Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"For Such A Time As This"

Esther 4:14b "...Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Last week I wrote my last blog of My Favorite Things. I thought I would make it a Baker's Dozen and write one more and it centers around this verse posted above. This is probably one of a dozen verses that are my favorites. I thought I had a list to write about but when I checked that list wasn't to be found. This verse was written in my notes and I knew I could write about this. This is what I have to say...

A few months ago I watched a movie titled, "Midnight in Paris." I don't want to give the plot away and I highly encourage you to rent it when it comes out on DVD and watch it with the one you love. So many times my husband and I would feel like we were born in the wrong time era. We love the late 1800's style of clothing as well as the turn of the century around 1912. After watching this movie I have come to the conclusion that I am content with the time I am living in. I can enjoy looking back in history and wish I could have been there but God has shown me how he wanted me here and now. All of life appears to be falling into place. Sure when my husband and I have conversations we talk about how late we were born. How much we wish we could have been some of the early settlers. Had we been born 100 years ago we could have been some of the movers and shakers in this world. How we could have started a town and maybe have it named after us. The closest we get is Vasquez Rocks located up the 14 freeway going into Lancaster/Palmdale. Trabuco Vasquez was a bandit a robber that hid out among those rocks thus naming them after him.

It would have been fun to have been born around the time the San Gabriel Valley was expanding. To have owned the 450 thousand some acres of land and have had streets named after us such as Workman, Temple, Rowland, Huntington or Baldwin. We might have been involved in the banking business like Crocker or one of the Big Four in the railroad like Crocker, Huntington, Stanford and Hopkins. There is so much to learn about in history and how many places had their start. That may be what I am more interested in is about History.

When I take Young at Heart on a Tour we have visited certain places like the Workman/Temple Homestead in City of Industry and as I walk around and through the houses I wish the walls could talk. I would like to know how the places made their start. To feel and understand how many of them had the vision to make so much of where they lived. I may wish I could have lived in another time era but I have come to the conclusion that God doesn't make mistakes and that he has placed me here at this time "for such a time as this." I have had many experiences with so many people that if I weren't here who would have helped them get through a certain issue happening in their life. It's kind of the "It's a Wonderful Life" syndrome. If I wasn't here who knows where YOU would be?

God has placed me in this time so that I may know you and that we may be able to walk this life side by side or at least to be here to make a comment that would help you think in a different way to your current situation. God has used me in so many ways to touch the lives of people here at home and across the border. I am so excited for what God has instore for me and look forward to seeing how this life unfolds. None of us know what tomorrow will hold let alone next week, next month or next year. All I know is that God has be here for a purpose and I am so happy to be living that out.

Have YOU discovered your purpose? Do you believe, "...Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” I encourage you to find your "sweet spot" and understand what it is God would have you do in your life. If you need someone to talk to to discover that let's get together for some tea. As I have stated in my blog description,
 "Everyone has a story, I'd love to hear yours."
Let's do Life together!  

Friday, August 26, 2011

#12 of My Favorite Things - Promptings of the Holy Spirit!

I have learned in recent years, actually within the last year that when the Holy Spirit lays something on your HEART you have to ACT on it! In the past the Spirit would prompt me but I wouldn't act on it and then I would forgot what it was I was suppose to do. Opportunity lost.

This past week on Wednesday morning I was woken up abruptly by my alarm. I distinctly remember shutting off my alarm before going to sleep the night before so I KNOW it had to be the Holy Spirit that wanted me to wake up. I lay there on my bed trying to go back to sleep to no avail. The Spirit was prompting my heart to "write" and to share this as our morning devotional time with YAH. SO I obeyed and I wrote the following message. There is a SPOILER ALERT here so if you happen to read this you can only make comments following this blog. If you post anything on FB I will have to delete it if you say anything in response to the SPOILER ALERT. Now you are wondering what the SPOILER ALERT is all about. Continue reading...Private message on FB are "OK".

The Abundant Life

How many of you feel you are living “The Abundant Life?”

In the Bible, God’s Love Story to us he says in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” 

Most people don’t know the first sentence in this verse but many know the second. I think as we grow older in life we become one of two people. We are either “joyful” in our old age or we become “melancholy.” As we grow older we stand the chance that we out live many people. Women tend to outlive one or two husbands. Friends move away or die off. Our families have their own lives and we may feel like we are just in the way.

Our life is what we make of it. I discovered that many years ago and more recently it has been brought to light in the lives of a couple of my girlfriend’s whose life have been wrapped up in their children and now their children are going off to college and they have no idea what to do with their lives. It is good to have so much of yourself invested in the lives of your children but there has to be balance. At some point we should have discovered what we love to do, what God lays on our hearts to have a passion for. I learned long ago that my life will not always revolve around my children. It will revolve around my “grandchildren.” I am just kidding!

I am entering a new phase in life that as of “grandmother.” In my heart I always thought that when I became a “grandmother” God would turn my focus to my Grandchildren and it would be time to say “goodbye” to the Ministry of Young at Heart. Two years ago I thought God was telling me to leave the ministry but it was a struggle. That decision didn’t come easy and I can look back and know it was because that wasn’t what God was telling me. Now I am standing in the threshold of a “new” life, a life to live “more abundantly,” more abundantly?

