Thursday, June 30, 2011

project DE-clutter continues; the master bedroom

It's been quite the week and as expected housework has taken a major backseat, as has Project DE-clutter.

But, I want to stay true to my word and I wanted to update ya'll on the latest!

Currently working on decorating and de-cluttering the master bedroom. Our master closet continues to be an area where clutter and organization thrives (we passed the two-week test! Score!) and it really is encouraging to see that a family really can live in an organized state consistently.

So, my master closet keeps me going. :)

I think the master bedroom is one of the most looked over, yet most important rooms in the home. It is the room where you and your husband retire to and unwind in. It is the room where some of the most intimate conversations and moments take place in the home.

But, in most cases (at least I know in our home...) it tends to get overlooked and it becomes the room that everything gets shoved in when visitors are "suddenly" coming. Laundry piles tend to stack up there and I often forget to dust and vacuum it (probably because of all the massive amounts of junk stashed in there).

Not to mention, (in our home at least) the master bedroom tends to be last on our decorating priority list. It's the room others see least, so why bother?

Oh, what a horrible mindset that is.

The master bedroom really is an important room! And it deserves probably one of the most amounts of energy put into it. Because it's a retreat. Because it's a place of open communication and intimacy. Because it's the sacred room shared by your husband and you and he deserves a calm, clean, beautiful and organized getaway from the beautiful chaos that probably rings throughout the rest of our home.

Husband and I have agreed upon a certain set of rules when it comes to our bedroom. Certain boundaries and understanding, so that it can reflect a place where both of us can unwind and enjoy one another's company.

Here are the basics;

1) Kids get every other room in the home, Mommy and Daddy's room is private; Now please don't misconstrue this. We are not Nazis with this rule. It is just a general boundary where both of our girls (and our future children) will know that Mommy and Daddy's room is their room. It is not a place to play, to bring toys or to just barge into. Daniella always knocks before coming in or asks permission, but she also knows Sunday mornings are for cuddling (in Mommy and Daddy's room). It's all a game of balance!

2) No electronics in our bedroom. Caleb is big into technology. I tend to be too. But, I refuse to put a computer, a television or anything else that may distract us in our bedroom. As of late, I've even been convicted of having my IPod Touch in our bedroom at arms' length. There are many nights now wasted where I could have been talking to my husband in instead of social networking through that device...

3) Make the bedroom aesthetically pleasing and personal. I firmly believe in frugality and I am not one to encourage you to spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars in remodeling any room in your home. Simplicity is key. But even in simplicity, there are small things to do that can make a bedroom look beautiful and encourage intimacy. Caleb and I tend to keep mostly pictures of ourselves, as a couple in our bedroom. We I tend to decorate with Scripture that will remind us to love and to daily re-commit ourselves to one another and to display the little notes and knick-knacks that fuel special memories.

4) Clean the kitchen first, the master bedroom second and all else third. As a homemaker, I've decided that the master bedroom is one of my top musts in daily and weekly cleaning. When I have a place to go into, seek my Jesus, and openly communicate with my husband in (without massive amounts of clutter), the rest of homemaking becomes an easier feat and I am ready and able to take on the rest of the house!

So, project DE-clutter continues to ransack the Arrazolo household, and I am so thankful of all I am learning through it. :)

K, time to go organize our master bedroom some more... Where is the master bedroom on your homemaking priority list? Do you have any set rules or boundaries in your home regarding your room?

confronting fear, affliction and earnestly seeking Him

"I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me." --Hosea 5:15

I've devoted a couple of blog posts to whining expressing frustration, confusion and overwhelm to this season of life. It's just... brutal.

Motherhood and marriage is a crash course to holiness, righteousness and Christ-likeness 101. Truth of the matter is, you can't be a great wife and mom without the sweet grace and tender mercies of Christ Jesus.

How can we love when we don't know love? As I was sitting, reading Scripture this morning, it dawned on me that I have yet to truly know the love of Christ. 1 John reminds us that "perfect love casts out all fear." I still fear Beloved. Oh, how I fear.

