Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lost in Translation

A lot of the food items here in Mexico are "bilingual" in that they have both English and Spanish labels. It's always interesting to me to read the translations...I really got a kick out of this one!

Tostadas from Soriana (a large grocery store chain here)
...basically large corn chips.

English translation: "Yellow toast" Huh?

Then I noticed a recipe on the back for
"Tostadas de Tinga" (which are
very good, by the way...)

So here we go...
Tinga Toast
1 boneless and skinless chicken breast (cooked and shredded)
1 big sliced onion
2 Soriana vegetable oil tsp.
1 smash tomatoe tbs. salt and chipotle
In a pan, fry the onion,
add some thick soup (as in the tomato smash?)
with the chicken broth. When reaching
boiling point, add the chicken and chipotle.
Note: Pile the chicken mixture on top of the tostadas
and top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes,
sour cream, and/or salsa...
o con lo que te da la gana...
or with whatever toppings you like.
Enjoy with your toasts!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Practicing Hospitality

We have been on a school break since a week ago last Friday (yes, our school has a weird calendar-mainly having to do with getting the MKs in the dorm together with their parents more often). As many of you know, going from a school schedule to a week-long break back to school schedule can make for rough transitions...I had hoped this break would be more of a stay-at-home-get-rested-and-relaxed break, but somehow it morphed into a really irregular schedule and some late nights...not really bad, just different than what I'd hoped. I knew that we were all feeling tired, so I figured that after church on Sunday, we'd be able to rest and then get to bed early two nights in a row to be nice and rested up for when school resumes again tomorrow.

And then came the call to hospitality.

Late Sunday afternoon we got a ring from a pastor friend of Miguel's; he and his family were coming into town and could they come to our house? This is a couple that works up in the sierra planting churches...Miguel and the youth work team from our church spent a week with them up there last year. Miguel had given them our number and told them to call if they were ever in town and they were taking him up on his offer. To their credit, we found out that they had sent us a text message three days ago...oops, guess we missed it! Note to self-don't rely on text messages for communication. But I digress...

First reaction: slight panic. I have very little food in the house, will they want to spend the night? and are the bathrooms clean?! Oh my goodness, look at the floor-how long has it been since I mopped? ...we had a bit of a rough Sunday and we're tired...I am really not prepared for this!

Second reaction: ¡Tranquila! Relax! Everything will be fine! Guess that's my Latin side...

So when they got here, we offered them drinks and chatted for a while. Then we offered them supper, although Miguel and the pastor had to go to the store for groceries first. The pastor's wife and I stayed home and began preparing what food I could find in the house...lemonade, some broccoli, a couple of cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes for the "tortas" (sandwiches with bread similar to Kaiser rolls), and oh good-I had the ingredients for cornbread, well, everything minus the milk, but it turned out okay with just water (Note to self: Cooking for company is not really a good time to experiment with recipes).

When Miguel returned with the rest of the torta fixings, we had supper and then they said that they would, indeed, like to spend the night. So we rearranged the house a bit, shuffled some kids around (we also had another friend of Micah's spending the night, too), everyone had a place to sleep, and all was well. Miguel did have to run to the store again this morning for milk...definitely that laid-back Latin approach to life, just kind of taking things as they come. :)

I was thinking about all of this earlier today and decided to review what Scripture says about hospitality. I did a search on Biblegateway and the first verse that showed up was Romans 12:13, "Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." I was curious about the context, so I expanded the view to show the entire chapter. Now I really should have recognized which chapter this was, but apparently my brain had taken a short vacation or something. I was somewhat surprised to scroll up to the beginning of the chapter and see that this verse appears in a chapter that begins with...

"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."

I'm not a theologian and maybe these two passages weren't really meant to "go together", and yet today it struck me that maybe they do! What jumped out to me this morning was: 1) share with those in need, 2) practice hospitality and 3) sacrifice.

I don't think I normally view hospitality as being a sacrifice...but is that because I usually maintain control of when and how I practice it? It's when the unexpected company shows up that my true attitude towards hospitality gets tested! I'm happy to say that I had a good attitude about it this time, but unfortunately it hasn't always been the case...

