Monday, December 29, 2008

How To Be An Overcomer

There are two things that make children of God overcomers: 1) the blood of the Lamb; and 2) the word of our testimony.

The blood of the Lamb: Jesus Christ was the Lamb slain for the sins of the world, and his blood that was shed at Calvary is the only thing in the Christian’s walk of life that cannot be compromised. Doctrine can be compromised, holiness standards can be compromised, but the work of the cross can never be compromised. If we will forgive those who hurt us, and allow the cross to work in our lives, we will continue to grow in our walk with God. If we do not practice mercy, grace, and forgiveness, but focus instead on our hurt, and the offense, we will instead become bitter – which only hurts ourselves.

The word of our testimony: this is appropriate and proper speech.. saying positive things, rather than negative, and praising Jesus rather than complaining about our problems.

We say "I forgive you, but..." don't let it happen again... and we somehow choose not to forget the offense.

However, God tells us all the time … “I forgive you,”… and His mercy endureth forever.

I’m so thankful that God does not stop his mercy and grace, because he has certainly extended it to us far more than we deserve it. A preacher once stated the following: Grace is getting from God what we don’t deserve and mercy is not getting from God what we do deserve. May we always be thankful for the mercy and grace and unconditional love that we receive from Christ Jesus, and may we present ourselves a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service.

The next time you are hurt or dealing with the offenses and disappointments of life, remember Revelation 12:11, and think of how many times the Lord has been disappointed. Let's allow the cross to work in our lives by forgiving others and extending mercy and grace to them, and let us speak positive words and praises to Jesus, so that He will not be disappointed in us.

Have a blessed day!

Dealing with Disappointment

The mother then sat back to wait and see if she would get her requested gift. Keep in mind that what the mother wanted would cost around $1 and maybe take 20 minutes of this person’s time. The mother felt this was a very reasonable request, especially since she had spent so much money on this person’s present. However, Christmas day came and went, and the mother’s gift request was not fulfilled. She was so disappointed. Well, actually, at first she was angry, but then she just felt hurt.

Then the Lord prompted her … “My child, how do you think I feel when people do not give me my reasonable service? I gave the most perfect gift – I gave my son, who came to live on earth and die for your sins so that you could have eternal life.
I request so very little back… yet so many people do not even want to give me that, and so many of my children won’t even acknowledge me as their Father. My word says in Romans 12:1-3 that I beseech you to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to thing of himself more highly than he ought to think, abut to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

A few days later, the mother went to church, and her pastor preached about forgiveness and how to ensure we stay saved. Revelation 12:11b states that the children of God overcome the work of the devil by “the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony….”

There are two things that make children of God overcomers: 1) the blood of the Lamb; and 2) the word of our testimony. For more on this, see the next blog post.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Official Christmas Day Family Picture ~ This one is especially for the Grandparents & Extended Family

A Little Naughty, but . . . A Lotta Nice

Cute Hallmark wrapping paper

Christmas Decorations

Uncle Nelson & Auntie Cristi Lor

The Newlyweds

Uncle Nelson, Auntie Cristi, Grandma Rozana, Momma Rhonda, Shenghai, Shauna, Staci

Reading THE Christmas Story

Daddy tried reading the Christmas story, but Shauna wanted to read it... so they ended up taking turns. Even when Matthew said, "okay, Shauna, I'll read now," she'd let him read a few verses, and then she'd start reading again! So precious!

For Grandma Parker

A Joyous Day

We all had a great time celebrating the birth of Christ... however, the girls did inform me that I "messed up" because we did not have cake, and you are supposed to have cake for someone's birthday.

It was such a pleasure to not have to cook anything (this is the first Christmas I haven't hosted since we were married in 2000). But, the down side of that is NO LEFTOVERS... not good when Momma Rhonda (that's me) has been lazy for the past two weeks and we have no groceries in the house other than pantry staples!
We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas ... as Pastor Sullivan preached last Sunday morning, "Christmas is for Everyone" ... rich, poor, young, old, stepparents, mixed families, and on and on.

Happy Day After Christmas, Everyone!

