Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wisemen Still Follow Him!

"And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh."
- Matthew 2:11

When the Wisemen of the day saw the star, they set out on a journey of love. They traveled for what is estimated as 2 years before they reached the One they had prepared their treasures for. We can learn much from these Wisemen! "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" - I am just beginning to realize the truth & depth of this insight. As I've pondered the lesson of the Wisemen, I've discovered 3 steps to gaining wisdom:
1. Seek
2. Worship
3. Give
The greek define "Seek" as pursuing a continued direction with determination to build a stronger relationship; To Worship is to really enter into an intimate relationship of honor and love; And to Give includes more than money - it includes our time, talents, encouragement, our heart! The Reward is that ALL our needs and wants are met!

We know that in this life, we WILL face challenges; the question I've been considering is have I been "Wise" at all times? Did I seek after God, make time to worship Him, and find opportunities to give when I felt blessed and abundant or does it take a trial to turn my heart towards the One who created me? I'd like to think I've always followed after this One with every passion within me, however, that would be a lie. The true story is that it took a moment in time that far exceeded my worst dreams to turn my heart toward the One who is my source and my strength.

It was 2 years ago this month that I began my own journey of love. Prior to that snowy morning, I was completely immersed in the world I had created that was based on one justification after another. I had spent most of my life looking for validation and fulfillment from anyone rather than THE One. I had turned my back on love believing I needed something more . I became a mom burdened with children. I had become a woman without purpose. I had given my heart over to the lies of an adversary that would stop at nothing to "kill, steal, and destroy". Praise God that the way out was already paved for me by the Gift of my Savior, His Son, even Jesus Christ!!

It was in this moment of desperation that I looked for a star that would lead me to ALL that I desired! I am still grateful for the mercy of our Heavenly Father! I had turned my back on him and given my heart to another, and yet the moment I cried out for Him, He was there with open arms! Just as promised, He had never left nor forsaken me, and so with a new sense of direction, I began my journey of love. Little did I know that this walk would bring great heartache, accountability, pain, healing, forgiveness, grace, love, and joy. Truly, as I began to Seek Father, I found a peace that surpassed understanding. I began to hunger and thirst after His righteousness! My passion to spend time with Father grew into a love affair of my heart! I noticed that as I sought after this intimacy with Father, He responded with abundant grace, love, purpose, joy, and understanding. I began to be wise.

I found that making time to worship Father in the midst of my heartbreak brought great comfort. I learned to trust...in this One who loves me in spite of myself, in myself, and in my love. I learned to forgive as I experienced forgiveness. I learned to focus as I found purpose. I learned to love. A habit and heart of worship was instilled in me that continues to flow through me!

I began to know the fulfillment of seeking and worshiping this One that gave so much for me, and in turn found joy in giving. I began to give precious treasure as I followed the examples laid out before me. I found the joy and blessing of giving my heart back to my Savior, my husband, and my children. How great is God to fill me with a renewed passion for these relationships. I was quickly filled with All that I had spent years looking for in all the wrong places! Isn't it sweet how blessed we are to open our eyes and find all we are seeking right in front of us?

This 2 year journey has brought great change! I have experienced healing and restoration in my marriage and family that could have only come by Divine Intervention! As I have followed after the Bright Morning Star, I have found the One! I have come to look forward with expectation to the reward of seeking, worshiping, and giving - not as "Shamu" looks for the reward of performance; but, rather as a daughter knowing her Father's delight in this journey! I do not believe or suggest that I have "arrived" at a destination of completion. I do know that I am on my way, and can find joy in the journey, and peace from the One that truly is my source!

It is my prayer this holiday season, that I would always be found Seeking, Worshiping, and Giving. I pray that I will continue to be Wise in both the seasons of learning as well as in times of harvest; through the easy and the difficult! May my treasures always point towards the One who holds my heart!

May God continue to bless you Always in All Ways!!
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankful

"Give Thanks to the Lord"

We have had an amazing week full of Thanksgiving! We celebrated Jeff's Birthday on Wednesday at our favorite pizzeria, Grimaldi's in Chandler. The children had a great time honoring him, and included a card "Top 10 things I'm grateful for about Dad". Next, we enjoyed Thanksgiving with incredible food, football, and relaxing together! I love that each year I get more confident in preparing our meals, and therefore enjoy the day much more! And then, we topped of our weekend with Date Night! Jeff & I got to "toast" to ALL that we are grateful for with dinner for 2 last night!

