Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Honest Scrap...don't get too excited

Dawn at Renaissance Mama posted her very own Honest Scrap so I thought I'd take a stab at it.

1. I buy books I never get around to read then sale them to the half price bookstore.

2. I screen my phone calls. In my defense I typically don't answer because I won't be able to give my full attention to the conversation. Now if I don't call you back...well that's another post.

3. I procrastinate as though it's in style. It's possible, as they say, I will be late to my own funeral.

4. I stay up WAY too late and usually fall asleep without washing my face or brushing my teeth. There. I said it. I did graduate from tuckering out on the couch to my bed.

5. My 'bucket list' has learning Spanish and learning to play the guitar on it. I own a guitar and several 'Learn Spanish' software programs. No habla espanol. No play-e the guitar-o, either.

6. I stalk people I don't know...virtually people. I spend countless hours reading blogs and it creeps my husband out.

7. I cry when My Mom cries. Every time. Kind of proud of that one...bond, I guess.

8. I am the BIGGEST klutz ever. I once cut my tongue open while jumping on a bed and broke my wrist by running into a wall...with my pants around my ankles. Oh, I was under the age of seven...tacky people. Sheesh!

9. My front six teeth are fake..it's a bridge...nice work Doc!

10. I want to live in India, and pray God will send us there one day.

I tag Rachael @ The Cottage Child, Bri @ Joyous Journeys, Tressa @ The Strickland Site, Julia @ Adam and Julia, and Adrianna @ Tuesday Mornings! Share and share alike!

PS...Please follow along and pray with me on my Prayer Blog, thanks!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fun, Food, and Fellowship

Not necessarily in that order, or together...kidding! We had a blast this weekend!

Saturday, Randy thought it a keen idea to stop by the Flea Market, and thank goodness we didn't find fleas, but we did find these: (Yes, I'm well aware I'm a dork.)

4 Pints of Strawberries, 3 Pineapples, 16 Roma Tomatoes, 2lb. White Onion, 1 lb Tomatillos, 1 lb. Jalapenos @ $13...quite a DEAL!

Calla Lilly, African Violet, and Unknown flowers :P

After we dropped off our goodies we headed to Capt. Billy Whizzbang's, a local hamburger joint and loaded up on yummy goodness! I love their hamburgers and Cajun Chips! Yum-O!

Then back to the house to make some SALSA! My Aunt Mary Helen, my Mom's sister, was in town and we were geared up for her to make the whole family a Mexican feast. So, of course I planned to impress her by having my very WHITE husband make homemade fresh salsa. One day, I will learn to cook Mexican food and speak Spanish and not feel so out of place when people ask if I'm 'REALLY' Mexican. The food was great...FRESH homemade tortillas, people! We also brought two of the pineapples for dessert. I eat mine with lemon/lime juice and chili powder..it's delish, try it!

Mom and Tia Mary Helen

Then the kids hit the slip 'n slide in the backyard, wearing them out for a good night's rest!

Cousins: Caleb, Isabella, Andrew, Keegan, and William



Sunday, is our family day so we hung out at the house. We 'helped' Daddy make some Strawberry Jam from our Flea Market finds...can't wait to try it. And attempted to replicate our favorite sandwich from Quizno's the Turkey Bacon Guacamole. It's possible they will be asking for our recipe, because I personally thought ours was WAY better!

Looking forward to a busy week! Ciao! I mean, Adidos Amigos! (See, I know Spanish!)

PS...Please follow along and pray with me on my Prayer Blog, thanks!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Jon and Kate, my take

Picture By Karen Alquist, TLC

I know that a lot of people are 'over' the Jon and Kate saga, but I am not. I'm a HUGE fan of the show. Those adorable little eight faces draw me in and I'm hooked..line and sinker! I know most people 'knew' they would eventually divorce, but I watched the show and still CRIED. I'm devastated, because this has become the norm in America. I am blessed to not be in this Kate's shoes to even entertain the idea of divorce. Nor, am I in the shoes of many women around the world. But, divorce has affected my life through varying relationships. Each marriage has different circumstances, but I thought the perspective of this letter holds true to what I feel. The principles this author refers to can also be applied to different areas of our life. I think we all could probably work harder in our marriages, relationships, etc., and I think this sheds some light on how. God is bigger than sin, and only he can heal this family. I pray that those close to them rally to help this family seek God's best for them, together or apart. And, I challenge us, America to get off our high horse and stop assuming that we know the ends and outs to a marriage that we get an hour long glimpse into each week.

