Saturday, 11 March 2017

What You Want

The last few weeks the Lord has reminded me of some lessons He taught me a few years back.
Before I had met the man who would become my husband, I was talking to a friend about my ideal man. I told her that I had realized that what I think I want in a man is not what I want in a man. In other words, what I think I want is not what I need because what I need is what I really want.
Or rather, I don't know what I want. I told her that God knows what I really want in a man because He knows what I need in a man. What God wants for me is better than what I want for me so I just need to leave it up to Him.
I took my hands and mind off my 'love life' and gave up looking for anything, trusting that God would bring the right person along when it was time.
He did.
Years after we were married and because of social media I started wondering things like 'why doesn't my husband do that?' or 'why isn't he like this?' and so on. There was a particular person who would really flaunt stuff like that and it would realllllly bug me. I started feeling dissatisfied with my husband because he wasn't doing things those other husbands were doing.
One day the Holy Spirit pointed out that if my husband was like those 'other husbands' he wouldn't be my husband. Other then those gestures and things those other husbands did, none of those men were appealing to me in anyway shape or form. When I really thought about it, all of those men are sentimental and rather soft. I'm not interested in men like that. That realization killed all those thoughts of dissatisfaction in me though it would be a few years yet until I got off social media.

Recently we've been asking ourselves 'what if this happens?' or 'what if that happens?' Then the Lord points out- the things He wants for us, aren't they better than things we want for ourselves? The things He knows are best, aren't they better than the things we would give to ourselves?
Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?
Genesis 18:25c
Even if the path to those things is hard, shouldn't we let go and let God bring us along through it if that is what He really wants for us?
For I know the thoughts that I think
toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of
peace, and not of evil, to give you an
expected end.
Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, 20 February 2017

Good Preaching: Wive's Submission

On this blog I talk a lot about Dr. David Peacock because I listen to his sermons all the time.
He's in Florida so I listen to his morning service when I'm getting ready for church in the morning. I listen to his evening service when I get home from our church in the afternoon and I try to listen to his Wednesday service before our church's Wednesday service. He also has a question and answer time before preaching on Wednesday nights and those are always interesting to listen to too. Any sermons I miss are uploaded on Sermon Audio and I am always sure to listen to those.

David Peacock has been going through a series- since November if I recall correctly- on Christian character. It is GOOD.
At the moment he is on submission. It's not a fun topic at all but I am learning a lot from it.

Not last Sunday night but the previous one he spoke about wifely submission. It wasn't particularly groundbreaking, at least to me, but of course there were things that convicted, encouraged, and comforted me.

I thought I'd share it on here in hopes you will listen and be equally blessed by it as I was.


Here is a link to the sermon on Sermon Audio: Wive's Submission
(I highly recommend listening to the entire series on Christian Character. There are a few miniseries within it- The Judgement Seat of Christ miniseries is a must listen to.)

I hope you give that sermon a bit of your time! It's occurring to me right now that wifely submission is a topic I should tackle on this blog given that this blog is about encouraging young women like myself.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Nachos

There was a joke I heard in highschool:
What kind of cheese is not yours?
Nacho cheese!
Get it? Na-cho cheese?

So I've sat down at this computer to write posts over the last few weeks- I have the drafts to prove it- but I've been unable to publish anything and unable to really write freely as I have in the past.
Part of it is what I mentioned last time- the person I can't help but want to attack every time I write- which is a good indication I'm more in the flesh than in the spirit. The other part of it is wondering about what I am writing about on this blog. In other words- WHO am I writing about?

The obvious and immediate answer is that I write about myself- because I do. I started this blog and built it on the idea that I'd write about how God was working in my life- the things He teaches me and the way He brings me along and helps me grow. This purpose of this blog is to give God the glory in my life. Lately I've been wondering whether or not this blog is too much about me or rather, what is my motivation behind each post.

I started thinking about this months ago when I happened to come across a spat on Youtube between two bible teachers. One of them, I guess, has made hundreds of videos debunking the other. In the short clip I watched the one who has the videos made against him stand up in his church, behind the pulpit and say that the guy making the videos against him 'deserves a pulpit mention'- something about having 'worked' for it with all the videos he's made.
I was immediately struck by the fact that that pulpit that man is standing behind is not his pulpit.
It's God's.
Did God call this man to preach the Word or talk about Youtubers?

