Thursday, March 31, 2011

A New Day To Fall - MY Story Part 14

Just as college was a time of great spiritual growth and experience, it was a time of failure.  Funny how those two go hand in hand sometimes.  In times of first love passion for God, immaturity and lack of a true spiritual authority gave way to attack, temptation, and a fall. 
So in this defining time in my life I seesawed between living my life for Christ and living my life for my flesh.  While I longed for more of God and sought him in the morning, in the evening I longed for acceptance and sought it in parties, drinking, and boys.  
I would walk well for a while.  I’d stay out of the party scene.  I’d get plugged into campus ministries.  I’d help out.  I’d share my faith.  Pray for others.  Worship with abandon.  Pray fervently.  Delve into the Word.  
Then temptation would come.  And I’d fall.  I’d go to the club.  Drink.  Dance.  Dress provocatively.  Flirt.  I’d find myself talking about what it is to be a Christian at a frat party in a short skirt and a beer in my hand.  I thought I could live on both sides of the fence.
I was wrong.  
One night when I was out with my friends we went back to a frat house with some guys.  We separated off and before I knew it I was alone in a bedroom with one.  My head was spinning.  I couldn’t think straight.  I hadn’t had nearly enough alcohol to be drunk.  Yet I felt a drunken spirit on me like a wet blanket over my head.  I said stop.  He said no and held me down.
Innocence lost.
A fallen girl.
A merciful God.
And His grace was sufficient.  Even for me.  Even for a daughter who knew better.  Even for a fence rider.  In my greatest fall, His sacrifice was greater.  His immense forgiveness was there.  And His Precious Holy Spirit healed the wounds on my heart.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A New Day - MY Story Part 13

As I looked at colleges, I came across one on the internet.  As soon as I saw their website I knew it was the one.  My GPA was a little below the average they accepted, but my SATS were way above.  I only applied to one school.  
Like it is for all freshman, college was a new start for me.  I could be who I wanted to be.  I could do what I wanted to do.  Coming from a small city where my family had been making the newspaper, it was refreshing.  
New books, new friends, and “New Life.”  I was involved in several campus ministries in college, but New Life was where I grew spiritually.  I learned.  I absorbed.  I worshiped.  I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I prayed.  I read.  I studied.  I was back to my first love.  
I remember reading my Bible like I couldn’t get enough.  I devoured pages, chapters, and books.  I spoke in tongues.  I prophesied.  I interpreted.  I was forever changed.  
How I would love to return to that first love time with the wisdom I have now.  I was enamored and all encompassed, but I was inexperienced and lacked wisdom.  I lacked resolve.
Can you remember a time when you hungered for everything the Lord had for you?  When you sought and found him in His Holiness.  
How effective would we be if we could combine the wisdom of experience with the passion of a first love?  
Here's what I'm saying: Ask and you'll get; Seek and you'll find; Knock and the door will open.
Luke 11:9 
Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.
Acts 2:3-4
I see what you've done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can't stomach evil, that you weed out apostolic pretenders.  I know your persistence, your courage in my cause, that you never wear out.  But you walked away from your first love-why? What's going on with you, anyway?
Revelation 2:2-4

Saturday, March 26, 2011

$20 CSN Giftcard Giveaway!

Congrats Ponia Baum!

Sponsor Saturday

If you enter giveaways on blogs at all I’m sure you’ve heard of CSN.  It’s a website that offers everything from shoes to desks, to toys, and everything in between.  They are currently running some specials on wood swing sets.  I recently won a giftcard from a fellow blogger’s giveaway.  
I was super excited about ordering my sons some rain boots.  Josiah has become a fan of “Peppa Pig.”  A cartoon he watches on youtube.  Her favorite thing to do is jump in muddy puddles.  So he has been dying to try jumping in muddy puddles to.  But to do so he needed rain boots.

We love the Melissa and Doug boots we got and were happy with the shipping and service of CSN.  So I would like to give you the opportunity to try them out as well!
How To Enter: 
Complete as many entries as you like.  Each is worth 1 entry.  Make sure to include a valid email address in your comment if you do not have one available in your profile.  Please write a separate comment for each entry.  The contest will close on Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. Open to US and Canada residents only.  Winner will be chosen by an online random number generator.  Winner must respond with mailing address within one week.

