Friday, July 30, 2021

Wedding Dress Shopping

 Well....we did something crazy!  Brenna has been looking and looking at wedding dress options.  We went into David's Bridal not too long ago for her to be fitted for a dress she will be wearing as a bridesmaid in a wedding in October.  As we were there we glanced at the wedding dresses and didn't see ANY that were modest.  Not a one.  We realized they would all have to be altered and added on.  Plus, the price tag was way too steep.  Brenna has a budget we've given her.  It's not much, but it is what we can do and her and I are determined to make it work.  It's been so much fun watching the Lord provide in soooo many different ways.  The costs of a dress at a dress shop with its alterations would be more than her entire wedding budget.  

So, she decided to start exploring other options.  She landed on Amazon and found a dress that looked beautiful.  So she decided to order it.  When the dress came (from China) we laughed very nervously (and a little uncontrollably) that this is one of the craziest things we've ever done!  Then, we realized how little the package was.  Seriously!! A Wedding dress in there!!!

It has been quite an experience and we've had fun!  I'll eventually share the rest on that story, but some of it has to be a surpise for the wedding! ;o)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Game Competition Week

We have had so much fun during our game competition week!  We got out ALL of our games and put them in the living room.  Then, I made a chart to keep track of who's the winner.  The only rule is that a win only counts if at least 4 people in our family play.  The winner at the end of the week gets to pick our first lunch stop when we head out on our family vacation.  

The competition has been fierce!  We've had a few midnight games and we've been playing bunches.  I'm hoping I'll win! ;o)  But, whoever does, we sure have had fun in the process!


Monday, July 26, 2021


Playing outside in the mud.  Jumping and spinning in the rain.  I love summer memories!


Saturday, July 24, 2021

She Builds ~ every wise WOMAN

 "Every wise WOMAN buildeth her house:  but the foolish plucket it down with her hands." Proverbs 14:1

I want  you to think about a word in this verse; the word woman.  God is saying that a woman is wise when she builds her house.  Woman.  Lady.  Feminine.  Our womanhood is under attack today.  In our mainstream culture gender identity is being blurred.  Don't believe me?  Think about what's going around in our world today:

-California introduced a bill making it illegal for retailers to separate girls and boys clothing

-Congress passed procedulral rules banning the use of gender pronouns in the US House of Representatives

-Our greeting card industry is transitioning to gender neutral cards

-You cannot have a male or female institution anymore because it is discrimination

Why?  Why such an attack on the gender God made you?    

Biblical Masculinity and Biblical Femininity is a direct tetimony of a living God.  The greatest testimony you can have is to fulfil the role God created for you.  If you are a woman, then it is to be a Godly, loving, woman! 

Satan's goal is for me to be unsatisfied with how God made me.  Biblical Femininity says, "I belong to the Lord!" Satan wants us to be confused. God wants us to be at peace. "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace," 1 Cor. 14:33

Let me ask, what were you created to be?  Enjoy it.  Fulfill it.  Be thankful that God, when He created you, had a purpose and plan for you, exactly how He made you!

What does this mean exactly for us?  How can I embrace the being the woman that God would have for me to be? Here are just a few ideas:

~Thank God for making you a woman.  Have you done that lately?  Thank Him for being so wise to create you and that He loving formed you in the womb.  He knew what He was doing!  Thank Him for it!

~Prayerfully ask God to reveal to you, as you search the Scriptures, what it means to be a woman.  What commands does He give to us?  We know He wants us to build our house.  But, what else?  Keeper at Home, Discreet, Chaste, Graceful...How are you doing with these?

~It's okay to make it known that you are thankful how God made you.  I often tell my kiddos, "I'm so glad I'm a girl!!"  Which the boys quickly reply, "I'm so glad I'm a boy!"   Tell your daughter the benefits and blessings to being a lady.  

~When you think of Godly Femininity, what do you think of?  A softeness?  A life that is pleasant, kind, helpful?  Beauty?  How can you purposefully incorporate that into your day today?

            Fresh Flowers in a vase on your table, somehow this just says "I am a woman and I love lovely             things." 