A month ago I was finishing up my son's bath after a long day and I just wanted him to go to bed. I thought maybe I'd skip brushing his teeth for that night. What difference would it make? Then it occurred to me that I am not brushing his teeth for me, I'm brushing them for him. They're his teeth! How terrible would it be for him to have bad teeth when he grows up all because his mom 'was too tired'. It's not up to me to choose not to brush his teeth- they're not my teeth, I'm taking care of them for him, and don't I want him to have good, healthy teeth?

Then I started thinking about the way I look at things in general. I usually look at things with the perspective of 'how can I learn from that?' or 'what can I learn from that person?' I don't think that's a bad thing but it may bring the focus on me a little too much.

These things- and others- has made me really realize that the voice the Lord gives you- whether you are a preacher, a teacher, blogger, someone who posts stuff on Facebook, or just a solid christian who witnesses everyday- is not yours. We are not given these things for ourselves even though they teach us, edify us, and bring us closer to God. We are given these things for others- for the things we can't see and can't know, for the unseen and unknown people brought along by God.
Recently I've been thinking about the ways God takes care of us and the impossible situations He brings us through by means we can't even comprehend. I realized that God doesn't just take care of you for that time, for that problem, for that situation, He takes care of you for the future. How many times have you wondered why something turned out this way or why that happened and you go anywhere from a day to a year down the road to see how God used that to protect and provide for you when the situation was more dire and you were more needful?
Think about all the people in the bible that Jesus healed- the woman with the issue of blood, the blind man at the pool, the lame man let down through the house, the devil possessed of the Gadarenes. I would bet you anything that those problems they dealt with- the issue of blood, blindness, lameness, etc- were not the only things Jesus healed. I bet any little problem, any little thing that bothered them besides those big things were taken away. I think that's what John meant at the end of his gospel:
And there are also many other things
which Jesus did, the which, if they should be
written every one, I suppose that even the
world itself could not contain the books that
should be written. Amen.
John 21:25
Can you imagine just being around Jesus and feeling better? All those little aches and things we deal with just gone from being a little closer to him? Not only that, the mind change, the heart change from hearing God's Words from God Himself. 
This isn't doctrine or anything and I can't prove this from the bible. Just my relationship with Jesus and my relationship with the bible leads me to believe these things.

I say all that to say that there are things we can't see and we can't know. My Sunday school teachers growing up still have an effect on me today, my preachers growing up still have an effect on me today, there are many small things done and said I can still remember and shape who I am and how I think.
So when we speak in a place God is using us- we can't use our own words. We can't take what is rightly His and use it for our own agenda. That's the quickest way to stunt someone's spiritual growth, harm someone's faith, or prevent someone from coming to know the Lord as Saviour.
The more we insert ourselves, our agendas, our motives, our message, the less room God has to work- even if we are using His words. God doesn't share His throne with anyone.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Going Goings On

Hallooo!

I've really really tried to write a few times but it's really no use.
I'm very very annoyed at someone.
I've seriously had it with them.
They've completely lost me.
I used to think they were wise.
But now I think they're calculating, vindictive, and insufferable.

This really shouldn't effect my writing but the topic I have it in my heart to write about is too hard to write about without slipping in shots at this person.
So I guess it's just best not to write about it at all at the moment.

Yes, I should just shake it off and forget about this person but this person has a constant presence in my life and almost every time I see them my opinion of them just gets lower and lower.

Someone recently asked me what my favourite verse was and the first verse that came to my head was 'with good advice, make war' (Proverbs 18:20). It's one of my favourite verses because just flies in the face of everything you hear nowadays but it's not a favourite to the point I'll go around sharing it as my favourite verse.
Anyways, when I tried to think of another favourite verse to share all I could come up with was this one:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold
a white horse: and he that sat upon him
was called Faithful and True, and in
righteousness he doth judge and make
war.
Revelation 19:11
I really love this verse and I can't wait to see Jesus coming down to earth, trampling the grapes of wrath and reclaiming His kingdom- it's going to be great. But apparently I'm really into war verses right now and that tells me I'm in attack mode so I need to take my annoyance out on something.
Until then, I won't write about anything substantial- everything I try to write about turns into an attack on this person.