As much as I loved my children I wasn’t satisfied being a wife and mother. I knew God had more in store for my life and I was frustrated with that. It was a good friend that did make me realize that my mission field was my family and I learned to be content. In my times of feeling like a failure as a wife, mother, even a “Christian” I would have those times of depression that I would let no one know about. I worked out of my home for a number of years so I would have that feeling of accomplishment. Home life for me was never ending. The dishes, the laundry, house cleaning. All of that was tedious but I did enjoy my children. We would be off here and there. I would find places to visit that wouldn’t cost anything to take my kids. I have those memories locked in my heart that no one can take from me. I was passionate about spending time with my kids and my husband didn’t care what the house looked like as long as the kids were happy and I had spent time with them.

I can look at my children’s pictures on Facebook that they have found in our piles of photos and know what each of them loved most about growing up. I know without a doubt that this life is meant to be relational. I post pictures on Facebook and I get so many comments about the fun I am having. I appear to be “the traveler” always going from place to place. All that I do is “relational.” Every once in a while you can find me going off by myself but it is always best to have someone with you to experience life with. You always need someone to be able to say to them, “Did you see that?” When I post pictures on Facebook those that look at my photos have that feeling like they are there with me. I can carry my friends with me where ever I go and then take a picture, load it up on Facebook and wait for the comments to come. It is a lot of fun to hear their reactions and at times it’s a little sad especially when one would wish they could be there too but they are stuck in their job. But I may post something that would brighten their day, they smile, I smile and we have relationship.

Christ came that we would have life and have it more abundantly. What does “abundantly” mean to you? When I go off places with many of you (the YAH people) and I hear your comments that if it weren’t for Young at Heart you would be sitting at home rocking your life away. I look at this world that God created and I am so fascinated by everything. In everything you can see God. You can look out at the water and what comes to mind? Jesus walking on the water or Jesus with his fishermen disciples telling them he would make them fisher’s of men. Yesterday we walked in a store that had so many varieties of seashells. Amazing how God would create so many different ones. The palm trees remind me of the desert where Jesus would go and find rest and solace. There is so much in this world that God created for us to enjoy. He came that we would have life and have it more abundantly!

When I think of the women in our group that can no longer go out and enjoy life it makes me sad. Thelma and May would probably give anything to be able to be with us. Margaret Moore wishes she could remember things like she used to. Mary Martin always said, “I wish you would have started 10 years earlier.” (Mary is now with the Lord.) We should all be thankful for what we do have. That we can share this life that God gave us and that we can share our experiences with others. Any of the women I mentioned would love a phone call and have you tell them about the time we had in San Diego. It will jog their memories of places they have been to. As I am writing this I am looking out my sliding glass door and I see a young mother with her 3 year old son taking pictures, making memories. She has no idea what the next 20 years will hold for her but she will have those photos she took on this day and will cherish those memories in her heart.

I imagine each of you have those snapshots in your mind that you can recall. Don’t allow the “thief” in the night rob you of those. When you find that you can’t sleep start praying. Pray for each of your children, pray for your grandchildren, pray for your GREAT grandchildren. Start from the oldest to the youngest and when you go through your entire family then start on the families of your siblings. Remember each of them one by one. Before you know it God will lull you back to sleep.

Is my time with Young at Heart over? Not a chance! God has placed me here to do HIS work and it includes each of you. All you have to do is enjoy it. God gave me life and wants me to have it more abundantly so now he’s given me a grandchild. Have a life more abundantly so that it will spill over to others if you allow it to. Share your experiences with your children, grandchildren and greats. Let your family see you as one that is still enjoying life! As my husband shared with us yesterday in our devotional, “It’s not how you start but how you finish.” Will you finish with a “joyful heart” or one that is “melancholy?”

Don’t lose your “wonder.” I believe that is why God gives us grandchildren and greats so we can continue to see the world through their eyes with “wonder” AND “excitement!”

Prayer: Dear God in Heaven, creator of the universe, I thank you for the life you have given me, for the ability to still walk this earth and to enjoy your creation. Lord, help me to see life with new eyes each day that you give to me. Help me to be thankful for all your bountiful blessings! Each day show me something new that I can see your love for me.
Lord, Thank you for everything, Amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#11 My Favorite Things – Glendora Christian Women’s Connection

#11 My Favorite Things – Glendora Christian Women’s Connection

I have been attending the Glendora Christian Women’s Connection since the early 90’s. I started attending when it was still called Glendora Christian Women’s "Club" and they change the Club in their name within the last few years to "Connection." This group is one of many ministries within Stonecroft Ministries. It wasn’t long after I attended my first meeting that my mom and I joined the board to help plan the luncheons. I actually started as the Assistant Nursery Coordinator since I had the most kids in childcare. This was one of the reasons I enjoyed going so I could put on a dress and makeup and drop my kids off where I knew they were in a safe environment so I could enjoy myself with other women. I served in different positions on the board then in 2010 I was asked to be Chairman of the Board. I no longer need to use their childcare but they still offer it and it is free childcare. I enjoy being out with women and the location where our luncheons are held are at the Via Verde Country Club in San Dimas. It has a beautiful view overlooking the San Gabriel Valley which I absolutely love!

One of the other things I love about being on the board is the way they have the board positions organized. Positions are divided up so you aren’t overloaded with a ton of stuff to do. If everyone does their job everything comes together perfectly. The Chairman, me, arranges for speakers and facilitates the luncheon and meetings, the vice-chair does the invitations, the Reservation Coordinator handles all the reservations with her team. Finance takes care of all the finances and ticket sales with her team. The Special Feature Coordinator arranges, well, our Special Features which is the main draw for our luncheons. It all runs very smoothly if everyone does their part. I have two positions yet to fill and then I would like to be able to have assistants for every position also. Some of the ladies have been members of the board for a number of years and a few are new to the ministry.

