Friday, January 28, 2011

Maximize your Mornings!

So, just the other I was talking and whining to the Lord about how I just don't have enough hours in the day. Even though I tend to get the bulk of my to-do list done, I always felt like so much time was wasted running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Now that I'll be going full time in the prayer room, I'd really like to get into a routine where I feel like my time is maximized. You can guess my delight when I received an e-mail from Inspired to Action inviting mamas to a challenge to maximize their morning by reading through the E-Book available at the website and implementing a routine. Score! So, I am very happy to say that I will be starting as of tonight (as in, I'm gonna start reading) and I will *hopefully* be able to implement a routine and stick to it this coming week. Hoorah! I'm on my way to completing one of my resolutions (waking up daily at 6a).

If you'd like to join me on the challenge, click here and let Michelle know you're in. :)

How do you take advantage of your mornings?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Purposeful Parenting

I have been praying fervently for our children and for our family and that the Lord will grant to me and Caleb wisdom and strategy in raising our children. After much prayer and discussion with Caleb, the phrase that we received for this season is "Purposeful Parenting. As parents living in urgent times and in the hour of history that we are in, we must be parents who purposefully raise our children in the context of night and day prayer and who create schedules and perform activities that will build the spirit man and prepare them for the times ahead. Having decided to pursue full time ministry at the Orlando House of Prayer, Caleb and I are very excited to raise Aaliya in a physical house of prayer. However, what truly matters is not that we have a physical building where 24/7 worship and intercession is consistently going on, but that we understand the signs of the times and create an atmosphere in our homes that mimics David's tabernacle. We no longer have the luxury of hoping that our kids grow up without getting involved in drugs and that they have a "good" life. We must purposefully raise fiery children who do not compromise.

So, how have we decided to purposefully parent? Here are a few ways;

1) Scripture Memorization: We believe even wee ones should be exposed to reading the Word of God and Scripture memorization. As soon as our children are able to communicate with words, we will assign and encourage Scripture to memorize weekly. Of course Scripture varies with each child's age as to the difficulty, however we also believe challenging our children spiritually will build them up.

2) Family Devotions: I know many of you have already established a family devotion time, however with our unique family situation*, weekends are the only time all four of us can commune in a family devotion time. Caleb, of course, leads this time with prayer and Scripture reading, encouraging conversation amongst one another (regarding the subject of course) and with the Lord.

3) Homeschooling: This is a brand new one for us. We were always advocates of our children being light admist darkness in public schools. We were dead set on public schooling. However, in praying about it, we feel our priorities greatly vary that of the public school system and would like to spend the bulk of schooling teaching Biblical principles that create character and once again, build the spirit man. So, we have decided to homeschool our children. Hopefully, all of them. Once again, our family setting is a bit different.

4) Prayer Room: I believe it is imperative for children to learn how to minister to the Lord in prayer and worship. Not just happy "Bible Camp" songs, but true, intimate worship, even at a young age. For us, the best way to implement such a heart for worship and prayer is the prayer room at the Orlando House of Prayer. Part of the reason I decided to become full time in the prayer room is because I value the atmosphere that is being created there and I desire my children to grow up in such a place. Not only dwelling in such an atmosphere but hearing constant teachings on intimacy with Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount and Biblical eschatology will surely build up the spirit of each child. So, as soon as Aaliya starts walking we want to commit to the Saturday children's prayer watch so that even as a young'n, she will get an opportunity to participate in our prayer watches.

5) Keeping our lives simple, modeling the lifestyle of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) I believe this is the most important one! To fashion a lifestyle for our children clear of many (if not all!) distractions for ourselves and our children so that we may position ourselves in a place to listen to the voice of God and be transformed into the image of holiness. Teaching our children this lifestyle, we believe will pave the way for simplicity later on in life.

This is just a few of the things that we are now implementing in our home that we feel are valuable in the art of raising children in the Lord. Surely, more things will come as we continue to seek His face as parents.

What things do you implement as a parent to help raise your child in the ways of the Lord?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Move && Settling In

It's been a while... again. Sigh. One of these days, I will master this blogging thing. I shall do it consistently and I shall do it well... One day.

Good news is, I am now blogging from a new desktop with internet from home! No more updating and minor blogging from an IPhone. This should help me master the this blogging business. :)

So, what's been up with the Arrazolo family? Last I wrote, I told you guys I was super excited about moving (yes, even though it was to the third floor, yikes!) and about making the apartment our home. Well, the week before our move, Caleb, myself and poor baby Aaliya all got super sick with a nasty case of the flu. I got it first, showing serious signs of fever, body aches and complete exhaustion, complete with a gross cough. Then, Caleb got it with similar symptoms, his being kissed with a nasty runny nose (which is Caleb's archenemy). Then, my sweet baby girl got it. This one broke my heart because she was coughing, had a ridiculously high fever (102.5 at its highest) and other icky symptoms that a four month old baby should not have. :l Needless to say, I ran to the doctor with her, and they gave me some natural tea and vitamin D that really helped, and by move-in day (January 2nd) she was much better. I hope I never ever have to go through that again.

So while the entire family was sick, there was zero packing going on and naturally Mommy began to panic and get a little testy. :l By Friday && Saturday (T-minus two days) I was in a seriously bad mood trying to get things in order. And, little did I know, there was still a LOT to pack. To those of you that have moved before, is it just me, or does the little stuff takes 100x longer to pack than the big obvious things? Anyway, I am super grateful to have an amazing husband who carries a strong leadership gifting and can look at a situation and somehow figure out exactly how to solve it. So, we took Aaliya to Grandma && Granpa's house for the day (and ended up spending the night) so that we can get things accomplished. By the way, random side note: Daniella wasn't with us that weekend because we were all still slightly sick and under quarantine. We didn't want to infect her. I am glad to report that we were able to pack 90% of what we needed to by Sunday morning, and were able to load up and get things rolling Sunday morning without a glitch.

I am slightly OCD and yet not really. So when we've moved in the past, the house is unpacked within two days. This time around, it was slightly different. Having a four and a half month old baby definitely causes things to run a little slower when it comes to cleaning && unpacking. So, this time it took me about a week and a half to finish unpacking and to hang up every picture and every frame. Minus of course, the one box that hasn't been put away, ahem husband, and the two bags of laundry I have to fold and put away. However, outside that, my house is now a home and I absolutely love it! I truly find it a blessing from the Lord that we have found a home more suitable to our needs and our desire to ministry in hospitality. I am truly so excited to serve others in my home and to fellowship and glorify Christ over dinner, having guests spend the night and breaking open the Word through Bible Study.

How do you use your home to glorify Christ?