Monday, May 30, 2011
I am normally not one to do this, but I'm asking from the bottom of my heart to daily vote for her by clicking this link and spreading the word.
I promise I'll bake ya a humongous cookie for it!
K? Thanks! =)
Friday, May 27, 2011
Seeing as this is our first family vacation ever, I am learning and experiencing quite a bit.
Ever notice when vacationing with kids, it tends to be more work than being at home? Not that it's not wonderful, not that we're not having a great time at the beach... But everything is
The more I walk along this mommy journey, the more I realize the weight I carry as a mother. This job is truly full time. It really is an all-day thing. In this season, my babies need me.
A break in their routine really is the end of the world for them. And they would like mommy to be there with them.
Okay, maybe not both of them, but definitely the baby. ;)
Nevertheless here I am, on vacation finding myself leaving the hussle and bussle of hanging out with friends (because mind you, our vacation is right alongside the rest of our Church) to cuddle with my frazzled baby. Although part of me wants to be young, hang out and just relax and dissapear, the other part of me understands that in this season, I am being molded into the image of the Father heart of God and what He does is literally pour Himself out over us.
It is not that I will ever be in a season where I stop giving, but rather that in this season the training towards selflessness is a more direct and more constant.
So, on this vacation... I will purposely set my heart towards the Father, seek Him as best I can in His glorious creation and serve-- like I'm being called to do every day, all day.
After all, our vacation is not an excuse for laziness and selfishness, but rather a time of renewing and refreshing... I think God's big enough to grant me grace to be refreshed with my babies in tow.. No?
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The blog seems a little
We are working on personalizing certain things and creating layouts, headers and all that fun jazz.
Basically, I'm taking the jump, settling down and comitting to this whole blog thing.
Eep! This comittment even comes with a completely new web address! (more on that later!)
Yess, I just had a moment. No I didn't blow into a paper bag. (okay, maybe a little)
I just thought you should be the first to know. =) About the changes and comittment of course, not the paper bag.
Also, I'll be on vay-cay-shun for the next four days so I will be absolutely, positively unplugged. I'll miss ya'll, but I need it.
Keep me in prayer, and I'll keep you in prayer.
It's been one of those weeks where obeying is more of a struggle and distractions catch the eye so much easier than usual. There's just been a great deal of spiritual warfare going on.
But, in my obedience-based quiet time this morning (no, I don't always wake up longing to spend time with Him... I am still so very weak and so very faulted) and yesterday, I have been thinking, pondering, meditating and really praying on how absolutely anti-biblical our culture is.
Our culture speaks death, Christ speaks life. Our culture speaks independence, Christ speaks dependence. Our culture screams self, Christ speaks others. Our culture screams equality, Christ speaks justice. Our culture speaks defense, Christ lived humility and self-sacrifice from a place of unconditional and unrequited love.
Even as an intercessor on behalf of my family; as I search out His Scriptures on what He requires from me as a wife, as a mother, as a woman, I see just how absolutely anti-cultural we are called to live. Our culture teaches us that as mothers we have rights, and utter control over our children to use as we please, for our personal gain.
All screams to self, when He is whispering that we should die. That His Higher Calling is found in the loss of ourselves. No, there's never ever a time where we can give too much. No, there is no cost too great. No, equality does not exist in a broken, fallen world and no, that is not what He desires us to pursue. He desires us, He desires our godliness, our holiness and His Justice to be established, for the sake of His name, not ours.
Self preservation is an art; and I've become an artist.
But beloved, His ways are better and His thoughts are higher. His ways lead to back Him.
So, He's calling us back to Himself; in a
As a wife, it means remembering in good and bad, highs and lows, when I'm feeling loved and when I'm feeling neglected that I married, not for the sake of happiness, but for the sake of holiness.
As a mom, it means remembering that I am my child's best friend, greatest role model, protector, nurturer and guide. It means that giving of myself will bring forth fruit in them. They are my ministry.