Anyway, we're moving.
Yet again and just over a year since we last moved. I'm really not interested in moving but whatever it has to get done.
We're moving from a big, spacious house with a big, spacious yard to a little cabin next door to the good old USA.
The new place is literally a cabin- all wood with delightful skylights scattered throughout the various rooms. It's very close to my work- which is great- and the beach. We were exploring a bit yesterday and came across a giant park just off the beach and maybe a ten minute walk from our new place.
I'm hoping to be able to run again since the dyke will be easier on my knees than cemement- I told my husband I want runners for my birthday (which is next week).
Even though it's an inconvenience to have to move (and with short notice) it seems to be perfect timing. All the privacy we once enjoyed at our current place was cut down last week and condos will be under construction going forward. We could hear the digger this morning when we were in bed.

So we're looking forward to the new place. It will be a big change since we're moving to a new municipality and we'll be further from family and church. We put a lot of prayer into whether or not we should take this place and we know it is the right choice.

At the moment that's all. Maybe I'll get my act together and be able to write a good post about something substantial.

Please pray for my friend Aikiki who lost her son in a very tragic and heart breaking way.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

A Spoonful of Sugar

A belated merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!
I've been trying to write this post for a week and I think my problem is that I'm trying to explain something that's hard to explain.
I didn't get to write as much this year. There seemed to be lots of things in the way. Still I'm grateful for this blog- I love to write and I learn a lot from it.

I remember at the end of last year my heart was very full and happy. I was excited about the coming year. I described 2015 as difficult because my son cried the entire year and my husband spent most of the year working. That sounds like a cake walk now but I wouldn't go back to that for a second.
2016 was hard but hard like giving birth is hard.
After you have a child people ask what labour pain is like. I always say that it hurts but it's pain with a purpose. I cut my finger today and it's just a nagging pain I hope will heal soon. Labour pain brought my son into the world. 2016 was that kind of pain. Pain with a purpose. The kind that mercilessly and continuously attacks to the point you don't know if you can go on but you find it in you to keep going and as you do you start seeing things come out of you you never though possible.
My heart goes from full to empty almost daily but while that is the case there is peace that covers it all. Whatever is going on, whatever needs to get done, it's just stuff. I realized that life isn't hard- it's just life and the things you went through will carry you through the things you're going through. It's not one and done, it all goes together.
I realized that there are things that God just wants done. There is a place God wants you, there are things He expects of you, there are things He wants to bring out of you. Many times this year with different people in different places and different situations I saw myself as there for a purpose though often I had no idea what that purpose was. Somehow there were times I knew exactly what to do and more often then not it was at great personal sacrifice. It amazes me that God gives us the guidance we need and the strength to endure.
There were many times this year where I'd be doing something for my son- making him dinner or getting him ready to go to the park or going to get this so we can do that- and he would be fussing and complaining the entire time. Sometimes I would say, 'look! I'm doing this for you! I know its hard to wait but it will be fine, I promise! Just wait a few minutes!' It occurs to me that maybe I'm like that with God. I don't think I'm a complainy person- it's passive aggressive and I hate that- but I will cry and I will fuss and I will straight up ask God to change things. And I think about it now and I wonder if in my prayers and supplications I'm doing what my son does to me and God is thinking 'I'm doing this for you, your discomfort is temporary but it will end soon, we just need to go through this to get to something better'. This is all temporary and it will all burn. The only things that matter are the things we can take to heaven and only God can give what can go from this life into eternity.
The things He puts you through are for you. He wants us to bear eternal fruit and lay up treasure in heaven, He wants to give us the opportunity to get blessed by serving Him. This kind of thing doesn't happen when we live comfortably.
I used to think there were happy times and sad times. Now I know that if you are right with God and in His will, there are hard things and easy things, but you're never 'unhappy'. I realized that you take the good things when you can and deal with the bad things the best you can. Situations will make you happy and sad but applying those to any situation really doesn't help. The only thing that does help is knowing that you're in God's will, that He's taking care of you, and that He has you in His hand.
I suppose that sort of sums up part of my thoughts from 2016. There are a lot of things I've learned that I am not posting about today but maybe one day I will have the words to share them.
It's just amazing how God works. It's never big, grand gestures. It's always little subtle things that make the biggest difference when it counts.