By Ginger Kolbaba, from Today's Christian Women's Magazine

If I could speak to the star-mom of Jon & Kate Plus Eight, here’s what I’d tell her
June 24, 2009 |

Dear Kate:

In the past you’ve been vocal about your Christian faith. To be sure, I don’t know all the circumstances of your situation. I haven’t “walked in your shoes” or carried the burdens you’ve had to bear. I’ve heard the rumors that there’s been infidelity with possibly no repentance. And if that’s true, my heart breaks for all you’ve had to experience through that situation. I’ve seen “up close and personal” the devastation that infidelity can have on a marriage and family.

Having said that, as a sister in Christ to you, take what I’m about to say in the spirit of love and concern: Please don’t do what you’re doing.

And I’m not just talking to you. I’m talking to your husband too.

For too long I’ve watched Christian couples live self-centered lives, pursuing their own desires, talking about following Christ and the principles of our faith, but not actually living them out. And when life gets difficult—as it does for every couple—they throw in the towel, acting helpless, showing to the world that when the apostle Paul said, “We are more than conquerors through Christ,” he didn’t actually mean it.

For too long I’ve watched Christians show to those outside our faith that Christianity, in fact, doesn’t strengthen us or make us any different from people who don’t follow Jesus. Instead I hear couples say, “The kids will be better off to have calm. It’s not good for them to see us arguing. Everything will be just fine. We’re doing this for the kids. It’s all for the good of the kids.”

It’s rubbish. Kate (and Jon), who’s in control of the peace and calm of the kids? You are. You have the responsibility to bring calm into your family. But the good news is that God brings the grace and power to help you do that, through his Word, through prayer, through the community of believers, and through good old-fashioned determination. Why wash your hands of it, as though to say, It’s not my fault. I don’t know how else to manage it but to separate. I have no control over the situation.

Other people may say that. But not us. Not those of us who say we believe in the power of Jesus Christ and what he did for us on the cross.

You say you love your children. For the sake of your family, for the sake of how you’re portraying Christianity to the world, and for the sake of your own souls, quit the TV show and get some privacy, get into some good solid, biblical counseling and accountability, grow up, and start acting on your beliefs.

Model to your children and to the world that when life gets difficult, you do the right and courageous thing: You stand firm in your faith, you pray desperately, you follow the Golden Rule in the way you treat your spouse (Luke 6:31), you commit to staying together. And you always remember that this is an eternal, spiritual issue.

Kate, right now is when the proverbial rubber meets the road. Right now is when God watches to see if the tests of life will make you into the kind of person he desires or if you will go the way of the world. James tells us to “consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2–4).

Right now you have been presented with an amazing opportunity. You can teach your children how to look at tough times through spiritual eyes. Is it easy? No. But it beats the alternative of allowing your family to be broken up, crushing your spirit, and fracturing your soul. The road you’re on doesn’t lead to peace and calm for anybody.

True joy and peace come after you’ve fought the good fight and you come out on the other side of this conflict still married and still an intact family. That’s what people who live by faith do. They believe in the power of Christ to overcome every trouble and problem. But you have to do your part and work willingly alongside God’s Holy Spirit. Not giving up. Never giving up.

You can do it, Kate. I believe you have the ability through Christ to stick it out, mature in your spiritual character, and show your children what overcoming difficulties really looks like. That’s loving your children and loving God. That’s showing our culture what following Jesus looks like. You won’t regret it. And neither will your kids.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lazy Day

If it is strangely quiet in my house, that is typically a signal for Momma to go hunting for some munchkins. The hunt was a success and here is what I found....

Yes folks, they were dancing....with each other....to Worship music! I love it!!!!

