Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Some pictures

Well, what's new? We haven't slowed down too much around here, although I have been trying to rest often, thinking I won't be getting that chance to once my folks leave on Friday. Dad and Mom being here has been great! We've had some good chats, the girls love them to bits, and they have both been a great help around here. Cleaning, playing with the girls, taking them for walks and to the park, cooking, etc, etc, etc... I'm very thankful for the time they've been able to spend with us! I won't post much except share these pictures below. Last week we had an impromptu photo session - Dad and Mom took the girls out, one at a time, and shot some pictures of everyone. Then we got a family one done too - a lot of the pictures turned out really nicely, so I thought I would share some of them on here.

Here is Papa and Nana with their Mexican grandchildren:
Our family

Our five sweethearts

All of us girls

Our Mika-girl

Shaelynnie

Cutie-Kyla

Our Vivi

Miss Alisa

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lots to pray for!

There are a few specific things I would appreciate your prayer for. This past week, the youngest son of friends of ours back in Canada died very suddenly. Please pray for Jim, Cilla, and their two other sons, Reuben (his wife Julianne) and Nathan. We're reminded in 1 Corinthians 12:26, "If one member suffers, all suffer together;" Of course many friends and family members are affected too. Please remember them in prayer too.

My sister's oldest daughter Katja (4.5 yrs old) was born with a club foot, and goes for surgery tomorrow to have her Achilles tendon "clipped" (not the medical term, I'm sure), so that things can stretch out properly. Your prayers for this would be appreciated as well.

Our girlies have all (except Alisa, thankfully) been sick with gastro-intestinal troubles the last few days. Some fever too, but all has been pretty low-key. It think we're mostly on the mend, though - hopefully none of the adults will get it!

I don't know if any of you have heard of The Voice of the Martyrs. I don't know a lot about it, but there is a magazine and books that helps inform believers of the persecution of Christians that goes on all over the world. Something we know very little about, really. Richard Wurmbrand was the founder of the organization. Recently, Mr. J. McMaster from the UK had this quote as his status on facebook:
"It was strictly forbidden 2 preach to other prisoners as it is in the captive nations today. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided 2 pay the price for the privilege of preaching,so we accepted the terms. It was a deal; we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching; they were happy beating and so everyone was happy" Richard Wurmbrand.
Incredible, isn't it. Please pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted. Please pray for believers in North America to truly live Christ, and be obedient to His Word.

I've been reading in Acts, and will just share a couple verses that caught my attention this morning - this is just after Stephen was martyred: "And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria...But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word." Acts 8:1,3 & 4

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Will I be faithful?

We are enjoying the wonderful joy of having a newborn in the house. Her red, velvety skin, her kissable cheeks, and soft squirms and squeeks. There is lots of hugging and snuggling going on around here - and not just with the baby - all the girls are getting in on lots of loving!

The conference went quite well, from what I heard, and Alisa and I actually did get out Saturday night after the last meeting so we could see the baptism of 3 young men, and then stayed for supper afterward. It was nice seeing some believers there that I don't usually get to see.

I've had a few thoughts floating around in my head the last few days that I wanted to share - I'm not sure if it's having a new baby in the house, or if it's because I had been thinking about it earlier. Usually after having a baby my brain doesn't concentrate very well while reading my Bible, but maybe I'm not sleep-deprived enough yet (I'm getting there quickly, though!!) =) I've just finished reading Joshua, and started the book of Judges. I had a good discussion with my parents the other morning, and then as I was reading my Bible later, some verses caught my eye. While we talked about several things, Personal Convictions, and What is our Purpose as a Christian?, are a couple of the things we discussed, and we talked about how we were made to bring God glory.

Hopefully this will all make sense as these thoughts come together and how everything seemed to relate as I read later. At the end of the book of Joshua, Joshua gathers all the people together, and reminds them of God's faithfulness and His promises to them. Then he says, "Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness." "...choose this day whom you will serve,...as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:14 & 15) The people's response: "The LORD our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey." (vs. 24). Then Joshua died, as well as the high priest Eleazar.

Now turn to Judges. "And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the LORD had done for Israel." "And all that generaltion also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel." (Judges 2:7 & 10)

In the above-mentioned post called Repetition and Testing I spoke about the thousands and thousands of people who died instead of going in to the Promised Land, and the children were left without parents to guide them along the way. The same sort of thing happened here, but the parents were there - unfortunately, they got side-tracked and were unfaithful, never teaching their children about the Lord like they were supposed to. How sad.

As I read a little further in Judges, I read about Gideon. Israel was oppressed (because of their sin) by the people of Midian for several years. One day, an angel of the LORD appeared to a young man named Gideon. Gideon asked the angel, "Please sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us...? But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian." A little later, the angel told Gideon to, "...pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the LORD your God..." (Judges 6:13,25 & 26). So here we read that the children only got part of the story! Gideon's own father has built false gods to worship, yet still expected God to bless them.

