Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scripture Sunday

Photobucket





Saturday, September 24, 2011

Apologia Live Retreat Giveaway!!!




As many of you know I'm starting my homeschooling journey this year with my pre-schoolers.  Apologia Live has given me the opportunity to attend their retreat in Austin, TX next month AND to give you the opportunity to win a free ticket to the Apologia Live conference of you choice!!!  Personally I hope you'll choose the one in Austin so I can meet you!



Theres a few things that make the Apologia Live retreat different from other "homeschool conferences".  Their focus is really on refreshing and nourishing the homeschool mom's spirit.  I had the opportunity to meet several of the Apologia staff a few months ago for lunch and it's obvious that they really want to support you in anyway possible.  They are sincere and passionate about what they are doing.  There's a great speaker line up, but they have also integrated time for personal reflection, prayer, and worship.  What mom doesn't need that?


I can't wait to be refreshed!  How about you?


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, October 1, 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.
Entries:
  1. In which city will you attend the Apologia Live Conference if you win?
  2. Follow @apologialive on Twitter
  3. Follow @devotionmama on Twitter
  4. Subscribe to Devotion Mama by email
  5.  Tweet this:  @devotionmama is giving away an @apologialive conference ticket! http://tinyurl.com/3rjmw5f
Disclaimer:  Apologia generously provided me a complimentary conference ticket for me and for the winner of this giveaway.  Thanks Apologia!  All opinions are my own.


Friday, September 23, 2011

We May Fail

Photobucket



My husband and I have spent the past week talking, praying, planning, seeking, and revising our purpose and direction.  We’re taking tabs on where we are and where we know God wants us, on what we are doing and the work God has for us to do.  And sprinkled into all the reality that encompasses our conversations are dreams and hopes.  Things we feel called to, the life we long to live.  
And as we talk, it’s hard to keep out that nagging voice that tells us that we may fail.  It tells us we don’t have what it takes.  It tells us we can’t do it.  It tells us that if we fail, all hope will be lost.  It LIES!
Because I know that even though we may fail, it won’t make us failures.  I know that our identities lie not in what we accomplish in this world, but in our position as children of the King.  And I know that when we humble ourselves and offer our lives to His service, He takes care of the rest.  
We may fail, we may be persecuted, we may be struck down, but we will not be destroyed.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

In The Picture

Photobucket



I haven’t been in all that many photos since I became a mom.  And it’s not because we don’t have pictures.  I would guess that we take an average of 2o pictures per day.  And that’s not an exaggeration.  It’s probably much more than that.  Pretty soon after Grande was born my husband and I realized we had become paparazzi and my son was our target.
As I was taking pictures of my sons at the park today it occurred to me that if they showed someone our pictures they might have to search for one of me.  The great majority are of them.  
I may be absent from the pictures, but I’m not absent from their lives.  Looking back through pictures they may not see me, but I was there.  I am there in all of it.  Behind the camera.  Snapping pictures, encouraging smiles, even directing what they are doing or how they are standing sometimes.  And yet looking at the pictures they may ask, where was Mami?  
It’s the same with God.  We may not see him in the picture, but He is there.  Snapping pictures, encouraging smiles, and even directing our actions sometimes.  
I love the Bible verse below.  When I begin to wonder if He is really there.  When He isn’t visible in the pictures.  When I begin to doubt.  I remember His faithfulness and the strength of His love.  
It’s how I see Him.  The evidence of His presence.  Like my shadow in the picture.  
LOVE.
 I'm absolutely convinced that nothing-nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable-absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Romans 8:38-39

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Scripture Sunday

Photobucket



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mabel’s Labels Review and Giveaway

Photobucket


I LOVE Mabel’s Labels.  Seriously.  I’m not one who would have ever even thought to buy labels for my children’s things, but these are no ordinary labels.  I mean really, the labels you print yourself can’t compare.  They’ve held up so well through microwaving, dishwashing, hand washing, clothes washing.  
Photobucket


So where do I use them?  In the closet, because I have 3 boys clothing in one closet.  On bottles, sippy cups, clothing, diaper bags, and backpacks.  

Photobucket

I’m constantly finding new uses for my labels.  Recently all three of my boys were sick and I had to drop them off for the day at my mother-in-law’s.  So I labeled their medicine and even the droppers which made things so much easier.
Would you like to win some Mabel’s Labels?  I have 10 sets of Colourful Sticky Labels to giveaway!  One set per winner!  You can see them here.  And there’s only 72 hours to enter!
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 Monday, September 19, 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 two days.
Entries:
  1. What would you label with Mabel’s Labels?
  2. Follow @mabelhood on Twitter
  3. Follow @devotionmama on Twitter
  4. Subscribe to Devotion Mama by email
  5.  Tweet this:  @devotionmama is giving away @mabelhood labels! 72 hour giveaway 10 Winners! LOW entries http://tinyurl.com/3n82on8 
Disclaimer:  Mabel’s Labels generously provided me with labels for my boys and for the giveaway winners.  Thanks Mabel’s Labels!  All opinions are my own.


