Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Dirty House

Scraps of wallpaper, drips of paint, dishes all over my living room, our Keirug on a chair in the dining room--THIS is what my house has looked like for weeks.

McDonalds, KFC, pizza, McDonalds, Burger King, McDonalds--THIS is what my menu has looked like.

Metal pans, canned goods and all the wonderful things you don't want your kids to get into are freely available.  It's been a party for the kids.

All this because our house is being slowly remodeled or, more accurately, our kitchen. Since my husband only has a day and a half free each week to work on it, it's been a slow process. We have found some amazing people, even some volunteers, to help us and, overall, it's not been bad--If you can stand the mess. :-)

Personally, it's been rough. Hubby and I both like things orderly, or at least in it's place. We have been eating out at fast food restaurants or using our toaster oven for a couple weeks since it's hard to get to anything or find anything.  It's been a WRECK.  Even when I clean my house right now, it doesn't feel clean.

It's a bit overwhelming and recently I thought, "I would have rather just lived in this house, the way it was, then to go through this mess." It's plain dirty.  I don't like it!

Then, today, it hit me.  This is like my spiritual life.  I know there are issues I need to clean out and fix up, but it's work and it's DIRTY.  It's going to hurt, it's going to be embarrassing and I am going to lose things that I have held on to.

A dear lady in our church said it best, "REVIVAL IS MESSY!"            

When Jesus cleaned out the temple, He made a mess.  He overturned tables and stirred up some dust.  When He died on the cross, it was HORRIBLY painful and messy.

When we give up that sin habit, there will be withdrawal pains.  When we make it right with that person, our pride will feel stomped on.  When we decided to put aside _________ to make time for our devotions, we are going to have to give something up, or at least put it off.

Fixing up the house is work.  It's dirty.  It's tiring. It's stressful. ...but in the end, IT'S SO WORTH IT. much more our spiritual house. - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, April 27, 2015

RSV #2

I can’t believe that I am at home sitting in my bed within 48 hours of our daughter being in critical condition in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).  My mind is tired and a bit numb, so I feel the urgency to share this testimony before I forget all the amazing details.

Let’s start at the beginning.  As many of you remember,  "T" came down with RSV last October and ended up in the PICU.  She was in the hospital for a week, and even that recovery seemed to be a miracle, but nothing like this.

In my mind, I NEVER thought she would get RSV again.  I had heard that it could happen but not to my baby.  So on Monday, when she started "dripping", I thought it was  just the common cold.  Tuesday, we happened to have a well-baby visit but it still wasn’t anything the doctor was worried about.  On Wednesday, I even took her to Bible study.  I just didn’t take her into the nursery.  However, I did notice that toward the end of the night, she seemed to be struggling a little more.  I  gave her a breathing treatment and put her to bed, thinking that she just needed some rest.

At 2am, I heard her crying and went in to feed her.  She wasn’t sitting or standing, just giving a weak cry and tossing and turning.  At that point, I woke up my husband and we counted her breaths.  I  soon realized she was hyperventilating.  Then I called her pediatrician and she told me to go right to the ER.  I had to throw some clothes on, so I turned on the hot shower and had hubby stand in the bathroom with her.

He came out very soon and told me that I needed to call 9-1-1; he didn’t think we were going to make it to the hospital. The poor little miss just needed some oxygen.

Skipping ahead, we got to Nemours Children's Hospital, where she was admitted into a room and put on some oxygen. Then they gave her a test and,  VOILA,  it was a dear “friend”-- RSV.  When we got the diagnosis, my heart sank, but at the same time I THOUGHT I knew what to expect.

Now, there are about 5 different levels of machines that aid breathing, from oxygen connected to the wall to a respirator that breaths for you.  It seemed that they continued to have to raise the air flow and levels of machines.  She kept on pulling in and trying to suck air like a fish out of water.

Then on Friday night she became very critically ill.  I had a friend visiting and we were chatting when the doctor came in.  The doctor took her hand and performed some tests to make her respond, but "T" just laid there, not even fighting at all.  They got very serious and put her on a non-intrusive ventilator.  Then we were told that if she wasn’t better soon, they would have to put her on the breathing tube and respirator where the machine breathes for you.  At that point, the machine she was hooked up to was doing 80% of the breathing.

They also hooked her up to machines to watch her carbon dioxide, another deciding factor for the respirator.  Even though my husband had already put our son to sleep at home, I told him that he needed to come.  He got some babysitters and came right away.  One of my close friends and her husband came as well to be with us.

I started letting people know how serious it was and that she needed prayer.  My sister started getting the news out and soon we had many more people praying, in addition to our family and church.   People started sharing the news and the Lord was hearing a lot of prayers for our sweet "T".

