Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving in Mexico

Thanksgiving is a holiday which I didn’t really think much about before I came to. I mean sure I loved the get together and the turkey but that’s about all it was for me. I hardly remembered the whole story behind it besides that it had to do with pilgrims and Indians. I honestly didn’t even know how much I had taken the holiday for granted until my first Thanksgiving here in Mexico. This post is dedicated to all my ladies who are in their first few years her in Mexico. I actually don’t get sad at Thanksgiving anymore. It’s a fun time with good friends and my family. But this year I had some friends over who are in their first few years here and I was reminded of how hard it was before. I want you all to know I’m sending this blog out as a virtual hug to help you feel a bit better during this time of year which can be very difficult.
Flashback to November 2008, I was determined to still celebrate Thanksgiving and make it as much like home as I could. I had no idea how to make a turkey and hubby was working constantly. I think I ended up making a ham. Since I was fairly new to staying at home and not working all day the dinner and clean up didn’t seem to take as long as I thought it would. So this gave me an incredible amount of time to think. That is never a good thing. We invited the only family we had in town at the time. I wanted us to eat dinner around 6pm so we could have everything cleaned up and tidy for an appropriate bed time. For those of you that have been here form more than a few days may already be laughing. Of course six o clock rolls around and I have my daughter watching the parade over and over again on the computer. Food is cooked, hot and ready to serve. My husband comes in and is so thankful for all I’ve done. I’m feeling pretty good at this point. I mean even though we had mentioned that we would eat at six I had been in Mexico almost 6 months now and I knew they would be a “bit” late. Now its seven o’clock and I was getting a little annoyed. I ask hubby to call his family and find out what’s going on. Oh they say they would be here around eight. What?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? That’s when I gave up on my Thanksgiving being anything like in the states. Isn’t it funny how my expectations totally ruined my day? That happened to me a lot when I first got here. Next I fed Alana and put her to bed and Issac and I hung out until they showed up. Here is where it gets interesting. We heated up the food and sat down to eat, then came the flow of questions. Why do you celebrate Thanksgiving? Why do you eat turkey? When was the first thanksgiving? What happened? Why is the pumpkin pie so important? What’s your favorite part about thanksgiving? I of course mumbled and scrambled my way through explanations as Issac translated for me. But it made me realize how I hadn’t really thought of these things in a very long time.
From that year on I decided we needed to make traditions that help us to remember what Thanksgiving is about. And for me it’s not really about pilgrims and Indians. To me it’s about taking a day (or a month) to be sure and reminds yourself of all that you are thankful for. I know that we need to be thankful all year round and actually we are but how much better to have a day specially set out to celebrate what you’re thankful for with friends and family. The girls learn about Christopher Columbus and all that in October here so I just let them know that the original Thanksgiving was because the immigrants needed help and the people who already were there taught them how to survive and that is what they were celebrating. One of our favorite traditions is our Thankful tree. We make it and put it up at the beginning of November and anyone who visits is asked to write on a leaf what they are thankful for. My girls write a leaf almost every day if I let them. Here is a beginning and now pic of our tree this year. It looks a bit different every year and depends on what materials I have on hand. Last year it was made form newspaper. This year I happened to have large white paper so we used that. It’s a fun way to keep our minds and hearts focused in the right direction during a time when we could start feeling down and alone.

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

After 6 years

My last trip to Missouri was in October 2009 when my oldest was three and the middle one was only 6 months old. That’s insane!!!!!! But really it was necessary on so many accounts. First of all I think I needed the isolation from the states to help with the culture adjustments. I still remember the day I read Leslies blog when she said she hadn’t been back to the states for over five years and that she didn’t really miss it all that much anymore. I remember thinking I want that, I’m sick of comparing, I’m ready to be “at home” in Mexico. It’s not like I planned it really but I do remember reading that and thinking that. Then when my middle child was less than two years old number three popped out. (She really did just pop out, labor was less than four hours).  I had my hands full with little ones and the time just flew by. I started working, and really vacations time and money are two things that just don’t line up to often. About year four after my last visit I was just too nervous to try to travel alone with all three girls. The time I went before honestly it was a nightmare with a three year old and a six month old. Then there was the whole Canada fiasco. We were thinking maybe we should get there first and then it will be easier to visit.
 Ok so that is the end of all my excuses. I always feel like I have to give them because when I tell people I haven’t visited my family in six years I get dagger eyes from them. Once someone was giving a prophetic word to me about Lily and they said that she will do missions, but that it would be short term missions and that her heart and home would always be in Mexico with her mom and dad”. Then they added, “Unlike yours which flew the coop and never looked back.” It made me laugh because I hadn’t even told them yet how long it had been. 
So, the last couple months have been filled with a crazy roller coaster of emotions. God has shown me many images and I’ve had countless dreams about things that will go on while I’m there. So many things that right now seem impossible. I can’t quite figure out the logistics of how theywill happen. But over and over He has proven to be right when he speaks to me in this way so I have believed. Also fear has entered about being in the airport and going through customs with less than a two hour layover and three kids. Later I get excited because someone sets up a date where I will get to see them and hug them. And I remember how excited I am to see all the people I love and who have supported me in all this time. Then I remember that I hardly even go to the grocery store with all three girls and without my husband. Oh crap Im going to a different country with them and without him, WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!!! My sister then sends me a message about her vacation time and I start to relax and think about morning chatting over coffee and spiritual discussions. This makes me start thinking about how most of my family lives in the country and my girls are such city kids and I’ll have to be on top of them the whole time. So basically this is how I have been for a couple months now. Really this is just a small peak inside the insanity.
But guess what my Father God doesn’t want this insanity going on inside my head. He wants peace, patience, and good thoughts. He reminded me of that this weekend in our prayer service. I received word after word form people I hadn’t discussed any of this with. And of course He spoke directly to me covering me with a blanket of His love. He reminded me that he is so much bigger than all that other stuff. He reminded me that if He can stop a freaking hurricane from blowing up Mexico then he can help us get through customs without stress. He reminded me that I have given and continue to give my girls and their safety to Him on a daily basis. He gave me peace in my heart that even as I now write all those things above I laugh at them. I know that they are nothing compared to my Daddy in heaven. That the entire time the Holy Spirit will be there giving me, and my girls, His wisdom and His knowledge. And even now as I write he tells me he wants to heal people even in the airport. That this can be a mission trip and it makes me so happy and calm.