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Disclaimer:  I was not compensated for this review / giveaway.  I was given a $20 giftcard to giveaway by CSN.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cuties In Cloth

I bought cloth diapers.  Yes, cloth.  I have to wash them.  *deep breath*  Me, washing diapers.  Yikes!  I’ve been thinking about it for a while.  Asking about them on Twitter.  Well I finally found some affordable ones.  I ordered them.  I half hoped they would never arrive.  But they did.  And I’m taking the plunge.  
I’ve learned quite a bit in these first two days.  First if I want to use them on both boys I need more diapers.  I really have just enough to get through a day and a half for Caleb alone.  Second, there is no diaper, cloth or disposable, that can handle a two year old with diarrhea.  Third, I’m not nearly as grossed out by washing diapers as I thought I would be.
The funny thing is I’m hesitant to tell people.  I almost want to cloth diaper in secret.  You see, I’m not “green.”  We recycle.  But that’s about it.  It may just be me, but I don’t sense a whole lot of interest within the Christian community to take care of the environment.  While those outside of the church seem to be much more proactive.  I’m thinking that maybe it shouldn’t be that way.
I understand that our hope is in Christ and that the Earth is a temporary home.  I also understand that a soul is eternal whereas the Earth is not.  In everything I do, the salvation of one soul must take precedence over being “green” or doing good things for the Earth.
That being said, my main reason for trying to switch to cloth is that I began to imagine how big of a pile of diapers we go through in one year.  I only ever see half a week at a time.  The trash truck comes and takes them out of sight and mind.  But when I try to imagine how huge a pile of trash and chemicals it is, I don’t like what I see.  
I may not be able to be totally “green” and for now am only cloth diapering Caleb.  And only when we are at home. (I’m still waiting on some wet bags I ordered on Etsy before I try venturing out of the house with cloth.)  It may be a small thing, but it’s something.  And it’s more than I was doing before.
I have secondary reasons also, like there’s less chemicals on baby’s skin, saving money, they are super cute!  And now that I have them I LOVE how super soft and cozy they are.  Every time I change him he smiles when he feels that soft fleece next to his skin!  Caleb is loving cloth.
In the end it was all summed up in something my son brought home from church this week.  It really says it all.

God blessed them: "Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth."  Then God said, "I've given you every sort of seed-bearing plant on Earth And every kind of fruit-bearing tree, given them to you for food.  To all animals and all birds, everything that moves and breathes, I give whatever grows out of the ground for food." And there it was.  God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good! It was evening, it was morning-Day Six.
Genesis 1:28-31

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Faith Like Josiah's

My boys amaze me sometimes.  They were at their Abuelita’s (Grandma’s) house yesterday.  I was working at my new favorite coffee shop (if you’re near Arlington you’ve gotta check out Mochalux!) at lunch time.  I called to check on them.  As soon as my mother-in-law answered the phone I heard screaming, crying, and overall insanity in the background.  *Deep Breath*  She was telling Josiah to raise his arms.  In case you’re not Mexican or related to Mexicans.  This seems to be a cure all.  For hiccups, nausia, etc.  Or it might just be in my husband’s family.  Either way I knew something was wrong.  
He had a fever and was vomiting.  Ok.  I’m on my way.  So I quickly pack up myself and the baby.  Grab the diaper bag, computer bag, heavy 8 month old little boy in his heavy car seat and try to maneuver my way through the chairs and tables.  Did you notice I said “try”?  As in I wasn’t quite successful?  
I fell.  Caleb was close to the floor anyway so he was only jostled and wasn’t phased by it.  I fell on my knees, but wasn’t hurt.  But I heard my macbook pro hit the ground with a smack!  Only minor damage was done and it’s fully functional so that’s ok to.  
I just needed to get out of there and to my sick boy!
When I walked in my mother-in-law’s house Josiah was lying on top of a big soft blanket on the coffee table, in his undies, hugging his pillow pet.  As soon as he saw me he told me all about how he vomited and how he had cried for me.  I held him and prayed for him.  And he snuggled with me and smiled.  
Later after we got home.  And it was time for bed.  He asked me for chocomil (Chocolate Milk).  I shook my head.  Chocolate milk on an uneasy tummy just didn’t seem like a good idea to me.  I told him no, because it could make him sick again.  He said he wouldn’t vomit again, because Jesus had healed him.  He smiled so sweetly and said it with such certainty.  I made him and Matthew their chocolate milk.  As Josiah drank.  He stopped, and exclaimed with a huge grin, “See!  I’m not vomiting!  Jesus healed me!”
And he didn’t vomit.
Matthew did.
How I struggle to have a faith like Josiah’s.  I know what the Word says.  I declare it.  I say I believe it.  I do believe it, but not like Josiah does.  I long to believe like he does.  With such innocence.  Without doubts, or fears.  A pure faith.
A faith like Josiah’s.
The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them.  The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom.  Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."  Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.
Mark 10:13-16