Over the years I have enjoyed each luncheon to hear the various speakers. I love the way God will send a speaker to address the group and how their message may fit exactly what I have been dealing with. I have been a Christian for a number of years and am always inspired by the speaker’s message and feel this is one of the ways I have grown in my walk with the Lord. The women of the board through the years are the ones that have taught me how to pray and have always enjoyed their “mothering” when I would come up against various issues in my life. They were all there for me when I lost my baby Debra in 1992 and showed me sorrow and love. I have known many women that have served on this board and am lucky to still have some of them in my life. We have also lost many precious women I will never forget like Diana Yingling and Ruth Maurich.

I never tire from attending the luncheons. The speakers are really good and it is the best tool any Christian could use to bring friends and family to hear the gospel message in a fun and inviting way. There is always a Special Feature which is the draw to get people to come. We also have a person tell us about the projects Stonecroft is working on so they can give towards it. There are no dues or memberships to be a part of this Women's Connection. I would have to say this is probably one of the best kept secrets around. I wish I had the time to contact the surrounding Women’s Ministries of churches so they could take advantage of bringing unbelievers to our luncheons. It’s meant to be a party type atmosphere to invite people to. I highly encourage you to join me sometime to try it out. If you have never been I would love for you to come as “my guest.” The next time you come you could bring a friend and treat them to lunch. I always love letting my friends know I was going to go have lunch at "The Country Club." I feel like high society and I love being able to dress up!

I welcome you to join me sometime. There are various groups that meet all over the United States. You can visit the link above to find a group near you. Who knows, this could be the start of something great for you to reach those that need the Lord in their lives. It’s also great for the Christian to receive Spiritual Food too!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

#10 of My Favorite Things - God's Orchestration of Life!

Romans 8:28 (NIV)
 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I love it when you can see the hand of God at work. I also love the way you can look back in life and see how God orchestrated things to work out in an incredible way. I love hearing stories of those that know God and see how everything lined up to give God all the Glory.

Many of us could share stories of how God has worked in your life. I have many stories I could share and once again could write a book if I could remember them all. God can work in the tiniest thing like when my husband and I knew we needed a set of bunk beds for our kids and we prayed. One of my husband’s co-workers that very week said they were going to have a yard sale and were putting a bunk bed set out to sell but wanted to know if we might need bunk beds. We bought them for $50. God is so good!

I had another incident where I was to go to a friend’s house but I had forgotten the directions to her house. I had read them but wasn’t quite sure which way to turn. There happened to be a billboard of Touched by an Angel and everyone in the billboard was looking to their right, my left, so I turned left. It was the way to get to my friend’s house.

Last year when my Aunt passed away I was leaving right after her funeral for San Francisco. I asked God to give me a sign to let me know my Aunt was okay. I was having a difficult time getting my directions right in San Francisco and they have a lot of one way streets. I had to make right turn after right turn to get to where I needed to go and at one of those turns I saw the street named “Jessie St.” That happened to be my Aunt’s name and I smiled and said, “Thank you God for letting me know she’s okay.” Recently when we were in Palm Springs I was driving down the 111 towards Rancho Mirage and I drove past “Perez St.” That was my Aunt’s last name. Once again I thanked God for the little reminder of my Aunt.

I can look back and see God’s hand in my life even when I didn’t even know who he was. I know God gave me the Father I was meant to have. He wasn’t my biological Father but when I finally saw a picture of my “real” Father I had to do a double take with the photo. He looked exactly like my Dad that raised me. It was God letting me know that I never missed a thing not knowing my biological Father, that God had given me the Father he meant for me to have.

Is it a coincidence that my birthday and my husband’s birthday are the exact opposite? Mine is 7/12 and his is 12/7. Makes me believe we were meant to be together. 7 and 12 happen to be favorite numbers for us. 7 children later…who knows maybe we’ll have a dozen grandkids! At the least! God only knows how many we will have.

God always seems to give me themes to things. When we went to Georgia in 1995 on our travels back home everything lead us to The Wizard of Oz. We saw the Yellow Brick Road in the east side of Kansas. We then saw a replica of Dorothy’s house in a museum with a tour you could take of The Wizard of Oz all made out of recyclable materials. We stopped in Las Vegas and stayed at the MGM where they had the Wizard’s Magic show and then Frank L. Baum’s grandson was there signing his book he wrote as an addition to The Wizard of Oz. I had the kids picture taken with him. Then when we made it to the Barstow Station McDonald’s had in their Happy Meals toys of The Wizard of Oz. It was absolutely incredible how everything fit in together. I forgot to mention that my kids were all in the musical of The Wizard of Oz at school before we left for Georgia. I couldn't have planned that even if I had tried! I just love it when God shines on us like that.

I love it too when you can sense that you are where you should be at the right time. When you have someone on your mind that you know you need to talk to and God allows that person to cross your path. I know when those times happen I have to act on it. God never ceases to amazing me when he does that. Even when I’m looking to buy something God places it in plain sight and I can say, “Thank you God!” Sometimes things seem so trivial like asking for a set of bunk beds or looking for that certain blouse that you want, or seeing a beautiful rainbow, sunrise or sunset just so God can cheer you up. He is so good!

