Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thoughtful Tuesday

Tuesdays are going to be my days to "vent". Whether it be about my struggles, challenges or even just journaling what the Lord is teaching me right now.

Over the past few weeks I've had many opportunities to do just as Eph. 5:22-23 says and let me just tell you how incredibly HARD this is for me!! I struggle constantly with control, so submitting to Aaron does not come naturally to me! I have always struggled with control and this power struggle has definitely caused many points of frustration in probably every relationship I've ever had! Thankfully, the Lord has been gracious to me in revealing my true sin nature, and has also allowed me to see the benefit of trusting my husband's heart, knowing that he truly is seeking the Lord's best for our family.

I'm so thankful for a husband who seeks the Lord. I'm thankful that I'm at a point in my life where I no longer battle daily with my power struggle of control, and trust issues with men. I'm thankful for a true desire to be obedient to the Lord, through my submission as a wife, even though I'm not perfect at it. I'm still learning how to put that in to practice in my life, but I'm thankful for patience as I attempt to carry out this one small task in my life.

What this looks like for me: When Aaron and I have different views on a situation, we listen to each other. We allow the other person to give their reasoning, and if we still have different opinions, this is where the trusting on my part comes in. Trusting that Aaron has prayed through his decision, and trusting that he truly wants the Lord's best for our family. I've never doubted that from day one, but I've also never expressed that confidence to him either. This is where I step back and allow him to lead, or should I say, this is where I should be doing that, even though it doesn't happen every single time!

Aaron, thank you for extending much grace where it is needed. Thank you for striving to follow God's Word in all that we do as a family. I know your heart is in the right place, and I never want to take that spiritual leadership for granted.

Please pray that as I continue down this path of learning what it truly means to trust, and be submissive, that I will continually run to my Savior for answers. My heart so desires to continue to become the Godly wife, woman and mommy that I know the Lord has for me to be. Please also pray that my eyes would be open to other areas where I am not fully trusting the Lord. And finally, pray that as I continue in this life-long journey, that my heart would be softened and that I would be open to areas that the Lord wants me to see where I need to change.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mommy Monday

So, I'm trying to start a new blog post plan and Mondays are my day to do any book reviews of books that I'm reading, the problem this week, is that I haven't read any books in the past week!

So, for today I'll just post my favorite mommy picture of the week...

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sharpen Me Sunday

Our church, Watermark Community Church, is currently going through a four week series on handling conflict from a Biblical perspective. Can I just tell you how humbling this has been?!? WOW! I missed out on last week, but quickly caught up this morning. Conflict is something that I REALLY struggle with. My natural tendency is to be a peacemaker becuase my biggest struggle is people pleasing, therefore, I HATE CONFLICT! Depending on the situation, I react differently, which is very unfortunate for the person on the other end, especially when I'm pregnant!

I also battle conflict differently with each different person in my life. With some I'm more sensitive, and others I'm more forward. Either way it's NOT a fun process. But, no matter the outcome, I know that in doing so, I am being obedient to Christ. And whether I like it or not, doesn't quite matter. If I am a believer in Jesus Christ, a believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I am called to be like Christ, and respond to conflict differently than how the world we live in responds to it.

So, this week (and hopefully always), I'm really trying to handle any and all conflict as Christ would have me do so. PLEASE pray for me, it's so hard and in my flesh I want to respond differently!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrating Earth Day: A Christian Perspective on Stewardship of the Environment | Keeper of the Home

I came across this post this morning and thought it fit perfectly with what I would consider to be a great Christian perspective on Earth Day! Enjoy!!

Celebrating Earth Day: A Christian Perspective on Stewardship of the Environment Keeper of the Home

You Know Your Sick When...

