Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019, now a memory.

As I looked over this past year, I realized a prevailing thought, God never left us nor forsook us! 

2019 was a year that didn't exactly go as planned.  Is there ever a year that does?  There were some changes, some bumps in the road, but also some wonderful blessings brought about by the hand of God!  He is so good to us!

In January, VSIBC signed an agreement to purchase land.  The loan will mature at the end of January 2020.  God has been so faithful!! We have just a little over $5,000 to pay on the balance.  It's been amazing to watch God provide through the people of VSIBC, and through others that have a desire to give to God.  Our church is so excited to start building our new church home!

2019 brought a few medical difficulties.  My Micah was diagnosed with Asthma.  The dizziness that accompanied this was quite frightening.  Our doctor was diligent to check all the dizzy issues, and we are on a right treatment plan to help with that and his breathing.  We watched God perform miracles for us as he provided for our Micah.

2019 was also when I began treatment for Myasthenia Gravis.  What a roller coaster ride that has been!  God again worked in our life and allowed the treatment to be covered by my insurance.  So thankful for that!!  Treatment began, and so did side effects.  I  honestly didn't expect to be down 3 solid weeks.  That was tough on all of us.  My family was amazing.  My Mom, Dad, and Mam-maw came to help us out.  Then, a week later, Patrick's Mom came to fill in.  My husband and kiddos kept the house and ministry running while I made my home in the recliner.  It was tough, but God was faithful.  Between side effects, IVs, destroyed veins, Port decisions and infections, and removals, it's been quite a year!  But, God is so faithful to hold  my hand during the storm.  When I seem to unravel, He is there to give me peace. 

In May our second granddaughter was born.  Oh what a delight Freedom Joy is!  To hold and snuggle a newborn is a treasure.  So thankful that I can do that often!!

Summer came and my kids lived in the pool.  Every single day!!

In July I celebrated 25 years with my sweetheart.  Our life isn't perfect.  And it definitely has taken some unexpected twists and turns, but I'm so thankful that I get to do life with him.  And isn't his beard so adorable?  Such a good looking man I have! ;o)

This is the year that Denise and Marc came to live in North Central Florida.  We are so glad they are here!

2019.  It's just a memory now.  But, a good one.  God has been so good to the Gimenez Family!

2020 here we come!!  Looking forward to all that God is going to do!

Monday, December 30, 2019

The President's List

I'm so proud of my Brenna.  God has given her many wonderful gifts. Of course music is one of them.  She plays so beautifully and is such a blessing to our church.  She has such talent.

The other is her gift of being a wonderful student.  She loves college.  And does so well at it!  She is enjoying being an online student at Veritas Baptist College. She is so organized in her studies and does great work.  She is majoring in Elementary Education and is amazing with children!

This last semester she had a very heavy load of classes.  She prayerfully considered whether she should take that many classes since she also works very hard in the ministries at VSIBC.  She decided to go for it since it is her goal to graduate in May 2021.  (One semester she was part time, so that left her with a little to catch up.)

She studied and worked hard, all the while balancing the music ministry, teaching Sunday School, working in the bus ministry, volunteering at High Springs Community School and tutoring a kindergartner once a week.  Whew!  That made me tired just typing all of that out!

We were so happy to learn that she made the President's List!  Way to go Brenna!  This honor is for full time students that have a GPA of at least 3.75.  That's tough!  But, she did it and we are so proud of  our girl! (Can you tell? :o) )

Saturday, December 28, 2019

2020 Devotion Plan

The year 2020 is just around the corner.  We only have a few days left of 2019.  I have been thinking about, and prayerfully considering, how I want to study my Bible this year.  I've done several things in the past: focus words, scripture writing, character studies.  I knew I wanted to do something different this year.  Back in November the ladies of our church began a Scripture writing challenge on the word Grateful.  It was a blessing to all of us!  As I wrote out the assigned passages each day I was amazed at how many verses talked about singing praises to our God.

Psalm 95: 1-3 O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

Psalm 9: 1-2 I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.
Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Each day as I wrote out more verses, I would see so many instances of singing praises to the Lord that I was convinced that the Lord was telling me something.  But wait a second...I love to sing.  I sing specials in church and in the choir.  I sing with my family and sing whenever I do the dishes or work around the house.  Isn't that enough?  I began to ask myself, do I sing praises TO Him?  Do I "sing unto the LORD?"  Do I praise the Lord with a song in my heart?
I realized that this thought of singing praises to God should be my focus for this year.  I will add this to my Bible reading (I plan to read through the Bible this year using this schedule.) and prayer time each day.  As I decided this, my mind began flooding with ways to do this.   Each month I am going to take a classic, solid, well-loved hymn and have it be my theme.  (I'm so excited about Januarys!)  I am going to incorporate that song into my devotions in the morning and sing unto the Lord.  Some days it may be quietly in my heart. (Usually my kiddos are asleep during my devotion time!) or some days I may sing aloud as I walk.  I will also be memorizing a portion of Scripture that has to do with the idea of the theme of the hymn.  I am convinced I need to make sure that I am memorizing God's Word and hiding it in my heart!  I will be writing out this Scripture and putting it in a visible place in my home.  I will also be reading the story behind why the Hymn was written.  I love hymn stories!  And my plan is to create something to put on my table or kitchen with the music to the hymn.  Each month I will take a different hymn.

