Proverbs 4:23 commands us to, "guard our heart, for everything we do flows from it." As I think of this scripture, I can't help to think of the female species. God made us to be a bit more emotional than our male counterpart. I want to use that emotional part of me for good. As women, we have the innate ability to love deeply, hurt deeply, and hate deeply. Yes, I said it, hate deeply. Though many of us would deny that something so terrible could land in our heart, the truth is that many times our actions demonstrate the reality of our hearts. Hate defined is "an intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury." Wow! Did you catch that? We tend to see a picture of hate as "an intense hostility," but we so often miss the real culprit behind hate; "fear, anger, or a sense of injury." That second part is what I want to dig into.
As we dig, let's look at James 4:1 "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" You see, I often talk about living from a state of a heart at rest. What exactly does that look like? Simply stated, it's a heart that is completely satisfied in Jesus. It is a heart at peace because our identity is in Christ. At first, when you are training your emotions to not care about the petty things in this world, it may look like a process of death to self. It is. :-D The beautiful thing is that you can declare with Paul in Galatians 2:20. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
As you begin to view life from an eternal perspective, you begin to let go of the things that created fear in your heart. You begin to relax and take deep breaths to respond as a child of God instead of allowing anger to rule you. You begin to let go of the wounds that could cause bitterness and hatred to dictate your actions. You begin to see others through a new light. When it appears like others are being hateful towards you, you overlook their actions so that you can truly see into their heart. Your heart begins to wonder what fear, anger or sense of injury is behind the hatred being expressed. You begin to see others through eyes of compassion. You begin to desire to please God instead of man. You realize that you have the greatest gift anyone could ever enjoy on earth and in Heaven, the gift of a relationship with the God of the Universe. Selah! Then you realize that in comparison with that, nothing else really matters. That is when you begin to walk with a heart at rest. You begin to not be moved by the spilled milk, or the crying baby in the grocery store, or the loss of a job, or the bad grade, or what people think of you...the list goes on and on. For the first time in your life you realize you have nothing to prove to anyone. You simply want to glorify God in private and in public because you live for an audience of ONE!
Hope you enjoyed this. If you want to hear about specific topics, leave me a comment. I love writing to specific needs!
I've had this recipe in my files for many, many years, thanks to my wonderful Spiritual Mama, Dora Pereira. She is an amazing cook, and with a few slight changes, I've made it organic. It is the freshest, tastiest salsa I have ever had. I try to keep this available in my home all the time. It makes a great addition to any meal! Here is the recipe.
1 bunch of organic cilantro
2-3 cans of organic tomatoes (diced)
1 medium organic onion
2-4 organic jalapeños
5 organic cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
Himalayean Sea Salt to taste
- Boil the jalapeños until they turn an army green color.
- Place quartered onion and garlic cloves in food processor and chop until there aren't any big chunks left.
- Add Cilantro, blend well
- Add jalapeños (Depending on how spicy you like your salsa remove the seeds. I usually remove the seeds out of one and leave them in the other. Gives it a nice kick!)
- Add can/s of tomatoes and vinegar
- Salt to taste
Enjoy with some Organic corn chips, add it to your guacamole, make a spicy dressing with it or, my new favorite...add some to your Beyond Organic Green Fed beef and make some kicking burgers! The possibilities are endless! Leave me a note if you make it and tell me how you like it!
Have you ever had a conversation with your tween or teenager that sounded something like this?
"Hey Baby, how was school today?"
"It was fine."
"What did you do?"
"Who did you sit with at lunch?"
"What did you talk about?"
"Uuuh, I don't remember."
Sound Familiar? After having several conversations like this with my oldest daughter, I knew something had to change. I was not going to spend the rest of middle school and all of high school with conversations like this!! Through counsel from those that have gone before me, reading books and seeking God, I felt like I was supposed to lean into my daughter. I had to create a safe environment for her to share her heart with me. That's when I became a student of my own daughter. I also underwent some heart changes within myself. Through this process, I realized that my daughter did not feel comfortable opening up to me. The reason? I was parenting out of fear. You see, I would react to things she would tell me (when she did open up) as if she had done bad things she had not even thought of doing. :( I reacted to her statements about boys, parties and even her friends with long lectures. Those reactions/fears stemmed from my own experiences growing up and not from my daughter's ability to make the right decisions today. Basically, I was setting my daughter up for failure as I parented out of fear.
