Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Little Thief

My girls and I went to Wal-Mart to pick up some odds and ends we needed. After we paid for our items we were I was pushing my buggy towards the exit. I couldn't believe what I had just seen. Walking towards me was a little boy about 7 or 8 yrs. old. I have children, so this guess is correct. He was holding a pack of baseball cards. He was looking around and started to put it under his shirt! I was shocked!

For his own good, I called him on it. I felt he needed to "get caught". By this time he had passed me. I turned and called to him. He looked back and kept on walking away. I kept calling him. This time he turned around. I told I had seen what he had done and that he needed to put it back. He looked at me and said, "What?" He hesitated and started to walk away again. I called took a couple of steps and called him again. He stopped turned around and started to walk back. I told him that stealing was wrong. He told me that he knew that. I told him to put it back. He didn't say a word, but his look said, "Oh man." I saw him put it back. I didn't see a Wal-Mart staff or else I would of said something. As I started to walk away, I decided to look back. I saw him hiding from me. He was heading back to get the baseball cards! I couldn't believe it!

I decided to stick around. He looked straight at me almost challenging me. By this time a store staff was walking by. I stopped her and told her what had happened. I don't know what she did, but I couldn't do anything more. Had I seen his mom, I would of talked to her.

Our Little League concession stand has been broken to 5 times this year. My Babe was elected President of our league. So he's the one that gets the calls when they break in. Three weeks before Christmas they broke in again. The spilled oil all over the floor. Stole candy and cut up the cords of the nacho cheese machine, coffee maker, microwave and other appliances. The damage was well over $3000.

The day before Christmas Eve the concession stand was broken into again. We got a call at 3am. My Babe and I went and met with the police. Little did the thieves know that just that day an alarm system had been installed. The teenagers were caught about an hour later.

Our city has nothing to do with our Little League. Everything we have at the fields has been paid for by the families who's children play in the team and by the money the concession stand makes. There are some local stores who make donations. Whatever money our Little League makes, goes right back into the league. Coaches, Board Members, Umpires are all volunteers. No one gets paid.

I think that's why seeing that little boy stealing hit a nerve with me. Stealing is wrong.... period! But to see one so young doing it, pushed me over the edge. If he wasn't called on it now, what would happen? Maybe this was a first time thing, but he didn't act like it was. What if he would continue? Crime escalates. You start off doing something little and before you know it, BAMM you're into doing worse things.

I'm just feeling so hurt about this. I know that the little boy wasn't stealing from me. I am nothing to him, but he was a child. Who needed to be told he was doing wrong. I hope and pray that he sees how wrong it was. I'm feeling so numb about this whole ordeal. He's just a little boy....

Oh, a little while ago, my daughter told me that she had seen the little boys with his mom. I wish I would of see them together. I would of said something to her about it. My daughter says that she was well dressed and so was the younger boy in the buggy. So it's not even like they couldn't afford the cards. I'm sure the mom would of been horrified of what her son had tried to do. I know I would of.

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Surprise Trip To St. Augustine

My Babe and I planned a surprised trip to St. Augustine. Our children have never been there. The last time my Babe and I went, I was pregnant with Melina. She is now 19 years old.

We almost canceled our trip due to some storms. The weather got better and we decided to go ahead with the trip. At first we thought of going camping at Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine. Once I saw what the temperature was going to be, I put my vote in for staying at a hotel. :o) I just can't seem to do cold weather like I use to.

Nicodemus our golden retriever will be staying at the vets. He'll be treated to a bath and get his nails clipped. I guess one could say he's going to the doggy spa. LOL! Sapphire and Belle will be left with plenty of food.

Our children have packed their backpacks. We are all excited. This will only be a two day trip, but it's our first "vacation" in a while. Our last vacation was when we rented a motorhome and drove to Canada. We stopped along the way. It was a fabulous trip. I know we'll all enjoy our trip to St. Augustine.

Tonight we all sat and watched part one of Band of Brothers. It tugs at my heart every time I see that movie.

St. Augustine Day 1
Where do I start?! So much to tell. Everyone was anxious to get started on our trip early. Since we no longer have a van, we drove in two cars. George had the boys with him and I had the girls with me.