Would you like to join me in this? This link will take you to all the posts marked "2020 Devotion Plan"  I will be making a playlist to share with this hymn so that we can listen to it.  I will post along the way the hymn story and Bible verses to memorize. I am so looking forward to making sure my heart is singing praises to my wonderful Savior.  He truly is worthy!

Friday, December 27, 2019

A Christmas Day in the books

Oh Christmas Day....what a day!  The whole month of busyness leads up to this day.  Expectations are always high, and honestly, things never work out exactly as planned.  But, the day is still filled with many wonderful memories, surrounded by those we love.

Our Christmas Eve service at church was beautiful!  The candlelight service we have is always one of my favorites.  This year Joshua preached and Silas read the story from Luke 2.  This Momma's heart was bubbling over with joy. 

Then, we came back and exchanged gifts with Joshua, Tabitha, Liberty and Freedom.  Liberty opens gifts very, very, meticulously.  She has to have every piece of wrapping and tape off before she looks at the gift.  It was so cute!  And quite time consuming, too!

We always like to spend our Christmas Eve doing a few family things together:  We reread the Christmas Story in Luke 2, and remember why we are celebrating.  We always talk about the Christmas Tree and what the many things about it represent. (Ornaments are the fruits of the Spirit we should have in our life, Lights represent that we should be the light of the world, etc.)  Each year we think of more and more things that are symbolic of the Christian Life.  I love hearing my kids ideas and input!   Then, we give our stocking gift to Jesus.  It's always a very special time for our family. 

But...this year someone had a headache and tummy issue.  Poor guy.  We knew he didn't feel up to it and went to sleep next to Mom and Dad's bed.  So, we decided to postpone our Christmas Eve traditions and just chose to do them after Christmas.

Then, bright and early Christmas morning came.  Everyone was feeling better and ready to open gifts!

We exchanged gifts with one another.  My kids are so thoughtful and I love to see them enjoy giving gifts to each other.  Brenna was so excited about the music arrangement she received, so she decided to stop and serenade us right then!

I have no idea why I gave my 7 year old a stink bomb set.  We slightly (well, more than slightly) regret giving him that gift!

My Callie is such a reader!  She even stopped and read a few lines of the book she opened!

We sold our chickens a couple months ago and decided to give the coop to Callie with money to buy new chicks.  Goodness gracious that girl was excited!  I'll post more on that soon!

I opened one of my gifts and was surprised to find the ring box that Patrick brought out 25 years ago when he proposed.  Inside it was a beautiful ring!  I LOVE it!

Then, it was off to Denise's house for a wonderful, delicious Christmas meal!
Everything was set up so  beautifully!

Have I mentioned lately how happy we are that Denise and Marc moved up this way?  Such a blessing!!

We gave a fun gift to our "Singles" group.  I'll post more on that later, too. :o)

What a wonderful day!  As I told the kids, we serve an amazing God.  On his birthday, he gives us many, many gifts and extra blessings.  He is so good to us!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Fun!

It happens every year...I always seem to have to throw bunches of Christmas fun into one post.  So, here we go! :o)
I was so excited that my sister and brother in law came for a visit.  We laughed and talked and I enjoyed every second!  I sure have missed my sister and having her come for a visit is definitely a cherished memory!  Liberty really loved her Aunt Keela and Uncle William.  She was quite entertaining!

Not thanksgiving.  Not Christmas.  But, just because we had an extra turkey in the freezer.  And because my husband looks so cute in my apron.  :o)

My Mom has a big family Christmas Party every year.  We usually don't get to make it because things are so busy with Christmas Festivities up here 5 hours north.  My sisters and Mom decided to send us gifts so that we could participate in the gift exchange, too.  That was so sweet of them!  We had fun stealing and laughing...and getting some pretty good gifts!

Lots of Christmas baking and goodies.

Okay, I should say too much baking and goodies!  December 26th starts a diet for me!

So excited for a little bit of a Christmas break from school!!

The minute break begins, they run outside to play!

The Christmas Store at VSIBC is always a hit!  The kids earn Victory Bucks all month long.  Then, they get to spend it in a store that we set up in a Sunday School room.  The people of our church brought so many wonderful gifts for the kids to buy!!

Callie was excited that this year for our Ladies Christmas party, all the girls were invited.  She loved it!  We called our party Ladies Christmas Extravaganza!  We traveled to three homes, sang carols along the way, looked at the pretty decorations, played games, and had a devotion.  We laughed so much!  I love how the ladies of VSIBC love to be together!  It really does show the strength of the church when people want to get together and fellowship!

Our Christmas party at VSIBC is always anticipated.  We chose to do a gingerbread theme this year.  The teenagers helped me make candy.  See it hanging from the ceiling? Then, some of the ladies made the lollipops for the tables.  Aren't they adorable?  We used wrapping paper to create a festive table.  It all turned out so good!

We had a gingerbread competition at the party.  The 20s-40s age group won!  Yay!

and more baking time!

Christmas is always so fun around here.  I love this season!