Friday, July 31, 2009

Video from Josh!

Thought this was hilarious...because I'm mommy of course! Josh was getting so serious (watch his facial expression LOL) and you'll see him intently focused on kicking away at his stuffed little bear toward the end, I couldn't resist!!! Maybe he'll become a swimmer, a track star...I don't know, but he is getting cuter by the minute :) Okay...I brag no more! Enjoy another laugh.

Hugs to all.

Making Judgments without being Judgmental?

My husband and I have had our disagreements as well as coming to the same conclusions after a discussion regarding this all too infamous verse from Scripture: "Judge not, lest you be judged" and I wandered what your thoughts were on this very important topic within our world today. Now, without arguing, let's hear each other out first... :)

I have researched an article at the end of my ramblings here...that seems to put it in plain english for us to understand the "root" of passing judgments (vaguely, but plainly). Though, I also believe from reading Scripture too, that "passing" judgement on someone is different than being judgmental and critical and IS a problem when we only think we are excluded from sin ourselves (that's simply preposterous to me) and need to seek God BUT also, completely different than, making an "observation" (from knowing someone or something well enough) to make that "judgement call" and basing it on fact and truth from God's word and simply making a statement about someone or something because we honesty care about the lives of others or are we just talking to build ourselves up? Me, it bothers me to see others living in sin when they can have the life that changed mine, I too was there and it greives my heart to see others choosing to live destructively. This is why we parent our children, teach them right from wrong isn't it?

Why do we get so upset and defensive about this judging thing? I believe we must all check our own hearts and motives first. Because, initially, if you get so hung up on the fact that someone may be (from your perspective) "judging" others, than you yourself, are in essence judging that person for what they believe. Likewise, the conundrum for me is, how do we make our judgments about others or topics of interest, without being so judgmental?This is where a lot of the manipulation takes place using this scrpture verse. Is it really judging and/or criticizing if it is based on truth? Examples might include: from personal appearances, differences in beliefs and personal lifestyles.

What is truth?God's laws. Are we judging based on the law of the Lord? Why do we feel the need to judge? Does it really matter in the scheme of things?What is the basis for which we do this?Human nature for one, its how we've come to realize rights from wrongs - being convicted of our selfish behaviors and understanding the need for Christ in our lives.

Thank goodness for God's grace and mercy! Now, I'm not justifying those who choose to live life focused on what everyone else is doing and making comparisons to their own lives, that's a gossiping "busy body" problem and in desperate need of God's humility. It depends on how your attitude is from what I'm learning... I am quite challenged and often tested by this in simple daily conversation with family and friends. Regarding worldly matters; some harshly protest in giving themselves "rights" to live in sin just for an example. I'm not saying that I am higher than anybody else here by any means (that would be contrary to calling myself a Christ follower), though, the Lord has changed my life and therefore, I have been given His Holy Spirit and now "see" sin for what it is and need to recognize it and work to love my brothers and sisters out there to expose the darkness which also allows me to look within based on His truths too! We all need Him...In light of this, I have made a choice to continue to pray that God would make it clear to me to allow room for growth in this area that may lead me in a way that shows others more gentle understanding respect, because I admit to being a bit "judgmental" myself as a sinner whose saved by grace!

Reality is, we all pass judgments whether we "admit" to them or not, in our everyday living in fact, the President is a biggie, what hometown to live know, what kind of "neighborhood" is it? finding a mate, which friends to hang out with, even clothing, "use your good judgement hunny"...are they on the same level? probably not, but the fact is the same isnt' it?

So, my conclusion and agreement came to this particular end... enjoy the article and may we all learn to express God's grace to one another more often. Irony is, I may be "judged" for sharing this information with you...

Keys to Powerful Living: Overcoming A Critical Spirit - Learning to Give and Receive God's Grace

Do you judge others? Is it easy for you to find fault with those around you? Then beware: Your spiritual life is in danger.

A critical attitude can hinder your walk with God and distract you from God's purposes for your life.

Why We Judge

We judge because of our own selfish interests. For example, we sometimes become critical when comparing ourselves to those around us. We try to find fault in others to prove that we are smarter, better looking, happier or wealthier. But these are selfish reasons. We simply want to feel better about ourselves. We also get critical when others fail to do what we ask, or do not do what we think is right. Often, it is a family member, friend or co-worker who fails to meet our expectations. Our expectations lead to a judgmental attitude.

