Thursday, September 29, 2011

Latest Reads

I had some great reads on hold at the library and finally made the time to head over and pick them up.

"Affordable ideas for a relaxed home"...
Cheap Chic: Affordable Ideas for a Relaxed Home

This one I'm liking because it emphasizes making the most of what you have, going neutral and natural (but some of their colors seem a little unnatural if you ask me! like hot pink), cost-wise treating your interior like your wardrobe (a little here, a little there), and using color to enhance architecture. This book is extremely down-to-earth, and has oh-so-inspiring pictures.

Practically Posh (Smart Girls' Guide to a Glam Life)...
Practically Posh: The Smart Girls' Guide to a Glam Life

This has a lot of information you may already know, but it covers everything. From how to save on grocery shopping to caring for your clothing. Awesome.

No Place Like Home...

No Place Like Home: Tips & techniques for real family-friendly home design

You almost get a little discouraged with this read after Cheap Chic. But it has great things like how to arrange your furniture, which artwork to use in a room and other fun stuff.
Yesterday, while my youngest and I were stuck at home with the sniffles, I got the itch to decorate my home for Fall. I had been wanting to, but homeschooling has been priority lately, and by the time we are done with our work, I am too exhausted for any creatives juices to flow. We had fun creating things:

As it says on my chalkboard-painted framed paper...Autumn has officially come here in the PNW! And I will give you the quote written on the black frame we created artwork on, behind the words of I-N-S-P-I-R-E (since it's hard to see).

"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face."
John Donne

I agree.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Unwanted Break

My youngest girl and I are sick today :( Being sick is not fun, but it does give us a good excuse to be at home, resting. (Of course, Mom doesn't always have the luxury.) It has been forever since we've been sick. I don't think I've been sick this entire pregnancy so far. Normally, right now we'd be at Bible study, serving. Poor B is sad she has to miss her class; she's NOT sick. She said,"Mom, Dad can just drop me off." Ha.

At Bible study, Katie is in the infant class with me. Reason being, she's only 17 months and a beginner walker. The toddler class is for those who've been toddling a long while and are between 18-24 months. Also, there are about 18 toddler already in that class! There are only about 9 infants. I love the infants! Yes, they only have one language (crying) and are needy, but their needs are simple. They basically eat, sleep and fill diapers. Recently having an infant, I am familiar with this stage. Recently discovered that a little one in my class is just like my girls...the mom has red hair, and dad is half-Filipino. Also, the dad is 1/4 Irish. Crazy! My husband has red hair, and though I'm half Filipino, I'm 1/4 Irish (my granddad is full-blooded Irish). You don't hear/see that every day1

The only hard thing about the class is that my daughter, K, is clingy. She is the oldest "infant" and I think, jealous of me holding other babies. Good prep for her! At the church nursery, she has no problem. I am not holding little ones the entire time. There are kids her age present as well. There are better toys and more room to walk around. Oh well, it's good training for us both!

Here's to better health!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Small Details

My eldest daughter sits beside me creating her thank you notes while I type this post out.

Why is that an important detail?

Usually, when doing school assignments, I have her sitting apart from me. She is in her little world and I'm in mine. I am productive paying bills or (not-so-productive updating my blog) but my girl is daydreaming on the other side of the kitchen, perhaps needing a prodding every other moment to finish her work.

But right now is different.

B is social. Very social. As I peek at her right beside me, I realize she is doing her work quicker than ever. Why? Because she's with me. And that somehow prompts her to finish; it gives her company.

Hmmm. I need to remember this.

Yesterday, at church, I asked another mom how homeschooling was going. It's her first year (though her daughter's in 3rd grade) doing this, so I thought I'd encourage her with a few words. You know, "Keep it up", etc. On the flip side, she inspired me. She said she didn't know why she always required her daughter to do school work at her desk. It was okay for her to do Spelling on the floor, or Reading on her bed. The more we talked, the more I gleaned ideas and realized I lacked flexibility and perspective on some things.

What a wonderful thing to open up and talk with others about life. Simple words of experience can be life (or day) changers .

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Really, God sent the sunshine just for us. What a perfect setting to welcome a day in remembrance of Amelia, our second daughter.

Most parents are thrilled to give birth, because they have a sweet, warm body to cradle and hold at home later. And though we held our daughter in our arms as well, we had to relinquish her to the undertaker and really, God Himself. What a hard, gut-wrenching day that was.

It blows my mind that it was 3 years ago. She would be 3 years old today. It makes my heart ache at the thought. To know our daughter could be running around the house, playing with her oldest Sister, and teaching the youngest new things.

But that's not what God has in store.

He has something greater (of course in our minds it seems sadder) for her life. To spend it in Heaven with Him. This means that once again our hearts our pained for the loss of our second girl, but at the same time, it means Amelia is without pain and we never have to wonder about her eternity. So, in a way, we both mourn and celebrate Amelia's absence in our life.

We won't always mourn.