As we've spent time reflecting over the past year, and all that God is doing in our lives, we are filled with joy for the journey and gratitude for the growth! I think the process of reflecting and expressing gratitude glorifies God. It is through this process of Counting our Blessings that we give Him the glory and honor for ALL that we have. In this humble place of gratitude our hearts are open and soft, such fertile ground for the Spirit to plant.

Thank you all for being a part of our journey as we grow in being blessed to be a blessing!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Love Language Week

"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he"
Proverbs 23:7

About a month ago, Jeff & I began an amazing journey together, unified in our desire for greater depth and direction as parents. Little did we know at the time, the impact "Train Up A Parent" would have on our family!

Earlier this year, as a family, we began defining our Mission and Purpose. This powerful inquiry led us to passionately stand for Leadership Education as a lifestyle. Based on the principles of "A Thomas Jefferson Education", we boldly stepped into a journey of faith. We began seeking inspiration on what it means to "train up a child in the way they should go". Could it be that to train a child is to FIRST train the parent? And if so, how and where to begin - especially considering our season in life? This led us to the place where Jeff & I are beginning to understand what Godly Character is and how to instill this vital teaching into our hearts AND the hearts of our children.

I have come to know the truth of Proverbs 23:7 over the past couple of years in ways I could not have anticipated. What was in my heart defining my thoughts and therefore actions? What had I instilled in my children that would define their thoughts and actions? Had I instilled Godly Character? An uncomfortable inquiry has led me to a renewed sense of intention and purpose as a daughter of God and a mother!

Knowing that God is a God of Restoration and Healing, and realizing that it's never too late to align with Him; I am excited to parent today for what we want tomorrow. This perspective has been extremely profound for me! Godly Characteristics are instilled with love, patience, and consistency; and determine the level of success each of us will enjoy. What better place to focus my heart? This has been a time of "internal housekeeping" - identifying the habits and beliefs that exemplify Godly Character and dismissing everything else. I am finding this process requires daily alignment. I am also finding great joy in this journey!

We have gained several new tools to implement as a family which are producing results of greater peace, unity, and connection! I'll share more of these another time. As for this week, we are going to focus on Gary Chapman's Five Love Languages. Identifying each others primary Love Languages will assist us in communicating our love more effectively; which is certainly our intention. I am looking forward to rewarding Michelle and Anthony's ability to identify and apply each Love Language in various ways. I hope that by the end of this week we can be a multi-lingual family! I plan to introduce one Love Language each day and discuss it as part of our morning family devotion. It is my desire that these discussions will produce actions full of love!

I am SO grateful for my amazing family! I feel SO blessed to be a wife and mother surrounded by my greatest teachers! I am especially grateful for the wisdom and understanding of How to Train Up this parent such that I might Inspire my Children's Very Best!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Opportunity