Here are a few of my favorite pics from our Christmas 2008

Daddy and his two princesses in front of our fireplace.
Staci: Mommy, how come you haven't put the fire in the fireplace?
Mom: Because we haven't cleaned the chimney, and we don't know how safe it is with all of the trees around the house.
Staci: funny expression on face, something of a cross between a frown and a glare

You can play golf inside the house, Dad ~ we picked it out!
Opening presents from Great Aunt Liz who lives in Kansas ~ she is always very generous... and reminds us of how generous Great Grandma Margaret Cox was ... we sure do miss her ... it was fun having Christmas at her house in Redding when the girls were babies.

the girls finally do a cute smile, after Mommy begs them and takes 6 or 7 not so good pics

We love you Daddy!

in front of Auntie Cristi & Uncle Nelson's "real" tree,
but Shauna just doesn't understand why the tree is perfectly slanted on one side, and then somewhat lopsided on the other... it's barely noticeable....
Mom: Shauna, it's real.. ...
Shauna: but why does it look like that?
Mom: because it's REAL

Special thanks to Grandpa & Grandma Parker (who called "all the way from Malta") for another Build A Bear gift card. Daddy has promised the girls if they get their rooms cleaned on Saturday morning, he'll take them to the mall in the afternoon so they can get another stuffed animal from this really cool store.
Thanks, Grandpa & Grandma!

Shauna: Mommy, you got me a Twister game! Thanks, Mom!
Staci: Jammies! Awesome! Thank you Mommy
then runs over to me and gives me a big hug, and then proceeds to begin removing her Christmas dress.... I told her that as soon as we got back from Christmas dinner at Auntie's house, she could put on her jammies, but that she could not wear them to Christmas dinner.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It All Happened in the Country

It all happened in the country, in a little country town

Country foks and farmers gathered all around

They gave a country "Howdy" to a little country boy

Momma's little angel, Heaven's pride and joy.

Last night was the girls' school Christmas play through Faith Christian Academy. They were asked to dress up country/pioneer/prairie-ish, and Shauna insisted that she I make her a costume. I searched the thrift stores, and came up with several western/countryish shirts, but could not find a dress. I had a simple pattern for a sunbonnet, so I ended up making her (and several other) a sunbonnet and an elastic waist skirt. Her teacher said she looked just like Holly Hobbie. Shauna doesn't know who that is, both girls thought they were dressed like Laura Ingalls.

I lucked out and found Staci's outfit at Mervyn's. Although it came with a hat, it wasn't a bonnet, and Grandma Rozana insisted Staci have a pink bonnet. Since I had no pink cotton fabric in my enormous fabric stash, she went to JoAnn's Wednesday night and bought pink and white cotton fabric. Staci's pink bonnet was adorable, if I say so myself... I was surprised that Staci liked the outfit, as it is really girly, but she was so excited that she looked like Laura.

In the car on the way home last night, I told them how proud I was of my two little princesses, and they both said, at the same time, "not princesses, country girls!"

Here's some pics of my two little country princesses.

Country Princess Shauna
Country Princess Staci

Staci & Mrs. Riddlesperger ~ Awesome Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Massey & some 2nd Grade Girls: Shauna, Tayler, Angelina, Kayla

Shauna & Mrs. Massey ~ Awesome Second Grade Teacher

Alaysia, Tayler, & Brianna. Alaysia is wearing one of the bonnets I made

Staci being ornery, she wouldn't smile, so I said "don't smile," which meant she smiled, but she did not want me to get a picture of her smiling. This is Staci's PERSONALITY!

Staci, Tayler, & Shauna, all wearing sunbonnets sewn by yours truly

Shauna had a special singing part at the end of the play. Caleb, did too, but I can't believe it ... I failed to get a picture of Shauna & Caleb together last night.... that's a first.
Also, in this picture, notice the adorable angel Ashlee McDermott.

The Bible Christmas Story ~ what Christmas is all about.

Country princesses Shauna & Kayla in the bonnet of white fabric from Grandma Rozana

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

There is a Christ in Christmas

Each week I receive an e-newsletter from the Sunday School Teacher's Network. The following appeared today, and I wanted to post it here so more could read this beautiful poem.

This is a poem that was written for a local newspaper. It was written by Renee' Grochowski from Ishpeming, MI, submitted with her approval by Jody Larmour of Ishpeming, MI.