Now we get to the fun part. Now I am planning without fear. I am overly excited. I have gifts for my friends and family members. I have checked our suit cases to be sure we have enough. We are in the process of getting our consent letter printed and notarized. And the tickets have been ready for quite some time now. So here is and image of what we will look like in just 4 weeks and three days. My girls are going to be baffled by all that we see and do. SO EXCITING!!!!!!!


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Discipline, What does it really mean?

Today I am going to write about raising children. Yikes this is a heavy subject. I have felt inspired to write about this for various reasons. One of which is that my position in the church makes it necessary. My husband and I are in charge of the Pastoral Ministries in our church. Somehow God managed to implant the churches mission vision and DNA into our hearts long before we ever came to SOZO. The Holy Spirit is amazing in that way. That being said the things I’m going to write about are nothing new as far as biblical principles but they are often times ignored. Also they are often times spoken of without the aspect of grace (through which we have been saved and not through works). So soon I will be writing a counseling manual for those in our church who will be giving counseling to young families. My idea is to get some of my thoughts out here first to help me organize things. Hope you all enjoy and learn and grow in your walk of being a mother. As I have said over and over these principles apply to all moms Christian or not. They are laws written into the fabric of existence that no men can separate from. So if you are not a Christian (like many of my friends and family) read on and see if this helps you with any issues you may have with your kidos. In writing about this just like any other topic I write about I have to admit I am far from considering myself perfect or that I move in these principles 100% every day. But what I can tell you is that I try and I have seen the fruits of each one in the lives of my children. I know I’m biased but really my kidos are amazing!!!!! And to be honest I’m not the only one who notices. But really I can’t take a lot of credit for it. Ill speak more about this a bit later. 

I’m going to base this blog on Proverbs 23:12-26.  Normally I place the verses at the end but this time I’m going to put them here and discuss each one in detail. 

12. Apply your heart to discipline
And your ears to words of knowledge.
Ok mamas this verse is for you not your kidos. If we expect to discipline our children we have to discipline ourselves first. We have to be the example for our little ones, someone they can look up to. For those of you who do not have children and are not ready for this step, please wait. Our children learn by mimicking words and actions. Many times they don’t understand the meanings or implications of such words and actions but they understand that they "work" to accomplish something. Also we have to resign ourselves to be strong and stick to our words. This involves much discipline on a mom part. Many days it is just easier to clean the whole hose by yourself but if you have taught your children that they should be a part of that process it needs to be constant. How can we grow in our discipline? Well for me seeing results is what has helped me stay steady in discipline. The days when my girls come home and clean up without me saying so or yelling or acting crazy (yes this happens sometimes to), I know they are getting it and that I have been showing a good example. 
Now about the words of knowledge, recently there have been videos out about how everyone, including people you don’t know, wants to give you advice on child rearing. Ugg this is so true and especially here in Mexico. And lo and behold what am I doing in this very blog. The honest truth is that you can’t receive the ideas of everyone and think you can apply them all. First you have to decide what your principle beliefs are. If your faith is in God you don’t need to rub eggs on your sick baby or tie strings around their fingers. If you agree about the basic laws which God wove into creation then seek them and you will find your answers. This does not go to say that you shouldn’t seek help. Many times as mothers we run out of options and don’t know which way to turn. This can be a very dangerous situation. What this means is to seek words of knowledge. Look at the children in your life; are any of them how you hope to see your child someday? If so, seek out that mom. If you are in a church, seek out your leaders. And if you don’t like what you see in their kids, then simply seek out Gods advice. Read in your bible about what it says and let the Holy Spirit give you the words of Knowledge you need. You are never ever alone as mom. And if you feel alone please seek a knowledgeable voice for your life. There are tons of blogs, Facebook pages, ext. that can help to guide you. Just be sure to always filter what you are told through the bible and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If you dont have those two things to filter I’m afraid there will be some things that are just plain trial and error. 