A. You're up at 3am writing a blog post
B. You're coughing so hard that it gives you Braxton Hicks contractions
C. You can't breathe out of your nose, yet it constantly runs (que tissue stuffing please)
D. The only food that sounds remotely good is Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup

Yes, we've had quite a few weeks here! Quite a few sick weeks that is. I was sick about 6 weeks ago with the exact same thing I have now, an upper respiratory infection. The problem is that when you're pregnant, 1) you're not supposed to get sick and 2) you can't take most of the same meds that you can when you're not pregnant, so getting better is a little longer of a process. Not to mention the fact that Aaron is on his second battle of bronchitis, and Caleb is getting over a double ear infection.

I know that we are to find joy in all of our trials and circumstances no matter what, but I must say, not going a single month without being sick since October makes it pretty hard to do! However, in the midst of all of this sickness, I am so thankful and blessed that we are not dealing with anything worse. Overall, we are very healthy people, no cancer, no disease. And even in the midst of all of this, I do occasionally find myself thanking the Lord for that very blessing.

So on my "Thankful Thursday", I'm am so thankful for my health. I'm thankful for my family's health, and I'm thankful that I can walk, talk, breathe, hear, see and touch. The Lord is so good!!

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverence. Perseverence must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's A....

B O Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are so thrilled to announce that we are having another BOY! Asher Levi Garcia will be gracing us with his presence around September 4th, 2010 and I cannot wait to hold him in my arms!!! YAY FOR BOYS!!!!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dream Weekend

As I previously posted, I turned the big 3-0 back in February. For my birthday this year I asked to go on a scrap retreat. I've been wanting to go on one for the past 5 or so years and I thought this year was perfect! My goal was to finish Caleb's baby album so that I could get started on Baby Dos' album (we find out the sex TODAY at 4pm)! While I didn't get it 100% completed (only becuase I didn't print out the right pictures), I did get 26 pages completed, and all time record I think, considering it took me about 18 months to finish the first 10 pages and this time around I finished 26 in 48 hours! Needless to say I didn't get much sleep, but man was it worth it!

For those of you who know me well, know that one of my biggest dreams in life is to own a ranch in Colorado, and to also have basically the exact same place I went this weekend, on-site, in the middle of the Rocky Mountains! Now, I knwo that's a big dream, and I don't know if it will ever come true, but this is one dream that I will carry with me forever.

I went on this weekend retreat by myself, which the Jill three years ago would not have done. I feel that I have grown out of my comfort zone so much with meeting new people, and striking up conversation, that I knew this weekend would be a great opportunity to meet at least 29 other people. And I did just that! Everyone there was wonderful, nice, helpful and so sweet. I got lots of new ideas for page layouts, got to hear one woman's whole adoption story which about brought me to tears, and share a little bit of my own story that hopefully the Lord will use!

Here are some pics from the weekend...

Just getting started on the road!

My #1 priority of the weekend, to consume as much Fazoli's as I could (since the closest one is 2 hours away, and it's my favorite fast food place ever), and I succeeded!!

Rockin' Reality - where all the magic happened!!

One of 8 bedrooms - I slept in the corner by the window and the bed was amazing!!

Really nice sitting room off the kitchen

The beautiful kitchen (I could have lived on-site if I owned the place!)

The scrappin' room, I don't know the exact dimensions, but it was big enough to hold 40 people, with each person having their own 4' x 8' table, as well as all of the tools & supplies areas

Ohhhh, the Cricut table! 4 cricuts + 98 cartridges = heaven!

The "store", literally. Rena had so many GREAT supplies that you could purchase at a VERY reasonable price. I loved the fact that she had all of the embellishments set up individually so you only had to buy exactly what you wanted to use.

Upstairs sitting room

One of 5 bathrooms

Upstairs sitting room (different angle)

Creative Corner (with massage chair and foot massager!)

Me at my spot!

Jennifer, one of my roomates! We got to sit across from each other and she definitely helped me with layout ideas!