I think that I have somewhat lost the true essence of hospitality. I think maybe I often view hospitality as something to give when I feel I have it to be done when/if the conditions are optimal...when it's convenient for me...when it fits into my schedule...when no other activities are planned so my full attention can be focused solely on our guests (and when does that ever happen?!)...when I have something special to offer. It can become an "all or nothing" situation-either it's done to "perfection" or not at all.

No, the conditions weren't exactly "optimal" for having company this weekend (far from it, actually). No, it didn't really "fit" into our schedule. No, the house wasn't in great shape (among other things, there is actually a big chunk of ABC gum stuck to the floor in the bathroom behind the toilet-I just didn't have the time to deal with it!)...I simply had to overlook a lot of the cleaning "details". Yes, we stayed up too late. Yes, we spent money on the extra groceries during a tight month for us. Yes, the kids are going to be tired tomorrow (I did manage to get them in bed early tonight). Yes, it "messed up" our schedule.
And yet I think we practiced hospitality. I'm so glad we did.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Vote and a Giveaway

I entered a contest over at CoffeeGirl Confessions...go check it out! Vote for your favorite picture of Red Beauty; if you vote for #6, you vote for me. :) Truth is, they are all so awesome that it's really hard to choose!

Shilo over at My Place of Peace has some really beautiful things to give away, so go check that out, too!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Purse Love

Oops, almost forgot to do this! I have been tagged (sort of, in a roundabout way) by Shilo at My Place of Peace to write a post about my purse. This is going to be funny! Are you ready?

1) "Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late. No, you cannot go up to your closet and pull out that cute little purse you used back before you had kids. I want to know what you carried today or the last time you left the house."

Here it all of its glory! Ha!
My purse is usually large and black.
At one point, so was my diaper bag.
It was confusing.

It has one large compartment and these are its contents.

List of contents:
one yellow plastic spoon (comes in handy sometimes...)
2 straws
one black case with assorted makeup (it's sorta my backup in case I forget to put any on!)
a small box of crayons from Cracker Barrel
assorted handi-wipes
2 emery boards
2 packs of travel Kleenex
a small sewing kit (veeeeery small!)
bits and pieces of a writing pen
hand sanitizer (pink bottle)
a watch with a broken strap (watch part still works)
hand lotion (a Mary Kay sample of Satin Hands)
small spiral notebook (for jotting down phone numbers, notes, or letting the kids draw when they are bored)
a cleaning cloth for glasses
silver Nike (a freebie!) sunglasses case with sunglasses
travel toothpaste
bottle of generic motion sickness pills
empty bottle of aspirin (time for a refill!)
bottle of contact solution
leather coin purse (empty, rats)
my Buck knife (that I can't even open w/o straining myself because it's gummed shut-not going to be much help in an emergency!)
several U.S. coins
a tube of lipstick (not that I ever use it)
a booklet (tract) in Spanish
assorted trash-candy wrappers, old receipts, etc.

Let's clean it up a little, shall we? (The red lego has nothing
to do with my purse, just happens to be on the table
at the moment...)

Now for the front pocket: Living Proof Live wristband, 5 writing pens (can't ever have too many of those!), a business card (from a guy we met at the Beth Moore conference), a flosser (used), lip balm (Moisture Therapy from Avon-love it), and a Kleenex (also used)Back Pocket: small stuffed animal (I have no idea-apparently it belonged to Gracia because she snatched it up as soon as she saw it on the table), a writing pen, another business card (my chiropractor in the U.S.), sugar packet (from Venezuela!), a very old peppermint candy (hmmmm...might keep a kids occupied one of these days...), an emery board (I don't know why I even have emery boards, I have no fingernails to speak of!), another flosser (un-used), and a paper clip

Oh! Almost forgot about the inside pocket...a small green ball (huh?), a panty-liner, a pad, a small bottle of tei-fu (I wondered where that went!), and bit of fluff because the purse lining is coming apart

Now comes the challenge of getting it all back INTO my purse. Minus the trash, of course.
2) I want to know how much it cost:) And this is not to judge. This is for entertainment purposes only. So spill it. And if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, I’d love to hear it."

Okay, I am trying to remember if this is the purse that Shilo bought me one time while we were in Venezuela or not...I don't think it is, but it is very similar. So if it isn't, I probably bought it at Walmart and paid somewhere around $12 U.S.

3. "Tag some chicks. And link back to this post so people know why the heck you’re showing everyone your purse."