* Note: all pictures are courtesy of my Trina's camera. I took mine, but it was bulky. I figured since she had hers she wouldn't mind me using it too. Thanks Trina! I didn't want to hog her camera, but I wanted to make sure she's come out in the pictures too. ;o)

On the way up there we stopped to eat at a Burger King. My boys are now eating double whoppers! My Babies are growing up. Melina almost lost her lunch as she was about to eat the last 1/4 of her burger. The meat had a blue mark to it. She turned all shades of pale, but managed to keep her lunch in. LOL! Poor thing.

Check in at the Days Inn wasn't until 3p. So we went to see the famous spring called, The Fountain of Youth. I took one sip and wanted to spit it out. Just as I was sipping, the tour guide said it had sulfa in it. Which we all know sulfa has a rotten egg odor to it. YUCK! The water tasted fine, it's just you have to get past the odor. I didn't finish my cup. One sip is all I took. LOL! If you click on the link, you'll read all about all we got to see there.
Oh, they did have a special guest that day. He was called a Grandfather Indian. He was not a Timucuan Indian. He was a Seminole. He shared lots of stories, that had been passed on to him by his ancestors. He also showed us how to make a rope out of Spanish Moss. We now know that a rope can be made of any fibrous material. He demonstrated his blow dart. Very KEWEL! I looked to see if the gift shop had one, they didn't. :o(

Here, our children are sitting by a statue of a Timucuan Indian. What's really cool is that Joseph and Daniel are studying the History of Florida. They've already read about St. Augustine, Ponce de Leon, The Timucuan Indians,the Castillo de San Marco and much more.

While there we saw some beautiful peacocks. I was the only one that wanted to feed them. They also had an ostrich. I don't really know what that one was doing there. I should of asked.

We thought it would be funny to make it look as if the peacock was standing on my head. We had never seen white peacocks before. Melina kept us laughing with her "isms". She would say "albino (pronounced-albeeno) instead of the correct way. LOL!

By the time we were done checking this historical site, it was time to check in the hotel. The Days Inn had a Spanish flare to it. Bright yellow mustard colors with orange and terracotta. I should of taken a picture of the rooms, but I just wasn't focused. We stayed in adjoining rooms. The girls were in one room. The boys stayed with my Babe and I.
* Note: I have to confess that I didn't get a good night's rest. My Daniel moves around in bed a lot. I was concerned that he'd fall out of bed. He didn't.

We stopped to see The Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine. The stained glass murals were breathtakingly beautiful.

From there we walked and saw some of the quaint little shops. Katrina and I went into a shop that sold Lladro. I shared with her how I had first discovered Lladro. I knew that she would love to see them. My Babe and I were were walking through a coastal town called Loret de Mar in Spain. It was 75 kilometers from Barcelona. In the windows of one of the stores was this beautiful porcelain figurine. The name of it was The Native. My Babe told me it reminded him of me. I didn't think so. She was just absolutely beautiful. We could never afford one, but I sure do love to look at them.
*Note: Please remember that at first in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had no clothes. Because of their sin, they covered themselves. I'm sorry if you some find this figurine to be offensive.

I also found a shop that sold the "Life Is Good" line. LOL! Needless to say, I bought me a cap. Melina and I went into an Irish shop. She found a Celtic ring that she liked. Unfortunately they did not have her size. It had a pattern commonly called The Eternity Knot. Which means everlasting love.

By now everyone was starting to get hungry. We walked back to the hotel. We rested a bit while we decided where we all wanted to eat. We settled on Chili's. They told us it would be a 10-15 min. wait. They forgot about us. After 35+ minutes, we thanked them and left. Stopped at Outback...45-55 minutes. My Babe tried Longhorn, while I tried TGIF. TGIF took us right away. Good thing Longhorn was in the same parking lot! We had a GREAT dinner. Everyone got stuffed!
So we decided to take a walk on the beach. We drove to Anastasia Island. Which is just North of St. Augustine. Ooops, I forgot to mention that this was the coldest day thus far. Temp dipped down to 36! It was cold ALL day long.
* Note: We had originally thought of camping in Anastasia State Park. Due to the rain storms and the cold weather, we decided to stay at a hotel. Smart choice! I would of frozen my.......... toes off. :o) What did you think I was going to say? Everyone was tired. We headed back to the hotel. Got ready for bed and hit the sack.

