Posted in Birthdays

Sophie Turns One! Our family tradition.

My little baby turns one today but since dad is in Mexico, we celebrated it this past weekend. We have come a long way since our firstborn where we threw her a party at Chuck E Cheese. It dawned on us that not only did they not remember it or care but it really is for everybody else and not the actual baby. They could care less about a big to do and sometimes they are even overwhelmed by it. I am not knocking parents who throw big elaborate 1st bday parties because it IS a milestone and it IS special…but we have decided on our own tradition. The first bday is for the parents. 
We decide what we want to do and of course later birthdays they will  give more  input on what kind of birthday they like..but the very first one..the one where they barely know where their nose is…that birthday belongs to us. Still I think we were very generous for the whole family.
Dinner Friday night at Smashburger then the mall where we learned shopping for clothes and shoes with the whole family is NOT fun. I remember having fun shopping at the mall in my younger years but the diaper changes, frequent trips to the bathroom, and trying to find modest clothing and shoes that fit while kids play hide in seek in the racks, is NOT fun. 
Still I will remember fondly that blue cheese burger at Smashburger, it was SO good.
Saturday we checked out a new place Wazee World, a play place set up like area 51. We had no idea of the theme until we got there and there were aliens everywhere, a very interesting place to say the least.
Joe took the big kids to play laser tag and I took the little kids to play glow in the dark golf. Sophie enjoyed the crazy colors I think. Joe and I also engaged in a couple of aggressive air hockey games that sent the puck flying off the table several times. 

Sunday after church we went to Enchanted Island where everyone got a bracelet and got to ride all the rides and afterwards we tried Pizza at a new place that I really liked. If you are local to Phoenix, you can read my full review of it here.

Every now and then our hispanic-ness shows, like when we go out in public with the baby in her pajamas!
The only ride the baby could ride was the train around the whole park, happy birthday baby! She didn’t seem to mind at all.
Her siblings had a ton of fun though.

Just random cute Sophie pic-

On Monday we kept the party going and after some home projects we took the gang to our favorite ice cream place, Scooptacular!

But wait there’s more…Today on her actual birthday my very sweet friend invited us over for breakfast and we sang her happy birthday and she enjoyed a birthday cupcake.
I love this picture, my oldest and youngest 10 years apart.
I’d say for not having an official birthday party, this little baby made out pretty good!
Can’t see well but she is wearing a Birthday shirt Elly wore when she turned 2 or 3 years old I forget.
Thanks Marie for sending me this picture. This shirt has been work by Elly, Genny and now Sophie!

So there you have it, our 1st birthday tradition. 
Ana Sofia 1 year-
-She was born on National Women’s Day 
-She is still not walking yet
-She still has no teeth
-She has a lot of hair to make up for all that.
-She has been by far my easiest baby (I hope I didn’t jinx myself now)
-She scoots to hug anybody who is crying.
-I can’t imagine our family without her. She is such a little treasure.
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Taking Children Soulwinning With You-

We love taking our children soulwinning. They enjoy it so much and it’s true any rejection they may witness they see as a cool story and don’t mind it one bit. I see so many teens and children soulwinning at our church and I see how it binds the youth to the church (vs. feeling lost when the youth group crowd disperses to college) and it’s not just their parents faith that they have been brought up in, you actually see their zeal for souls and their religion. It truly becomes their own and it only benefits the whole church and the community with more people knocking doors with the Gospel.

My kids still remember the lady that told us she has never sinned in her life, and the burn victim that had tears in her eyes as she called upon Jesus to save her, they remember so many experiences good and bad. They are so observant and do as we say more than we teach. This is a powerful way to mold their Christian lives.

Here is a clip I made from last Sunday Morning’s sermon on this topic.

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January- February Ramblings

Sometimes I think I don’t really DO much and these types of posts help to remind me that these kids are really blessed and have a great life..and hey so do I! 🙂 Here is our January and February recap.
In January our friend Jenny E. got married and Izzy and Elly were part of the flower girl entourage. I say that because there was a posse of them! I love our church weddings and every short sermon Pastor preaches during them, are so encouraging. Thank you to our friend Jessica who spent hours doing all the girls hair before the ceremony. They loved it!

