Monday, June 29, 2009

Not So World Famous Guacamole!...

My brother-in-law, Jaime, is pretty awesome. Of course, I'd never tell him that, but I guess I can tell you guys. =] He's going to be moving soon and we are really going to miss him. I love how he is with my kids. They are the ones that will reeeeeeeeeally be missing him.
The thing I will be missing most about him?
His world famous super secret guacamole!! Yes, he does make a great guac. Here are some pictures of the baby being allowed to help with making the guac. He only trusts the baby 'cause he can't read or write yet. Otherwise...the secret would be out!

See that skill? Comes from his mama! it is. As Paula Deen would say..."It'll make you wanna slap your mama!"...but don't do that. Especially if she has a chip loaded with this creamy goodness. She might slap you back - I would!

Photo Hunt...FLAG

Saturday's photohunt was FLAG... I wasn't able to really get out and take great shots...However, I did see this lovely set of flags hanging in the Jack In the Box - haha.
I know it didn't have to be the USA flag...but I'm going with it. So here are some fun flag pics that I've taken:

These were hanging in the Jack in the Box that my family and I stopped at...

These were posted outside of the building when I placed my vote for the President...

This flag was freshly hung for the first day of school at FBS a few years ago...

This is the flag flying next to Independance Hall in Philadelphia. My hubby and I went for our anniversary one year...

This is taken during the same trip as the Philadelphia one. This is at Ellis Island. I truly enjoyed going there. So much history for our country...

Last, but not least. I took this from the ferry that was taking us to Ellis Island. It was looking toward the skyline and it was the first year after the attacks on 9/11. The towers were gone of course, but this flag was flying near by...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Friday Fill Ins...

These kids are my life. Look at them! Growing up so fast!!

This fun meme is one that I used to do and want to do more often. My answers are in bold - you can join in the fun here.

1. She had a great way of listening. She didn't try to get ahead of me or finish every sentence. She didn't try to have all the answers. She didn't agree with everything. She didn't try to "fix" everything. She just listened. A true friend.

2. My Abba Father is by my side, always.

3. I know this: I am blessed beyond measure.

4. I really need to learn to be still. There are times when you just need to rest. Rest from everything. At night, I have a hard time shutting down. If it's not physically, then it's mentally. It takes me forever to fall asleep because I am thinking and planning a million different things. Lately, I have been meditating on a verse or thought from my quiet time and that has helped.

5. These words apply to me: I am loved. I am blessed. I am surrounded by people that care about me and I care about them. THINGS do not matter. Being perfect is over rated. I am an artist. I am a believer. I cry easily. I love to laugh. A lot. I want people to like me. I will not compromise my beliefs for someone to like me. I want to be a friend to everyone, especially those that most others "write off". I am married to my best friend.

6. This morning the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the air actually smelled good and I knew it was going to be a great day.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to spending time with my favorite people - my family, tomorrow my plans include helping out with school registration and Sunday, I want to be surrounded by some of my other favorite people - my church family!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summertime and some thoughts on Prayer...

Wow. So, I thought I'd have all sorts of time to blog and read blogs and basically lay around eating bon-bons all day once school got out, but it's been quite the opposite.
Well, I have discovered something that I really like for my sweet tooth, but it's not bon-bons. It's Chocolate Meringues from Trader Joe's. These aren't the mini ones either. These are white with a sprinkling of cocoa powder on the top. They are a smooth oval shape - oh! and they've got little mini chocolate chips in them. They've got this great snap to 'em and then they just melt in your mouth. Not too sweet and even better when you're having coffee...yum...
Oh, where was I?
Oh, yes. My blog.
Poor neglected friends.
I expected to come and find no followers left.
So, I've been deep in thought about a lot of things. I actually have been writing a lot. Here and there. Little snippets some times. Scribbled in a journal, on my pocket calendar, on 3x5 cards that I always have... Then there's the deeper writing that just comes out in a mumble jumble. Those are in my journals and in my prayer/devotion journals.