St. Augustine Day 2
For the first time in like FOREVER, Daniel didn't wake up early. He wanted to sleep some more. LOL! We were all quite shocked. We got up and went to eat our continental breakfast. Yeah right... LOL! There were sooooooooo many waiting.

We ate at the hotel's restaurant. It was a Denny's! LOL! The helping were so big, that we couldn't even finish our meal. Well, except for My Babe and Joseph. Daniel was practically drank his whole chocolate milk before his pancakes were brought to him. We all had a great breakfast.

After breakfast we checked out and headed out to the Castillo de San Marco. Which is the fort. That was right up the boys alley. They loved seeing the cannons and the Spanish Soldiers. We even got see the ceremony of how a cannon is loaded and fired. I tried my hardest to get them to pose for a picture with the soldiers, but they didn't want to. :o(

In the background of this picture a little to the right of my head, you can see the top of Flagler College.
Boys and their toys. You know how they are, the bigger the cannon, the bigger the BOOM! They were sorry they couldn't climb up on that cannon.

Here we are standing in what would of been covered by water during the 1700's.

While in route to our next destination, I came across this store named, George's Treasure. I just couldn't resist having this picture taken. Who else would be his treasure? Notice the small print? It says, "European Elegance and Latin Influence." I have Italian, Spanish (Spain), Cuban, Panamanian (Panama- Central America), Ecuadorian blood. Can't get any more European and Latin than that. LOL! By the way... had it said George's Treasures... all our children and I would of posed under the sign. To us they are priceless.

Our next stop was the Colonial Spanish Quarters. I would have to say this was my favorite site we saw. It was like being transported back in time. We got to speak to the carpenter. He showed us where he works. He showed us his tools and demonstrated how they work. He talked about how now in modern times we have to sand, varnish and wait till it dries. He showed us how he uses certain type of oil and he doesn't have to wait till it dries. I forgot the name of it. :o( We got to see the blacksmith. We know a little able being a blacksmith cause our neighbor is a ferrier and a blacksmith. From this blacksmith we learned that their iron came from Spain. If he could get it from anyone else, he would. It wouldn't of mattered as long as he could get it. In the 1700's, blacksmith's mainly mended iron things that broke. They really didn't make anything other than nails, horseshoes and small things. The leather shopkeeper demonstrated how hew sews his leather. One would think it difficult. I couldn't believe how easily it was done. In order to make the leather waterproof, he would rub beeswax on it. He had a leather mug filled with his a modern drink, lemonade. LOL! From there we went to visit the home of Sargento (Srgt.) Menendez. The lady of the home showed us her home and how they were blessed to have an indoor fogon (a hearth made of three stones arranged in a triangle, with pieces of wood placed within), to cook in. We got to walk by the herbalist.The Spanish soldier got to demonstrate how to properly load a rifle. It was very enlightening. Even when it comes to loading a rifle... Hollywood messes that up too. Once we were done walking through the quarters it was time to head back. We did make a quick stop at the candy shop. We all bought a different fudge. My Babe got fudge with coconut. Alex, Joseph and Daniel got mint chocolate chip fudge. Melina got peanutbutter fudge. Trina got plain fudge and I got amaretto fudge.

Some how, the trip back home always feels shorter. Part of us wanted to stay a little longer, but part of us was ready to go home. We all enjoy traveling, seeing different places, experiencing different things. At the same time we love the comfort of our own home. At heart we are homebodies. It was good to be home.

Once we got home, everyone unpacked in double time. The laundry was jam packed with clothes that needed washing. I have to admit, that I didn't even take a second glance at it. I decided not to even worry about it until tomorrow. We fixed ourselves some pork sandwiches and sat down to watch Band of Brothers Part 2 and 3.

I love spending time with my family. There is nothing like it. I feel so blessed. Breaks my heart to see famili

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Don't Close Your Blinds

"Don't Close Your Blinds"

The other day, my nine year old son wanted to know why we were at war. My husband looked at our son and then looked at me. My husband and I were in the Army during the Gulf War and we would be honored to serve and defend our Country again today. I knew that my husband would give him a good explanation.