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Calling Evil Good

My 3 year old son brought this home from church.  I’m not sure what the lesson was about and apparently he was clueless to.  Just in case you’re in the dark and don’t speak Spanish.  Allow me to translate.  Cosas = Things.  Personas = People.  Ok, take a minute and look at the picture again.  
We laughed when we saw what he’d done.  We busted up.  I mean it’s hilarious! It’s cute.  It’s innocent.  But if he was an 8 year old we’d be worried.  If he was a 13 year old we’d be irritated.  If he was a 20 year old we would shake our heads in disbelief.  
But what my son so innocently colored and pasted, our society preaches.  If the Word of God is truth, what the world teaches is false.  The world calls people things.  It calls things people.  The world calls evil good and good evil.
It forms organizations to protect the rights of dogs and cats and legalizes the killing of unborn children.
It takes the holy union of matrimony, and applauds gay marriage.
It teaches that money buys love and happiness, when we know that God is love and that joy is found in the Lord.
It’s one thing for my son to be confused on an assignment at age 3 when he can’t even read on his own.  It is quite another for him to grow up confused about right and wrong.  It’s my privilege and responsibility to teach him as he grows.  To use scripture as my guide.  And to plant His Word in my children’s heart.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11 

Doom to you who call evil good and good evil, Who put darkness in place of light and light in place of darkness, Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20

Monday, March 21, 2011

Touching The Pure

It’s not easy keeping your cool when you have 3 boys ages 3 & under screaming at the top of their lungs and your hands are immersed in raw chicken.  You want to yell.  You want to run and discipline.  You want to scoop the baby up into your arms and quiet his tears.  You want to join them and ball your eyes out.
How would I know?  Let me invite you over to my house one day.  It can be interesting, and stressful, and crazy, and wonderful being a mom of three young boys.  But even so.  Among the craziness and among the noise theres that still small voice that speaks, that teaches, that guides, that comforts.  
My hands are in raw chicken.  I can’t go run to see why they’re fighting.  I can’t go pickup the baby or wipe away his tears.  My hands aren’t clean.  But my children are.  When I touch them with my dirty hands I contaminate them.  The germs and bacteria get on them and could make them sick.  
So I finish preparing the chicken.  I wash my hands well.  Then and only then do I go hug, touch, pick up, or even discipline my children.  It’s such a simple concept in the physical.  The Bible even tells us about clean and unclean meat.  God wants us to stay healthy.
But when applied to the heart.  When applied to the spirit.  It seems to get complicated.   Why can a holy God not be in the presence of sin?  Why must we receive His forgiveness and cleansing to be in His presence?  Shouldn’t He accept me the way I am?  
But just as I want my children to be clean and healthy physically and won’t contaminate them by touching them with filthy hands.  God wants us to be clean and healthy inside and out.  He doesn’t want us to be contaminated by our sin.  
Because the pure is no longer pure once it’s come in contact with the impure.  The clean is no longer clean once it’s come in contact with the unclean.
So God, create in us clean, pure, and holy hearts.  Wash us in your forgiveness.  Make us clean.  We want to be in your presence.  We want to see You.  

so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean,
Leviticus 10:10
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Matthew 5:8
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Psalm 51:10-11
Meat that touches anything ceremonially unclean must not be eaten; it must be burned up. As for other meat, anyone ceremonially clean may eat it.
Leviticus 7:19

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dinosaurs For Kids Review And Giveaway!

Sponsor Saturday

Congrats Eryn!  

