Thursday, November 7, 2013


On the way home from dropping my boys at school, I turned on the local Christian Radio station. Pastor Charles Stanley was preaching a sermon titled "Wisdom in the midst of trials"

 While listening to this message, I was reminded that God uses trials to purify us from sin and to teach us to trust Him.
He also uses trials so that we can learn & encourage others who are or will be going through similar hardships and trials that this life brings. 

2 Corinthians 1:4 
who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God

This sermon couldn't have come at a more appropriate time in my life. It seems lately, the evil one who comes to kill, steal, and destroy, has been whispering many vile lies into my ear. Causing me doubt and ask questions. Most of which I already know the answers to..... He is the master of confusion and deception. He is the Persecutor of the Saints. The only way to defeat him is to combat his lies with God's TRUTH, His Holy word!

While we are in the midst of our trial, we have a choice.  We can resist the trial by becoming bitter, resentful, and angry with God, and everyone in the world. Or we can choose to submit.  

If we choose to resist...what gain is there? If we submit and TRUST God's promises, we will know that through our trials He will produce endurance in us. We also know that we will become more Christ like.  We know God will only keep us in the fire long enough to burn the dross away.  

It reminded me of a time long ago in church,singing the song "Refiner's Fire", and having the Pastor explain what a silversmith does when He is refining silver, and how he knows when the silver is refined.

 Malachi 3:3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.

 Zechariah 13:9 And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.  They will call upon my name, and I will answer them.  I will say. 'They are my people, and they will say ' The Lord is my God."

I was delighted to have found the story I had been told, by doing a Google search! 

It's comforting to know that The Lord's goal isn't to destroy or defeat us, but to TRANSFORM us. He isn't PUNISHING us, He is cleansing us. His desire is for us to be transformed into the likeness of His Son.  That we would be pure and shiny, gleaming with HIS reflection! We all will be put through the furnace many times while on this earth.

Things to remember while facing a trial

  • God is in control of the duration and intensity of our trials.
  • He has a SPECIFIC purpose for the trial we are facing.
  • Trials will benefit us if we respond in FAITH
  • God is equipping us to be able to minister to others who are, or will be, facing similar trials.
  • God is transforming us through this trial into the image of His Son.
  • God will walk us through this trial.  We will not be alone.
  • We must have a right perspective and rejoice in knowing God has a hold of us in this trial, and it will be for our good in the end.

Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say "Rejoice!"

Romans 8:28
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.

Deuteronomy 31:6 
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.  Because God has said " Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."

Matthew 28:20
"teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world"

God doesn't want to injure us, He knows better than we do  just how long, long enough is.  How we respond is up to us, and I don't know about you, but I would much rather cling to God's word and His promises.  Than to allow the Evil one to have his way with me.  I am not happy that I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the midst of grieving my Father, but I will REJOICE, in opportunity to have my faith grown. To be purified as gold by THE refiner. I know God has many things He wants to teach me through this, and I long to be open to them and courageous to face them!

I hope this blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

Blessings! <3 Paula

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why I Love Texas

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and for the most part I really loved it there.  Most of my family still lives there and I figured I always would too. Chicago has great food,  there is always something to do, I have lots of childhood friends there. The city is beautiful. Full of art and rich culture.  I never really thought about leaving..... Rewind about 2.5 years ago. After being self employed in a terrible economy, my Husband accepted a job offer in a town just North of San Antonio.   I was sad and a bit reluctant, but I was excited to see all what God had in store for us,  I never expected what would happen.......  I fell in LOVE with TEXAS!  Not just "I like it here."  "I LOVE it here!"

Why do I LOVE Texas, you ask?  There are more reasons that I could list, but I'm gonna try!!  It might take me a while.....  Texas is a HUGE state!  So here goes, in NO particular order.

 Rusty trucks

 Cowgirl boots 

My Birthday Present last year

Rusty roofs and rundown barns


State flower and favorite place to get your picture taken

Cowboy hats

Ready for the Daddy Daughter Dance

 Blinged out belts
 Blinged out flip flops
 Well....just BLING

Hot sunshine and cool rivers

Playing in the Guadalupe River

 Hill country

Hamilton Pool

 Drives in the country

Friendly people
Christianity is still acceptable (including in school)

The Alamo

BBQ.....even though I'm not a big meat eater, I have to admit it's pretty fantastic!

Favorite weekend pastime

The River Walk

Fiesta San Antonio

Sweet Tea
Our Church

At our friend's ranch after a day of swimming in the Bear Creek, notice the gun in my Hubby's hand? We just finished target shooting.  LOL!

Gearing up for VBS

photo credit Becki Babcock

My Husband and Pastor baptizing my Son last summer

Football is a religion
My Sons

Mountain Laurel

The flowers smell like grape gum

Amazing Sunsets
My backyard

The Gulf

Mustang Island State Park

You can eat outside all year......