So, I got thinking - what will people say at the end of my life? Was I faithful? Faithful to God's Word, seeking to bring honour and glory to Him and His Name? Did I raise up my children to know the Lord, and the great things He has done? Have I told others, in truth and love, about their need of sins forgiven and the wonderful Saviour who "...came into the world to save sinners. (John 1:29)?

I want to be faithful. Do you? Will we hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master." (Matthew 25:21) ? Let each of us be "...faithful in all things." (1 Timothy 3:11).

"When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose," (Acts 11:23)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Gracia!!

Today is my brother Jeff and Marianne's little girl Gracia's 4th Birthday! Her Nana just posted some pictures recently, and this is a really sweet one of her:

The whole family in July 2010
Here is the only picture I could find of the 3 siblings together, sitting with their Papa - Jared is now 6 and Lucas is 19 months.
Gracia, I was thinking about how much you are loved - by your parents, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...but especially how much you are loved by God! What an amazing thing to be loved by Him. We have a wonderful God, and have so many reasons to love HIM too! There's a verse in John 14:23 where the Lord Jesus says, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word," The Bible is God's Word, and I know your Mommy and Daddy are helping you to hide His Word in your heart as you learn verses and memorize them. God shows His love in many ways, and when we obey God's Word, we show our love for Him!
Wishing you a wonderful Birthday, Gracia, and sending lots of love from all of us!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We're Happy to Announce...

...the birth of Alisa (Al-ee-sa) Bethany Woodford!! She was born this morning at 430, and weighs in at 8lb, 2.5 oz and is 20.5 inches long (or 3.705 kg and 52cm). She is a precious little darling, and we are so thankful to the Lord for her! Since I am still in the hospital, I'll have to wait before posting any pictures of her.

Tim went home for a bit this morning, and my Dad and Mom and the other 4 girls came back to the hospital with him for a bit - it was so great to see everyone, and of course the girlers love Alisa!

We are all doing well, and are actually hoping to make it home by this evening some time. Will update again soon! =)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Visitors!

Yesterday Tim went up to Tucson with Mika and Shaelyn and picked up my parents! He also got a baby car seat which we desperately needed, and couldn't find a good one here!

Kyla, Vivian and I had a great day together - baking, cleaning, playing, etc. Amazing what a person can get done when there is "just" two children! =) I say that tongue in cheek, as I remember many days when there were only two, that I couldn't get anything done - it's all perspective. Now I have an amazing 8 year old, along with sometimes helpful 5, 3 and 2 year olds who help out. Probably the biggest difference has been me learning how to utilize my time and resources better!!

The gang arrived at about 830pm - so we unpacked the van, got some supper, and all of us were asleep before 1030pm, I think! It's great to have Dad and Mom here - and now we just wait on our little Bean to arrive!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Love and Respect - for families

I can't remember if I wrote about the book I've been reading recently or not. It's called "The Language of Love and Respect" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, and thankfully, with all the doctor's appointments I've had, I've had lots of chances to read it. I'm sure many have read his other book called "Love and Respect". This newer one is not just a "I-made-lots-of-money-on-the-first-one-so-I'm-going-to-write-another-and-make-more" book, but it helps to physically put love and respect into action in a couple's life. One thing I really like about these books, is he isn't just putting out a theory to try, or sharing a good idea. He takes what God says in the Bible about relationships, and expounds on them.

I remember ministry by John Dennison that I heard when Tim and I first started dating. He was speaking on the 10 Commandments, and for "You shall not commit adultery." (Deuteronomy 20:14), he spoke on what the relationship opposite of adultery is, in Ephesians 5:33, "However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." I remember him speaking on the family unit - husbands are commanded to love their wife, wives are commanded to respect their husband, children are commanded to obey their parents. None of these are to be done if the other does their part, but it is to be regardless of what the other spouse does. Unconditional. I don't know if he had read the book on Love and Respect then or not, but there are a lot of similarities in what they say/said.

One of the most significant things about the book (I think), is how he speaks of how often a husband or wife will wait to speak/act lovingly or respectfully to their significant other - waiting until the other is "worthy", or when they start acting "right" towards them. I confess I have done this many times! Pure selfishness, and immaturity is what it comes down to. He talks about 3 Cycles in a relationship - the first being that "Crazy Cycle" where:
"Without his love, she reacts without respect;
without her respect he reacts without love
."

Then there is the "Energizing Cycle" where:
"His love motivates her respect;
her respect motivates his love
."