Then there are the times when I hear someone’s tragic story but they can tell you they knew God’s hand was in it all. God helped them get through the tough times. I know he has helped me many times like that. I love those times when I’m reminded of God’s love for me. 

God spoke to my heart and he wanted me to go to Mexico and I responded to his call. I will never regret it with everything he showed me at The Restoration Home for Women. To build relationships with these ladies, to sending for help for the mattresses that were needed. And now coming back and knowing God wanted me to involve other people in the lives of these women. The call has been answered and women have come forward to help these ladies in Mexico. I absolutely love it!

If you have ever had doubts about whether or not God is really there or if he really listens to your cries, just ask him for something. Ask him to reveal himself to you. He’ll show up…BIG TIME!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#9 My Favorite Things - Traveling

We rode in a car similar to this.
I believe my love for traveling began when I was very young. I can remember going to places as a little girl with my TiaTaya driving my mom, grandma, Tia Jessie and my brother, Fred. We'd go to places like Tijuana, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, Hearst Castle, Las Vegas and who knows where else.

Once my brother Fred was old enough to have his driver's license he would drive us places. I remember the trips across the U.S. my Dad took us on to visit my grandparents in Michigan and seeing Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Greenfield Village, Niagra Falls and the Grand Canyon. I love being on the road.

My dream job would actually be as a truck driver in an eighteen wheeler on the open highway! I would love driving from state to state and seeing as much of this great land as possible.

God has been so good to allow me to work in ministry for him and have a part of that where I can take people to places they have never been or to take them back to places they haven't been to in many years.

I piled our kids in a station wagon like this.
In 1995 I drove my then six kids clear across the U.S. by myself to spend the summer with my husband when he was working in LaGrange, GA. That was such a fun trip! I have the videos from our trip and I wish I could watch them and relive some of the places we visited.

When my children were little I would always look for places to take them to that were free or inexpensive. I loved it when my husband was working in Irvine and in the summer months they would have bands play on Fridays so I would take the kids to have lunch with their Dad and listen to the music play. Afterwards I'd take them to South Coast Plaza or Fashion Island. Sometimes we'd go to the beach and I would say my favorite beach was Corona Del Mar. I'm glad I was able to do that when they were younger because nowadays it would be cost prohibitive with the price of gas.

I loved my trip to London and I loved my trip to Mackinac Island. Check out my blog about Mackinac on the tab above. This so far has been my most favorite places I've been to so far.
Mackinac Island Tourism

When I grow up I think I would like to take over Huell Hower's California's Gold or maybe I should come up with my own show "Traveling the Nation with Beckie Vasquez." You can follow my travels through my photo albums and the photo albums on the Young at Heart Fan Page.

Oh, I'm a Travelin' Gal,
Yes, I'm a Travelin' Gal.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

#8 My Favorite Things - My Bible

I don’t have just one Bible. I have many versions of the Bible. I cherish my Bibles, God’s Holy Word. We have so much to learn from God’s Word. This is the basis for everyday living. From learning about His Commandments and how we should live, I wouldn’t know how to “Do Life” without God’s Word. I could look through the Bible and find passages that mean so much to me but you have to take His word together. From the beginning to the end, the alpha and the omega from Genesis to Revelation God shows us His love for us and how we are to love others. In the Bible we have God’s promises that he will be with us even unto the end.
In God’s word he gives us His commandments in Exodus 20: 1-17. Can you imagine the type of world we would live in should we live by the 10 Commandments? And God spoke all these words, saying:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 [1] You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 [2] You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7[3] You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
8 [4] Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work; you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
12 [5] Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.
13 [6] You shall not murder.
14 [7] You shall not commit adultery.
15 [8] You shall not steal.
16 [9] You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 [10] You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, not his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor any thing that is your neighbor’s.
This all sounds pretty simplistic if we could only all live according to God’s commandments.
In Deuteronomy 6:6-9 is where God tells us: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
What kind of world would we be living in if these were taught to our children? It only takes a few generations to make things a habit. There is so much to be learned in the Bible.
If we would only teach and have our children memorize Psalm 1 the Way of the Righteous and the End of the Ungodly.
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
If our children could only understand this maybe they would avoid making some foolish mistakes in their lives. Maybe WE would avoid making foolish mistakes in our own lives.
There is so much that we can learn as we read God’s Holy Word. If we read through Proverbs, which coincidentally can be read a chapter a day every month, we would gain wisdom to help us on a daily basis.
Most of all we can read God’s Word to help us listen to His Spirit and know when he wants to moves us.  On Saturday, July 16th I left for Mexico. My devotional for that day gave me this scripture: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.” – 1 Timothy 1:12 NIV. That was my confirmation that I was on the right track with God. He spoke to my heart last October at the Women’s Retreat and told me to go stay with the women at The Restoration Home in Pipila, Mexico. I questioned God, Why? He said he would show me when I arrived there. I did have some idea as to why he wanted me here and in talking with Marcos and Rebeca the ones that run the ministry they told me that they knew why I was there. Someone needed to come and see what the needs of this ministry truly are. Marcos shared with me it is the Spiritual needs that are needed here. It’s easy to give money or to buy material things but what is really needed has to do spiritually. Now what we need are people that are committed to come and share with these women and children.
Read God’s word, pray and listen to what He says to you.
Isaiah 6: 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send,  And who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
What is God saying to you through His Word?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

#7 Of My Favorite Things: MY CHILDREN

This is from last week’s blog:
“I had just given birth to Duana and was so ecstatic that God blessed us with a baby girl that I was in 7th Heaven!  Or maybe it was Cloud Nine? Here I was holding my baby girl in my arms and feeling like, somebody pinch me! I have a Baby Girl! After having 2 boys and losing a baby the year before that I believe was a boy, and with boys dominating the Vasquez Family, I was in dreamland holding my baby girl!. I could not see the end to being pregnant. I loved being pregnant, I loved the process of childbirth, and I loved the sound of hearing my baby’s first cry, and I absolutely LOVED when the nurse would place my newly born baby in my arms and they were mine to take home. I’m getting ahead of myself here since this is what I’ll write about in my #7 Favorite Things.”

