Friday, May 8, 2009
In The Spotlight – Julia Ann Vazquez
Julie, as I know her, was born on December 09, 1960 in LA (Little Abilene) to Raymond Valencia and Amy Cisneros. She has 4 sisters (Donna, Jovita, Melissa and Isabella), 2 brothers (Michael and Carlos) and one brother who passed away when he was 17 (Joe Richard).
Childhood and School Years
Julie describes herself when she was young as definitely a tomboy. She loved climbing trees, skateboards, tumbling, and skating. I can see her doing all of these things. She is a fun loving woman of God. She spent most of her summers in Abilene.
One thing a lot of us wouldn’t know about Julie is that she is of the Apache heritage. I wouldn’t have ever guessed that until she told me about a year or so ago. She is Apache on her dad’s side. Her grandfather, George Valencia, was full blooded Apache Indian. She couldn’t remember what his name was before he came to Texas but when he came here he changed his name to George Valencia. I say, with a heritage like that the devil better not mess with Julie!!! My impression of an Apache would be of a fierce fighter! They were pretty fierce in their day. So, if we apply that spiritually, I would say that Julie is a strong spiritual fighter! She doesn’t give up and I believe that!
In 1964, Julie moved to Dallas with her mom, Amy Cisneros. They moved here because Amy got a job working with Vought off of Jefferson here in Grand Prairie.
In October 1979, Julie met Joe. Julie was out with some of her friends. They stopped at a red light in Dallas off Jefferson and Hampton. Joe pulled up alongside them with some of his friends and from that night they were an item. They have four sons (Albert, Marko, Alex, and Isaac). They were married and moved to Grand Prairie. Lived in the Donna Lynn Apartments many years. Elsie and Ken Aubrey and their family lived in those apartments, too and they were always witnessing to Joe and Julie.
While they were living in Grand Prairie, Julie attended Christ Temple pastored by Bro. Dehart in Irving. She received the Holy Ghost in 1980 and was baptized by Bro. Dehart in the Irving church. She attended the Irving church until her mother, Amy, found Bro. Martinez’ church. A tragedy happened to the family when Joe Richard passed away and it was during that time that Amy decided to start attending GP church. Shortly before Julie started attending our church she had stopped going to church. She had become discouraged and down in her spirit and wasn’t able to come out of it until Amy told her about our church. Julie decided to visit and in 1996, she made it her home church.
When she started going to church again, Joe would not go because he was a full blown Catholic. That was okay because, like I said, Julie is a fighter and she doesn’t give up. She prayed and fasted for Joe for years. She told me the story of the compromise between her and Joe. She told him she would attend the Catholic Church one Sunday and then he could attend her church the next. She did this for a while until at a fundraising event the Priest said that they could drink beer. She found this to be a little disconcerting since it was a church event. At that point, she decided she wouldn’t compromise anymore. She stopped attending the Catholic Church and came full time to the GP church. She continued to pray for Joe and in 1999, he came to the Lord. Bro. Wayne Weathered was preaching when Joe received the Holy Ghost. God answered her prayers! Julie didn’t give up. What an awesome team they make, don’t you agree? I love their spirit and worship! And I hear the kids in the Sunday School department really love Julie! You’re doing an awesome job, Julie!
I asked Julie what her impression was of our church in the early days. She said the church was just what she was looking for. Becoming dissatisfied in Irving, she wanted to make a positive change for herself and her family. GP church fit the bill! She loved the ministry of Bro. Martinez and appreciated his loving, caring, kind spirit. Bro. Martinez helped her family through many hard times and they will always appreciate them.
She loved Bro. Martinez’ ministry and now looks forward to and is enjoying the ministry of Bro. Duvall. She stated that God couldn’t have sent a better man to us. Bro. Duvall was all she was looking for in a new pastor. The future is bright for GP church!
Sis. Julie, you are an awesome woman of God! I’m so glad I got to sit with you and learn more about your life! It’s a privilege to know you. I love you, girl!
