Friday, October 24, 2014

Captivating Retreat Day 1 & 2-ish - Unveiling Beauty

So, one of the core desires is to unveil our beauty - True Beauty - and it is THE core desire. This Beauty is essential and is almost constantly under siege by our Enemy. Yes, the battle is real. We're not told to put on our armor because war may happen and we want to make sure everything fits (Eph. 6.10-18). No, we are in it whether we like it or not and by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are told that we will fight. Of course (just to calm our nerves), we do know that there is a happy ending - Thank you, Father God!

Anyway...back to Beauty...

What is True Beauty?

Now, don't think, "Oh, I'm screwed. None of that is in me. I must be the ugliest woman ever!"

Not true.

You do possess True Beauty because you were made in the image of God. We all were! This turns my thinking from hopelessness to hope! I am hopeful that all that I feel I'm not (merciful, vulnerable, compassionate, and tender) I can actually be and live out. I think I've always been good on the strength part. I know I can survive most anything and get through it, not unscathed, but through to the other end. As for the rest...yeah, a lot of work needs to be done in my heart, but a lot of work has been done in my heart since I accepted Christ.

When we accept Christ, we are not given an invitation to be a moral, good girl. When we accept Christ, we are given an invitation to have life, "and have it to the full" (John 10.10).

It is only in this abundant living that we can reveal, walk, and give a clear picture of the Beauty that God gave us as His beloved daughters. Everything else, without Him, just shreds it to pieces. Everything else tells us we're ugly. Everything else tells us we're weak. Everything else tells us we're worthless. Everything else tells us we're not enough. Everything else tells us we're too much. Everything else tells us that True Beauty, the feminine heart, is wrong.

"The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10.10).

This is putting my faith to the test, unveiling this God-given beauty. I have not been good in, again, any of those qualities with the exception of strength; however, I have an amazing, loving, strong man that God has placed me with and he needs me to let go of the control and let True Beauty shine! I cannot be his complete "ezer kenegdo" (I know, fun word, right?) aka "lifesaver". I want this, oh, how much do I want this! Pastor Husband needs this, my children need it, and I need it and Jesus gives me all that I need to be this - to unveil Beauty.

I'll end this with a quote from the book, Captivating:

"Jesus is extending his hand to you. He is inviting you to dance with him. He asks, "May I have this dance...every day of your life?" His gaze is fixed on you. He is captivated by your beauty. He is smiling. He cares nothing of the opinion of others. He is standing. He will lead. He waits for your response" (Eldredge, 218).

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Captivating Retreat - Day 1 (some of it)

I've long denied the princess in me. I don't like the color pink and to think I needed a man was just a "weakness" I wasn't going to accept. To me, a princess, was a girl (not a woman) who was helpless, insecure, unable, useless, and just made a man work harder than needed.

I've realized that my princess perception is WRONG! So very, very wrong and my mindset was one of the many things causing dead space God and I.

If we're accepting the truth that we are God's beloved daughters then we have to accept that we are a princess...He is the King! What else would we be? I am a princess and that princess is built in us when God knits us all together. I see it in Baby Girl.

She saw the Disney princesses for the first time when she a little over two-years-old and you would think she found her long lost friend. It was as if this whole new part of her came alive that was lying dormant until the right secret code came along. That secret code came in a giant, twirling dress. Ever since then it's been princess dresses, fluffy skirts, princess stories, curtsy-s, dancing, singing - and I am truly delighting in her. She even calls Pastor Husband "My King" when he comes home or when Baby Dos Dragon is invading her castle.

I pray the princess in her grows with each passing day and that mine will begin to breathe again.

Back to what God's princess should be - Romanced, Irreplaceable, and Beautiful. This goes along with a woman's (not a man's at all) core desires:

  • to be romanced
  • to play an irreplaceable role
  • to unveil beauty
Our core desire is not to just be useful! I think I fall into this role a lot. I figure if I'm volunteering at church, getting all my chores done, doing activity after activity with the kids then I must be living out my purpose. So wrong! Useful has nothing to do with your heart. The core desires have everything to do with our hearts. Everything. 

