Christmas Eve

Hello everyone and Merry Christmas!!!! May you take some time to remember what Christmas is all about and may you be thankful for all of God's wonderful blessings, starting with the greatest of all, Salvation.

I wanted to share some photos from our Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is The DAY here in Spain. Everyone gets together and eat a fancy dinner with all of their family. Just like we would do in the States for Christmas day. This year we couldn't go up to Madrid to spend the day with my family, but our good friends the Andrews decided to come down and spend the week with us. What a great blessing friends are!
So in the morning we went up to Sierra Nevada, about 30 minutes away from where we live, and we had the greatest time!! I think if possible, going up to Sierra Nevada is going to turn to a family tradition in our household. I am sharing some photos with you.

Matthew and I with the little resort behind us. They have restaurants and stores there. It is like a little town. Wasn't expecting it to be like that. Really cool
The kids posing for the pictures. My girls and Aaron Andrews

The Starks and the Andrews. Matthew, Pilar, Deanna and Jeff


Photos from Nicole's bday

Okay so I officially can't figure out the pictures deal. I used to be able to just add them and they would appear in the order I load them in but.... now they are all messed up...... sorry.
And to top it all my font is underline and I have no idea why?????? Sorry I still don't have this blogger thing figure out.
But the most important part of all, we celebrated Nicole's bday yesterday. The day before I took a cake to her class so she could have a little party at her class. It was the last day of class before Christmas holidays so they were going to party anyway. And a party they had. When I got there right before 11 am there was so much noise from inside the class I had to knock several times before they heard me and opened the door. When I got in I counted 4 teachers which means four different classes (of 25 kids each!!!) have gotten together to have the Christmas "party", and there I was with only two chocolat cakes...... Before seconds I had 10 kids around me, asking all kind of questions: "Who are you?", "What is your name?", "What do you have there?", "How old is Nicole going to be?", and after that one they were all informing me of their ages, names..... The funniest part is that the teacher had open the door of the classroom for me to come in and had left me there, surrounded by kids, and there was no way I was going to make it to the room without ignoring their questions. I finally did though, after all I had Matthew and Noelia outside in the car waiting for me so...... I got to take a couple of photos that I will post later because I had a different camera with me, and left them there dividing my two cakes among a bunch of kids and 4 teachers :). The teacher told me though that they had been eating all morning so they should had enough... if she had only told me I would have made a few more...... Nicole told me that the pieces where little so she wanted me to make the same cake for her actual bday the next day.
On Saturday, her actual bday, we woke up and ate French Toast- her pick. We got ready and went to an indoor play area and they had lots of fun there. We got back home and ate, Chicken, rice and white sauce (it is called some other thing but it is what the girls call it), one of her favorites. Opened presents, ate cake. After that they wanted to try out her new video game for the computer. It is one of those learning games. After that we watch the video from when she was born. She wanted to see her first bday.... well you know, from the couple minutes after she was born.... we never video taped the actual birth..... NO WAY!!! For those that have yours tape, I congratulate you for being so brave, but I just didn't want a camera at that point, I didn't want to be concern for the camera.....
Anyway, they loved seeing videos from when they were little. Of course it makes me realize how fast they are growing and how little I am noticing the time going by. Enjoy my kids more, it is one of my new years resolutions.
Took baths, ate dinner and watched Charlie Brown- The christmas movie.
After that, time to hit the bed.
My little girl is already 5!!!!
(what just happend to my font??????-- ..... anyway)

This one was what it seemed to be the perfect present for her. A Hello kitty big girl watch. Kayla got one from grandma and grandpa when they came to visit and once she mention she wanted one. I never thought she wanted so bad, but I am sure glad. That face was worth it :)

The Cliford leaning game we also got her

Notice her earings and necklace. They were a present from my nephew Fran and his wife Leti. We got it in the mail that same morning. Thanks guys! Btw the Hello Kitty sticker they all have in their faces are a present from "tia Paqui". She sent all kind of bday decorations, invitations, and face stickers for them. Thank you also!!!

Nicole before opening presents. kayla impatiently waiting, but always with a big smile :)


My baby is 5!!!