            Think before you speak and let your words be filled with grace and love.  

            Determine to be lovely with exactly how God made you.  Loveliness doesn't mean frumpy, but                  does mean that you put a little extra attention to how you do look.  Take a few extra minutes to             make your appearance lovely.

            Remember your tone of voice

            Do something to make your space lovely.

            Ask yourself, "Does what I'm wearing say, that I am a woman?"  Your clothing really does give             you away.  Don't be afraid or ashamed to let what you wear identify you as a lady.

            Smile.  And do it a lot.  We have so much to be thankful for!  Let your features reflect that.

            Put on Godly music that fills your home with the sounds that will bring peace. 

God created YOU.  And He knew what He was doing.  What a wonderful, orderly God we have! 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Lots of wedding planning underway!

We've had lots of wedding planning underway in the Gimenez household!  It has been so exciting.  First, a date has been set.  We talked with AJ and Brenna from the beginning and prefer a longer courtship and a shorter engagement.  They took that conversation to heart and set the date for a little over 2 months away!  Okay then!  So, we are hitting the ground running and are getting everything in order!

First we met up at a cute new french bakery.  We planned and planned and got the basics laid out.  

Then, Brenna asked Beth to be her Maid of Honor

And asked Tabitha to be one of her bridesmaids.

Later on Brenna asked Callie and two other of her friends to be bridesmaids as well.

Then, AJ and Brenna registered on Amazon.  It was so sweet to watch.  They picked out things they knew the other would like and really put thought into what to register for.  I love to see how they love each other.  It makes this Momma's heart happy.

You can tell there is a lot of talk of wedding lately, because guess what Liberty and Freedom like to play when they come over?  So fun!

I've kept my mind on planning and making sure things are very organzied and orderly so we don't have a stressed bride.  It's all coming together and it's amazing to see how God is providing!  I guess it's been easy to keep my mind on the planning side so I don't have to think about the day after the wedding when my Brenna will no longer live in our home.  But, some days my mind reverts to those days ahead.  There have been just a few tears.  Yesterday Brenna was going over her checklist and she said they need to go ahead and set a date of when to get the marriage license.  That just made it a little more final in my brain.  Then, there were more tears!

Monday, July 19, 2021

She Builds ~ Every Wise Woman

"Every wise woman buildeth her house:  but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." Proverbs 14:1

5 more minutes and we need to head to bed.

Dinner is ready, everyone come to the table!

Pick up this mess, please.  You've got to be more conscious of how much you leave out.

Let's Go, we're going to be late!

I really need to handle this, I'm worried something is wrong.

Do we have everybody?

This has been such a good day, and the Lord really knew what we needed.

Strange to put all these phrases here, but as I sat down to write this post it caused me to think about words that I said yesterday.  These were just a few, because, of course, I don't remember everything I said. But, I think you get the idea.  We say a lot of things througout the day, don't we?  

This year for my Bible reading plan I decided I would read a chapter in Proverbs each day.  As I read, I'm more and more reminded of how many times the word wisdom (or wise) appears in Proverbs.  120 times, to be exact.  It really is a book that teaches how to have wisdom!  We know that it is a wise woman that chooses to build her house.  I'm also more and more reminded that wisdom and our mouth are so closely related.  Our words always give us away.  As I read, I'm amazed to see how the wise woman uses her words.  It's also interesting how the foolish woman uses hers.  

He that refraineth his lips is wise (10:19)

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. (31:26)

The foolish woman's tongue pours out foolishness (15:2)

If we truly want to be a wise woman that builds, we need to remember how important our words are, and the tone in which we use them.  Our words really can help build our home or tear it down!  As you go about your day, use the acronym of the word "THINK" to help guard your words. 

Ask yourself:

T- Is it TRUE? (Or am I just worrying and assuming?)

H- Will it Help? (Or am I only looking out for me, my schedule, and my desires.)

I- Is it Inspiring? (Will this encourage the one I'm speaking to to draw closer to the Lord?)

N- Is it necessary? (Or am I just complaining and being nit picky?)