Back in the day, on any given Tuesday, to be useful was all I knew. I showed I was useful by working as hard as possible in school and at work. I was going to be known for how hard I work and that I was dependable and that nothing shook me. Obviously, being this way did not fulfill any of my desires (I wasn't aware that they were my desires) because I was more than irreplaceable - students come and go, employees come and go - there is nothing romantic or beautiful about an "A" or a promotion.

So, how do I figure out the desires or allow those desires to come alive?

Well, God is pursing us with intensity, passion, and mercy. Jesus has the power to awaken those desires. There is still hope to have all the hurt that has smushed, battered, locked up our princess and broken our desires into shards. Jesus heals, gives life to the full, and He has overcome the world, which has only given us perverted definitions of our desires.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Captivating Retreat October 2014

I was so so so lucky to be able to go to The Captivating Retreat in Colorado this past weekend. I've tried for three years - always get through the lottery part, but then it's either finances or nursing issues. Kind of hard to sit through talks when you got a baby crying to eat. This year though...this year was THE year and I was there!

I learned, epiphany-ed, prayed, and loved so much while I was there. Pastor Husband and I have talked many times about the "camp high" and whether this is a good thing or not. Should we dump reality during the high so that we don't think the high is reality? We've decided that camp high is and should be our life. Not to the point where we push away all responsibility and expect four hours a free time, meals made and served by others, and scheduled games, but that what is free to come from our hearts during camp should be what is always coming from our hearts away from camp. I definitely had the camp high during this weekend and I will pray every day for that freedom.

I want to share all that I took in for a couple of reasons:

1) Whenever you read a good book, watch a great movie, eat an amazing meal you want to share...well, the retreat was all that and more! It was that feeling I get after reading a really good book - I feel like I just ate the best Thanksgiving meal ever! I must share and my heart will not let me do anything else, but share.

2) It's the best way for me to stay with what I learned. I did the same in college. I wrote out all my notes and then typed them. Tedious, but then I had many offer to pay for those typed notes. I did the loving thing and said "No" :)

So, that's what I'll be doing for the next couple (few, four, several) posts. I'll try to write them out so they make sense, but it might just be a lot of one sentence gifts of wisdom. I'll also share the actual prayers/thoughts that I wrote out. This is me being completely vulnerable to the point where I want to hide under my desk, but it's one of the first steps to I need to take to "unveil beauty" (oh, don't worry, there's a lot of stuff under this session).

I'll begin sharing my notes in my next post and for now I'll share my pictures. Mostly outdoor, tree, nature, and even snow! pictures, but then that's what is fascinating especially when you live where there are no trees, only cactus.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A New Way to Buy Prints!

I have a little shop going for prints! If you see something you like, but would like it with a different color follow these steps:

  1. Email me at
  2. Let me know which print you like and what colors you want
  3. I'll put up a custom post for you with your colors
  4. Order up and receive!

Thank you!

Right now I have some really "sweet" prints for those after-dinner cravings. Enjoy and bring a napkin with you!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Advent Calendar

Advent begins the countdown to Christmas and for Christians it actually starts on November 30 and ends on December 24. To keep things simple, I start ours on December 1 and end on the 25. I like opening the last one Christmas morning before opening presents. It's just a nice way to put our hearts in the right place and remembering why we celebrate Christmas versus it just being a day where we rip open presents and throw paper all over the floor.

This year, I'm using the verses from Focus on the Family. They have it all laid out nicely for you and, like it says, if you are going to have a short Advent season then just double up on some of the verses.

Last year, I made the toilet paper roll Advent calendar:

I haven't been saving toilet paper rolls this year, so I'll be doing something that doesn't take as much architectural work. All you'll need is a printer, scissors, some type of string, and possibly two thumbtacks or however you want to hang it on the wall.

I went with simple, but kept the brown-paper color because I just really enjoy the natural colors for Christmas. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to the holiday and stick with green, red, brown, and little bit of shimmer - the numbers are glittery gold!

Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the celebration of Jesus' birth - yes, I know, I know Jesus wasn't really born in December, but does it really matter? As long as His birth is truly celebrated by us and within our hearts, I think that's what matters. It's a time to anticipate His arrival so it should be filled with excitement! Add some fun things to do with the kiddos during this season. I don't add too many activities that go outside of the home because Christmas is a super busy time at the church. So, we do a lot of at-home activities, such as, baking, having hot chocolate, watching a movie, a craft - easy stuff - and then deliver those baked goods or crafts to our neighbors.

Also, by having the Christmas season focused on Jesus by going through the calendar and scripture AND focused on others by delivering gifts to them it keeps the focus off of the "I want that", "I want this" mentality. It provides that almost-always-needed reminder that we are to love Jesus and love others all the time, no matter what the circumstances.

To show my love for you, my fellow readers, I'm giving you the Advent stars as a free printable! The stars are 9"x 10" each and the numbers (the circles) are 3.7" x 4" if you choose to cut the numbers out and paste them onto something else. I plan to just write the verse reference on the back of the stars and 1-2 activities per week.

I hope you like them and that your kiddos have fun...Thank you!

Click on the star for your free printable!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

100 Days Until Christmas

...I know, it's ridiculous, but it's true. In honor of not being even in the right frame of mind to begin my Christmas preparation, I am of sane mind to help you get started with your Christmas festivities!

Christmas tags for you & yours! Send me an email to order -

Let the countdown begin!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Few Halloween Printables

for the less creepy of the human race.

Here are the rules to be eligible to win one (1) - or maybe more if the mood is right -

All four (4) can be yours for $20, sent directly to your email or you can win one for FREE! Just follow me on Instagram at MOTRDesigns. Once we hit 700 fans than a name will be picked randomly to win a Halloween print. 

To be eligible you must follow MOTRDesigns on Instagram and leave a comment on this post below.

Good Luck!

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's Time for...

...Halloween? Well, not quite, but almost.

We went to Disneyland yesterday and they're already advertising for their Halloween festivities. So, now is the perfect time to put out some Halloween prints for your spooky decor.

All four (4) can be yours for $20, sent directly to your email or you can win one for FREE! Just follow me on Instagram at MOTRDesigns. Once we hit 700 fans than a name will be picked randomly to win a Halloween print.

To be eligible you must follow MOTRDesigns on Instagram and leave a comment on this post below.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Set-Apart Motherhood: Reflecting Joy and Beauty in Family Life - Leslie Ludy

I'm currently reading Set-Apart Motherhood by Leslie Ludy for an online Bible study. The book is fantastic and we're reading chapter three right now.

A few things I have learned:

  1. God's pattern for motherhood is victorious, joy-filled, and beautiful (2)
  2. "Productivity is not God's highest goal for this season of my life; obedience is" (16)
  3. The joy of motherhood is not dependent on whether the house is cleaned, if Pastor Husband took out the trash and remembered to put a new bag in the trash can, or if kiddos are actually listening to me or not. The joy comes from "an abiding contentment and peace, no matter what challenges I'm facing" (18)
So, I'm trying. I'm trying really hard at something that seems like it should be so natural. I have to really fight against my natural tendencies and the patterns I grew up with and, let me tell you, I fail pretty much every day...BUT the failures are less explosive with each passing day. It's working. The focusing on God's pattern and consciously making the decision to choose joy over frustration, anger, impatience, tiredness, irritation, and all those other non-joy-filled emotions.

When I choose joy it's so much more fun - the time spent with my kiddos and other people's kiddos. On Saturday we basically had two sets of twins. Our friends were moving and their little ones are the same age as ours and it was interesting, but we had a good time at keeping four tiny humans alive all day. It was one of the few days (I'm getting more days thinking this) that I felt like if we were placed with a baby the adoption agency would not be making a mistake.