My husband thought for a few minutes and then told my son to go stand in our front living room window. He told him: "Son, stand there and tell me what you see?"

"I see trees and cars and our neighbor's houses." he replied.

"OK, now I want you to pretend that our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush."

Our son giggled and said "OK."

"Now son, I want you to look out the window and pretend that every house and yard on this block is a different country" my husband said.

"OK Dad, I'm pretending."

"Now I want you to stand there and look out the window and see that man come out of his house with his wife and he has her by the hair and is hitting her. You see her bleeding and crying. He hits her in the face, he throws her on the ground, then he starts to kick her to death. Their children run out and are afraid to stop him, they are crying, they are watching this but do nothing because they are kids and afraid of their father. You see all of this son.... what do you do?"


What do you do son?"

"I call the police, Dad."

"OK. Pretend that the police are the United Nations and they take your call, listen to what you know and saw but they refuse to help. What do you do then son?"

"Dad, but the police are supposed to help!" My son starts to whine.

"They don't want to son, because they say that it is not their place or your place to get involved and that you should stay out of it," my husband says.

"But Dad...he killed her!!" my son exclaims.

"I know he did...but the police tell you to stay out of it. Now I want you to look out that window and pretend you see our neighbor who you're pretending is Saddam turn around and do the same thing to his children."

"Daddy...he kills them?"

"Yes son, he does. What do you do?"

"Well, if the police don't want to help, I will go and ask my next door neighbor to help me stop him." our son says.

"Son, our next door neighbor sees what is happening and refuses to get involved as well. He refuses to open the door and help you stop him," my husband says.

"But Dad, I NEED help!!! I can't stop him by myself!!"

"WHAT DO YOU DO SON?" Our son starts to cry.

"OK, no one wants to help you, the man across the street saw you ask for help and saw that no one would help you stop him. He stands taller and puffs out his chest. Guess what he does next son?" "What Daddy?"

"He walks across the street to the old ladies house and breaks down her door and drags her out, steals all her stuff and sets her house on fire and then...he kills her. He turns around and sees you standing in he window and laughs at you. WHAT DO YOU DO?"



Our son is crying and he looks down and he whispers, "I close the blinds, Daddy."

My husband looks at our son with tears in his eyes and asks him..."Why?"

"Because Daddy.....the police are supposed to help...people who need it...and they won't help....You always say that neighbors are supposed to HELP neighbors, but they won't help either...they won't help me stop him...I'm afraid....I can't do it by myself ..Daddy.....I can't look out my window and just watch him do all these terrible things'm just going to close the I can't see what he's doing........and I'm going to pretend that it is not happening."

I start to cry.

My husband looks at our nine year old son standing in the window, looking pitiful and ashamed at his answers to my husbands questions and he tells him..."Son"

"Yes, Daddy."

"Open the blinds because that man.... he's at your front door..."WHAT DO YOU DO?"

My son looks at his father, anger and defiance in his eyes. He balls up his tiny fists and looks his father square in the eyes, without hesitation he says: "I DEFEND MY FAMILY DAD!! I'M NOT GONNA LET HIM HURT MOMMY OR MY SISTER, DAD!!! I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM, DAD, I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM!!!!!"

I see a tear roll down my husband's cheek and he grabs my son to his chest and hugs him tight, and cries..."It's too late to fight him, he's too strong and he's already at YOUR front door should have stopped him BEFORE he killed his wife. You have to do what's right, even if you have to do it alone,'s too late." my husband whispers.

THAT scenario I just gave you is WHY we are at war with Iraq. When good men stand by and let evil happen is the greatest EVIL of all. Our President is doing what is right. We, as a free nation, must understand that this war is a war of humanity. WE must remove evil men from power so that we can continue to live in a free world where we are not afraid to look out our window. So that my nine year old son won't grow up in a world where he feels that if he just "closes" those blinds the atrocities in the world won't affect him. "YOU MUST NEVER BE AFRAID TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT! EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO DO IT ALONE!"


