Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Idol Family Update

For those who don’t know, my family and I moved to San Antonio about 2 months ago. Although we miss family, friends, and our home church back in the Rio Grande Valley we sure do enjoy the benefits of living in a large city with lots of fun things to do. Lately I’ve been posting about my daily lessons with The Lord but I wanted to give you all a quick update on what has happened in the last two months.

We came to San Antonio with three of our furry friends: Penny, Cocoa and Sugar and unfortunately about one week into our move Penny ran away. We were very sad especially since she’s been a part of our family for about 8 years. We hope another family is being blessed by our sweet little chihuahua and that she’s not running out in the big city alone. 
My parents and my siblings live in San Antonio too so it has been nice to have them around. Growing up my dad worked long hours and although he’s still working hard he has Saturdays off so we’ve enjoyed “family days.” We’ve visited nearby towns, theme parks, great attractions, and eaten delicious food. I also have one niece and two nephews who live here so my kids have had some great cousin time. 
My husband Mitch, has been blessed with some wonderful opportunities. He got a job with IDEA Schools working as a photographer for them. He takes amazing pics by the way! Here’s just a few he’s taken since we’ve been here. 

 He also has his real estate license and has been working with Remax Realty Advantage. Both jobs offer him flexibility which means lots of family time.

I’m still a stay at home mom. Sophia just turned four this month. Jack just turned two a few days ago and sweet baby Chase is five months old and growing like a weed. These kiddos definitely keep me busy and I love it, but I’m also grateful for outlets like my blog that keep my passions burning and keep me sane! This is definitely not a flattering picture of myself but it does a good job of portraying my everyday life! 

We love the home we are renting! It’s in a quiet neighborhood and so close to great restaurants and just a walk away from a YMCA. 
We feel so blessed that The Lord has guided our steps and we are enjoying our new home in the city of San Antonio. Thank you to all of our friends and family who have been praying for us and keep in touch. 

With much love,
The Idols

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Follow the Leader

Throughout the Bible Jesus asked people to follow him.

Matthew 4:19 - And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Luke 9:23 - And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

I am what you call a Type A personality: competitive, ambitious, impatient and aggressive just to name a few. Following is not exactly an immediate reaction of mine. I tend to do the leading. So you can imagine how my "have to be in control" attitude tends to get God's attention for some humility lessons. Well, I'm still learning and growing so in those moments when I think I know more than God does He so kindly and gently reminds me that He's in control and knows what's best for my life.

As long as you follow God he will prepare the way. If I'm following Him he has to be in front showing me how to avoid obstacles and situations. The moment pride creeps in and you take your eyes off of him you can go in a different direction or maybe even worse jump in front of God. Don't take the lead. Have we forgotten He's the Creator, He's the Author, and the Giver of Life? My actions prove that sometimes I do forget but I'm thankful God is patient with me. Make Him priority. Be aware of His presence and acknowledge Him everywhere for He does know the way!

Additional Resources:
Axiom by Bill Hybels

Power Verses:

Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Be Still

     Have you ever heard the phrase, "Silence is golden except when coming from children...then you'd better go check to see what's broken." The first time I came across that little quote on Pinterest I chuckled because it is so true to a parent.
     But seriously, silence is golden. How often do you sit in silence? As I'm typing this up I'm sitting on my rocking chair outside (the kids are napping!!! Woohoo!!!) and all I can hear are the leaves blowing on the trees. It feels so good to be in silence. 

We have too many distractions. We don't know what it's like to enjoy being still. We have social media at our finger tips, our phones connected to our ears, the television on, and the music blaring. I enjoy all of these things and on a regular basis, but I can live without it. Could you? 
     A while back I went on a month sabbatical from Facebook and I thought it was going to be difficult, but it was quite the opposite it was refreshing to focus on just my family. As a family we've gone through several seasons of disconnecting the cable and having no television except for a few cartoons here and there for the kids (or maybe it was for my sanity?). 
     One thing I've enjoyed about my Yoga class is the silence. Nobody talks. The only noise you hear is your breathing. Not only is it good exercise but I've found it to be great meditation and prayer. Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God." Are you quiet enough to hear His voice?

Additional Resources:
Discovering Soul Care by Mindy Caliguire 

Power Verses:
Psalm 46:10 
Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 62:5
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone

Lamentations 3:28
Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Confessions of a Christian

The book of Colossians is just rich with truth. I've spent some time dissecting each chapter and a few verses in the final chapter (4) caught my eye. To set the stage a bit there was a lot of false teaching going around so Paul writes a letter to the church of Colosse to encourage believers to march forward in spreading the gospel. Here are a few things he writes in his instructions:

1. Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful (vs. 2)
2. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (vs.3-4)
3. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. (vs. 5)

Let me take a moment to confess something I'm not proud of. The last time I shared the gospel with someone was about 11 years ago. I've been a Christian for about 16 years. Now, in the last 11 years I've been a part of ministry opportunities where I've traveled to different parts of the world to share the gospel: Mexico, Thailand, and Europe so I've been able to share my story and tell others about what God has done in me but, the last time I was able to share Christ and see someone's life turn around and their eyes be open to God's truth was 11 years ago. Wish I had the time to share the story about this young girl's conversion and our friendship but that may need to be another blog post for another day. God's word brought a healthy conviction to my soul as I broke down these verses for myself.