We made it through the night and the next day.  It touched me to see how many people were praying.  I logged into Facebook and just cried over the responses of people praying for our little girl.

At that point, "T" was stable but so weak.  She needed sustenance, so they started talking about a feeding tube.  Our next prayer was that she could be weaned off the ventilator and onto a 3rd level machine. That was about the time when a big change began to occur.

The nurses were able to wean her off the ventilator but, since she had been so bad, they didn’t want to let her eat and risk aspiration, in case she had to go back on the ventilator.  BUT it was like "T" had so much strength from all the prayer that she just started taking things into her own hands.  I joked with some of the nurses that they were going to see this little black-outfitted ninja baby crawling/sneaking out of the hospital.

It started with her IV.  "T' somehow yanked it out of her arm.  So they tried to stick her again.  (Too many times--I had to leave the room).  Finally they decided to put the IV in her head since the veins were so prominent there.  However, she has hair that pulls too.   She was miserable!  The tube kept kinking and when they were fixing it, she reached up and yanked it out.  She was DONE!  They decided at that point that they would let me nurse her; if she didn’t get enough liquids they were going to put her on the feeding tube.

….ummmm "NO!”  Once she started eating, she really started improving. She began sleeping better and her fight REALLY came back.  She played with her daddy and started yanking.  We put her in arm restraints even she got out of those.

Finally this morning, she yanked the breathing canula off, again, tape and all.  Since she yanked it all off, they had to order more tape and stickers to keep it on.  During that ten minutes, she kept fighting me to keep the oxygen away from her face and I just let her.  When they got back and saw how well she was doing without the oxygen, they decided to give her a trial to see how she would do without it.

They had been weaning her slowly but it wasn’t fast enough FOR HER.

The doctor said that if she could do well overnight, we could go home Monday morning.  However,  "T" did so well during the day,  that the doctor let us do an early discharge and go home.  So I am home typing this testimony.

I am so grateful to all the people who went WAY out of their way to provide meals, to come visit, to take care of our needs, to babysit Avery, and especially to pray.

"T" is still not 100%, of course.  She is still healing.  So please keep her in your prayers. Also please pray for wisdom for us.  We are going to need to take some measures to try to build up her immune system and keep her away from germs as best as we can. Ultimately she is in God's hands and,  can I just say, He does an awesome job!!   :-)


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Are You Full Of?

Grab a cup of coffee, a blanket and a good book and head to a quiet place. That is how I relax. 

Now, let’s say that I have a cup and it’s full of water but I want coffee. I could try to pour coffee in and maybe I might get some coffee-flavored water, but if I don’t empty that cup out completely, that coffee that I want will be tainted. It won’t be the best it can be.

I can’t just add coffee to my water cup, I have to first empty the cup completely out and then pour the coffee in.

This is also true in my walk with the Lord.

Confession: it’s not just a ritual that we are taught to do so that we have access to God. It’s so much more then just that.

I have to first be empty of myself, so that I may be filled completely full of the Spirit.

Galatians chapter 5 is a great passage that speaks to us about what is carnal, or fleshly, and what is spiritual, living by the Spirit.

Ask God to show you what is not right and then confess to Him specifically what you are struggling with. Turn from that sin, empty it onto the cross. Ask a friend to help keep you accountable and run in the other direction.

During my quiet time, I like to clean my spiritual house of me and my fleshly desires. I confess my sins and then when I am empty of "me", I ask the Spirit to fill me up. I ask Him to fill every crack and crevice.

I want the Spirit to fill me from the roots of my head to the nails on my toes, so that when I am walking, I will be led in the right direction, so that when I am using my hands, it is with Jesus’ gentle love, so that when my lips are open, they speak truth WITH GRACE.

When I am led by the Spirit, I am more likely to bear the fruits of the Spirit and NOT the fruits of my flesh.

I need to be EMPTY of myself, and FILLED with the Spirit. Don’t try to pour that coffee in that water cup. It DOESN’T work. Don’t try to pour the Spirit into your filthy heart, there isn’t room in there for Him.

Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. and they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

- Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, April 20, 2015

Family Bible School 2014

Family Bible School is our church's version of Vacation Bible School (VBS). We call it FBS because our program is for the whole family. We have classes for adults, prizes for adults and the whole program is geared for the WHOLE family. It's lots of fun AND it encourages Scripture memory and spiritual growth for the family as a whole.

The theme for LAST year was baseball, so all our skits, games, songs, food and fun was geared around baseball. We called it ALL-STAR FAITH; the Bible lessons were about different people in the Bible who had faith. Thus, the Scripture memory contest was based on, YEP, Hebrews 11.