Monday, December 25, 2006

Chasing Freedom

First off, today we celebrated my Savior's birthday. He shed His blood and gave His life so I could live eternally with Him. For that I'll be forever grateful. I hold on to God's Word. When I get to heaven, "...God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."- Revelation 21:4

Today we saw a movie called Chasing Freedom. I had rented it a couple of days ago, but we hadn't gotten around to seeing it yet. My Babe, our girls and I sat down to watch it. It tells the story of a young Afghan woman (played by Layla Alizada) who is persecuted by the Taliban for running a school for young girls and the pro bono attorney (played by Juliette Lewis) who reluctantly takes on her asylum case after the woman is detained when she arrives at a U.S. airport in search of refuge. The film was inspired by a real asylum case handled by a team of dedicated pro bono attorneys.

This shows sympathy with the persons seeking asylum and doesn't show the INS in a good light. But, the process was and is necessary. I didn't see them as being bad or evil, it's a process that needs to be done. Can it be improved upon? Yes, I think so. Do I have the answer, no.

A couple of weeks ago, my Babe blogged about this very issue. It's a MUST read. For everyone's convenience I'll just re post it here. I'll also share his blog site, More To It Than This. He's and incredible man, who is blessed with wisdom and discernment.

Sharia Law is spreading

This story out of the U.K. is troubling. Some see this as a positive thing but have they really considered all the consequences.

A stabbing case involving Somali youth in south-east London was not handled by the English justice system but instead by an unofficial Somali "court". Although, at first glance you may cheer this approach because of this particular ruling, you should stop and survey some other rulings in Islamic influenced countries. As an example, look at this case of a journalist being sentenced for publishing the now infamous cartoons.

Is this the kind of law you want spreading to your part of the world? Consider this quote from the stabbing story out of the U.K. :

Mr. Yusuf told the programme he felt more bound by the traditional law of his birth than by the laws of his adopted country. "Us Somalis, wherever we are in the world, we have our own law," he said. "It's not sharia, it's not religious — it's just a cultural thing."

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Outside/ Inside

There is more to this entry. It's not just about my crocs and Life Is Good clothing. Stick with me and you'll see what I mean.

I've discovered Crocs. I LOVE these shoes. They don't even feel like shoes. It's like walking barefoot, but something comfy on your foot.

They have a few styles to chose from. I bought a pair called "scutes". I bought it in black. They even sell these little accessories to put in the little holes. So I bought the following little accessories, two baseballs, two American flags and two hearts. I think I might go back and get some letters. I might spell out, "His Lady".

I also bought a pair of "all terrain" in chocolate/choco. I have poor circulation in my extremities. I figured that these shoes would help my feet keep warm and dry. Sure enough. Well, I know it's not that cold here, but I'm always cold. :o)

Being that I was in the area of where I got my "Life Is Good" shirt, I stopped to take a peek. I found another short sleeved t-shirt. It's also brown, but it's got three daisies in the front in different colors. So yep, I bought it. Can't wait to wear it with a long white sleeved shirt underneath. Boy do I love comfy clothes!

Ok, all I wrote about was clothing. What I like to wear, but as I sat here typing, some thoughts started to run through my mind, "You are focusing on what you are wearing on the outside. Things you are putting on and taking off. What am I putting on and taking off?" WOW! I was no longer thinking about clothing, I was thinking about putting off my "old ways" and putting on my "new ways".

A book I read came to mind, The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. I can't even begin to share how this book helped me to grown. How it helped me to see things clearly. The part that came to mind was where Martha Peace talks about putting on what's Godly and take off what's worldly.

I know this doesn't really have to do with clothing. This is just how my mind works. One thought leads to another, then another and so on. I often go from one subject to another, but somehow it all ties in. I know it's funky, but that's me. My poor family is use to it.

Back to the book. It's a bible study. This is what the books says. It's purpose is to teach Christians how to deal practically with their sin. May times we know that we need to make some changes in ourselves and in our lives. We confess it to God, but then we find ourselves committing the same sins again and again. Habitual sin is especially difficult, because we automatically respond wrongly, without a thought. That's why it's important to learn exactly what God has to teach us through His Word about establishing new habit patterns.