13. Do not withhold discipline from the child;
If you [a]swat him with a reed-like rod [applied with godly wisdom], he will not die.
Here is the kicker. I know there are so many people out there today that want to say that spanking children is bad and will ruin them. But that is simply not the case. The version I am using is the amplified bible. I love this version because it returns to the original translation and writes out complete thoughts about certain words that just don’t translate. When you learn more than one language, you find that often times a word cannot be translated with just one word. You need a thought or a phrase to explain the word. Here they have placed in parenthesis around, applied with Godly wisdom. Wow this is so important. Later I will be talking more about anger but it has to enter in this part also. Spanking should never be done in anger. Children are born into a sinful nature once again due to laws set out since Adam and Eve. The thing is whoever thinks that children are innocent and don’t do intentionally do wrong, has either not had children or do not speak to their children. There is an amazing live stand up by Bill Cosby where he talks about exactly that. Here is the link for some good laughs. Bill Cosby Himself truthfulness of children
Child instincts are naturally not positive because they only think of themselves and what they want. This is not something bad it’s just natural. But they need to be taught and instructed on how not to be this way. Children are the best manipulators you will ever meet, and if you don’t believe this about your child you are most likely the victim of said manipulation. I am not saying you should spank your child for everything they do wrong but there are times in which it is needed. There are many situations where a time out is sufficient and in this you need to know your children and decide according to their personalities.

14. You shall [b]swat him with the reed-like rod
And rescue his life from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead).
This sounds so extreme, right? Save him from hell!!!! Well yeah in reality that’s what you will be doing. Children have to be taught that people are not to be manipulated, that the world is not only about them and that they should love other people.  How can they love other people? Love is an action it is a verb. They also need to learn obedience. Many of the world wide problems today are because people think they should always get to do what they want and not what they are told.  Clearly any environment is better when creativity and grace enter. But there has to be a balance. Learning to submit to leadership and guidance is such a hard lesson. It makes it even harder if children were never taught to do so when young. Although it may seem harsh right now while your child is five years old think about how they will be able to keep a job if they refuse to submit to a boss. Thinking of the most recent reasons my children received a spanking was because they were treating their siblings in a manner that is not acceptable or because they refused to clean their room. Was I angry and flying off the handle when I spanked them? Of course not!  As a mom you have to be sure that discipline happens before you reach your limit. This enters into the mommy discipline that I spoke of earlier. If you feel your tempeture rising take a deep breath calm down then apply discipline to the child. 

15. My son, if your heart is wise,
My heart will also be glad;
16. Yes, my heart will rejoice
When your lips speak right things.
This verse gives me rest and peace. It’s so true. Like I said before the results of self-discipline are what encourages you to keep it up. In the same way that our Father God looks at us and is glad, we can look at our children and be glad. This is not a prideful gladness because we know that really God is raising our children but a gladness knowing that my child will have successful relationships and a pure heart as an adult. A fullness that is worth every effort you have put forth. My kids teach me so much day after day. At times their wisdom throws me for a loop and I love to learn from them. 

17. Do not let your heart envy sinners [who live godless lives and have no hope of salvation],
But [continue to] live in the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord day by day.

Sometimes my girls notice that other moms are not as strict or do not expect as much out of their children as I do. They have asked me before, why does so and sos mom let them act that way. Many times this has been a great teaching moment. I ask my girls how it made them feel when said child acted the way they did. How did it affect the activity or play that was going on? Should we cause that kind of feelings for other people? The thing is kids that throw fits and act out many times is due to lack of identity and love (which will be in another post). Discipline is an act of love. It gives children security and helps them have order in their world. By living a disciplined life and thinking of others we honor God because he loves those "others" as much as he loves you. His love is an unconditional love. So I help my girls to understand that is why I discipline them. I do it out of love, and so far they understand and accept this with great understanding. 
18. Surely there is a future [and a reward],
And your hope and expectation will not be cut off.
Ahhh there is that peace again. In the midst of the turmoil of being a mommy we can rest in the promises God has given us. There will be a reward. Somedays we don’t see it, but others it is so evident. Again the fruits of your labor should be shining through every once in a while to give you this glimmer of hope for the future. And of course once they are grown and have their own children they will be a daily example of your efforts and of the love God has towards them. I love how it says your expectation will not be cut off. Because those who have received promises brought to completion from God know that He always goes the extra mile. Your expectations fall very short of what God has for your children. His dreams and goals for them are HUGE!!! Your children have a life purpose so much bigger than you can even imagine. We should be their launching ground. At our church we speak of parents building a platform that can serve as a roof for their children until the children can then build even higher. We want them to excide what we have accomplished in life and in Christ.
19Listen, my son, and be wise,
And direct your heart in the way [of the Lord].
 20Do not associate with heavy drinkers of wine,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat,
 21For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,
And the drowsiness [of overindulgence] will clothe one with rags.
 Here we have to talk about the constant education and teaching that we need to be giving to our children. Since the age of two or three my girls have had a piggy bank which they save money all year long. Each Easter they are allowed to open their banks and spend their money however they wish. My husband and I give them ideas and make suggestions when they ask for them but otherwise we allow them to buy what they want and we never add to what they have. If they don’t have enough then they have to find something else. My oldest daughter is now 9 and you would be amazed at how wise her spending decisions are. We cannot just give, give, give and give to our children. When we do this we are teaching them that they can always get what they want. That even if they don’t have enough resources it will be given to them. Often times I look around and wish that my girls could have all the fun stuff I had as a kid. But also I know that because of all that stuff I had my mom went into debt. And I never thought I had enough. I got arrested for stealing at 15 years old and it wasn’t the first time I had stolen. The point is that going into debt to give your children everything you always or never had will not help them. My girls are happy yet sometimes they notice that other kids have things they don’t. But they also take care of the things that they have. They appreciate each and every gift in a special way. They have learned to make toys out of recycled items and how to appreciate those toys even more because they made them. I know I have a lot to learn here because often times my flesh sneaks in and gets envious of those moms who do give everything to their children. It’s a constant fight between my spirit and flesh but when I feel I’m not sure I remember to seek out the knowledge of God.
22Listen to your father, who sired you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old.

