Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fighting for my Spiritual Growth

I've been trying my hand at winter gardening.  The jury is still out on whether I've been successful or not.  I have pretty green plants of carrots, brussel sprouts and broccoli.  I'm praying they will produce beautiful vegetables! I'm praying they will grow!

The weeds on the other hand....they just keep growing.  I pull them and hope they will stay away for ever, but as I glance outside, I see they are back again with a vengeance! Whether I like it or not, they just keep growing!  It doesn't take any work to grow a weed garden!

Our spiritual growth is not quite like my weeds in the garden. I will not grow closer to the Lord on accident.  It does take work!  Our faithful enemies (our flesh, the world, and satan) fight hard for us to be bondage to them.  For us to grow closer and closer to the Lord, it will be a battle.  But, I am determined to fight for my spiritual growth!

I've prayed about some tools and ideas that will help me in my fight!  Here is one of the things that I am doing for this year of 2016:

~My Red Basket  The Lord is really working on my heart about not being a "forgetful hearer" like in James 1:25.

You know your devotion time is something you just cross off your list when you do it in the morning and then forget about it for the rest of the day.  I don't want to be like that.  I don't want to forget!  So, here is my plan for not being a forgetful hearer:  My Red Basket!  In the morning when I read my Bible, I am on the look out for the verse that God wants me to apply to my life that day.  It is amazing what He brings out in scripture!  When I find that verse I copy it three times.  I put one in my Red Basket on my desk.  I put one in the window by the kitchen sink.  Then, I put the third in my bathroom mirror.   By writing out the verse, it gets logged in to my brain.  By seeing it throughout the day I am remembering.  That is my goal.  What is the result for one that remembers?  The book of James says that he will be blessed in his deed.  That's what I want!

So, I am ready to fight for my spiritual growth.  I want to do my part and make it happen.  The rewards of walking daily with the Savior are benefits that I need!  Thank you Lord for your Word!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Place to Pray

In the early Fall of 2015 my prayer life was a struggle.  Yes, I was still having the quantity of prayer time as the month before.  But, something was different.  Instead of having sweet fellowship with the Lord and enjoying His presence, my prayer time became a time for me to complain to God, tell Him how to fix things, and walk away feeling the weight of every burden.  As I prayed and brought up all the negative to the Lord, I left my prayer time feeling overloaded, full of the cares of this world, and quite defeated.  It's not how God wanted me to start my day!  When I realized this was happening, I knew it was time for an overhaul of this time I so desperately needed.  I began searching the Bible for people who prayed.  I began reading good books by prayer warriors.  I jotted down ideas and began to change.  I'm so thankful!!

As I've implemented some changes in my prayer life, I've enjoyed my time with Him again.  Even though I still bring to Him my burdens and cares, I am trying my best to "leave it there" and let Him handle it for me.  He does a much better job anyway!  

One of the things I decided to do was to have a specific place for my morning prayer time.  Of course, I still pray in other spots throughout the day, too.  But, for my morning devotions I decided to have a specific place.  I've had many spots through the years, the kitchen table, my closet, my bed with my nightstand close by, the chair in the living room, the front porch....many wonderful places to commune with my Savior!  But, for here, I realized that the desk I use for school would be my perfect prayer corner!  So, I began transforming it into the place that I would be for my devotions. 
I used some square corkboard to hang verses and quotes on prayer.  What an encouragement these are!  I also hung pictures of my family and I love to look at their faces while I pray for them.  I also have my red basket (I'll post more on that soon.), a small lamp for the perfect light in the early hours that I pray, and I have a drawer to put my Bible, journal, pens, stationary...lots of goodies.  (Now that I think of it, I think I should add a chocolate bar to top it off!)

I praise the Lord for showing me that I needed to fix some things in my prayer life. I'm so thankful that He knew I needed better!  My time with Him is so special and needful!