 Here is the video of the wedding.

Joshua started going soulwinning with Joe and now he always wants to go. Each time he went with Joe and another friend from church, they got at least a couple people saved and Joe said he was so well behaved and never complained. I appreciate so much that Joe takes Josh “fishing.”
Some of Joe’s out of town friends that were here for the wedding. (Prov 27:17)
Elly’s new and favorite baby alive doll that she calls. “Little Lola” ha.

Faithful Word is so generous in setting up fun homeschool fieldtrips that are fun for the whole family. Here we are at a Candy Factory.

We spent a lot of time going to Maya’s Pizza and enjoying their NY Giant. Joe is wearing a medal that the kids said means Worlds Greatest Dad. They gave it to him when he came back from a work trip. Maya’s became the meet up for Dinner on nights he came back to town.

I’m very proud of Joe who worked very hard and saved money to buy our 2nd car, a car for himself that could still fit all of us as a back up. I am not used to driving anything but Big Bertha anymore. It’s a Honda Pilot but it feels so small to me and low to the ground. I have only driven it a couple of times but it was a nice feeling to sit in it and see the soulwinning seminar and an English and Spanish Bible. 

We took advantage of lots of rescued produce and shared with our neighbors.

This is the best time of year in Phoenix and we ate outside a lot!

Izzy turned the big 1-0! Part of the celebration was Makutos with friends.

We visited a section of a mall that turned into little Mexico.

Even if this doesn’t last long..this is the trifecta of nap time. Don’t move, breath or blink or the magic ends and they all wake up demanding snacks.

Baked more than usual.
We really liked art time. We love this channel on youtube.

The kids received lots of cool gifts from Family including these Spider Man backpacks.

We took friends to Maya’s Pizza place to celebrate some birthdays and anniversaries. This reminds me I forgot to take Pictures of Joe’s bday lunch at our house. I really am bad at taking pictures, especially if I am having fun. 

Makutos again!

The Baby enjoyed her first park swing.
Had a low key V-day 

Make up V-day play date and I think us moms had more fun than the kids!

Joshua came down one day and informed us he would be the teacher!

I let the big three stay up late with me one night on different nights. The girls and I played Clue and Joshua and I just drew and talked.
Enjoyed an epic visit with out of town friends..seriously all this we packed into 2 and a half days: Church, Cafe Rio, Sonoran Hot Dogs, Hole in the Rock hike, Glow in the dark golf, Downtown Gilbert, Organ Stop pizza, Lego movie at the Drive in, El Comedor Mexican, the park, scooptacular, and game night!! SO much fun!

This is to balance out the highlight reel..not everything is rosy. I got a bad eye ulcer and it was SUPER painful and uncomfortable. Thank God it healed very well in a few days with antibiotic drops.

More Nertz, all the time!

Sonics 1/2 price ice cream slushies with friends and a neighbor.

So many other things I didn’t take pictures of but good memories and bad memories like taking James inside of Michael’s craft store wrapped up in a blanket toga style because in a coughing fit he threw up his breakfast on himself. There were a lot of sick days in January but thanks to the Doterra on Guard pills, I never got sick! I highly recommend them!

Let’s see what March has in store! Here is my favorite sermon clip I chopped up to go with this month.

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Giving the Gospel to Children

I  live in a neighborhood with lots of children, more than in any other place I have lived. We have a little park directly across from us and most days you will find children playing there and sometimes even adults tossing the ball around or moms chit chatting on the bench. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to buy this house as a mom with lots of little kids. When I hear the school bus on my street, I know that any minute now my door bell will ring and it will ring a few times throughout the afternoon asking if my children can come out and play.

Today it was a good feeling when we loaded up the wagon on a nice day and my daughter saw me bring my Bible with my keys and said, “Mom, everybody there is already saved. But I guess you should still bring it in case somebody new comes.” There are still a few I need to give the Gospel to, but praise the Lord majority of their friends have already accepted Christ as their Savior. They have heard a clear presentation of the Gospel and we had the privilege to pray with them asking for eternal life.