My "scrap spot" - it was WONDERFUL to be able to totally spread out! And if you can see, there are two "F.R.E.D.'s" that I was able to use. It's the coolest thing ever. It's a heavy duty magnetic board that is used to hodl up your layouts while your in the process of putting everything together. It stands up like a picture frame, so that you aren't leaning over the table the entire time. I'm hoping to purchase one of these soon, but they ar a little pricey, $50. Going to see if I can make my own for less...

Overall it was one of the best getaway weekends I think I've ever had! I've already decided to make this trip an annual one as I was truly inspired so much more by being away from the real world and not having to worry about anything, or clean, or truly was my dream weekend!

A BIG shout-out to my amazing husband for taking care of Caleb for the weekend. Especially since after taking Caleb to the Dr. on Friday and finding out that he has a double ear infection. And on top of that, Aaron is sick as well. I know it wasn't an ideal weekend to leave, but the Lord knew exactly what was going on, and knew that this was the perrfect weekend for a break for me! Thank you honey, for all your hard work this weekend and allowing this momma a much needed break! You are so wonderful and I am so thankful for you!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Today, I am thankful for my boys! I am thankful to the Lord for blessing my life with Aaron, as my husband and best friend. Aaron is a great encourager, servant, responsible and loyal leader of our family. This week, I've seen him consistently choose to spend time with the Lord first, outside of the small amount of time he gets with Caleb at night. He makes it very easy for me to submit myself as his wife and helpmate to. I trust him completely, and I know that he is seeking the will of the Lord for our family as we have many decisions to make in the next month.

I'm also so thankful to the Lord for my sweet boy! Caleb is one of the greatest blessings I have ever received on this earth. He brings such great joy and laughter to our family each and every day, in so many different ways. I'm thankful that the Lord is using Caleb to continually humble me and show me areas where I am selfish and need to continue to grow as a mom and a wife.

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thes. 5:16-18

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Little Sickling...

My little man has had his first ever fever this week, YUK! Along with it came a nasty deep chest cough and runny nose. I think he caught whatever virus this is from the church nursery which makes me sad to think of all the other babies that probably caught it too! One of the hard things is that when Caleb is sick, he definitely doesn't act like it. He normally still goes about his day just fine, playing with toys, eating normally and doesn't seem overly fussy. This makes it difficult for us to really tell when he's actually not feeling well though. Anyway, this time has been a little different. He's been very lethargic, and when he coughs, it's like he's doubling over. Poor little honey! Here are some pics I took today just to prove (and remember) what it's like around here when he's truly sick...
eating cheerios and watching Curious George

"move out of the way mom, I can't see George!"

most of our morning was spent with him laying on the floor or cuddling with me on the couch

can't go without his lovie or pacy when he's sick. this momma is letting him have his comfort items all day!

you'd never know he's sick in this pic! yesterday his temp was 101.6, but thankfully when i got him up this morning it was down to 99.9, hoping he's on the mend!

The best proof that he's not feeling well. He didn't touch a single toy or book ALL morning long.

Sweet boy, momma is praying for quick healing so that you and daddy can have an awesome weekend together while mommy is gone! I love you and although I hate it when you are sick, I relish in the fact that you curl up in my lap and we get to watch a cartoon or two together! I love you sweet boy!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Menu Plan Sunday

We're moving in to week three of our April challenge this week and we're doing GREAT! I've fought off plenty of temptations, including a coke icee from my trip to Target, Steak 'N' Shake and my biggest temptation, Subway!

We stuck to our menu plan for the most part this week. Thursday we did whatever we could find (Aaron thought he had to work late so we didn't end up taking dinner from our friends), and Friday we went over to some friends home and they served us dinner! Such a special treat!! Other than that, we stayed on track!

For week two, we spent $112.92. A few of those items purchased were replacements, again, that I knew were coming.

For this week, it's going to be a short week since we have dinner provided on Thursday, and then I'm out of town Friday - Sunday for my dream weekend scrap/craft retreat!!! My awesome hubby will have daddy duty all weekend and I'm actually really excited for him to have so much time with Caleb, I know Caleb will love it!