As my exceprt from my journal reveals, "I live in constant fear; of the dark, of the shadows, of catastrophe, of starving, of not having enough money, of not being a good enough mother, wife, or individual. The list goes on and on." And it's a secret list that reminds me and confronts me with the truth of my own affliction and the very fact that I have yet to know the love of Christ in a truly intimate way.

I still have such a long way to go Beloved. So very long to go! But while reading Hosea this morning I realized something. In my affliction, I have and will earnestly seek Him. My affliction hardly compares to men and women who are being martyred daily, or persecuted for righteousness sake, or even tortured in the name of religion, but my affliction is one of heart, a relational one so to speak.

Personally speaking, this season has been hard not only because I'm a new mom and I'm still trying to figure this thing out, but because there are other elements, other "pieces to the puzzle" so to speak that cause my heart to break and ache on a very regular basis. It's been a personal journey of leaning into my Beloved with (quite literally) all that I have and believe that He alone is True and Faithful.

And can I just say...


In some beautifully chaotic way, I have earnestly sought my sweet, precious God and I have grown so much closer to Him through all of this. My affliction of heart has caused me to earnestly seek Him. Just like He said it would in Hosea. And in that realization, I have to just know and trust that He is good; and He will work all things for my good. Not my desires, not my capricious wants, but truly my eternal, heavenly and Holy good.

nd suddenly, that affliction turns from pain to beauty, from frustration to understanding and from weeping to dancing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

my inheritance

"This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion' says my soul, 'therefore I have hope in Him.' The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth."
-- Lamentations 3:21-27

It will forever baffle me to think of a perfect God being ever merciful and every compassionate. It baffles me to think that in His Holiness He is never angry or frustrated with me. That even though I lose my temper with my children, He doesn't. That even though I miss the mark again and again and again, He still waits patiently for me and delights in every movement of my weak, broken heart.

This season has been hard. I mean, really. It's been a hard, tough, broken season where I've had no choice but to learn to lean on Jesus (not that you could tell by the "upbeat" posts I've consistently been putting up...). Most days, I get by and lean on His kindness and I worship and I pray and I know that He is at the center of my home and my family. And then, days like today, I shrink back to that old self and bury myself in Lifetime movies (and whoa is that like 10 steps back... I hate Lifetime movies!), get nothing done and carefully calculate my every failure as a wife and a mom.

I lose my patience with my ten month old (as though it's her fault) and then I come online to blog about it.

But then, I read passages like Lamentations 3, and I have to take a moment to breathe (and to patiently shush my ten month old who's crying out for my attention) and remind myself that His mercies are new every morning. That regardless of whatever may come, I have hope in Him. And ultimately, He is my portion.

In the Hebrew, the word used for "portion" here is khay-lek also translated into allotment, flattery, inheritance. The Lord God is my inheritance. He is mine and I am His. He is my source of value and strength. And despite what I did today, His mercies will be new tomorrow.

And reminding myself of that really makes me not want to have to wait until tomorrow (gramatically speaking, I just shot that sentence, but you get the drift).

I choose now.
I choose to be weak but strictly in His embrace.
I'll be broken, but only in His Presence.
I choose my inheritance; that man Christ Jesus...

Saturday, June 25, 2011


"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven- A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together..." --Ecl. 3:1, 5-7a

I've been meditating on this Scripture a lot. Thinking about it, digesting it. Really trying to understand and grasp all that He means when He says these words.

I can't say I've gotten very far. All I know is that He's all-knowing and all-powerful; He is wise and perfect. So, what He does is good and right. But from this perspective, there are certain things I don't get in regards to "seasons."

I can pretty much understand just about any natural or circumstancial season. I can see the wilderness season a mile ahead, I can sense the sweet and tender seasons with Jesus, the intense character-building season. Yeah, I can understand most of those.

But relationally speaking, I'm at a loss. I cannot fathom why God would bring people into our lives that become so very dear to us, only to then take away. I still don't get relational seasons. I'm not sure of the purpose nor the good that can come from that. I'm not saying by any means that I know better than the Almighty, but rather asking, seeking and banging down the door with questions... The main one being "why?"

