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Helping Our Children Grow Tall and Strong

 30.6.10

When you live in one of the most crowded cities in the world, you need to plan ahead some time in the woods.



We went to the woods yesterday, and I enjoyed watching my children running and climbing; searching and discovering. We breathed fresh air, and enjoyed the smell of the wet ground and Eucaliptus pines. I even wish this post were a scrath-and-sniff one!

As I saw them on those big trees, I could not think other than, "this is the way I want them to grow in the Lord, tall and strong. With wide roots capable of holding others, and tall branches to be able to see from above."





Lord, help me nourish my children with your Word; may them grow with strong roots, and grow tall enough to see from above the world. May the little beginnings bear much fruit at the end; may their lives turn into the sweet aroma which only those, who have been in your prescence have.


       In the name of Jesus,who brings life out of darkness.


                                                                       Amen


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Learning to Converse

 29.6.10

I heard our conversation and I certainly did not like it. I did not like it because of me. My dialogue, my lines were too long, repetitive. I wanted to make a point clear, but as I listened carefully to those words coming out from my mouth, I though more about a continual dripping of rain, than a healing balm.

My words certainly did not taste as honey.

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
    but whoever restrains his lips is prudent."

                                                          Proverbs 10:19

Here I was, a Mom of many words...



But I want to do do something about my conversation with my young adult children; I want it to be fruitful, blessed, sweet, and profitable.

"Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
   and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;

   when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent."

                                                  Proverbs 17: 27-28

I read this and many others passages in the Scriptures, and I realized that the only way to improve my conversations with my children (and everyone else!) is to say fewer words, and listen more.



Before saying my twenty five thousand words about a topic, it would be better for me to learn to restrain my words and listen first to what they have to say, listen to them attentively and then speak wise words to their hearts. This, I am sure, is more efficient.

The hardest thing, however,  is to break patterns that we have been dragging behind us; it is easier not to listen to our children, and just say what we think they ought to do; but this attitude will only bring grief, and will not nourish the relationship I am longing to have with them.



I wrote these questions to help me examine my conversation with my children:

1. When I am busy doing something, and one of my children wants to tell me something, do I stop immediately what I am doing to listen him?
-Yes, I have also said that what I am doing is very important...but to be true, those "super important" things could have waited ten minutes or so?

2.When one of my children is talking to me, am I listening attentively or my mind is somewhere else?
-I have been guilty of this one, especially with the little ones.

3. When I need to correct them, do I listen to what they have to say first?
-Letting them talk and explain to us their "side of the story" is not wrong; if we have instructed them in ways of the Lord, by now, they should know how to express themselves respectfully with us.

4.When I give them a chance to talk and explain, am I listening with a humble attitude, or I am just waiting until they finish to say what I have to say? Am I willing to say, "I am sorry, you are right, and I am not"?
-This is crucial, if they do not see in me a humble attitude, they will not choose to come to me. No one wants to engage in conversations with the prideful.

5. Do I enjoy listening to them?
-My children will have to give the answer to this one.

Today I am here, learning to converse.

What are some ways you have learned in your journey about conversing with your children?




The pictures were taken by Annie, and I chose them to remind me that I need to start applying all these principles with my little one!

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Yes, I will Open the Box

 28.6.10

My young lady and my little girl, both come to me; we are chatting on my bed. It is 9:30 PM. I am already in my pj's, but they insist (I have found lots of excuses not do it for about a year...the box is not easy to reach); they want me to open the box where I keep my wedding dress.

And I recall deep in my heart what I have learned (and I am still learning) about saying yes, and I stand, my husband smiles; I say "yes",  and open the box.

Why is it so hard to say "yes" to so many simple things that will turn a moment  into something magical?

We laugh as they try my dress, (the one I used in the civil ceremony before our Religious wedding), and one that Grandma wore when she was a teenager. We tried the shoes, we laughed.





And then, I had to say "yes" once more. This time it was easier. I realized that saying "Yes", has "magical" effects. It brings laughs, and creates memories. They asked me to try on my wedding dress! I knew I would not fit in it, and my Beloved was there! But I said "Yes", and we laughed, and I loved it!