"She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night."
Proverbs 31:18
Michelle and I are going to step into the world of Avon. I have been an Avon supporter for some time now, appreciating the cost effective quality, however, had been content to purchase from someone else. Last week, my good friend, made me an offer I couldn't refuse. She invited me to become an Avon rep which will allow me to enjoy the products for an even more reasonable price, as well as, easily generate some additional cash flow for our home. Initially, I was not too interested, having been down the Direct Marketing route before. Then, as I pondered the opportunity, I found value in being frugal (deodorant for $.99 vs $3.99 at the store); setting my hands to something that can contribute to our household resources; and create a learning experience for Michelle and I. I am actually excited to play in this area! Avon has done amazing things to make the shopping experience easy as well. I appreciate this, given my desire to invest my time wisely. I continue to aspire to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and believe this season will add new opportunities for learning and growth.
This particular opportunity was not something I specifically choose - I did not wake up one morning shouting, "I want to be an Avon Rep". I had been praying for opportunities where my talents and experiences could bless our family and others. I had envisioned what this might look like and had been waiting not-so-patiently for something to show up. I wonder how many times in my life I've missed an answer to a prayer by overlooking opportunities that were right in front of me. I also wonder how my own agenda and prerequisites have limited my opportunities. I have recently been considering my prayers and communication with my Heavenly Father. Have I become self-centered? Have I been praying for blessings, and then lay out before God what I think I need, how things should look, etc.? And then wonder why I don't feel deeply connected to Father, and my heart. What is my purpose? How would I ever reach my destined plan if I am running on automatic self. Free will is the greatest gift our loving Heavenly Father gave me, and I've spent a lot of time expressing my will on demanding, self-centered, flesh driven choices. I realize just how I have been a poor steward of my time, talents, and faith. I feel I've contridicted myself in praying; Father, please bless me but here's how I want to be blessed. Where has my faith been?
How grateful I am for the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ!! His loving sacrifice not only offers grace to me when I loose sight of faith, He also modeled what it is to lay down self and truly align with the will of Heavenly Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane, as he plead with Father; "take this cup from me" - that was a prayer of self; but Jesus did not stop there. He continued his plea, "not my will, but thine be done". In that moment, the ultimate sacrifice was made. To lay down my will immediately allows Father to step in and move things according to His greater perspective. What an amazing plan!!!
I pray that this understanding moves me with greater faith! I pray that as I lay down my own agenda, I will connect with the opportunities and plans the Father desires for me. I firmly believe that my God is a good God all the time!! He wants to bless us abundantly, and it is my will to align with Him moment by moment. Enjoying the journey!! Being grateful for the happy mess of goo because I experienced the joy of my children's imaginations and play. Taking time to swing with my kids at the park, rather than just observe from the sideline. Connecting with my daughter's heart as she openly shares her dreams and desires even though it's WAY past bedtime. Being in a place of gratitude to enjoy all of the opportunities God affords me!! I am so grateful to be a daughter of such a loving Heavenly Father!! I commit to move forward with an open heart - available to see and share all that my talents, experiences, and opportunites can bless and be blessed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Columbus Day!!

video
Last week as we were reviewing the family calendar for this month, Jeff shared fond memories of Columbus Day Celebrations from his youth. Most people who know us, KNOW how proud we are of Jeff's Italian Heritage! Jeff grew up in a small town in New Jersey - 1 traffic light small. The town was primarily populated by families with Italian Heritage. Each year the entire town celebrated Catholic Feasts and holidays, Italian style with lots of food and fun!! Columbus Day was no exception given Christopher's "Goomba-ness". As Jeff shared his memories, I desired to create a special day, as a family, we could honor this courageous Italian (Christopher Columbus). So, with that in mind, Super Mom went into overdrive. I began looking for fun ways to learn about Christopher Columbus and to create a memory for our family. What a fun journey, I know I'm on overdrive when I'm dreaming about Columbus Day Craft Ideas.
Here's what we created:
Time: 10:30am - 1:30pm
Place: Mesa Riverview Park; Mesa, AZ


I packed a picnic lunch, library books, scooters, and craft supplies; and we headed off to the park. I was very excited knowing that our local park has a fishing pond we could utilize today. The kids even went to bed last night with a renewed sense of excitement for a fun day of learning. When we arrived, we found a covered pavilion placed between the pond and the playground - Perfect!! We set up camp so to speak, and began making our Walnut Shell Ships as a souvenir. Supplies needed:**



  1. Walnut Shell Half
  2. Small Ball of Playdough
  3. Construction Paper Triangle
  4. Straw and Tape


Cut the straw to desired length, tape paper triangle onto straw for the sail; place small ball of playdough into walnut shell; stick sail into playdough ball. Fabulous!!


Next, we did some word search puzzles and worksheets on Christopher Columbus. While we worked on these, we talked about what made this man memorable. I was happy to find the kids interested in the conversation. We were able to discuss character traits like courage, passion, patience, vision, inspiration, and determination. We talked about how things don't always go as planned, but that we can always find value in the journey. Overall, I was SO grateful for the inspiring time!!


Now, it was time to play and get ready for lunch. Michelle and Anthony surprised me by using the playground euipment to "act out" their own sea adventure. They wanted some sailor tools, so we made a telescope and binoculars.**

  1. Papertowel Roll
  2. Toilet Paper Roll
  3. Bendy Straw
  4. Construction Paper
  5. Tape or Glue

We first cut the TP Roll in half and measured the distance between Tony's eyes. Next, we rolled the TP Rolls and the PT Roll in construction paper. We cut 2 small slits in the side of the TP Rolls. We then cut the bendy straw so the the bendy part coule be our "nose piece". We were able to insert the cut bendy straw into the slits in the TP Rolls, and taped the insides. We decorated the Telescope and added additional tape to our binoculars in secure the ends, and tahdah, we were ready to explore!