I'm not sure if you could tell this of me so far, but I am incredibly relationship-driven. I love to create relationships. I love doing life together and sharing life. I thrive off it. I love slow, but I love hard! So, when friendships and relationships end it throws me for an incredible loop and my world becomes slightly off balanced for a second. It isn't that I depend on them, it is that in doing life with them, I see Jesus... and then when they're not there... I'm at a loss.

This one isn't a post that'll have a great lesson or an important message. This one's just a heart pouring that may not have nor need answers. It's just one of those life things we endure until that glorious day when we can ask the Lord Christ Himself.

And I will, oh Beloved... I definitely will.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

an insignificant yes is a mighty battle to win


Today wasn't a great day. Not practically nor relationally speaking. My house is still a mess, laundry's still not done and truthfully I have quite the headache. I have no desire to press forward in this homemaking journey and I have no desire to change that.

On a day like today, I normally would've up given up before the day even started and mindlessly lost myself in television and pity. Sadly this is true. However today, although I didn't get as much done as my little mind would've wanted to do, I said yes in the most insignificant of ways and did all I could to push myself out of lethargy and laziness.

I said yes to His Word; "His grace is sufficient for me."
I said yes to my husband; I cooked a very small, simple meal when everything inside me wanted to just order Chinese takeout from the restaurant across the street (to which he would've obliged, I'm sure)
I said yes to my daughter; I spent *a little extra* time with her during bath time (her very favorite time of the day) and chased her around the house.
I said yes to my God-given ministry; I did the dishes, picked up the toys around the house and will be folding a load of laundry during our favorite show (SYTYCD, hoorah!)
I said yes to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and took care of my temple; I took an extra 10 minutes for myself and got dressed and beautified before starting the bulk of the day.

They're not major victories. I haven't necessarily done an outstanding job at anything today. Should you walk into my house at the moment, you might wonder what I did all day. And truthfully, I'm ok with that.

I spent my day today gaining inches in the Kingdom of God knowing that His Spirit is at work within me. Saying yes sometimes in the most insignificant of ways is all we can manage in a day. And you know what? That's ok. I'm learning in this pursuit of becoming the Shulamite Homemaker that it's not always about how clean and organized we can get our home (although, praise Jesus that's a good goal to have!) but it's about giving Jesus our everything--including our weaknesses.

My weakness is consistency. My weakness is a hyper-emotional heart. It is pushing through days like today.

And I'm doing it. By His grace only; by His mercy... but you know what Beloved? I'm doing it!

What are some of your weaknesses that stand in the way of productive days? In what ways have you said yes to Jesus lately?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Home Management Binder

A little while back, Mary Jo from Covenant Homemaking wrote a great post on time-management resources. As a stay at home mom, time is one of those key resources that must be stewarded and efficiently managed so that we can achieve all that is asked and required of us. I dove into a lot of the resources she mentioned, but of those she shared, my favorite was an (free!) e-book called Time Management 101.

Simple enough, right?

So, I started reading it and I gleaned so much from it! In it, Crystal from Money Saving Mom goes through her personal routine and schedules while encouraging us and consistently reminding us that it will look different for every family, so it is not a good thing to emulate another's schedule or routine (and oh that comparison game... how dangerous it is!)

In it, one of the resources she (sort of) introduced me to was a Home Management Binder. The concept of this binder is simple... Keep everything that you will need to run your household neatly in one place (i.e binder) so that you remain organized and focused throughout your day. Can I just say, this has revolutionized the way I homemake! (is that a word? hehe) :)

So, I wanted to share with ya'll that which is in my Home Management Binder in hopes that you will find (or share!) something that works for your family, your schedule in this season of your (busy, I'm sure!) life. =)

The very first thing I have in my home management binder is a copy of my mission statement and my priorities. It's a good way to remind myself what it is that I'm working toward daily. I tend to be a "yes-[wo]man" and I have found it so helpful to have a list of priorities that helps direct me the things I should (and shouldn't) be saying yes to.

Next, is an Emergency Information sheet. I keep this mainly for two reasons. Number one, we are a family that believes in preparedness for disaster, should anything hit; and number two, Daniella knows what this sheet is and what to do with it, should anything ever happen to Cole and/or Daddy.

