Monday, August 30, 2010

1 Day Down....

...169 more to go!

Of school that is!! =) Today we finally started back to school and schedule once again. It's a nice feeling to "get back at it" - it would have been even nicer if things had run as smoothly as they had when I was imagining how it would go!! Our girls are Not "sleeper-in-ers" as a general rule! Often they are awake before 7am, and we have a rule that they are not allowed out of bed (unless to use the bathroom), until 7am - which isn't usually a problem. Since we've come back from Canada though, almost every night has been a late one, and they have been sleeping in until sometimes 8am!! Last night was no exception of staying up late, so when I woke the girls up just after 7am this morning, there were a few grumpies that needed to be worked out!

Our wall with our schedule and verses we are memorizing:
Finally getting started!!

Shaelyn was totally ecstatic, and would have liked to have gone through her whole book in one day! =) Mika was more reserved, but did her work really well, and quickly. We started cursive writing, and she was excited about that (thankfully!) Kyla enjoyed colouring for about 1/2 an hour, and then was fine to go and do some different activities. While I was teaching Mika, both Shaelyn and Kyla worked on puzzles for a while, and really liked that. We were done shortly after 11am, and then left to go to the airport to pick up Jessica K, who is staying with us until Shad and Debi come down from Phoenix on Thursday. Mika is quite enjoying her company, and is currently up in her room chatting her ear off! =) We went to Carl's Jr. for lunch as a treat for the first day of school, and came back to put sleepy girls down for their naps.

This last week has been extremely crazy busy, with last minute school preparations, schedule making, and getting ready for John and Michelle's "Fairwell" on Saturday night. In typical Mexican style, we began about 1.5 hours late, but other than that, went really well! =)

This sign was made by the young people:
"With thankfulness for all you have done!"
The Dennison Family
We had a yummy supper of carne al pastor (pork tacos, served with pineapple) as well as beans on tortillas as well, with cake and fruit for dessert. Eleo had worked hours with the young people, getting a picture taken of them all, and put together a 15 min. video (it's on her facebook, if you're interested in seeing it) of pictures from the five years since they've been here. Then almost all of them wrote a thank you note, and they were displayed at the end. It was very, very touching.

I have been enjoying the daily devotional, "My Utmost For His Highest" by Oswald Chambers recently. Some of his thoughts are extremely challenging, while others are uplifting and encouraging. The one for today was challenging. It was based on the verse in Luke 10:20, "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not,...but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." Mr. Chambers writes,
"Jesus Christ says, in effect, Don't rejoice in successful service, but rejoice because you are rightly related to Me. The snare in Christian work is to rejoice in successful service, to rejoice in the fact that God has used you. You never can measure what God will do through you if you are rightly related to Jesus Christ. Keep your relationship right with Him, then whatever circumstances you are in, and whoever you meet day by day, He is pouring rivers of living water through you, and it is of His mercy that He does not let you know it. ... It is the work that God does through us that counts, not what we do for Him."

How easy it is for me to list of the things I've "done" or "am doing" for the Lord. Yet when I look at my own heart, and see a quick temper, impatience, and lack of love for others - what can I boast in?

"If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness."
(2 Corinthians 11:30)

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ... For when I am weak, then I am strong."
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Then in my personal reading this morning, I read, "Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 16:24-25). My heart burned thinking of times and circumstances I have wasted on myself, instead of using them faithfully for Him. When I was talking to my sister on the phone a week or so ago, we were talking about struggles with sin that we have. I told her, "You know, while I understand where people are coming from to a certain extent, it frustrates me when someone says, 'You're being too hard on yourself!' We serve a Holy God. His Word tells us, "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:14-16) I wonder sometimes if half of our problems of complacency and apathy as Christians is because we don't take these verses to heart. I don't want to be a "half-beat" Christian. I want to live my life giving honour and glory to God, and His beloved Son (and my Saviour!), Jesus Christ. I fail at this daily, but I don't want my failure to stop the desire. This past Friday was my birthday. I turned 27 - wow, young, eh!?! =) That day marked 27 years that I have been "in Christ". Not only hours and days of those years have been wasted, but years have been wasted. I was reminding Mika the other day of a poem,

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last."