 
A third "yes" awaited; she loves photography and has never taken pictures of newly wed. This was her chance. She asked for the kiss... and we said "yes".


600. Thank you for the power of "yes".

601. Thank you, Lord, because I don't fit in that dress, I have been Mom four times, and that is a gift.

602. Lasting covenants.

603. Marriage vows.

604. Two girls dreaming.

605.  Holding hands in the night.

606. Learning to pray.

607. Friends from afar, and long distance calls, and messages in FB.

608. Telly.

609. Cheesecake for him.

610. Swings.

611. Beautiful moments to build a relationship stronger.

612. The book that challenges Mom- Daughter conversations.

613. Memories built in the kitchen.

614. Trials that build our faith.


"Remember, O My Soul,
  It is thy duty and privilege to rejoice in God:
  He requires it of thee for all his favours of grace.
  Rejoice then in the giver and His goodness,
  Be happy in Him, O my heart, and in nothing but God,
           for whatever a man trusts in, 
          from that he expects happiness"


                          From the Valley of Vision




From the archives:
On Being a Wife
One + One = One
His Music and My Song

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The Lord's Day

 26.6.10

 
Today we, God's own people, come to the Lord's Table. People from all nations, ransomed by His blood, today we come and gather and remember.

Today is the Lord's Day. Let us remember to keep it holy.



J.C Ryle says on his book, Practical Religion, the following about the Lord's Supper:

"In eating that bread and drinking that cup, such a man will have his repentance deepened, his faith increased, his knowledge enlarged, his habit of holy living strengthened. He will realize more of the "real presence" of Christ in his heart." (p. 153)
Ryle then proceeds to "offer some warnings required by the times...

"1. Do not neglect the Lord's Supper.

2. Do not receive the Lord's Supper carelessly, irreverently, and as a matter of form.

3. Do not make an idol of the Lord's Supper.

4. Do not use the Lord's Supper irregularly.

5. Do not do anything to bring discredit on your profession as a communicant. The man who after attending the Lord's Table runs into sin, does more harm perhaps than any other sinner.

6. Do not despond and be cast down, if with all you desires you do not feel to get great good from the Lord's Supper."

Read more about J.C Ryle teaching on the Lord's Table here.
Another resource worth reading is, Private Meditations After Communion

Happy Lord's Day, Let us remember, let us feast!


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Slowing Down and Reading your Journal

 The sun is warming our kitchen. I am ready for coffee and I will bake some muffins for my Beloved and kids.

Saturday is here.




Saturdays are great for slowing down and taking time to read some of what you have written in your journal (blog); and examine yourself.

As I come and read and ponder over words in paper, words in the blog, it is easier to take a closer look and examine myself.

Am I really doing something to destroy that particular sin which I love to feed?

What has happened with such attitude?

Have I done what I said I needed to do?

Where I am now?

This is why I keep a journal, this is the reason I write. My thoughts are many, and I need to see to see from outside to examine my life.

I also write, because my mind is prone to wander, prone to forget how the Lord has brought us out of many trials before with His outstretched right hand. I do not want to forget His endless gifts. His mercies. My prayers and my songs.

So, today, from the archives (of the former -so much loved- blog) this is what I found:

Repentance and Forgiveness

A Night Thought

In Silence

Lessons from a Lost Book and Cable





May your wanderings through your journal (blog) today bring you closer to Him.

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A Treasure in Jars of Clay

 25.6.10

"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies." (2 Cor. 4: 6-10 ESV)




O Lord, let me not forget today
that I am a jar of clay,
a jar of clay in which you have decided to place a treasure;
the treasure of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Amen


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An Old Building -Framing Light-

 24.6.10

Yesterday we went to visit an old convent (from the 1500's), which has been turned into a Museum.
The building is just beautiful, the ceilings are high and the corridors long and numerous. You can still visit the old kitchen and the bathroom, which was used more as a place of healing than personal cleaning, (it actually has only one bathtub) the nuns would take baths with infussions to heal their diseases.

The windows are deep wide, all framing light.



I love to see how Light finds its way through Darkness, it pierces it. 

Darkness is always overcome by Light.