Now I'm talking about Chapter Three. This chapter talks about understanding sin, how to deal with the consequences of former sin, deal with present sin and the process of diligence. It talked about "putting off" character deficiencies: lying, anger, wrath, stealing, gossip, bitterness, worldly ideas...attitudes... prejudice, ungratefulness, malice,strife, envy, lewdness and lust. To "put on" character qualities like: truth, forgiveness, giving, good work ethics, gentleness, self control, kindness, tenderheartedness, thankfulness, speak good words... edify, show mercy, humility, meekness and love. Finally to put on Christ.

I know that I will never be perfect. Only when God calls me home to be with him. I can strive to be what He wants me to be. It's no easy to put off and put on. I'm a work in progress. There are things that I do that help me. I pray daily. I read His Word. Not only do I read His Word, but I think about it throughout my day. I try to be aware of things that would tempt me to sin. Blaming something or someone is wrong. Nothing causes me to sin, ultimately it's my choice.

This was a hard chapter for me. To tell the truth, this was a hard study for me period! I would read it bits at a time. Then I'd have to put it away and let stuff sink in. It took me a while to finish this study, but it was well worth it. I grew as a Christian, wife, mom... as a woman. I plan on getting each of my daughters this book when they marry. Maybe I should get it when they get engaged?

All in all, this has been my favorite bible study. It's the type of book/study that I can read over and over. Each time I read it, I learn something new.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Movies and Songs

This evening, my oldest daughter and I sat down to watch our favorite movie, Last of the Mohicans. My favorite character is Nathaniel and Cora. M's favorite is Uncas. I can't tell how many times we've seen this movie. We already know it by heart. We can even quote lines! It's great to watch a movie with someone who enjoys watching the same movies you do. It's even greater when it's a loved one. ;o) Oh, like always, the book is always better than the movie. You can find out more about the book at Last of the Mohicans.

As I was blogging tonight, I searched for a song that's been going through my mind. I'm glad to say found it. It's A Wonderful World was originally sung by Louis Armstrong. Which I happen to love his version of it. The one I was looking for is sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. He combined Somewhere Over The Rainbow and It's a Wonderful World. He was known as IZ, the Gentle Giant. He was Hawaiian. What a beautiful and peaceful voice he had. There is something to be said about songs that are sung in the native language. Whether it be Celtic, Native American, Hawaiian or any other ethnic group. I just love to hear all types of music.

If you are interested in hearing this song you can visit Facing Future. Listen to song number 14. I ended up ordering this cd. I can't wait till my cd comes in.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Gift of The Magi

Yesterday I went to my favorite book store, Books-A-Million. I saw a book that stopped me in my tracks. A book called, The Gift Of The Magi by O. Henry. I remember reading this book as a child. It was my favorite Christmas story. You have to remember that I was saved back then. This story makes me cry and warms my heart. I highly recommend it.

Well, I didn't buy cause I just knew that I had it at home "somewhere" in our school room. Once I got home, I searched high and low for it. It was nowhere to be found. So today, I went back to the book store. I just had to read it to my children today. It couldn't wait. Never mind that I had a head ache.
So once I got home, I took a nap. I woke up all refreshed. I called all my children and we all sat on the couch. My Babe was even sitting on the couch too, but he was busy doing work on his computer. He did listen as I read it. The girls remembered the story. I must of checked it out from the library when they were younger. The boys had never heard it. I was pleasantly surprised when Daniel told me later on that they had both sacrificed what meant the most to them, because they loved each other. Even though the book had words that were beyond his comprehension, he still understood what the story was all about.

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
-1 Thess 5:18

Can't forget that today is Thankful Thursday! There is so much I'm thankful for. Here is my list of ten for today:

Ten things I'm thankful for...

* Family

* Friendship

* Unconditional Love

* The True Meaning of Christmas

* Christmas Music

* Answered Prayers: whether they are answered as I expected or not. He knows what's best.

* Our Soldiers: they have chosen to give their time and sometimes even their lives for our freedom and the freedom of others.

* My camera: I get to capture moments and keep memories.

* Books

* Rain

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Lost City

A while ago, we bought the movie, The Lost City. It was done by Andy Garcia. The story is about a family who lived in Cuba. It shows what their family went through when Batista was over thrown by Castro.

I cried and sobbed throughout the movie. This movie made me think about my dad. My dad is Cuban. He was born in 1936. So he was there when Cuba was free. Before it became a communist country. He came to the United States just before Castro took over. I grew up hearing stories about how beautiful Cuba was. How wonderful it was before communism destroyed it.

