Saturday, March 27, 2010


I'm not sure where Miguel got this pasta machine, but he brought it home one day. It sat on the shelf for a long time before I finally decided that I might as well put it to work making noodles rather than gathering dust! Probably wasn't such a good idea, though, because now we don't want to go back to eating store-bought pasta after tasting the yummy goodness of fresh, home made pasta!
Gracia loves to help!

Fettuccine is our favorite kind of noodle for
everything from tuna-noodle
salad to spaghetti.

Gracia takes her job very seriously! She fluffs the pasta
just like Mom does...

The machine turned out to be
really easy to use (we won't talk about the clean-up);
makes it fun for the kids to help.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jojo's New Haircut

We have typically liked our boys to have long hair...some boys just look good with longish styles of hair! Although Jojo's hair was a bit skimpy when he was a baby, it's grown out more and more every year.

Jojo at around one and half...

Christmas 2009

So imagine my surprise when Miguel brought Jojo back from his hair cut a couple of days ago looking like this! I mean, it's like "Who are you and what did you do with my Jojo?!" lol I have to admit, however, he does look a lot more grown up!

First Publication

This afternoon Miguel went to pick up the first printing of some publications he helped to design for the representation department! Several hundred copies of two different postcard and book mark designs with information about our training institutes here in Mexico are ready for distribution. It’s exciting to see the end results of many hours of work on the computer designing these materials!

Proud of his work!

A couple of design samples...they did a great job!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I just found out that today is The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day! I had no idea that there was such a day! But anyway, this is very cool because I already had these pictures on the line-up for a cute post. :) Jkaile discovered The Very Hungry Caterpillar a few weeks ago and loved it. This is his favorite page.

He always points out that the "patapita" has an "owie".

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Little Children and Jesus

Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 15When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

This morning, Jkaile woke up after everyone else had gone to school. I 'caught' him praying over his breakfast.

Jkaile loves to pray!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


This last weekend, Miguel and Micah caught a ride to Monterrey with our friend Alfonso. Alfonso is the director of the Awana program at our church and was attending a training seminar on Saturday. As well as attending the Awana training with Alfonso, Miguel met with a couple of contacts for the representation department. It's always exciting to meet those who want to partner with our organization to promote and support mission work!

On Sunday, Alfonso and his two boys took Miguel and Micah to a museum called Kidzania. Kidzania is like a miniature city where kids can 'work' at businesses such as gas stations, banks, newspaper or television office, Walmart, the fire department, etc. The kids are paid for their work with a 'check', which they then 'cash' at one of the banks. Micah had a blast! Here's a short video of his time in Monterrey. I made it on which sets your pictures to the rhythm of the music!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Modeling Grace

For the umpteenth time that day, I heard the wailing begin.

With a sigh, I dried off my hands and headed towards the bedroom...dreading having to sort out what I thought for certain would be yet another sibling conflict. Something we've been having a LOT of lately!

Instead, the wailing child had merely bonked his chin on closet while getting dressed for bed.

My first response, I am ashamed to say, was to judge. If he hadn't been hopping around and being silly, he probably wouldn't have hurt himself in the first place.


Why can't I just merely comfort and console?! I winced as I realized that I often do not model grace for my children. Not only do they suffer because of my lack of compassion, but I have to ask myself whether this lack of grace be influencing some of the dynamics behind the recent surge in sibling rivalry?

Definitely something to think about.

I don't know why I struggle to receive and give grace...I suppose I could begin tracing back to my childhood and point to all the factors that might have influenced me, but honestly, the fact is that I do struggle with it. I think it would be much more helpful to just accept that truth and focus my energy on learning more about grace from this point on.

I was excited to see this post from Simple Mom in my inbox this morning. Maybe a good place to start (or return to) is by learning how to heap grace on myself. If I am not receiving or working out the grace in my own life, then I obviously won't be heaping it on my family, either! And oh, how we all need heaps of grace!

I typically struggle with knowing how to take care of was, in fact, one of the biggest factors in our having to leave Venezuela when we did. Years of not heaping grace on myself, not recognizing my limits, and not taking care of myself set me up for a spectacular crash that I'm still recovering from.

The funny thing is, though, while I remember those years with sorrow over my lack of grace, my children remember those same years with fondness as they focus on the good times. The special times we shared as a family and the fun things we did together...I'm so glad that grace is smoothing out the wrinkles in our family history.