Speaking of prayer. I've thought a lot about what I believe about praying ever since I read a post written by someone who basically said that she did not believe in Intercessory Prayer. This is prayer where you are asking God to intercede or change a certain circumstances outcome or a prayer for others.
Hebrews 4:14-16~"14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

As I read this post I realized then, that she and I must not believe in the same God.
I believe in a God that is loving and forgiving that wants to intercede. I believe that our Heavenly Father sees the whole picture and will work His will. I believe, by faith, that it will be for the best.
Romans 8:28~And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
This verse does not mean that the outcome of every situation will be good, but it tells us that all things work TOGETHER for good. There's nothing good about losing a loved one, but it's especially hard to understand when it is something sudden or in the case of a friend, her 4 year old boy that was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma and died 55 days later. Doesn't seem fair, doesn't seem right. Hundreds of thousands prayed for that young boy - including myself. When we saw that he was fading, I'll be honest, my faith did falter. I am a mother of 4 children. I couldn't understand why this was happening. Then I learned of Suzanne's words ... after praying and crying and wishing and hoping... only several hours before Josiah's passing, she felt the Peace of Abba Father surround her and she knew her son was going to be gone that day.
Did it make it easier to understand? Absolutely not. Did it make it any easier to accept? Maybe just a little. Who can know why one person is healed and not another? Who can know what God is sparing that child in the future? We don't know. He does.
God does not always promise healing, but He does promise grace.
James 4:6a "But He giveth more grace..."
I find it funny that so many people are comfortable with wishing someone "good thoughts", or offering "peace", yet they can only do it if they leave God out of it. There are people that like to meditate, but they feel that prayer is a waste of time. I have known people that are okay with doing mantras or chants for meditation or yoga, but they don't understand my need to go in prayer to my God. The difference is they are speaking to themselves and I am speaking to the Holy Spirit. I don't believe in myself alone, I believe that I can do all things through Christ. (Philippians 4:13)
Our God created us all, but He created us with the ability to make our own choices. That right there shows me true love. True love is not about forcing someone to do something. He could have created us to be like robots, to do His every wish and command, but He did not. Just like a loving parent knows that in order for a child to grow and mature, they have to learn to make choices. Sometimes those choices lead us down the wrong path and we are faced with very hard consequences. Does this mean that the parent was wrong or does not care about their child? Absolutely not. However, at this point, a good parent should try to offer help and direction (once again) to that child. The parent should love and support that child, but ultimately, it is still up to that child to chose right. That is how it is with God.
Can a parent give the child everything he asks for? No. Would it be right? No. Why would a parent not give the child everything he asks for? The child may not need it, it may not be the right time for something, it may not be good for the child, he may need to learn patience. Does a parent sometimes change their mind because of the pleading child? Yes. Why would a parent change their mind? Because although it may not be "best", it may be okay. The parent may finally "give in" to teach the child a lesson.
So pray. Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) It gives us hope. It teaches us. It helps us to take our thoughts off of ourselves and to put our thoughts on others.
I believe that you can hope and pray. There are many Bible examples of how God did intervene and there are some examples of how He allowed things to happen as they were - and there was a reason for it all. You call it fate or destiny - I call it God's will.
I'll save some thoughts for another post! Have a great day!

“Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.” —Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, June 15, 2009

June's 12 of 12...Perfect Day!

Guess what, friends? I remembered to take pictures on the 12th this time for 12 of 12! LOL I am going to give you a glimpse into our day...but in reverse. How's that sound? Here we go!

Here's Hannah...up close and personal. Loving the s'mores, but who wouldn't right?

Naomi prefers to just eat the marshmallow straight from the stick. Nothing wrong with that!

I know you are craving a s'more right now! LOL Don't forget this option that we also like to do. It's especially yummy for you peanut butter lovers! Just get past the Jo Bros in the post and you'll see what I'm talking about. ;]

Guess what this beautiful spread is for?

Yup. You got it right. See, I won a Family Movie Night package from another blog (I will post the link later) and I decided to make a whole night of it. So, we started out with grilled burgers, homemade fries...then we watched Mall Cop while munching on all the goodies that were included in the box. All the movie junk you can think of like popcorn, Dots, Jelly Beans, Gobstoppers, Swedish Fish, Skittles...yeah. It goes on. I told the kids to take it easy, because they'd have their own personal sugar "hangover" the next day. Of course they have no idea what a hangover is, so I just told them they'd have gut rot. hahahaha! They did pretty good and showed SOME restraint, but at the end of the night they wanted S'mores. Each had one and it was so good!