I hope this gives you ideas for your very own VBS or FBS. You might also find ideas if you are having a baseball birthday party or maybe even a baseball team party. Feel free to use any ideas and share below how yours turned out!

The decorations were fun. I decided that it would be neat to have our auditorium look like a ball field. My brains were Julie and Dana and the helpers were Kay and Michelle. They all did a fabulous job.

  1. The screen was the score board 
  2. Below it we made a fence and hung banners advertising different area companies on them.  I went to the companies in town and borrowed their banners. Most of them were all for it.
  3. I bought a green outdoor rug to look like the field and painted the pitcher's mound on it.   Then I placed the mound under the speaker's stand, so that he could "pitch his message to us" :-) 
  4. Julie filled the windows with bats, gloves and balls and gave it the all-star American look. 
  5. We also hung pennant banners in the fellowship hall where everyone ate. 
  6. All of the teachers were encouraged to wear their team's colors. 
    1. PreK-K - Marlins
    2. 1st - 3rd - Royals
    3. 4th - 6th Astro's
    4. Teens - Blue Jay's
    5. Adults - Padro's 
It wasn't overdone nor was it lacking in decorations. Feel free to use any ideas you like and let me know how it goes. - Rejoicing in the Present

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Putting God in a Box

I shared this quote with you recently:

If our view of God is anything other than His Self-revelation through His Word, then the god we worship is one our own making, one fashioned to suit what we want God to be. - Ron Owens

Who is God? Really, who is He? Is this the God you have heard about from Sunday School teachers, friends and great devotional guides? Does your "god" come from experiences you have had? Does He come from what you want Him to be? Do you REALLY know Him or know about Him?

I want you to think about this. You could tell the world that I am 6 feet tall, weighing 200 pounds, with short red hair; you could convince the world of that but just because you convinced the world and yourself does not make it true. 

Many times, we as Christians get ideas about who God is from experiences we have or stories that are told, but we need to pray and ask the Lord to help us REALLY know Him. We need to dig into the Word and find out the truth. The Book of Revelation teaches of His majesty and holiness while Psalms teaches about His character and His care. The whole Bible teaches of His grace, yet also of His righteous judgement; each Bible story gives us more and more insight into His mind. We will get to know the real Him, if we pick up the Bible and read it for ourselves. Don't let others tell you Who He is. You find out. 

...and let me give you a little hint. Even after all the studying you do, you will find out that there are still mysteries that we can't quite understand about God. Don't try to explain them away. He is GOD, hence the title "God." We will not get it all while we are on earth and that's okay. That is where faith comes in. 

So I want to encourage you to take God out of that box you put Him in. Let Him be Himself! Get to know Him, the God of the Bible. Accept that His ways are not our ways and be glad that we don't have to be God and know everything. You just have to trust Him to be Him. -Rejoicing in the Present

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Potty Training

I had heard about the potty training dance but I never really knew what it was, until I found myself doing it.  Um, yep!  


It's when you come home to find that your child got out of bed during nap time, took down his pants, went pee pee on the potty, pulled his pants back up, then climbed back into bed and went back to sleep.

This, by the way, was the FIRST time he ever went potty. This was the very first day we started potty training. So here is how it goes and here is the dance...

"A" wakes up and looks at his crazy-eyed parents.

Mom:  "A", did you go in your potty?

A:  *Confused look

Mom:  "A", you went pee pee?

A:   *starting to get it...

A:  "YEAH pee pee potty"

Mom:  That is sooooooo awesome! YAY!  *This is where I throw my hands up, clap, do a little jig and make lots of noise and excitement*  (that was my dance, if you missed it) while my husband looks at me like I've lost it.

Dad: "A", I'm so proud of you! You get raspberries!

As:  RAH-BERRIES mommy! Rah-berries!

All that to say this, I have been utterly DREADING the thought of potty training.  I still dread the accidents we have, especially the messy ones. However, my son really got it in about 2-3 days. He is still learning but he is doing so well.   I thought maybe I could share some tricks that REALLY helped me.  These are tips that were given to me.