Here are some joy-filled pictures from the last few days of joy-filled motherhood moments!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ballerina Themed Baby Shower

I had the awesome pleasure to design for a ballerina themed baby shower. It was all about pink, polka dots, stripes, and (of course) ballet slippers. It was so much fun to do and made me wonder why I haven't had a ballerina themed party for Baby Girl yet! Maybe that'll be for birthday number four? We'll see!

Here's to a perfectly pink party for an almost-ready-for-her-debut baby girl!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Our Little Man not so little. I realized this when I put up the pictures for his birthday timeline banner thing. He was a little baby man for maybe a month and then he just got big. He's just big. Not as big as Cousin Ponchito who turned one in May and is basically a man already, but Baby Dos is super big in comparison to his not-so-big sister.

Anyway, we took him to get a camera people! the park the week of his first birthday and they are so cute! If anyone is looking for someone who can do some of the most natural pictures of you, baby, family, events, etc., then give this lovely lady a call: Sara Lucero Photography. Gorgeous, all of her pictures and she's pretty dang swell herself along with her little family. Head over to her site. You will not be disappointed.

I loved all the pictures, but she got a sequence of pictures of Baby Dos going down the slide and I don't think she realized all that she captured.

Photo by Sara Lucero

Photo by Sara Lucero

Photo by Sara Lucero
There are sooooo many people who know and love our children. It overwhelms me every time when I think about all the faces that have smiled at them. There have been many hands that have held them and changed their diapers. This series of pictures portrays that it takes more than one set of hands to raise a child. For our children, consistently, it has been my hands, Pastor Husband's hands, and my mom's hands a.k.a. Ga. God's love is so present in these photos that I try to think about them during the times that I am anything, but content with the circumstances that are surrounding me.

Ga has been coming over every Tuesday since Baby Girl was born and she'll be three in September! When Ga is here Baby Dos doesn't even need me to exist so that's when I run around town doing errands, reading at Starbucks, or just getting stuff done around the house. I love that she was included in the photos because she has such a huge part in my kiddos' life. My sisters and I were raised super close to our grandparents and I am so thankful my kids are getting the same.

So, thank you Sara for the fun time at the park, beautiful pictures, and for finally meeting you and your precious family. Thank you all who have loved our children. Thank you Ga for being so present in their lives. Thank you Lord, above all things, for Pastor Husband, Baby Girl, and Baby Dos...and for Future Babes!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

School is In

I thought pregnancy, birthing, and baby rearing was a whole world that I had no understanding of, but adoption!


Pastor Husband and I had our first class today. We actually can do them in any order so we completed Module 2 and will do Module 1 and 3-6 in November, if all goes according to plan. That was the first conflict in my mind - going to the classes out of order. I'm a very Type A personality and there is just a certain organized, specific order to life and I feel very put out when things go out of order or there is a sudden change in plans. If I've planned for this, this, and this and then that, that, and that happens...oh goodness! We all better pray for patience. This is why afternoon nap is never missed and I don't care if sleep actually happens, but my kiddos are in their room for quiet time for at least an hour. Mom needs her hour.

Anyway, the other conflict, which has been there and has now amplified due to the class is the conflict with the birth parent(s). Now, open adoption is not a must. The choice is ours was reiterated, but the goal (also reiterated) is reunification.

My mission is to provide a permanent home to a child - baby specifically - who is not being cared for as God's child.

How do I get my heart to understand that I'm to love a baby fully and love their birth parent(s) fully?

How do I pray to adopt a baby and pray for their birth parent(s) to make the changes they need to make so they can be reunited with their baby?

Sitting here, thinking about all of this, I feel queasy. I think of my own children and how devastating it would be to not have them anymore and to think there was someone out there who had them and wanted to keep them from me. Is that what these birth parents feel?

There was a couple there who had fostered 11 babies in three years! Eleven in three years! I told them they were so incredibly strong. I think I would shatter to pieces if it happened once, but they said you cannot think "this baby is mine" or "this is the one that will stay" because you just never know until it's completely finalized.