K- Is it kind? (Tone is so important here.  Because words that seem "nice" but are said in a harsh way will never be helpful, but hurtful)

The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Proverbs 16:23

We really do have to teach our mouths to say the right things in the right manner.  And to do that we must think before we speak.  My words are powerful in my home and have the ability to build up or tear down. Today I choose to use them right!  And for the Lord Jesus!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

She builds

My husband has been preaching through an interesting hot topic in our world right now, "The Gender Identity Crisis"  As a side note, our church now streams through Youtube, if you would like to watch you can find the VSIBC services here.

He made a statement the other day that has really saddened me.  He said "The world has convinced woman that they are not worth anything if they are not a man."  If you look through our culture today, the gender identity lines are being blurred.  The idea of being distincly woman is looked down upon.  The world, and ultimately satan, wants me to be unsatisfied with how God made me.  The truth is that Biblical Femininity is a direct testimony of a living God!  It says I belong to God!  Satan wants the world to be confused and wants distinction of gender to be blurred.  He knows that embracing your gender and how God made you leads to a satisfying, fulfilling, blessed life.  He knows that is causes me to reflect the image of Christ!

Proverbs 14:1 has stood out to me more this year than any other time in the past.  "Every wise woman buildeth her house:  but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." I've been really pondering this verse in my head and want this to be at the forefront of what I do.  As I've talked with friends and have seen what is going on around me, I've seen that ladies are becoming confused and uncertain to what this really means.  Our eyes are on so many other places than our homes.  The place that should be a haven from the world for our families, has become a place where there is tension and chaos. That's not how God meant for it to be.

I'm wanting to begin a new series on the practicality of this verse. What does it mean to build your house?  How does that look for the average lady in 2021.  I certainly don't have all the answers, so some of the things I will be giving will be things I'm learning and trying to do.  I'll be calling these posts, "She Builds" Some are things I've learned as I've practiced and made mistakes and tried to learn from them. I'm looking forward to being a better "Woman that Builds" and hope you will join me along the way!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Free Summer

Summer is here and in full swing.  We are loving it!  I think this will be one of our busiest yet, so we are cherishing each and every moment we can.

I am always on the lookout and brainstorming for activities to do in the summer that won't break the bank.  We came up with an idea that didn't break the bank, and was actually free!  We called it our "Library Explore Day."

We live not too far from Gainesville.  Being a bigger city with a University, it has several libraries.  We had only been to a couple (and actually prefer our small town library.)  We thought it would be fun to visit a couple of new ones!

In between checking out new libraries, we stopped at a park and ate our picnic lunch we had packed that morning.  
We all loved it and had so much fun finding new books to check out.  Micah is probably my least interested in reading kid.  He likes to read, but doesn't llloooovvveee it like my other kiddos.  So, at the first library he found a stack of really cool books on the Wright Brothers to check out.  He enjoyed sitting at the library table and taking notes on how they built planes.  He was so into it!  But, by the second library he was done with books. Ha!  So, he had fun exploring the kid section.  He loved these magnet gears they had.  I love how his brain works! Quite often libraries have some neat projects in the kids area.

 It was a fun, free, cool, and relaxing way to spend a summer day.  We are already planning on doing it again next week!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Adding to the Flock

Brenna and I were talking this morning about how God keeps providing in so many ways.  It's amazing to see how He gives blessings.  We had another blessing today.  We received a call from a friend that her neighbor wanted to give away her chickens and wanted to know if we'd be interested.  Sure!

Callie was super excited since chickens are her thing.  She loves them!  The 10 chickens she has are doing great, and finally laying again.  It's so fun to have a fridge full of blue, green, and brown eggs.

We were given 6 more to add to the flock.  There are Rhode Island Reds, Golden Sex Link,  Golden Laced Wyandotte and a Lavendar Orpington.  She's been working on cute names for all of them.

We've separated them for now and will evenutally, gradually, add them to the rest of the flock.

Farm life sure is fun!


Monday, July 12, 2021

So much Sweetness

Just a warning, so much sweetness in the photos ahead...

Josh and Tabitha were able to take a little getaway just the two of them.  I was happy to be able to watch Liberty, Freedom and Victory for them.  We made such sweet memories!