Hop on over to my new homeschool blog “The Sanchez School” and enter to win a copy of “The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling” and make sure to come back here next Saturday because I’ll be giving away a ticket to the Apologia Live Conference of your choice!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Beauty in the Tears and Scars

Photobucket





My boys baby and toddler years have been sprinkled with tears.  Although in the end the laughter outshines the cries and the smiles outnumber the tears.  There is a place for tears and sometimes even scars.






Because through the tears we can see the promise.  In the ashes of grief we can see God’s promise of beauty.  In mourning we can see God’s promise of gladness.  In despair we can see God’s promise of praise.  And in the scars we see the evidence of His healing power, a display of His splendor.
and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:3
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
Matthew 5:3-4

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Boys Are LOUD! (Part 2)

Photobucket





Boys are LOUD!  Boys are rowdy.  Boys wiggle.  Boys shout.  Boys run.  Boys jump.  Boys ask questions.  Boys take risks.  Boys hug.  Boys race.  Boys play.  Boys pray.  Boys learn.  Boys teach.  And boys are LOUD!
The sky is blue.  The grass is green.  Birds sing.  Lions roar.  Crickets hop.  Cats stretch.  The water of the oceans sway.  The mountains stand tall and firm.  The trees grow.  The wind blows.
And the name of Jesus is exalted in it all.  
His Creation declares His glory the way He designed it to.
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
Lord, our Lord, 
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Boys Are LOUD! (Part 1)

Photobucket



My sons make noise, loud noise, and lots of it.  Basically the only time my house is quiet is when they are sleeping, or we are not home.  To tell you the truth most days I really want them to be quiet.  I long for silence and my head tends to throb from the lethal combination of not enough sleep and three rowdy little boys.  
I remember back to when I was first married.  Back then the house was quiet.  We used to invite my niece and nephews over just to fill our house with noise and laughter from time to time.  
And I remember how God can use a loud voice.  How He used the Israelites’ noise to conquer a city.  How He uses our voices to proclaim His victory, His glory, His salvation.  
And it makes me consider.  
Maybe I shouldn’t shush them so much after all.  
When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.
Joshua 6:20
Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
Psalm 8:2

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dirt

Photobucket



My boys love to play in the dirt.  There’s so much you can do with it!  Today Mediano buried his car.  They often make roads, dinosaur footprints, mountains, dig for dinosaur bones and even shower themselves and each other in that dirt.  I’m sure if we let them add water they could come up with an incredible amount of things they could make with that dirt.
But regardless of how creative they are they won’t come anywhere near the incredible thing that God created from the dirt.  
Us.  
Have you ever looked at the dirt and imagined how God looked at it and saw the potential to create life?  That’s what it is to be a Creator.  To look at the raw material and see it’s potential.  I’m so grateful that He saw the potential in that dirt to create man, and that He continues to see the potential in me to create a woman in His image.  
God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive-a living soul!
Genesis 2:7

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Absotively Posilutely Review



Our Moms of Masterbooks book this month is Absotively Posilutely Best Evidence For Creation by Carl Kerby.  It’s a book that teaches children to interpret the evidence of creation for themselves, but to value the truth of God’s Word over anything else.  
This book is designed for children ages 8 to 14.  In my opinion it will be best understood by children who have a basic understanding of biology.  There’s quite a bit of terminology and cool facts that may not be understood by a child who has not studied the most basic biology.  I would actually suggest this book be used as supplementary reading for elementary or middle school level biology.  I’ll hold on to my copy to use when my boys are older for sure.
I love how it clearly explains the differences between a Christian worldview and a non-Christian worldview.  It’s such and understandable way to explain to children why they may see things differently than others.  It’s a great resource.
You can buy it here:



For a chance to win awesome prizes including this book and the D is for Dinosaur book, join us for a Twitter party on Tuesday, September 20 at 8pm Central.  
Use the Hashtags -  #TeachtheTruth  and   #tttrollcall 
Follow @masterbooks4u and the Moms of Masterbooks Reviewers – @mamahall@apichea@bowmania@momkaboodle@getalonghome@devotionmama@momsmustardseeds @thejohnsfamily 

A Dream Come True And A Prize For You

Thanks to all who entered!




All photos in this post were taken by Texan Mama Photography




A few weeks ago we hosted our first ever Mamas Write Mini-Conference.  I haven’t written about it yet for several reasons.  First because it was exhausting and I’ve been recovering from it all.  (It was a good kind of exhausting though, the kind that lets you know you’re walking the path He’s chosen and not sitting on the sidelines.)  Also because my boys were sick for about 2 weeks.  And because we started homeschooling for the first time.  