The last is the one the Lord would have us always be on, the "Rewarded Cycle", which is:
"His love blesses regardless of her respect.
Her respect blesses regardless of his love
."
He teaches, from the Bible, that this cycle is not just about our marriage, it is about me and my relationship with the Lord Jesus. My first task is to love, reverence and serve Him, no matter what. When we show love and respect to our spouse - regardless of how they are acting toward us, we bring glory to God. That is what is most important.

While this book doesn't magically make people perfect, the Lord has used the teaching from His Word to miraculously change many indiviual's and couples' hearts toward Him. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, whether you have been together a long or short time, whether your relationship is a good one, or not so good. It is an excellent book, and has been a tremendous help to me in my relationship with Tim.

This is going to sound crazy, but, the real reason I'm writing about this right now, is what I have learned in regards to my relationship with my daughters. I feel like I am on the "Crazy Cycle" with them. I confess that I never would speak to anyone else the way I have spoken to them, and I have come to the point in the last few days where I realize, I honestly don't know how to treat and speak to the girls with love and respect like they need. I understand the cycles in adult relationships - I now have a lot to learn in how to apply love and respect in my relationship with my children. Recently I read this article by Sally Clarkson. Wow, really good! It talks a lot about how love and respect influence behaviour, etc., and how it is necessary for training our children. I have been convicted while reading this book about how I need to change how I act/react in my relationship with Tim, but even more so (for me, right now), in my relationship with the girls. While I have prayed many times for wisdom, guidance and direction in raising our girls for the Lord, today for the first I confessed the sin of treating them in such a wrong way, and told Him of my specific need for help in treating them in a loving/respectful manner at all times. I remember my grandpa saying once, "There's never a reason to speak harshly to anyone - especially not a child." Yet, that's been my reaction so often. I don't know where I learned my behaviour, although I'm sure it started out with good intentions - but I know I am now at the beginning of another road to being un-trained on the bad behaviour and re-trained on the good. I have read SO many verses in Proverbs about how I ought to be speaking, but for some reason I have applied to everyone but the girls. I think I'll finish with some of the ones I've written down recently.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue." (Proverbs 18:21)

"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." (Proverbs 31:26)

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." (Proverbs 10:19)

"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Proverbs 12:18)

"...those who plan peace have joy." (Proverbs 12:20)

Friday, March 11, 2011

39 weeks

One week to go until Due Date!! I had a cleaning "bug" this morning and afternoon, and got lots done - washed walls, swept and mopped the whole house, and dusted - yay! I had good, strong contractions for a couple hours, but then they stopped. Got a nap in for about an hour after that, so I might not be ready to drop into bed at 9pm tonight, for once.

We have a busy day planned for tomorrow - children's meeting in the morning, a cleaning 'bee' at the hall in preparation for the conference next weekend, then young people's in the evening. Perhaps we can fit in having a baby too...?

I was feeling a little sorry for myself the last few days. I've been so ready for this baby to come that I was getting grumbly and complainy, wishing that he/she would just arrive already! While I was cleaning this morning I was recalling words I'd spoken to one of the girls earlier in the day, "Why don't you think of all the wonderful things you do have, rather than wishing for something else?" Mmmhmmm. In our family Bible reading in the morning, we are going through Genesis, and Tim reminded us the other day how one act of impatience on Abraham and Sarah's part, instead of waiting for God's perfect timing (taking Hagar as Abraham's second wife, and Ishmael was born), has caused millenia now of division between the Arabs and Jews. I was thinking too of the children of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt, and how they complained when they were hot and tired - legitimate things, right? But God considers the impatience and complaints as sin, and so although I am still excitedly awaiting the arrival of this sweet little baby, I have decided that I will trust God's perfect timing (I can't change when this baby will come, anyway!), and be thankful for the time I can spend uninterrupted with my husband and other children before his/her arrival. I would appreciate your prayers, however, for more patience and thankfulness!! =)

Will let you know when we finally have some news!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Keenan!!

Today is Tim's sister Joia and Philip's son Keenan's 4th birthday!! Here is a picture of the sweet little man himself:

Sweet family photo - I love this one!

Keenan and his Daddy

Keenan and little sister Moriah (2 yrs)

While thinking of a verse to put on here for your birthday, I began thinking of how you are the man of your house while your Daddy is away. Then I was thinking about King David, who God called "...a man after my heart, who will do all my will." (Acts 13:22) What a wonderful thing to be called! To be a boy or a girl, or a man or a woman after God's own heart!!!

We pray often for you, Keenan. We pray about lots of different things, but most of all, that you will be saved, and that you truly will become a man who loves and serves the Lord Jesus Christ, and follows Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength!

Hope you have a WONDERFUL birthday, sweet boy! We love you lots and lots!

(All photos stolen from Keenan's Mommy's blog - www.pjknews.blogspot.com - thanks, Joia!)