Light leads our eyes into something else. Our eyes, once that have known light, do not want to steer the darkness. We long for Light.



But I loved darkness, that is what the Bible says, and He saw me and when I did not call Him; He brought life to the dungeon, and pit where I was.

I was so trapped in sin that I could not reach Him, but He remembered my condition, He remembered that I am made of dust, that I was born sinful, and He came, and reached me and took me out of darkness into His admirable light.



The prision of sin and condemnation were broken; there was a way out.

Light always conqueres and pierces Darkness.

"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
  (2 Corinthians 4:5-6 ESV)

"...at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord." ( Ephesians 5:7-10)

"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." (1 John 1:4-6)


Thank you, Pilgrim Mommy, for the hymn verse:

"Long my imprisoned spirit lay,

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed Thee."


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Beauty Framed

 23.6.10



This door caught my eye, "who is the woman of the house who put that beautiful yellow wreath on her door?"

I want to meet her, and say, "thank you for making beautiful what otherwise would go unnoticed."

We frame the life the Lord has chosen for us, with our attitudes; am I going to complain or smile and pick up some yellow wild flowers  and make a wreath to hang on the door?

We don't choose the frame in which our life happens, that belongs to the Lord, but He demands from us to hang a beautiful attitude on it.

A prayer, a smile, a hug, a kiss.

May you find wild yellow flowers today.




The photo-play prompt was given by my friend Claire

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Teaching Them What We Almost Forgot

 22.6.10

I still remember so vividly those days when we would hold their tiny hands to help them take their first steps; or how I used to take those little hands in mine, to show them how to properly hold the pencil; The days in which we invested hours to teach them how to ride a bike without training wheels or try a new pair of skates have passed by.

We have taught them how to read, to write, to be polite at the table, to speak different languages, to love books, to read their Bibles, to say "thank you" and "please"; to love and obey Mom and Dad; to live with open hands; to take a plane; to use wisely their time on their computer, to live happy, to set the table, to bake and cook; to drive and swim...



But, we almost forgot to teach them how to pray. 

We taught them, since they were little infants, that they should pray, we would lead them into prayer, and they would see that prayer was indeed part of our family. But we just realized we had never set apart a special time to teach them how to pray.

One disciple asked the Master, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." He knew that certain things do not "just" happen, they most be learned.  And someone needs to teach them.

A barber, in a cool spring in the 1530's asked Martin Luther to teach him how to pray, he answered him writing a short treatise entitled "A Simple Way to Pray; for a Good Friend"

This is another reminder on how we fail as parents every day and yet God's grace comes and lifts us up, and helps us to keep up with the race.


How are we teaching our children to pray?


At the family table.


We bring our Bibles, and read the Lord's Prayer together every day; we make it ours and pray over it, we meditate on its words, we talk about its meaning, and then we pray.


Several books will be our companions this summer, and we have started with these:

I will post the new titles as soon as they arrive in the mail and we start studying them.


A Simple Way to Pray




Praying the Lord's Prayer, by J.I Packer




When You  Pray: Making the Lord's Prayer Your Own




A Method For Prayer: Freedom in the Face of God




A Diary of Private Prayer



A prayer guide that has been a great blessing to me, is the one Valerie put together a while ago. 





We took time in December to ponder and study the Incarnation, we waited during the Advent season, and then we celebrated the God-Man in the Manger  We did not want to miss the opportunity to study the Atonement, and we placed a cross where the Christmas tree was; we celebrated the risen Christ, and studied what this means; but, on how to pray, we almost forgot to teach them that.


We think we are teaching them, yet we are just learning.



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Gratitude Monday -Borrowed Words-

 21.6.10



Words are a gift from God. Words have roots and meanings, words heal or bring death, words are powerful, and yet, sometimes, seem to be weak. 

Through words we have walked into covenants, with words we have started our families; a simple "yes" turned my life into somehing beautiful. 

Words are like a stair, one by one we climb steps until we find the exact one, the one we are looking for to reach that place we long to go.