A tad later and still quiet I went on another hunt to find this...

Yeah, I got nothing?

PS...Please follow along and pray with me on my Prayer Blog, thanks!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Freebies ROCK...literally!

Cousins: Caleb, Keegan, & William

Sweet Isabella

Precious Olivia

Sisters: Jenni and Jackie

Whew! What a day! After loving on the kiddos at church, we had a fun filled day and spent most of it with my sissy and her kiddos. First, we went to our local branch of the library to let the kids watch a FREE Science presentation which they loved. Then we took the kids to play (release all their energy) at Chik-Fil-A and use their FREE ice cream cone coupons from the FREE library reading program. And we finished off the night with some FREE live music at the Arboretum. So, the lesson for the day folks, is there is so much FREE stuff out there...go forth and find it!

Funniest thing at the Arboretum is my sister's boys were dancing to the music..Top 40 with a jazz spin...and their go to dance was the "Robot"...LOVE IT!

PS...Please follow along and pray with me on my Prayer Blog, thanks!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

God's Chisel

So, I'm really loving these Tangle (formerly God Tube) videos. Here is another thought provoking clip:....or not, having trouble loading the video. It really is a must see, check it out here.

I love the line, "I can't be good." And God responds, "I made you good, be good." How many times I find myself shaking my head at my kiddos. How many times I have to remind them to do what I say, to obey, to be good. The difference is they are kids. Why can I not figure out how to listen, obey and be good, simply because God called me to it. He didn't yell or get frustrated with me. He simply requested my attention, my obedience, my best. The gift of his son is so enormous in comparison to obedience to his word.

We are such slaves to approval. To the approval of others and what we think God wants of us. It is true that we ARE NOT junk. That we ARE an original masterpiece. I catch myself being reminded of what kind of example I want to be for my children. If I choose to be flippant about the value I place on what God has called me to be, what does that mean for them? Will they wallow in doubt instead of standing affirmed in their identity in Christ.

This video challenges me to chisel away the junk that I affixed to my walk and blinders to my vision. Only then can I fulfill what is God's best and lean on Him, and only him. I am blessed with an amazing husband, two beautiful children, and too many friends and family members to count, but at the end of the day...HE is ENOUGH! He sustains me!

Randy and I were discussing a conversation he had with an elder in our church about our walk as Christians. The thought that stands out is that we are 'supposed' to look different. So many times in life I have chosen my own path. Even still there were times God asked me to do things that looked weird to others. Throw in trying my best with an overactive flesh, I have sometimes come out looking like a 'hot mess'. It's not in the outcome, so much as the obedience. God knows us. Truly knows us in our inner most being. We fail when the action is for outward appearance, but the inside cringes. Or when we ignore God's voice and proceed right along as though it was his blessing. I don't want to do either, but have succumbed to the flesh and done both.

So, I say Father chisel what you will and grant me the stamina to see you through. Give me comfort and peace when it becomes unbearable. Hold my hand when I tremble. Wipe my tears when I cry, but still chisel.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cardboard Confession

Take a look at this video. Our church actually used the below visual prior too, in a sermon and I was overwhelmed at the emotion that welled up inside me. This video did the same and that is why I share.


So here is mine.

Lost in shame...


I probably could share several cardboard confessionals. Listing out each sign like stitches of an old worn quilt...stich by stich. For years I wore this quilt, not for warmth, but to hide from the shame that I allowed to be my identity.

Several months ago my friend Bri, shared her story. A story, like mine that while defined us for a season of our life, defines us no more. Because, Jesus' power is greater. So, here I go in abbreviated form and hopefully with as much transparency as I can muster.

I come from a large family, six boys and two girls. Every dollar stretched, but we never felt the burden of caring for eight children. My father, traveled quite a bit as he moved up the ladder in the Air Force, and my Mom stayed home with us until I was in High School. We moved 5 times before I graduated and I attended 2 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and one high school. The moves were easy and I never felt uprooted. But in hind sight it was my relationships that became increasingly reflective of my inner insecurities. I gravitated to anyone I thought was 'cool' and encountered some interesting 'friendships'.