I didn't do a thanksgiving post but I did think about what I am most grateful for this past year. This past year I am most grateful for my parents.
I know people who are caring and try to help as much as they can. It is rare though for anyone to really go out of their way to take care of you. My parents- and my whole family, really- have really taken good care of us. The problems we have, they treat them like their own problems. They've taken so much on themselves for us and I really can't describe my gratitude to them for that.

My favourite thing this year has been starting work. It was really hard and depressing at first but inevitably, I've seen that it's allowed me to put into practice things I didn't realize I had learned. I know it's a necessary thing that I go back to work and that in itself would give me peace about it but God has given it to me with a spoonful of sugar. There are many things I'm blessed by at work- the job itself, the clothes, and most of all the people I work with.

Well, that's all for now, if it made any sense. I finally had to give up trying to structure a post and just write my thoughts as they came.
It's been very busy for us but I hope I can write more. I have a lot to write but there is so much to be done. Thank you for bearing with me and for coming back and reading my posts. I hope they are a blessing and a help.


Thou therefore endure hardness, as a
good soldier of Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:3

Monday, 5 December 2016

Reason vs Feelings

One of the things I quickly learned in high school was that people don't think like me. I know- duh!- but it really had not occurred to me that people would have different values and those values shaped their priorities, expectations, desires, and outlook. In elementary school there isn't really much exchanging of ideas or values but in high school there is more emphasis on individuality. You quickly learn your place and if you are not humbled there is something wrong with you.
After being home for several years and being able to choose who I am surrounded by I've almost forgotten this but I was recently reminded of it.

You see, I expect one thing from the people around me: that they are reasonable.
More often then not, however reasonable a person is in their actions and interactions, they are very unreasonable in their thoughts.

The biggest detriments to being reasonable are emotions and feelings. The things we feel and the emotions that take over us inhibit growth and that's why we have this identity politics taking over. Political correctness was borne out of people's feelings.

Recently a person described Prime Minister Trudeau's '2015' comment as 'brilliant'. It's not logically brilliant to say that an equally male to female ratio of cabinet ministers is necessary because 'it's 2015'. It's stupid. The only reason someone can describe that as brilliant is for it to appeal to their feelings.

At the moment I am faced with a problem that cannot be addressed because it would hurt this person's feelings. Believe me when I say I would gladly hurt their feelings to tell them the truth. However, this person has proved that their feelings are more important than reason, growth, and learning. Telling them the truth will serve no other purpose than to hurt their feelings and make them mad at me. So the problem goes on because it cannot be addressed because feelings.

The only way you learn is by hard things. The only way you grow as a person is by seeing or hearing the truth about yourself.
It is not an easy thing but if you want to grow and get better you will put yourself under God's knife and let Him cut away those pieces of you that need to go.

I hope I can always see the truth about myself- it keeps me humble. I hope I can always take the truth about my child and my husband and my family.
Emotions and feelings prevent the truth because the truth hurts. If you can take it, however, that is a great thing because you will learn and grow and God will use you.

The wise in heart will receive
commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.
Proverbs 10:8

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Puerto Vallarta


Hola!

We're back! Got back Saturday night around midnight. I actually wrote the majority of this post on Sunday but I was waiting for my sister-in-law to send me pictures. She hasn't so I'll just post anyway.
Instead of jumbling together random highlights from our trip I thought I'd share a bit from each day.
We stayed at the Sunset Plaza Beach Resort and Spa in Puerto Vallarta and it was all inclusive. The food was really good and the people were very kind. My husband and I were saying that we would certainly visit there again and stay at the same place. The resort is about five years old so it's very new and they are planning an expansion- or so I've heard. We went at the tail end of 'low season' so we had a lot of freedom and had many things to ourselves. All the rooms come with an ocean view and we got to see beautiful sunsets, sunrises, and a fantastic lightning storm.
People kept thinking I was Mexican or at least that I spoke Spanish- neither of which is true- and they were always surprised when I couldn't understand. While I don't speak fluent french my vocabulary is still really good so I picked up on a lot of the similar words in Spanish.
My Thursday morning at 6:30
Friday morning around 6:50