After digging deep in my heart and asking God for answers, I knew I had to make some changes within me. As I searched my heart, I realized that I was more concerned about how others perceived my "good girl" than actually training my daughter's heart. I was more concerned about the outward behavior than the inward heart condition. Ouch! Well, once I resolved my own fears, I began to step back, just enough, to possibly let my daughter fail. As I stepped out of the way, I began to see my daughter step up. Oh! what a moment! I was there just enough to help and comfort instead of trying to control her every decision (major recipe for failure). The outcome of that has been a beautiful picture of a daughter walking these difficult teenage years with confidence, freedom, and security. You see, as I stepped out of the way, she was able to step up to the plate. Is she perfect? Far from it. Does she fail, yes, just like her Mommy does. She, however, is making choices that demonstrate to me that she has a good head on her shoulders. Her convictions go deep, she has a mind of her own and she is not persuaded to follow the crowd.
So how did I lean in? I leaned in by letting go. I let go of me trying to lead her by my authority and began to lead her by my influence. So, instead of jumping to give my opinion and dictating how something should be done or handled, I stepped out of the way. I began to pursue conversations about silly things with her. I began to listen without providing a solution. Instead, I simply asked questions that led her to making the right choices. The results, to date, are a relationship with my teenager that one only dreams about, and a young lady learning to make decision based on her internal government. I am enjoying watching her blossom into this incredible young lady. My prayer is that my relationship with her continues to blossom as she grows in wisdom, stature (actually I think she is done growing in this area), and favor with God and man. May your journey with your teens be one of joy and complete peace as you entrust their hearts to the One that created them.
To help you in this journey, there are some books I highly recommend. They are Age of Opportunity
, Loving Our Kids On Purpose
, Girl Talk
, and Grooming the Next Generation for Success.
You can find these books in the "Our Favorites" section as well as the Resources section.
Benjamin, my two year old, has definitely entered the "two's stage." It's that stage that most people label as the "Terrible Twos." Have you heard of it? I like to refer to it as the "Terrific Twos" because I believe I will have what I say. I happen to believe that I will form His future with my words! So I am watchful what I declare over him. (Proverbs 18:21) Is it challenging? Absolutely! I am always on
, but the training is so worth it. I am molding his character now so I can enjoy the fruit later on.
One of the things I like to do is impart scripture into his little heart so he learns to be governed from the inside out. So, here are a few things I do. In the midst of him having one of those
tantrums, I get down at his level and with the most gentle, yet firm, tone, I say, "Benjamin, you have an excellent sprit (Daniel 6:3). You are an obedient boy, and you obey Mommy." (Ephesians 6:1) Nine times out of ten, he puts his head on my shoulder and calms down. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A soft answer turns away wrath." It is so true! The word of God is alive and active! (Hebrews 4:12) When imparted into others it will bring forth good fruit. For those of you wondering what Benjamin does that 10% percent of the time, he simply looks at me straight in the eyes and yells NO!
LOL!! Have you heard that word before from your two-year old? At this point, I either continue with my gentle tone and pick him up and love on him so he knows he is completely loved and safe, and say, "Obey! You walk in obedience Benjamin." OR, there are other times that he is not budging and simply needs a break from the rest of the world and gets put down for a nap or time alone in his crib. The bottom line is to always maintain control and to catch the problem earlier rather than later so that as the parent, you stay in control of your
I think one of the mistakes we moms make is that we try to change our children from the outside in. We try to control their behavior so they don't embarrass us. I was there, and sometimes fall in that trap of parenthood. As I get older, I tend to care less (I say that in the most respectful way) what others think and care more about training my children's heart. So, instead of taking him to the bathroom at the grocery store to spank him for embarrassing me (I think we do this more than we realize), I take him to the bathroom to see why his heart is so upset. Then I speak to it. Usually he has felt threatened by a sibling or not heard or simply did not get what he wanted. Whatever the reason, make sure you have your heart in check and focus on your relationship with your child rather than what man might be thinking about your parenting skills. Your child's heart is the one thing you want to train, and the earlier you start the better it will go, down the road. The goal? To fill that little heart with the Word of God so they can pull from it as they grow up.
Here is a great place to start Scriptures from Proverbs
to impart scripture into your children. Also, I HIGHLY recommend a few books. They are Sheperding a Child's Heart
, Grooming the Next Generation for Success
, Loving our Kids on Purpose
. These are great foundational books that will transform the parent's heart so they can mold their child's heart! Check them out in the "Our Favorites"
section of my website, along with the many others on there.
It's Summertime everyone! Let's create summer memories with our kids!! I am a firm believer that one important role in parenthood is to fill their tank with fun childhood memories. After all, it's our grandchildren they are going to tell these stories to. ;) There are many ways to establish memorable traditions, and I will share other ways in a future post. For this one, however; I want to focus on Friday Fun Day!