One day, Jesus will return and we will reign with our Savior as well...and join Amelia. This is what creates joy and we can truly sing...Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone; because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living just to know He lives. Because our God lives, Amelia lives, and we are able to have eternal life in Heaven, even when this one on Earth is over.

Human life is a miracle. But eternal life? That is an even greater miracle indeed.

We miss you and love you, Amelia! We always will.

Friday, September 23, 2011


I have seen the light!

Well, I've seen that we have blackberries in the neighborhood anyway. If I'd known we had them sitting around in thorny bushes for free, I would have been picking years ago. Funny how when you have kids and are trying to be a healthy mom, you get more creative.

It all started when a friend of mine let me know of an organic raspberry farm in the valley near us. My eldest was so excited to pick, but when we arrived at 9:30 a.m. they were already gone! We were both craving berries so badly. When there's a will, there's a way. I remembered my neighbor had picked some blackberries nearby, so I asked her the location. And there they were! At the beginning of their season, but still somewhat ripe. I picked a bunch and we had enough for blackberry cobbler.

Since then, we've picked three different times...for blackberry jam, for a mere snack, then again night before last for a Crumble! Here's the link for Williams-Sonoma Blackberry Crumble. Believe me, it is yummy, though not healthy, per se. The mixture of blackberries and apples is heavenly.

Blackberry Crumble

Anybody involved in late summer projects? I am starting a very small one. When I'm finished, I'll try to remember to post pics.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two Announcements

It's...another girl!!

I must admit, we were a little disappointed to hear "girl" and not "boy". That, however,
lasted about 1 minute because the words "healthy", "textbook heart function", "nice kidneys", "beautifully developing brain", and "super healthy" prevailed! Each of our daughters is a miracle, and this one is no exception. Now onto name-choosing! We are not that couple who right away has a name chosen. No, without fail, it's always about 2 months 'til.

I am already thinking up cute crocheted headbands to make, a "welcome dress" to sew, and perhaps a baby room makeover for our new princess! I also informed Mike that I am all over coordinating the girls' outfits this time round, so he had better watch out for some cute photo shoots. Ahem...*hint* *hint*, Kari.

But first of all, I have to make it through this pregnancy. Oh that pregnancy would be shorter and holding the baby would be sooner! But I guess you can't have one without the other. I am 21 weeks and baby, from head to rump, is about a carrot-length (whatever that means). Okay, I guess it means about 10 1/2 inches long. Our girl is specifically 13 oz. Cool, huh? Our technology these days is mind-blowing.

My other announcement is that Katie is OFFICIALLY A WALKER! She now prefers walking to crawling (so would I). I now have to watch her like a hawk because she will escape out the front door, climb across the deck, out onto the driveway, walk up the driveway, and right into the cul-de-sac! Ack! Enough to scare this mama out of her wits. And she's not much of a complainer. If she falls, she dusts off and gets right back up. In fact, she adores grass and dirt (another reason I have been giving more baths these days). Honestly, I love it. This stage so far is my favorite. I love watching her explore.

Brilla is now 5 and is in her second year of kindergarten. Some things still need to be mastered. Two things we are a little ahead in is Reading and Math. We are both excited to start cursive in the winter! I try to get "in and out" of school, so she has time to do the other things she loves, like ride her bike in the sunshine, paint, and draw. Brilla is on her first soccer team. It's a hoot. It never dawned on me to teach my daughter some skills (though I've played all my life???) so now we have P.E. time, in which we do just that. Last week's game, she was the goalie. In the rain. The first goal went right through her legs and the second went right past her as she daydreamed up at the sky. Ha!

I am cooking again, much to the delight of my husband and believe it or not, Brilla. Of course, it's simple stuff and I like it that way. Things like hamburger pizza, homemade marinara and spaghetti, and baked salmon. I was going to grill my salmon last night, but alas, the propane tank was out. Especially sad, when I wanted to try out the cedar planks. However, with simple seasoning, the salmon was a hit.

I am also decorating my home. Since the kitchen is now green, I have put up some black/white flower curtains from IKEA and my sweet husband has installed new, inexpensive white cabinets above our washer and dryer (in our kitchen) to replace the old shelves. Now we have more, hidden storage. The theme for my kitchen is black and white, with some splashes of red. I think the simplicity will highlight the green better, making it less loud. Last night, I found some cute framed pictures at the store. There were also several other SWEET items that I said no too, because I realized I could probably make them myself.

My allergies are at an all-time high. My eyes constantly itch an my nose drips. Allergies are very annoying. They make me irritable. When single, I got allergies all the time. Since being married and having children, I rarely get them. For some reason, pregnancy brings them out, though. Maybe it's all the extra blood pumping through my body that produces extra fluid. I don't know. Hoping the irritability goes away :(

Being Filled with the Holy Spirit

Amazing how we can read the Bible, yet be totally blind to spiritual truths until the Holy Spirit teaches us its meaning. Especially when we're stubborn and we think we already know what it says. Either by denominational background or just plain misinterpretation by those we grew up around.