But mostly it’s because I don’t know where to find the right words to describe what the Mamas Write Mini-Conference meant to me.  As I listened to the speakers, observed the bloggers, absorbed the Holy Spirit filled atmosphere, and saw the sweet smiles on the women’s faces I realized that I was watching the dream that God planted in my heart being played out in front of me.  




The speakers (Crystal Sparks, Rachel Miller, Rachel Holland, and Stefanie Brown) were awesome.  They gave us so much useful information in such a Christ honoring way.  The fellowship and being able to meet online friends face to face was like a fresh breeze that refreshed and reminded me why I wanted a group like Mamas Write in the first place.  

                        





It was just so obvious that God’s hand was on that time.  All the details that worried me were solved in ways that exceeded my expectations.  Our wonderful caterer (Sweet Georgia’s Cupcakes) had something family related come up and couldn’t make it.  (We continue to pray for them and look forward to yummy cupcakes and food at the next MWMC.)  But Firehouse Subs generously discounted their sandwiches and chips for us and we were able to stay within our budget.  The room we used did not have internet so the talented technician at Integra Home Systems was going to run a wire to give just one computer internet access.  But He was able to create wi-fi for the entire room.  Which makes us bloggers very happy.






The Lord was so faithful to us and I can’t wait to see what He does at the next Mamas Write Mini-Conference!  If you’d like to be added to our email list for the details of all our upcoming events let us know by emailing us at mamaswrite@gmail.com You can also find out more about Mamas Write at mamaswrite.com.  You can see all the photos taken by Texan Mama Photography on our Facebook page.
   






If you’d like to win a swag bag from the conference here’s your chance!

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, September 17, 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.
Entries:
  1. What state do you live in?  Would you like to attend a Mamas Write Mini-Conference?
  2. Follow @mamaswrite on Twitter
  3. Subscribe to the Mamas Write Blog via email.
  4. Follow @devotionmama on Twitter
  5. Subscribe to Devotion Mama by email
  6.  Tweet this:  { @devotionmama is giving away a @mamaswrite Mini-Conference swag bag!  http://tinyurl.com/3tqecov }                 

    





Disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post for Mamas Write.  The swag bag provided includes products and promotional materials generously provided by our sponsors.  All opinions are my own.





A Special Thank You To Our Mamas Write Mini-Conference Sponsors!

Anti-Venom         

Friday, September 9, 2011

He Knows His Place

Photobucket





I made french toast this morning.  Grande was excited and waited not so patiently at the refrigerator while his piece cooled off enough to eat.  As soon as it was ready he was at the table.  
Mediano was playing with Chico in the living room and didn’t even notice we were eating until Grande was already halfway finished.  But as soon as he did, he was running toward the table saying, “I want, I want french toast, I want.”  He sat right down and looked at me with expectant eyes.  
He knew I would set a plate of french toast down in front of him.  He wasn’t shy or hesitant about asking for it.  He knew for sure that if his brother could have it, he could to.  It never even occurred to him that I may not give him any.  The thought that his not being the first born could mean that he wouldn’t receive what his older brother did, or that it made him any less of a son.  It was quite the opposite.  
He knows his place.  He is our son.  We love him and his brothers and everything we have is theirs.  We don’t love one more than the others, or withhold from one because we prefer the other.  And they all know it.
If that’s how it is with my sons, why do we think God would withhold from us?  Why is it that we think that God only gives His gifts to certain Christians?  I catch myself thinking things like, “well of course they can do that, they’re pastors,” or “yes, he prays for healing and God heals, but he’s got an international ministry.  Of course God would use him to heal.”  
If only we understood what Mediano understands.  That we are God’s children.  That what’s His is ours.  That He doesn’t prefer one child over another, but wants to work through all of us.  Then we could pray to our Abba with great faith, expectantly, knowingly.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:15-17

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Self-Portrait

Photobucket


Mediano had fun in the sand this weekend.  He’s quite an artist.  If you look closely at the picture of his sand art you can see where his little fingers sculpted it just so.  With the right tools and expertise you may even be able to make out fingerprints left behind, evidence of the artist.
Being God’s creation means His fingerprints are on us to.  But it’s even more than that.  We aren’t an abstract or foreign image like Mediano made in the sand.  We are made in His image.  
We’re His self-portrait.  
I think there’s more of Him in us than we realize.  Yes, we are human.  Yes, we are sinful.  Yes, we are imperfect.  But if we look for it, we’ll see His finger print on us.  His image reflected in us.  His self-portrait painted on us.  And as we emphasize that more and our own humanity less, we’ll become more and more what we were meant to be from the very beginning.  
Like Him.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27






Just for fun here's a video of Mediano creating his masterpiece.