Even our own frustrations can lead to a critical attitude. If life is not turning out the way we desire, we hide our own frustrations by finding fault with others.

Judge Not...

Finding fault and being critical are some of the easiest things to do. They seem to come naturally to us. But Jesus told us not to judge "lest you be judged" (Matt. 7:1, NASB). We should obey His command.

Jesus then explained why a judgmental attitude is so dangerous: "God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them" (v.2).

When we judge, we invite judgment upon ourselves. The Bible says that "judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy" (James 2:13).

By judging others, we hide our own hypocrisy. For example, when the religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught in sexual sin, they wanted to kill her. But Jesus responded, "If any of you have never sinned, then go ahead and throw the first stone at her" (John 8:7). Nobody threw one.

God alone reserves the right to judge each person (Romans 14:4). As the Apostle Paul said, "Dear friends, don't try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, `I am the one to take revenge and pay them back'" (Romans 12:19).

The Cure for Criticism

Judgment is very important. The Bible says that "God is a righteous judge" (Psalm 7:11, NASB). The cure for criticism is found in understanding the nature of God's judgment. The Bible says that every person is a sinner. This sin drives a wedge between God and man, and deserves judgment (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Regardless of how "good" we think we are, "all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment" (Isaiah 64:6, NASB). We cannot make up for all the bad things we have done. Left alone, we still deserve God's judgment: death and eternal torment in a place the Bible describes as a "lake of burning sulfur" (Rev. 19:20).

Only God could satisfy the judgment against us for our sins. So God sent His Son into the world to pay the price for our sins. Jesus Christ took our judgment on Himself and died in our place. In return, God offers to each person all His blessings -- including eternal life, forgiveness, peace, joy and hope -- provided we acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

If we truly understood the judgment that we each deserve from God, we would be less inclined to judge others.

Giving Grace Instead

Have you learned to receive God's grace and mercy? This is the first step to overcoming a critical spirit. If you have never thanked Jesus for paying the penalty you deserve, do so now. Simply repent of your sins and turn your life over to Him (Acts 3:19; Romans 10:9,10).

If you know Jesus as your Savior, thank Him for His grace and mercy. Thank Him for forgiving you of your sins. Thank Him for giving you a second chance at life.

Now, offer grace and mercy to others, Jesus said, "Freely you received, freely give" (Matt. 10:8, NASB). Instead of judgment, extend God's love to those around you, beginning with your family, your friends and your co-workers. Often those closest to us feel the harshest effects of our judgmental attitudes.

From now on when you feel the temptation to become critical, follow Jesus' clear instruction to take a close look at your own life first (Matt. 7). Ask God to forgive you for your sins. You may even discover why you are so critical of others.

Remember, it's easy to be critical. The faults of others are often very obvious to us. During these times we need to make sure we give grace instead. Thank God for those people and ask the Lord to bless them and reveal His will to them.

It's really quite simple: God has granted you mercy. He has paid the debt for your sins. Now, the only debt you owe is to offer His love and mercy to others, for "mercy triumphs over judgment" (James 2:13; NASB).

Finally, be sure to spend time with God in prayer and study the Bible. As you read the Scriptures, ask God to help you to be patient with those around you. In time, you will change from a fault-finder to a grace-giver as you learn to live like Jesus lived.

As You Pray

If you are a fault-finder, turn to the Lord right now and ask Him to set you free. "Dear Lord Jesus, I'm so sorry for the times when I have allowed judgmental attitudes to rule me. Please forgive me. Help me to remember Your mercy toward me so that I can extend Your mercy to others. Thank You so much for loving me. In Jesus' name. Amen."

God's Word on Criticism

"Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. Try your best to let God's Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living in peace" Eph. 4:2,3.

Scriptures for Study

John 8:7 -- No one qualified to judge

Matthew 7:1-2 -- Effects of judging

James 2:1-13 -- Pitfalls of judging

1 Peter 2:1-3 -- Antidote for judging

Philippians 4:4-8 -- Learning to put up with others' faults

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

JK Wedding Entrance...DANCE?