After lunch, it was time to create our Masterpiece Replicas - The Nina, The Pinta, and The Santa Maria.**

  1. 3 empty plastic gallon jugs
  2. 3 paper napkins
  3. 3 plastic knives
  4. 3 straws

We began by cutting the plastic jugs about 1.5 inches from the bottom. We'll save the top part to use as sand scoopes and funnels. We then labeled the ships with a permanent marker. Next, we taped the straw to the inside to attach the sail to. We then decorated the paper napkins as our sails, and taped them to the plastic knives. Finally, we taped the plastic knives with sails onto the straws, and we were ready to set sail. We then launched our ships into the pond, and imagined what it would have been like that fateful August day in 1492. We were almost as excited and nervous as I'm sure the sailors were.

It was SO fun to watch our ships float across the water, and then 1 took on water and began to sink, and then a 2nd one did the same. It was fun to again talk about how things did not go exactly how Columbus had anticpated, just as we experience in our lives.

We had read from a library book, I Sailed with Columbus by Susan Martin. In this book, it described sailing through green sludge at one point. We decided to come home and make green goo** to experience what it might have been like to sail through it.

  1. 1 cup of Cornstarch
  2. 1 cup of COLD water
  3. food coloring

Slowly add the Cold water to the cornstarch, stirring as you go. This mixture will be both dry and wet - which makes it SO cool!! Then we added green food coloring and mixed it in. This goo looks wet on the counter, but feels dry; and then, as soon as you pick it up, it is slimy and wet. Messy Fun!!

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to loose sight of the shore!"

I think this quote totally sums up what we've learned from studying and celebrating Columbus. It is by faith and courage that great things happen! When we are willing to "set sail" with the "Great Captain", life becomes an adventure!! May we also leave a legacy of faith, courage, action, and inspiration!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sew for Service

Proverbs 31:13 She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.
My daughter, Michelle and I began our beginner's sewing class yesterday with Dawn Brown's Sew for Service. Dawn is a home-school mom/grandma that teaches the art of sewing along with the value of serving. Our final sewing project for this semester will be to make hospital gowns and bonnets for preemie babies and then to deliver them to the hospital. What an AWESOME opportunity! We began by learning the basics of a sewing machine - how to turn it on, what essential parts of the machine are, and how to thread it; and then we made a Cinnamon Scented Sachet from scratch (as seen above). It was such a joy to take pride in something so feminine along side of my daughter and 4 other girls. My mother is an incredible seamstress, however, it wasn't until recently that I really had the desire to acquire this skill. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with Michelle!! She is certainly gifted in working with her hands, and like her big sister, Theresa, came equipped with the ability and desire. I suppose this is part of our nurturing nature as women, however, I've spent most of my life focusing on my musical talents, rather than my homemaking abilities. Now, after almost 20 years of marriage, I am finding this incredible passion to honor the nurturer in me!! I am finding a desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman! To rise up in contribution and inspiration of my family, especially my daughters. To prepare and equip them to honor the woman in them. I am equally grateful for a mother who, through her example and skill development, modeled the value of being a homemaker. It is now my joy and honor to be the maker of our home, and not just an emotional female resident. I am certainly not suggesting that the only way to be a nurturer is by sewing and canning. I am, however sharing my newly awakened sense of joy in learning new skills that set me a part from my manly husband in contributing to our family. May the Lord bless us as we Rise Up For Such A Time As This, and may these new skills glorify the One who instilled them in me!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Praying Mother


Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.