In the beginning I was afraid to get pregnant because I was afraid of miscarriage. My grandmother and an aunt had a miscarriage so that always loomed in the back of my mind that this could happen to me.

The day came when I went off “the pill” and the waiting game began. It was always so fun to make the announcements to the family but I think by the time we announced baby #4 on the way it was met with eyes rolling…another one?! I know my Grandma McClung was rooting for me when I told her we wanted to have six children. She told me the story of her grandparents and that her grandma gave birth to six children so her grandpa told his wife, “You had your six so now it’s time to have my six.” They had 12 children!

The day came when I took that first test and the plus sign showed I was pregnant. Oh what an exciting time this was! God showed his favor and blessed us with one of His creations! I had good pregnancies. My body felt healthy, my skin had no blemishes and my hair was perfect! I had my “What to Expect” baby book in hand and I marveled at the life growing inside of me. God was using ME to bring Life into this world. There was no mistake that this baby was wanted and was loved from the very start. My tummy grew…and grew…and grew!

The day came in the wee hours of the morning as I tapped my husband and said, “I think we’re gonna have a baby today.” Off we went to San Dimas Hospital and was all checked in by 7:30am. The doctor checked me and said that baby was over 8 lbs and it would be a miracle if I delivered this baby naturally. The nurse came up to me and said, “We’ll show the doctor miracles do happen.” That afternoon I gave birth to our first boy and we named him John Neal after both his grandpa’s.

If I continue giving you details of each pregnancy I’ll end up with a book. I did have rather easy pregnancies. I felt the best carrying my boys and my girls gave me a little morning sickness. I did have my worst time carrying my Diana but again that is another story. I would feel sick around the 5 o’clock hour but I did figure out that if I took my prenatal pills at night I wouldn’t have that “Evening” sickness.

Each of our children had a special reason for choosing their names. As you saw above Johnny was named after both Grandpa’s. Our second was Robert Frederick who was named after Grandpa Johnny’s brother and my oldest brother. I did lose a baby at 12 weeks so it was too early to know if we had a girl or boy. I tend to think boy for some reason. I’ll be pleasantly surprised when I reach heaven. Duane didn’t want a Duane Jr. and what were the chances of us having more than one girl? Duane agreed to the name of our first born daughter, Duana Rebecca. Next would be Donald Laurence. Donnie after Duane’s brother who died at the age of 7 and his middle name after my younger brother. Duane has always liked the name Diana so he gave her the name. Her middle name is after both her grandma’s Ruth Consuelo because what WERE the chances we would have another girl? Next came Dawna Linda. We chose Dawna because after naming her sisters with a “D” and ending in “NA” we thought just changing the second and third letters would be fun! Besides she was born at the Dawn of morning. Four months after her birth I was pregnant again and this is story in itself. We lost our little girl Debra Lois in the 6th month of pregnancy. I thought we were done with 3 boys and 3 girls.

I did have some problems physically and the doctor said I should consider a hysterectomy. I didn’t do anything about it for a number of years until it was obvious something needed to be done. This was a hard decision to make to know that I would never carry another child in this body. I asked the Lord if I wasn’t done having children if he would allow me to get pregnant one more time and then I would take care of myself. The next month I was pregnant! Our bonus baby, William Joseph, came 7 years after Dawna was born. We never told our children if he was a boy or girl so they all called him, Baby, while he was in my tummy. That name stuck with him for quite a few years. Billy was named after his great & great, great grandfathers.

There you have it. All My Children! I could tell you so many stories of each of their lives. I did have difficulties during their growing years when I would feel God tugging on my heart to do more for the Kingdom of God. I spent many a time talking with the Children’s Pastor, my friend Winona Stradley, and share with her the way I felt. When I would tell her I wish I could serve God on the Mission Field she opened my eyes and told me that my Mission Field right now were My Children. So if anyone out there feels like their family is sapping the life out of them you need to see them in a different light. We are raising the NEXT generation and us as mother’s have the most important job anyone else could have. No one on this earth can do a better job at raising your kids better than you can!

Recently I have also learned something else from seeing the movie, “Midnight in Paris.” Have you ever felt you were born in the wrong time era? My husband and I both have felt that way. We love the turn of the century time era and both feel we were born at the wrong time. Since seeing this movie I have come to the conclusion that I was born exactly in the time God wanted me to be here. Each of us was born exactly where we should be. I was placed here to marry Duane and together with God would give life to these children. We would raise them to know and love God and teach them to use their talents to glorify God and to expand His Kingdom. The verse that sticks in my mind too is found in Esther 4:14b (NKJV)Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 

We all have a purpose for being where we are when we are. I pray that you find your purpose.