 How can we teach this part to our children? This is only taught but example. You cannot tell your children to respect you then speak badly about your mother... or mother in law (ouch). You cannot say listen to your father and then ignore any advice given by your own... or by your husband (your children’s father). Ok I guess you can do that but I promise you your children will notice the double standard and follow your actions and not your words.
23Buy truth, and do not sell it;
Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
Ok so I have to admit this verse through me for a loop at first. I had to do some cross referencing about the words buy and sell. Because at first I thought well selling the truth would be a good idea right? If you do cross reference checking on the word used for buy in this verses it was often translated as seek, look for, search, or find. Ok so we need to be looking for the truth. This goes along with what we said before. It’s ok not to know everything and to seek out knowledgeable advice. And the word used for sell in other verses is used for gaining profit, for personal gain, or loving your own life more than Christ. Wow that is pretty powerful. We should not do all of this for our own personal gain. We need to do this for the love of Christ and for the betterment of our children. Child rearing should never turn into a selfish accomplishment. It’s something no one can do correctly without the guidance of our Father and to be honest this should be a relief. In this way we can also fall back on the Grace He has for us through Christ when we screw it up, which we will all do more than once. 

24The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And he who sires a wise child will have joy in him.

25Let your father and your mother be glad,

And let her who gave birth to you rejoice [in your wise and godly choices].
 So first off as a daughter still one my favorite things are to call and tell my parents of my recent personal accomplishments. I know my mom will be reading this blog and will feel a since of pride that she has done a work well done. I know my parents were not perfect the same that I am not perfect. But they deserve my respect for what they did accomplish and for the things I did learn from them.  Quite honestly we went through some pretty hard times as a family but I look at all my siblings and can see that my father can be glad and my mother can rejoice. In this same way peace enters in during the most frustrating moments of being a mommy. I can give it to God and know that someday and really in small pieces every day I will receive this promise in completion.
26My son, give me your heart
And let your eyes delight in my ways,
This verse reflects something I mentioned briefly before. All of this is possible when you truly give it all up to God. It says give me your heart. What is in your heart? My heart is full to the brim with my husband and my girls. So both of them I have to give to God. This is something I have done over and over and over again. My flesh always wants to return them into my control and my wisdom. But then the Spirit helps me to remember that I am not capable. But in Christ I can do all things. This means that I need to give my decisions, my self-discipline, and my actions up to Him. When we truly do this life goes so much smother. There is no guilt because I know Jesus covers all my sins and already forgave me for this current screw up. I can once again say ok Lord I give them to you, help me make the right choices. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Self Evaluation... Dun dun dun!!!