  • THIS WAS MY FAVORITE. Let your child run around naked the first day or two; that way he realizes right away what is happening. I took up his carpet, turned the couch around in his room and had him play on the hard wood floors. I used a room heater to heat up his room so that it would be comfortable for him.
  • WAIT until your child is ready. I waited until "A" was 2 1/2.  My sister actually recommends 3 years old.  Don't start too early because it will take longer and your child may revert frequently.  It really depends on your child.  When A was 1 1/2 I felt like he was ready but I held off because of the above reasons and, knowing him, I'm glad I did.
  • REWARD!  We gave A raspberries and blackberries when he peed on his potty. This was a great motivator.  In fact, He would get up after he went and drink more water so that he would be able to pee again.  He's such a ham!
  • Have your child help you clean up the accidents. This is especially important when your child is too lazy or distracted by his toys to go potty.  
  • Potty DANCE!  OK, so you don't have to do a potty dance, but I would encourage you to be happy with them. This is a big milestone for them.
  • If your child reverts, don't make it a big deal. Just take them to the potty have them finish their business, clean up their mess and move on with life. 
If you have any more tricks up your sleeve, please leave them in the comments below! - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, April 13, 2015


I am reading a book about worship right now and I had to share what the author wrote... 

Often when people think of worship, their minds immediately turn to music. They think of music styles and talk of the type of worship or music they like. To them, worship is seen only in the context of music. ...they usually respond with something like "we have contemporary worship" or "our worship is traditional" or "we have a blended service." 

The real issue in worship is not if we will worship or how we will worship but whom we will worship."

To many, worship is music and music is worship and many worship music - Ron Owens

Return to Worship: A God-Centered Approach

WOW, is that powerful or what?  Where our music has gotten "off" is where our view of Him has gotten "off". The problem is that we have completely lost our ability to see who God really is--His power and might, His love and His righteousness. We forget how holy He really is and just make Him "one of us."

DEAR FRIEND, He is NOT one of us. Praise His Holy NAME! If He was one of us, we would have real issues. He could never have been able to rescue us from our pit of sin. 

He stooped, He lowered himself for someone like me, yet He is not just like me. He never gave up being 100% God. We need to reverence Him. We need to see Him as He is. Get in the Bible! Find out what the Bible says about Who He is.

If our view of God is anything other than His Self-revelation through His Word, then the god we worship is one our own making, one fashioned to suit what we want God to be. - Ron Owens

Ron goes on to say that we usually know God for what He does rather then who He is. 

You can only find Him in the Bible. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in the truth and to know the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. Get to know God, not who you think He is but who He really is. - Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"Candy Ball" Game

I found this game last fall and used it for our "Very Sweet" Christmas Party.  I can say this was an all-time favorite game with our teens. I plan to do this again, very soon!

What you need for the candy ball:
  • Bell/ball/toy (something for the center)
  • Candy
  • Clear packaging wrap (I got mine at Staples)
  • Packing tape
What you do..
  1. Place the bell in the center and wrap it with the clear packaging wrap. Then tape it with packing tape.
  2. Next place a piece of candy on the ball and wrap with the packaging wrap. 
  3. Continue the process, stopping every 10-15 pieces and wrapping the ball with the tape as an extra challenge
  4. Once your ball is the size you want, give the ball a few extra coats of wrap and then your done
How to play the game... (The official rules) :-)

  1. A player hold the ball and starts removing the layers.
  2. The player on her left is rolling 2 dice into a pan as fast as possible in an attempt to roll doubles
  3. When the player to the left rolls doubles,  he passes the pan and dice to his left and the ball is passed to him.
  4. He tears off as many layers as possible while the player to his left is rolling the dice
  5. And so forth.
  6. As the layers are removed, the candy starts to come out. 
  7. Players keep any candy that comes out during their turn.

I found this game from I don't recommend her blog but I do recommend the game. It's lots of fun! - Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sacrificial Love

John 15:12-13 " This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. How did He love us? Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Jesus was the ultimate example of love, a love that sacrificed everything. A true example of sacrificial love.

I have my own ideas about love and what I think it is.  I have expectations but they are not always Biblical expectations. The Bible clearly shows us that love is sacrificial. So, since my husband has lived this out over and over again, I wanted to share the blessing that he is to me.

When I first got married I often complained about what my husband was not doing right. I got so carried away with my expectations that I would miss the huge blessing he was in my life.

To clarify the story, I must tell you that my health is terrible. I'm not quite sure where and when it all started. It may have been resulting from my multiple back surgeries in my teens.  It may be due to the fibromyalgia attacks I get. It could be that I am a breast-feeding mommy whose nutrient-stores are depleted. It may be just that I have a weak immunesystem. Whatever the case, it's been a hard couple of years. Especially since my first child was born.

My husband has stepped up on multiple occasions giving up his time and energy to take the kids so that I can rest. He tries to go with me to most all of the kids' and my appointments; He's even worked his schedule so that I can get out of the house by myself a few times a week.

He works hard in his ministry at our church, giving to the children as well as the teens, and yet, when he comes home, he still has time for our family. He often calls on the way home to see if he can do pick anything up and when he walks in the door he asks what he can do. Our children ADORE him.