Today when I came home from an errand, one of the girls ran up to my daughter getting out of the car and said she wanted to talk to me. I called her name from the driver side and she looked up at me and said, “I forgot about God.” She was smiling and I know really what was in her heart. She just wanted to either hear it again or hear more. Unfortunately I had to go inside and make dinner but promised to meet at the park with the kids tomorrow so we could talk more about it. I remember as a child I had so many questions and I know my children even now do. I try very hard to find that balance between being there for my new little spiritual siblings in the faith and being respectful of their parents. Even though they ask, I never allow a child inside my home (and frankly it’s disturbing to me that parents don’t have a clue whose house they are going in). I always give the Gospel to them out in the open at the park and welcome anybody to come and hear it. Another family rule we have is even though they ask, they cannot come to church with us without a parent, we are not comfortable with that for a lot of reasons.  I feel that any child that is out and about alone on the street or park is fair enough to give them the Gospel to around the age of 10 and up. Yes it is scary, in the fact that I know I could have a parent upset with me. However chances are they probably are not going to hear it down the line anywhere else. Their souls just matter to me more than an uncomfortable conversation. Not only do I also want the children my kids play with to be saved, it is sort of a “preventative vaccine”(Romans 1) for a child turning into a reprobate as they get older and harming other children. There is such a thing as cursed children in the Bible. Besides anybody that has gone soulwinning before knows that a 10 year old is more likely to get saved than a 20, 30, or 40 year old.  When you look around at all the children in your neighborhood, think to yourself..”What if I am the only person around them that can give them the Gospel and lead them to Salvation?” You just might be!

Here are some tips I have learned from other Pastors-

If you are trying to get an adult saved and they don’t want to hear it, sometimes they will let you talk to their children. Ask them, “Is it alright if I tell the children a Bible Story?” And then guess what story you tell them? Bingo- Jesus dying on the cross for them. You can add many verses before and after tying it all in.

Best of all- Watch this over and over, it’s fantastic! I use many of the examples in this video below.

I find that when it comes to keeping children engaged it’s best to have most verses memorized but still show them some directly in the Bible. I like to use a lot of example and act out the gift illustration with one of my kids. My kids love it and pretty sure they could recite that part of the presentation on their own to explain to others.

I really like this picture below. It was from when we moved into our new house and our friend from church was helping us move in. He took a break to give the Gospel to the boy who lived across from us. He got saved and Elly just sat in the car and watched intently. Sometime last year I got to talk to his brother at the park and checked his salvation and was pleasantly surprised to hear him answer all the questions correctly. That gave me such hope and joy.

We never know how far our little efforts will go. I hope this post will encourage you to share the Gospel with all the children God has placed in your life around you at the moment. 

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 20:11 – Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work [be] pure, and whether [it be] right.

Matthew 19:13

Mark 10:14 – But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Isaiah 54:13 – And all thy children [shall be] taught of the LORD; and great [shall be] the peace of thy children.

1 Timothy 4:12 – Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
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My Salvation Story

I once was chatting with a missionary and told him how I felt it was a miracle that I was saved, given all the my past dumb choices that could have ended up with me dying before I heard the Gospel. (working a door to door sales job always alone, hitchhiking across the Mexican border often etc) However, his answer really impacted me, “Really it’s a miracle that any of us are saved.” Amen! Isn’t that the truth. I think about that often, at night when the chatter of the house finally grows silent. I try to wrap my mind around eternity, what Jesus went through and the awful reality of Hell. It’s enough to make me want to start pounding on my neighbors doors and beg them to get saved. At night is when the heaviness sets in of who is there and how I could have very easily been there now.

If you know me well then you know I don’t do well with moderation. I don’t dip my toes in the water. I take a look, decide I want to go for a swim and dive in the deep end.  I just don’t see the point of wasting time waddling in!

So that meant when I was a Catholic as an adult I went to mass DAILY, I went to confession weekly! I turned my house into a shrine with idols and even a little holy water fountain by my door. The Catholic gift shop was the way I thought earned brownie points with God. Surely He must be pleased with me buying the biggest rosary beads in the shop! And oddly enough the more I believed I was saved by works, I lived a more sinful life.