I know I'm the Grandma and all, so I'm biased, but these girls are so well behaved.  They love on each other and are so respectful.  Everytime I would change Freedom's diaper she would say, "Thank you Lolli!"  It was so cute!  I think she's ready to be potty trained. ha ha!  But, I'll save that for her parents....that was never my favorite parenting moment!

Liberty is definitely the oldest and makes sure everyone has the proper blanket and right cup.  She's a good big sister.

Victory is definitely a number 3.  She is content and happy to just watch her siblings play.  She kicks her chubby little legs when they come near because she is so happy.  Her eyes sparkle everytime she smiles.

She slept a solid 12 hours each night.  It was amazing!

But near the end of their time at Lollipops you could tell they were all 3 missing their Mommy and Daddy.  Everytime Victory would cry Freedom would put her head to the side and say, "Momma"  I would ask her, "Does Victory miss her Momma?"  With tears Freedom would nod her head yes.  They love their parents!

 So thankful for my time with these precious girls.  Sure do love them!!

Friday, July 9, 2021

On the water

Summer.  The very word makes you think of being either on the water or in it.  Micah was so excited to be able to go fishing with his Daddy!  He was even more excited to bring home some fish to fry for lunch.  So delicious!


Thursday, July 1, 2021

Brenna and AJ's Story

 A Guest Post from Brenna:

As a little girl, I had always dreamed of being married at the age of 18. I was going to graduate from high school and get married right away. Little did I know, but God had different plans than mine - completely different plans! I had no idea what He had in store for me, and looking back, I can see how His hand was moving in my life, even though I did not see it at the time. 

I guess my story begins when I was 15-years-old. A young man approached my dad and asked if he could get to know me. Because he lived so far away, we began writing letters. We wrote letters for several years and got to know each other. At the time, I thought that he might be the one that God had for me to marry. Don't you just love it when God's thoughts are different than what you had planned? ;) It reminds me of a Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the LORD..."

This young man and I wrote letters for awhile, and eventually, he moved down to my church to start training in the ministry. In the several months that he was down here, I got to know him and his character even better. God showed both of us that it was not His will for us to continue in a relationship and get married. I was completely heartbroken. I had just spent several years of my life talking with this guy, and now I knew that he wasn't who God had for me. I truly felt like I had wasted those years. But.....God used that time in my life to draw me closer to Him. I remember sitting on my bed (crying for the hundreth time), when I looked up and saw my Bible sitting on my dresser. I grabbed it and just started reading wherever it opened to. It just happened to open to Psalm 73, which quickly became my favorite Psalm. I poured my heart out to God and He began to heal my heart and put all the pieces back together. 

About a year later, I was still patiently (ok...maybe not so patiently) waiting for God to bring my Mr. Right along. Then, a couple people started talking to me about this guy at a sister church not far away from us. We soon started following each other on social media, and even started texting a bit. He called my dad and asked for permission to get to know me even more, so we started talking on the phone and texting a lot. We talked for about 2 months, until some things came up and I knew that he was not an option for me. Again, I was heartbroken. I remember just crying on my dad's shoulder and thinking, "Why is this happening again? I'm tired of getting my heart broken." Just when I thought that my heart would not heal, God showed grace and put all the pieces back together again. Isn't God just so good? 

After this second heartbreak, I started putting my focus on the ministries that I was serving in and finishing my college degree. I had no idea what God had planned next, but I wanted to be serving Him faithfully when He brought the right man into my life. Have you ever heard people say that if you keep your eyes on the Lord and serve Him completely, then one day He will tell you to look over and there will be the right guy/girl that he has for you? Well....let me tell you...that is so true! But wait, I am getting a little ahead of myself ;) 

In June of 2020, we invited a church family over for dinner and fellowship. We had so much fun talking and laughing. During dinner, one of the men asked me what my plan was once I graduated. I simply said, "I'm not exactly sure yet. I'm just going to see what God has for me." Little did I know, but that simple statement caught the attention of that man's son. From that moment on, this young man started to pray about me. 