Then is my incredible daily docket! This is my money-maker. It is an overview of my day, personalized to fit our family. In our daily docket, I have our to-do list, chores, our menu, a prayer/scripture to meditate on, extra project and/or ministries for the day and a section for this blog (see, I think about ya'll all the time!) I refer to this at least two or three times a day (quite often, is much much more ) and it has helped me to never ever forget a "to-do."

I then have my daily cleaning list (which is more like a routine sheet) and a monthly cleaning list. That is followed by a monthly calendar so that all our events can be seen at a glance, and a list of birthdays/anniversaries for each month.

I then focus on our menus! :) I have a two-store shopping list and a menu-planner. Eventually I'll be adding the inventory sheet as well as a freezer menu plan. (What a GREAT idea to make meals AHEAD of time... who woulda thunk?)

Those are the basics of a home management binder. Some women run the finances in their home and choose to put bills and other such items in their list. Some (like myself) have added additional pages and checklists (first aid, diaper bag, etc) to have an at-glance reminder of all we need. I've also added my prayer lists (including the wonderful calendars to pray over my children and my husband) and two birthday party planners (I've got 3 birthdays in 5 months for hubbers, and two little girls!).

How do you keep your day and time organized? Do you use the home management binder method? If so, what' s in it? If not, what resource best fits with your family?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Husband Rox

It was a dark dark night of the soul. I left home to find myself, I came back broken and shattered into a million pieces. My heart had deceived me once again and I couldn't handle the reality that was surrounding me.

I was for sure going to be "punished" by my Heavenly Father; of this I was certain. Every desire in my heart would be witheld until I was foolish no longer. But I have a good Father, who loves to give me good gifts.

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." --James 1:17

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" --Matthew 7:11

Suddenly and so very unexpectedly enters in the man I would one day call my husband. I knew of him, but I didn't know him. I didn't know then what made him tick, I didn't know his dreams, desires, his testimony. All I knew was that he left his life behind in Texas to pursue his 2 year old daughter, and that he loved Jesus.

But, beloved, he knew me. He knew the very fragile, broken condition of my heart. He knew my sorrows and my tears; and he knew the words to say to encourage and strengthen my heart enough to believe that Jesus was big enough to heal my scars and restore my dreams.

It appears, that this man had been praying for me since before I'd left on my so called grand-adventure. "She'll be back," he'd told his roomate (my good friend at the time). And six months later, I was. And six months later, he was waiting for me. And then he kept waiting when I cut off all male contacts for six weeks so that I could "heal" (or attempt to) from all that'd gone wrong.

My Husband Rocks because God used him in the most unlikely way at the most unlikely time in my life. When I was shattered, my husband was willing to love me and see straight through me, though no one else did. He rocks because even in my most vulnerable state, he took the utmost precaution with me and my heart. He rocks because he's always been an outstanding father and he's given me a precious gift; our two daughters.

My Husband Rocks because he still does all these things and more.

But most importantly and above all else, he rocks because he has taught me how to love like Jesus. The utmost goal in our life is to glorify Christ and become like Him. We are to love Him above all else and consider this the greatest desire and fulfillment of our lives (Matt 22:37, Phil 3:8). In my relationship with that man, I have learned (and am always learning) the meaning and the truth found in 1 Corinthians 13.

When everything stopped being perfect and "story-book" like in our lives and in our relationship, I had to learn (probably for the first time in my life--and furreal) how to lean upon and rest upon Jesus; His promises, His truths, His wisdom, His counsel and His love. When darkness threatened this three-fold-cord I learned what it meant to interceed and what it is to partake in the fellowship of Christ's suffering. I learned to serve and give of myself and I learned to love.

In him being the very man God intended, I have found one who always challenges me to love bigger, give more and live better. And in it and through it and on it and whatever else there is, my husband gave me the greatest gift anyone could ever give me. He led me straight to Jesus!

My Husband Rocks because he doesn't have to do anything but be himself for his little girls (and Momma!) to love him, and because in his God-given greatness he leads us straight into the arms of Jesus every single time!

That man is my good thing and my very good gift! <3

*This post is a contest entry in Time-Warp Wife's "My Husband Rocks" contest. Nevertheless, it's so nice to boast about how utterly amazing my hubbers is! :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

the family is the primary vessel...

