Sunday, May 31, 2009

One Year Ago Today.....

One year ago today my Tio Juan went to be with the Lord. It has been a very difficult year for my family as the loss of my uncle was very sudden. Today we gathered at my mom and dad's house for a potluck/bbq in honor of my uncle.

My Tio Juan age: 6

This is the Tio Juan that I remember....always smiling and saying "Mija, here's some money, go buy yourself a hamburger". The last time I saw him, he did just this. We were in Walgreen's both shopping for cold medicine...he bought mine and gave me the extra 20.00 for hamburgers for Marissa and I. This man along with my Tio Jr. was one of the most giving people I've ever known.
In honor of my Tio Juan's memory, my family decided to plant a tree. Here is my Tio Jr, Jesse, and my brother Marc preparing the hole for the tree.
Tio Jr. filling the area with was a bittersweet event to witness.
Thank you Lord for my family...thank you that your hand of peace was upon our hearts today. You are the only one who will continually get us through each day. Please continue to provide my family with your peace as we learn to adjust to life without a very vital member of our family.
I love you Lord and I trust you to bring us to the other side of our grief.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

They Bring Me Delight.....

Happy Saturday Morning!
I hope that you are having a wonderful day whatever you might be doing. Today I am going to work in the backyard pulling weeds and getting my ugly dried out grass green again....just have not had the time to work out there and with the recent warm weather, it has dried out a bit. Then later this afternoon I'll head over to Modesto to check out a vendor fair that my friend Robin is going to be at. I am interested in the Cookie Lee jewelry because I want a new cross necklace! Yeah....that will be fun! That's about all for me.....and you? how many of you have these little delightful angels? I LOVE them and take great delight in collecting them. It is rather comical that I've begun to collect them as I am NOT one to collect things. Oh, I had my share of collections as I've grown up (buttons as a child, all things holstien cow in high school) but never was really into it. Well, now here I am an adult and I'm collecting things again! Go figure.....

So to start of the collection....the gal on the left is rememberance and the gal on the right is the thank you girl. I think that they are both cute and I am not at all ashamed to say that I found these two at Goodwill! They actually are quite appropriate because I found them last year after my uncle died and so rememberance reiminds me of him and thank you is just a cute one! You cannot see it but she is holding a bunch of flowers behind her back...very cute and reminds me of when I was a little girl and used to take flowers to my mom or my teacher.

This next angel is the very first one that I received. It is an ornament and I received it from my Tia Eva for Christmas around 4 years ago. I love how she is holding her hands and is ready to clap for joy!

This one I also received from my Tia. She is called "From the Heart". I just think that she is really cute! I am getting my friend Julie started on her own angel collection and gave her this one.

This one is precious to me. I bought this one for myself in an after Christmas sale at Berean Christian Stores. The reason I bought it is that it reminded me of the relationship between Cole and I. I had held him in the early morning hours (woke up crying) just like this the day that I bought it...sweet memory!

I also bought this one for myself....reminder to take everything to the Lord in prayer and to not work ANYTHING in my own strength! It is so very helpful to see this little prayer angel on my counter every morning.

This angel is special to me. It is called "Guardian" and it was given to me by none other than my Tia Eva (thanks Tia!) on the day of my nephew/godson Isaac's baptism. So, this is me and Isaac....very special!

These last 2 pics are my newest to add to my God's Delights book....I love seeing the hand of the Lord in creation. He is so very creative and delights in uniqueness. I must remember this when I feel less than unique and rather commonplace. I am not...I am fearfully and wonderfully made and his purposes for me will be fulfilled! HALLELUJIAH!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Well hello there blog friends....

Just wanted to let you know that I will no longer be posting pics of my cute little niece and nephews. My sister-in-law is concerned about her kids being able to be viewed on the internet so I need to abide by her wishes that her kids pics not be posted sad, but they are not my children so I won't be able to share anymore :(
I hope that you will continue to read and I'll still post pics of me and friends!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Finished Women's Retreat Notes

Hi there,

Just letting you know that I finally posted the last 2 sessions to our Rest retreat. Because I saved the draft and worked off of it...the post is in the place it would be had I finished it the day I started it. So, if you are interested in reading it is called Rest: Sessions 3 and 4 (or something like that....already forgot what I titled it!).

Have a great Saturday!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day Bloggy Sisters!