In July, on a Sunday afternoon, I sat down with one of our teen girls to listen to a message by S.M. Davis on God's Design for Courtship. This preacher started talking about how God designed a courtship/relationship to go and the steps that need to be taken. He talked about how a young man should know whether the young lady is the one that God has for him, before he even gets to know her! He went on to say that the young man should get the father's permission before the girl even knows that he is interested in her. 

As I listened to this sermon, I honestly was shaking my head on the inside. After the message, I went straight to my parents and said, "The message was good and all, but it's just not realistic." It was so "old school", who even does that anymore? But....then I stopped and considered my life so far. In the other two relationships that I had been in, I had "gotten to know the guy" first and then realized later that he wasn't the one that God had for me. And both times, my heart got broken. I was so tired of doing things my own way. I never wanted my heart to be broken like that again. So...I made this scary statement to my parents, "It would take a lot of faith to make a decision like that. But, I am tired of doing it in my own way, so I am making the committment to not get to know a guy unless I am 100% sure that he is the one that God wants me to marry." This means, that if a guy wants to get to know me, I would have to pray about it and know for sure whether this was the one that God would have me to marry. Making this decision was not all! But, I knew that I wanted to do it God's way. I knew that if I wanted to do God's will for my life, I would have to trust that He would lead me and guide me to the right one. 

Do you remember that young man that started praying about me after I made a simple statement at the dinner table? Well, less than a week after I made that commitment, he came to my dad privately and asked for permission to get to know me. I was completely shocked when my dad told me! Although this guy went to the same church as me, we had never actually had a coversation or even hardly talked to one another. I had literally no idea that he was even interested in me! When I found out that this man came to Dad, I remembered my decision to not get to know a guy until I was completely sure that he was the one that God wanted me to marry. So, I told my dad that I needed to pray about this. 

Dad and I decided that we would both seek an answer from the Lord, and when we felt like we had our answer, we would come together and share them with each other. (I just want to add a side note right here....I do not believe in arranged marriages, but, I do believe in parent-approved marriages. I knew that I wanted my parents to approve of the relationship, and if they didn't, then it wasn't the Lord's will. They have veto-power in my life; if they say "No", then I know that it is a "No" from the Lord as well.)

 Both my dad and I prayed for several weeks. I prayed and fasted and sought God's will. I contacted a couple of Godly ladies and sought their counsel and wisdom. For three weeks, I prayed and asked God's wisdom for what decision I should make. 

On a Wednesday night, I remember sitting in the service listening to the preacher preach, when I distinctly knew my answer. I don't know if it was something that the preacher talked about in his sermon, but I knew at that moment that AJ was the one that the Lord had for me to marry. 

The next day, I told my dad that God had given me an answer. Dad told me that God had given him an answer as well. My dad called AJ and told him what my answer was and he was so excited. 

AJ and I talked on the phone that night for over an hour! After our first phone call, I remember being so happy and thinking about how easy it was to talk to him. We started talking on the phone every night - sometimes for an hour, sometimes more. It did not take long for me to realize that I loved him. He was sweet, hardworking, considerate, kind,  caring, loyal, and most of all, Godly. Every night when we talk, He leads us in devotions and we talk about how God is working in our lives. We both agree that one of our favorite things is getting on our knees and praying together. I love to hear him pray! He makes me smile and laugh and he treats me like a queen. 

On June 26 of this year, he took me on a picnic with my parents and his parents as our chaperones. We went to a park that has the biggest oak tree in Florida. He asked me to go on a walk with him and then he started talking about the roots of that big tree. He turned to me and said that he wants the roots of our marriage to be built in Christ so that we can grow strong together, just like that big tree. Tears started to build in my eyes as he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. Of course....I said, "Yes" :) 

I absolutely love our love story! In the eyes of the world, it might not be a "perfect" story...but for me, it is just perfect because I know it is the Lord's will. For all those who are reading this, I want you to know that being in the center of God's will is the happiest place to be. For the young ladies out there who are searching for their Mr. Right, don't be scared to make a decision to not get to know a guy until you are completely sure that He is the one that God has for you. It will save you a lot of heartbreak. God can work all of it out, just have faith. And be patient.

 Isaiah 64:4, "For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the ye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him."