Saturday, January 30, 2010

How Beautiful Is The Body of Christ! Part 2

Warning: Lots of pictures and very long post!

So, last weekend I had the awesome privilige to attend the Scripture Memory Team Celebration in Houston Tx. If you read my last post, you understand how I was able to attend this event. If you did not read it...I suggest that you do so now....just too much info to put back into this post (it'll be long enough anyway!!!).
When I left off on the last post, I was telling you how wonderful it was to travel with my new sweet friend Yvonne and how we got settled into our humble abode at the Omni Hotel in Houston. Yeah...that was such a wonderful blessing!!!!

I also told you how God had caused our paths to cross with our new sister in the Lord, Tami from South Dakota. Well, here is a picture of Tami, Yvonne, and I....aren't these gals just beautiful....they shine with the love of Christ :)

Yvonne, Tami, and I
On Friday afternoon, Y, T, and I were hanging out in the lobby of the Omni Hotel and who do we run smack dab into??? Of course it was Travis (our resident Miesta on the blog and incredible worship leader) and Georgia Jan (I love this gal!!!!). I am so glad that we got to meet and hug each others necks! The body of Christ just never ceases to amaze me. I am incredibly blessed.
Me and Travis.

Sweet, beautiful Georgia Jan....

After we had chatted with Jan, Twinkle (for the life of me, I can't remember her name), Wendy and Emmy we ran into this lovely group of ladies. Here we have Tracy, Heather, and Deidre.
Heather, Yvonne, Traci, Deidre, Beth, Tami
In God's perfect plan and timing, He caused Yvonne, Tami, and I to meet these gals. I had seen a post on the LPM blog a month or so back that Deidre posted that caused my heart to bleed for her. I emailed her to offer condolances and a bit of encouragement. She responded and my heart was so full, but as life would have it, I got busy and forgot about my sweet siesta and whether she would come to the event.
So when we met in the lobby of the hotel it clicked with me who Deidre was and how awesome our God is that He brought her right smack dab into our midst.
He is good...yes, He is!
Quick little bit of humor: Deidre was not too keen on eating Mexican food that night (neither was I!) but she was a trooper and we got through it together (with the help of her tums...thanks siesta!). She even tried avocado! Totally foreign to Yvonne and I who, probably from being native to CA, eat a ton of them. Just was not Deidre's thing :)
The girls at Houston's First Baptist....I was so excited to hear what the Lord would speak to me!

Little photo collage of the weekend at the celebration.

Top left picture is a scripture verse that I found in the bathroom of all places! I was so excited to see it because it was one of my verses for the year. I had to go back out to the lobby to get my camera to take a pic of it! I'm pathetic I know...but I have this insatiable need to document my life via photos!!!
Another God Story from the weekend is this one:

About a year ago, I stumbled across a blog written by a sweet gal named Katie from Tennessee. She writes so intimately from her heart about her life and her relationship with the Lord. We've been bloggie friends for the past year and in the course of that year, Katie became pregnant with her little miracle girl. Because she was due with "little girl" right around the time of the celebration, she was not going to be able to attend. About a week prior to the trip, Katie had posted a comment on my blog saying that her sister was going to the celebration and asked if I was going. As life would have it, I became so super busy that I was unable to respond to Katie. Then on Friday night after the 1st session, a group of siestas were hanging out in the presidential suite in the hotel. 2 gals walked in and I went over to say hello. We introduced ourselves (I think) and within a few minutes, I realized that I was speaking to Katie's sister Matia!!!! Our God is so good! Matia and I were so excited to meet each other because of our bond with Katie but as we talked into the night hours we found that we had a bond as sisters in the was wonderful!!!!!
Me and my sweet friend Yvonne....I love her!

Another collage of the weekend during the celebration: beth, melissa, travis, amanda and much fun!

The hotel had this pond out in the front where there were black swans swimming. I just had to get a picture but I had been told that they were aggressive. I found that they were quite pleasant. While photographing the swans, I saw a family of turtles....this little guy was the only one brave enough to stay on the embankment when I came near.

Little lone turtle....need I say more?!

Melissa with the lone turtle....

The pretty black swan...