As for our menu for the week:

Sunday: Taco Salad

Taco Salad Recipe
Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 minutes

1 lb. ground beef (we use 80/20, but you can use whatever is normal for you!)
Noodles (your choiceof shape, and amount depending on how many you are serving, I use penne)
Sour Cream
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Picante Sauce or Catalina Dressing
Fritos Chips
Beans of your choice (Black, Refried, or Aaron's new favorite: Bush's Grillin Beans - Fiesta Flavor)
Shredded Lettuce

Brown your ground beef and cook noodles according to package. When done, grab a really big bowl and mix all ingredients together and enjoy!! Corn Bread is also a great addition to this meal!

Monday: Cheese Ravioli with Meat Sauce & Caesar Salad

Cheese Ravioli with Meat Sauce Recipe
Serves 2-4
Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Your choice of cheese ravioli (I use Butoni)
italian seasonings
Your choice of pasta sauce
Ground Beef

Brown ground beef, add pasta sauce once browned and drained. Add italian seasonings, salt and pepper to taste
cook ravioli according to package directions

Plate and serve!

Tuesday: French Fried Onion Chicken, Veggies, Fruit Salad & Crescent Rolls

French Fried Onion Chicken Recipe
Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

boneless, skinless chicken breasts (one per person you are serving)
2 eggs
French fried onions

pound chicken to a thin layer for shorter cooking time
crack and stir together eggs

Once chicken is pounded down, drench in egg and cover both sides with french fried onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in greased baking dish and bake 20 minutes (or until juices run clear).

Wednesday: Frozen Pizza Night!

Pick yoru favorite frozen pizza and enjoy! Ours is Freschetta!

That's all I have to cook this week and I am THRILLED! We will be making two exceptions for the month. Aaron's best friend's birthday is this coming weekend and they will be eating out. Because this is a special event, we feel it's ok to make the exception. Also, I will be eating a little bit on my scrap retreat for my birthday, which we also consider a special occasion, therefore we will not count these towards our food budget this month.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Prayer For Today...

Won't you take this cup from me
Cause fear has stolen all my sleep
If tomorrow means my death
I pray you'll save their souls with it

Let the songs I sing
Bring joy to you
Let the words I say profess my love
Let the notes I choose
Be your favorite tune
Father let my heart be after you

In this hour of doubt I see
But who I am is not just me
So give me strength to die myself
So love can live to tell the tale

Let the songs I sing
Bring joy to you
Let the words I say profess my love
Let the notes I choose
Be your favorite tune
Father let my heart be after you

Father let me heart be...
For you

Let the songs I sing
Bring joy to you
Let the words I say profess my love
Let the notes I choose
Be your favorite tune
Father let my heart be after you

"Garden" by Need To Breathe

Be Blessed and Encouraged,

A Mom After God's Own Heart: Chapter 4

I know that when I write about this book, my posts always seem to be FOREVER long. In my human nature, I want to apologize for the length, but in all actuality, I really shouldn't because I truly feel that what I'm learning through this book is such goodness that I don't want to leave anything out! Obviously, I know that longer posts will prevent some of you from actually reading the whole thing, but I hope that you will find time to read my posts from this book, there is such great insight about being a Godly mom! Anyway, on to the book!!!

LOVED LOVED LOVED this chapter titled "Tell Your Children About Jesus". The verse is 2 Cor. 5:20 as says, "We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us."

You might wonder how this chapter differs from the last one, "Talk To Your Children About God", and I have to say I wondered the same thing as I looked at the title, but don't be mistaken, there is a crucial difference!!

In this chapter a GREAT analogy has been given, the analogy of a target, arrow and bull's eye. The most important thing we can do in life, as a mom, is to tell our sweet children about Jesus! That's our "bull's eye" for life, or at least it should be!