When it comes to summertime, many families go on vacation. Whether you go on a summer vacation or not, one thing my kids look forward to every summer is our weekly Friday Fun Days. You can choose any day that works for your family. :) The point is developing memories! So let's start a list so everyone can benefit from this! I'll start with...
- Picnic at the Park
- Parks with splash pads - kids of all ages like this!
- Movie Theater
- Pool Day
- Science Center (family annual tickets are usually very reasonable)
- Water Park
- Theme Park
- Go out for Yogurt or Ice Cream
If you live in the Orlando area:
- Tubing at Kelley Park
- Sorrento Park
- Wekiva State Park
- Downtown Disney
- Beach Trip
- If you have annual tickets to Disney, Seaworld or Univeral, these are great times to use them.
- Picture Show Movie Theater ($1.50 theater)
- Splash Pads around the city
- Moss Park
- Bike trails
I am sure there are so many more spots, so if you know of more ideas, will you please post them in the comment section. Let's make Friday Fun Days a summer tradition in our homes!
What exactly is Home Management? To answer that, I looked up the word manager, and I found just what I was looking for...
- a person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization (Our homes)
- a person who controls the activities, business dealings, and other aspects of the career of an entertainer, athlete, group of musicians, etc. (Our children and spouse)
- a person in charge of the activities, tactics, and training of a sports team (Our children)
Ladies, we are Home Managers! As the managers of our homes, we are the ones responsible for all the happenings in our home. You might be thinking, wait a minute, isn't that the husband's role? No, actually it is not. He is the President of the organization. :) As managers, the responsibility of all the daily happening is on our shoulder so that our husband is free to do what only he can do. He does not need to nor does he care to decide what days the laundry will get done or who has to empty the dishwasher tonight. He has much more important decisions to make that I don't want on my shoulders. :) I'm happy running my home organization. :)
With that said, As we enter the summer season, there is no better time to train your children in their daily, weekly and monthly chores. I have been receiving texts, emails and calls recently asking me for some of these files so I figured that many more moms must be planning a summer routine. I have just updated my Home Management section with FREE documents for you to download and edit to your liking. I will be adding more soon! My prayer is that as we use these strategies in our home, every home would flow beautifully, with less stress and more joy and peace. That way we are free to do the important things in life...spend time with our children imparting God's word in them as we walk, sit, swim, shop, and play! (My version of Deut. 6:6-8) :) We'll talk about having fun with our kids this summer on my next post! BTW - if you want more of these, hit the like button below so I know you are reading these!! LOL!!
My mom with all her grandchildren! I love you, Mami!
It's Mother's Day weekend, so I wanted to take the time to honor a few moms that have made an impact in my life!
- First and foremost, my mom, Millie Caballer. Mami, all my life you have been that nurturing mom that every girl needs! I have great memories of an amazing and a secure childhood. I still remember the wonderful road trips and the many camping trips. Those were some great times!! I don't know how you did it, but you made motherhood look so easy. I still don't know how you would wake up every single morning without fail and have our breakfast ready before school, and now that I know you are not a morning person, it means so much more than you know! Thank you for that simple, yet sacrificial gesture. I am so blessed to call you mom. As a mom of four, I always hear your voice that reminds me that my children are my priority and every other external demand can wait. Thank you for instilling that deep within me. Te Amo!
- Mildred Rivera-Hess (Super Grandma) - You are such a wise woman! You have always had a way of giving advice that just sticks! From not bringing down a fever to never leaving the marriage bed, you have passed on great advice to your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren! I love you and admire you so much! You are a strong and noble woman. Love you, Grandma!
- Vanessa Morrow - Tata, you are such a caring mother! You want the best for your boys and that shows by how you bend over backwards for their success! What I love most that you do is that you celebrate your nieces and nephews! You are so good at that! There is NO question in my kids heart that their Titi loves them! Thank you for your heart for others! You are making a difference! I love you!
- Dora Pereira - You are forever engraved in my heart as my Spiritual Momma. I am so thankful that you invited my parents to church, and as they say, the rest is history! Because of YOUR obedience, our lives were transformed and our eternal destination was secured! Thank you for loving us enough to reach out. You are so special to me. :) On a more down to earth note, thank you for those amazing Mexican recipes! I get asked for my Mexican dishes all the time, which are actually yours, but we'll keep that our secret. ;). I love you!
- Gina Munoz - Thank you for raising a man that is courageous, a great provider, a wonderful husband and an amazing father! You did a great job with him. I want you to know that you are a wonderful mother-in-law and grandmother! I love how you demonstrate such intense love for the kids every time you see them. Thank you for caring so much and always being a supportive mother and grandmother. Te amo!