Verse 2, Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. It's a good reminder. Not only should I pray but I have to be aware. Daily, God is creating moments where I can teach or demonstrate my love for Him by my words and actions to those around me. Be watchful of who may be listening or looking.This could be your spouse, your kids, unsaved family members, the lonely mom at the park. And who knows how this could translate into action???

Verses 3-4, And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Pray for other believers too. Challenge each other in a healthy way about spreading the Good News. Do you know any missionaries? We have brothers and sisters in Christ who are spreading the gospel and need our help in prayer!

Verse 5, Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. You've heard it before, actions speak louder than words. So be wise in your actions and make the most of every opportunity! Are we too busy to extend a hand to those in need? The other day my mom shared a heartbreaking story about a homeless man sitting in a restaurant and was told to leave so he could be served outside. My heart broke. Thankfully my parents made the most of the opportunity and bought the man breakfast. I can't get those 6 words out of my head, make the most of every opportunity! Walk with your head up and eyes open.

I have failed to do this. I've been comfortable and content in my little bubble of happiness that I haven't sought out opportunities to share the Good News. I've been selfish. The goal is not to beat you up or for me to sulk in my sorrows but Paul makes a good final closing point. Not sure how this looks for you and your daily routine of life, but ponder on Paul's words and then move it into action.

Additional Resources:

The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels

Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Power Verses:
Romans 1:16
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (NIV)

Mark 16:15
Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation

Ephesians 5:15-16
Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Connecting to the Source

I've been a Christian for a while and on this journey I've learned that prayer is the way we connect with God. It's like having a spouse or a best friend. You don't go days without talking to them. If you miss a day without speaking to them you feel the void. You live in harmony with them, you dialogue about your day, you vent with them, you share your joys and frustrations. So why is it so hard to do that with God? Here are three reasons why I think we don't pray.

1. We can't physically see him.
We are visually minded people and most of the time we want a live human being in our presence to talk to. God is absolutely present in your life. You may not be able to see him but He's there. He's the breeze you feel in the morning. He's alive in the Bible when you read it. Sometimes a little faith is required.

2. We don't have the time.
This is probably the biggest reason why we don't pray. We feel like we don't have the time in our schedule. Big mistake! We make time to watch a tv show or go on vacation which are all ok but when it takes precedence over The Giver of Life we've missed it. Listen I'm not a master in this area. I stay at home with three little ones and they keep me on my toes. I've learned that my prayer times don't have to be long sessions. I think early mornings before kids get up and nap times could allow some lengthier conversations with God, but the Bible also says pray without ceasing. So how does that look? Say a short prayer in bed before starting your day, in the shower, while cooking, or while cuddling with your kids. There is more time than what you think and trust me the Devil will make sure you "never have the time."

3. We forget the benefits.
I heard a quote once, "Prayer is the ultimate love language. It communicates in ways we can't." You can't always be physically present for someone in their time of need but you could pray. What blessings have we missed out on because we didn't feel like praying or didn't have the time to do it? Have you ever prayed for someone and their prayer was answered? Didn't you feel a sense of joy that you were God's instrument during that time? God wants to use us by standing in the gap through prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ and those who don't know him. If we don't who will?

So find out what works best for you and your life. There is no magic formula or right way. Just start a conversation with God and you'll see that He's a good listening ear and He wants to communicate back to you. You'll soon find yourself in a place where you yearn and desire to connect to The Source.

Additional Resources:
Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels
The Power of a Praying books by Stormie Omartian (I've read The Power of a Praying Wife but she also has a whole series geared towards the mom, husband, couples, etc.)

Power Verses:
Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to pray, being watchful and thankful. (NIV)

1 John 5:14-15 
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him. (NIV)

Philippians 4:6-7 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Family Nights

     My kids are 4, 2, and 5 months old so we are just now able to do some fun things with them and we are having fun as a family creating memories together. Last week we carved pumpkins, made dinner together as a family, and watched a movie. We try to do family night once a week. It's a real treat for the kids and watching them get excited makes my husband and I excited too. Here's a sneak peak of what we did. What are some cool ideas you do with your family, I'd love to hear them?

What's Your Story

      I love learning about people and their lives. I'm just intrigued by their stories. The same with reading biographies. You get to be a part of someone's world by reading where they came from and what their interests are. Or maybe you're like me and you see a photograph and you wonder, "what was going on at this moment in this person's life?"