It's all in God's hands. My prayers start now for letting go of control, for peace for any surprises coming our way, and to love babies/birth parents the without restriction.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Happy, Happy Birthday Baby Dos!

Baby Dos, happy birthday!

You are my baby boy and I love, love, love you so very much! You're the most ticklish baby I've ever met and waking you up from a nap doesn't result in a nightmare. Thank you for that. You don't do things gradually. It's just all of a sudden you're able to walk around the house by pushing your high chair around or using one of your new walking toys. You have two bottom teeth. I'm not sure where the rest are, but I'm sure they are in there somewhere. It doesn't stop you from eating just about everything. I hardly have to worry about you choking because you chomp like a man. Baby Girl has deemed raspberries (or Tobies as she likes to call them) as your favorite food. You mastered the art of straw-drinking a few days ago. We were all very excited.

Opening presents was so much fun because you were excited with each one. Every new toy became a new world for you to explore. When you woke up this morning it was like Christmas with all the new stuff to play with.

It's been a fun year, Baby Dos. Keep cuddling with me, keep smiling and giggling. You are such a joy.

The best cakes in the world! Sweetened Blessings - find her on Instagram. You won't be sorry!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Journey Begins

...and I think I know what the ending is, but then again, you never know.

I believe, the grand finale is when a child is placed in your home. At some point, that part does happen, right?

It's so weird...adoption. When you really think about it. All of a sudden, regardless of age, a new being is entrusted to you and yours. Perhaps a baby is easier than someone who has engraved memories. Still, you look at this child and think that you're completely changing their life as they know it or would have known it. Hopefully for the better.

I don't feel as if I'm being pessimistic or "morbid", but these are the thoughts I have when it comes to adoption and the adoption story that Pastor Husband, Baby Girl, Baby Dos, and I have just started.

Pastor Husband - who has better printing than I do - was hard at work filling out our adoption application two nights ago while I verbally gave him the answers. No, it wasn't a test, but it was definitely a test of our memories! My apartment number from ten years ago! Yeah right! Thank you Google, thank you Google. You are helping this adoption take bloom. After a lot of searching, mapping, and digging through public records online we completed the application.

We took the application to the post office this morning.

Even as I type, I feel a bit queasy. Quasi-morning sickness? It's so scary! Sometimes - honestly a lot of the time - I don't feel like I'm a good enough mom to the two we already have and someone may say I'm good enough for another?

We prayed over the envelope. Whatever the decision or baby or child or age or gender or color God is deciding. He may decide that we shouldn't officially adopt, but keep up our unofficial adoptions of our youth-turned-young-adults from before. I hope that in this lifetime we do adopt others in the same way that God has adopted my little family.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Birthday Giveaway!

In honor of Baby Dos' impending First Birthday (less than a month to go!) I am giving away a free design!  A free design of your choosing. Choose from one of my already made designs or I can do a completely new one just for you.

Here are the rules:

  • Leave me a comment of what you would like
  • I'll randomly choose a comment
  • TADAA! The winner will be chosen on July 1st
It can be an invitation, a sign (currently working on a Jesus/Coffee sign - we need both in life, don't we?), t-shirt, anything your mind can imagine.

Good luck and can't wait to design something for you!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

It's Party Time...Almost!

Baby Dos you are 11 months! Well, you've been 11 months for four days now...I'm a little late. Sorry about that, but life is crazy busy and if I didn't do this tonight it would probably be another week before I got to this post because we leave for camp tomorrow. Your first time at camp. Last year, you decided to be born during the week of camp. It was a couple days after you were born Papi left to pick up our campers and they made a pit-stop to come see you.

Now, it's almost been a full year. I can't believe it!

You're pulling yourself up, sitting yourself down - you were getting yourself stuck in the standing position and would cry for rescue - babbling, you have two bottom teeth, and love to play with your sister. I find the two of you in her room all the time, laughing at every thing she does. I'm glad that you were born with a playmate. I can't imagine you being an only child because you love others so very much.