- Judy Clattenburg - How does a woman come from brokenness and bring healing to so many, beginning with two beautiful step-daughters, who had lost their mom a few years earlier, and flowing down into a church? Only by the love and grace of God. You exude God's love, Judy. Your genuine love and sincere caring for others is how Jesus shines through you! You make the person in front of you the most important. I love that about you! Thank you for always being the real deal! I am honored to call you my Pastor! I love you!
- Becky Grothe - Talk about legacy! You don't know this, but your family has impacted mine forever. I watched your kids grow up and have their own, and do it well. You and Pastor Dave have painted a beautiful picture, through your life, of how to raise children with godly standards, and who are, in turn, raising their own to do the same. Congratulations on ALL the beautiful grandchildren. I know there are still more to come! Thank you for living your walk as true Christ-followers. The Grothe's are shining by simply living their lives with integrity, unity and love! I love you! Happy Mother's Day to Jessica and Christine too.
- Josefina Garnica - Mamita, my dear sister in Christ, you are a mother to two beautiful daughters that are the real deal. I have loved watching them grow up and be bold for Jesus! You have taught me to always believe the best, hope for the best and expect the best out of our biological children and those that God has entrusted us to mentor. You are one of the wisest women I know, and I am honored to call you friend. Te amo!
I am honored to introduce you to Becky Van Volkinburg. I have known Becky for many years, and to see her use her God-given talent in such a beautiful way is inspiring to me. I recall times when she helped me with some work related writing projects, I knew when I read something she had edited that it was complete! She made everything sound better!!
I wanted to share her story to inspire my friends everywhere to passionately pursue your dreams! Please take a moment to read her story, and how God led her in this beautiful journey. She is living proof of God's goodness and faithfulness, which is something we crash right into when we dare step out in faith! Thank you Becky for living your life in a manner that reflects God's amazing love for us.
About the Author: Becky Van Volkinburg was born in upstate New York but grew up in Central Florida. She has always had a passion to create, whether it be the written word, music or art. Becky loves to spend time with her family in western Michigan, they love to travel and play games. Becky also works as an audio book narrator with multiple titles to her name.
What a kid named Linc taught me about faith, hope and the provision of God... By: Becky Van Volkinburg
Two years ago I sat on the couch in my living room thinking about the rise in unacceptable options for reading material for my kids. With books that idolize the demonic and ungodly on the rise the books I would allow to be read was on the decline. I decided to take matters into my own hands and set out to write a book for my kids, then ages, 9, 7 and 1. I wanted it to be fun, not cheesey, thought provoking and real. That's when Linc Adams was born.
Day after day while my youngest napped and my two boys played kickball in the back yard, I typed away chapter after chapter. Each afternoon the boys would run inside and I would read them the latest addition to the story. As I read back the words that had poured out it seemed as though I was almost reading someone else's words, because I thought, wow, this is really pretty good. But then I would remember all the American Idol hopefuls and think to myself, “anyone can think they're better than they are.”
Once the book was completed I wrestled with the idea of sending it out to publishers. I really did not want to be rejected and honestly wasn't sure if I could handle it, having been rejected by so many in my life, I didn't want to walk through those feelings again. But after praying I decided to take a step of faith and just send it off. I searched on the internet for publishers that would accept unsolicited manuscripts (in the publishing world there aren't too many of these around, most publishers want you to have proven that you're worth their investment) and with a few clicks I sent my story out into the world.
One by one the rejections came in. I can honestly tell you that I don't even remember how many there were or what they said because I quickly deleted the messages and let it go. I chose to focus on the fact that I really had written this for my kids and they loved it and that was enough for me. So I put Linc aside and continued on with my life.
It was almost as if Linc had been a brief visitor in our home and his memory faded as the months went by. Then one day, almost a year later, the Holy Spirit reminded me of our little friend. I felt prompted to pursue having Linc printed, but, as so many of us, I didn't fully understand the message God was sending me. I pulled out my computer and started searching for details on self-publishing. It was then that Tate Publishing came up in my search, and they accepted unsolicited manuscripts and they were a Christian company. I took a deep breath and in a split second decided, why not? And I sent Linc off one last time.
Six weeks later I received news that Tate was overnighting a book contract! I still remember the feeling of the smile I couldn't wipe off my face. I remember the shock and just flat out being amazed at God.
Then there was a glich. As my husband and I read over the contract we noticed that in order for us to be picked up by Tate, we had to hire a publicist. That meant money, which we were not in great supply of. We prayed and by faith signed the contract and dropped it in the mail. How in the world were we going to come up this money? Then I realized it wasn't my job, because God is our provider and this whole thing was His idea, at that moment I turned it over to Him.