I hope all of you who read this blog learn something new about Julie. See ya all next Friday!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
You see prayer is a Key! Actually you are reading something from someone who believes it is everything and I know that it is not actually everything but that is how important it is to me. If I am not successful in teaching my children anything, the one thing I want to teach them is how to pray and not necessarily how but TO pray. Here is where the Key comes in. Prayer controls things, prayer changes things, prayer preserves things, prayer comforts, heals, removes. This whole concept blows my mind!
I am a natural worrier I worry a lot about things I can’t control. Like will my kids be safe at school, did I say the wrong thing, did I do the wrong thing, what if I take this way and it is the wrong way. Ok you see what I mean well I have learned that I have a key and I can use it. 1st I can give it to the Lord in prayer. 2nd I can be confident in what does happen the Lord will see me through. 3rd I can move God with a sincere heart. 4th God knows what’s best so I can confidently pray Lord not my will but yours. Those revelations in my life are so powerful.
Prayer is intense, prayer is hard at times, prayer is discipline, prayer is fun and yes I said fun (just come to kids prayer we will be doing m & m prayer soon) but also prayer is an escape. When I was a new convert I heard Pastor say from the pulpit that the enemy tries to imitate the things God has for us and I thought about this and since he said this just recently after being delivered from so many of those things that the enemy used to imitate what God had for me in my life I bared witness to that comment.
So let me give you a testimony of a time that I asked God to be my escape when I would have used the enemie’s ways of escape. One morning I was putting my kids on the bus for school and it was one of those mornings, and I had just put them on and felt frustrated and like a failure at being a mom(for the record this was my pre praying with my children before they would leave the house days, if this is not a practice in your home I recommend it) ok so back to what I was saying so I felt like a failure and if you are a worrier then this is especially hard because I worried about the day my children was going to have but you see I heard my pastor say that the enemy was a fake but God had the goods (Kim’s version) Well before my days of deliverance and walking in the Lord I was addicted to several things the enemy uses so that I could escape reality and being a worrier I used those things often but not this time I was a new creature and old things had passed away and those things did not enter in my life anymore and I had to see what God could do in this so I said “God you have the goods and I am going to try that.”
I went to my room and started to pray but it wasn’t very long until I was lost in his presence and I felt the worry lift and I didn’t even care about anything else, the fear of my humanly error was gone and I came out of that prayer meeting knowing God is tried and true he does have the goods but we have to go to him in prayer to get it. So if I can get any point across it would be to take your key, use it, and don’t let the enemy bring fake escapes into your life God has the goods!
It is amazing how God’s word is so alive in our lives when we have a prayer life after I wrote this I was reading Psalms 34 and verse 4 jumped off the page at me and it reads “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” And then after I read Psalms 34 I went back and reread the heading and it read A Psalm of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimeleck; who drove him away, and he departed. And so I thought on this and that is what I did I changed my behavior and sought God instead of my old paths before God saved me and he did hear me and deliver me once again. So please don’t keep yourself from what God can do but use the key he has given you and pray. Have a wonderful Thursday!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Everyone who reads this blog, will do one of the following....
1) Fall in love with baking so much that you will be calling me begging me to LET you put things in the upcoming bake sales....
2) Have a burning desire to bake everything you can possibly imagine and surprise the bake sale with oh so many homemade goodies
3) Care less about baking and have to endure my shameless plugs on baking things for the bake sales I am going to organize.
I am going to guess #3...but pretend that it is going to be #1 or #2. (*crosses fingers*)
Baking... it is easier than people want it to be. I hear time and time again that it is "hard" to bake, or some people just can't bake.
That is all a self-made LIE!
Let's do an exercise.....
Simply follow these directions....
Walk around your computer chair.
Jump on one foot.
Say your ABC's.
Was that easy??? Could you follow the simple instructions? Okay, well if you could do that, you can bake.
How are those two things related you ask? Well, because all baking is, is following directions.
That is it. No creativity, no "kitchen suave" needed..... just get a recipe and follow the directions. Easy Peasy.
Here are a few projects for you, no real measuring needed for the first one....
Dump Cake. (I was told this is the way to any man's heart....)
1 box of yellow cake mix (any brand)
2 cans of pie filling (any flavor, cherry is really popular with this, but I like apple)
1 stick of butter (in this recipe, butter and margarine can be used, but be careful, sometimes when it says butter it means butter....and sometimes it says unsalted butter, this is where things get tricky!)