Day 1- (Friday, November 4) Travel day. Flew out of Seattle around 6:50 am, had a layover in Orange County for about an hour then continued to Puerto Vallarta. We arrived around 4pm local time and got to the hotel around 5. My husband, son, and I had been up since 6:30am the day before (Thursday), and hadn't slept properly in over 24 hours. We were duly exhausted so we ate, let our son play in the pool for a bit, went up to the room, ordered room service, fell asleep waiting for it, ate, then we all slept for 12 hours.
The top one

Arriving in Puerto Vallarta

Ocean view from our room
City view from outside our door


Sunset by the pools


Day 2- (Saturday November 5) woke up refreshed and happy. We had breakfast then my husband and I hit up the local Walmart because neither of us had bathing suits or flipflops and we wanted to get our son a floaty device.
It was a Walmart like all Walmarts we've been to. We found what we were looking for then went to pay. There was a woman bagging our purchases and I noticed money on the counter under her. I wondered if we were supposed to tip her but we didn't and I had to go to the washroom. When I came out my husband said 'I think we're supposed to tip the baggers'. There was a line of them sitting on benches wearing blue vests. I promptly went back and gave the lady all our change. We felt terrible that we hadn't tipped her right away so I ran back to her. She looked rather sad but she cheered right up when I gave her the money. My husband and I figured they make all their money from tips.
We took the taxi there and walked back- it was about ten blocks from our hotel and it was nice to leisurely walk (holding hands!) without having to wrangle our son. We sat at Starbucks (obviously) to cool down for a bit-
my 'I found the starbucks!' photo I sent to my dad
Once we got back  we ate lunch and hung out in the pool.
There are five pools there. One little one in the children's area, one separate adult's only pool, and three of them interconnected- a children's pool, a giant pool with underwater seats and a bar, and a lower pool for lounging. The children's pool is the perfect height for our son, small enough to play in, and deep enough for any adult to sit comfortably.
We got our son a little jetski- he LOVES it

We spent the rest of the day relaxing and after dinner we hung out with my sister's-in-law and nephew playing dutch blitz.

Day 3- (Sunday November 6) I woke up early and tuned in live to Bible Baptist Church's morning service. I was right in time to hear the preaching. They were having their annual 'King James Jubilee' (their revival meeting) so I got to hear a different preacher preach. He preached on this passage:
It is better to go to the house of mourning,
than to go to the house of feasting: for that
is the end of all men; and the living will lay it
to his heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the
sadness of the countenance the heart is
made better.
The heart of the wise is in the house of
mourning: but the heart of fools is in the
house of mirth.
Ecclesiastes 7:2-4
He spoke on verse three about how sorrow is good for your heart and the things it does to your heart. It was a good message with good food for me. 
After breakfast we all got into the pool and stayed there until mid afternoon. My sister-in-law and I went to get our nails done in the Neptune Plaza. We were going to do them at the hotel spa but a lady told my sister-in-law about a great place that costs less than $10 for either a manicure or a pedicure. I ALWAYS get pedicures on vacation- or whenever I can. I just love them. The last time I had a pedicure was in Lincoln City, Oregon last year for my mother-in-law's 70th birthday. So we went and with tip and everything I spent around $10. Since we were walk-ins and it was a Sunday we had to go one after the other. I went first so while my sister-in-law was getting her nails done I explored the plaza a bit-

Frappucino in hand, turquoise toes
The marina, just behind the plaza- really beautiful place

After dinner we played in the pool until it was time for bed.

Day 4- (Monday November 7) After breakfast and the pool my sisters-in-law, nephew and I took a cab to 'Centro' or downtown. We walked along the pier, in and out of shops.
Pretty walk on the pier

I loved how it looked up the alley. I love the architecture
and how many people have
plants spilling from their windows and balcony's.

I bought a few t-shirts and an adorable Mexican outfit for my son-
This picture was taken our last day there.
We had lunch at a beautiful sea side restaurant then took a taxi back to the hotel. I walked into our hotel room to find my son sitting on the bed eating chocolate cake and watching a movie.
It was late afternoon so I brought him down to the pool to swim and promptly dropped my phone in the water. Up until this point I had mostly left my phone in the room so the one time I actually brought it out I drop it -.-
My phone didn't suffer the effects of being dropped in water until the day after. My home button doesn't work, and my lock button is kind of shoddy but everything else seems fine. The home button makes a big difference so I'm going to have to fix it somehow and at some point.
We played in the pool then took a walk down the beach where my sister-in-law was playing beach volleyball. The waves were huge so my son and I stood in the water and let the waves splash us. I had to hold him with both hands to keep him from getting pulled in.
After we got back to our room we got a call saying they were releasing turtles on the beach.
These sea turtles are extinct so scientists keep track of them and watch the mothers lay their eggs. Once shes done and leaves the nest the scientists take the eggs from their nests to a nursery to protect them. Once the turtles hatch they release them into the sea. The hotel we stayed at has their own nursery and there were more than 100 baby turtles so everyone on the beach who wanted to got to place a turtle on the beach and watch them crawl toward the water.
video
My phone died just as I was taking this video.