Over the next few months, God brought in crazy jobs for me to make extra money. I worked many weekends face painting in Wal-Mart, I worked marketing events, I made a downloadable cd of acappela hymns, I taught after-school science classes, whatever God brought I jumped on and little by little the money was coming in. Finally we had enough money to cover the first half of the payment to the publicist and now production could begin.
Things seemed to be moving beautifully, then, my husband was laid off. Besides all the normal issues that are created with that kind of event, I had no idea how we were going to be able to pay the last half of the fee. Once again, I turned to God and was reassured in my spirit that He would provide, just as He had. And, miraculously, He did. I am still amazed at how God is taking care of us. Since being laid off, my husband has not gone back to a “regular” job, instead, God has opened the door for us to work from home. Even without a “normal” paycheck every week, we have not gone without. One day I was praying and talking to God about being self-employed, and the Holy Spirit corrected me and said, “no, you're God employed.” What faith that brought to my heart!
Here we sit, a year after signing the contract, two years after Linc Adams was born, and the book will officially be released July 31, 2012. It is my desire to go to schools and share with students about my journey and encourage them to go after their dreams. I believe God is opening the door for me to go to the public schools (I already have an event lined up, which they contacted me about!), and to be a light in the darkness. While I cannot tell these kids that God loves them and has amazing plans for them, I can encourage them and share God's love and love on them. I also hope to go to Christian schools and moms groups and share my story of God's faithfulness and provision.
I am so overwhelmed and grateful that God chose me. I am so glad that I chose faith over fear and I decided to take God at His Word. And I can't wait to see what God's plans are for Linc Adams!
To order her debut book, please go to http://lincadams.com/
or click the link below.
As Americans, many of us have had our priorities out of order. We don't think twice about spending lots of money on name brand clothing, purses, jewelry, homes, cars, vacations, even a nice bottle of wine...YET...we don't buy the most nutritious food for our children because "it is too expensive." Is it a coincidence our children are being diagnosed with adult diseases at an early age? I don't think so. You see, we are feeding them food like products that are low in nutrients and high in calories. God created foods for us to enjoy that are naturally low in calories (no more counting calories, my friends) and high in nutrients. Moms, as the keepers of our homes, let's make it a priority to give our families the very best foods out there! After all, our children are our priority!
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” NLT
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” NKJV
Don't you just love the Word of God? It assures us of God's goodness. John 10:10 is one of my favorite scriptures. I love how clear it is! I am fully persuaded that there is no greater Daddy than Abba-Father, God Himself. It keeps my heart at rest, knowing that God is for me and has lavished me with His love. So when things in this world don't seem to have an answer on this side of heaven, I don't run to God to question His goodness, I run to God for refuge and comfort. There are some that blame God for what happens in their life. However, Proverbs 19:3 says "People ruin their life by their foolishness, and then are angry at the Lord." We are assured in John 10:10 that it is not God causing death, destruction or robbery. God came to give abundant life. In fact, God is always speaking to His children to keep them from harm. I guess the real question here is, are WE listening to His still small voice or is the loudness of this world crowding our heart from hearing Him?
My two year old son, Benjamin does not fully understand some boundaries I set for him. He does not understand why he cannot ride his tricycle down the hill unassisted. He does not understand why he cannot jump into the deep end of the pool. In his little mind, and in his little size, I'm sure he thinks, "Mommy is keeping me from having fun." That could not be further from the truth. I am helping him have many more years of fun! In my adult understanding of life, I see a much bigger picture. I see the possibility of Benjamin losing control and getting hurt or of Benjamin falling into the pool so, I do all I can to prevent him from getting hurt. Am I a bad mom because I don't allow him to do certain things? No, that makes me a good mom, but maybe from his vantage point and in his one track mind, there may be times he thinks so, but I know better. God set certain guidelines for us too. Not to keep us from "having fun," but to protect us from the harm that certain lifestyles and choices can cause. The truth is, I want to protect Benjamin because I love him, and God wants to protect us because He loves us. There are times that Benjamin will beat me to that tricycle and race down the hill before I can stop him. He has some scabs to prove it too. :) So, is he going to get mad at me, and ask me why I let him get hurt? Why didn't I stop him? No, he is going to cry and run to me for comfort. Friends, so must we. Instead of blaming God for the circumstances that happen in our life, let's begin to admit that maybe it was caused by our poor choices, the poor choices of others, or the fact that we live in a fallen world. Let's run to the One that demonstrated the greatest love possible, death so we could live, and if it is not already settled, consider settling it in your heart that God is 100% GOOD and the devil is 100% bad.