A while back I mentioned in a post about having listened to a teaching by Allen Hood from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City on families.

I *finally* got the chance to re-listen to it and take (umm, 5 pages worth of) notes. No, it didn't take me three days of scattered listening to because of how busy the days are getting... Of course not. However, I did want to share some of the amazing things that Allen shared.

The subject which he covered is one that is so near and dear to my heart. The basis of the teaching was from Psalm 127 and he shared how God has chosen the family as the primary vessel for spiritual warfare.

Oh, how backwards our society has it!

Anyway, here are just some of the highlights from my notes. Should be just enough to wet your appetite and click on that link to go listen to it.

  • The Old Testament book of Malachi highlights the restoration of families above all other areas of restoration in society.

  • The restoration of the family is the key factor to the restoration of society and the restoration of Fatherhood should be the foundation of mature ministry.

  • Divorce is killing both the Church's testimony and fruitfulness (ouch!)

  • True ministry and authority in God's house begins with men functioning and carrying the heart of and as fathers.

  • Whoever influences our children influences our nation (Media and public schools are constantly battling to control our children!)

  • God entrusted dominion to Adam and Eve as a family unit.

  • According to the statistics of the children who grow up in churches and then go away to college, our churches are currently feeder systems into humanism and wrong religions. (More 18-22 "Christians" joined the Muslim "faith" after 9/11!) (double ouch)

  • Families and ministries that permit men to neglect their responsibilities to their children (and even those to single mothers) and lack the Father's heart are greatly ineffective in releasing the kingdom of God as it is in Heaven.

  • The family unit is an independent, powerful kingdom cell.

  • Build your family in faith, not in fear that causes you to overwork and become anxious. (hmm)

  • We can't just ignore the issues and "just" provide for our children.

  • Is your appettite wet yet? Ok, good! Go listen to that message with your husband and pray! :)

    Have you listened to the message? What was your favorite part? If not, did any of the above points "hit home?" How/Why?

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Busy, busy, busy!

    I've been busy at work at home... Organizing and living out a Martha house, the Mary way! :)

    Nothing special to write today ladies... Just some "memory-book" pictures to show off my very small, yet very large progress! =)

    First things first... This is what my main spaces looked like after the weekend (always an awful homemaking time, and a sick husband were home)


    But here's what Momma did! =)

    Yayy for Mommy!

    I am embarrased to admit that this was my dining room table before... And, well. Not very much "eating" was done here.

    And Mommy made it look like a purdy blank canvas! =)

    Oh yeah, that's my homemaking binder! hehe. I deep cleaned the guest bathroom yesterday, and this is the disaster found under our sink! Yikesss!

    And this is what it looks like after!

    Oh yeah, and this is the laundry pile I've got to deal with today... :l
    Oh joyyy!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    on dripping, moodiness and repentance

    Drip! Drip!

    See, I have this thing with a close group of girlfriends and we have created a gentle rebuke to be said in public (and sometimes even during private conversations) when we are in any shape, way or form being disrespectful, dishonoring or in any way negatively impacting our husbands.
    "A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day." -- Proverbs 27:15

    We're still learning this 1 Peter 3, Galatians 5, Titus 2, Proverbs 31 business. So we keep one another accountable.

    And yes, I heard this all day. And I quite literally mean all day.

    You know that little, subtle, ever-so clear voice we love to unlike to hear sometimes; yeah, that one. The voice of The Holy Spirit. Yeah, He was speaking all day long.

    But they weren't tender mercies. Well, not like butterfly-giving tender mercies. I got the other kind; the "get-off-your-moody-high-horse-and-serve-your-husband" kinda tender mercies.


    I had intended for it to be a good, motivational day. Yeah.

    And then somewhere between leading a prayer watch (which focuses on families and marriages mind you) and getting home to do my chores for the day, something went awfully wrong and I truly became an annoying, dripping faucet.

    My dear husband, on a day like today would have avoided the wrath of me, but-- as God would have it--for the sake of my character building, he was home. And he was sick!

    Poor man. Thankfully, the dear sweet Lord extended him (and me!) grace to survive today.