As a woman, it means finding myself in Christ and nowhere else. It means giving of myself over and over and over again until I feel like I can't give anymore... And then, keep giving. It means never seeking my own, but rather always seeking to love.
"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." (Phill 2:3-4)
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I chose the winner in a very mathematically acurrate intense way...
I let Aaliya draw a name out of a bowl. ;)
And the winner is...
Tiffany Dewett from changing the world! =)
Congrats Tiff. I'll be e-mailing you the information later on. Woo-Hoo! Keep checking back for different opportunities to win (and to read my shennanigans of course)
Sunday, May 22, 2011
It has a bitter-sweet ring to it. You know, it's like... a four letter word, just with more letters... So, more sting.
One of the primary duties of a wife is to forgive her husband, daily for every single one of his shortcomings. Because ladies, your husband has them.
No? Oh, okay...
Nevertheless, Scripture instructs us in 1 Peter 4:8 that love covers a multitude of sins.
I am convinced that this comes by one way and one way only.
Choosing to forgive him everyday.
Because he is as fallen as I am. Because I know how frail he is, and his heart is meant to trust mine completely (Proverbs 31:11). Because I am created as his help-mate and forgiveness is a step for him to become all he was created to be. Because I want him to forgive me when I make mistakes (and, oh I will... oh boy, will I). Because he loves me and at the end of the day, my anger is not as important as the vow we have made to each other.
But most importantly, I am called to forgive him because Christ said so...
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Eph 4:31-32)
... Just as Christ has forgiven me. Unconditionally. Without reserve. Without thought as to who's right or wrong, who's worthy and unworthy. He's forgiving me as a way to draw me closer to Himself... Because I am the desire of His heart.
Unfortunately, our culture is so saturated by such self-pity, independent, "I-have-the-right-to-equal-rights" flesh-set mindset that we have forgotten to teach the art of forgiveness.
And without forgiveness, marriage cannot work.
It is the design of God, to bring two imperfect vessels perfectly together, that we may understand forgiveness, even if it's a little bit better. It brings us closer to His heart, as He is the ever-forgiving, Holy and Just King.
He was meek and lowly, forgiving even unto the death.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Two wonderful days ago, I finally received the much awaited Urban Soul box that would bring me joy upon opening...
See, here's the thing. As a homemaker I absolutely, positively love decking out our home in the Word of God. When I read "A Christian Woman's Guide to Hospitality," Quinn Sherrer made a point to exhort godly wives and mothers to decorate their homes with Scripture and other home-decor that will glorify Christ. Honestly, I listened and I definitely wanted to incorporate it...
But I really didn't want my home to look like Grandma's. I love Grandma's house, I appreciate it, but I just don't want that to be my home. Lucky for me, Dayspring has an assortment of amazingly cute home decor and other such items that bring glory to Jesus and look amazing in our home!
-- Leave a comment on this post and tell me which Dayspring product you would get with your $20 gift certificate.
For additional entries;
-- Sign-up to follow my blog and then leave a comment telling me you did so.
-- Add me on facebook; Nicole Arrazolo
-- Blog, tweet or Facebook about this giveaway and then leave me a comment letting me know you did so. Be sure to tag me in your post!
This giveaway will be open until Monday night 11:59:59 ;) I'll announce the winner Tuesday morning.
Monday, May 16, 2011
For a second, I was discouraged because I pretty much planned out my entire day for tomorrow and the bulk of it will be spent *outside* our home. Geez, this house is never 100% in order.
And then, came the epiphany.
It doesn't have to be.
As a homemaker, my primary responsibility is to create a home, not clean one. A home is not defined by its perfect state of being, its absolutely positively impeccable look, nor its fancy design.
A home is defined by the sweet presence of Jesus that lingers within its four walls.
A home is defined by the genuine smiles of little people who truly enjoy living there.
A home is defined by a God-glorifying harmonious marriage where service and cross-like love abound.
A home is defined by a mama who knows what Jesus has asked of her and obeys joyfully.
Such understanding is of course no excuse for laziness and carelessness in the cleanliness of our homes, our children and even ourselves; however, understanding that our primary goal is to create a home for our husbands and our children will lighten the load.
