Friday, February 21, 2020

"I love you" Banquet 2020


Like I said not too long ago, I love our family "I love you" Banquet!  It's such a great time together!  When Callie and I went shopping for the food we decided to do some fun appetizers.  We bought shrimp cocktail (always a hit with our family), star fruit (My new favorite fruit!), toasted cuban bread, and french bread with a smoked lobster dip.  So yum!


Then we had roasted cheesy brussel sprouts, twice baked potatoes with extra bacon, pork chops.  It was very good! 


Kisses from my sweetie.  It is an "I love you" Banquet, you know!?


Then, it was time to exchange gifts.  Such a sweet time!  It's different than at Christmas because you know the person created and thoughtfully made your gift.

 Silas gave Callie some coupons like "I will do a coloring page with you" and "Good for one morning chore done by Silas"  He also made her some homemade bubble bath that is scented with peppermint, lavendar, and ctirus.  She loved it!

Patrick made Tabitha mini wooden planter.

Beth made Liberty a book that she wrote.  It's actually a kid's book Beth wrote a few years ago after Patrick found a baby fawn without a mother.  Beth had taken Liberty's picture and made her the star of the book. It's so adorable!!


She likes it!


Micah wrote Patrick a sweet note, and...
....made him a pencil holder for his desk.


Callie embroidered a handkerchief for Beth.  She did a great job!  (thanks Grammy for teaching her!)


I made Micah a Chutes and Ladders game out of fabric.  He may or may not have beaten me a couple of times since taking this picture. :o)


Josh created a game for Silas that he can use his football cards with.  I may or may not have been beaten a few times at this game, too.  Grrrr.


Brenna created a date night box with a twist.  Of course it covers free babysitting! It also had a homemade cake mix with instructions.  One person must blind fold the other and talk them through how to make the cake.  He he.  Sounds like fun!


Liberty made Brenna an adorable picture frame.



And I received a beautiful picture and tear-inducing note from Tabitha.  She's so sweet!


And then, if you remember from last year, Tabitha had created an ice cream flavor for Josh.  We requested that she make it for our dessert.  And it was so yummy!!  We decided that it is tradition to have the ice cream for our "I love you" Banquet every year!


So thankful for this sweet family of mine.  So very blessed!!



Wednesday, February 19, 2020

How is He my rock?


There is so much beauty in St. Barths.  One of the things my family and I loved to do while we lived there as missionaries was to go exploring.  The beaches were my favorite. My kids loved to go to the rocky places and chase goats.

  We had heard about "Washing Machine Beach" a bunch. I found a video on youtube of the natural pool.  I'll never forget the day Josh and I decided to hike there.  The hike was absolutely gorgeous!!  We walked and talked and had a great time as Momma and Son.  Then, we saw it....a gorgeous, natural blue pool. It was a little bit of a steep, winding, climb down, but we made it. We swam for a bit.  We pulled out our backpack and had a snack.  We swam some more.  Then, we decided to head back.  I had the bright idea of instead of coming back the way we came we could climb over the steep rocks and get back to the path. Much easier and quicker!  Hopefully?

As we climbed out, my brave son lead the way.  He's pretty awesome.  We were almost to the top when I started to slip.  I looked downward and realized I was pretty far from the bottom.  I began to panic.  I mean really panic.  I was crying out, "Dear Lord, help me!"  My sweet Josh walked me through what to do.  He showed me the rocks to grip onto and the places to put my feet. He showed me the holes and rugged spots in the rock that I needed to grab a hold of.  It took a little bit, but I climbed out.  What relief!



As I've been singing and humming the song "I Need Thee Every Hour" I've also been memorizing Psalm 18:1,2.  Verse 2 says that the LORD is my rock.  As I've been meditating on the words to these verses I kept going back to the word "rock."  It's quite common for people to refer to other people as their "rock."  In the Bible, many people (such as Moses, Hannah and David) referred to God as their "rock." But, what does that exactly mean?