We MUST aim for our child's heart! That is the "target". Ask yourself what is the purpose and aim of your parenting? Take a look at your life and priorities. What are you intent on teaching your children? With our days being filled with multi-tasking, it often seems impossible for me to get everything on my to-do list done. I'm often overwhelmed by this, especially in the stage where Caleb is right now, wanting to learn new things each day. Of course I want to be his most influential teacher in life, as I should desire that as his mom, but man, it sure is time consuming! The thought of adding another thing to my list is difficult at times, but the greatest take away (reminder, challenge, encouragment) from this chapter for me was this: "Until I wake up every single morning and know without a doubt that today, if I don't get anything else done, I must teach my children about my Lord Jesus, I am aiming at the wrong target"! WOW! This was so convicting, yet so encouraging! I'm so thankful that I'm reading this book and learning how to be a better mom while Caleb is still so young, AND before this next precious baby arrives! Thank you Lord, for allowing me to see these truths! Help me to put in to practice each new thing, so that my sweet babies will grow to know You, Your story, Your gospel, and prayerfully, come to know you personally as their Savior!

Next came the arrows. What are the peircing arrows we want to sink into little hearts? The Scriptures. The truth. The Word of God. The Bible. And especially the Bible's account and stories of Jesus' life. Teach your children about Jesus -- His miracles, His teachings, His birth, death, and resurrection, His interactions with his Father and his disciples, His goodness, His perfect, sinless life!!!! How can we best do this as mom's? READ ALOUD to your chidlren daily from the four gospels!! Even if your child(ren) are "too young to understand", still be faithful to read to them! "The word of the Lord does not go void", no matter what age they are at!!!

Now, hitting the bull's eye. Pray. Pray, pray, pray for the salvation of your children! Realize that YOU can't save them, only God can do that. that's His job. To hit the bull's eye, take care to share vocally and repeatedly the facts about the gospel. Speak from your heart and from God's Word to your children. Make it a point every day. See it as a sacred, nonoptional, daily duty! Talk to them about Jesus' death for their sins. Be faithful to open your mouth. Be faithful to prepare. Be faithful to teach. Be faithful to preach. Be faithful to hang in there and persist...while being faithful to live out genuine faith. And, of course, be faithful to pray!

May your children, and mine, never remember a day when you didn't talk to them about Jesus, your Best Friend and Savior!!

From A Dad's Heart was so encouraging!! Jim had so much great insight and ideas of what us as mommies can do to encourage and/or be a light to our husbands during this journey of parenthood...

"If your husband is not a Christian, he won't be all that interested in hearing about Jesus. But he is probably very interersted in knowing that the children are under control. he likes knowing that the home is clean. And he loves knowing what' for dinner! For this dear guy, make sure you ar eliving out before him the reality of the Jesus you want him and your children to know. Communication takes on many forms. Often we teach the loudest by what we do rather than what we say. your actions will teach your husband about Jesus too! As the Bible says, "without a word" husbands "may be won by the conduct of their wives" (1 Peter 3:1).

Now, and always, if you have a believing husband, thank God every day for this man and pray daily for growth and wisdom for him. Then beyond that, sit down with him in a quiet place and share what you are learning about being amom after God's own heart. let him know of your commitment to tell your children about Jesus. Share your dreams that they come to a genuine faith in Christ. Enlist his support in helping you talk about Christ."

I don't know who all reads my blog outside of a few close friends and maybe a couple family members, but my prayer is that if you are in an unequally yoked marriage, that the Lord would use you in mighty ways to bring your spouse to know him personally. And that you would not lose heart, and would continue on in your faith, by word and deed, so that the name of the Lord is glorified in all circumstances of your life! Know that I am praying for the hearts of unbelieveing husbands out there, for the Lord to reveal himself in undeniable ways to them, so that they may turn from their unbelief and take on the role of a Godly man and leader in their home. Our generation and the generations to follow desperately need this!!!