Thanks to a wonderful friend and blogging mentor, Mama Hall we have recently discovered Master Books.  It’s a Christian publisher and they offer so many great books for children.  I’m so glad to have the opportunity to introduce you to them, and to Josiah’s FAVORITE book.  
Josiah is 3.  He LOVES dinosaurs!  He loves seeing dinosaurs.  He loves talking about dinosaurs.  He spends the majority of his time awake “being” a dinosaur.  And he loves to read about dinosaurs.  Although it is awesome to see your child’s own interests and personality come out a love for dinosaurs brings with it certain challenges.  Mainly that the majority of dinosaur books, movies, media, etc. contain lies.  It didn’t seem so bad at first, after all Josiah’s young and doesn’t read.  So I would skip over parts of books I knew were not true according to the Bible.  Or change words.  
But I want him to be able to know the truth.  And to be honest I didn't even know the truth about dinosaurs.  Then we discovered Dinosaurs For Kids by Ken Ham.  It is such a relief for Josiah to point to a part of the book asking me what it says and to be able to read it to him without any concern that I may be teaching him lies (or as Ken Ham so kindly puts it “fiction”).  
We read each night as a part of our bedtime routine.  We start with the Bible, and then move on to a book or two he picks, then end with Good Night Moon.  Since we received Dinosaurs For Kids he ALWAYS asks for it.  We are learning so much!

I highly recommend this book!  It is Josiah’s favorite and he takes it with him everywhere.    He wants to show it to all his friends and tells me things throughout the day he has learned.  My favorite thing about this book is that I am teaching Biblical history alongside scientific history.  Since there is only one true history it only makes sense to teach it as a whole.
Buy It! 
 You can buy Dinosaurs For Kids here for $14.99
Win A Copy!
Complete as many entries as you like.  Each is worth 1 entry.  Make sure to include a valid email address in your comment if you do not have one available in your profile.  Please write a separate comment for each entry.  The contest will close on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. Open to continental US residents only.  Winner will be chosen by an online random number generator.  Winner must respond within one week.
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Disclaimer:  I was given a copy of this book for review and one to give away by Master Books.  All opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.  
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Entire Word Is Good

I took Caleb to get his 8 month pictures yesterday.  I was going to have him in a sweet baby blue pajama.  Maybe with a stuffed animal or something.  But he stained the pajama and an hour before the appointment I was searching for another option.  So I found some jeans and a buttoned shirt.  I thought he would look studious.  So I went and found some books from the office to use as props.
We got to the appointment and took the pictures.  I fell in love with the picture above as soon as I saw it.  Such a sweet little hand placed on such sacred words.  
Before I ordered prints I thought to check and see what the scripture said in the picture.  I had just randomly opened the Bible and placed it on his lap for the pics.  To my dismay “I kept dumb and silent” jumped out at me.  NO!!!  Why couldn’t it have been . . . 
The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
Or . . . 
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
Or anything that didn’t include the word “dumb.”  But it was there.  So I chose a different picture to buy.
Then at our Bible study this morning we were speaking about envy, and jealousy, and gossip.  And how difficult it is to hold your tongue when someone is verbally attacking you.  
And what do you think popped into my head?  You guessed it.  “I kept dumb and silent.”  So I ran to get my computer to show them the picture and we spoke about the verse.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was as if God had that intentionally in the picture so that I could share it at just that moment.
The part of the Word I had shaken my head at and sighed in disgust because it showed up in a picture had become a powerful tool when used in just the right moment.  It gave such an accurate picture of what we go through.  We hold our tongue, but as we think about what was said we get angrier and angrier.  The fire burns within until we finally speak out in anger.  
And it makes me remember that the entire Word of God is good.  The entire Word of God is effective.  The entire Word of God is . . . well God’s.  There is not one insignificant part.  It is ALL good.

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David. I said, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence."  But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased.  My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
Psalm 39:1-3
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:30
"Is not my word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
Jeremiah 23:29
For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever."  And this is the word that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:24-25