My new friends hanging out in the lobby of the hotel. I think that we were getting ready to go to the Galleria.

Our little group. These gals will forever occupy a special place in my heart. Girls, I hope to spend time with you again :)
A larger group of Siestas that went out to dinner after the event on Saturday. Here we have Yvonne, Audrey, Tracy, Bridgette, Tami, Beth, Melissa, and Traci.
I was so excited to meet Audrey and Bridgette. Audrey was the gal who organized and orchestrated all of the siestas wearing a pink boa and the various places for us to get food. You know food is always a part of fellowship and it is just wonderful! (although this weekend, I was having terrible tummy issues so satan was trying to sabotage my joy. He worked hard but did not succeed!!!) One of the fun things that I got to do was go to The Chocolate Bar with Audrey and Bridgette. Chocolate covered everything! I bought a chocolate covered strawberry for myself and brought one back for Yvonne (who decided to stay back at the hotel).
Because I was so blessed to stay the entire weekend, I was able to attend church at HFBC. We ran into Amanda in the lobby of the church that morning and decided to join her and others in the chapel for the contemporary style of worship and watched Pastor Gregg Matte on the video screen. I loved it! It was a great experience and remided me very much of being at BVG.

Siesta, Melana, Adrienne, Tracy, Yvonne, and I in the chapel after the service.

Dropping Traci off at her air terminal
Meeting Traci was another blessing that God dropped into my lap! She is such a sweet siesta and I really enjoyed getting to spend special time with her. Traci: thank you for your love and kindness and thank you for your prayer for my illness on Saturday. Love you sister!
Beth, Melana, Miesta Moose, and Tracy

On the way home. Tracy and I met up with Melana (Moose Mama) and Miesta Moose. She is such a sweet gal. Really enjoyed getting to spend a little time with her in the airport.
I was so blessed to be able to travel from Houston to Dallas with Tracy and wait in the airport with her until her flight and mine departed. God is sooo sooo good to provide me with exactly what I needed because, truth be told, I was a little frightened to be in the airport by myself for the first leg of the trip home (Yvonne and I met up in Dallas).
This trip was amazing! God really spoke truths into my heart about his body, about His word and about my life. I will fill you in on what Beth taught in the next post.

Monday, January 25, 2010

How Beautiful Is The Body of Christ! Part 1

Warning: Very long post!!!!