Take a regular cake pan (9x13 pan) pour both cans of pie filling in it.
On top of the filling, you will evenly pour the dry cake mix.
Make sure that all the pie filling is covered, and it is even.....
Take the butter, cut it into small pieces (I leave them in squares just slice it thinly)
Put the butter on top of the cake mix. Spread them out all over the cake. The butter will melt and make the cake mix turn into a crust.
Bake in oven at 350* for about 20 or 30 minutes. (You will know when it is done when the butter is completely melted and the top is golden brown)
Let the dump cake cool for at least 15 minutes and serve with ice cream, whipped cream etc.
Did you make this? No.....go do it real quick, then come back and finish the blog.
Okay now that was easy wasn't it? Not so bad. You can make something new now, a little more complex?
Bon Bon Cookies
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag Hershey's Chocolate kisses
Preheat oven to 350. Cream together shortening and sugars. Add egg and extracts and mix well. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt. Place 1 unwrapped kiss in the center of small amount of dough and roll into a ball. Place in cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes. You don't want the dough to be golden brown, just cooked all the way through so watch carefully.
Here are my baking tips for the week:
- Take it one step at a time.
- Measure exactly as the recipe says. Keep a full set of measuring tools handy, they are less than a dollar at Wal-mart.
- Keep a timer handy to keep the goodies baking as long as the recipe says.
- Do not try to substitute any of the ingredients until you get familiar with the items that can be substituted (like butter and margarine).
- Remember the KISS method (Keep It Simple Silly) Do not try to bake creme brulee when you don't know how to bake a frozen pot pie.
- And remember.......it is ok if you burn something, just try it again.....it is only food...
Now that everyone has a new love and confidence for baking....I don't want to see any store bought items at my bake sale....we all can bake....we can...and we will.....and you will do great. I just know you will!! Now chop chop...off to the kitchen you go....bake bake bake.....I will announce tonight at church when the first bake sale is for the kid's camp fundraiser.......I want you to be prepared!!You still love me right? he he he he
Till next time....or tonight when I bug you to sign up to help...
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The subject of joy has been one of my favorites for the last 15 years of so. One reason is that it is so often misunderstood by God's people but once we understand it, it truly is our source of strength. I remember sitting in Bro. Kilgore's church many years ago and listening to a man teach a Bible Study. He was talking and he said, "God never promised us happiness because happiness is an emotion. But..He did promise us joy because it is the strength that will carry us through life." At the time, I really had to ponder what he was saying and it stuck with me. However, the next year we moved to Albuquerque to start a home missions church and were faced with several extremely hard years of loneliness, financial despair, and ongoing illness of our child, Jake. Jake was sick and hospitalized repeatedly for over eight years (maybe I'll blog about that soon). I've learned some of my greatest lessons from Jake. One vivid time is when he was confined to a wheelchair and couldn't walk. It was just he and I in a hospital room for a couple of months. He asked me one Sunday morning to help him get into his wheelchair so we could go to the hospital chapel and have morning service together. I felt so convicted because I didn't want to pray because I was so upset at life's circumstances. But, oh what a time of joy we found in prayer together in that hospital chapel even though I was still wheeling him back to a hospital room.
It was in life's stresses that I learned to live in joy and it has been the greatest journey of my life and one that I would not trade. A favorite passage about joy is Nehemiah 8. In this scripture, God's people had rediscovered the law of Moses. They asked for Ezra to read aloud God's law and stood for over three hours listening to the law of God. As they heard the law, the recognized how far apart from God they had grown as a people. Conviction began to sweep the crowd and they began to pray, repent, and weep. The leaders began to redirect the people after their repentenance. "This day is sacred to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep..Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:9-10). Then all the people...began to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them" (8:12).