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Night At Abuelita’s

We dropped our two oldest boys off at their Abuelita’s (Grandma’s) house tonight.  I have a super long to do list tomorrow and need to get some work done.  So they’ll stay the night and will be there tomorrow.  We also took advantage of them being with Abuelita to get some tacos and go see a movie with only the baby in tow.
Josiah (age 3 and my oldest) had taken a long nap and was still kind of groggy when we got them buckled into the car.  We told them we were taking them to their Abuelita’s and Josiah was crying saying he didn’t want to go, that he wanted to go with me.  We distracted him and he calmed down.
But when we got there and were going to leave, I gave him a kiss.  He started bawling and held tight to my leg.  I tried to explain to him that I needed to work and I would come get him the next day.  Samuel tried to explain to him that he was going to have lots of fun with Abuelita.  But there’s just no reasoning with a hysterical three year old.  So my Mother In Law scooped him up and we made a run for it.  And the screams getting faded away as we got into the car.
And my heart broke.  And I hurt for him.  And I hurt for me.  Do I really have to let him go?  Can’t he be with me always?  But I know that I’ll pick him up tomorrow.  I know that it’s good for him to be on his own every once in a while.  I know he’s being extremely well cared for and loved.  Maybe even spoiled a little.  It’s also good for me to have some quiet time now and then.  To be productive.  To be with God.  But still the separation hurts.
If this temporary separation hurts me so much, I can only imagine what God must feel when one of His children walks away.  When we cut ourselves off from him through our own free will.  Through our sin.  My son is in the hands of a caring, loving, protective grandmother.  While when one of God’s children is separated from Him, they are in the hands of an enemy who seeks to destroy them.  How His heart must hurt.  How my heart aches with His.  
When you find a lost child you help them find their parents.  Call the police.  People look.  People search.  People do everything they can to reunite them.  As I look at the world I see so many lost children.  Unaware they’ve lost the connection with their Father.  Unaware of the separation that exists between them.  
What can we do to reunite them?  Can we bring healing to a Father’s heart that breaks over the loss of His children?  Can we play a part in bringing celebration to Heaven over a child who was once lost, but now is found?   
Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do!
Romans 5:15
God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.
2 Peter 3:9

Monday, March 14, 2011

Because You're Mine

I have a hard time deleting pictures of my boys.  My computer is full of pictures.  But really how could I possibly delete this . . . 
Or this . . . 

Or this . . . 
Or this!
It’s just that my boys faces are so cute.  They are precious.  They are special.  They are unique.  And I am smitten.  Why?  Because I’m their mom.  And because they are mine.  I’ve come to realize that no one will ever see my children the same way I do.  When I was a first time mom, I couldn’t believe how blessed I was.  I mean really.  God chose me to have the most ADORABLE baby ever born in the history of mankind!  It took me a while to realize that as handsome as my boys are, they only become the most handsome when seen through their Mama’s eyes.  
No one will ever see my boys the same way I do.  They can like them a whole lot.  They can even love them, but my husband and I will always see them differently than others do.  Because they are ours.  They are the most special because they are mine.  They are the most intelligent because they are mine.  They are the sweetest because they are mine.  They are mine.
And we are His.  If we as imperfect parents see our children this way, how must God see us?  If we have great expectations for what our children will become and all they can accomplish, what must God see in us?  If we as imperfect parents can be filled with and overwhelming love when we see the sweet faces of our children, what must God feel when one of his children run to him with tears streaming down their face?
I am His.
They are mine.  But only for now.
Really, they are His.           

You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!”  Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.
Galatians 4:6-7

If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust?  If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate?  As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?
Matthew 7:9-11

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Praise Baby DVD Giveaway

Sponsor Saturday



I wanted to share one of my favorite things with you today!  Praise Baby!  I have used these DVDs since I discovered them when my first (Josiah) was a baby.  They are so sweet and my babies have loved them.  Christian music with baby friendly images and video.  I have used them to calm fussy babies.  I have used them to get that extra 30 minutes of sleep.  I have connected them to our whole home audio to have the music playing throughout the house and it brings calm.  We now have 3 of the DVDs an I would love more.  

I never like to pay full price for anything so this is how I get a good deal on my Praise Baby DVDs.  Family Christian Stores!  Every so often Family Christian Stores will offer select DVDs and books for $5!  I was disappointed when the Family Christian Store near us closed, but have since been very happy with their online store!  I am signed up for their emails and place orders when those $5 products go on sale.  I've always gotten exactly what I ordered and in a timely manner.  So sign up and keep on the lookout!

Win it!:

Complete as many entries as you like.  Each is worth 1 entry.  Make sure to include a valid email address in your comment if you do not have one available in your profile.  Please write a separate comment for each entry.  The contest will close on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. Open to continental US residents only.  Winner will be chosen by an online random number generator.  Winner must respond with mailing address within one week.

1.  Follow Devotion Mama through GFC (Google Friend Connect)
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4.  Add my badge to your sidebar.  Please give me the URL, so I can verify.

Disclaimer:  I purchased this DVD on SALE! I have not been compensated in any way for this review or giveaway.  All opinions are mine.