When I became a flight attendant I didn’t have insurance and could no longer get my prescribed anti anxiety/depression pills. Talk about a bad combination, a new job (when you have a huge fear of flying), being in far away countries pretty much alone, and getting off these drugs..which makes you suicidal!!

I remember the day I thought I would end my life in Kuwait. I decided I would eat one more time at the breakfast buffet  I liked so much then I would permanently check out. I understand how people do stuff like this now because it is just so irrational, you feel like you are drowning inside your brain and you just want it to stop. I was sitting alone when an older lady from my crew asked if she could sit with me. I stayed practically silent as she talked about being a Christian and the work she did with troubled women. On the way back to our rooms I have no idea why but I blurted out that I felt like I wanted to kill myself that day. She immediately began to pray for me in the hallway and all the way to our room. When we got to my door, I asked her where she was staying and she pointed to the room right next to mine. She invited me in and prayed for me for what must have been a couple hours and she didn’t leave me alone. We had been flying all night and were exhausted and she finally let me go to sleep because we had another flight soon.  I remember her words to me, a stranger, I mattered enough to her that she was willing to loose the little time she had to sleep. I’m sad to say I don’t remember her name. I never saw her much again after that day and I wish I could tell her how her kindness impacted me and probably kept me physically alive….still I was not saved.

The next night in Germany in my room I found a Bible in my nightstand and cried holding it for the entire night. I could not stop crying and then I felt a presence in my room, as if someone was sitting right next to me. It was so real but I imagine it was my extreme lack of sleep at that point. But I felt for the first time that everything was going to work out. My life would have meaning again. To be patient. And I slept like a baby after that. Now to be honest I just don’t know about this today. I am not claiming the Holy Spirit spoke to me at all, I had the Bible in my hand and I didn’t really read it. I don’t know how much the Lord has interaction with the unsaved. Obviously I had the wrath of God abiding on me (John 3:36) and God is angry with the wicked every day but I know He wanted me to get saved and loved me enough to die for me. I don’t know if there was a spirit in the room with me or what kind of manner of spirit if that. All I know is that I felt peace, I felt like something had passed ( almost like a demon had gone out, some kind of release) and after that I felt clarity of mind and out of that dark cloud. A few months later I met Joe, in many ways he did save me..but I still was not saved….

He told me up front he was not going to attend a Catholic Church, he was more of a non practicing Pentecostal guy. Still I managed to drag him to get Izzy and Elly baptized and that was the only two times he stepped foot in a Catholic church.

Tired of going to church alone, I was willing to agree on a compromise. We decided on a Southern Baptist church close to home. I ended up being the next baptism in our family after a Sunday School teacher told me my baby one didn’t count and NOW this would make me part of God’s family. So confusing. Not saved still-

I was giddy and I ate it all up. I loved all the million programs, the rock concert, the fun and short sermons, you name it, it was soooooo different from boring Catholic mass. Sadly no one ever asked me if I was saved. During that first week I attended a ladies night out where there speaker told her salvation story of how her childhood idol Pat Boone got her saved at a Las Vegas hotel and baptized her in the Cesar’s Palace pool. She asked if this was your night to give your life to Christ, or something like that, to come up to her after the talk was over. Well sure enough with all the courage I could muster I went to where she was signing her books for others and I told her..”This was for me tonight, I need to do this” or some blabbering like that.

She brought me over to the Pastors wife to talk to me and it was confusing because they just kept asking if I knew the Lord and was a believer. Well yes, as a Catholic I knew who Jesus was very well and I did believe. Long story short..I did not get saved that night.

Typical me..I dove in head first. I was there every service, I was there every Bible study and performance. I volunteered to teach an English class on Wed night that they held for free for anyone in the community who wanted to learn English.

I thought it was strange though, we couldn’t really go into our religion. The girl I taught the class with rebuked me when she heard me tell another student that Catholics weren’t Christians.