So what if there's always a cup that is left misplaced (hopefully not the same one) when making the "dishwasher run" across your home? So what if it doesn't look like a Pottery Barn catalogue? Is your husband fed well and happy? Do you submit to him, love him and allow the barometer of your home to always be set on Jesus? Is your relationship with your children well-cultivated? Do they see you spending time with them over cleaning sometimes?
That's good, they should.
So, here's to continuing the race, always seeking to be sanctified as a homemaker and understanding that sometimes, well... messy is the new perfect.
What about you? What stands in the way sometimes of true homemaking? Cleaning? Laundry? Outside ministries and influences?
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Yesterday, was such a day where we were doing something that was more special than usual. We were taking a trip to the beach. Wahoo! Not only were we taking a trip to the beach, but some of our close friends would be there (and Daniella's "Titi's and Tio's"), so we knew it would be fun.
Well, we got there and not twenty minutes later... This happened.
This is an actual picture from when we were there (yes, we were THOSE guys taking pictures while the entire beach is in a mass exodus...). Long story short, within 30 seconds of us realizing that we shouldn't tempt the forces of nature, hurricane-type winds hit, massive rain (and hail, I believe) attacked us and I'm running to the car with both girls while everyone else is attempting to hold on to the canopy we'd brought (which snapped in half like a twig) and gather the remainder of our very much soaked, very much sandy belongings.
When we get to the car (and of course both girls are very shaken up), after calming both girls down, I encourage Daniella to pray.
Momma: "You know what, we should pray for Daddy, and Titi Rachel and Tio Ralph and Titi Chancia and their friends who are all still out there."
Daniella: "Yeah! Because Jesus can help them and they're stuck out there. Ok, I go first."
And such proceeded a beautiful array of supplications to our Father in Heaven for safety for our friends and for the storm to simply stop.
My little one prayed valiantly and beautifully. Even when I left her inside the van to run out (yes, still in the storm) to open the trunk for the others to throw belongings into, she prayed. She prayed boldly and knowing that Jesus Christ would hear her. Even when Titi Rachel jumped in the car, she kept praying. Even when nobody saw her, noticed her praying and when I wasn't there to guide and encourage-- she prayed.
And do you want to know what happened? As soon as she stopped praying and said her "Amen," the storm cleared out and left behind a cool breeze and Daddy and Cole and all of our friends able to get things into the van safely and quickly.
Seriously, it was beautiful outside after.Such is the faith of little people. I find that her faith often outshadows mine and I am once again encouraged to push through and run this race for my Father in Heaven and for my children on earth.
And do you want to know the most beautiful part? On our way home, we talked about when Jesus was sleeping through the storm on the boat. She "explained to me" how Jesus spoke and the storm stopped. She said she'd asked Jesus to do it again. My little girl prayed Scripture. That was such a beautiful segway into having a conversation about how we get to partner with Jesus in prayer.
Baby girl, we just gotta pray through this storm.
Friday, May 13, 2011
It's one of those "tricky" subjects where we believe that gray area is applicable.
Scripture teaches us how to discipline and parent in a manner which pleases Christ. One of such Scriptures is Proverbs 13:24
Do you mean to tell me that if I don't adequately discipline my child I hate him in the eyes of God?
Well, not I. The Holy Spirit rather... But yes.
It is amazing how the culture of this nation has been infoltrated by darkness and death so much that even in disciplining our children, we rebel against God. This is the day where children rule the households, any manner of discipline outside of "positive reinforcement" (which is no discipline at all) is shunned upon and parents are encarated for spanking their kids.
But Scripture here is very raw and to the point. It cannot be taken out of context--besides a parent who uses it to justify child abuse. And sadly, this happens too.
I parked here for a few minutes and allowed the Lord to tweak my heart on the manner of disciplining my children. And I studied it.
