Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Servolution is Coming!

Here's another video to convince you to sign up to serve with us in this Servolution on May 9, 2009.  We are still in need of Coordinators to oversee five Team Leaders, and Team Leaders to oversee a project team.  If you are interested, please let me know.  You won't be sorry for giving of your time for this event.  It will be even bigger and better than last year, so be sure to join us!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Last Roll of Photos

I just downloaded the last roll of photos from our camera and found some fun photos. I forgot some of the events that were on that roll, so I'm grateful I had pictures of them.  Just thought I'd share some of our life.  

First off, in January my youngest was given an Award of Excellence for the district PTA Reflections award for her photo called, "Bella."   We had been on a field trip that day to Monterey and then we had to travel from there to Stockton to make the award ceremony.  A long day, indeed, but the two of us had lots of fun.
Also in January, my son and his friend went to winter formal with a big group of friends.  Too bad they were slumming it to dinner and the dance.

Later in January, it was the Father/Daughter Dance, so my youngest and her Daddy stepped out to boogie the night away.  

Of course, no Father/Daughter Dance would be complete without the traditional stop at Latif's afterwards.
Last week, my two youngest went with Dave to the AMGEN tour where Dave was a marshall for the race.  Although it doesn't look too bad in this photo, it was a rainy, cold day, and the kids were glad to get in the car to head home afterwards.
And then, of course, there are the random photos that show up on the camera.  Someday I will miss finding these eclectic photos mixed in with all the others.  Here's some of what I found this time, and it will give you a glimpse into the world my children find interesting.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

23 Years and Counting

Today marks the 23rd anniversary of the day that Dave and I pledged our love to one another in front of our family and friends.  Amazing!

I remember it was a gorgeous day, and I would dare say it was the result of my grandma praying that it wouldn't rain on our wedding day.  I also remember that I was so nervous standing in front of everyone that I got the giggles and although I tried to hide it, my shoulders shook off and on throughout the first moments of our wedding.  I remember the moment Dave and I saw each other in our wedding finery before the wedding.  We had decided to take our pictures before the ceremony so that we could more quickly join our friends and family at the reception.  We wanted a special moment alone to see each other for the first time, so Dave waited for me in the sanctuary and I found my way there.  I'll never forget walking in to see him; he was looking so handsome in his tuxedo, and I remember being thankful that he had actually showed up.  :-)  I am so glad we had that moment of calm and wonder together before we joined the rest of our family and friends for the pictures.  I carried that moment with me the rest of the day.

We've learned a lot in these past 23 years, and much of it was learned the hard way (just like everyone else learns in their marriages).  But I will tell you this, I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.  In fact, I believe our love is stronger and more real because we've walked through the hard times and come out the other side choosing to love anyway.  I am a better woman because of the man the Lord allowed me to marry, and today I celebrate our 23 years together.

Babe, I'm so very thankful for you, and I count it a blessing to be married to you.  I'm looking forward to the next 23 years.  Thanks for showing Christ's love to me, for being patient with me, and for believing in me.  God has blessed me beyond what I could ever have hoped for.  I love you with everything I am!

Below is a picture of a very special anniversary present Dave and I received today from our daughter.  She used CD cases (how green, right?) to create a wall hanging for us.  I KNOW!  So very sweet, don't you think?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I don't have much more to say today, but I would like to direct you over to Beth Moore's Blog because there is so much truth in what she shares today about making marriage work.  Check it out; I'm sure you'll agree.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Celebration Weekend!

The title of this post is somewhat of a misnomer because my anniversary is next weekend, and we will be celebrating 23 years of marriage, so that will REALLY be a "celebration weekend," but this weekend also has lots of celebrating in it.  

First of all, it's Valentine's Day this weekend.  Now, Dave and I don't do much at all for Valentine's day because we'd rather save our money for our anniversary, but I do love celebrating the day of love with my kiddos.  Simple, homemade, heartfelt cards are the absolute best!  And then, tonight we celebrated the 15th and 13th birthdays of my two beautiful nieces.  Tomorrow, my daughter will attend two birthday parties (for three different children), and we will attend the wedding of my cousin's daughter.   Whew; what a weekend!

Today, the fam went to the movies (a fun thing to do when all the kids are off school, right?).  Four of us saw the 3D movie, Coraline, and the other two went to see Paul Blart, Mall Cop.  We had free passes to the cinema in  Riverbank, so we loaded up the van and headed off.  We don't go to the movies often, but every once in a while, it's a fun treat, and we all happened to be free this morning to go together.  How often does that happen?!