My son thinks his name is "daddy's boy" and my daughter is already becoming a daddy's girl. He puts our son to bed at night and "A" gets excited about the story that Daddy will share from the Bible. Many nights, even though he is tired, he willingly gives me a back massage because he knows it will relieve some of my pain.

With my husband, there are not a lot of love letters and chocolate roses ,but there is A LOT of sacrifices that he makes so that our family can be better. There are a lot of family walks and a lot of games. There are amazing breakfasts that we wake up to and lots of hugs and kisses.

I am FAR from a perfect wife. However, he does quite an amazing job at portraying the sacrificial love that Christ has for His church. I am so blessed that God gave him to me as a gift. 

John 15:12-13 " This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. How did he love us? Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Laying down your life doesn't always mean physical death. Sometimes it means leaving behind the life that you WANT to give someone else the life that they NEED. I am thankful for his love - Blessed & Rejoicing

Friday, April 3, 2015

Psalm 30

I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, 
and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.
O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: 
thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life
weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong:
thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.
I cried to thee, O Lord; and unto the Lord I made supplication.
What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? 
Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: 
thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. 
O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

What a BEAUTIFUL passage about the Lord lifting us up, healing us, and giving joy to our troubled moments. 

About half-way down the chapter,  the author is struggling with some huge sorrow and he is calling out  for a Savior. Then we see how God "hast turned for me my mourning into dancing"

My favorite verse in this whole section is verse 5b. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Our headaches, our pain, our trials are for a short time in comparison to eternity and it's glory. The night will end and the morning WILL RISE full of the SON. 
That being said the last part of this chapter is super important. When we are in a trial we are the first to call out to God to help us, but sometimes in our joy we forget to praise Him. 

Yet, our glory should always be HIS glory. "to the end that my glory may sing praise to thee." The only good in us is because of God. We must always seek to avoid calling attention to ourselves and make sure it goes to the ONE who gave it to us. "I will give thanks unto Thee for ever... because my glory is YOUR praise. - So much to REJOICE about. 

Picture credit: Google

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cradle to College

It was already a BUSY week as I was planning to go out of state with my family and a bus-full of teens for our annual college trip.  So when I stumbled onto an email about an upcoming consignment sale, I probably should have skipped it and gone on; however I did not. 

It intrigued me. I loved the idea that I could earn money from selling some of the baby items that I wasn't using. I was busy and so having someone else sell my stuff for me seemed to be the optimal idea. 

I registered right away, but due to some random mishaps, they emailed my husband instead of me. Of course, I didn't get it and, so I figured either this was all a scam or it was too late in the game. It was Tuesday and I had to have the stuff at the location by Thursday. So I asked for my money to be refunded. 

In the meantime I realized what was going on and I was able to connect with the team at Cradles to College. They were helpful and ready to assist and even offered to return the money if I was not interested. 

I only had a few days to collect everything and tag it properly and when I heard that we had to type everything out, I almost threw in the towel. However, once I got on their program I realized how it made it MUCH easier. 

If you go on their website, Cradles to College, they have lots of information on how to consign, as well as what to consign. One of the workers mentioned that there are also going to be video tutorials coming that make things even more simple. 

I believe my time with them was successful. I sold over $200 worth of clothing and items and received 70% or that.  All I had to do was properly tag the items and deliver them to the location. Once there I placed the items in their designated spots and they sold the items. Two days later, I picked up the items that were not sold (you also have the choice of donating), and my check. 

What I wouldn't do next time:

  • I wouldn't sign up 2 days before. Even though I was able to collect and tag the items during my kids naptimes, it still put a strain on me. I would slowly collect and tag the items over a period of time in preparation for the big day.
  • I wouldn't skim read the directions and tutorials. I would read all of their directions ahead of time. They gave some great tips; I wasn't able to digest it all due to the the shortness of time.
  • I wouldn't skip the shopping part.  Due to the busyness of the week, I only dropped my stuff off and never did any shopping of my own.  I think shopping would have helped me see competitors' pricing as well as helped me pick up some cute deals for my kids.
Ask around and see if they have any consignment shows coming up in your area. Research them and get involved.  If you live in the greater Orlando area, Cradle to College has three great locations that you can be apart of.

"HUGE NEWS! Cradle to College is thrilled to announce our all new SPECIAL SEASON featuring the CTC KIDS SUMMER CAMP EXPO and *TOY & BABY GEAR SALE! A ONE DAY ONLY EVENT... Viera May 9th, Clermont May 16th, Orlando May 30th! "

 Check out their website or their Facebook page. They have all the information you need. - Rejoicing in the Present