Friday, December 26, 2008

NOCHE BUENA

Noche Buena is translated as “Good Night” in Spanish. It refers to the night of Christmas Eve. For the Spanish, Cubans, Philipinos and Latin Americans it is an evening consisting of a traditional dinner with family. The meal is usually served late and ends with the midnight mass. Our dinner is served at 6:00pm because we have little ones, we do not attend midnight mass and usually do not have any biological family here.

It is a tradition I celebrated occasionally growing up with my mom's side of the family. She was born in Santiago, Cuba as were her brother and sisters...making me 1/2 Cuban.

THE TRADITIONAL DINNER:

Pig Roast “lechon asado” (sometimes the whole pig roasted in a pit outside)

Black Beans & Rice – this year we opted for Moros which is the rice and beans cooked together

Maduros – friend sweet plantains

Yucca with mojo – a starchy dish (similar to a potato) with mojo which is the sauce consisting of Garlic Cloves, Salt, Black peppercorns (whole),Oregano
Sour orange juice (In a pinch, use two parts orange to one part lemon and one part lime)

Cuban bread – from Wikipedia “Cuban bread is a fairly simple white bread, similar to French bread and Italian bread, but has a slightly different cooking method and ingredient list (in particular, it generally includes a small amount of fat in the form of lard or vegetable shortening); it is usually made in long, baguette-like loaves. It is a staple of Cuban-American cuisine and is necessary to make an authentic Cuban sandwich” DO NOT BE FOOLED BY IMITATION CUBAN BREAD…SOME GROCERY STORES PUT A SLIT IN FRENCH BREAD AND CALL IT CUBAN BREAD…THERE IS NO COMPARISON!

Flan – described here as an “an upscale, classy custard” or “elegant, rich dessert”

THE FAMILY OR LA FAMILIA:

Well for us that changes every year. This is our one big outreach, we invite friends and anyone we come across that does not have anywhere to go or anyone to spend Christmas with. It has been interesting over the years to see how it has changed. We have one family that comes every year.

One year we volunteered at a local recovery ministry, so they opened their doors for us to have it there and we had over 50 people. We sang Christmas songs and had a spontaneous candlelight ceremony. It is by far my most precious Christmas memory.

We had 30 people come to our house this year and it was a blessing. There were a lot of needs represented here and we always consider it an honor to include anyone the Lord lays on our hearts. We did not talk about anyone’s needs or even pray for them during the course of the evening, but I believe everyone was ministered to. We all just enjoyed each other’s company and the food.

This year I opted not to make the meal myself and was blessed that an authentic Cuban restaurant opened close by. We ordered all the food except the flan and THE FLAN FLOPPED. It has never happened before, but this year the sugar burnt which is the beginning of the process and it went downhill from there. I made three and they all flopped because I made them together. The good news is I have been healed of perfectionism, so they were served. I did not feel compelled to make them over or not serve them. I served them and everyone ate them and liked (some even loved) them. I celebrated that victory and praised the Lord!

Everyone brought a dish or two or three, so the food was abundant.

Here our some pictures from our dinner:


God providing this opportunity for us over and over again has blessed me immensely. The people who enter our home on this night never know the extent of the blessing they offer to me and my family. If you are in town next year consider this your early invitation to our "Noche Buena".

Saturday, December 20, 2008

WHAT IS YOUR HEART SAYING?

If I could hear your heart right now what would it say? Over the last several months I would be mortified if someone could hear what mine has been saying...this video really got me thinking...hope it does you too!

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:19-20




God has a lot to say about our hearts in His word, it is worth a CLOSE look and meditative review.

May the peace of Christ dwell in your heart this Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

WINNERS!

Jamie wins the Laura Kirkland ornament and Angela and Randel win something...not sure what yet, but I trust God will show me. So, all of you email me with your address and I'll be sending your surprises...yes, there's even a surprise for you Jamie...it's still a surprise to me too! Thank you all for your encouraging comments.

Here's to another year of God's faithfulness...

P.S. There is no way I could choose a winner or three winners, so I relied on good 'ol Random Number Integer.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

BLOGIVERSARY - ONE YEAR OF GOD'S FAITHFULNESS

Today is my blogiversary or blog birthday. Check out this link for blogging terms, scroll down, the funniest ones are at the bottom.