How about you?  Do you have a specific place to pray? I would love to hear about it!  Whatever the place, make sure your time with the Lord happens.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

One of the Greatest Oppositions to Morning Devotions

Good's easy to have them when we are thinking about our time with the Lord.  Most of us want to make this very-needed time happen and dream of tomorrow, rising with the sun, with some time of uninterrupted prayer and studying God's Word.  Yet, as a busy wife and Momma, those times don't happen on accident.  And if we're not careful, day after day goes by and we realize, "Wait a second, did I pray this morning?"  We end up not dreaming about a "Sweet Hour of Prayer"  but long for just a moment.  Or even a second.

 There are many oppositions to our prayer life and morning devotion time in God's Word..  Satan knows how important this time is for us!  He knows we need this time.  He knows our children need for us to have this time.  He knows our husbands need for us to have this time.  He seems to throw anything and everything in our path so we won't have victory!  And yet, I feel there is a great opposition that we face that we could fix ourselves!  What is this great opposition to our morning devotions?   

Bedtime Routine

What we do with those precious minutes before we lay our head on the pillow really does have a big impact on how our following day will go.  I'm finding that there are a few things that if I don't do the night before, I seem to struggle the next morning....I'm tired.  I hit the snooze.  I'm distracted when I pray.  I rush through a quick pray and read a verse, so I can hurry and take care of things that should have been taken care of the night before.  Then....I'm grumpy because my day didn't start out right.

So, what are these things?
Bedtime Routine with my Quiet Time in Mind:

~Practice the "Head to Bed" philosophy.  I read a book by Elizabeth George where she talks about this.  Throughout the evening she is working towards heading to bed.  I know it sounds silly, because if you're like me, most of my time in the evenings is when I have quality time with my family.  But, after that time with our family is done, don't stay up too late.  We find much to distract us and entertain us when it's late.  We call it "winding down"  or "vegging out."  Now, I'm all for vegging every so often, but if we stay up for an extra hour (or hours) to waste time, what we are really doing is wasting our time with the Lord in the morning.  We end up being too tired to try and get up to have a quiet time.  So, head to bed at a decent hour.  It will be easier in the morning!

~Limit Screen Time.  I know this is talked about a lot lately.  It needs to be.  Think about how much time we look at any sort of "screen."  Phone, tablet, Laptop.  Our brains don't relax and just be.  We end up on information overload.  We head to bed and think about everything happening in everyone else's lives on facebook.  We lay awake thinking about the 20 pins we just pinned on Pinterest and we mentally buy all the supplies for the next project. I find that if I end the day this way I don't rest well.  And I wake up still thinking about everything I want to do, should do, wish to do....My mind then has a hard time concentrating on my time with the Lord.  I spend 15 minutes thinking that I was praying only to realize I just reorganized my house, picked the perfect shade of color for my hair, and did the coolest craft with my kids....all in my head!  It's hard to concentrate!  But, I find that if I limit my screen time in the evenings (it's better to spend that time with my family anyway!)  that in the morning my mind is ready to concentrate on what the Lord wants to teach me for the day.

~5 Minute House Rescue.  My kids love this!  Or maybe not.  But, if I take the 5 minutes before I head to bed (and teach my children to do the same) and pick up anything out of place,  I wake up to a much nicer environment to focus on the Lord.  It's amazing what 5 minutes can do!  For me, I look for dishes left out, coats to be hung, anything on the table.....the things that will be most visible to me.  But, if I fail to do this, I sit down to pray and see a room that needs my attention, I end up rushing through my quiet time so I could hurry and get to other needs.  I know when it is finally bedtime that  we're tired.  But, take 5 minutes.  It really does make a difference!

~Get Devotional materials ready and laid out in your special spot.  For me, I tiptoe around trying not to wake my little ones, so I can have some (or any) quiet time alone with the Lord.  That may be 15 minutes.  Or maybe 35.  But, I find that if I don't know where I put my Bible, my notebook and journal must be found, and I have to dig for a pen out of my purse, that it wastes precious minutes.  And it wakes up my light sleepers!  If I have everything laid out and ready, it's so much easier.  (I've also gotten to where I tell my kiddos that unless the little hand is on the 7, they can't get up.  So, that gives me extra time!)  I also love to have the coffee pot ready!  I love the smell of coffee brewing when I wake up!