Releasing my children into God's hands did not come as easy for me, as I thought it might. I became a mother 18.5 years ago, and I will NEVER forget the beautiful little girl that looked into my eyes that Easter morning. Theresa came into this world full of the joy and hope of Heaven!! She brought a sense of independence; for me, as well as a desire for her own. As a young mother, I knew we would learn a lot together. The miracle of life - what a blessing!! Then, just 8 months later when we learned we would have another bundle of joy to add to our family, my heart leaped with anticipation for life and all that lay ahead. So it was that when Madeline joined our family nine months later, Jeff & I rejoiced with the honor of caring for and loving such beautiful daughters!! How precious it is to love and nurture life. Even though I was just beginning to understand what it meant to love and nurture, I embraced this opportunity with gratitude and confidence! Madeline & Theresa filled our home with giggles, singing, and beauty - what more could I want? Knowing that I was not a "perfect" mother, I found comfort and hope in the fact that I was a "praying" mother!! It wasn't until the last couple of years, however, that I began relying on the power of being a praying mother more that trying to be a perfect mother.

Our road has not been an easy one, but it has been worth it; just as Jesus promised. There were many lessons for me yet to learn! Regardless of the lives dependent on me, I was still learning how to depend on a Heavenly Father that not only loves me intimately, but also enables me to love the children he entrusted to me. Knowing that you can't give what you don't have, I had some work to do. At just 20 years of age, I realized that having a family was not the same as playing house. At this point, rather than moving forward in humility allowing God to mold me into the mother, wife, nurturer, and daughter He intended; I proudly stepped forward with the delusion of "having it all under control". Needless to say, I spent many years going through the motions as I thought they should be, blind to the fact that had I only asked, the Holy Spirit sat anxiously waiting to show me how to be all that I desired. I loved being a mother, however, looking back I can see just how pride, ignorance, and distractions cost me the intimate relationship I so longed for with my children. In my self-righteousness, I believed that I had built a relationship with these precious daughters that was safe and secure. I've spent time with the Lord studying this idea of security, and have come to believe that the Lord did not come so that we would feel secure; He came that we would have life more abundant! I have learned that it was only when I chose to truly walk by faith, seeking hard after God that I actually found peace!! Perhaps then, security is a delusion the adversary would have us seek after rather that learning to lean on and trust our Father.

My heart is full as I walk the road of accountability, forever grateful for the Atonement of our Savior!! I am also grateful for the lessons I have learned along the way and continue to learn about the joy of life! It is my heart to share these lessons as a testament of God's faithfulness and love for His children. I intend to do so over the next few posts. Just as life is a journey, so will be my account of it. I wish to end this post by sharing a prayer from Stormie Omartian's book, "The Power of a Praying Parent" inviting you to join me in the journey of being a praying mother:

Lord, I submit myself to You. I realize that parenting a child in the way You would have me to is beyond my human abilities. I know I need You to help me. I want to partner with You and partake of Your gifts of wisdom, discernment, revelation, and guidance. I also need Your strength and patience, along with a generous portion of Your love flowing through me! Teach me how to love the way You love. Where I need to be healed, delivered, changed, matured, or made whole, I invite You to do that in me. Help me to walk in righteousness and integrity before You. Teach me Your ways, enable me to obey Your commandments and do only what is pleasing in Your sight. May the beauty of Your Spirit be so evident in me that I will be a godly role model. Give me the communication, teaching, and nurturing skills that I must have. Make me the mother You want me to be and teach me how to pray and truly intercede for the life of the children you entrust to me. Lord, You said in Your Word, "Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Matthew 21:22). In Jesus' name I ask that You will increase my faith to believe for all the things You've put on my heart to pray for concerning these children.

Many Blessings,
Nanette

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hosting a Homeschool Seminar

Penny Gardner has accepted my invitation to come to AZ on 10/24/09! I am really excited to assist her in hosting this event along with my homeschooling friend, Andee!! Penny is an expert on the Charlotte Mason Approach, so this event should be very educational and inspiring!!

I am standing for a successful event with registration of 75 or more local families interested in learning about this powerful teaching approach! It is such an awesome experience to utilize the gifts I've been given in a way that will contribute to the vision of others! I look forward to a joyful event!!