A friend of mine posted this on my Facebook Wall and it means a lot to me. I want my children to remember as well as those that read this blog…Psalms 139
13 For you created my inmost being; 
you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
your works are wonderful, 
I know that full well. 
15 My frame was not hidden from you 
when I was made in the secret place, 
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; 
all the days ordained for me were written in your book 
before one of them came to be. 
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! 
How vast is the sum of them! 
18 Were I to count them, 
they would outnumber the grains of sand— 
when I awake, I am still with you.

One day I’ll have to share with you how “I came to be.”
I know All my days were ordained by God for me.
I just now need to be obedient to what God has planned for my life.
I pray you discover
that too.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#6 My Favorite Husband

You may wonder why My Favorite Husband would be listed as #6 instead of #1 of My Favorite Things. My list of Favorite Things isn’t exactly listed in order of what I like best. I said I would write about My 12 Favorite things but there is no order to it. I chose to list My Favorite Husband, which by the way makes it sound like I’ve had more than one, I haven’t. My Husband happens to be my Favorite Husband because he is the only husband I have ever had or known and ever hope to have. I listed him as #6 because six was the number of children we wanted to have. Now we didn't talk about that during our courtship time. The subject of children never came up in our conversations while we were dating. It wasn't until Duana was born that Duane had gone to our Sunday School Class in July of 1986 and our teacher at the time was Jeff Roy and his lesson or actually his charge to the group was to raise families for the Lord. Jeff talked about how the Catholic’s and Mormon’s were doing their job to populate the earth but that Christian’s had fallen into the trap of limiting themselves to 2.3 children. Christians were being outnumbered. So after that lesson Duane came home and said he wanted to have six children.

I had just given birth to Duana and was so ecstatic that God blessed us with a baby girl that I was in 7th Heaven!  Or maybe it was Cloud Nine? Here I was holding my baby girl in my arms and feeling like, somebody pinch me! I have a Baby Girl! After having 2 boys and losing a baby the year before that I believe was a boy, and with boys dominating the Vasquez Family, I was in dreamland holding my baby girl!. I could not see the end to being pregnant. I loved being pregnant, I loved the process of childbirth, and I loved the sound of hearing my baby’s first cry, and I absolutely LOVED when the nurse would place my newly born baby in my arms and they were mine to take home. I’m getting ahead of myself here since this is what I’ll write about in my #7 Favorite Things.

I saw no end to my childbearing years so Duane and I were on the same page. Duana was technically my 4th child and I knew more babies were in my future. So you can see how Duane is My Favorite Husband. He wanted a large family as much as I did too. We had settled that we would have six children. I know our friends thought we were crazy and we would get looks. “I” would get looks and as I look back in our photo albums I can see where people thought what was this young teenage girl doing with 3 kids. Our tax dollars are paying for her to raise these kids! Little did they know that I was 28 and had a good husband supporting his house and family.

Duane went to work Monday through Friday and when opportunity arose he worked Overtime. He was a hard worker and he worked just as hard at home too. Even when he had a year he was out of work he took over in the home while I worked a part time job. He did a much better job keeping house And he also homeschooled the kids. One day I came home and he told me that he knew what he wanted to do as a job. He wanted to be A HOUSEWIFE! I told him if he found ME a job that paid 40K a year I’d be glad to work full-time! Well, that never happened. He did take on odd jobs whenever he could. He worked in the Social Security Office he worked The Postal Convention and earned his certificate in Mail Room Management. Among other odd jobs he even worked as an Aide for an Adult Education School. Times were tight that year but God saw us through. If he ever did get depressed about not being able to get a job in his field he never showed it to his family. Duane made it priority and his family was in church every Sunday. His faith in God has never faltered.

Duane is the best husband any woman could ever want! I just celebrated 32 years of married life with him. I know I am more in love with him today than I was the day I married him. Life hasn’t always been smooth every marriage has its ups and downs. Those bumpy times when you wonder will this marriage last? Through it all Duane has loved me every single day. Duane has taken to heart Ephesians 5: 21-33 which is what our wedding ceremony was based upon. “25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…” Yes, My Duane has given up his life for me. He has always wanted to make me happy. He has always stood up for me. Even when I felt unlovable, He loved me. Duane has sacrificed for me and his family. 

When work was looking bleak he took on a job assignment that took him to La Grange, GA for 5 months. I was fortunate enough after that first month he was gone that I was able to visit him for a few days. I couldn’t see going through the summer months without him so I packed up our six kids and drove across the U.S. to be with him. He worked the night shift so I would take the kids out during the day to let him sleep for a few hours. Then he would join us in the afternoons before he took off for work. That was a wonderful summer spent in Georgia.

Another time he was sent off to Saudi Arabia. His first trip there was just for 3 weeks. He went again and he was away for 6 weeks. His last trip there would take him away for 12 weeks which was a difficult decision for him since he knew he would miss some important months in his little boy, Billy’s, life. Little did he know that during this time his father would be diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I kept Duane updated on his father’s condition on a daily basis and the emails I sent him turned out to be joined by other family and friends from around the world that were praying for Duane’s Dad. Even from the other side of the world my Dear Husband sent his father a touching email that would help his dad fight for his life. I was proud of my husband. He has such an incredible way with words. I believe he gets it from his maternal grandmother who was a poet and wrote many poems and published a few books of poetry. Duane's latest travels has taken him twice to the North Slope of Alaska. He has been in extreme heat to extreme cold! Believe me, he prefers the 120 degree weather to below freezing! We both prefer the Hot weather.