After the time of repentance, the people spent an additional three hours worshipping and rejoicing. Many times we feel conviction and weep before God but do we take the time to rejoice and live in a victorious state? Knowing God, trusting God and obeying God brings great joy. Our enemy attempts to steal our joy by promising joy through self-indulgence. Life is hard so I'll have a pity party and a temper tantrum. Nope...life is hard, God is my strength. Yet Jesus taught us that obeying God's commandments brings the greatest joy possible: "If you obey my commands you will remain in my love..I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:10-11). Instead of letting our circumstances dictate our state of mind, why don't we let our state of mind dictate our circumstances? Why do we go down in defeat before an already defeated foe? We crave happiness every day instead of the joy of the Lord. Life is coming at us each and every day and we won't have happiness but we do have a promise of joy that will take us through all of life's circumstances.
In the Book of Acts, the people were filled with joy in the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52 says, "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." In Acts 2:28, we read, "You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence." The Greek word of joy is, euphrosyne, meaning gladness, joy that fills you with rejoicing. It is exuberant joy! Joy produces strength, and in His strength, we can face anything. Instead of looking for strength from our daily lives so we can worship the King, why don't we worship the King and then have the strength we need for our daily lives. It really is quite simple and hear it from someone who has lived it through hard circumstances....joy drives circumstances...circumstances do not drive joy.
One of my favorite songs is Chris Tomlin's Holy is the Lord. Notice what the lyrics say about joy:
We stand and lift up our hands
For the joy of the Lord is our strength
We bow down and worship Him now
How great, how awesome is He
And together we sing
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
The earth is filled with His glory
The earth is filled with His glory
Monday, May 4, 2009
Clutter all over the place?My dining area is the worst and almost every night it looks like this.I finally had enough of it so I gathered a few tips to help me get organized.I can't tell you how important it is to not let it get as bad as I did;because then you lose very important things like your friend's wedding invitation and the pretty little card that you were supposed to send back before April 25th to let her know you will be attending her wedding!
So,to make sure this never happens again when my other friend(you know who you are)gets engaged to her millionaire this year and she sends me the wedding invitation,I've looked for a few tips that can help me stay organized from now on.
There are several websites that have great tips to keep your home clutter free but this plan seems like it will work best for me.
1)Clear Flat Surfaces Daily.
Flat surfaces such as countertops, tabletops and sideboards act as magnets for clutter. Newsletters, books, magazines, coffee mugs, newspapers and various other items are absentmindedly put down and never retrieved or put away.
At the end of every day, check known clutter zones such as the entry table, kitchen countertops and coffee table for items that can be quickly put away. While this may take a little time initially, once the daily check habit is established this should become a task that takes less than 15 minutes to complete.
2)Leave the Kitchen Tidy
Stack the dishwasher and wipe down countertops at the end of each day.If there is no dishwasher and no time to wash the dishes, make sure that everything is stacked neatly ready to be cleaned the next morning. Wipe out the sink and wipe down countertops so that the kitchen is ready for the breakfast rush the following morning.
3)Establish a Cleaning Routine
Homes often become cluttered because there is no established cleaning routine. Many tasks take significantly less time if completed regularly.
Draw up a checklist for routine household chores and keep the list taped to the inside of the pantry or pinned to a notice board as a reminder. Set aside time each day to check the list and make sure that nothing has been overlooked.
4)Involve the Whole Family
Even toddlers can put away toys into a box or basket when they have finished with them. Older children can be responsible for stacking and unstacking the dishwasher, setting the table, changing towels and handtowels and helping to care for pets in addition to keeping their own belongings tidy.
Involving children in household chores helps them to establish their own good cleaning habits. Younger children may need some encouragement to become involved and there are a variety of ways to motivate them to take part including using reward charts or special treats occasionally if they take care of their responsibilities without complaining.
5)Sort and Discard
Clutter often results when a household simply has more items than it can easily store. If storage space is overburdened, consider sorting through clothing, children’s toys, kitchenware or other groups of items to clear out anything that is no longer useful. Garage/yard sales and websites such as eBay are a great way of turning these items into cash. Alternatively, donate useful clothing and household items to a local charity.
By making an effort to perform small tasks regularly, it is possible to reduce the amount of household clutter and create a more welcoming and organized home.
I've already started using some of these tips and I can't tell you how good it feels to finally get more organized.
I hope this post will be useful to you and if it is,remember to donate your things for our community block party this Saturday!
Oh and Neda if you read this YES I will be attending you wedding.Mark us down for four! :)
Hope everyone has a great Monday!