Hi fellow bloggers and visitors, I'm sure by now you have seen (or have heard about) the infamous wedding entrance by Jill and Kevin via If not, please view it here:

(note: on Youtube there are sometimes very offensive advertisements,
if you want to view the video larger, so you don't have to be distracted by the ads,
please click on the box in the video section that will fill your computer screen
with the video itself near the volume settings scroll your mouse over it you'll find it)

I must comment on this because being a dancer myself, I thought this was absolutely wonderful - though I would have chosen a different song most likely and a more formal dress for the wedding party (because I'm conservative), but I have to say how joyful and emotionally moving it was to see a couple and their friends so HAPPY to actually DANCE their way down the aisle before the Lord (YES, in church) and in sync with each other- its so natural to dance especially before the Lord (we all remember David) and I was personally filled up with Joy for them because they chose to do something that was special to them without making it blasphemous in church as far as I could see, as a couple and take away the solemn tradition of "robotic" step by step slow walking down the aisle...and with their closest family and friends without hesitation! We should celebrate this day, they are getting married! Also, the togetherness of the "choreography" was great because they all let go of their inhibitions and I saw complete Joy expressed from each party member in this hope filled occasion!

Curiosity: If anyone disagrees with what they did, I'd like to hear your comments and hear others perspective on wedding ceremonies, just for blogs sake. One other thing that I feel was a bit unnecessary though, was the usage of the sunglasses, but I get it. *And the woman preacher...if someone could give me some solid biblical truth about women heading up a church, please share it with me, because I don't believe women should be in a headship role before the congregation.

Personal observation: The people in the pews beforehand were serious and expecting the usual tradition and I love how they began smiling with joy and from the element of surprise of the uplifting tune as they watched before their eyes a CELEBRATION unfolding with two souls uniting and deciding to mix it up and dance with all their might because of the Joy of their vows taken together that day! My heart felt like that on my wedding day and maybe we should have done this too! Could it be fear that holds us back? I believe, that "church" is not just a "place" but rather, its God's People rejoicing before Him as well as in humble worship and adoration and complete abandon before Him! We can combine these in worship too.

Let us not be so judgmental (I was a bit at first too) and remember that God desires our PRAISES and what better way than to dance! The bride and her groom were so happy, they danced together before the throne of God, I love it! A wedding is a celebration of love, life and laughter - go for it! Though putting in my 2 cents here, I do hope they are as much in love with the Lord of heaven as they are dancing with each other (its a good start though)... lets pray for this couple as they begin their lives together as husband and wife.

Jeremiah 31:13 Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Are you really In Love...with God?

Tony and I are studying this CrAZy book by Francis Chan. It's all about living out "crazy love" for our Maker and Creator of the universe, God and His son sent to die so we could live, Jesus! Learning how to really love Him and acknowledge Him in everything we do! Talk about a wake up call. So far, these readings and thoroughly thought-provoking chapters; including "Profile of the Lukewarm" - "Serving Left Overs to God" and 'Your Best Life...Later" have SO encouraged me to talk to God more often, repent, double check my walk as well as my talk and learning to live out my faith and not my "label called, Christian" in trusting the Savior with my life!

I wanted to share this information with you in the hopes of encouraging your walk with Christ to go deeper! To live as though it were your last... we've all talked about that before, but do we really believe that it could very well be our last day here on earth? Meaning... have you done everything you could to show others (your spouse, child, relatives, neighbors)... Jesus Love, especially after an argument, have you made up and made "right" with those people? Have you taken moments throughout the day to remember to call or write to someone you've offended moreover, have you really forgiven someone whose hurt you and moved on mentally, emotionally and/or physically, without a grudge? Do you offer forgiveness in your daily living? I don't know about you, but, I am SO challenged by this!

Those are just some of the deep topics covered within this amazing book which also comes with a DVD if interested! You see, he challenges us to live Crazy Love... not as emotionally weak or "careless" loving, but truly a passionate love for Jesus, The Savior of the world. The One who deserves it and is worthy of our praise and obedience. This book reveals some alarming statistics about fellow Christians and you may find that you are part of the percentage that needs this wake up call. Holiness is why we were made, to be like Him in all ways, specifically, to serve others. Talk about humility, this is truly an everyday challenge!