I was raised in the Catholic Church, attending every Sunday, CCE on Wednesdays, and any special holiday we had Mass for. While the fundamental truth that Jesus loved me was learned early on, something was amiss. From as early as I can remember I stole and lied from anyone at anytime. Most times I stole things that I coveted and then lied about having stole said item. Sometimes, it was merely compulsion, habit or I dare say an addiction. It affected every relationship in my immediate family, and some cases friends and eventually the good 'ole Law....more on that later.

Throughout adolescence I certainly had encounters with the Lord, but nothing seemed to stick. With one of our moves from Texas to California I found the years of being a sweet little girl slip away. I started hanging with the wrong crowd and attempted a tough exterior. After a series of events including, some random girl beating me up...twice and some one 'tagging' our garage, my parents decided Texas was where we belonged and so we moved 'home'. Another move, but I was able to reconnect with old friends and pick up where I left off. But, I was different almost an innocence lost scenario. The first year was fine, but then I met my first steady boyfriend and things got pretty heavy, pretty fast. I had lost my virginity at 15 without a bat of an eye. That's just what you did, right? Well, that's just what I did...more than once. Along with those decisions came the other decisions, too. The ones where I snuck out at night to see my 22 year old boyfriend at 15, and slept over at my 23 year old boyfriend's house at 16, drank more than most college frat boys, smoked, and tried pot...once. While there is some debate in my mind on what was discussed in my home growing up, none of this was reflections of appropriate behavior by my parent's standards. I simply rebelled with the best of them. Then my sophomore year I seemed to 'get it' and pulled away from some of the poor choices. But short lived, because I just couldn't get rid of the desires of my flesh.

I met Randy my senior year, but was weary after a hard break up. While we certainly did not live our lives as a reflection of Christ, we seemed to be a good influence on one another. Although, we lived a sinful existence, come Sunday morning we put on a happy face and I started going to church with him and his family at a quaint little Baptist church.

Shortly into our relationship I began working at a local music/video/bookstore. As friends would come in I thought the 'cool' thing to do, would be to give said friends 'discounts'(stealing), such as punching in a CD for $1.59 instead of $15.99. Figuring I could just say (lie) that it was an error. Well, my luck ran out one day when they called me back to the office at the beginning of my shift. They knew what was happening and in short order I admitted to the crime. I was arrested, led out through the store (passing friends from school), and booked into the county jail. Getting my one phone call, I called my Mom who was home worried sick without my Dad because he was in New York for my Great Grandmother's funeral, oh and it just so happened to be my Dad's birthday, too. Again in true shame and disgust my Mom bailed me out of jail at 5am with a family friend who was a lawyer. Shame definitely became my mantra as a kid and you'd think it would have 'scared the heck out of me' as my Dad would often ask me. Nope, not me. It was probably the last BIG event of adolescence, but I hadn't heard God's voice above my own..yet.

Still dating, Randy and I conceived a child. This was to be the hardest thing I would ever tell my parents. As to be expected, they were not happy and I thought my Mother would hate me forever. We decided to move in together in May 1999, still unmarried. I didn't even have a license for crying out loud! Caleb was born September 1999 and we became instant grown ups. We knew nothing, but threw ourselves into loving this little innocent baby with all our might.

We continued to go to church throughout our relationship. It was at this church that I first heard about the invitation of the gospel and a relationship with Jesus. It's where I learned to read a Bible. It's where I experienced community for the first time. And, it's where I went through one of the darkest times in my life.

In July of 2000 I was in a car accident and was hit by a motorcycle while crossing a busy intersection in our small compact car. It was an accident in every sense of the word. But none of that mattered because the man on the motorcycle never walked again. In my mind I couldn't get past the fact that I taken another person's life. I felt tremendous sadness and guilt. In my darkest hour, God was there. I pushed past the tears and finally heard his plea for me to follow him. I was baptized at the very church I heard the truth I longed to hear all those years growing up. I detest the sinful choices I've made in my life, and even now I am far from who God has called me to be. But, I no longer wear that quilt. I would do it all over again to be in the spot I am in now in life, because that is where I am supposed to be.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Abba it's your day!