Now, if I make sure to keep my bedtime routine in order, then my Quiet Time alone with the Lord will be perfect, right?  I'll have lots of energy, my kids will sleep while I read a whole chapter?  And my house will be spotless?....Well, not exactly. Things don't always work out like we have planned and hoped.  But, I have found that the more I am careful about what I do the night before, the more time I usually have with the Lord in the morning.  There will be bumps.  There will be babies that wake up too early and alarm clocks that don't go off.  Those are days for devotions with the babies, or moving our schedules back an hour.  I need to be flexible, but  I also want to make sure I am doing everything that I need to to make my Quiet Times with the Lord Jesus happen.  The Lord blesses those efforts and desires of our time with Him!  And it's so worth it!

Sunday, January 17, 2016


A New Year has arrived a few weeks ago.    I love looking back on all the blessings from the previous year.  I also love to look ahead and plan out the upcoming year.  Many goals are swirling around in my head.  Many thoughts of all that lies ahead.

There will be some new things happening this year.

~ My Beth will graduate and turn 18.  We will be planning a grand Homeschool Graduation for her.  It's going to be loads of fun and we have been enjoying the planning stages!
~ This will be our first full year in the pastorate here at VSIBC.  We have many events already on the calendar and many scheduled Preachers and Missionaries.  Our church has adopted the theme "Let's Go Fishing" for the year and it's exciting to see the excitement and burden to reach lost souls spread through the precious people of VSIBC.
~I will be seeing a New Lyme Literate Doctor next month. It is time for some fresh eyes to look over my medical needs.  My family continue to help me through the days when I am not well.  My church family has also helped to ease the load.   I'm so blessed by their willingness to help and love on me!
~ I am ready to begin again in my quilting adventures.  I haven't really sewn in so long, I'm ready to get back into it! And....if you follow me on Pinterest, there are many new things I've pinned that I want to do! :o)

So, many New things are to come.   I sure am loving this life God is letting me live!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Happy Birthday to my sweet Hubby!

 Today is my Patrick's birthday!  Happy Birthday my sweetie!  I am so blessed to have married my high school sweetheart.  You could say that we've grown up together during our marriage.  We sure were young when we said 'I Do', but I wouldn't trade marrying this man as just an 18 year old girl for anything!  What a wonderful life we have together with so many blessings.

 Not only is he a wonderful husband and caring father.  He is my "Preacher."  The kids and I were talking last night about what a great preacher and Pastor he is.  He feeds the flock God has given him and truly loves them.  It is definitely his calling from God.  Not only does he love them, but they love him right back.  Last Sunday night some of the ladies got together and decided to have a surprise cake fellowship after church for Patrick.  He was so thankful for their sweet encouragement and they loved doing something for him!

 Happy Birthday my Love!  I'm so glad God gave me You!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

The birthday of a 7 year old

 As Silas counted down the days until his birthday, he began telling me all the fun things he wanted to do for his day.  We love to let the birthday boy/girl plan their day with food and fun.  Of course, sometimes we have to lead in a different direction, but usually we are able to do most of the things planned.  We started our day with presents!

 Silas received many goodies, but one of his favorites was Snotty glasses from Callie.  So gross.

 Next on the list was a fierce Battleship Battle.  This kid is pretty sneaky in hiding his ships.  I still can't figure him out!!

 For lunch he requested Hardy's and for us to watch a movie together while we eat.  He told me, "Momma, I want to pick a movie that all of us will like."  So....he picked The Lone Ranger.  He was quite thrilled.  I didn't have the heart to tell him I usually read a book while they watch Westerns.  :o)

 And for his cake he wanted it to be a Lego Cake.  My girls did very well fulfilling his request!