Last Wednesday evening I headed down to Fresno to prepare to leave for Houston Texas early on Thursday morning. To say that I was excited was an understatement!
Flashback one year ago and you would have found me signing up to be a part of the LPM Scripture Memory Team. It was a group of about 2,000 women who signed up to memorize scripture for the duration of 1 year. I've always known that there is tremendous benefit to memorizing scripture. I just had never prioritized it in my life. This is a confession that is hard for me to lay out there but it is the truth. I just never put forth the effort or time to commit
God's word to my memory.
That all changed over the course of 2009.
I have learned so much about God, about me, and about his Word by memorizing scripture this past year. If you read my previous post documenting my scripture verses for 2009, you know that God took me down a path that was at times hard, at times full of joy, but purposeful every step of the way. My memory work this past year highlighted the many experiences that a year can bring. It was so sweet to mark my life with my own little stones of remembrance.
So, about halfway through the scripture memory challenge, Beth encouraged us with the news that she, Amanda, and Melissa would like to invite us out to Houston, TX. to HFBC to celebrate what God had done in us over the course of the year. Come January 22-23 of 2010, we would be together celebrating our accomplishment of the year's hard work.
I was ecstatic to say the least but unsure as to how this dream trip would be possible. I just pushed the thoughts aside and focused on my memory work.
Around November of 2009, I felt more and more that I'd like to attend the celebration in Houston. I was still going somewhat strong with my verses and the thought of getting together with other siestas was encouraging. I must confess, I also was thinking that an event at HFBC, hosted by Bethie and the girls would definately be a sweet experience. I was hooked for the chance to meet my favorite bible teacher.
In November, the LPM blog published a post in which siestas planning to travel alone could hook up with other siestas from their area. I was so blessed to meet my new friend Yvonne who only lives 1 hour away from me and we shared our hearts over a cup of coffee/chai at Starbucks.
I knew right then that I HAD to go on this trip. My instant connection to Yvonne because of our bond in the Lord spokes volumes to my heart. I just knew that this trip would bless me in ways that I could not even imagine.
So, the plans were put into motion...plane ticket purchased, emails shared between my siesta sister and I planning our travel, spending money saved, and my heart prepared in my quiet time with the Lord.
The week preceeding the event was difficult to say the least. I was attacked by satan in matters of my health, and in my job. But, I pressed into the presence and sovereignty of my Lord and moved ahead.
The day finally came for me to fly out to Houston. Yvonne and I met up at 5:30 am and were in the air by 6:55 am. My conversation during the flight with my siesta sister was honey to my heart. I am awed again and again by how God provides me with sisters of the heart. Yvonne is definatly that! We talked about what the Lord is doing in our lives for the entire 3 hour flight from here to Dallas. Then we continued our conversations over the 2 hour layover that we had in Dallas. We finally arrived in Houston around 4:40 in the afternoon on Thursday. It was so nice to pick up the rental car and get on the road to our hotel.
Surviving the freeway in Houston is a conversation for another time!
We were so excited when we made it to the Omni. I personally was blown away by the beauty and elaborate decorations of our home away from home for the next 3 days! I felt utterly blessed to stay there and so spoiled by LPM!
Once there, Yvonne and I checked in and headed up to the 8th floor to check out our room. I was stunned by how beautiful it was! We both were so excited that the duvet was white! It gave us both comfort to think that they were clean :)
Because there was a water problem at the Omni that night, a recption was held for guests that night and Yvonne and I were excited to have our dinner in the hotel! I am so glad that we stayed too because we met up with our first siesta sister of the weekend! Tami was at the refreshment table when we were filling our plates and she sweetly asked "are you girls siestas?"...we told her yes, that we were and proceeded to spend a few hours with her that night getting to know one another. It was sweet time in the Lord and with each other!
Friday was special as we headed out to The Galleria....that will have to be talked about later!

Yvonne making sure that she marked every scratch, dent, or mark on the car. She was so cute being overly cautious! Better that than to have to pay later!
Our room at the Omni...yeah, that's my stuff all over the room and on the bed :)

View from the window of our 8th story abode.

Pouring water into the tank of the toilet in this undoubtedly 4 or 5 star hotel! Just didn't seem right!
That's me hanging out in the hotel.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

To Cook or Not to Cook???

So, we are well into the first month of the new year. I can hardly believe that the end of January is rapidly approaching. Where have the last 2 weeks disappeared to????

During the final weeks of 2009, I decided that I wanted to make some changes in my life. One of them being, to eat better and cook more for myself than to get take-out. have I been doing. Well, not so great.

I had great aspirations of making myself some great meals by now. I even lugged out the many, many cookbooks that I have (have I ever mentioned that I have a weird obsession with pictures of food?!?!). But rather than being inspired, I found myself greatly distressed to the point of slamming those books with pictures of beautifully arranged meals, shut tightly!

It was disturbing!

I was scared into total flight mode. That would be flight from the kitchen, including bowls, measuring cups and spoons, and spices of any kind!

Until tonight.......

I was trying to figure out what to have for dinner that did not have to be eaten in a bowl with a spoon and require about a 1/2 cup of soy milk (have you guessed my typical dinner???).

I, being traumatized by my overachieving goals of "cooking for myself" decided to approach tonights dinner with tiny baby steps....

so, I fixed myself a delicious "Apple, raisin, cinnamon bagel with cream cheese".

Oh, it was oh so good! And it required NO COOKING! I even think that is was a little bit good for me!

Of course, maybe not so great with the sugar filled soda that I washed it down with...but alas, it was not a bowl of cereal!!!

So, without further is my dinner creation for the eveing of January 16, 2010.....

Apple Raisin Spice Bagels. Yummy, yummy, yummy!!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Where I Walked with God in 2009

2009 Memory Verses

1. Psalm 27:7-8
Hear me as I pray O Lord, be merciful and answer me for my heart has heard you say “come and talk with me” and my heart responds “Lord, I am coming”.