This brings me to tell you about how my husband, Duane, has supported me in the ministry I work in with Young at Heart at CCV. He didn’t want me to just be taking people places without some sort of meaning to the places we would visit. From the very beginning he was writing Devotionals for me to read during our trips. I believe my favorite one he wrote was for the trip we took to The Kodak Theater. I’ll have to find a copy of it and publish it and add it to this blog. Although my husband has never written me an actual ‘love letter’ he once wrote to me in a card what he loved about me. I think it was for our 30th Anniversary. It was very sweet and I will cherish that the rest of my life. I feel very lucky to have a husband that loves me the way he does.

The main thing that attracted me to him was his love for God. I did feel inferior to his Bible knowledge in the beginning years. As time went on he taught for the High School group, then College group he would teach in our Young Married group. Then we became the “old” Married group and he would teach every now and then. I admired his teaching style and the vast knowledge he had. I felt if I just stayed married to him his knowledge would rub off on me! I did learn so much about the Bible under his teachings. I have to say that he did teach me everything I ever needed to know about the Bible. So he kept his word in Ephesians 5: 26 “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…”

Yes, Duane is My Favorite Husband. I have a great respect for my husband and even though I am not commanded to love him I do love, love, love, love Him! God knew what he was doing when he put us together. My confirmation from God came when I discovered that my Birthday is on 7/12 and Duane’s Birthday is 12/7.  7 wonderful children God gave us and 12 because; They Come Cheaper by the Dozen! I feel so very blessed to have Duane in my life and to have the opportunity to grow old with him.

Ephesians 5:”28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More of My Favorite Things - #5 Day Spa's!

On my 45th Birthday my daughter, Duana, took me for my first PEDICURE! I very well may have had my first manicure also. Being the mother of seven there wasn’t money in the budget to do such things let alone trying to find the time to get away from the family to do such a thing. I did enjoy it and it did become a regular seasonal thing. Pedicures can last at least 3 months so I’d go towards the end of spring and that would last till nearly the end of summer and I’d go again at that time. I tried the acrylic nails but when I would have them taken off I didn’t like the way my nails were left so thin. In March of 2007 for Bobby’s wedding Duana had introduced me to silk wrapping and I kept them up through Duana’s wedding that took place the end of June. With the kids getting older getting away for an hour or so was easier and since I started working money wasn’t so tight any longer.

Another way of being pampered was the massage my nephew and his wife gave me as a gift for catering their wedding. It was for Peaches & Cream in Glendora and that was the first full fledge massage I ever had.

I had a SPA Experience with my husband once a long time ago for our Anniversary and it gave you a little bit of everything in about an hour’s time. That probably was about 20 years ago. It was a place where men and women were split up so I basically went through it by myself. I remember going into the Sauna then I was taken into a hot tub filled with mineral water, showered off then was given a robe with some flavored water to sip while laying down on a wooden bench listening to soft music. I had an Edward G. Robinson experience which is a part of the movie in "Soylent Green" where he goes into this place and is laid on a bed to relax while watching a video with scenery of beautiful green grasses & flowers with this type of soft music playing and then he falls into a deep sleep never to awaken. If you have never seen this movie I encourage you to rent the dvd and watch it but it may hamper your ability to ever be able to enjoy a SPA Experience again!


In most recent years I have been to Cote d’Azur in Pasadena. I should clarify that I have been there twice. I was able to get a half-price discount so I tried it and absolutely loved it. I especially loved the hot stone treatment they give you. I took my mother since she needed to have a massage for medical reasons and this was her first ever experience too. She really enjoyed it too.