He wanted it to have a caramel flavor, so the girls made their Butter Cake (oooohhh so yummy!)  with a caramel filling (oh my oh my it was good!)  with a buttercream frosting.  He loved it!

What a wonderful day with my 7year old.  He sure is a great, fun kid!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy 7th Birthday to my Silas Boone!

 Today my Silas turned 7!  It seems like just yesterday that we were announcing the birth of our second son!
 What a fun, sincere, tender-hearted kiddo we have!  I love to spend one on one time with my little guy.  He's always full of wonderful conversation.  I honestly think I could listen to him talk for hours.  and if there weren't so many distractions, he probably would!

 He's doing so well in 1st grade!  He is quickly learning to read.  His new favorite thing to do is write Bible verses.  He also made a commitment to hand out 2 gospel tracts every week this year.  I love to take him to the store and watch him boldly walk up to a stranger and say, "Could I give you a gospel tract from my church?"
 He has a great imagination and loves to play legos, army guys and any sport.  He loves football, just like his Daddy and can recognize any NFL team just by their logo.

 He loves to play outside, explore and his rock collection is growing!

 I know that one day God will make a faithful, Godly man out of my little boy.  He has such a  sweet spirit and compassion for others.  I'm so thankful to be able to be called his Momma!

 Happy Birthday Silas Boone!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Years Visitors

 We excitedly prepared for my parents to come for the New Years weekend.  We all couldn't wait!  So glad they could spend some time with us!

 There was lots of playing done and showing Grandpa and Grandma their new toys and games.

 Then, it was time to exchange gifts.  First, the favorite stuffed animals opened their gifts!

 It's official.  I am so over the Nerf gun craze in my family!!

 One day I'm going to make a Scrapbook.  Silly Faces of Brenna!  :o)  (As a side note, my girl is blogging again.  Love reading her words and thoughts!

 I love the relationship that Patrick and I my Dad have.  I think they talked for hours (no exaggeration at all!) about Golfcart batteries.  Exciting! :o)

 Silas's reading has really taken off!  He opened a book from Grandpa and Grandma and immediately wanted to read it!

 My first pair of Cowgirl boots.  Love them!

And my first  Coach purse from my Mom and Dad.  They sure did spoil us!  What a great time we had!  Miss them already!!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Our Fondue Tradition

 We love to have Fondue on New Year's Eve.  This year we decided to include our little guys...yes, we are brave souls!  But, this year we have 2 Fondue pots, courtesy of my thoughtful Mam-maw.  Thanks Mam-maw!

 We started off with the savory broth and the cheese Fondue.  Sooo yummy!!

 Then, it was on to the chocolate! Super yummy!!

 Happy New Year from the Gimenez Clan!

What a Merry Christmas!!

We had such a wonderful Christmas with many memories!  We were so happy that Patrick's Mom, Denise and his brother, Marc could come and celebrate Christ's birth with us.

There was lots of fun opening stockings, eating lots and lots, exchanging gifts, eating some more, singing carols many things!  But, one of my favorites is we reflect on what we gave Jesus last year, and look forward to what we want to give Him this coming year.  He gave His life for us, I want to live my life for Him!
 We warned Grammy that gift opening takes a long while in our home (in fact, this year we took a 5 minute cinnamon roll break!)  We like to open one by one, thank the person that gave, maybe play with the gift...just enjoy the moment!

 Patrick was very excited to give me his gift from him.  I've needed new pots and pans....badly.  He found some in my favorite color!!! Teal!  I was so happy!  And I love the look on his face...he knew he did good! :o)
 Then, it was time for play....

 ....putting toys together....

 ...and more playing!

 We enjoyed a nice Ham lunch!

 Then, for dinner we invited the Boyle family to come and celebrate with us!  What fun we had!!

 After dinner we had our birthday cake for Jesus and sang "Happy Birthday."

 Merry Christmas!!