raising them for eternity!
Do not grow weary in doing good! Your efforts are not in vain!
Our children are not ours. They belong to the Lord, for it is He who created them, and He who has numbered their days and planned a course for their lives. And His plans - they are perfect!
Maria Shriver once declared, "Motherhood: On the Front Lines 24/7. Are you man enough to handle it?"
You ARE on the front lines because no one knows your children better than you do, and it is for them you fight. You fight for their safety, their health, their security, their comfort, their self-worth, their purity, their innocence. Dear Mother, you fight for their very souls! Never give up! Never, ever, never give up!
You are not "just a mom."
You are a precious, valuable, irreplaceable jewel that shines beautifully and brightly.
And every time you love a child, you make a difference. For eternity.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:25-30

10.15.2018

Excited and unashamed to SHARE!

We recently had the privilege of sitting under the teaching of Ray Comfort when he filled our pulpit one Sunday when our shepherd was away.
Ray's passion? EVANGELISM.
Nothing drives him more than sharing the truth of God's great love for mankind.
He will speak to anyone, anywhere, if they will allow him to engage in conversation.
He is honest, sincere, intelligent, and compassionate when he speaks the truths of God's Word, and listening to him share his passion stirs up a desire to be equally bold about the lovingkindness of a holy God who desires that none should perish, but that all would come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9, I Timothy 2:3,4)
I thoroughly enjoyed his message and was compelled to do more when it comes to sharing the Gospel.
He said much, but these were the four points that gripped me most.
(I added Scripture/quotes to give even more "umpf" to his fantastic quotes.)

I hope these encourage and challenge you as well!

➤We have an eternity to worship God, but only a short time to reach the lost.

➤If we lift our hands in worship to God, we must reach out our hands to evangelize for God.
How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14, 15

➤We don't obey the command to evangelize because it is easier to pray to God about men than it is to talk to men about God.
Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience. A. W. Tozer

➤If you are burdened by the fear of man when it comes to evangelism,
do not pray for less fear -
pray for more love.
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” - Charles Spurgeon

10.12.2018

The city folk enjoy some non-city fun!

Today, Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie and I enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the Industry Hills Charity Pro Rodeo in the City of Industry. It was a fun-filled and educational morning which provided a completely different perspective of daily life than we have in the city!
What made it even better was being in a small homeschool group of 20 (hundreds of children filed off of dozens of school buses) because our kids were able to get up close and personal at each station.
The riders, steer wrestlers, barrel racers and the rest of the rodeo crew were not able to do an actual demonstration of their skills, so we returned home to watch a competition from each genre online to get the full feel of a rodeo. Live action always supersedes video, but those videos certainly capture the beauty and the intensity of what these men and women do inside the gates!




 Josiah was asked to "assist" the blacksmith while he made a horseshoe.
(I put "assist" in quotes because all he did was turn a wheel to keep the fire going, which is clearly not a strenuous task considering his other hand is in his pocket!)


Isaiah volunteered to try roping.
The world champion made it look SO easy, but alas, it takes more than three minutes to become adept.


 A very generous owner allowed hundreds of children to walk in, climb through, and tromp around his cattle trailer. This thing was enormous - and odiferous!
But Ellie and Isaiah don't seem to mind!


Three world champion freestyle bullfighters!
I had NO idea what this was eight hours ago, but now I am a fan!
(CLICK HERE to see what these guys do!)


Shaved Ice for $1? YES, please!


The highlight of my day? Meeting a real, live alpaca!
Every time I looked at him - I laughed. OUT LOUD, real laughter! (look at that hairdo!)
I was hoping to get a photo hugging him, but he was not in the mood for affection.
I settled for a profile shot of the two of us together instead. (I LOVE the diversity of God's creation!)

10.09.2018

A VERSATILE woman!

Last night, five of us gathered to continue our Proverbs 31 study.
The first two character qualities we studied:
VIRTUE
VIGOR

This month's character quality - Versatility!

A versatile woman ...

❊ She excels inside AND outside the home
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. v. 15
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. v. 16
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. v. 27She is astute
She possesses a good sense for business
She makes things with her own hands and sells them
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. v. 24She is an excellent homemaker AND has the ability in the arena of commerce
She has a wide range of gifts, commitments, and relationships
Her domestic side is emphasized (verses 11-15, 21-23, 27)
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:3-5

A godly woman ...

has great domestic instincts, but that is not the whole of who she is
❊ the home is the center of her life, but her life is not limited to the home
❊ is to be committed to her home, but she is not defined by what she does in her home
❊ has a range of gifts that must be given expression, and those gifts can be expressed outside the home as well as inside the home

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31: 10-31

10.07.2018

A Beautiful Birthday!


Today was a wonderful day - and a perfect ending to my birthday weekend!

Worship with the body of Christ
my husband of 25 years
my amazing children
the beauty of God's creation








Thank You, Lord, for the gift of LIFE!

My favorite people!