The Hebrew word for "rod" (that which we must not spare) is "shebet" and it is literally translated to "rod, staff, branch, offshoot, club, shaft, club, sceptre." When you study like Scriptures with the same word, you will notice that the rod is always a symbol of authority. We must exercise our godly authority as parents in our children's lives. It is not enough to bargain, plea and "be nice to them." We are the authority that God has placed within their lives and if we fail to teach them to honor us as their authority, who is to say they won't rebel against other such godly authority, or even Christ as the ultimate head?
When we allow our children to undermine our authority in any way, we hate them in the eyes of God. We are appeasing their souls and their bodies rather than their spirit. And which is to last longer?
The Hebrew word for "discipline" is "muwcar" and it is literally translated to "discipline, chastening, correction." To go even further, the dictionary defines chastening as "a rebuke for making a mistake." The Bible over and over and over again tells us that our Father in Heaven disciplines those He loves. He didn't exactly ask us if it was ok, or bargain with us. He spoke, we disobeyed, He allowed the consequences to discipline us.
Think back on your life. I bet the times you've learned most about God is when His chastisement was upon you to purify you and bring you closer to Him. Why would do any different with our children?
Finally, (and in my opinion, the best one) "diligently" in the original Hebrew is "shachar" which is literally translated to "to seek, seek early or earnestly, look early, or diligently for."
That means that we are to be looking for reasons to discipline our children. Discipline is not a response to an action. It is the earnest seeking for ways to bring one's child into the character of Christ with a willing heart.
We cannot make our children have willing hearts, but we can teach them how to. We can teach them to quickly obey so that when the Father in Heaven speaks, they will obey. We can teach them to honor and serve one another and to esteem others better than themselves by encouraging selfless acts instead of fleshly tantrums. Salvation springs up from the ground of the home and it is our duty to give them every tool possible so that they will draw nearer to Him in salvation.
Monday, May 9, 2011
One of the most captivating things about Hannah to me is her prayer life. I am absolutely outstanded with it.
I love how comfortable Hannah was in the secret place. Though her pain was real and her sorrow plenty, she poured out her affections and every anxious thought upon the One who could change it and "remember her." (1Sam1:19)
She did not wail and cry for all to hear as a wailing woman would*, but rather in solitude of heart and confidence before Him, she prayed. No one heard her. In fact, Eli thought she was drunk. So therein, she was persecuted for her silent pleas before the Lord.
Hannah had no desire for man's compassion nor man's plans. She confidently and quietly prayed for the Lord to answer her prayer. She didn't announce it in the front of the Church nor send out an e-mail as a prayer request. She simply prayed, knowing He would listen. (please note: I am not in any way minimizing requesting prayer from other believers, this is imperative as a body and I encourage it. Rather my desire is to highlight Hannah's attitude of heart in prayer. She trusted God would hear).
How confident Hannah was in the very fact that the LORD our God hears her voice.
Friday, May 6, 2011
"A mission statement is a formal, short, written statement of the purpose of a company, organization or individual. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization or individual, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction, and guide decision-making."
The e-book (by the way, the Mission Statements for Moms one is free!) encourages you to write down your roles, prioritize those roles and set goals. It also talks about how this should be posted somewhere you can look at it regularly and learn to tweak it as seasons in life change. This is what I came up with... so far.
I will be a wife who is submissive, honoring and consistently a helpmate to Caleb.
I will be a mom who trains her children up in the ways of the Lord and who models love, servanthood and intercession.
I will be devoted to prayer, fasting and justice by the art of intercession, setting my eyes on things above, being content in the secret place.
I will be an organized, creative, constant and hospitable homemaker."
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I love to dance. And I mean, really. I used to dance all the time.
But once again, the mundane got a hold of me and I stopped. Well, thankfully I've got a great set of friends who are actually salsa instructors for a wonderful salsa dancing company (if you live in FL and want to try dancing, hit them up!) and they asked me to run the door for their Clermont location on Friday nights.
I talked to Caleb about it, prayed and went ahead with it. Friday nights is officially Daddy-Daughters date nights. =)
Welp, I'm back in the swing of things... And by swing of things I mean I'm around dancing again.