It's easy for me to "work" on overcoming some sins, and ignore the "accepted" ones. You know, like being angry, impatient, having a lack of love for others. Ones I mentioned earlier. They certainly aren't terrible sins like lying, stealing, murdering, or commiting adultery. Ha! Just believing that those sins are less of an offense to God is a lie. These sins definitely hinder my life and its usefulness for Christ. I was thinking recently specifically of another person's sins who are affecting other people. It struck me almost immediately that there are people all around me (4 little and 1 big specifically) whom I affect daily as well. I often find myself "preaching" to myself as I am disciplining my girls.

Whew! I wasn't intending to write all this when I sat down, in fact, I think it was going to be a quick little post to show the happenings of the last few days. I hope some of these thoughts and "ramblings" are a blessing to you, and I'll be "back" in a few days hopefully, with more updates.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Lucas!!

Today is my brother Jeff and Marianne's youngest son's 1st birthday! Here's a picture of sweet Lucas this summer.

A family picture taken while we were back in Canada: Gracia (3), Jeff, Jared (5.5), Marianne and Lucas (11 mos.).A picture of all the "Sharp" menAnd a picture I just can't resist putting on here 'cause it's so cute! Lucas and his Daddy. =)

Dear Lucas, You are a sweet, precious blessing from the Lord. You have been "fearfully and wonderfully made" by the loving Master's hands, and we pray that your life will bring much glory to Him!

This is the verse I was thinking of as I was preparing to write this post. "But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness." (1 Timothy 6:11) The apostle Paul was warning Timothy about temptations and sin that could enslave him, and how he needed to turn from them, and instead follow God's will and plan. Paul called him a "man of God". This is indeed what we desire for your life, Lucas - that you would be characterized by those 3 short words, a man of God.

Happy 1st Birthday, Lucas Jefferson!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I love productive days!

I think we're finally making some progress, and getting back into a little routine. Our "stuff" from our trip has finally been put away, and I was able to get on with some regular things like ironing (2.5 hours worth) and baking (yummy banana chocolate chip muffins - recipe below)!

Next I start on our regular home activity schedule, cleaning schedule, and school schedule, plus I want to figure out a Bible-reading plan. I used to use a One-Year Bible, but haven't now in about 3 years. I once read through the Bible in (slightly more than) 90 days, and really enjoyed the continuancy of that, but I think I need to stretch out my time frame a little - maybe to 6 months instead, and go through the Old Testament once and New Testament twice in that time. For any of you who are interested, and have the time, the 90 day Bible reading plan is amazing in a lot of ways - I found that so many things "clicked" with me as I read it, since the timing wasn't so far apart. Especially so with the minor prophets. You can find it by looking on line. Of course, with this new Bible reading plan also will need to come the discipline to go along with it! That means making sure I get to bed in good time, as well as getting up when I'm supposed to! That's one of my goals for this coming school year. =) We've actually done pretty well getting to bed in good time (about 1030pm) except for the night Eleo came over and we watched Anne of Green Gables. We're saving The Sequel for two nights, since it's about 4 hours long!!!

Things are slowly getting back to normal as far as sleeping patterns and behaviours too (for both the children and their mommy). Eleo and I figured out today when Spanish lessons start again for the girls and I, so that's nice to have accomplished. I'm still trying to get back into the swing of making meals every day, and going grocery shopping on a regular basis. Lots of things get out of whack when a person is away for 6 weeks.

There were times this past week since getting home I didn't think we were going to make it! Lack of sleep, grumpy attitudes, and then, on Tim's birthday, catastophe after catastophe happened. I thankfully can't remember all of them now, but Eleo was coming for dinner, and I was trying to get the house cleaned up, so I was rushing around. I had finally cleared out our living/dining room area of "stuff" (mainly moved it upstairs!!), made a carrot cake, and then swept and mopped the main floor. I still needed to ice the cake and get the meatballs made, and was (of course) running late. The day before, Tim had bought me some flowers (I have the most wonderful husband in the world, just in case you didn't know!), and as I was putting them into a vase, Marika asked if she could put some flowers into "her" vase - a beautiful old vase that was my grandmother's, and that Mika had "won" at an auction at our family reunion this summer. About 15 minutes before Eleo was supposed to arrive, Marika climbed up on the computer chair (that has wheels), to check to see if the flowers in the vase had enough water in them. She had her hand on it, and at that same moment, Kyla came over and pushed the chair. SMASH! Glass and water flew everywhere! Thankfully no one was hurt, but Marika was totally crushed, and cried for at least 10 full minutes. I called Eleo to tell her dinner was "delayed" a bit, and then Tim and I cleaned up. That was the biggest catastophe, but there were many, many more that day! Dinner did go okay, and the cake was very yummy, and enjoyed by even the little girls.