Ok I need you to imagine the dooms day music in a movie that happens just before something huge happens. Dun dun dun dun….Here it comes… its gona happen… its inevitable!!!!!
Oh well that wasn’t so bad after all.
This is how many of us feel when it comes to self-evaluation. We sometimes view it as low self-esteem or being to self-critical. But really that is just an excuse to not do it. Why are we so turned off by the fact of reviewing our own actions and yet criticizing others comes so easy. Personally I believe there are a few reasons. These same reasons are behind many of our more complicated questions. One is due to our past, broken hearts, lies spoken over us, decisions we have made about who we are ext. The second is that there is a very clear spiritual war going on. The enemy (well my enemy anyway) knows that if we all turned our critical eyes away from others and made it constructive towards ourselves then his job in this war would be so much harder.  The last and most common are simply because we are lazy. It’s easier to point out someone else’s errors because we then don’t have to do the work to fix it. I say all this as we and us because I still do not consider myself to have taken hold of this concept 100%. This is why I’m writing about it. The subject has come up in a few studies I’ve been at which causes me to always analyze what the Spirit is trying to do in the church as a whole. (This is so I can intercede, another blog all together)
Christian or not you should always be looking for ways to improve yourself. Those who say they have nothing they can change for the better someone that will be stuck in a very sad place in their life. We should never stop learning be it for our jobs, how to be parents, how to love our spouses, how to drive better, or whatever you do every day. The point is that biblical principles apply to all whether you believe or not. They are laws set forth since the beginning of time by the One True God and there is no escaping it. This is why so many religions have the same opinions on many things. The biblical principle which gives the basis to this post is to work on your issues and try not to focus so much on everyone else’s issues. This topic ties in pretty closely with what I wrote a few weeks ago. But today I want to go more in depth on the idea of constant self-evaluation.
First off how is this going help me in my daily life? If you are evaluating yourself, often times you see changes you need to make before anyone else notices. Then if it is brought up to you it’s something you have already come to accept and maybe have even looked for solutions. Let me give you an example. Last Sunday one of the things mentioned by our Pastor Gaby was signs of a sleeping heart (you can see the sermon we were discussing here :________________). One of these signs was if you get offensive when a leader gives you constructive criticism.  When I heard this I said, “Oh I receive criticism from my leaders well.” And God said, “At church maybe yes, but is this true at your work?” Ugggg and as always he started showing me times that I had gotten offensive with my coordinators and bosses. “Ok Father, I know you don’t show me these things to make me feel bad. So I receive them and I ask you why did I react that way?”  We had a nice conversation for a few days about this. I even expressed it at a study that we have on Tuesdays. (Confession is a huge tool towards breaking walls of misunderstanding between your heart and your Spirit). So by Wednesday morning I had in mind some things I needed to change about my methods in the class room and the way I would respond to my bosses in the face of criticism. And low and behold guess what happened Wednesday at 1:30. I got called into a meeting regarding a teaching method I had use. It’s never easy to receive correction but I can tell you that the meeting didn’t hurt because it was a confirmation of all that I had already gone through with God. It was pretty cool because everything that was brought up was things that God had already discussed with me and I had already made decisions on how to change. I received what all they had to say, expressed that I agreed with them and explained how I plan to change it. Lastly I asked for and accepted suggestions, and most of all received their suggestions. Although God spoke into my life this doesn’t mean that he hasn’t put people in my path to do so also. These people have years and years of experience in this field and I should take their experience and let it help me to grow faster.Wow!! How quickly God works in us when we are open to it and when we let him flow. Again I’m not saying I am always so open to Him but this is a huge example of why we should be. So many times I have wrestled with God over silly things and every time I give in and let him take over there is so much less damage done to my heart.
There are many books written about self evaluation and maybe if you don’t have Christ in your life you may need to read them. I even suggest you do. The world will be a better place if everyone turns there “change for the better” focus upon themselves. But if you do have Christ in your life this means you also have the Holy Spirit. This is a huge advantage that we have over the rest of the world in this subject (and really in any other subject). The Holy Spirit was sent here to be our constant guide and teacher. He is the one that brings these things to my attention without bringing guilt or fear. This is what prevents things like depression and anxiety. When the Spirit shows me something I could do better he does it in love. And I receive it with my identity firmly planted in Christ. I know that in Gods eyes I’m already this pure person that the Spirit is guiding me to be. So I don’t have to feel guilty about how I acted. What I do need to do is repent and work on changing it. I urge you to sit and ask the Spirit what he sees in your heart to work on. If at that time you start feeling sad, guilty, hatred, or any other negative feeling it IS NOT the Spirit that is guiding you and most likely is your soul (which is usually very confused without the Holy Spirit). If this happens, you can say to yourself, “NO I don’t receive these bitter views of myself. I only receive what the Spirit is giving me.” Just wait a few minutes and see what happens.
Now after the Spirit brings you these revelations he never just leaves you there high and dry. He will help you through the process of change. He will remind you on a daily basis of the decisions you made with Him. He is very helpful in that way. I have also found some very helpful tools on how we can work on our character growth which I will be writing about later but for now let’s just focus on focusing on ourselves and not others. (This is talking about the critical change for the better eye not for other purposes.)
I left a short list of verses to help you further your biblical knowledge on the subject. There are actually a ton more but I don’t want to overwhelm. If you want more verses on the topic leave  a message and I’d be happy to send them to you.

Psalm 32:3-5
Philipians 2:13
Psalm 51:1 The whole 51 is an excellent prayer for your daily life.
Psalm 129:23-24
Mathew 7:3
Luke 6:41
John 14:26, 16:12-15

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What I believe.... (what I love)