I took the stress assessment test, by the way, and got a score of 220 which means..."Take care of yourself now. You have borderline high stress. Your chance of accident or illness related to your stress within two years is moderate." I guess that means I need to go heap some grace on myself today.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Marriage Links

I am feeling like crud today...I picked up the cold that's been going around the house and even though I'm using Zicam, it has made me feel pretty bad. So I'm taking it easy again today and trying not to think about the laundry or other chores that need to be done. Hey, it's Friday, might as well live it up! :)

Anyway, I thought I'd post about some of the marriage resources that I have been enjoying these days. Simple Marriage not only has great posts with frank discussions about marriage and relationships, but they have some good links, too. I have subscribed to the blog so I get the posts sent to my email, making it easy to read the posts I am most interested in.

Today I noticed a link to a resource called One Extraordinary Marriage. One Extraordinary Marriage also has a blog here. This blog post about priorities caught my eye because that's basically what I have to do every once in a while to get 'back on track'...confront my selfishness, recognize all that my husband does, and reorder my priorities. I noticed that One Extraordinary Marriage also has pod casts about marriage and other resources...I look forward to reading more!

And speaking of selfishness, another marriage resource that Miguel and I have recently enjoyed is this marriage conference on DVD that one of my sisters sent me. Boy, does Paul David Tripp ever hit you right between the eyes about the real issue in marriage being ME and MY desire to rule my own little kingdom instead of letting God ascend the throne of my life. The website is here and blog here. This ministry also has free audio programs in their Media Center. I'm not sure how much this DVD marriage conference costs, but it is well worth the money spent! It is set up in short 25 minute segments for small groups.

Love2Romance, also a link I found in Simple Marriage, is a site I've found quite intriguing. Geared towards women, it has a really cute and attractive's a blurb from this site: Love2Romance helps you to keep your man Emotionally Connected through our unique romantic gifts, romantic ideas, and romantic cards. With our site you will have access to marriage advice from the leading experts and from everyday women. Our products provide the "fun" in the FUNdamentals of a good marriage!

And finally, Marriage Missions, International is a "Christian marriage website seeking to help those who are married and those preparing for marriage to be PRO-ACTIVE in helping to save marriage from divorce and to enrich it by offering INSPIRATIONAL, skill-building information which REFLECTS the HEART of CHRIST." One thing I really like about this website is that you can sign up for their marriage message newsletters, short messages that are delivered right to your inbox weekly. I have found that the topics covered in the marriage messages often address issues I might be dealing with at that time! It's a God thing. :) Anyway, lots of great articles and links over there.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Words of Encouragement

Picture taken in the Mexican Sierra Madre by Katie Moore

It's good how God brings different words of encouragement my way when I need it...I was
reminded of II Peter 1:3-10 after asking God to bless me with a fresh view of His promises the other day...

3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed of his past sins.

10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

What stands out to me in these verses...
  1. I have everything I already need for life and godliness
  2. God has given me very great and precious promises so that I can participate in the divine nature!
  3. God has laid out a clear plan to avoid being ineffective and unproductive in my knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ
  4. Forgetting that I have been cleansed of past sins is a bad thing
  5. I do so look forward to a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Check out these posts over at My Place of Peace and Unveiling Radiance for some good reads today!

Luscious Lemon Squares

Every Wednesday, I make some sort of a dessert to send with Miguel to the small group we lead in our church. The kids and I can't always go because it makes for late night during the school year, but I do try to send a sweet something every week anyway. To my kids' delight, I usually try to make enough to keep some at home, too.

Yesterday, I was browsing through my Betty Crocker cookbook and decided to make Lemon Squares. I haven't made them in a long time and this was a new recipe for me. But wow! They turned out delicious and the recipe is fairly simple. So here you go.

Lemon Squares

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon peel, if desired
2 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, margarine, and powdered sugar. Press in ungreased square pan, 8 x 8 x 2 or 9 x 9 x 2 inches, building up 1/2-inch edges. Bake 20 minutes. Beat remaining ingredients until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Pour over hot crust. Bake until no indentation remains when touched lightly in center, about 25 minutes; cool. Cut into about 1 1/2-inch squares.

For Lemon-Coconut Squares: Stir 1/2 cup flaked coconut into egg mixture.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thoughts on Believing God

Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about one hundred years old-and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but also for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Romans 4:3, 18-25

I attend a ladies' Bible study at our local church here in Mexico and a few weeks ago, we had some planning sessions to map out goals and activities for the year 2010. One thing that we decided to do was to dedicate the first day of every month to prayer and fasting, each in our own way. Fasting isn't a discipline that I have regularly pursued, so I thought that this would interesting to see how this would work out for me as I participate with the other ladies in this way.