When I dug deeper, I found the meaning of rock in verse 2 to mean: from the root of lofty; uneven, rough and ragged rock.  So basically it's a tall, rough rock, kind of like the one at washing machine beach! Imagine if the rock we were trying to climb had been smooth and slick.  I don't think I would've made it out over the top.  I would have tried and tried to grasp a hold of the rock but I wouldn't have something stable to hold onto.  I definitely would have fallen to the bottom with injury. But, I had the ragged, rough rock to hold onto.

Isn't that just like our God?  He is my rock.  He's the one that I can hold onto and be sure that He will hold me and protect me.   It makes me want to ask the question, "What am I holding onto?"  Is the LORD my rock that I am gripping? If not, I will find myself slipping.  And the slippery climb of life can be dangerous without the Lord.  It can lead to hurt and confusion. It happens quite subtily and   before long we are holding onto something other than the Lord and it's usually ourselves.

 I think a good gauge to see what we are really gripping is by looking at our time.  Are we really giving the Lord our moments?  When difficulty comes do we turn to Him or turn to ways we devise to figure things out ourselves?  Do we get easily frustrated and play the blame game?  When God doesn't have first place in our priorities we are easily swayed.  We are easily agitated, frustrated, non productive and negative.

 But, the Lord wants to be our rock.  He wants to be the strong and steady constant that we need. When we spend time with Him and give Him our moments it reflects in the way we handle difficulties.  And it's so much more than devotion time in the morning.  Don't get me wrong, starting our day off in prayer and time in His Word is VITAL if we are to be what we ought to be.  But, it's easy to check that off and go about our day.  The Bible says to "pray without ceasing."  Are we really aware that God is right there for us to talk to ANYTIME of the day?  Do we read His Word throughout the day to seek wisdom?  Do we fill our lives with Godly influences such as books, movies and even friends that will point us to Him?  When we are really giving God our moments, we ask for wisdom instead of responding with the first reaction our flesh wants to blurt out.  We become patient and kind.   But, it's up to us what we are holding onto.

Psalm 18:1,2
I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. 
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;  my God, my strength, in whom I will trust;  my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.





Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Keeping these kiddos on track



For as long as I can remember I've been a list maker.  I love it!  I love the motivation of seeing what is left to accomplish and the feeling of crossing things off.  My kiddos seem to like them as well.  I came up with a new way to do their lists that has been working very well for us.

I picked up from Dollar Tree (of course!)  these clear acrylic sign holders.  Then, I typed up a paper (with cute pictures of them, too) with all the things they would accomplish on a normal school day.  I put everything from brushing teeth and chores, to each individual subject.  I also put some blanks on the bottom for me to write in anything extra the day may hold.  When they finish, they take a write and wipe marker and mark it off!  Success!  They are enjoying the same sense of accomplishment that I get by seeing projects completed.  And we are being very diligent in the process.  That's a double win!



Monday, February 10, 2020

A Housewife's Needs


Try to be up before dawn.
Throw in a load of laundry.
Start the Coffee Pot. 
 Make it extra strong because you are tired already.
Begin your "quiet time" with the Lord.
 5 minutes into praying you hear a child stirring and ready to start their day.
Start breakfast.  
Realize the bread is moldy and there is no milk for cereal. 
 Opt for leftovers of some sort instead. 
 Who needs eggs, right?
Calm down the early riser that has too much early morning energy while trying to wake the other child that feels it's waaayyy too early.
Assign chores. 
 Teach, for the umpteenth time how to make a bed and that 20 stuffed animals are too many to be on top of a pillow.
Start School. 
 Realize homework from the day before wasn't done, so quickly help the "forgetful again student" finish the remaining division problems so today's work can be done.
Reheat coffee.
Look at the clock.  9am.  
Debate whether you have the energy to continue or should you just go back to bed.


The morning of a housewife.  Now, it's definitely not always like this.  There are days where I am much better prepared and ready to face the day. And I am sooo very thankful for the life I get to live at home taking care of my children and my home.  It's the best!!  But, sometimes, all these things seem to come at once and "housewifing" can be tiring!