Mediano's Sand art from Devotion Mama on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hello Trouble

Photobucket



We made a detour yesterday on our way home from a birthday party.  We stopped to see a few dino friends.  A few big dino friends.  I love this picture I took of Grande looking that stegosaurus straight in the eye.  It’s as if he walked right up to him to say “hello, Mr. Dinosaur.”  
Obviously he had nothing to fear from a huge metal dinosaur, but still I loved his boldness.  I mean that dinosaur was huge in comparison to my little boy!
At times the trouble we have in this world seems as big as that dinosaur.  But we can confront it with the same boldness that Grande had with the dinosaur, with the confidence that Jesus has overcome and we have nothing to fear.  And He knew we would need to know.  He knew we would need his peace.  That’s why he put it in His word.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

D Is For Dinosaur Review

Photobucket


It’s no secret that my boys LOVE dinosaurs.  That’s one of the reasons I’m such a fan of Master Books.  They have one of the best collection of Christian dinosaur books I’ve seen!  Eventually I’ll tell you about all of them, I’m sure.
Having sons who are dino fanatics can be tough when you don’t buy into the scientific theories of evolution, the big bang, and the earth being millions of years old.  Nearly every book, documentary, etc on dinosaurs have these theories deeply engrained in them.  I honestly even avoid the library because all my boys want to check out are dinosaur books and they are full of information that is contrary to Bible.
Photobucket
That’s where our home library comes in and “D Is For Dinosaur” has made a great addition to it.  It’s a cleaver way to teach the truth to our children about creation, dinosaurs, and the Bible in a fun ABC rhyming format.  The illustrations are cute and capture your attention.
In addition to the ABC rhyme book, there is a black and white section made for coloring.  We will also be using “D Is For Dinosaur” in our homeschooling this year.  I’m doing preschool with Grande and Mediano.  We’re learning the alphabet in English and Spanish focusing on one letter per week and “D Is For Dinosaur” has a special section with teacher instructions and student activities that go along with each letter!
You can check out Master Books entire collection of books hereAnd you can buy “D Is For Dinosaur” by clicking on the link below.

Friday, September 2, 2011

It Looks Good To Me

Photobucket


I had just changed Chico’s diaper and he was anxious to get down and play.  He perched himself on the end of the changing table and looked down.  And his eyes lit up.  There below him was a huge box of . . . TOYS!!!  He was riveted, completely focused on what filled his eyes.  He refused to look away.  I couldn’t distract him.  He saw what his little heart desired and was ready to topple over head first to get it.  It didn’t even enter his mind that doing so could hurt. 
I imagine it was quite the same for Eve.  She saw the tree, the fruit.  It looked GOOD.  It held the desires of her heart.  And she couldn’t look away.  She was so taken back by what the fruit offered, she forgot the warning of a loving God.  She forgot that she could get hurt.  And she dove head first.  
When it comes to our desires, it’s easy to become blinded, obsessed, consumed.  Chico needed to hear my soft loving voice telling him not to jump off that changing table.  Eve should have listened to the warning of God about eating the fruit.  
Let us not close our ears to the wise guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Let’s keep our desires in check.  Let’s trust God’s Word more than what fills our eyes.
When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it-she'd know everything!-she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.
Genesis 3:6

Thursday, September 1, 2011

An Honest Scale

Photobucket


I just got this super cool photo prop!  So of course as soon as it came in the mail I had to run out to the backyard for a spontaneous i-phone photo session with Chico.  I stripped him down, sat him down, and began to shoot. 

I got some cute pictures, I would call them adorable actually.  There was just one problem.  The scale says that Chico weighs 15 and a half pounds. 

You see, when I took him for his one year old check up a month and a half ago he weighed 19 lbs. 10 oz.  So little Chico’s looking smaller than he really is in the picture.  And it’s not because there’s something wrong with the scale.  When he sat down on it at first it measured right around 20 pounds. 

But then he put his feet on the ground.  And then he discovered he could bounce up an down on the scale.  Lots of fun, but not so great for snapping a photo with his actual weight.

Do you leave one foot off when you step on the scale?  Bounce around?  Do anything hoping you can skew the results that flash back at you? 

What about the scales that really matter?  That measure your heart.  That measure your obedience.  That measure your faith. 

Those are things we can fake in front of the eyes of men, but God, who is the true tester of our souls will always know the truth.  He knows us inside and out.  


Always has.  

Always will.

Can we stand before him?  Just as we are.  No bouncing around.  Baring our sinful nature.  Seeking his truth.  Seeking to grow.




You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
 

Psalm 139:1-4