     Have you ever thought about what your purpose in life is? Why did I come from "this" family? Why do I live in America and not Africa? Why the hardships? We all have a story and within that story there's a back story, everything that takes place before the story that is being told. Your past, your childhood, your present day circumstances. People live their lives not knowing they have a back story yet it impacts their lives so deeply. It effects who they are. Who are we? Who were we made to be?

     Unfortunately in most cases we tend to lack the back story because we don't sit down with our families to understand where we come from. When we better understand where we come from we are better equipped to know where we are going. In some cases our back story isn't too pretty. In some cases we don't know because we've never met our real mom, dad, grandparents, etc. to help us piece our story. Sometimes we do have all the information but we haven't connected the dots.
     The good news is this, no matter your story whether it's been uncovered or undiscovered you can trace your life meaning and purpose in God's word. Read the Bible to learn your back story instead of loading your brain with information. Dive into His word to discover your inheritance, your future, the plans God has for you! Your story has the capability to serve a greater purpose, God's purpose.

Additional Resources:
Power Verses:
Ephesians 1:11-14
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (ESV)

Jeremiah 1:5
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (ESV)

Jeremiah 29:11-14
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. (ESV)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Re-writing the Past

     We've all experienced a desire to re-write the past. Whether it's because of something you did or said and regretted or something done to you. If you are alive and breathing then you've experienced the hope of turning back time.  In most cases this applies horizontally, with people/relationships.

     Relationships are messy but they are also necessary. We live in a world where everyday we are interacting with people. The lady at the cash register, your child's teacher, your in-laws, hello…your spouse. Because we live in a fallen world where nobody is perfect there will be hurt and pain. It's not a matter of "if" I will be hurt it's a matter of "how" will I handle my hurt when that day comes.                                                                        
     Even Jesus experienced hurt and mind you I'm not speaking about the soldiers at the cross he was hurt by those closest to him. Peter denied him. Judas betrayed him. The human race, the very beings God created specifically for relationship, we hurt him, but God brought us closer to him through the cross, which makes a relationship with Him possible. Thank you Jesus!
     So we can't re-write the past. What is done is done. Will you allow the past to make you stronger? God has a life message through you. Have you asked God to "use this" so I can be a means of healing? You can't control the outcomes of others you can only control your own actions or reactions. It stinks, I know but Jesus came for no other reason than to restore relationships. If he's in the business of restoring we should be too.
      I realize that for some people reading this you may have had terrible things done to you, hurtful things said to you, maybe even by someone who was meant to love you and for that I am truly sorry. I'm not undermining your hurt or pain (that's a whole other blog post!) but what I am saying is that the past has already been written let's move forward. Thank the past for all the lessons and tell the future you are ready. None of this is possible unless you have God by your side and grace to extend.

Additional Resources:

Relationships: The key to love, sex, and everything else - by Dean Sherman

Power Verses:

Psalm 55:22 - Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (NIV)

Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (NIV)

Monday, October 21, 2013


      I've been reading the book of Colossians and I keep coming back to verse 6-7 of chapter 2, 
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." 
There are so many gems in this two piece verse but I want to really hone in on one portion, rooted. 
     Through out the Bible and sermons I've heard, we as Christians have been compared to trees (Jeremiah 17:7-8, Psalm 1:3). Did you know that the root system of a tree performs many vital functions? In winter, it is a store-house for essential food reserves needed by the tree to produce spring foliage. Roots absorb and transport water and minerals from the soil to the rest of the tree. Roots also anchor the portion of the tree above ground. It is important to keep the portion above ground healthy to ensure an adequate food supply for the roots to continue their important functions.
     Ok now let's break this down to how this applies to us.
  • Roots are a storehouse for essential food needed to produce spring foliage. If you are a tree where are you rooted? Are you rooted in bitterness, anger, life, joy, peace? What will you produce? Think of a beautiful flower. If it's healthy it's growing beautifully, but if it's roots are not deep and getting the essential food it needs (water, sun, etc) then it won't grow to its full potential, it will eventually wither and die. So if you are rooted in bitterness beware of producing hate and anger. If you are rooted in joy and peace you are producing life gifts.
  • I love how it explains that roots anchor the tree. Have you ever seen an enormous tree and thought how in the world would this tree ever be moved if needed? Years and years of it's roots growing deep and getting the adequate food supply it flourished. 
  • The reason it was such a magnificent tree was because its roots went deep down. The beauty that was evident above the ground was the result of the unseen roots beneath.
     So it is with us as Christians. We are not to focus our attention on trying to fix up our "branches" - that is, trying to be good Christians, or to live like Jesus by our own efforts; rather, our focus should be on our "roots," allowing the truths of the Word of God to be deeply planted in our hearts and to become a reality in our experience. If our roots in God are strong and healthy our outward lives will automatically show the life and nature of Christ to those around us.

Additional Resources:

Power Verses:
Jeremiah 17:7-8 

 "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." (NIV)

Ephesians 3:17 

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, (NIV)