It is hard to believe it has been one year since I started sharing publicly what the Lord is showing me, doing in me or for me. It has been great and has fulfilled a great desire to journal a lot of what happens in my spiritual life; sorry some stuff is still private. The theme that resonates as I read over my year of posts is “HIS FAITHFULNESS”.

If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13

My life has changed dramactically this year:

I own and run a small business, Tea & Traditions
We’re expecting baby number four (due March 31st, 2009)
We are at a different church
I’ve lost friends and loved ones
…and I am sure there is more that escapes me right now!

Through all of this God has been faithful. He called me to buy a small business and only gives me enough information along the way to accomplish His purposes at the time. He has given me great revelation of the blessing of having children. He called us out of our church and even when we disobeyed Him and stayed, He was patient. He blessed my life in relationships with those who have gone on to be with Him, even if I did not know them long – I’m changed.

There is just so much I can not convey it all in a simple post, so I will end by saying, “THIS IS A CELEBRATION”!!! Not a celebration of posting on a blog for a year, but of His faithfulness to His daughter.

Because my life has changed so much in the last year, my blogging will too. In this season I am learning to prioritize and my household comes first and all that goes with it. He is still moving mightily in my life, I just do not have the time to write about it as much and honestly some of it I do not feel led to share yet and may never.

GIVEAWAY
For you few faithful readers I want to share my joy and excitement and share some gifts with you. Leave a comment and in a week I will come back and pick a winner. One of the things you will be winning is an awesome Christmas ornament designed and signed by Laura Kirkland of Glory Haus. She is a talented woman, with an amazing gift that she faithfully shares.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

HE KNOWS HIS NAME - JUDAH

It was August 2007 when the Lord began nudging me in the area of praise. I was reading Worship Warrior by Chuck Pierce and in the book he talks about Judah (son of Jacob & Leah) his name means “praise Yaweh”. At the time we were at the tail end of a season of great struggle, but I sensed victory on the horizon. The Lord was teaching me that praise must preceed victory. I also sensed He was giving me the name for my next child.

From Worship Warrior, page 14

Judah must go first. Praise must take it preeminence within our lives, churches, cities, states and nation. When Judah goes first, the scepter of authority is then in place for ultimate victory. This is a time that the Lion of Judah will roar louder than the lion that has sought to devour us!

Over the last year I have learned to praise Him during the storm. “Worship causes us to move thankfully with our body toward our creator” – Worship Warrior, page 150

In July 2008 as I lay in bed the Lord began to speak to me about Judah. It was a conversation initiated by Him and I just listened and received. At the time I wish I had had the forethought to write down His words to me. That was also during the time that I was experiencing revival and the Lord was just showering me with His love and presence.

A few days later I realized I was “late” and decided to take a pregnancy test. I was out of town, so I loaded up my three kids and went to Walgreens. I went into the bathroom and took the test which turned positive before I even stepped away.

Again, it was a time of revival for me, but also a time of great difficulty in our home. I read more about Judah and the more I read the more I sobbed and the more I understood. The revelation and timing were breathtaking. The story of Jacob and Leah revealed more of the Lord’s love for me and the perfection of His timing. This baby became another real and tangible way God was expressing His love for me and the revelation of his name a greater, deeper and sweeter expression of that.

From Worship Warrior, page 154

Leah, as we all know, was unloved. It was Rachel whom Jacob had wanted and had worked for. But Jacob was tricked into taking Leah instead. Not a good start for a relationship; but she tried hard as she could to gain Jacob’s affection. In those days, a high value was put on a woman who could produce children. God caused Leah to be fruitful, and she bore Jacob three sons, each time hoping to procure her husband’s love because of them, but to no avail. Finally she turned her heart toward the Lord. “She conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.; Therefore she named him Judah” Gen. 29:35 NASB

From Worship Warrior, Page 155

Unshakable praise plows through the hardest ground. God says in Hosea 10:11, “Judah will plow.” When the ground is hard, when the circumstances are adverse, God’s favor is on the one who will lead off with praise.

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "This time I will praise the LORD." So she named him Judah. Genesis 29:35




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