My prayer for you today is that you would know the love of the Lord in an intimate and special way! And that you would be honored and celebrated in your most important role as mom!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rest Sessions 3 and 4

Well, it has been a busy few weeks and I've not had the chance to get on here and put up the last 2 sessions of the retreat. So without they are.

Session 3: "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29

Jesus is offering us his yoke. This is something we cannot refuse!

What is a yoke?
A yoke is a heavy wooden collar fitted to the neck and shoulders of an animal. It was used to control the animal so that the owner could use the animal to complete his work. It guided and kept the animal under control. In Jesus' time, the term "yoke" was commonly used in terms of one being subjected under the control of another. It was not a pleasant thing but term of oppression. According to Websters Dictionary, a yoke is "a frame fitted to a person's shoulder's to carry a load in two equal portions." According to Vines Dictionary of the Bible, the term "yoke" was used metaphorically of submission to authority, of Christ's yoke; not simply imparted by Him but shared with Him.

In Leviticus 23 the term "yoke" was used for discipleship. It was considered "coming under the rabbi's yoke". This simply meant to be a student or disciple of the rabbi.

So, what is the soulution? * Have the right yoke!
Too often we create our own standards and create our own inner yokes. This is NEVER going to work! When He offers his yoke to us, we HAVE to take it! He will never force it on us but we must decide that in every situation that we will take His yoke.
The first step toward change is to understand why we don't take Jesus' yoke.
  • We don't truly surrender to God
The word surrender means to be willing to do what Jesus wants you to do even if you don't know what it is. Jesus modeled this behavior and so did Abraham. Some questions to ask ourselves are "How willing am I to surrender my schedule?", "How willing am I to surrender that which I love?", "How willing am I to surrender that which I desire?".
  • We struggle with the other options out there
We look for fulfillment in the options either placed before us or those we actively seek instead of looking to God for complete fulfillment. When we engage in this behavior, we are slipping in and out of Jesus's yoke and are not fully committed to him. We can even get caught up in looking too intently to creation and miss the great things and blessing of our Creator! The lesson here is this: "Don't get consumed by the looking that you miss the listening".

The blessings or benefits of taking on the yoke of Jesus:
  • We get to learn from Jesus
To learn is to receive instruction, to find out, to understand. This ability to understand is a continual process.

John 16:13-16: "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, 'The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.'
Isaiah 48:17: "This is what the LORD says-your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow."
Therefore, we come to the conclussion that a yoke which ties us to the heart of the Father is a blessing because it keeps us connected to our lifeline, Christ himself.
  • We get to experience a gentle and humble master
Our master steers us and pulls us back when we need to rest. He knows the terrain that we cover and is mindful of what we need at each point of the journey. He will never lead us down a path that is going to hurt us. His heart is ALWAYS for our good! We can rest in the fact that our master is GENTLE and HUMBLE!
  • We receive rest for our souls
First question, "What is our soul? "

According to Dallas Willard, "Our soul is the ultimate inner depth of our being. It is the inner stream that gives us strength, direction and harmony to every other element in our life."

The word soul means "breath". It is related to when God breathed the breath of life into Adam and caused his heart to start beating in a life sustaining rhythm.
*God's breath starts everything in rhythm before life starts. This rhythm keeps me in beat with my Creator. Our souls are rooted in the vastness of God.

Our souls respond when we are disconnected from God. Damages souls: Matthew 10:28, Psalm 42:5. Broken souls: all of 1Peter. Restored souls: Psalm 23:1-2, Psalm 19.

The lesson learned is that God gives place to pause...stop and get reconnected! He is your life sustainer!

Session 4: "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" Matthew 11:30

As we go through life, we pick up burdens that we think we can carry. We end up going halfway with them, realize that we cannot handle the load and we give up because we cannot finish.
When we take Jesus' yoke, he disciples us so that we can carry our difficult and heavy burdens.
Matthew 22:35-40: This passage covers the question of what is the most important commandment. Jesus replies by saying that the most important is to love the Lord your God will all your heart, soul, and mind. And that a second is equally important; which is to love your neighbor as yourself. This is a heavy burden. When we are called to love our neighbors, that includes people that we may not feel loving toward. But Jesus instructs us that it is as important as loving God.
Matthew 16:24-25: Jesus tells the disciples here that in order to follow Him, they must take up their cross daily and follow Him. This too is a heavy burden. Crosses are heavy and symbolize an unpleasant task; they are symbolic of death. What thing or things has God called me to carry that are a "death" of some sort? How can I take up these burdens? REALIZE THAT THE YOKE THAT I TAKE IS A DIFFERENT YOKE AND THAT MY RABBI IS A DIFFERENT RABBI!