I think I'll copy Shilo, if you are reading this, you're tagged! Now go write about your purse!

Love/Hate Relationship

Jkaile LOVES balloons! He screams and squeals and plays with them for long periods of time. But apparently, he doesn't like the part where the balloons are filled with can see him go back and forth between fear and excitement...he is just too cute!

Party Pics!

Decorating the cookies...
Look at that smile!

This picture is basically the same as the last one...
but I like that both Gracia and Jojo are looking
at the camera this time...

Leftovers...looks like they went a bit heavy on the sprinkles!
Gotta love Kindergarten!

Valentine's Day Parties!

Getting ready for Valentine's Day Parties at school!
Gracia and classmate Caleb making sugar cookies
at Caleb's house for their class.
Micah wanted to make something to take for
his class party. We decided to make
strawberry jelly tarts.

The tarts in the oven.
Miguel helped Gracia sign the cards we made
to hand out at the party.

Uh-oh! Somebody got into the markers!!!!
Addressing the envelopes...
First batch done!
We put some gummy hearts on top
once the jelly was a little cooler.
So pretty!
They are really, really yummy!
(one of them stuck in the muffin tin so
I got to sample...heehee)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Not much time left!

Not much time left to enter for a Simple Kids giveaway HERE! I had forgotten about it...sorry. Those look like some really awesome toys! And I have really enjoyed the Simple Kids blog posts as well...good stuff! :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Beth Moore video

I found a video (well, a 'picture-video') from the Living Proof Live event in El Paso. I'd love to just put it here, but I'm not sure how to do that, so I'll post a LINK. Some of our ladies are in there, too!

Travis Cottrell sang the song playing in that video at the conference...I realized I'd forgotten to say anything about the worship team. I wasn't sure what to expect because I haven't really heard much from Travis' worship team. I am not a huge fan of a lot of the new styles of worship that include funky, jazzy music and/or lots of jumping up and down, yelling, etc. I have nothing against expressing oneself through worship as long as it doesn't distract others or detract from The One we are worshipping. Typically, our organization is on the conservative side of this issue. I am excited to note that I am becoming much more free to say, raise my hand in worship, and yet I want it to come from the heart, not because I got carried away in the emotions of the moment or because everyone else around me is doing it...does that make sense?

But I have to say that I was very pleased with Travis' worship team! I thought that they did a really fabulous job of directing worship to our Lord instead of attention towards themselves. The music was a nice mix of newer and older songs, hymns even. And In Christ Alone is my life's theme song right now, and we sang it both days! I like how they stick that On Christ the Solid Rock bridge in there, too. Yes, the music was loud (as in reverberating-in-the-chest loud), but I think that was due more to the fact that we were in the very front (not complaining about that! haha!) was really neat to see how the worship moved me towards God. During one of the songs I had a very strong desire to stand, but since nobody around me was, I felt a little hesitant. I finally peeked behind us and there were quite a few ladies standing in the rows behind us, so up I popped, too! :) I guess I'm getting more into that Latin style of standing for worship than I thought! LOL! And yes, I raised my hands...ahem, danced a little (w/o moving my feet too much-we were kinda squished in there...wouldn't want to poke anyone in the um, side...), and just sang my heart out.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Few Photos...

Soup and Salad at the Olive Garden...

Waiting outside the Convention Center.

The view from where I sat.

A view of me sitting.

A view behind where I was sitting.

Beth praying for the conference...I was humbled
(I know, I should have had my eyes shut!).

Beth teaching...see the trash can?
Beth reviewing point #1 with Lisa, one of our group...

The trash can, now full of things that should be in the trash...

Throwing away my 'trash'.
Thought you might get a kick out of this one;
waiting for lunch at P.F. Changs.

Packing up the vans to come home...
hard to get all of our luggage and shopping
back in the vans! There were 14 of us...

Notes from Beth Moore

Brace yourselves for a LONG post! :) I tried to take a nap today, but it didn't last long...I just kept feeling very strongly that I needed to get these notes typed up (however 'rough' they are-I know I couldn't catch everything) and posted, emailed, printed, etc. And in saying that, if you would like a more printable copy, let me know and I will email it to you.