A couple of weeks ago, Howie went on a mission trip to Cuba. Howie is the assistant pastor at our church. He learned to speak Spanish while being a missionary in Honduras and Panama.

Tonight he shared with the youth how his visit had gone. He showed pictures of how Cuba looks now. How people live. He talked about how food is rationed. People who work get paid $20 a month. How all the churches had been closed. Pastors were put in jail. No one was allowed to be seen carrying a bible or you would go to jail. Ten years ago, Castro changed his mind and allowed churches to open up again. We saw pictures of the cars in Cuba. The cars are from the 1950's and Russian cars from the 70's. He told us how the quilts, that were made by our quilting ministry had been confiscated by the government. The candies he had taken to share to share with the natives were also confiscated. How three of their luggage's were also confiscated.

It hurt to see how Cuba looks now. How greed can tear a country to shreds. How power corrupts and hurts the people. I keep asking myself, how can this be? Why do things like this happen? Sometimes it's not so much that we made a bad choice, but that someone else's choice affects us. It's the ripple effect.

We have a sinful nature. God gave us free will. He doesn't "want" all this stuff to happen. Yes, He is in control, but He allows things to happen. Sometimes it's those things that brings us closer to Him. It's those things that make us realize that we need Him. That without Him we wouldn't be able to get through it.

Our God is an AWESOME God. To think that He came down here. He walked among us. He bled and suffered for us. He died for us. No because He had to, but because He wanted to. All this to GIVE us eternal life with Him. Now THAT is TRUE LOVE! Unconditional love. Sacrificial love. It's up to us to reject it or accept it. I chose to accept.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Life Is Good

I went went shopping at my favorite little downtown. They have the best little shops. I was looking for a particular gift. Can't say what it is, cause my Girls will be reading this. ;o) I didn't find what I was looking for. BUT, I did find something else.

Life Is Good has been my motto for quite some time. I help teach High School Girl's Sunday School. Like I've said before, teaching is not my gift, but I help chase the rabbits. ;o) Whenever we take prayer request, every one shares what they want or need prayer for. When it's my turn, I share too. But most of the time I say that, "Life Is Good". So, that's what's written by my name on the board, "Mrs.G~ Life Is Good!"

So, back to walking in the stores in downtown. I walked into this one store, which has been there, like FOREVER, but I had never gone in it. Wouldn't you know that they have a clothing line called, Life Is Good. YEP, that's right. Now, why didn't "I" think of using my motto as a way of making some money? Oh well, c'est la vie! Needless to say, I wanted to get just about EVERYTHING in that store! But I controlled myself. Thank you Lord! Cause I could of done some major damage. I just kept thinking, "You really don't need this, this is a want." I had a weak moment and I bought a long sleeve shirt. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!
So here I am sporting my new shirt. I love their whole line. I've gotten to the point where comfort means more to me than what's in fashion. I've never really been one to wear what's fashionable any way. I like what I like and I wear it whether it's "in" or not.
I know that at times it might seem like things are going wrong. That nothing is going our way. God allows things to happen for a reason. So... Life Is Good, because God Is Good... ALL the time! Keep that in mind. ;o)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thankful Thursday

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
-1 Thess 5:18

I'm thankful every day. But on Thursday's I jot down 10 things I'm thankful for. Since I do this every Thursday some might find my thankful list a little ah... simplistic. But it's my list and I'm thankful for even the simple things.

* My salvation

* Grace and mercy

* hugs & kisses (yep, sweaty hugs and wet kisses too!)

* songs that give me goose bumps or make me cry

* my Knight in Shining Armor

* my three beautiful Maidens and two Knights in training

* fleece blankets

* quiet times

* Psalm 27 and Psalm 91

* knowing that when my time comes, I'll be spending eternity with my Lord and Savior. Where will you be spending eternity?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Come Rest In Me

We all have "one of those days". Lately, for me it's not been one of those days, but a couple of "those days" strung together into "weeks".

As always, He reminds me, "Hellooooooo! You are not alone. Come rest in me." We all need to be reminded, that He is right here, with us. Just waiting for us to hand it over. To give it freely. Now if I could just remind myself to leave it there with Him and not take it back...