    One friend whom I confessed my general moodiness and random disrespect towards my husband (okay, not so random... I'm sure it's coming from *somewhere*) asked what was fueling this... I don't know... Sudden burst of... sin?

    Can you believe I used that awful, dreaded, horrific excuse of PMS? Yepp. I get angry at my husband when he asks me if I'm PMSing and here, today, on an off and horrifficly horrible day... I blame it on my good ol' pal, PMS.

    Yikes! Days like today remind me how dreadfully human and how dreadfully fallen I am. It's true. I'm the chief of sinners! (Sorry Paul, I got you beat today) But days like today remind me to press in and keep leaning on my Beloved. It is true, of my own accord I can do nothing. Oh, but how beautiful the fact that "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13) On days like today, when every hormone in my body yelled out "rebellion, instability, craze!" His Word consistently whispered "submission, obedience, stability."

    As I say "yes" even when my emotions and desires lead me elsewhere, He is transforming me and He is causing me to be like His Son, Jesus. So, I publicly repent.
    Make me like Your Son, Abba. I desire to be with You, where You are. I desire to walk in affection-based obedience to You all the days of my life. May I be like-minded with You, Jesus Christ. Grant me Your mind, that I may love You with all my heart, with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength. Make me like You. Delight in me. Even in my weakness, in my darkness, on days like today. Dark am I, yet lovely. I long for Your Spirit to say of me, "Who is this, coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?" So, come. Make me like Your Son. In Jesus' Name. :)


    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    the victory of the bookcase

    I should be writing about more important things... But since I am still recuperating from quite the day yesterday (don't ask), I am going to just share with you some more on my DE-cluttering project.

    I have to admit, this week I have not de-cluttered at all (sighh). I did however, last week de-clutter my little bookshelf. =) Well, de-cluttering is a bit much. I really just organized it. I'd already gotten rid of books that I no longer needed (and that was sooo painful!). I attempted to sell them on Craig's List (because I am Amazon illiterate) and since I really just don't want to deal with having them in my home, I'm going to go donate them to the library or something. Suggestions on that?

    I know a bookshelf is super insignificant in the grand scheme of things when it comes to de-cluttering and organizing, but every single nook and cranny matter, as well as every small victory. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day and if I attempted the more disastrous areas first, knowing myself, I'd become way overwhelmed and discouraged and I'd just QUIT! And I really really don't want to quit. I'm ok with going slow (and I mean tortoise slow), I'm ok with not doing it every day or having to process getting rid of things I may not necessarily want to, but I'm really really not ok with quitting. Not this time. I'm going to see this one through

    So, I went from this silly idea of organization (left), to categorizing and seperating my books and then placing them in different directions (right) consecutively so that they are easy to find (and pretty to look at!). Kudos to my interior designing aunt on that one!

    So, slowly but surely we're making progress in our home. One nook and cranny at a time...

    What about you? Any de-cluttering/homemaking success (or fail) this week? =)

    PS. I left the board games on top of the bookshelf solely because the closet I intend to put them in is still slightly really cluttered and I have no room for them. As soon as I tackle that closet, they shall be gone from atop my bookcase! =)

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    a day with children in the prayer room

    Growing up in a culture of prayer is one of our family's top priorities. We believe in the power of prayer and value it for all its worth. One of the plus sides of walking with a House of Prayer is the training available to our children on prayer. Although I am an incredible supporter of families being the primary source of spiritual training and discipline for children, I am so grateful for every resource available to us through our spiritual community and love taking advantage of each and every one of them.

    So today Daniella, Aaliya and myself took a trip to the prayer room for our children's prayer watch held 10a-noon. I have to admit that this was our first time attending. I've sporadically attended, but there's always something that stands in the way of us coming (dare I say, it's comfort... yikes!) but today as absolutely exhausted and unkempt as I felt (and looked!) we went and we pressed through.

    And you know what?