2. Isaiah 33:6
In that day he will be your sure foundation providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord will be your treasure.

3. Joshua 1:8-9
Study this book of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so that you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command-be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

4. 2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

5. Psalm 118:8
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.

6. Mark 12:29-30
Jesus replied: The most important commandment is this “ Listen O Israel, the Lord our God is the one and only Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all you heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.

7. Romans 15:4-6
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. So that through endurance and encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

8. Ephesians 4:23-24
Instead let the spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God, truly righteous and holy.

9. Malachi 3:16
Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.

10. Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices; holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is. His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

11. Hebrews 10:35-36
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

12. Romans 6:6-7
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. For when we died with Christ, we were set free from the power of sin.

13. 1 Peter 3:9
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you might inherit a blessing.

14. Isaiah 55:12
You will go out with joy and be led forth in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

15. Ephesians 1:13
And now you Gentiles have heard the truth, the good news that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.
Ephesians 1:14
The spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

16. Deuteronomy 33:12
Let the beloved of the Lord rest in him; for he shields him all day long and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.

17. 1 Peter 1:8
Though you have not seen him, you love him. And though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

18. Isaiah 46:4
I will be your God throughout your lifetime-until your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.

19. Isaiah 46:9
Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.

20. Romans 15:13
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confidant hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

21. Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what he has done from beginning to end.

22. Proverbs 7:4
Say to wisdom “you are my sister” and call understanding your intimate friend.

23. Habakkuk 3:19
The Lord God is my strength; my personal bravery, my invincible army. He makes my feet like hinds feet and will make me to walk, not to stand still in terror but to walk and make spiritual progress upon my high places of trouble, suffering, or responsibility.

24. Psalm 57:2
I cry out to God most high. To God who fulfills his purpose for me.

25. Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

27. Psalm 16:7-8
I will praise the Lord who counsels me. Even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

28. Psalm 56:8
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

29. Matthew 17:21
I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain “move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

30. Isaiah 44:22
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me for I have redeemed you.

31. Proverbs 8:34
Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates and waiting at the posts of my door.

32. 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.

33. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

34. Psalm 27:4
One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, and to seek him in his temple.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Praising Him in 2010!


I hope that you had a safe and wonderful New Years Eve last night.

What are your plans for today?

It is an annual event that I go up to my mom and dad's house for menudo and buenuelos that are lovingly made by my grandma and mom. 2009 was a more difficult year for family struggles but praise God, they were able to be put aside for a brief moment and members were able to celebrate together and welcome in the new year.

I pray that 2010 would be a year of peace in my home, my work, my church, my city, and my country....but most importantly, in my heart!

I am praising God today that I have a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes on my back, and good health to carry me through.

I thank Him for his protection over me this past year in so many areas; financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually.

He is and always will be the ONLY reason that I continue to muddle my way through this sometimes difficult life.

He blessed me in 2009 with a fantastic church home that I adore and love being a part of!
With friends who care deeply about me and are there for me in the midst of the joy and the pain.
For a career that, at times serves as my deepest source of stress, frustration, and pain, but simultaneously provides me with so much joy, fulfillment, and challenge. It is, and will continue to be my mission field, a place where my faith is lived out in the flesh.

God has also been so very good to my family!!!

He has made himself known to some in my family and continues to draw others unto himself.

Blessed??? Yes...I've been blessed indeed!

Now for 2010.....

It is my hope and prayer that I would continue to grow deeper and deeper in my relationship with the Lord. I want so passionately to be able to share His love with those He brings into my life. I want to live out the faith that I profess....

No more being lukewarm or exhibiting unbelief.....

When others see my life, I want them to see a woman who TRUSTS her God no matter what may come....who does not CAVE under the pressure and stress of life....who LOVES without question....and who joyfullly GIVES of herself, her time, and her resources.....

Lord, today in this new day of 2010, I ask that you'd hear my words and know my heart. Please continue to guide me down the path of life that you have planned and prepared for me. This book, that is my life....let me live it in such a way that others can read it easily.

All to you Lord, all glory to you!!!!!