I was blessed to receive a handmade Valentine's card from a friend of mine, so I officially release you all to go and bless someone with a Valentine's day surprise. 

We LOVE because GOD LOVED us FIRST. 1 John 4:19

A Favorite Blog

One of my favorite blogs, Inspiring Ideas, is have a great give away for her one year blogging anniversary!  Be sure to go over and check it out. I've posted about this site before, but it makes me wish I had more free time to be able to do some of the projects she shares.  You can catch Jeanne's stuff at Hallmark, but you can also go to her Esty site for prints and cards.  I admire people with so much heart and talent.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"How do you do it?" cont.

I wanted to continue my thoughts in relation to the question asked of me a few months ago that I previously posted about.

My life may look perfect from a distance, and indeed, I am truly blessed. My prayer is that everyone that sees my life recognizes that any good in my life or in me comes from God, and I pray that they see Him and that HE is glorified.

While still in college, after I truly committed my life to the Lord at age 20, I began making decision after decision that brought me and my life into greater alignment with His Word (truly seeking to be faithful in the little things), and God has blessed my feeble attempts to live for Him. However, as a young believer, I went back and forth between the faith I wanted so desperately to have and the life I had been living for myself with all its chaos, destruction, and hopelessness. Heck, this is still a struggle for all of us sometimes, isn't it?

Anyway, what I am going to share next is not a cry for validation, sympathy, or help. God has redeemed every area that I am about to share with you. Through Christ, I have been forgiven of every sin and set free from everything that wanted to enslave me. And that is the reason I don't like it when someone thinks that I've lived or have a perfect life. I don't deserve to be on any pedestal, believe me, and just so you know, I've never climbed up on a pedestal because that's not where I want or deserve to be. :-)

As a child, I grew up in an alcoholic home, and I know the chaos, confusion, and pain that it causes. I am a child of divorce and understand being raised by a single mother (who did the best job EVER as a parent). She worked hard and sacrificed MUCH to keep us in our home and raise us alone. I was molested for years, and I didn't feel like I could set boundaries with others later in life because I was too scared to say "No." I actually didn’t even know I could say, “No.” I understand and know the devastation and power of secrets. I began drinking in high school and would drink because I didn't know what to do with my feelings and pain. I know what it's like to live life one way during the day, and another way at night. I understand depression and extreme self-condemnation. I have lived through betrayal and the pain and damage of emotional/verbal abuse from a man I thought I loved. I thank God for saving me from a life that would have caused me to be a divorced, single mom by now. I understand trying to sabotage a good and healthy relationship because I knew I didn't deserve it. I broke up with Dave while we were dating because I knew he deserved someone far better and holier than me. We struggled with infertility (I know with having four kids that no one probably believes that), and we lost our first baby through a miscarriage. I've made (and continue to make) mistakes as a wife and mother that have caused pain or hurt to my husband and children.

You may look at my life as you see it now and not know all the events that molded and created me to be the person I am today. Because of God's Word, His grace, hard work, counseling, prayer, and sometimes just the act of taking another step, these situations no longer have power over me, and the shame I carried for so long is gone. I have received grace and healing. I still struggle with some issues, especially when I haven't had enough sleep or I allow myself to get overly stressed, but I don't live with secrets anymore.

So you see, I sit in the front row on Sunday mornings with Dave simply as a woman who loves God and wants to live for Him. I don't do that perfectly, but I want to do it honestly. I'm sorry if there is something that I do that makes it seem like I'm not real, and regrettably I can't know everyone personally who calls New Life home, but that doesn't mean I don't want to know you. I would love for everyone to know the real me, and to also know and experience the hope and forgiveness that I have found in Jesus.

I am reminded of this verse from 1 Thes. 2:8 "We felt so strongly about you that we were determined to share with you not only the Good News of God but also our lives. That’s how dear you were to us!"

You are dear to me, even if I don’t know you well, so I will continue to endeavor to share my life with you, as I continue to hold out the hope of the Good News of Jesus Christ. No, I can't get up on Sunday morning each week to state who I am just so people won't have a wrong impression of me, but it's not about me anyway. I just want everyone to know that I am approachable and understanding. Don't shy away from me because you think I can't understand where you might be coming from, and especially don't judge yourself against who you think me to be. I am on this journey with you.

So this, then, is how I do "it." I keep going, trying to learn to relax more and more into His love, and to live authentically before God and man.

I thank you for being a part of my journey and ask you to continue traveling together with me.