After this we ate dinner and spent the rest of the evening in the pool.

Day 5- (Monday November 7) I woke up really bummed about my phone so my husband took my son down to breakfast and I was able to get a few minutes to myself. I finally felt better and went down for breakfast and some pool time.
It was this day they told me that they ran out of strawberry syrup for my virgin daiquiris so I tried the tamarind and got hooked. This was mostly a pool day. My husband got a bad headache near the end of the day so I kept my son occupied out of our hotel room for the most of the day.

Day 6- (Tuesday November 8) Election day was bright and beautiful in Puerto Vallarta. Everyone was a little on edge. 
We spent the morning in the pool and went up to our room after lunch. We wound up falling asleep waking just in time for dinner.
After dinner I was anxious to watch my favorite political commentators live stream election coverage. I'm not that into politics but this election cycle was a good distraction for me and I learned a lot from the people I listen to. As a Canadian I can look at the US election with amused indifference. That's all I'll say.

Day 7- (Wednesday November 9) We got up late, picked up pastries at the hotel deli and took the bus to Sayulita, Nayriat. It was about an hours bus ride up through the city then into the jungle. I'm not that fond of the city but I loved how a short bus ride took us into a jungle.

video

That video is a little bit of the drive- when it started getting really scenic. Outside our hotel room I could see lots of green mountains and I wondered what they were like up close. I got to see what they are like on the road to Sayulita. I didn't get any pictures of it but there was lush green foliage all along the road and branches reaching over the road creating a beautiful green drive along a dusty road.
We finally got to Sayulita- a beautiful little sea side surf town. The bus dropped us off by this random fork in the road so we walked two or so blocks along a dirt road into Sayulita. In the town itself are small rocky streets with close shops. I could see houses along the slopes from the beach- big beautiful sanctuaries overlook the hippy beach town that is Sayulita.
I feel like there were more tourists there than were staying at the resort I was staying at. I could see many tanned locals who looked like they came from another part of the world to settle there. The tourists were one thing and the locals were quite another. There was a distinct style among them- a kind of yogi, beach, hippy, artist style that was being promoted and sold at almost every shop.
The artistry there is beautiful. We went into many shops where the owners made everything themselves from clothes to jewellery to tiles to dishes to accessories and more. There was lots of embroidery, pompoms, beads, and so many clothes- all of which I love. The exorbitant prices (in my opinion) told me that these people weren't just selling their art, they are selling a life style and a culture. There were bits and pieces I would have loved to purchase but they were all things that would be odd one ofs. I left Sayulita to Sayulita. Maybe one day I'll go back and create something in my own life from there.

I loved these colourful banners but they were mostly decorated
with skeletons
We explored a lot, didn't buy anything except lunch- we sat at tables on the beach while our son dug in the sand with the silverware (so classy) and had the most delicious margarita pizza. We left Sayulita in the mid afternoon. Our bus going back was a rickity old thing that bounced a lot. My husband, son and I sat in the back and boy was it bumpy. Our son slept the whole time so my husband and I relaxed and enjoyed the ride together. It was really, really hot and in most circumstances I would be uncomfortable and grumpy. In this case, however, my husband and I had so much fun sitting there and laughing together- we loved the experience. I think our Mexico trip would have been incomplete without that bus trip. We got in the shower right when we got back then went into the pool.