    The Spirit of God was hovering over that place. Even though it was children leading worship (older children of course) and even though there was an off-note pitch and ocassional mispronounced word in every song, how sweet the spirit that dwelt there! All our children worshipped unashamedly before the throne of grace and even Daniella danced and partook in the sweet joy found in that place.
    Out of the mouth of nursing babes, He has truly ordained praise! I encourage and exhort you mamas to praise and adore Jesus right alongside your children. Our home has been such a sweet haven of obedience and truth all day long and I believe it's partly because both girls began their day (for the most part) with the Presence of Jesus. I had the wonderful opportunity to sit and train Daniella in the art of intercession today as the other children prayed, declared Scripture and thanked Jesus for all He has and will do!

    There is no sweeter sound than to hear my children call upon Jesus. My favorite part was hearing Daniella pray for sweet baby Avery and declare his healing and wholeness. What a beautiful intercessors my little girls are!

    What are some resources you take advantage of in your spiritual community and how do you interlope them with your home devotions and teachings?

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    a letter to my eldest

    My Dear Sweet Daniella Grace,

    You graduated from your VPK class today. Sighh. Okay, it's not "technically" called a graduation, but who's really a fan of technicalities anyway? I am so proud of you Princess. There is not a thing you could that could deflect my love for you and the overwhelming sense of (holy, good) pride I feel when I set my eyes on you. I have watched you blossom from a shy, quiet and so very timid toddler to a beautiful, vibrant, godly young girl. This is the beginning of a great and beautiful adventure for you, and I am so excited to watch you grow into every bit of potential and purpose that God has designed for you.

    We will be homeschooling you next year and more than anything I am looking forward to spending more and more time with you and cultivating our relationship. It is going to be a wonderful summer and an exciting year; the beginning of so much more. Thank you for including me in this adventure baby girl.

    I know your heart hurts at the understanding that Mommy and Daddy are two separate people leading two separate lives, but you, my dear sweet girl have taken it like a champ. I can tell your heart's hurting but I also know how dearly you love Jesus and my heart soars knowing you are slowly learning to give this pain to Jesus and are trusting His ways by loving me and your baby sister back. I look back at the vow we made the day I married Daddy and more than anything, I pray your little heart knows how much I love you. You my precious baby, are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. I love you. You are worth every challenge and every aching moment that comes from a broken family and if I had a do-over I would choose you all over again.

    My prayer is Mommy, Daddy and Cole (and someday, maybe, your stepDaddy) will be always be obedient to Jesus and will always seek Him on your behalf and for your good. I pray Jesus will give us the grace to always choose you above ourselves, over our conflicts and our personal agendas. My prayer for you is that you will inherit a double portion of each of your parents, spiritually and that you will soar far higher than any of us will in the Spirit, so that you may be one who walks as Enoch did; so closely to His heart, as a bride and a warrior.

    I love you Daniella, my firstborn baby.

    With all my love,

    Our family is my greatest blessing

    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    this one's not an easy one to write...

    I remember when Aaliya was first born, someone gave me the most amazing compliment (probably the 2nd greatest, I've ever received) that I looked like a delightful mom. This person shared with me how full of delight and joy I looked as I was tending to my precious little one. In that moment (and pretty much for the first 6 months of her life) it was the absolute truth.

    And then Aaliya started teething, and her sleep pattern went out of whack, and she wouldn't let anyone else but Mommy hold her, and her cute kitten cries turned to death-gripping screams. The delight I felt turned into frustration at my obvious inadequacy to be a mom.

    I made the colossal (yes-- colossal) mistake of comparing myself to other moms. "Her baby doesn't do this, and that one's got it all together. Look at that friendly baby, oh she's drinking out of a sippy already? Grrreat, I'm so behind."

    But these last few days, as I have purposefully praying for my daughters, as I have been seeking their Creator out for exactly how it is He has designed them, something has happened in my heart.

    I have found delight in mothering again.

    Truthfully, I didn't even realize I had lost the delight, until today. As I'm walking out of Wal-Mart with little girl and four bags in tow, she looks up at me and gives me one of those delightful smiles that melt my heart and I realized all in one second that I'd lost my delight and given in to much worry and anxiety and that now the Lord was giving me the heart of Hannah again.

    "Thank you for Your faithfulness O, Lord! May I always be delightful while mothering and may You always be my source."

    What about you? Do you still find delight in mothering or do you waiver in your passion for it like I have?