If you use this in your Christmas celebrations, please give Renee' the credit, as she worked very hard to put this poem together. Thank you, and Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Here I sit with a heavy heart,
As a tear rolls down my cheek.
In front of me lay 6 inserts
From the newspaper this week.
All so colorful and bright,
Yet not one of them shows evidence
Of that Holy Night.
They advertise of Christmas toys
And gifts to give away.
There is no mention of the “Christ Child”
Born that special day.
There are no offers of stars so bright
To sit upon a tree.
No manger scenes to remind us
Of what Christmas really means.
Words like “Nativity” and “First Noel”
Are absent from the page
While Santa and his reindeer
Enter center stage.
Christmas lists and crowded malls
Seem to steal our time
While anxious thoughts and second guessing
Fill our hearts and minds.
Always busy, always running
Until there’s just no place
For drummer boys and angels
That once hovered near His face.
Oh, those of us who truly know
The reason for our Joy
Repeat the story of Christ’s birth
To every girl and boy
So that the memory and the meaning
Live on and not be lost.
The gift to celebrate and share this truth
Was bought for everyone
At a very high cost.

Renee Grochowski
Ishpeming, Michigan

Friday, December 12, 2008

Words of Appreciation Christmas Gift ~ great for teachers

One of my new favorite websites is Wordle where you can enter a bunch of text and click a button, rearrange colors, font, and layout, and come up with some creative works of art, such as the following
However, it's mainly designed for one or two word phrases (to create a two word phrase, use the tilde ~ character between the words when you enter your text, such as Best~Kindergarten~Teacher); therefore, if you have a sentence or quote you want to enter, it won't display very well. I read a little in the wordle forum, where someone suggested using text boxes in Microsoft Word instead. I went one step further and used PowerPoint, as I love being able to save the slides as jpgs when I'm done. Using text boxes also allows you to have the vertical words reading up or down, and you can use different fonts.
Below is a picture of the wordle I created using Staci's ideas. We're going to put this in a 5x7 frame and we'll have a nice gift for her teacher that I'm pretty sure will be more appreciated than another apple motif item or best teacher/reindeer cup.

If you'd like me to email you the power point file so you can use the template to create your own, just leave a comment and I'll send it to you.

P.S. I thought Staci's quote was so sweet, I was really proud of her for coming up with that sentence. I just asked her to complete "I love my teacher because..." and she came up with the quote all by herself. I was so pleased!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm a Grace! but wanted to be a Jackie


I am a Grace -- "I need to understand the world."

I love personality profiles, and when I saw "I am a Doris" on Sonia's blog, I had to try it.

Graces have a need for knowledge and are introverted, curious, analytical, and insightful.

How to Get Along with Me
  • * Be independent, not clingy
  • * Speak in a straightforward and brief manner
  • * I need time alone to process my feelings and thoughts
  • * Remember that If I seem aloof, distant, or arrogant, it may be that I am feeling uncomfortable
  • * Make me feel welcome, but not too intensely, or I might doubt your sincerity
  • * If I become irritated when I have to repeat things, it may be because it was such an effort to get my thoughts out in the first place
  • * don't come on like a bulldozer
  • * Help me to avoid my pet peeves: big parties, other people's loud music, overdone emotions, and intrusions on my privacy

What I Like About Being a Grace* standing back and viewing life objectively* coming to a thorough understanding; perceiving causes and effects* my sense of integrity: doing what I think is right and not being influenced by social pressure* not being caught up in material possessions and status* being calm in a crisis

What's Hard About Being a Grace
  • * being slow to put my knowledge and insights out in the world
  • * feeling bad when I act defensive or like a know-it-all
  • * being pressured to be with people when I don't want to be
  • * watching others with better social skills, but less intelligence or technical skill, do better professionally

Graces as Children Often
  • * spend a lot of time alone reading, making collections, and so on
  • * have a few special friends rather than many
  • * are very bright and curious and do well in school
  • * have independent minds and often question their parents and teachers
  • * watch events from a detached point of view, gathering information
  • * assume a poker face in order not to look afraid
  • * are sensitive; avoid interpersonal conflict
  • * feel intruded upon and controlled and/or ignored and neglected

Graces as Parents
  • * are often kind, perceptive, and devoted
  • * are sometimes authoritarian and demanding
  • * may expect more intellectual achievement than is developmentally appropriate
  • * may be intolerant of their children expressing strong emotions
Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz

P.S. I really like Jackie, so I took the quiz over (there are only two questions). I kept my answer to #1 the same, and changed my answer to question #2. Actually, I can't remember now, since I actually took the test three times to get the result I wanted to be a Jackie. :)


I am a Jackie. "I do everything the right way."