Wouldn't you know that I completely forgot about it yesterday?


But instead of waiting for next month to roll around and try again (besides, they might ask for reports at Bible study tomorrow, ack!), I decided to just work it into my day today (Yes, I know you aren't really supposed to let everyone know when you are fasting, but this all works into my thoughts on believing God...besides, I'm not going around all pitiful and hungry, looking for admiration or sympathy. Trust me, I am NOT holier than thou...).

Since this is designed to be an exercise for prayer and meaningful time spent with God, I wanted to choose some verses to meditate on for today. I was leafing through my Bible wondering what passage(s) to read when my Bible fell open to Romans 4. I have it marked because I'm supposed to read this chapter 20 times during Beth Moore's Believing God study that I doing this year (with my English Bible study group and yes, it gets confusing sometimes).

I think God led me to this chapter because He knows that this is what I need to think about today...specifically about what it looks like for me to believe God and live out my faith like Abraham did. Even though I have so much more revelation than Abraham did (the entire Word of God at my fingertips!), sometimes I think that Abraham had a distinct advantage because God talked to him out loud and in a very specific way (although I probably do Abraham a grave injustice because he lived a godly life without the benefit of any kind of written revelation from God!). Abraham knew that the promise was for him to have a child, a son. No question about that, it just didn't happen when and how he thought it would.

At times, I wish God would speak to me like that...but it seems like God's promises for me are kind of, well, harder to figure out sometimes. I mean, it's not like God says "I promise that you will get the money you need to pay for your visas" or "Yes, I promise you will have the funding you need for your ministry" or "You will be able to go inhabit the land of Venezuela." (Although I have to admit that God did speak to me very clearly that Miguel was the man I was to marry, but that's another story...)

I have questions this or that verse really for me? Am I taking things out of context? Am I hearing God right? Is this just wishful thinking or really something God has for me? What happens if I believe God for something and it doesn't happen the way I believed so strongly for? We hear a lot about people getting "a word from God"...nothing against that because I know that God does speak to people, but how do I really know that was God speaking to me and not just my imagination or wishful thinking?

I have heard some people say that just because we believe, for example, that a certain person will be healed and we pray that way, that it's already done...the miracle happens just because we pray with belief. But what about the times when people do pray for healing and they aren't healed? Case in point, II Corinthians 12:1-10. God can and does heal, but I don't think that I can presume that He will in every case.

I think that one of the keys might be in verse 21..."Abraham was fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised." I wonder if 'praying with belief' isn't so much the belief that God will do it, but that He can. Praying with belief, then, would be praying with the full persuasion that God can do anything He wants to; that God has the power to do what I ask. Taking into account, of course, that God's plan might be different than mine and I submit myself to His ways. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

So I was thinking this morning, what are some of the specific promises God has given to me, personally?

Philippians 4:6-7 came to mind..."Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

God's promise is peace when I present my prayers and petitions to God with thanksgiving.

There are more promises, I know, lots more...Matthew 6:25-34 is another favorite of mine. I think it would be good to ask God to lead me to them, and ask Him how He plans to use them in my life. Side-note...I've noticed that when one grows up in a Bible-rich environment like I have, the Word can become so common as to lose its meaning sometimes. I know a lot of verses and passages, but I think it would be a good idea to ask God to make them fresh and new and relevant all over again.

One thing this Believing God study has done is to challenge some of my wrong beliefs about God. Wrong beliefs about God make it hard to believe Him and take His promises to heart, so it is good to see these things coming to the surface so I can address them. For one thing, I'm realizing that I continue to struggle to feel deserving of God's blessings and His grace (darn, thought I had taken care of that!).

I tend to view God's grace as conditional on whether I am behaving in ways deserving of that grace...and while it's true that God does sometimes take us through hard times to teach us valuable lessons, God is not petty or vindictive or skimpy on the grace. I need to focus on the fact that God's grace is something I don't deserve and cannot earn. It abounds and is even more abundant in the face of my weakness.

I saw this quote posted on a friend's Facebook status today..."God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. So when you don't understand, when you can't see His plan, when you can't trace His hand, trust His heart."

I like that, to know that I can trust His heart.