Since I started writing again I knew my blog would be shifting in a bit of a new direction. I don't feel the need to change the name or the site because I feel history is important for any reader. I love to know more about the authors that I am reading so Im going to give my readers the chance to find out who I am.
My title for today if you only  read the first line would send out some groans for some people. Which is exactly why I'm writing. A lot of times people have felt that saying "What I believe is..." should be followed by lots of arguments about how people should act and think and move and conduct their lives. Its so sad to me that so many in the world can list off a million things that "Christians" believe and many of those things will be filled to the brim with condemnation. Sure I could fill this blog with things I believe are wrong but I don't believe that's what the Bible tells me to do. Plus a lot of them would be things that I'm working on in my own life. Jesus was clear about how we were suppose to live, he made things very black and white most of the time. He didn't beat around the bush. So yes if you say to me Amanda do you think this or that is ok. I will answer you honestly and say yes or no, but this will not change the way I treat you or love you. Last week we heard a sermon on Judas Escargot. I loved the sermon because it expressed so much of what I have always felt when reading the what I consider one of the saddest parts of the life of Jesus. Every time I read about Jesus telling him, "just go." I cry. I was always sure that Jesus was holding out hope until the very last instant that Judas would change his mind. I don't believe that Judas had to turn Jesus in. Jesus had many enemies in high places they could have captured him any time he was ready for them to. Jesus had disappeared on them a couple times but that is because he knew it wasn't time. Three years before he was sold by Judas, Jesus saw the hurt behind the eyes of a man and had faith that His Father could change that hurt. He spoke life and and purpose into the Judases spirit for three whole years. Clearly he also corrected him because correction is a form of love. But he never rejected him or gave up on him. He ate with him and slept next to him. He loved him!!!! He hoped and I believe prayed that Judas would open his heart to the promises God was giving. I don't believe that he constantly berated him, or geared all of his teachings towards the specific sins Judas was committing or would commit. 
Who am I, you may be thinking, to write about such an opinion. And its ok if your thinking that because I also feel the same way. But that is exactly the point. I am no one important to this world. BUT!!!!! To God I am his precious daughter, loved, and cherished. I am the moving, living, breathing, hands, feet, mouth and body of Christ.  I have lived what Im writing about. And I can tell you many of the "terrible sinners" I have loved and still love in this way are still living their lives the way they were before I met them. And yes this brings me to tears during my times of intercession with the Spirit. But guess what, many are not. Many saw something new, something loving, something they could relate with in the way I live. And those that are still sinning differently than me I know have a seed planted in their hearts. I know that, even if they bash the followers of Christ or just continue living in ways that Jesus clearly said would kill their spirit, they always know who Christ was and is. They know that they are loved by the one true God! How do I know that you might ask. I know because Jesus used my mouth to speak it into their spirits. This gives me the confidence that at some point they will begin to want to be closer and closer to him. 
I know I haven't quoted much of the bible here and this may all look like a bunch of opinion but at the end of the blog I'm going to post verses that explain what Iv been talking about. I don't feel the need to place a scripture behind each sentence because Id rather you look them up and let the Holy Spirit lead you to your revelation. So if you are at all curious about this topic take a look at the scriptures below and before you start reading speak to the Holy Spirit and ask for his guidance. Ask him to give you revelation. With out revelation the scripture is just another book. Please don't just take it from me. Its so important that you grow in your relationship with God and receive it from Him. This post is just a spark of a flame that I know He is going to cultivate in many hearts. 
This morning as I lay in bed discussing this theme with God I asked him to show where in my life I need to be speaking more life and less condemnation. As usually he asked me a simple question that I couldn't answer. Do your kids know what I love about them? Do they know what you love about who they are? My answer was, I hope so. So I asked my middle child. Shes the early bird and so it was just her and I. I said, "Honey, what does mommy love about you?" Her first answers were her hair, her eyes and her cheeks. This is all true she is amazingly beautiful. But it wasn't the answer I'd hoped for. So, I asked her, "what about you, about who you are, about how you act, what parts of that does mommy love?" She got all shy and couldn't answer.  I gave her awhile and tried to explain it in diffrent ways hoping that was why she couldnt answer. She understood the question but nothing came to mind. So I started asking her if mommy loved certain things. For example that she gets completely crazy sometimes and makes us all laugh till we cry. That she has an amazing singing voice and sounds like an angle. That she is creative. Her teachers have told me how driven she is.  Clearly her answer to all these things is yes those are things that mommy loves. What do you think my new goal is? Well I want those to be the items at the fore front of her thinking. My youngest is only four yet answered that she loves people and is nice. Both of which are true. With my oldest her answers were more along the point. She said the way I act because I am happy, that I am creative and smart and that I am beautiful. That I'm a leader. Interestingly she also said, "That I love you." wow that one was powerful. Here is  a thought for prayer time. Should one of our answers to Father God be, because I love you? Oh the things we can learn from our children.
My lesson out of this is that I need to be speaking these things into the life of my middle child. I love how gentle God is with me and my heart. Had this teaching come from anyone else,i may have taken offence. But because it came directly from the heart of my Father I'm excited to make the change.
To end this all and to finish the sentence in the title I want to say I believe that Jesus was a man born from a virgin who lived a normal life trying to please God. And he did!!!!!! He was able to live his life without sinning. I believe when he was obedient and got baptized the Holy Spirit entered his life and changed it drastically. I believe He has given me the same chance to have the same Spirit and to change my life drastically. (He actually expects me to do greater things than Him, Yikes!!!) I believe I sin (maybe different than you) and that all of us should be reaching for the goal of perfection. I believe that I love what God loves which includes you and everyone else. I believe I fail miserably in this aspect and that God continues to help me to get closer to my ultimate goal. 

John 13:18-30
Mathew 24:24
Mark 3:13_18
Mark 6:6_12
Mathew 3:17, 5:43-48
Ok this could go on forever but I think ill stop here. Last and not least: John 13:34,35