    Monday, June 6, 2011

    two fold post

    First part of this *awesome* post is that I am still going strong in my de-cluttering. =) Today I tackled our desk/nook while listening to an outstanding teaching taught at the International House of Prayer-KC on families and God's dominion being released through families. Make time out of your day to listen to it. It is absolutely amazing! (more on the full message at a later post!)

    Anyway, so here's the full scoop on our desk/nook area.

    Surprise, surprise! It was a disaster zone. Papers everywhere, our shelves not completely attached to the wall, unable to hold anything even remotely heavy (like my files and supplies and such-- which defeats the purpose) and so on and so forth.

    Today, I just cleared out the mess and organized things as best I could. I forgot to take "BEFORE" pictures (oops) but I've posted after pictures for your enjoyment.

    It's a very boring nook as of now and I have lots of big plans for it aesthetically speaking, however for now, at least it's organized and looking good. I'll add some cork-boards, calendars and art pieces to reflect the faith of our family, the personality of each individual, and the full purpose of this little nook. I'll also be painting those blue shelves to match our living room decor (I'm shooting for red-- just because) and yes, fully attaching them to the wall to be more functional.

    Ahh, even as I blog I am more at peace, more calm and more focused (because yes, I still work off a desktop and not a smancy laptop-- such is the life of missionaries). I am really enjoying this process and will continue to keep you updated on my shennanigans.

    Which brings me to the second part to my two-fold post... Well, just look at pictures, and then we'll talk.

    Such is my boring little nook after the fact... But, at least it's organized

    The *unattached* shelves that are currently holding a minimal amount of things. Trust me, THIS is much better. Baskets and paint coming soon

    The finished blank canvas. Ahh, creativity here I come!

    Okay, so the second part of my post is quite simple.

    I am just requesting grace from you guys. =) Our family is transitioning into somewhat of a "busy" season and I am learning and juggling what it's like to balance every role in my life during this new season we are in. (once again, more on that at a later post) So, although it may seem that I'm not blogging as much-- I am still thinking about you guys and will be posting just as much as I can. But if my posts seem few and far in between at any time...

    Well, just remember grace. =)

    Saturday, June 4, 2011

    project de-clutter is officially underway!

    So, remember I talked about how chaos seems to be the recurring theme and source of discouragement in my life? And how it has been this way for a while now?

    Well, I talked about it, and now I'm on a serious kick!

    I am taking de-cluttering seriously and pursuing it full force! It is such a great source of encouragement and I love that I get to put on some worship music, and pray to my Jesus as I de-clutter the corners of my humble abode. =)

    I love that He has given me dominion and reign over this home He's given to us and I truly want to glorify Him with every corner in it.

    "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men..." (Col 3:23)

    So, I thought I'd post embarrasing pictures of my before and my amazing outstanding exciting and encouraging after pictures!

    I only started with our master closet, but truthfully this has become my favorite part of our home! =) It is peaceful and organized and just overall pretty to look at.

    It is my motivation to keep on doing this and work for our entire home to look and feel this way!

    I am very ashamed to admit this was my master bedroom closet before hand. Yes, it's a flippin' mess. Trust me, I know. I am ashamed. So very ashamed.

    Yeppp, basketball, hats, shoes were a mess. Sighh, who lives like this?

    Our master bedroom furniture has been on its last leg for about 4 years now. Well, this is one of our broken drawers that we so *ingeniously* placed in our closet. Yes, everything made its way to the top of this blessed drawer.

    So, after giving away this many clothes (at least)

    The end result was...

    Tadaaaaaa! =) I know, I'd consider it my happy place too!

    My side of the closet.
    Simplified, beautified and organized!

    Remember that blessed drawers? Goneeeee!
    Though not because we got a new bedroom furniture or anything. :l

    I even have a mini accessories corner. Woooop!

    And such is Caleb's side...
    Full of sports stuff, of course

    So, there ya have it! =) Are you motivated yet? How about you join me in organizing your life in a way that best seems fit for you? Time organization, home organization or maybe just restoring priorities in your life to their proper order. Join me on this journey as I do all the above and blog about it admist the journey!

    Woo hoo! Here goes everything!