This is why I loved reading the story behind why the hymn, "I Need Thee Every Hour" was written.

 It was 1872, and surely being a housewife in that era was much different for Annie Hawks.  Yet, I know her days, just like mine, could be unpredictable caring for her home, husband and flock of children.

One day, as a 37 year old Wife and Momma, she was busy completing her normal routine of caring for her home.  It was during that time that she felt a closeness of the Lord and began wondering how anyone could live without the Lord.  Ever felt that way?  I know I have.  During the day to day trials of life I often asked myself, "How does anyone go through this life without having the Lord by their side?"  He really is my very best friend, my comforter and my strength!!

 As she thought on having the Lord close by her side and her need for Him, she penned the words to the song, "I Need Thee Every Hour."  The hymn soon became popular in New York and then around the world.

16 years later  Annie went through a very difficult time when her husband died.  She said that her husband's death "cast a shadow of great loss over my life."  It was during this time that the words to the hymn were born afresh in her heart.  She understood once again the comforting power of having the Lord by her side.


What a blessing this was to me!  I, like Annie Hawks, need the Lord.  Every day that each of us has is different and holds new challenges.  Every moment I need the Lord to guide my path in each decision I make.

Lord, I need thee every hour!


Saturday, February 8, 2020

Around the corner...


Valentines Day is just around the corner, which means...


Lots of red, and


lots of hearts, and....


lots of creations and crafts and secrets happening around the Gimenez Home.  It's almost time for our "I love you" Banquet!  We've exchanged names and are getting ready next week for a wonderful family time!  As usual, the names exchanged are to remain a secret and the gift must be homemade with no money spent.  It's going to be great fun and I'm having a great time working on a gift for a special someone!


Thursday, February 6, 2020

25 Years of Friendship



It was over 25 years ago that Patrick and I said "I Do" and moved to Plattsburgh Air Force Base in New York.  That was far away from Florida, that's for sure!  Patrick had been stationed there for about 7 months before we were married and got to know some of his coworkers, but I didn't know anyone.  We quickly found a church not far from base, Bible Baptist Church.  We felt loved immediately.  In this church was a caring Pastor and a small group of families that made a difference in our life.  They were real.

There was one couple in particular that stood out to us, and that was Tom and Laura Green.  They loved the Lord and had such a zeal for life that we knew that's the life we wanted to live as well!  The power of influence!!

It has been fun staying in touch all these years.  Their children have grown and they added a few more.  Our family has grown as well.  And our friendship continued.

We were excited when we found out they were coming for a visit!  Yay!  It was so good to catch up with them and to have our newest children meet their son.

It was fun to do some touristy things with them.  I always enjoy the wonderful area we live in!
We took them to St. Augustine and saw the Castillo de San Marcos Fort.



 It was fun to watch the soldiers fire the cannon over the bay.



Not too long ago I told our ladies to find an object that when they see it, they will be reminded of God's Love.  Mine is the seagull.  It's amazing the times they show up!  He loves me!



It's amazing the "kindredness" you can have with other Christians.  Our boys became great friends!  They had a wonderful time together!


Then, it was off to La Chua Trail in hopes to find some alligators.


We did find some gorgeous Sand Hill Cranes.  They can be quite loud and they are so big!



When in Florida you have to find snakes, too.

And then we spotted a gator.  It was probably 6 feet long.  Scary!




And since we are in Spring Country, we had to go see Blue Springs and saw a turtle there, too!




So thankful for Godly friends.  You just never know who is watching you and learning from you.  We watched Tom and Laura.  We saw their relationship with one another and we knew we wanted that.  We saw that their home and children were their priority and we wanted that.  We saw them serve in the church and be a blessing to others and we wanted that.  We saw the pure fun they had and whenever we were with them we would laugh so much and we knew we wanted that.  We saw that they loved the Lord with all their hearts and we wanted that, too.  They really have been a powerful influence in our lives and we are so thankful for them!