I was blessed by my devotion for today. I would call it a God-incidence. Hope you are blessed by it too.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Sometimes the Lord calms the storm; sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.

SCRIPTURE FOR THE DAY: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:7

Steve Goodier

According to a Greek legend, in ancient Athens a man noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activity.

Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian, "Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell us what the unstrung bow implies."

The man looked at it for several moments but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. The moralist explained, "If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it."

So it is with us. Our minds and bodies are like the bow. When constantly under pressures of everyday life, we can eventually break. We need to loosen up; we need time to take the pressure off and relax.

Former baseball pitcher Dutch Leonard might have put it a little differently. He once said that the secret of great pitching is not speed or the ability to throw curves. It's the "change of pace." The average batter will soon learn to hit a pitcher who continually throws the same kind of pitch. But it's hard to hit against a pitcher who changes the pace of delivery. That change of pace gives a pitcher the edge over the best of batters.

A change of pace likewise gives us an edge in life. Taking time to watch the clouds, enjoy a breeze, take a walk, read or just slow down is necessary if we are to be our best later. And a regular day of rest is as important as regular sleep. It's a way of taking the pressure off.

To be your best, make sure you change your pace. It may just be the change you need.

Sometimes the most Godly thing we can do is take the day off.
Max Lucado

Friday, December 01, 2006

Whatever Happened...

I came across a great article. It was titled,"Whatever Happened to Whatever Happens?" Hmmm? I had to think about that. Being that this is my blog (journal), I get to write my thoughts, my dreams & about things that touch me. Maybe my loved ones will read this and see something more than just what they "see".

Beware! I have "issues" with staying focused, getting straight to the point, organizing my thoughts. Babe if you happen to read this, I'm sorry. I know this drives you nuts. The good thing is we balance each other out. You complete me. ;o)

Scripture says, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." Philippians 1:27

Sometimes bad things happen. Not because of something we "actually" did, but because of someone else's doing. No one desires to be poor. No one wants to be ill. No one wants to suffer. What we all do have is the ability to choose. We can choose how we react to what has happened. This makes all the difference in the world.

Choosing to conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, give me something priceless. Peace and Joy. I know it pleases Him and brings Him glory. How awesome it is to know that I'm my Lord is pleased with my conduct.

Do I always do this? No. I'm human. I fail. He's the only perfect one. But I don't give up. I continue striving to do as He would want me to.

Some of my choices through the years:
* Not doing drugs. I'm now able to be a testimony to my children. One doesn't have to do drugs to have fun.

* Loving and respecting my parents. Because I feared hurting them, I obeyed their rules. Which saved me from many mistakes I could of made: promiscuity, drunkenness, drugs,unwise friendships. I can share with my children how obeying my parents helped me to make wise choices.

* My brother died when he was 19 years old. I was never close to God, but I chose to run from Him. I felt lost, empty, in the bottom of a black pit. Even though my Babe was a loving caring man and I had three beautiful Baby Girls, I felt alone. But God reached down and pulled me out of that pit. I accepted His free gift... Salvation. I chose Him. Since I chose Him, I can now share what my life was before and what my life is now.

* I chose to be a wife and a mom. It was my dream since I was way little. I never wanted to be a career woman. My goal was to be where I am now... a wife and a mom. I'm able to say, it can be done. One doesn't have to go with the flow. It IS honorable to be a wife and mom. :o)

* When I was diagnosed with lupus, chiari and hydrocephalus, I chose not to worry. Worry wouldn't cure me. It would only spread fear to my children and family. I chose to lay it at His feet. He gave me peace.

* I've been told that I'm sick or ill because I don't have enough faith in God. Because of my illnesses, I've been able to help others dealing with health problems too. I choose to have faith. Faith in Him who allows things to happen for a reason.

* Most recently I had to deal with some untruth that was told about me. I have no control over what other's say or think about me or anything else. Those that approached me to find out the truth, know my side. All I can do is to forgive and move on. I chose to forgive.

So when things are not going according to how "I" want or envisioned. I am to conduct myself in a manner worthy of Christ. I choose His way. I want His light to shine through me. Thank you Lord for free will. I choose YOU and your ways...