Such is case with me and understanding what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

I say is because the Holy Spirit is still revealing to me about Himself (and I'm sure until Jesus Himself returns). But I could also say was because just this week, my husband and I had a long talk, while reading Scripture and going through my Bible study notes...and I was BLOWN AWAY! Thank you , Jesus, for showing me, by your Holy Spirit, what it means to be filled with your Spirit!

All my life, I have not known what it truly means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I grew up in a charismatic background, where, even after being a believer, you continually had to ask the Holy Spirit in. Whether is was by blowing or other (and it grew stranger) means. Now, this may be just me, but I thought that the believer was always filled with the Spirit and at certain times, received an "extra" unction by Him to speak powerfully, whether in tongues, or prophesy. As if, in that moment, the Holy Spirit fell upon a believer.

Now, this may happen, but not due to a mere feeling-inspired, excitable request for the Holy Spirit to come!

However, I also joined the other side during my teens in Baptist and other circles where being filled with the Spirit is rarely encouraged, preached on, or talked bout. In fact, it's shied away from! It's slightly taboo. Because the subject has been misunderstood, unfortunately, it's not a popular subject in conservative circles.

Firstly, let's decipher between baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit. They are two different occurrences.

It must be cleared up that prior to Pentecost, the apostles had just seen Christ go up in the clouds. They had the Holy Spirit because Jesus had been with them. Now that He was gone, the Holy Spirit was with them, but not yet in them. In fact, Jesus said to wait to witness until the Holy Spirit had baptized them. Hence, at the day of Pentecost, they were baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Believers no longer need to ask the Holy Spirit to baptize them; this immediately occurs when we trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. When we are convicted of our sin and repent, surrendering our lives to Christ. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38

So, it is not a mystery. Every believer automatically receives the Holy Spirit at new spiritual birth.

As for the filling of the Holy Spirit, this can occur numerous times throughout the believer's life. We are to ask the Holy Spirit to fill us. It is also possible to have been filled with the Spirit and later not be. It's possible to grieve the Holy Spirit within us.

When a person receives Jesus Christ as the Savior, the Holy Spirit baptizes them into a new creature, the old has gone, the new has come. This lasts forever. We are sealed until the day of redemption. However, it's possible to allow sin to remain resident in our lives instead of surrendering it to the Lord; hence, grieve the Spirit. Someone who was once filled with the Spirit and has now grieved Him may experience a drought of joy, love and peace that only the Holy Spirit brings. This believer might feel like the Holy Spirit has left. This drought will continue only until that sin(s) have been confessed and repented of through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more a believer rids themselves of this crippling sin, and surrenders, replacing it with what God wills us to do, the more a believer is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. The Christian is then able to grow spiritually and be of great use to Jesus. Each time we yield our will to His, confessing and turning away from our sin, we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Can I say, often, in a believer's life, when the pruning is most painful and we have to empty ourselves and see our great need for Christ (cause we can't do it ourselves), it is then that we are most often cleansed and filled with the Holy Spirit? Remember, being filled with the Holy Spirit isn't wholly for our moment-filled excitement, but mainly to experience His power working through us for His glory. Most often our response will be, "Lord, where did that come from?!" We then realize it was through the power of the Spirit, the work of God in our lives. Praise Jesus! He gives us a peace and joy amidst our circumstances. Not something the world can give.

Hopefully, I have not thoroughly confused any one reading this. But, just a little more on the subject, seeing that it is slowly clearing up for me....

All Christians are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It's to be the norm. To not be filled with the Spirit is abnormal. To lack that love, and be filled with fear is not to be. To be stilted by sin, crippled by disobedience is not God's will. We are to put away anger, wrath, malice, put away corrupt communication. To not put these away is grieving the Holy Spirit. "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Holy Spirit." Ephesian 5:18

Looking back, I can see times I have been filled with the Holy Spirit and the times I have not been. I accepted Christ at age 9, but in my teens, I struggled with temptation and often gave in. I grieved the Spirit, and hence, felt empty, depressed, and like a failure in my Christian life. Thankfully, I repented, and I remember seeing spiritual fruit grow, a fervor develop to share Jesus with everyone I came in contact with. However, there have been other times since then I've wanted my own way and will, not His. Yet, by His grace, the Holy Spirit does not give up on us. He convicts and prods and brings us to our knees! "And I am sure of this, He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

So, even though my understanding was limited, the Spirit filled me and worked through me anyway. However, now I know. And I am excited. I want to be filled to the brim with His Spirit. He is not Someone to shy away from! He is the One to long for, to seek after, to pray for. The apostles longed for all believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit and receive spiritual gifts. Of course, this won't come at no cost to myself. I have to deny my own selfish desire to do what He asks, be transformed, conformed. But the reward is great. His joy, His peace, His love is lasting!