Another word on yokes, an animal was fitted to his yoke so that the yoke fit perfectly so as not to chaff the animal. When we take on Jesus's yoke, it fits us perfectly. He knows the perfect and best way to teach us and it is going to be just right. It will not bruise us or chaff us.

Matthew 11:25-26, Zephaniah 3:17: The Lord loves us as his children and reveals wise things to us. We are a delight to Him, so much so that He rejoices over us with singing! He takes great pleasure in us.....think on it for a while!
So, what do we do now?
John 1:12: But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
We need only to receive him. This is how we become his children. He takes great pleasure in the unwise and ill-equiped. He requires only a willing heart. He can use a broken and hurt person, he wants to lift our burdens from us.
Some passages that offer comfort and support:
Matthew 11:27: Jesus knows the Father!
John 17:8: The words that Jesus shares come straight from the Father!
Psalm 56:8: The Lord knows every tear we shed and collects them in his bottle
Psalm 147:3: The Lord binds up the brokenhearted
Our yoke is under Christ (in submission to him) and with him (he has given us a counselor).
Reminders: The Holy Spirit is right by us, with us, getting dirty with us. He goes ahead and prepares the ground, walks with us through the burden, and goes behind us and picks up all the pieces that have fallen.

Final thoughts: He has gone before me and will go after me for my lifetime! PRAISE YOU FATHER!
Here are a few pics of the weekend....ENJOY!

The cross in the meeting area.....interesting note, the ropes and stuff on the cross is a yoke! (not placed by our ladies but already right in God's will for our weekend!)

Pretty capturing God's beauty in creation.

My sweet friend Robin and I...Had a bit of a dreary morning and she insisted that I stand by the yellow flowers so as to get a little happiness and sunshine in my morning!
Thanks Rob!

Gretchen on the ropes course....loved watching these brave ladies conquer their fears. Maybe next year I'll do the same. Too chicken this year!

Our little to bottom: Kay, Robin, Bethany, Sue, and Petra....thank you for a wonderful weekend of bonding, crying, and laughing ladies!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rest: Session 2

"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28

In this verse, the word weary means "to toil" and the word burdened means "loaded up".
The people in Jesus's time and before were weary and burdened by the demands placed on them in order to keep the Sabbath holy. The Jewish leaders took the law too much to the extreme with the rules and regulations placed on the people for Sabbath keeping.

The following are examples of things that were not allowed on the Sabbath as it would be considered "work".
  • plucking a gray hair was considered "harvesting"
  • Taking a bath was not allowed because in the event that water was spilled outside of the tub and had to be mopped up, that would be considered "work"

When God instituted the Sabbath, He intended it to simply be a day of rest. It was a day in which one would cease his/her labor and enjoy what God has done in his/her life.

"Come to me": This is a personal invitation. It requires for us to leave one direction and head in another. One direction that we consistently seek after is worthiness. We have to accept the fact that we are NEVER going to know all the right stuff or how to do everything right. When we are seeking worthiness we get caught up in the "I shoulds...". I should do this, I should do that.....etc.... This mindset will spill over into our relationship with the Lord if we do not guard against it. We find ourselves wanting Jesus to see what we've done right rather than what we are guilty of doing wrong.

Why is this?

  1. Because grace is revealing. It hurts but we must seek to be authentic with the Lord. Our vulnerability is necessary to our growth.
  2. Because control is comfortable. We find it very hard to surrender our need to control every aspect of our lives. We feel comfort when we think we have control.
  3. Because busyness is blinding. When we get caught in the web of busyness, we are blinded to our deeper needs. Not only are we blinded but we blind others as well.

How do we battle against this?

  • We give up our need to control when we give up our busyness. When we do this, we go to God in complete authenticity.

Brennan Manning writes that "we truly are paupers at the door of God's mercy". When we realize this nugget of truth, we can enter the Lord's presence and receive his grace afresh.

John 4:1-26, 39-41 (The story of the woman at the it, it is good!)

This woman is living with the burden of hopeless unworthiness. We know this through her actions in this passage.