Check out this blog for easy registration - http://cminaz.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

11 Years Old...



Michelle turns 11 today!!
We have enjoyed a wonderful day honoring Michelle! She is an amazing, beautiful, talented, giving, intelligent, deep young lady whom I am honored to call daughter!
Michelle has been contemplating what instrument she would like to learn to play, so that she could grow her love for singing and writing. About 6 weeks ago, she asked if she could have a guitar; AND of course were were so excited to bless her with her first guitar today! We found a hot pink, parlor size, "First Act" instrument that I felt would serve her as she began to learn. She LOVED it!! I have no doubt that God has given Michelle the ability to glorify Him through music and I eagerly look forward as this talent and passion becomes a skill that can bless others. Just like King David of old, whose skill as a young musician placed him in relationship with the King, which later opened the doors of opportunity God had prepared for him to lead. It is so exciting to watch our children grow and find their passions and gifts - I am especially grateful that ALL of our children share a love of music!! Yeah Me!
Our first few weeks of school have been a great success!! We are ALL adjusting to our new schedule and enjoy our flexibility to play and learn together!! I am SO grateful for the opportunity to inspire Michelle and Anthony into their greatness!! We've always felt that we were raising and cultivating leaders, however, I now feel equipped with tools that will truly move them forward! Again, Yeah Me!!
We have been SO blessed lately with wisdom and directions. I love how God is faithful to answer our prayers with More Than Enough when we are truly open to receive. Jeff had really been seeking God's direction for how to grow our business, and almost as quickly as he asked, we received our next opportunity. It reminded me of a time we were driving in an unfamiliar town, and just as we were sure we were lost, a HUGE sign appeared to provide accurate directions for us to safely proceed to our desired destination. It is a sweet, sweet thing to understand how to really walk in God's promise of oneness (with Jeff and Father)! Likewise, I am grateful that God is NOT subject to this world's economic situation and offers his own economic stimulus!!
So it is with abundant gratitude that I reveal in the joy of being a mother, wife, and daughter of God!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Day of School!









What an excellent day! Many years ago, Jeff & I felt called to Home Educate our children, however, allowed circumstances to dictate our choice. Needless to say, we fell into the "Conveyor Belt" education out of convenience and a sense of obligation. In spite of many years of trusting a system to teach and "raise" our children, we continued to consider this call to Home Education. Theresa recently completed her K-12 education with Madeline close behind through traditional means. Now, more than ever I found myself considering the results, wondering if there was more that I can offer my children in preparing them to fulfill the Divine Mission they've been sent here to fulfill. I began researching many education models - Public, Private, Charter, and MANY Home Education options. While prayerfully considering what would best support Michelle and Anthony in moving forward in their education, we found A Thomas Jefferson Education model. To consider the type of education our Founding Fathers received along with many world leaders, I was directed back to Classic Novels inspiring a strong sense of value and character. Knowing that we are raising future leaders, it is my heart's desire to better equip them to be Problem Solvers, doers rather than followers, courageous, valiant young people. After much prayer and study, we chose to step out in faith and accountability knowing that who better equipped than us to best support Michelle and Anthony in achieving such results. With clear direction, we began Leadership Education today with great success and prospect!! Michelle and Anthony are eager to learn and grow at a pace that suits them individually. By understanding Learning Phases, we are able to proceed supporting Anthony in his Core Phase and Michelle in her Love of Learning Phase!

What an exciting time for our family!! I am so thrilled and relieved to have found direction and clarity in supporting our family to be the leaders we are all called to be. It is truly "For such a time as this" that we have all been called to Rise Up and Be Counted. I intend to begin at home in impacting the world. I am confident that with continued prayer and planning, we can successfully rise to this occasion and become Scholars, Statesmen and Stateswomen, Liber, Leaders, Problem Solvers, and Lights in this darkening world.


In James 1: 2-3 of our central canon, the Bible; we are reminded to "Count it all for joy". I've often thought this was good advice, but wondered, how do I really do that in the midst of circumstances that seem beyond my ability to survive, let alone thrive. As the past 2 years have unfolded, I have had the opportunity to practice this wonderful direction. I have been so grateful to find joy in the midst of unbelievable stretching (trials)! I am so grateful for my understanding and testimony of trusting the process in faith rather than fear. Out of this journey, I've grown and found blessings beyond my best dreams. God is SO good - only all the time!


I hope to inspire my family and friends to Rise Up and Be Counted! Now is the time! It is possible! We are equipped! It is time for our family to choose our course of action rather than allow circumstances to dictate our route!! Praise God for "Second Chances"! It is my joy to share our journey as we move forward in faith to Glorify God and Be a Blessing!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Coming home to Arizona


Look out AZ, here we come! Michelle, Anthony & I joined Jeff in Mesa, AZ on July 1st. What an exciting time for our family! I am feeling very blessed for new opportunities and renewed faith. We have been in a season of preparing, but for what exactly was unclear.