I stopped at my local Trader Joe's. I love Trader Joe's. Bought some great hummus in there. I've just been introduced to it by a friend who bought some at a Farmer's Market. I am hooked. Yes, I know there are some really good hummus's...hummuses...hummusi??? Oh, my word. How do you plural that word??? Anyway, I know there's some good stuff out there, but I am a beginner, so it all tastes good right now. =]

Took a picture of this outside of TJ's. What are they called again? Lea, Shirley, Lee? Help. I just know that they are puuuuuurty. =]

This is my ferocious dog, Oso. Okay, he might not be ferocious, but he is tough. He ate a whole baby opposum the other day. Yup. He's a nasty, wild dog. Very gentle with the kids and me though. He's just protective of his space. He is a jack russel/chihuahua but he thinks he's a bigger dog. He bares his teeth to the pit bulls and rottweilers like he's as big as they are. They usually leave him alone. They probably know that he's nuts. lol

I know this is called a bougainvillea, but who in the world knows if that's spelled correctly? We have this bush and another one that is a little more purple. They are beautiful, but very prickly!

Pool guy came today. It is nice to have someone who knows what he's doing come once a week to take care of this. Too cold to swim these last few days, but nice to know it's ready!

Marco and I decided to cut off the cable and that means that we don't even get regular t.v. We just felt we were paying waaaaaaaaaaay too much and we didn't care for most of the shows anyway. We loved watching the cooking, decorating, learning channels and of course I had to watch The Office every week....but we can do that on the computer if we need to. I am hoping this will help the kids choose better things to do with their time like read, create, imagine... =] We do have an old collection of VHS tapes and the kids just discovered some oldies, but goodies and I told them they could watch one. Funny how it's brand new to the little ones. I think they were watching Blues Clues here.

After cleaning up this morning, we went to the park to play. It was great to have the park to ourselves for a little while. We beat the afternoon rush and played for a long time.
It was an over-all great day. I love summer with it's flexible schedule and great weather. Who knows what July 12th will have in store for us? Check back and see!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I've been MIA...

Hello friends! Really? Where has the time gone? I can't believe I allowed so much time to pass since my last post! It's not that I haven't thought about my blog...I really have. I've even written several posts in my journal. I just need to get it on here. I have been reading you all here and there as well, just not as often as I normally do. That last week of school and then graduations, retreats... Yes! I said retreat!...well, it just got very busy.
I recently went on a retreat that lasted from Thursday to Sunday!! It was up in Big Bear and it was with a group of ladies from a Scrapbooking Message board. I had met a few of the ladies before, but at the end of the retreat, was glad for a small group where we could all get to know each other. (All my pictures are uploaded on my Facebook photo albums)

Not only was I inspired by the pages and work that I saw, I was also refreshed and rejuvinated by being away. It was so beautiful there. We stayed in a very shabby chic retreat house that was decked out in a very cheery Cherry theme.
Great beds and plenty of room to get my scrap on! We laughed hard, ate well and just enjoyed each others company. No drama, no cat fights, no jr. high antics...yes, I've seen all of this at other retreats...

The only problem I did have up there was the altitude and dryness. My nose bled a couple of times and I fought head aches every day. I wore Sea Bands for the first time and they helped going up. I did not feel sick at all!
On the way down was a different story. As we were packing the car to leave, I manage to crap my noggin on the trunk of a friend's car. Didn't even know until I got home that I actually had a cut and was bleeding. Anyway, the drive down started out fine, but just got yucky. I was so sick.
Oh, well. Still worth it. I had a wonderful time away to enjoy the quiet and to appreciate my kids and husband. I was so thankful that I could go away like that and not worry or feel guilty that I was gone. They took care of each other and took care of things at home. They really are the best!
Well, I have a few "projects" that I'm working on and a full schedule as usual. I've got a graduation to attend this evening. I am making chicken taquitos (lots of them) to take to the celebration party, I am doing a wedding album for someone, favors for someone else's wedding and somewhere in there, completing Etsy orders and getting some things cleaned up and organized here at home.
The kids are in full "summer mode" and are enjoying the slower paced days. I'll be back later to share some "deeper" thoughts. Just wanted to stop in and touch base. =]