Jackies are realistic, conscientious, and principled. They strive to live up to their high ideals.

How to Get Along with Me

* Take your share of the responsibility so I don't end up with all the work.

* Acknowledge my achievements.

* I'm hard on myself. Reassure me that I'm fine the way I am.

* Tell me that you value my advice.

* Be fair and considerate, as I am.

* Apologize if you have been unthoughtful. It will help me to forgive.

* Gently encourage me to lighten up and to laugh at myself when I get uptight, but hear my worries first.

What I Like About Being a Jackie

* Being self-disciplined and able to accomplish a great deal

* Working hard to make the world a better place

* Having high standards and ethics; not compromising myself

* Being reasonable, responsible, and dedicated in everything I do

* Being able to put facts together, coming to good understandings, and figuring out wise solutions

* Being the best I can be and bringing out the best in other people

What's Hard About Being a Jackie

* Being disappointed with myself or others when my expectations are not met

* Feeling burdened by too much responsibility

* Thinking that what I do is never good enough

* Not being appreciated for what I do for people

* Being upset because others aren't trying as hard as I am

* Obsessing about what I did or what I should do

* Being tense, anxious, and taking things too seriously

Jackies as Children Often

* Criticize themselves in anticipation of criticism from others

* Refrain from doing things that they think might not come out perfect

* Focus on living up to the expectations of their parents and teachers

* Are very responsible; may assume the role of parent

* Hold back negative emotions ("good children aren't angry")

Jackies as Parents

* Teach their children responsibility and strong moral values

* Are consistent and fair

* Discipline firmly

Okay, I haven't really analyzed all of this, but I think parts of "Grace" and "Jackie" are true regarding my personality. There's a little bit of insight of how to deal with and understand me.... I do know for sure that if we all understood the personality profiles of those around us, we would get along with them better or at least be more tolerant of what we consider their faults, but are actually things that God put into their personality when they were born.

We truly do not know what goes on behind closed doors or what it feels like to walk in someone else's shoes.

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." - Ephesians 4:32

What's For Dinner?

I love my pastor, and although he is definitely not elderly, we do still owe him dinner at our house for Clergy Appreciation, and although I don't know what I'll serve, I know it won't be goat. :)

I hope I don't offend anyone by posting this, but I thought this joke was really funny.

Each day I receive an email from Pastor Tim and the Cybersalt Digest.

Today's CleanLaugh - "What's for Dinner? "

The young couple invited their elderly pastor for Sunday dinner. While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their son what they were having.

"Goat," the little boy replied.

"Goat?" replied the startled man of the cloth, "Are you sure about that?"

"Yep," said the youngster. "I heard Dad say to Mom, '

Today is just as good as any to have the old goat for dinner.'"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Remembering our 6th Anniv Trip to Carmel

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Happy Anniversary, Matthew

Do you, RHONDA, take MATTHEW, to be your husband – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?

"I will."

Just two words spoken, but they mean so much - a solemn vow before God and our friends and family that we have chosen each other to be our mates, til death do us part. There have been times of sickness, lack of money, low times in our life, and sadness - but there have also been times of good health, prosperity, and happiness... and God is always there in the midst. If we keep our eyes focused on him and our hearts reminded of the vows we made...

I'm so thankful that when we married we knew we were marrying "til death do us part"... we each have our own faults and sometimes get on each other's nerves, but we are COMMITTED to each other.

I'm so thankful that God blessed me with a godly husband, loving father, devoted man, and hard worker. Matthew has one of the best work ethics of anyone I know... he has never been late to work in the past 12 years... and he goes to work sick. At this moment he is suffering from a sinus infection which is affecting his teeth, jaw, side of his mouth, and his ear... yet he is at work, and on time. (I'm finally recovering from two weeks of sickness, and so thankful, praising God that I did not have to take any ibuprofen yesterday... yeah!), so please pray for Matthew now, for complete healing. (since he is allergic to penicillin, it seems like the other stuff they gave him does not seem to be working so well).

Happy Anniversary, Honey ~ I love you, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, til death do us part.

Happy 8th Anniversary!

This is from our 6th anniversary in 2006, when we stayed at the Cobblestone Inn Bed & Breakfast in Carmel-by-the-Sea. This was a really great trip!

Poppy Hills Pro Shop at Pebble Beach

at the Mission Ranch Restaurant, owned by Clint Eastwood