Randy, you were a father the day I met you. You had a heart to mentor, love and tend to each little person's life that you came into contact with. I am so thankful you are the Father to my children. You teach me every day how to love more intentionally, with a fierce passion and with the instruction from our heavenly Father. Thank you.

The kids answered some questions on how they love you that I wanted to share.

Momma: What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?

Caleb: Build.

Isabella: Just being with him.

(Momma: I just love watching you together. How you teach them, even without words.)

Momma: What is your favorite memory with Daddy?

Caleb: When he tells me about how he asked God for a son before I was born and how happy he was when he got me.

Isabella: Sharing the secret about Momma's surprise birthday present and cake.

(Momma: The day each of them were born and the pride in your eyes when you held them for the first time.)

Momma: What do you love about Daddy?

Caleb:He's funny, best person I know that is a guy, best cook, he has a really cool truck, and the best Dad ever. Mom, I just can't explain how much I love Daddy, because I love him so much.

Isabella:: He's silly, fun to play with, most awesome Dad ever, a great builder, helps Mommy, he can do anything, and helps anyone who needs help.

(Momma: That you love us well and with your whole heart! And that you earnestly seek God's best for you and our family.)

Then we prayed for you and waited on God and this is what God told and showed us about you.

Caleb: You never give up.

Isabella: That you can do anything. That you have special gifts.

Momma: A picture of you stepping over mountains. God sees your big leaps of faith. He is so proud that you don't waste time in life's valley's, but stride in step with his plan.

Randy, you are an amazing man. I will continue to attempt to love the way you love. Thank you for always seeking God's best. Thank you for striving to be the best example of Christ you know how to be. Thank you for loving me in spite of my mistakes. Thank you for saying I do to this life of ours, with all of it's peaks and valleys.

And to our heavenly Father, thank you for giving us the perfect Daddy. Thank you that you pour out your love and mercy new each morning, that our Daddy may love us more. Thank you that you are not done with our Daddy, and that you continue to make him a better man each day. God, we love you and here is what we want to share with you!

Caleb: You are the almighty God. You are greater than anything!

Isabella: You have the strength to do anything. You help and provide for us. Thank you for helping me do the right things and not the wrong things.

Jenni: Thanking you for loving me just as I am. For being patient with me when I stray from your plan. I long to hold your hand and live with you!

Monday, June 15, 2009

God is MOVING!

Edinburg was amazing! The trip consisted of families from our church connecting with the community in Edinburg and sharing the gospel. Randy and I were part of the Preschool Childcare team and assisted with families on the outreaches, as well as, at the hotel. Our little ones tagged along on outreaches and were ministered to and loved on with their age group during the day. Such an encouragement as a Mommy to see my little ones engage with a kingdom mindset. Caleb was not a bit afraid to speak to anyone at anytime! After an outreach, back at the hotel I was with one of our leaders watching kids play on the playground. As we chatted we stopped to see Caleb approach another hotel guest...a teenage boy, with a booklet explaining the gospel. Just melted my heart! Bella and Caleb both participated in a flag dance at an outreach as well. Equally heart warming. If I thought I couldn't take anymore I was wrong, because Randy was able to share his testimony to a park audience during an outreach, as well! I was feeling the pouring out of the Holy Spirit over and over for my family!

And our childcare WAS NOT babysitting! I'm pretty sure those little guys taught me more than I taught them. By the time we left I was tearing up about not being able to hold these precious little ones every day! What a delight to see God's hand on their lives. One of my favorite moments was Randy holding our dear friend's little girl for nearly 30 minutes...not sleeping just snuggling! SO SWEET!