Little Choices That Reap Big Blessings. This part of the chapter is often where I am challenged, but struggle deeple to put in to practice. These are the most practical tips I could receive, in order to make the necessary changes, so taht I can put in to practice everything else I have just read and learned throughout the rest of the chapter, yet, somehow I fail to take those steps to change the look of my daily life. The ones from this chapter seem a little extra "easy" to implement so I'm challenging myself this week to be faithful in doing one of these each day.

1. Concentrate on the gospel. Consider this:

The Gospel is God-given.
The Gospel is what God does for man.
The Gospel is good news.
The Gospel ends in inner transformation.
The Gospel is...a force -- the power of God unto salvation.

2. Share the lives of God's saints.

Choose to read up on some of the greatest saints. For example, G. Campbell Morgan. He was a little boy who grew up to become a famous British minister and later the pastor of the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Of him it is written that he was "a great organizer, a powerful preacher, a prince among evangelists, a teacher and leader amongst ministers and student of Holy Scriptures." But hear Mr. Morgan's own words: "My dedication to the preaching of the Word was maternal.... When but eight years old I preached to my littler sister and to her dolls arrayed in orderly form befor me. My sermons were Bible stories which I had first heard from my mother."

3. Sing about Jesus. Instead of having the TV on this week, I am going to have on worship music, or just have silence and reading time for Caleb and I. Caleb LOVES to read, and is starting to "read" to himself (in his own language of course)!

4. Budget for books. It's staggering how much a family can pay for cable TV service, videos, and CDs. So don't hesitate to have a budget for Jesus books. Note the books at the bookstore that would teach your children truths about Jesus. Also note the books your kids particularly like. A special book purchased every so often (otherwise known to me as a sussy) will surely become a favorite and an heirloom.

5. Ask others to pray. Being a mom is the same as being in a battle. You're a warrior! And the battle for your child's heart is a spiritual one! So enlist the prayer support of any family members or friends taht are Christians. Ask them to commit to becoming prayer warriors on behalf of your children. Ask them to pray for each of your children every day. This is one of the most important "invisible" things you can do for your children, pray for their salvation daily!!

This chapter truly spoke to my heart in many, many ways, but specifically it was encouraging to get ideas of all of the practical things I can do teach my sweet child about Jesus! What better ways could I spend my time at home with Caleb, than to read bible stories to him, sing to and with him, dance with him, pray with him and for him, and truly feed him the gospel, the truth of what has been offered to each and every one of us!! Most of what was written here was taken from the book, but it was such good "meat" that I didn't feel the need to alter anything. The Lord truly used Elizabeth in this chapter to reach directly into my heart and soul, and to encourage me to be driven after one thing in life, HIM!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

18 Weeks!

I still can't believe how quickly this pregnancy is going! I'm already 18 weeks and we will hopefully find out the sex at our next appointment in only two weeks! Where does the time go?!? Oh yes, it's spent chasing my precious toddler around, cooking, cleaning, going to the park, playdates and so much more! Anyway, here's some pics!

17 weeks
This week at 18 weeks along!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Happy Easter 2010!!

Happy Easter everyone in blogland! I hope that your Easter has been so very special and that the Lord's Resurrection has become real to you today! Our service this morning was so good, especially the music. I don't know what it is, but singing worship songs to my Savior is such an emotional time for me, especially when I'm singing about my Risen Lord, the One who gave his Son for the sins of the world, so that we could live in eternity with Him!!

I hope you find your own way to celebrate today, whether it be with family and friends, or a quiet Easter meal at home with the ones closest to you! We will be doing the latter, and the three of us will be sharing a small ham dinner (which I am thoroughly excited about)! Whatever you do, be mindful of the gift that Christ has offered you, and don't just let today pass without taking the time to sit and reflect on what that gift of eternal life. No matter where you are in life, what mistakes you've made, what cards you've been dealt, His gift is available, and He is waiting for you to accept it, accept His unconditional love and forgiveness and walk with Him!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!