You like to eat, but are picky about the way you eat it. Sometimes you don't mind if we feed you and sometimes you want to eat it all by yourself. It makes meal times a bit stressful, but some cute pictures have come out of it. You're good with a sippy cup and tonight you let me read a book to you without ripping it out of my hands. Progress!

One more month, Baby Dos, and you'll be a year old. I'm excited to watch you grow, but I also want you to stop. My prayer is that you stay the same sweet, loving boy that you are for always.

We needed Baby Girl's help again because you kept trying to escape!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tuesday Donut

We go to church at least twice a week - Saturday night and Sunday morning. Baby Girl calls Saturday night "big church". Sunday morning has been given the name of "little church", but it's her favorite because little church has donuts. Full-size donuts. Nothing cut in half and they are the good donuts. Not just a bunch of glazed. There are chocolate bars, maple bars, and - the most coveted of all donuts - donuts with sprinkles! Again, Baby Girl has her own name for them, "bagels with sprinkles". She especially loves the ones with pink icing and rainbow sprinkles.

So, I'm excited for the full-size donuts, of course, but Baby Girl gets only half a donut. I don't want to send my kid wired into children's church. I always tell her that she can half before church and half after she gets out of her class. She gobbles down the top part of her half of the donut and then moves to the bottom part. I wrap up the other half in a napkin and put in a side pocket in my purse.

By time church is over and we're leaving someone is usually crying. Does church ruin your kids normal eating and naptime routine? It ruins our and there's always that dilemma of do they eat lunch and then nap or nap and then eat or is naptime even going to happen?!

Anyway...the donut never gets back to Baby Girl. I don't feel bad because we both forget about it. Monday, we also forget about it because that's usually our day of rest. Tuesday, Ga (Granma) comes over and Mom (Me!) leaves the house to do errands and maybe drink a cup of coffee while reading a book. Tuesday is the day I use my purse and it's in the same state as I left it Sunday afternoon. After getting out of the car I put my keys in the side pocket and I find a napkin and wonder, "what did I put in here now?"

Sunday's donut has now become Tuesday's donut.

I'll confess, if it's not too damage, I will eat it with my coffee. If it looks like the picture of the donut above then I talk myself into throwing it away. Always a battle. The donut makes me smile because it reminds me of Baby Girl, her excitement for a bagel with sprinkles, and that I can still control her donut intake.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Because I'm a Pastor Wife!

So, I really wanted to start focusing on the life of a Pastor Wife, but I've yet to write about anything in regards to being a Pastor's wife. Why? I don't know...maybe I'm not brave enough or I don't want to sound like I'm complaining or make it sound like it's a horrible position. It isn't! It's actually pretty dang amazing!

However (and this is probably true with any type of wife out there) there are so many questions that come with being a Pastor's wife. One question that I constantly wrestle with and wonder if there really is an answer out there. I think it's also a question that most adults have...

Are you my friend?

Before getting married, having kids, and all that fun stuff I had friends and still have those same friends. It was just a natural thing. We either were in the same class, have known each other forever, went to the same church, and blahblahblah. Friendship. It was easy and there was no question with the exception of, "How did we become friends again?"

Now, it's so different. Maybe I'm just making it different? I'm not quite sure, but I always wonder if people are friendly to me because I am the Pastor's wife. Will we really be friends if we're in the same small group or is everyone else "forced" to like us because we're helping to lead the church. Did you really want to come up to me after church to chat or do you feel like you're supposed to?

Paranoia, anyone?

At the same time, I feel like being a Pastor Wife gives me the right away. I'm allowed to join whatever group, jump into any conversation, or invite anyone over because I am the Pastor Wife. Now, don't think I walk around feeling superior to all, but sometimes this way of thinking helps me to not be so introverted. Most Sundays I just want to hide in the very last seat in the sanctuary and run to the car once service is done. I don't do this and I remember what I've been called to be and I use that to help me talk to others, smile, and enjoy the company.

I guess, in the end, it really doesn't matter. We all get along - or try to get along - because we are all part of the body of Christ and our purpose is to love each other regardless of whether or not we are a Pastor wife.