Before I begin, however, just let me say that the conference was pretty amazing! We were given the VIP treatment, as in free tickets and 3rd row seats!!! Beth sat not five feet in front of us during the worship times! It felt a little unreal at times...I will post pictures after the notes...anyway, the message of the conference was something that spoke intimately and deeply to each and every one of us that was there. And I think that God might have something in there for you, too! So happy reading!

Treasure in the Trash

Hebrews 10:23-25, 32-39 NIV

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
for he who promised is faithful.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on
toward love and good deeds.
Let us not give up meeting together,
as some are in the habit of doing,
but let us encourage one another—
and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Remember those earlier days after
you had received the light,
when you stood your ground in a
great contest in the face of suffering.
Sometimes you were publicly exposed
to insult and persecution;
at other times you stood side by side
with those who were so treated.
You sympathized with those in prison and
joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
because you knew that you yourselves
had better and lasting possessions.
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.
For in just a very little while,
"He who is coming will come and will not delay.
But my righteous one will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back,
I will not be pleased with him."
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed,
but of those who believe and are saved.

Topic: Losing confidence and experiencing self-doubt

Do you suffer from a slow leak of confidence? 2 or 3 ounces at a time?
Where do I get the most affirmation?
Am I looking to someone else or my circumstances as my source of confidence?
No one can threw away my confidence except me!

Reconnect with God-given confidence
-feelings can be toxic and need to change
-time to “fire” the ones that I have allowed to become my mirror of confidence

Three ways to lose confidence
1. Can come from a “slow leak”-dribbling out over time
2. Can come from a “break”, sudden loss of confidence
3. Or you just never really had any in the first place
-brokenness-just seems not to hold the Holy Spirit
-this may be a stronghold of unbelief in God and His Word
Results are still the same-you have thrown away your confidence!

Don’t confuse Confidence with Pride or Lack of Self-Confidence with Humility!

If I don’t have confidence in God or His Word, I will not be able to fulfill God’s will for my life.

What we need is Humble Confidence

HUMBLE Apart from Me, you can do nothing. John 15:5
CONFIDENCE Through Me, you can do anything. Phil. 4:13

**Do not throw away your confidence, for which there is great reward!

Acts 4:13 “courage” Hebrews 10:35 “confidence” translated from the Hebrew
parresia” which means “confidence with much courage
-the people were astonished at their confidence with much courage and noted that they
had been with Jesus
God can take ordinary, unschooled people and turn them into brilliant and extraordinary

The enemy seeks to undermine my God-confidence
-we allow people and circumstances to steal our confidence and our identity
-the leading source of “identity theft” in America comes from “dumpster diving”
We need to claim back the things that are ours!
Sometimes we treat trash like treasures and treasures like trash.

Find your identity in Christ and use it with confidence.
Anyone set up as a false savior will devastate us eventually, even if it is someone that loves and cares for us

Digging my Treasures out of the Trash

1) Stop giving people power over us that only God should have
-you can love them and be committed to them without giving them power only
God should have
-relationships do not have to equal bondage

2) We are going to check the trash bin for some truth
-head and heart full of Scripture is what will keep me from throwing away my confidence
-Acts 4:13-15-having the kind of life that attracts others to Christ
-the truth of Scripture is meant to rock our world, not sit in our minds

3) Stop halting the work before some trash turns into treasure
-Don’t give up too soon just because the pain and suffering has been relieved
-God works every single little bit of “trash” in our lives into good if we persevere
-God can take the experience and make me a miracle, but if I shrink back, God will not
be pleased with me
-I will not be done with the process of trash turning to treasure until I have been
-Persevere in my area of gifting
-it might not come naturally or smoothly at first
-stir the gift into a flame-perfect it
-see it through to the reward
-Hebrews 12 We perform before witnesses
Who are the witnesses? Abraham, Moses, Isaac, Isaiah…
-You cannot serve God and remain a WIMP! Character is developed over time
-SADD=Spiritual ADD-we haven’t listened to God’s answer to a request before we put
in another one
-Our culture is mass-producing wimps and social wimps
-Don’t allow technology (email and social-networking sites) to replace personal
social relationships
-face-to-face relationships require change in me!
-important for my character and true transformation
-keep a circle of friends that will help in this area, esp. if you are single

4) Remember the victories that you and God have had together
-stand on those victories
-God and I have a history with each other!
-Am I going to quit now over some small obstacle when God has gotten me through
greater things before?
-God has been faithful to me

5) Show courage even before you feel courage
-"Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong" I Cor. 16:13 NET
-courage and confidence are not necessarily synonymous
-confidence must always have courage
-we tend to repeat the same old response patterns
-Carnal Coping Skill-we all have a CCS in our human flesh and nature
-panic, binge, starve, drink, sleep, disconnect, self-gratification

The pattern goes like this:

Threatened --> Carnal Coping --> Failure --> Affirms Carnal Coping --> Leads us to Trash our Confidence, and then we become confident that we ARE trash! --> back to Carnal Coping…etc.