Today, my gratitude list today (# 581- 599) is with borrowed words, words that I found in my prayer corner, words that seem to say what I could not say better. Words with a meaning, words, that I have made my own, words that I have prayed:

"Now unto thee, O heavenly Father, be all praise and glory that by day Thou dost richly fill my life with various blessings:

A home to share, kindred love, and friends to cherish;
A place to fill and a work to do;
A green world to live in, blue skies above me, and pure air to breathe;
Healthy exercise and simple pleasures;
My race's long history to remember and its great men to follow;
Good books to read and many arts and crafts to delight in;
So much that is worth knowing and the skill and science to know it;
Those high thoughts that sometimes fill my mind and come I not know whence;
Many happy days, and that inward calm that Thou givest me in days of gloom;
The peace, passing understanding, that comes from thine indwelling in my soul;
The faith that looks through death and the hope of a larger life beyond the grave.

I thank Thee, O Lord God, that though with liberal hand Thou hast at all times showered Thy blessings upon our human kind, yet in Jesus Christ Thou hast done greater things for us than ever didst before;

Making home sweeter and friends dearer;
Turning sorrow into gladness and pain into the soul's victory;
Robbing death its sting;
Robbing sin its power;
Making peace more peaceful and and joy more joyful and
   faith and hope more secure. Amen"





*Words borrowed from A Diary of Private Prayer, by John Baillie.

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About my Move

 20.6.10



Thank you, dear Friends, for coming to this new place.

It is almost a year since I started this adventure, blogging about my daily life under His sun, and I still remember the day I wrote about rejoicing on our daily tasks, my very first post, and as I look back, I smile and whisper "Thank you, Lord"  He has been teaching me day by day to do that, to rejoice in the ordinary, rejoice in the routine, love the simplicity of a morning breakfast, and the mess while doing a big home school project.

I have learned while journaling about my life, that moments which seem to be simple and insignificant are indeed what make up my whole life, in a moment they have been transformed into the woman that I am now;  I have learned also, that situations in my daily life really matter because it is there where I must fight my sinful flesh.

Grace has sustained me, and I am grateful.

I want to thank each one of you who have been walking along with me. You all are precious friends, and sisters in Christ.

Thank you!



*************************************

Now, you might be wondering why I moved my blog from Wordpress to Blogger, well the reasons are basically three:

1. Blogger has new and free templates which are wider, and give more room for larger pictures. This I love!

2. Blogger does not have stats. Those stats are so dangerous for my sinful nature! More than once I fell trapped by them!

3. I really, really like the gadget named LinkWithin and I was never able to use it in Wordpress

What about the Blog at WordPress?

It will remain there; I will be reading it often, after all, that is one of the main reasons I started blogging. But you too are more than welcome to walk through its pages and archives. Ponder through my words but please, keep always in mind that my words may fail, while God's Word never; it will always be true and firm forever and ever!

Now, I hope you like this new look, and keep following my journey under the sun by His grace.





Note: If you know how to import a blog from Wordpress to Blogger, please let me know :) Thank you!

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Do you want to browse and ponder over older entries?

Click here to visit my former WordPress blog, On My Way to Heaven, there are 255 entries to read!

One day, hopefully, I will import it here!

You can subscribe to receive the almost-daily entries in your favorite reader, or you can become a sojourner; join me on this journey at the right bottom of the page, where it says "sojourners". I would love to "see" your face there.



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Who is Becky?

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Becky
If I am happy it is because of God! God, in His sovereign grace, has called me out of darkness into His Admirable light. He has opened my eyes and has shown me the way to Eternal Life. He has set my feet on a journey, and now I am walking Daily on My Way to Heaven. I did not find Jesus, He found me. I did not seek Him, yet He called me. I did not love Him, yet He loved me. I deserved death and He gave me Life. This is the place where I keep a journal of my life under His sun and by His grace!
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Borrowed Words

"It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven... to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?"

Jonathan Edwards

"I am still pondering God's greatness in His creation. I have so many questions that I would like to ask the Lord about the universe, creation, the fall of man... But when I'm in heaven, I wonder if I will even remember them. At that time, being in the presence of God will be enough. I'm thankful that I can look forward to that day."

-Persis

“Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”

- Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart



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Thank you.

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