I'm not dancing myself... much.
The man always leads.
In the words of one of the instructors, "Men, if you're not leading the lady, you are the lady."
He says it every beginner's class, and every class he gets a chuckle, but how very true it rings out here in non-dancing mundane real world.
The man was created and intended to lead. It is his job and his calling to be the head of the household and to lead his family into the very purpose which is set upon them by Christ.
Yet in our feminist minded society (why yes, I do happen to wage war on such ridiculous thinking-- feminism) the man and the woman lead, often times the woman taking the lead, demasculinating a man before he gets an opportunity to show what a God-minded, Word-driven, capable of leading man he truly is.
Call me old-fashioned, but I say the man leads. It's his purpose. It's his calling.
So, I'm pondering on this thought when one of the "assistant-teacher-ish" guys comes up to me (in the lobby mind you, because I refuse to dance where anyone's watching) and says "Come on, let's re-teach you how to dance"
Umm, no thanks. (enter fear of humiliation here)
But, I go for it anyway.
So as I'm dancing I realize that my entire life I've been playing lead in this dance of life. Or at least I've tried to. And I'm no good at it.
No wonder partner dancing and me never did well...
Then, of course, as I'm getting the "hang" of it again (and I mean I'm not stepping all over his toes) I hear Rachel (my very pregnant friend who's one of the dance instructors) bark at me... "Stop back-leading! Don't think about it, just follow him and don't think about it."
Apparently, I would follow him but turn when I thought I should turn and step when I thought I should step. I wasn't allowing him to show me or lead me to the place he needed me to be. I was still trying to make my own decisions. Because he's a pretty good dancer and I have 20% of the knowledge he does... I was wrong most of the time.
And then it hit me...
How many of us try to back-lead in our marriages? Portraying the appearance of submission yet really wanting to make things happen behind the scenes. There is still a lack of trust in our husbands and the God inside of them, so we "submit" but then turn and spin as we see fit.
It's one of those things that I need to pray outta me and practice the opossite. The true meaning of submission.
So, as I continue to learn not to backlead in salsa, I will be praying and working out my salvation in this aspect; I will honor my husband and trust the God within him wholeheartedly, practicing the art of real submission.
What about you? Are you aware of the full meaning of submission? What are some ways you may be trying to "back-lead" in your marriage?
This post is linked with Titus2days
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I have a secret.
I am probably the most inconsistent housekeeper in the face of the planet. Yes, it's true. I work really really hard at homemaking.
And fail more than I suceed. (on the bright side, I suceed more today than I did a year ago) I am a person who needs guidance in such things. I didn't have a mommy who baked bread from scratch and raised a homemaker. I had mommies who encouraged me to pursue a career. And although I am so very grateful for their support and their guidance, in this season of my life, career-building isn't exactly helpful.
Unless, I was a baker or a business owner of a cleaning company or the director to a preschool center. Hmm, note to self.
Remember how I told you about the amazing "Mom's Motivated Planner?"
Yeahh, about that inconsistent thing... I kinda stopped doing it. Not on purpose... Much. My schedule just got a little crazy and, well... I just kinda stopped.
Don't judge me, okay?
Anyway, I've been fumbling around for different things that will equip me to be a "Martha in a Mary way" so to speak. And then came Sarah Mae with her fabulous e-book called "31 Days to Clean- Having a Martha House the Mary Way." I wrote about it, remember?
It intrigued me and I really really wanted it. But seeing as my "to-read" pile is a little ridiculous right now (okay, it's very ridiculous) I decided to wait. But lo and behold, a giveaway that I participated in! =) Helloooooo "31 Days."
So, I'm linking arms with Christin from Joyful Mothering and I'm joining up the 31 day challenge on this book! =)
Here's how it will work... I will read the e-book daily and go through each challenge. On Fridays I will link arms with Joyful Mothering and blog about what's been happenin'. Pretty simple, jah?
Okay, so I think you should link arms too. What'dya say? Let's be the homemakers He's calling us to be. =)