February 2012 our churches Valentine's Day dinner


Dia De Los Muertos
Halloween 2012

There is so much more........but I don't want to gush or anything!  I am blessed beyond measure and thank God daily for bringing my family here. We have so many more adventures ahead of us and I can't wait to continue exploring this great state.   Heaven is my home, but I sure don't mind passing the rest of my time on earth in Texas!

Blessings!! <3 Paula

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Documentaries that have changed our family. Part 1

Let me start by asking forgiveness for the typos?  I am putting this up in a HURRY today.  Too much stuff going on, but since I have been asked a bunch of questions I figured I would do my best to start answering some of them.  

Back in January my Husband and I knew we needed to make some lifestyle changes. Both he and I are the heaviest we have ever been.  I quite a few health issues I deal with daily and there have been a lot of sick people in my family. Obesity, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Cancer, and a myriad of autoimmune diseases on both sides.

Chris and I have had a long drawn out love affair with food.  Every pound we have put on has been well earned.  Eating is what we do to celebrate, to relax, to "treat" ourselves.  We didn't have a proper understanding that it was the very thing that was making us sick.  We did know it was making us FAT!

Did you know that all autoimmune diseases need to be triggered by something?  Sure we can carry the gene, but it isn't "turned on" until triggered.  Stress, toxins, (especially smoke), and the processed foods and dyes we consume are all triggers.

 We were both  fed up, and wanted something better for the both of us and our children. We wanted to be able to be active Grandparents someday, and not pass on the bad habits and health issues to our kids.

Chris and I are currently juice fasting for two meals a day.  We have both lost 7lbs so far and it hasn't been a week.  The children are eating healthy diets of whole foods.  In other words food that doesn't have or need a label.  It truly is the easiest way to remember.  We try to buy organic when we can, and local.  Saturdays have become our date morning.  We head out to the Farmer's market.  Our meat and eggs are mostly free range and grass fed.  No growth hormones or antibiotics.  There is a great website if you are looking for local produce and farms.  It's called Local Harvest you just type in your zip code and it brings up a list.

 Surprisingly the bulk of  my shopping is done at Costco.  They carry many organic products and their Kirkland brand of meat is antibiotic and growth hormone free. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and even your local grocery store all carry many good organic products, that are non GMO as well.  One last thing, I stumbled upon this app  It lets you put it on your smart phone, scan a product and give you a grade.  It tells you why it was graded the way they graded it, and gives you alternative selections.

 Okay, enough with all the tips and tricks.  Let's get on to the life changing knowledge!

 The first movies is a documentary called Fat, Sick, and nearly Dead. You can watch it in entirety below!

The next is a movie called Farmageddon
This movie is particularly eye opening as to why all of the food in our supermarket is so unhealthy.  It's a lot more sinister than you would think.

The next one you should watch is a movie called Fresh. It explains why all our food should be grown locally and without pesticides.

There are quite a few more, but I don't want to overwhelm you.  Start here and check back next week.  I will post three others.

All of these moves have websites and can be viewed on Netflix. 

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”


 Blessings! Paula

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Beachy Waves DIY

Yesterday I met my friend Sam at the Christian book store. She was telling me about this salt water spray she uses for beachy waves in her hair. Both my Daughter and I love the way our hair looks after swimming in the ocean. 

She sent me a picture of the bottle and I looked for it while I was out. I didn't see it anywhere :(

I told my Daughter about it and she was totally bummed about me not finding it. After a little research. I came up with our own recipe. It worked really well. 

We used warm almost hot tap water, 1 Tbs. Sea Salt, 1 Tbs Argan oil (Sally's Beauty), about 2Tbs Tresemme curly hair gel. 

Starting with warm water add salt and shake till full dissolved. Then add your oil and gel. Shake well too with water. 

I sprayed on completely dry hair. We thoroughly wet entire head and scrunched hair with hands. 

Here is our result!

Not bad, huh?  Little girls are so much fun <3 Blessings! Paula

Friday, May 17, 2013

Why I gave up Aspartame

I haven't blogged in forever, and would love to get back to it at least weekly.  While getting ready for the day I was wondering what should I write about?  Probably the most significant change in our family's life lately has been the way we have changed what we are eating.  

As a family we have switched from eating your typical American diet of highly processed foods and sodas, to a mostly organic and whole foods diet. If you are confused by what a "whole food" diet is, don't fret, I was too at first. The easiest way to describe it is, foods that either don't need a label, because they only contain one thing, or things that are made up of ingredients that are one food items.  In other words, I would buy something that had wheat, eggs, water, and salt.  But not something that had a bunch of names on the label I can't even pronounce.  FOOD, like eggs or an apple don't need labeling.  PRODUCTS do.  Do we occasionally have a bag of Doritos or a candy bar?  Of course, but it is truly a rare occasion now.  

