30 December 2011

What we did on this last Friday of 2011…

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We played at the park all morning on this spectacular 75 degree, winter day!  (We’re spoiled, I know…)

Then we walked back to the house and had lunch with friends.  These are the lovely moments worth remembering.

Only 1 day left until 2012… crazy how fast this year flew by!

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” 

~Ecclesiastes 3:1

29 December 2011

From California to Indonesia

This year, our Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes traveled almost 9,000 miles to the Southeast Asian country of Indonesia.

  • Indonesia is an island country with a population of more than 245 million people, making it the 4th largest country in the world in terms of population.
  • Twenty-seven percent of Indonesia’s people are 14-years-old or younger.
  • Despite having many natural resources, much of the Indonesian people live in poverty. 
  • Almost half the Indonesian population live on less than US$2 per day.
  • About 86% of the population are Muslims and 9% are Christians.

Since 2010, OCC began offering a follow-up discipleship program in Indonesia.  This year, bible lessons were offered to 2,800 children in conjunction with the shoe box gift.  

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  ~Matthew 24:14

The girls and I spent some time looking through various pictures of kids from Indonesia as well as other poverty stricken countries.  They noticed that most of the kids were wearing tattered and dirty clothes and often, they were without shoes.  I feel it’s important for our children to get a healthy dose of reality once in a while.  Therefore, things like arguing about what dress they’re going to wear that day or who gets to sleep with what pillow seems a little silly when put into perspective.  A good lesson for us all.

“To whom much is given, much shall be required.” ~Luke 12:48

28 December 2011

I’m back…

On Facebook, that is.  It’s something I’ve been thinking and praying about for a couple of months now.  There are various reasons why I chose to reactivate my account but what it comes down to is maturity and responsibility.  In many ways, I feel like I’ve matured in the last 8 months.  I know it sounds funny coming from a grown, 41 year-old woman but it’s true.  No matter what age I am, I’m always striving to grow and mature spiritually.  When I decided to leave Facebook back in March, I truly felt like I needed to step away and take a break.  I was allowing it to take the focus off my priorities and place them on things that didn’t matter eternally.  When I think back on it now, it’s rather humbling. 

I also feel like I have the responsibility to share the love of Christ with others.  All Christians do, really.  In fact, it’s a privilege.  Some folks do it rather well within their own comfy circles.  Through my bible study and other books I’ve been reading, I feel like God is calling me to shine my light brightly and make a difference in the world around me.   

He’s been working on me.  He’s calling me to live my faith out loud.  He’s calling me to be more bold (in love) for Him.  He’s asking me to be obedient-  even when it’s difficult or when I can’t see the way- and even when the outcome doesn’t end up like I had hoped it would be. 

Hearing, obeying, submitting and trusting… that’s what maturity is all about, right?  I’m so grateful for all the countless opportunities He gives me. 

It’s practically a New Year so I can’t think of a better time to start anew.  As a family, we have some exciting changes on our horizon.  More than ever before, we are joyfully trusting in the Lord and His plans for us.  Going back to Facebook allows me to be  witness to a broader audience.  It allows me to share the gospel and testify to God’s goodness, mercy and faithfulness.  Who knows?  The Lord may give me the opportunity to influence one person in a positive way, for Him.  This time around, Facebook will be used as a tool- less about me and more about the grace and goodness of God.  And if, perhaps it starts to sway the other way again, I’ll simply have to impose another self-check. (smile) 

The bottom line: Jesus has not yet returned because God does not want any to perish.  He wants everyone to hear, know, repent and trust in the Savior.  ~2 Peter 3:9 

My responsibility is much like the farmer in the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:1).  My job is to scatter the seeds... God, in His perfect timing , will take care of the harvest. 

In the end, it came down to one question for me…  Did I avoid the challenges that came my way or with God’s guidance, did I do all that I could (in my little corner of the world and cyberspace), to encourage others and point them to the Lord and His word?  I’m praying He gives me the courage to do just that. 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~Hebrews 12:1-2

26 December 2011

Christmas Day

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Look at that sweet face! 

 

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Dance party!

 

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Taking a hike!

 

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On Christmas Day, everyone came over for a yummy brunch before we set off on our morning hike. 

The crockpot breakfast burritos were a hit!  I’d definitely do them again for a crowd. 

I can’t believe another wonderful Christmas has come and gone already…

Thankfully, Jesus, the Light of the World has come to stay!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2011- Part 2

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Brothers.

 

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Morgan’s white elephant gift… hilarious! 

 

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Lucy’s amazing birthday cake!

This year, Grandma decided to host Christmas at her community clubhouse.  It worked out GREAT!  We enjoyed having all the space and amenities… it was another BEAUTIFUL day in the desert!

After spending the whole day at the clubhouse, we went back to Grandma & Grandpa’s for gift opening and cake. 

For the adults, we did a white elephant gift exchange.  The highlight was when Morgan ended up with a life size poster of Justin Bieber! 

Thankfully, when all was said and done, he managed to trade it for $5 and a bag of onions and garlic. 

I’d say he definitely ended up with the better (and more useful) gift.  Ha!

Fun memories!

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Can someone please tell me how they grew up so fast??

 

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Hapajee and his adoring granddaughters.

 

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James (7 months) is already crawling!

 

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Hapajee trying to take a nap.

 

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My sweet angel, Grace.

 

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We played card games, video games, and even spent some time outside in the beautiful 70+ degree weather!

The steaks turned out perfect (thanks to Morgan) and everything about dinner was delicious and SUPER easy! 

Grilling outdoors might just become a new tradition for our sunny, Southern CA Christmas.  (smile) 

So thankful that all my family could come together this year.

Many times, throughout the holidays, I often thought about my beloved Grandmother who went to be with the Lord a couple of years ago.  We miss seeing her smiling face and cheerful spirit but thankfully, we are assured of being with her again someday.

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