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Passion

Most of my readers know that I am christian and love to share of all that God had done in our lives. The day after receiving our Canadian visa denial we went to talk with our pastor at Sozo Church. Our pastors have been used by God many times in our lives over the last couple years and we wanted them to know we were staying and that we were ready to commit 100% to service in the church. Our pastors response  was, and with a straight face,"Are you guys OK?" We said,"Yeah, really we are." He said,"OK can I be happy now." We all laughed and said, "Of course. We are!" Although since this happened one week after our going away party I asked if we were gona get a welcome home party, but that never happened. 
From there we were put in charge of what can be considered the welcoming committee at church. We were faithful in this and as the bible says he who is faithful in little will be given a lot. This happened in August last year. During this time God spoke to me a lot about how I can finally put down roots. That Hes not going to move me again for a long while. This brought me a lot of comfort. God also spoke to us about us serving in the church. We have always worked in the church but more and more God was calling us to do more. In the end of October we were asked to be co-pastors in our church.  This was the fulfillment of a promise God gave me when I first met Issac. Over 10 years ago God told me that Issac would be a pastor. In those 10 years there were times I forgot the promise and times I didn't believe it. I'm thankful that God is faithful even if we are not and even if at times we don't believe Him. Since last October we have seen God move more powerful than ever before. Mainly because we are growing in what we believe about Him and what He can do. And partly because we are believing more about how he sees us. Our Identity in Christ is something that our pastors have helped us to understand. The Holy Spirit has been pushing us and teaching us and guiding us every day and each day we learn to listen to Him more.  
This is the poster that was made to help the church members recognize us and know what we are doing in the church. It says, What we do in Sozo is care for the leaders and the congregation which the Holy Spirit has placed us to pastor and serve. It comes from a verse Acts 20:28-29 (check it out).

These are our pastors and a poster showing our DNA classes. We want all our leaders to not only understand but but be infused with the vision that God has given for Sozo. We love these guys so much and are so thankful to God for placing them on our path. 

I received a word one day saying to me that my hands were made for healing. That I didn't make a mistake with my profession (nursing) but that God wanted to use my hands to heal in the church and for Him now. This was such an awesome word for me and came at a time when I had just reread a poem I wrote when I was a nurse back in the states. When I read it I was in tears because I realized it all applied to my current life which has nothing to do with nursing. But I am still caring for people and helping them heal each and every day. Here is the poem and it can sum up where my passion remains. 
The Greatest Privilege
I get pleasure from their smile. 
I hurt for their hearts pain. 
I give from my healthy body to their broken soul.
Appreciation is the best reward. 
No amount of money can equal someones comfort. 
God has awarded me the greatest honor possible. 
To show his love to the broken. 
Hearing laughter from one with little reason. 
Swells your heart in a way few can understand. 
I can only imagine how Jesus felt as he healed the sick completely, heart and body.
Brings me to tears to even try to imagine. 
Thank you god for what I consider the greatest privilege. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Organizing my life

As I stated in some of my past blogs my life had been a bit out of control. Not in a bad way just really busy and I wasn't providing the same quality of care in my home. Much of what was going on is that I had all three girls in a dance academy. Don't get me wrong extra activities are good for kids but this is not just any dance school. This place creates professional. They build and train children to know how to have the discipline needed to be a prima ballerina. This is why i had my girls there. Between the three of them I was basically at the dance school every evening between 2-3 hours,  was working a second job and fighting each month to be able to pay for them all three. We had next to no time for house work, homework, alone times (time spent with each child alone) much less to go to the park and play. God began to speak to me about the issue explaining to me that it wasn't necessary. He helped me to analyze my reasons for having them there and most of my reasons were based in the fear that they would grow up to make some of the bad decisions I made as a youth. He helped me to see the reason I made those decisions was from a broken heart and a broken family and had nothing to do with the fact that I  was not passionate about something. Father God is so amazing like that. I love how he helps me to make decisions based on His reality and not mine. Because many times mine is messed up due to old habits or thought processes. So after fighting with God a bit about the ballet issue I relented and right now I couldn't be happier about His decision. Over the last few weeks I have been making my organizers which I use to always use. After the near miss of moving to Canada all my organizing things got trashed and I just never got around to making more. I hope you enjoy them. I know they are not as crafty as many you will find but I also believe in letting my girls help me a lot with this stuff. And to me having them help makes it even more awesome. 
 The above picture is our weekly menu. Its made from part of a Ritz Crackers box covered in scrapbook paper. Then I used cards to leave a space for writing. After placing a couple pretty stickers I put it in a plastic paper cover so that it can be erasable. Each week on Saturday me and my oldest daughter check out my cook books and Pinterest to find what we want to make for school snack (refrigerio) 2 o'clock lunch (comida) and dinner. Usually we don't put breakfast because we know its either cereal, rice or oatmeal. As we write out the menu we keep track of what we need to buy from the store and write it on one of the papers noted below.
 I did this only because tacks seem to constantly disappear and the the papers seem to always be falling into the floor. Si I made little pockets on the tack board for the most frequent items. Also this way we can use recycled paper for the shopping list.
 This is our chore list. I needed something practical. So I have a list of what we have to finish each day, each week and each month. I have three girls, my husband and a cousin who all live here and help with the chores. This is a way each person who does something can mark it off and that way we are doing what needs to be done and not always the same thing. Again this was made from the other side of the cracker box and was placed in a plastic paper cover so it can be used and reused with a dry erase marker. So far this is working perfectly. I have another small calendar in which I put the girls initials if they help each day with a smile on their faces with out grumbling or fighting. They get 1 peso for each day that they clean in this way. Doesn't sound like much but if they do well all 6 days that's 6x3 each week for Moma.
And last but certainly not least our calendar. I had an old dry erase board from when we were giving classes at home. Its frame was completely gone and looked pretty rough. I simply placed scrapbook paper around the boarder and covered it in tape in case the marker got on it it could be erased. Then I drew out the weekly and monthly calendar with sharpie. The monthly calendar doesn't have the month or the day numbers. Also we decided to start working on memory verses for the girls. Its something that I have always treasured from my childhood and the verses I learned continue to help me in my life. Each Saturday when I do my menu I also write out the activities for the week on the weekly calendar. It starts at 2 pm because that is when we get home from school.