This pattern Destroys Confidence

The new pattern:

Threatened --> Do the God Thing-SHOW COURAGE --> Pray, Do the Courageous Thing --> Builds Confidence/Breaks Addictions -->SHOW COURAGE…etc.

This pattern Boosts Confidence

-Our children need to see us show courage; be an example for them
-God knows that it’s scary to be us
-He knows it can be brutal
-And yet He says, take confidence

6) Trash the self-condemnation
-I John 3:19-21 – confidence before God=no self-condemnation
-CONVICTION = GOD and leads to repentance
-self-loathing does not please God
-Come to a place of believing God’s truth MORE than I believe my emotions
-Heb. 4:16 I have a High Priest-confidence to go before the throne
-God will make it worth my while to persever
-Promise of Scripture = Reward
-if we persevere…even if we die persevering, we will die faithful
-the reward will come, in this life or our eternal reward
-be wary of people who make you feel like you have a weak will
-Heb. 10:23-25
-letter of Hebrews a Call to Community
-I Cor. 12-we NEED one another!
-we aren’t meant to overpower or be overpowered

7) Encourage and receive encouragement
-some people comfortable receiving, but not giving
-some people comfortable giving, but not receiving
-It helps build our confidence to accept an encouragement
-Encouragement is so different from flattery
-flattery focused on the “encourager”
-want to get something out of you, favor, reputation, etc.
-One reason we hesitate to encourage others is because we’re afraid to build up pride
in each other-but that's really between them and God
-In our culture, women will never be able to measure up
-we are looking to the media for our self-confidence. And it’s all a LIE.
-older generations didn’t have to deal with the assaults of visual media
-We are hurting!
-Take the chance that my encouragement will NOT build pride, but BOOST their
confidence enough to continue on one more day.
-Err on the side of encouragement!
-Heb. 10:24 “Consider how…” Perceive and discover individual needs in this area
-what will motivate different people to love and good works
-Joshua 1:8 Success before God
-“Meditation” What am I “consistently thinking about”?
-“stronghold” is anything that takes an obsessive stream of thought in my mind

8) Daily and deliberately believe God over every other influence
-Persevere in Scripture memory
-We need our Scripture in our brain
-choose verses for ME (not my spouse, children, etc), choose what I need.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Beth Moore and a Shopping Trip

A really, really quick post as it's about time for me to leave...a bunch of us ladies are heading off today for a weekend across the border! Beth Moore is in town and we'll be attending her conference tonight and tomorrow morning, then staying over until Sunday so we can do some shopping. :D All in all, a bit of pampering, wouldn't you say?

BUT, I'm concerned about Miguel and the kids because Jkaile, Jojo, and Miguel have been sick with a stomach flu this is hard for me to leave! And it's not like I'd be able to just come home if things were to go "wrong". PTL that both boys seem to be getting better...Miguel took them to the dr. yesterday (Jojo just seems to have the flu, but Jkaile seems to have a bacterial infection also). I don't think that I've ever spent the night away from the kids before, or if I did, it was when Micah was a baby. Wow...

Anyway, I covet your prayers for all of us this weekend! It will be an adventure, that's for sure. I don't know if I'll have Internet this weekend, perhaps if one of the ladies takes a laptop I can get on and keep you posted. Otherwise, I will take lots of pictures and be back next week!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Redeeming the Time...

This week, Joy over at Stay At Home Missionary is writing about Redeeming the Time With Our Kids...if you are interested, head on over and check it out! I really admire Joy and her family's ministry and I am looking forward to reading her thoughts on this topic. Besides, Joy is also giving away a really awesome resource that sounds like it would be a great tool for anyone looking to redeem their time. :)