The most difficult thing for me to give up was Aspartame.  That may sound strange to some, but it has pretty much been a staple in my diet since childhood. By the time I was a teenager I was an everyday diet soda drinker.  I always used aspartame in my coffee, and things like gum (even ones that don't say sugar free) were routinely being consumed by our entire family.

If you know me well, you know that coffee and diet soda were a main staple in my diet.  I still drink coffee, but I haven't quite figured out how to enjoy it yet. It's a work in progress... After years of using Aspartame (the little blue packets that are in every coffee shop in America) and cream, I am currently trying to figure out how to enjoy it black.  

At first I tried sugar (raw with the cane juice still in it) and cream.  It was alright but it didn't satisfy me the way Aspartame did.  Not to mention the extra calories I am now consuming isn't doing a whole lot for my waist line.  I haven't had a Diet Coke since January, and it bothered me at first, but not the same way not having my favorite sweetener in my coffee bothers me.

Let me explain what my old habits were like.  I would wake up, make a pot of coffee, and during the morning I would finish the entire pot myself.  Each cup would have a little blue packet in it.  By noon I would switch to peach iced tea (the one that comes in a little tub of powder that you mix with water).  I am not going to mention brand names here, but you know the ones I am talking about.  They are also LOADED with Aspartame.  If I got tired of that and I wanted something fizzy to drink I would pour myself a glass of diet soda.  I rarely ever drank water.

I was drinking the stuff all day long.  From the time I woke up in the morning to the time I went to bed at night.  I didn't even give it a second thought until the last four years or so. 

In the last four years I have been diagnosed with Grave's disease, I had a stroke, I am in constant and persistent pain, and the doctors know there is some other autoimmune disorder plaguing me but they are unsure if it is Lupus or RA, more follow up and testing is needed. I have a hard time concentrating and have what I like to call "brain fog".  

My friend Melody kept telling me that Aspartame causes inflammation, and it's not that I didn't believe her, it's just that I didn't realize just how BAD the stuff truly is.  Then I watched a few documentaries that changed my life, and I did a lot of research of my own on the internet.  I was blown away at how many of the symptoms that I had been dealing with were commonly associated with Aspartame consumption.

Since giving up Aspartame altogether I feel a lot better than I had.  I still have some issues, but I am sure that is to be expected from someone who already had their thyroid destroyed and had a previous stroke. :) I can't help but wonder how many of the symptoms I was experiencing leading up to my diagnosis were Aspartame related?  But what's done is done. 

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Aspartame and it's safety for consumption.  But lets go over some simple FACTS about Aspartame and it's origins and how it was deemed safe for humans to consume.

Wikipedia states that Aspartame's original intent was as an anti-ulcer drug, that the inventor accidentally licked his finger and then realized it was sweet. Others say it was created as a pesticide and when it clearly didn't work as that, it was then marketed as a sweetener.  Either way it is not being marketed for it's original intent.  Not that this is an issue in and of it's self, but it was created by big pharma company, G.D. Searle. They are now owned by none other than Monsanto.  This should be enough to make you question it's safety.  Since Monsanto and our Federal Government are KNOWN for their revolving door politics. 

 If you don't already know, Monsanto is the creator of DDT: AKA Agent Orange. They currently lead the market on GMO's Genetically Modified Oraganisms (round up ready seed), creator of Round up, rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), and were the largest manufactures of PCB's until 1977. 

In the end I was convinced that Aspartame shouldn't be part of my or my family's diet.  This sounds easy enough, but you would be shocked at how many products contain Aspartame without even realizing it.  I mentioned previously chewing gum, but did you know that brands like Big League Chew have Aspartame in them?  In actuality there is virtually NO aspartame free gum on the market.  Yogurt, Candy, Cereal, Condiments, Soda, drink powders, anything labeled Sugar Free, are all common foods that contain Aspartame.  Reading labels is a MUST if you want to avoid Aspertame.  

It has been almost 6 months since I have had a "diet" coke, or aspartame in my coffee.  I now drink a lot more water than I ever used to. Unsweetened Tea (particularly green tea) are a staple in my diet, and I am currently working on drinking my coffee black. I feel much better.  The brain fog has been lifting, and I have way fewer days of joint pain and inflammation, most notably in my hands.  If you are a diet and sugar free consumer, I urge you to do some research and learn more about Aspartame, and anything else artificial you are consuming.  

Here are some of the most common symptoms of aspartame consumption: 
headaches, nausea, vertigo, insomnia, numbness, blurred vision, blindness and other eye problems, memory loss, slurred speech, depression, personality changes, hyperactivity, stomach disorders, seizures, skin lesions, rashes, anxiety attacks, muscle cramping and joint pain, loss of energy, symptoms mimicking heart attacks, hearing loss and ear ringing, and loss or change of taste.

There is a complete list of 92 symptoms and disease associated with  Also you might want to read what Dr. Mercola has to say about aspartame here.