I haven't even looked at any of our pictures from this summer yet, and since we'll be starting school in 1 1/2 weeks, it's not likely to happen soon, but if I get more accomplished than I think I will - then maybe!!

Tim is down in Tirocapes tonight, preaching the gospel. We have our regular meetings on Sunday, Bible study on Tuesday, Ministry on Thursday, and young people's on Saturday, plus gospel meetings Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights in Tirocapes. Enough to keep occupied! Some good news from Tirocapes is that an older gentleman who came out to a couple meetings in the beginning but didn't show much interest, his name is Manuel, has been coming out regularly recently with increased interest. On a sad note, the two daughters of Rosa (whose home is behind the little hall) who were both interested before, are now showing less of a desire to hear the gospel.

Before I go, here is the recipe for the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins that Mika and I made this evening. This recipe is from COOKS.COM, and these muffins are the yummiest and moistest I've ever had.
-1 stick butter
-1 cup brown sugar
-1 egg
-3 oz. softened cream cheese
-1/4 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
-2 ripe bananas
-1 1/2 cups flour
-1 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. salt
-3/4 cup chocolate chips

Cream together until light and fluffy: butter and brown sugar. Add egg, cream cheese, sour cream and bananas. Beat well. Fold in flour, baking powder and soda, salt and chocolate chips. Blend until just moistened. Spoon in greased muffin pans and bake 20-25 minutes at 325 C. Makes approximately 12-16 muffins.

I won't guarantee they are the healthiest in the world, but definitely the yummiest!! =)

That's enough for now, I guess - gotta go get my girlies some supper! Good night!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, my Tim!

Today, and for the next 10 months, I get to say Tim is MUCH older than I am!! =) Today is my beloved husband's birthday!!

Now, I may sound biased, but I think if you've never had the opportunity to meet my Tim, you've missed out! When we met, I was attracted to him for various reasons, and here are just a few: he was a godly man who love the Lord and wanted to honour and serve Him; he had a great sense of humour; he loved his family and friends; he was respected by both his peers and older people; he was a great singer; he had wisdom beyond his years, he had a great smile... I could go on-and-on, but I'll stop there! =) I can honestly say that since then, none of those things have changed, and in fact, I greatly appreciate the fact that in many areas, they have only gotten better.

Satan hates what God loves, and marriage and family is very important to God. I am well aware that the fact that I have a husband who not only loves me, but also puts much effort into the building up and sustaining of our marriage and family unit, is not something to be taken for granted! I am so thankful, Tim, for your love for the Lord, for me and for our children. You are a wonderful husband and father, and I love and respect you so much!

Some verses I know that are already very important to you, but I was just thinking of them, and thought I would put them here as an encouragement for you to go on:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. " (Hebrews 12:1-2)
A family picture in March 2010

Tim and I in St. Thomas, ON - July

Tim and his 4 siblings this summer

All of Tim's family - August 2010

I love you more than I could ever tell you, my Tim. Have a wonderful birthday!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggidy-jig!

Ahhhh, it's great to be home here in Mexico! We left Sunday afternoon around 3pm, and arrived here today at 12 noon - so with the 3 hour time change, we made it in 48 hours.

Everything went pretty well on our trip, for which we thank the Lord, and now we just need to unpack the van and try to find our routine again!! I'm sure I'll be back on here in a few days after we've recovered. =)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

On our way...

It's hard to believe we have been in Canada since the last of June, and now it is time to head back to Mexico! We are all sad to be leaving our family and friends whom we love so much, but we are definitely looking forward getting home!! Our weeks have been filled with lots of fun and laughter and visiting (as well as traveling, complaining and crying to balance things out!). =)

It is in the wee hours of Sunday morning now, and the van almost completely packed. We hope to head out after meeting and a quick lunch tomorrow. We would definitely appreciate your prayers for us as we would travel - we hope to be in Hermosillo by Tuesday night, Lord willing.

Since we don't plan to stop overnight, I likely won't be writing again until we're home and settled in again. Many blessings to you all, and I pray you enjoy this Lord's Day.

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17)