This past Mother's Day, my children went in together to buy me a gift certificate for Glen Ivy. I've had mixed emotions about this place. I had no idea what to expect. I know I have looked at their website before and read about the different things you can experience there but I never would have imagined in a million years that I would do The Mud Thing. People really put mud all over their bodies? REALLY? Well, let me tell you about my experience I had on Monday, June 20th.
The Friday before was Duana and Billy’s Birthdays so I had arranged to take Billy and his friends from school to go see “Green Lantern.” His brothers were available to join us too so it was a day spent with my boys. So on Monday I would be spending my day with my girls. Well, at least with Duana and Diana. Dawna had to work so she wasn’t able to join us. Diana and I left the house around 10am to pick up Duana. We stopped by Chick-Fil-A to get some breakfast then proceeded on our way to Glen Ivy in Corona. We took the same exit for Tom’s Farms so I knew when we were done we’d have to stop by there. When we arrived in the parking lot I was in total awe. We had to park in the overflow parking lot and as we were walking up the path I could see the line of people waiting to get in. We weren’t even up to the sign yet that read, “90 minute wait from this point.” Oh my goodness! Are you kidding me? After about 10 minutes a lady was walking by the line asking if anyone had appointments made. I said we did for 1:45pm. She said to follow her. She took us up toward the beginning of the line on the left side where there were about 10 people ahead of us. It didn’t take much time at all to reach the entrance and then we were taken to the locker room area to check in. While walking to that area the lady was showing us the different areas. We checked in and then put our things in the locker. By now it was about 11:45am so Duana suggested we start at the hot tub. We went to the covered one but it was full so we opted for the one that was in full sun. It did have a nice view of the hillside in the distance but being that it was a hot tub and the water was rather hot and we were in full sun we didn’t last long in there. We decided we would try the covered hot tub again and even though it was full we walked into it anyway. While standing in the center a few ladies did leave so we were able to sit at the edge and enjoy ourselves. We must have stayed there for at least 20 minutes. Next we would make our way to the wading pool but on the way we saw the sulpher tubs and thought we would wait for one to open up but they were full and other people were waiting to get in so we passed on those.
The wading pool wasn’t any better. All the rafts were taken so we walked over to the pool area but looking at the water it looked a bit murky with the various sunscreens people put on themselves. I kind of have a thing about stuff in pool water. I told the girls let’s just go sit at the edge of the wading area. We would at least have our feet in the water and it wasn’t long before someone asked if we would like their rafts to lie on. But of course! There we were, lying on the rafts with the chattering of people everywhere. Bumper to bumper in the wading pool, you could hear the pleasant music playing so we relaxed. Relax? We did the best we could.
After another 30 minutes it was time for The Mud Thing. Club Mud I should say. I think as a young girl I made mud pies once. Now I was going to be rubbing this mud all over my body. REALLY? I should call it Red Clay Mud. Is there really a difference in Mud? I saw the Mud pool but I do have a thing about murky water so there was no way I would get into that pool of mud! Good thing they have an area where they bring out a pile of mud you can grab by the handful and rub it all over yourself. Am I really going to do this? I started with my feet and worked my way up. Diana rubbed it on my back then the girls helped each other rubbing the mud on their backs. My Indian blood is coming out in me. I’m of Navajo decent and they do have a rather red tint to their skin so I was getting in touch with the Indian in me. The last part to do would be my face. I am really doing this. Good Lord! Now we are to allow the mud to dry. We went into the hot room to try and let it dry but it wasn’t drying on the girls’ skin. We went back outside so after about 10 or 15 minutes it was dry enough to start brushing it off. Diana brushed it off my back and I started on my arms. I kept rubbing and rubbing but it didn’t appear to be coming off! I thought to myself, “This is supposed to be fun?” It’s NOT coming off! Diana was explaining to me that this is exfoliating my skin. I could feel the tiny grains in it and it was hurting a little trying to brush it off. The girls had already started washing off in the shower so I went over their way and waited till they were done. All I could imagine was trying to wash this off and just looking muddy. It was washing off pretty easily. Now was the moment of truth. I stepped under the shower and started washing it off. Oh my goodness! I couldn’t believe what I was feeling! My skin, it was so soft! Wow! Our phrase of the day was, “We’re going to look like a baby!” If you haven’t seen the Wal-mart commercial of the little girls smearing cream all over their grandpa’s face you need to look it up on YouTube! I was astonished although I it did look like I rubbed off my tan that I had.
Now it was time for The Grotto. This was our saving grace that we were able to get into  Glen Ivy since we had an appointment set. This is probably one of the least expensive services you can do and if it helps get you through the line quicker by all means, do it! None of us had been through this experience so this was something new for all of us to try. It was explained to us what the process would be. We would go down the elevator to start at the first station. We were painted with this mixture of shea butter, aloe vera and coconut oil. It was on heavy. In the next room we would sit there and just rub the mixture all over our body. It was very slippery and if you rub it on the bottoms of your feet walk very carefully as on the ground can slide easily. We were to be there for no longer than 10 minutes. At that point we went into the next room where we would shower off al the cream. This made our skin feel even softer. Truly amazing! The last room is where we would sit as long as we liked sipping on hot tea or cold water. They also gave us a crisp green apple to munch on. We were all feeling so relaxed.
Now it was time for lunch. The food is so delicious at their restaurant. I think we had the Goat Cheese and Pear Salad and the Margherita Pizza that the 3 of us shared. They serve you so much food so you would be smart to share whatever you order. It was all so good! We took our time. By now we determined that we would be staying until they closed. We took our time eating and then we went and found a place to lounge.
Around 4pm Diana wanted to go to the Sauna. I followed her and once she walked into the Sauna she realized that wasn’t where she wanted to go. I followed her around until she found where it was she wanted to go. It was the indoor Roman Bath she wanted to go in. I joined her so we stayed until 5pm. We had to wait a bit for shower stalls to open. I had thought of waiting until I got home to bathe but then thought again that it would be nice to go home feeling so nice and soft and squeaky clean! The shower stalls have shampoo, conditioner and body soap. It felt so good. There is also an area where you can use the hair dryer and put on your makeup. By 6pm we were done!
We took a few pictures by the entrance before we left. This really was my first true Day Spa Experience. Would I do it again? Of course! Would I do it soon? No. This is something to look forward to once maybe twice a year. It will probably be at least 6 months before I felt I needed to do this to peel off a couple layers of skin. From what I understand you can get in free for your birthday. My birthday is in a couple weeks so I may not do this again till next year. If my kids get me another gift certificate for Glen Ivy I will hold on to it. I’ll come for my birthday and then I’ll use my certificate the following January. It would be fun to try this experience in the Wintertime. Everyone should try this at least once in their lifetime!
On the way back we did stop at Tom’s Farms. I bought rhubarb, strawberries and mangos. They were delicious! On the way home I received a text from Duane letting me know he had a board meeting to attend. I was already in bed by the time he came home. He wanted to hear about my day. I gave him all the details like I did here. We were laying in bed while I told him the story and I could tell he was starting to doze off. I finished my story and we just laid there. I finally had to say to him, “Aren’t you going to feel my skin and see how soft I am?!” I may wish I looked like a baby but I am so glad I am a woman. What is that song Shania Twain sings? “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” REALLY!

12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. Esther 2:12 NIV
I experienced just a day. I can’t imagine a whole year!