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.