Well thats that folks. My life is a well oiled te crees, hahahahaha.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Is there anybody out there?

So I have been away from my blog for a whole year now. I wrote a post last week and obviously very little movement there. But then I went to check my blog feed and I noticed that the majority of the people I follow haven't blogged in 2-4 YEARS!!! Wait what?!?!?!?!?!? How did this happen. Now I have to clear out my blog feed and find where all my buddy bloggers have gone. Also I want to find some new blogger buddies. I now am teaching in a kinder and I know I can find and give all kinds of inspiration in that aspect. Sure my blog will continue to be about life in Mexico because... well... that's where my life is but I since I no longer have to deal with immigration stuff I don't plan on posting much on that. I'm excited to get back to reading Leslie's posts so I can get my kitchen spiced back up again. The last year was pretty chaotic and with very little organization or free time for me to do the things I love such as crafts, cooking and blogging. But this is a new year and I am confident I will be able to get back on the ball here. As proof I'm going to post a pic of my new whiteboard calendar that I made. Attached to each side will be our menu, grocery list and chores charts.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Disappearing act.

Oh Blogging world, how I have thought of you over the last year and a half. I have actually written many blogs but none of them have left my head and gone into the keypad. I'm wondering if I'm even still on your feeds or if I have lost all my readers. If so I hope to earn  you all back with some new and fresh blogs. My life is wonderful right now and we are very happy in many of the things that are going on.
My last blogs were about the process of getting us to Canada. Long story short we quite our jobs, gave away or sold most of our stuff and had arranged for everything else to be given away then our visas got denied. Mine included. It said I didn't have sufficient reason to be going. Which makes no since because I was enrolled in nursing school and had been accepted by the nursing board in Canada. The day we got our envelopes from the immigration office Issac and I were alone and we opened them in the car. We both just kinda sat and looked out our papers a min trying to understand all the mumbo jumbo that they put on them.
I finally said, "I think mines denied." 
Issac says, "Me to." 
We just looked at each other and traded papers. We read each others papers. 
And I said, "Well that's that. What do we do now?"
We decided the first thing we wanted to do was to go talk to our pastor and tell him we are staying and we are ready to serve in any way he needed us. Then we needed to figure out the car situation. We had already started to sell it to a friend of mine from work and he had paid us half the money. Lastly we had to find a place to live. Our lease was up and after three years of living on the fourth floor we were ready for something new. 
That's right folks there were not tears and no sadness just a sense of we need to get on a roll here. I was actually relieved. Not sure if you remember in any of my blogs but I was pretty worried about not having any family, about the cold, about how we were going to make it, about not having the church family we finally had. And by now I know all those answers here in Mexico. 
We left from the immigration office with all this on our minds and headed to pick up our girls. They were staying with Issacs cousin who had recently moved to our city. When we got there and told them about the denial Issac uncle didn't believe him. He knows how Issac is always joking. So he looked to me and said Amanda really whats going on. 
"Hes telling the truth. Were not going." I said.
"But why are you guys smiling and laughing." he asked. 
That's when I realized that we really were happy about the denial. There was a lot to be done but we were glad to get to stay. 
Our cousins were pretty happy to. The reaction of almost everyone one was,"Can I be happy about this?" And our answer was always "Of course. We are!!" Followed by a big hug. 
Our Church pastors and leaders had thrown us a going away party so when we went to tell our pastor we told him we expected a welcome back party. Hahahahahah We actually had a lot of fun with that one. 
God really started putting everything in order for us right away. A friend from church happened to hear a guy needing to rent his house ASAP and cheap so he set us up with him. Went from a small two bedroom apartment on the fourth floor to a three bedroom house. Yeah!!!!! Way less stairs and more space. We now have been in this house for a year and it looks like were on for the next one also. Our friend who was buying the car understood the situation 100% and let us return them money he had paid us and we kept our car. The owner of the girls ballet school who is also a very good friend sent a recommendation to her kids kinder for me to work as an English teacher. I got an email for the job without even knowing. I went in very skeptical but they gave me a great offer and although last year was a year full of learning a lot of new things and growing a lot I now love love love my job. My husband continued teaching private classes but has recently also gotten a job at a call center. And in October of last year we became co-pastors at our church. (thats a blog in itself) Wow I look back at all that and I see how amazing my God is. 
After the denial God brought me to the verses where Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham made the long trip knowing what it entailed, answered the questions of his child the best he knew how and continued with this crazy plan God had given him even though in his heart it didn't match up with his dreams that he was sure God had given him. Thankfully as he raised the knife God said,"STOP!!" This was how I felt. That God had given me back my Isaac. The funny thing was that without telling anyone about what I was feeling the following weeks were full of people giving me words of knowledge referring to the same verses and the same theme. That's the great thing about being in a church with a prophetic awakening, you never run out of confirmation on something God is telling you. 
This last year was insane to say the least but things are going great and God has assured me of many things. One of which is more time for the things I love; my family, my church, crafts and my blog. So I will be seeing you all more. And I'm looking forward to getting caught up on all your lives also. 
Bye for now, Ill be back soon.