Take a walk with Francis, as he willingly challenges churches and Christians alike to actually live out their "talk" and prepares us/ "warns" us through many Scripture references as well as from his own life experiences, to stop being so comfortable here on earth and playing it "safe" as a Christian in many areas. *If you get the book, he'll explain what this means in humble detail. ***Some may find his statements to be slightly controversial or possibly, outrageously impossible, truth is, God IS crazy about us (did you catch that?) and cares more about us than any earthly human being! Francis gets to the core of the matter, through, bold and uncompromising insight into a life lived out in complete love with our Savior which in turn leads us to open our hearts to God's possibilities and living our lives on purpose for His purposes, until the Lord calls us home!

Are we really pleasing God first or walking in the flesh too often? News flash...Our supposed hurt "feelings" WILL come and go, that is if you are forgiven much...though, God doesn't need our feelings, in fact, they really don't matter (I'm a bit of a "sensitive" person, so this statement touched me kind of deeply) Truth- the Lord takes away our "hurts" anyway and is bigger, than anyone of them...nothing truly matters except for our love relationship with our Father in heaven...that is what is so CRAZY or is it?

God requires our obedience whether its popular or not, its quite difficult for me too. Though, we cannot listen to the guilt ridden voices of satan any longer. I personally have been so moved by this book and to the words God has been saying to me through boldly embrace this challenge of being in complete love with my Savior, as I finish up this study with my husband. I do pray that you may see His love, His grace, His faith, His loyalty to His people through me and my family even more now!

May you be overwhelmed by a relentless God!

Check out his site for some awesome videos or to order this life changing book:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Funny Video from Josh!

During the past couple of days, I've noticed Josh imitating "something" that caught me off guard as I joyfully and surprisingly, laughed hysterically at his new discovery. It appears he may be imitating "feeding time" or mimicking us as we eat? He has been doing "this" quite often. Josh slowly brings his right arm up to his mouth and stares at it very intently then his little eyes cross - which is what we find of course, extremely hilarious! He is obviously trying to see something or maybe he is just in awe of how his hands and eyes can work simultaneously - its those little things that simply brighten my day and had to share with you!

Oh....there is a brief random family moment during this filming that includes Charles and Tony enjoying one of our favorite meals: "Dorito Taco Bags" as explained humorously by Charles. Then some silly dad moments too.

Enjoy the video as we captured him bouncing away at the dinner table last night...I couldn't resist recording this moment. Hope this brightens someone's day as you enjoy a good chuckle of irresistible cuteness!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The COOLEST graphic design photo!

Designer: Tony Allen aka: "By 5 Studios"
Photographer: Nichole Allen aka: "Homefront Inc."

Wii game fun in slippers?!?

Thought this was "video worthy" and a funny moment to enjoy with Charles, he cracks me up a lot!
This has got to be the most enjoyable, active, family friendly video game ever made!!!

Mom's Favorite Photos of the Day!

Josh is doing his best to sit up straight and tall for mommy... not bad little man! Little wobbles still and I love these moments... how bout the outfit? woof woof...sporting an adorable hat grandma bought for him!

Do you see the faces I have to deal with... ya think he'll try to get his way in the future?? ;) my cheeks look fat in this one??

My little cherub from above...

Josh in his new swing!

Josh can finally sit upright, well at least for a little while and with limited support, as he's 3 mos old now and growing fast! So, thought I'd put him in his new "musical" swing as I was catching up on some laundry, though I couldn't take my eyes off of him...too cute moment for mom! He enjoys it so far... Josh also quickly fell asleep within a matter of minutes after recording this video :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Welcome to our New Home!

I just realized these photos are showing up from from "last section of house to entrance" is the way blogging posts are and completely forgot about that...ooops, well, you get the idea. Enjoy the walk through...backwards!