I am constantly amazed and inspired by how much our Heavenly Father knows and loves each one of us! We had been praying for direction in our life wanting to be a blessing. We also asked Father to make things obvious. Needless to say, he is faithful to His word, and not only did He answer our prayers, He did so in such a way that we could not be confused by it. Having spent years in Arizona, moving back brings a sense of coming home for us. At the same time, it meant leaving family whom we love and treasure. Knowing that it was time to move forward, I found myself stepping out in faith.
As we began to prepare for this move, I found myself immersed in Scripture. What I found were simple reminders that Heavenly Father loves us, and truly desires to bless us if we'll let Him. It was with this renewed perspective that we stepped into a new season, and God is good! I continue to immerse myself into the Word of God, coming to know Him more intimately. In the process I am being refined and polished for "Such a time as this". Daily I am finding words of encouragement, counsel, and love. I am beginning to apply the principles of salvation as I grew in gratitude for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. How all encompassing it is, as I broden my understanding and mature in the Lord. I am so grateful for a husband that loves the Lord and aspires toward greatness in Him. I am also grateful for amazing children that continue to grow strong! How sweet it is to move through this journey of life within the structure of family!
As we rise up to be counted, I look forward with great faith and expectation that the best is yet to come!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I am SO blessed!


How did I get to be so blessed to enjoy these AMAZING children?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

How Time Flies...

So, another month has gone by; and my how time flies! Things continue to be busy in the Baker home as we create stability, consistancy, and joy.

We had a wonderful Christmas, filled with the Spirit of Christ! Michelle & Anthony have such generous spirits, and truly enjoy giving. It was such a pleasure to share in their excitment as we prepared gifts for friends and family. I noticed this sense of abundance as each of us surveyed all that we had been blessed with, along with an overwhelming desire to share. What a blessing it is to feel gratitude, especially in the midst of growing and stretching!!

As the new year has begun, we are implementing a new Family Economy patterned after the Eyre Family - valuesparenting.com. Michelle & Anthony are eager to take ownership of their "home zones" and family callings! This sense of order seems to add to the stability and peace we are each experiencing. Jeff extended family callings to Michelle & Anthony at Family Home Evening last night. He called Anthony to be his First Counselor with a charge to assist in the order of our home. He is asked to assign responsibilities for each FHE, call our family to daily prayers, scripture study, and weekly FHE. Anthony was most pleased to be "the man of the house" when Father is not available, ensuring the safety of our family. Michelle was called to be the family secretary with a charge to assist our family in taking minutes at FHE, be our family historian, photographer, and financial clerk. Jeff & I hope these callings can not only offer training in their specific areas, but also prepare them for future opportunities to serve. Jeff set both Michelle & Anthony apart and gave them a blessing that they would have soft hearts, continue to make wise choices, and honor the gifts and talents they've been given.

We are also "revamping" our household responsibilities to better account for where the children are at. We want to instill a sense of participation and contribution, rather than entitlement and demands. We will be "sharing" the household income with the children as they share in the household responsibilities. Everyone will be assigned a "home zone" to manage along with keeping their rooms in order, and following the family laws we've established. We expect this sense of participation will serve to train them in life skills as well as creating a sense of partnership and teamwork.

We also have begun Martial Arts Training as a family. Michelle & Anthony both have amazing athletic abilities, they are fast, flexible, and strong. We hope that this type of training will assit them in focus, teamwork, discipline, and confidence. So far, we are noticing just this. It is also an excellent way for Jeff & I to expand our commitment to health and wellness. We are equally looking forward to this new experience.

Theresa & Madeline continue to be "missing" for nearly three weeks now. We are grateful for all the efforts being made to find them, and bring them to safety, and look forward with hope and faith that they are healthy and happy.

Jeff has recently been called as the Elder's Quorum Family History Committee Representative. This brings the reminder and challenge to "Turn our Hearts to our Fathers". We look forward to taking on this opportunity with all the passion and committment we have. We know we are called to seek out the records of our family, and nothing should stay our efforts. We anticipate many miracles as we begin this worthy endeavor.

So, it is with new beginnings, renewed committments, and joy that we move forward together!!