First, she comes in the heat of the day (vs.6-7). Her main reason for coming at such a time is to avoid social interaction. Little does she know that she is about to engage in the most life changing interaction of her life. Jesus initiates interaction with the woman by asking her for a drink. She canges the course of the discussion by trying to involve him in a discussion of what is customary (asking why a jewish man would be asking a samaritan woman for a drink). Jesus bypasses the customary ways of doing things because he had a plan that he was following. The woman continues to avoid a personal conversation with Jesus. From her example we see that we can get caught up in the practicalities of what needs to be done and miss what Jesus wants to do in our lives. He is there WAITING TO DO A MIRACLE but we often overanalyze it. The conversation between Jesus and the woman begins to become more personal as he confronts her with her reality. (asking her to go and get her husband). She responds with partial authenticity. She is not totally forthcoming with Christ but she is truthful (states that she does not have a husband). Jesus seizes this opportunity to engage the woman more. He waits until there is an open window of opportunity. As hurt humans, we often do not like to talk about personal issues. It is a comfort to us to know that our Lord and Savior respects our uncomfortableness and seeks to engage us despite it. With the woman, he seeks a window of opportunity to get to the level of intimacy that he needs in order to change her life. She is a tiny bit authentic with Christ and He fully discloses himself to her. This teaches us that when we are the least bit authentic with Jesus, he responds! He wants authenticity. As a result of her interaction with Christ, the woman is changed/transformed. She no longer isolates herself. As a matter of fact, she goes and shares the good news with those she initially hid herself away from.

Final thought: Jesus hangs in there with Him and step out in total authenticity. He will comfort you, protect you, refresh you , and satisfy you!

Jeremiah 31:25- "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."

Friday, May 1, 2009

BVG Women's Retreat: Rest Session 1

Hello all you out there in Blog Land. I hope that you have had a wonderful day! The weekend is here and I am so excited that I am getting a new haircut today! I will make sure and post pics so that you can see the new do!

So...last weekend I went to Koinonia Conference Grounds for my 2nd annual Women's Retreat with BVG. The theme for the retreat was "Rest"...and ladies, may I just add that I needed rest more than anything else! It was so AMAZING! Such a great time of relaxation, rest, rejuvination, worship and fellowship with some of the sweetest sisters in the body! God spoke to me in so many wonderful ways (lots of laughter and lots of tears)....I am awed again and again how He speaks to me and helps me to understand Him and His ways.

I'd like to recap the weekend's sessions. I hope that it blesses you as much as it did me!

Theme Verse: Matthew 11:28

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your weary souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Session 1- "Come to me"

Invitations: God is extending us an invitation to come to him.

What invitations have I received in my lifetime?
  • marriage proposal
  • wedding invitations
  • baby shower invitations
  • birthday invitations
  • invitation to enter into relationship with my Heavenly Father

The first question to ask is "Who is inviting me?"

Colossians 1:15: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation."

Hebrews 1:3: "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."

Jesus is everything we can see and everything we cannot see. We should not take his invitation lightly, because it is kingly!

Luke 19:1-9: This is the story of Zaccheus (read's great!)

  • The invitation Zacch received was totally unexpected. He came to see Jesus thinking that he was only going to be an observer.
  • The invitation Zacch received was personal. When Jesus reached the spot where Zacch had climbed up to see him, he looked up and called our brother by name. John 10:14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-". This verse states that Jesus knows us name. He enters our most personal places. He wants to transform us. Jesus tells Zacch that he wants to "stay" in his house today. The meaning of the word "stay" in this passage means "to lodge, take up residence." Jesus was not just coming for a quick visit. He had serious business to work through with Zacchaeus.
  • The invitation that Zacch received demands a response. Zacch comes down at once and comes gladly. In verse 8 we find that Zacch was repentant. This was a heart response to Jesus extending an invitation to him. His repentant heart followed by action to remedy what he had done wrong was extreme. By law he was only supposed to return 20% more of the goods lost. If he had been guilty of theft of an animal he would have been required to return 4 or 5 times the amount of the value of the animal. We can see from the text that Zaccheaus considered his sin theft as he returned 4 times the amount that he had taken from the people.

So....the question is: How am I responding to Jesus' invitation to me?

  • With joy?
  • With repentance?
  • With action?

Side note on Zaccheaus: His name means "Righteous One". Before his encounter with Jesus he had been marginalized. After his encounter with the Savior, he has been restored spiritually.

Final thought: Respond to the invitation that Christ is extending to me!

John 7:37 "Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds 'Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!'.

So, girlfriends....what invitation is Jesus extending to you???? Are you thirsty? Do you need restoration?....If so, run to Jesus, he is extending an invitation to you that you cannot miss out on! He says to come to him and he will give you get your running shoes on and get going!