I thought that  was odd. I read the NIV cover to cover that year and felt..nothing. I enjoyed reading the Bible but it left me with questions and slowly the dark feelings started to come back. I made an appointment to talk to the Pastor because something just didn’t feel  right. I know what it was now..I had NO assurance of my salvation and I was SCARED. Did I pick the right religion, church? What would happen if I died? I believed in Jesus and was a “believer” but that was it. I got the same thing from the Pastor, “You believe in Jesus right?” Yes…sigh..Logic does not save souls, let’s just say that. I walked away from that conversation like many of the people we run into soulwinning. If you would have asked me if I was sure I was on my way to heaven, I would have answered “I think so, I hope so.”

It was at this point that we had two kids and I wanted more and I wanted to homeschool them. I was intrigued with large homeschooling families. The values portrayed on certain large family tv shows that I was drawn too, were very different from the liberal new evangelical church I was attending. I didn’t know how to reconcile the two in my life.

I was searching for large family homeschool blogs one day and I found Are they All Yours. 
Of course I loved it and read all the postings, I didn’t know that her husband was a Pastor until I saw a post she did about a sermon he preached against church nurseries. With clicking on the Youtube page I found the door to door soulwinning demonstration, this exact one. 

I wish I had written down the date, but I remember the moment so vividly. I was there in my room, watching this presentation and for the first time in my life it ALL made sense. The Gospel was clear, salvation was clear and it was amazing. Who in their right mind would reject this free gift? I called upon the name of the Lord after placing all my trust on him and knowing I was never good enough to earn it and I would never be bad enough to loose it, truly is a free gift. God’s true Words clearly spoken by another saved person indwelled with the holy ghost is what I needed to be saved Romans 10:14.

After that moment and when I had my woman at well moment getting my husband saved….our lives changed forever. It was a sad thought I had wasted 27-28 years of my life being unsaved and reaping and sowing from terrible choices.

The changes in my life were from a combination of these verses..

Luke 7:47-Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
……I was forgiven much….and I loved much!Well as much as I could obviously keeping Romans 3:11 in mind.

 If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
I loved hard preaching because it truly was pruning me and I saw the results. 

We then started going to Independent Fundamental Baptist churches for the next several years until we moved to Arizona.

Only enough just like strangers will compliment on your well behaved children but freak out when you tell them you use spankings to achieve that, so is another phenomenon.

Here we were church members that were very pleasing to them showing up at every service, tithing, showing up to soulwinning, doing extra things, dressing the way they agreed with, etc but upon hearing how we got to be that way or even in that church to begin with, because of certain online preaching, we would get rebuked. Isn’t that strange?

After truly getting saved I read the KJV cover to cover and I can honestly say it was a completely different experience/book than the NIV. It truly is more powerful than a two edged sword. (Heb 4:12) Of course I’m sure it had much to do because now I actually had the Holy Spirit to help me understand the Bible.

 My favorite and life verse since I read Proverbs in the KJV for the first time…
(Proverbs 3:5-7)
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.

This verse was truly my life map to hold onto..when I was scared verse 5 reminded me to trust. When Gods wisdom differed so vastly from my peers at liberal churches I came back to verse 5. When making any decisions, I went to verse 6. Lastly when it was time to purge and get rid of the sin in my life..verse 7 was my rock. It’s a pretty popular verse but I thought it was funny, strange how it always popped up for me like on a mug in a gift exchange, various other places. After 4 years of being saved, growing and learning and wanting to be apart of the church responsible for giving me the true Gospel and shaping up the life that I LOVE…how would you feel walking in to said church and seeing THIS verse painted on the new mural? 

I haven’t ever had any of those dark feelings since I got saved. It’s amazing to me how Joe and I are two COMPLETELY different people from when we met and and fell in love and yet we are even more in love now. 

When I think about my life, I feel an overwhelming sense of joy.

 When I lead somebody to the Lord, I feel an overwhelming sense of purpose and collaboration directly with God. 

When I see all my children when I was told at 19 I had a slim to none chance of every having children, I feel tremendously blessed.

Following God’s Word is what has given me the life that I have.

 Not only did Jesus save me, that would have been enough, but John 10:10 is true!
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

True, not every day is all roses, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak of course! Not to mention all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. However there is no denying a life in Christ AND doing His work is truly more abundant. What a an exciting ride the Christian life is!!

That is my salvation story and if you are reading this and not saved, today is the day of salvation!