Day 8- (Thursday November 10) After breakfast my sisters-in-law kindly watched our son while my husband and I went to shop for things. I wanted to get a Mexican dress but I couldn't find any that I loved. I got two dresses- one an off white linen dress with crocheted details, the other a yellow maxi. My husband got a Mexican shirt that matches my son's and I got some little souvenirs for some people back home. We were able to shop within four blocks of the hotel so even though it was hot and sunny, we were very relaxed. I did sort of wind up with a Mexican dress but it was bought by my father-in-law for his wife and it's too big for her so she gave it to me. I would only change the embroidery on the front and it would be absolutely perfect but I'm grateful for it anyways.
We got back and I went to play beach volleyball with my sister-in-law while my husband took our son out of the sun for a while. Beach is my favorite form of volleyball and I can't remember the last time I played it. It was fun and I wish I could've gotten out for it a few more times.


Day 9- (Friday November 11) At 7:30am we were in a taxi and on our way to the marina to take a boat to a beautiful private island called Las Caletas. The boat ride was about an hour and the day was cloudy so we got a nice breeze as we travelled.
There were caves in these islands and blue footed boobies flying over top

We went with a tour group so they provided us with breakfast and lunch. We were able to explore a bit of the island and we had activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, zip lining, kayaking, and many more available to us. There were lots of hammocks swinging over the water which we promptly took advantage of.
Screen shot of a pic my sis-in-law took

For the first little bit I collected lots and lots of shells.
Some of the shells I brought home

I decided to go paddle boarding- I've always wanted to try it. I loved it and its one of those things I think I'll always do whenever I get the chance. My husband, son and I went in a kayak after that and saw beautiful little fish in the water.

While all this was going on the tour group has photographers taking pictures of you. By the end of our day there they had taken 131 pictures of us- they loved our son- and we all chipped in to purchase a USB of all of them ($80).
After kayaking my son and I played in the water for a while

Then it was lunch time and we were served a buffet of authentic Mexican food. The spicy salsa was actually spicy, and we got to see our tortillas hand pressed. They were probably the best tortillas I've ever had.
Once lunch was over we walked around and got to see some of the animals that live there- monkeys, macaws, hawks, flamingos, parakeets, and snakes. I got to hold a monkey and a parakeet. My husband got to hold and kiss a macaw.
Before we left I managed to get this family picture-
It was a great tour and I highly recommend it. I beleive the company is called 'Vallarta Adventures'. They take great care of you- you always feel safe.
My son and I went straight into the pool when we got back then we had a leisurley dinner for our final night.

Day 10- (Saturday November 12) Woke up bright and early, finished packing, had breakfast then spent an hour and a half in the pool with my son. We checked out around noon and flew out of Puerto Vallarta around 2pm local time. It was a smooth trip and we got home around midnight.
From Puerto Vallarta to LAX
It was a good vacation and I am very thankful for it.
Neither my husband nor myself had ever had a vacation like that before- to a tropical place, staying in a hotel with everything provided. We agreed we'd definitely go there again and stay at the same place. Almost every night we went for family swims in the pool. All the things I wanted to do I didn't do because I was mostly playing with my son. I didn't take many pictures because I didn't want to feel obligated to. We took a break from pretty much everything.
I think we probably had the best time of everyone who went with us and I think it's because we went just to be happy and free and enjoy the blessing of being able to go. We had no burdens on us- we left those at home. The lust of the flesh and the pride of life that enslaved others and made them miserable did not have power over us. Even though going away meant we were away from our troubles and free from our usual restraint we did not have the means to let our flesh run rampant and control us. We did not have the flesh to take over and ruin the things God has done. This trip showed me how God has worked on us and the things that we unknowingly have become under the pressure we have faced.
Everything God does is for our good and His glory. I don't think I could have had the time I had and the satisfaction I continue to enjoy from it if it wasn't for the past few months we've had.
People at work today kept saying, 'I'm so jealous you got to go away'. I doubt they're serious but it made me think about something I always think about when it comes to jealousy and envy: you don't know the cost.
Sure I got to go away on an all inclusive vacation to a tropical place but would you be willing to go through the last six months of my life to be able to do that? If I described those six months to you, I bet you wouldn't.
During this time of pressure and change I've often looked at others- like in Costco sometimes when people's carts are bursting with food, books, and toys- and envied them for a moment. Then I remember that I don't know what they are going home to, what they will face tomorrow, what they have faced, and whether or not they will go to heaven. Even though our cart has just the basic necessities in it, I wouldn't trade places with them for the world because I am right where God wants me and I am going to heaven for sure.