So your prayers were not in vain, dear friends and family! As we went out to minister the community we also invited them back to our hotel for a carnival on our final night. Such a time of encouragement! We were able to see the team as a whole in action. Loving on kids, praying, ministering. Powerful move of the Holy Spirit! I was able to meet up with a family I prayed with earlier in the week, in the few days since praying for the Mom to find a job, SHE HAD!!! Thank you Jesus! I was also able to help pray with a group for a couple to receive the Lord after doing some interceding for the gentleman. As we prayed for the adults, more team members were pouring into the women's son and he also received Christ that night! WHOLE family's were transformed in Edinburg! So many of our team members had similar stories of God's faithfulness to show up. And you all were apart of that with every dollar donated and every prayer prayed. Thank you for being apart of what God is doing in our life and in Edinburg!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bella-bella Boo-boo and some side notes

That is the nickname our good friend Scott gave Bella when we joined their Lifegroup. That's who is in this picture...

But, this amazing, beautiful little girl...yep still her just a little lighter.

I LOVE her haircut, but I LOVED her long hair too. She donates it to Locks of Love, so alas I let her. Daddy was even less resistant this time around.

So I love this:

The late author was a known atheist, but I like to believe the verse about "the world you desire can be won", is really salvation for the lost. Beauty from ashes right? So I translate it as such and am hopeful of what God has in store for us this weekend. I am so thankful he goes before us, with us, and behind us! I updated my prayer journal with notes I heard while praying for our trip. I would love for our friends to pray for us and our team and then share what God is saying. Just head over to (http://www.prayingwithjenni.blogpsot.com) and leave a note. I'll recap our trip when I get back and I'd love to combine the two.

We love you guys and can't wait to share what God is, will do, and did in Edingburg, Texas!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Oh my....

GOODNESS, how time flies! Life at the Carlisle casa has been full throttle. Lots of comings and goings.

Easter was a day of new additions, when one of my younger brothers, Jacob asked his beautiful girlfriend, Anne to marry into our crazy clan...and she said YES!

Then my beautiful sister, Jackie gave birth to an equally beautiful baby girl, Olivia Faith Marie Hyde, on April 22nd., weighing in at 6 lbs 11 ounces and 19 inches long.

The first weekend in May, Randy and I took a short trip to Alabama with his Dad and step-mom and we had a blast! Just enough time to relax and enjoy ourselves. We had a chance to work on some retirement property they bought and we may just join them...it was BEAUTIFUL! So peaceful!

We celebrated Mother's Day at school with a breakfast with the kiddos and it was bit bittersweet as the year draws to an end. It will be the first of many lasts in public school and I am feeling sentimental.

Then mid May we had a two day garage sale for our church's Mission Trip to Edinburgh, Texas. This will be our first trip as a family and the kids first mission trip ever...we are so EXCITED! We have a great testimony to God's faithfulness with the outcome of our garage sale. We sold quite a bit Friday and with the threat of rain we were seriously considering not putting stuff out on
Saturday. Well, we went ahead and set everything out and within 30 minutes we had sold $3 worth of stuff and it started to rain. Randy was gone getting breakfast, so Caleb, I and my mother-in-law dragged it all back in. I was not excited about the outcome, and was a bit peeved. Once I was done with my pity party I counted our money and we had TO THE DOLLAR, the amount necessary to cover our trip, church camp for the kids, our permit fees, and the newspaper ad. Man we serve an amazing God!

This cutie pie full of LIFE and energy is my nephew Carter. May 20th marked his one year anniversary post transplant. We are rejoicing in Heaven for this miracle and gift from God. Please consider organ donation and pray for the selfless family who gave us this remarkable gift! Carter is amazing, but his parents are pretty great too!!!

As for Randy, he is perfecting his skills of being good at everything! He is constantly whipping out a new wood creation...the latest was a cradle for my sister...brown with pink polka dots! He is also busy working on his physique with boxing and long distance bike riding. His major new love...other than me and the kiddos...is our garden. What a delight! We have harvested spinach, carrots, green beans, onions, and squash more than once and more to come! We love our Daddy and how he provides for us!

I am busy working at the church with our preschool department with childcare events, babysitting for friends, and delivering magazines for a local company. God again amazes us at his ability to provide our every need. I also am working on home school plans and getting the house in order for this new season. We are so excited for what God has in store for us and how he constantly reminds us that he LOVES us and he is FOR us!