This is part of our BACKYARD - There is another small porch off of our Kitchen area, which is great for me when I'm cooking and smoking up the place!!!
View from our front door - again, this house has little touches that are just too cool.
Exiting the FOYER to go outside - I really love this room, also has great little touches (a phone and magazine "built into wall" area near desk - can't see it in this photo though) to make for a cozy friendly little place.
Heading downstairs "view" - can you see the "in the wall BOOKCASE"? We totally LOVE this...brings so much character to the house, it has so many little touches of built in decor that come into good use for us!
Okay, back downstairs we go...
Bathroom FLOOR - I am so proud of Tony for putting these new tiles in for us (Home Depot - the place to GO!)...they look gorgeous. Should have taken a before and after photo of what it looked like before the new tiles... ugh! But loving this - feels great on the tootsies too!
Vanity section of bathroom - we actually had to "spray paint" (don't ask) the faucet b/c it was so corroded, well, just until we can put some new plumbing together!!! We like getting creative.
Almost forgot, the BATHROOM - Thinking about some more bold/warm colors for this room too? or maybe something totally different...hmmmmm, we'll see!
Okay...this is walking down the hallway toward big brother Charles's room (yes, he gets his own room which works out nicely for all of our boys - you know those important times to grow and change into young men and learn what it takes to take care of your own things :)... I just can't show his room right now, because its chaotic to say the very least and just not quite settled yet! But we're getting there!
Josh's section of their SAFARI room!!
Josh and Spencer's BEDROOM - We had to combine them as the rooms upstairs were a little bit "cozier" than we thought and so Spence and Josh are sharing some fun times in their SAFARI brother room together! Again, can't wait to PAINT those walls!!!
I'm buggin because the color of this room is a headache for me personally (not a big pastel fan) and does not blend well with our bedding as you can see, so gives me an excuse to throw some new bold warm paint on the walls and go crazy! Needing some curtain ideas too...
Big bedroom furniture fitting quite snugly in our new bedroom.
Cool added touch of wooden STEPS into our "Mommy and Daddy Master Bedroom" - Tony and I found out during "move in" that our bedroom decor/furniture was so huge for our new room, so we have only one way to basically design our room as far as furniture is concerned, but, gives me a reason to be crafty and creative! We'll see what happens...
Lots of exercise on our new STAIRCASE...all together there are 15 steps to climb to get to that all time favorite relaxing place, BED and Potty time!
LR again - other side - entertainment unit and about to head upstairs!
Other half of KITCHEN - Doesn't the mess just bug ya yet? lol
Entering the KITCHEN - Definitely my favorite place to be and roomier for inviting guests now and actually eating together as a family at a kitchen table again!
LR - Getting there, a bit messy like I warned ya, but I love the space! High ceilings are sweet too.
Exiting our FOYER into our LR
Tony and I have decided to make it our "sanctuary" part of the house, to read and reflect on the day with God, family and friends!

Here are some photos of our new place in King of Prussia, Pa! Please bear with me, as I know there is quite a mess in some areas and you will probably be "itching" to move some stuff around as you glance over these photos...ha ha, I was! Still need to paint, rearrange lots of things...although, we have come pretty far, enjoy the walk through!

We are thanking the Lord for everything He has provided for us and are still in awe of Him and His magnificent ways He shows us His love and provision, even when we've doubted Him in the past. He loves us and loves you, remember to thank Him today!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We're BACK!!!

Josh is 3 mos old TODAY!!! He's developing right on track... more moments to share with you all soon!

Did ya miss us?
Well...WE missed all of you terribly!

Can I just say how ridiculously spoiled I am with phone and internet connections in this day and age! I about lost my mind without having our internet and basic phone hooked up (for 3 whole weeks)!!! Those of you who truly know me, will understand how difficult that was for little ole me ;(

WOW... Did I have time to discover LOTS about me I would rather not go through again, lol. I started out okay, busy with Josh and decorating, but approximately after a week still without new phone service to our place, my patience let's just say, was wearing quite THIN:) Argh!!! I really have to stop sharing my weaknesses, because it seems that I get "tested" on them frequently, but I'm passing through... feeling quite blessed these days too! Long story short, we've successfully moved into our new home and are getting settled surpassingly quickly given new baby needs and all of the new housing demands alike. Some areas of our new home have boxes yet to be opened, though, with our wild and crazy boys on vacation (I miss em so much though) with their extended families this month, Tony and I have had some time to ourselves to complete the move in a semi orderly fashion and some time to kick back and relax a bit this summer!

We'll be posting some more photos again soon... missed ya all and hope the Lord has been working in you as much as He's been in my life these days.

Also, I'd like to give a virtual note of THANKS to the following men who stepped up (with short notice too) and helped us with our recent move - We are so appreciative of your time given up to help us out and to have you in our lives!

Dan Sherry
Larry Noonan
Nick Kiriakidi
and of course, my mom and dad who have helped out enormously with baby needs, food and moral support during this time!