Today is Nicole's birthday! She is turning 5.... where did the time go? I remember when she was born, she was a little chunk... 8lb 4oz of baby 21 inches long. Pretty different from the 6lb 15oz baby before her (Kayla). She was induce, just like the other 2, so Matthew didn't have his dream of waking up in the middle of the night to a wife ready to have a baby (and I am glad he didn't get it.. hehe)
She is a great blessing. She is shy in the beginning but as soon as she gets comfortable with a person she is the oppossite of shy. She is very sweet and loves hugs and kisses and spend time with mommy and daddy. She tells us how much she loves us all the time. She is a sweet girl.
Her best friends are her sisters. She look up to Kayla and takes care of her little Noelia.

I pray to God that I will be a good mom to them and a testimony... I am so far off that goal, but with God's help and much prayer, I hope I can be a blessing to them.

Happy birthday my sweet Nicole!!!


Don't quit..... keep playing

When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin..a mother returned to
her seat and discovered that her child was missing.
Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage.
To her horror, the mother saw her
little boy
sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking
out 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.'
At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and
whispered in the boy's ear,
'Don't quit . . Keep playing.'
Then, leaning over ,
Paderewski reached
down with his left hand and began filling
in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached
around to the other side of the child,
and he added a running obbligato.
Together, the old master and the young novice
transformed what could have been a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience.
The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn't recall what else the great master played.
Only the classic,
' Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.'
Perhaps that's the way it is with God.
What we can accomplish on
our own is hardly noteworthy.
We try our best, but the results aren't always
graceful flowing music. However, with the
hand of the Master, our life's
work can truly be beautiful.
The next time you set out to accomplish great feats,
listen carefully. You may hear the voice of
the Master, whispering in your ear,
'Don't quit . . . Keep playing.'
May you feel His arms around you and
know that His hands are there, helping
you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces.
Remember, God doesn't
call the equipped, rather, He equips t he 'called.'
Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch than by the things you acquire.
May God bless you and be with
you always!
'Don't quit .... Keep playing.

Merry Christmas


Christmas Crafts

Today we had one of those freezing cold rainy kind of day and to top it all Noelia was sick all last night so we spent the Saturday at home.
We have been wanting to do some Christmas Cards for the girl's teachers so we took advantange of the slow day to do it.... I got some of my scrapbooking stuff out and we all started the fun.

They decorated the cards and they both wrote inside "Merry Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the Season". I am proud of my little missionaries.

Noelia has been feeling better and she also wanted to color. Here it is.... her master work.


God's promises

Someone shared this with me and thought I would share it with you.



Hope it will be a help to someone today, I know it was a help for me.

Happy Birthday to me!

Okay, this photos are completely out of order..... sorry I am not very careful this days..... This is a present that I got for my bday, a really cute sweater.

My hubby also gave me this black coat... really cute also :) ha

My girls and I...... nop I didn't get my picture taken with Matthew .... ????

The cake... notice the 31 made with the candles.... Sooooo good of a cake btw...

Well, in my attempt to put everyone up to date with photos from the last weeks I thought I would share with you some photos from my birthday which it was the 4th of December.. yep, I turned 31, but looking like 23 (ya right!!). Where did the time go. Not to long ago I was in high school... I still remember it like it was yesterday. Not too long ago I was 21 and God took me to the States to meet my husband. Not too long ago I was 24 and having my first baby. And then 26 and having my second and 28 and having my 3rd (wow that was fast and close). It will be 2 years soon that we are here in Spain and I can remember like yesterday getting into the plane.... So where did the time go? How many people is hating me right now for having those questions at 31? hehehehe..... We better enjoy everyday, it is all I have to say.


Our Christmas Tree

We actually put up the Christmas tree the day after thanksgiving while my in laws were here, but I have been so busy that I haven't been able to sit down and post much. Things should be a little less crazy around here for a little bit and I have all intention to put everyone up to date (especially those that know my family) with the pictures of the last few weeks and back to posting every day.

May I introduce you our beautiful tree. We always went natural when we were in the States, but bought one before we came and now I wonder why we didn't do artificial from the beginning. It last green all christmas and I don't have to clean up all the mess from the needles from the tree.... although for some reason this one looks so natural that some fall off every day... ????

There is no way that we could get Noelia to look for the camera, so this is the best we could do :)

The girls with grandpa and grandma

This was our special ornament from a couple of years ago. It is my favorite one of all. Since we got married we have the tradition of buying a special one every year. In the move from Gijon to Granada this one broke, but thanks goodness we were able to fix it. So can tell in the "oe" from Noelia's name.

My mother in law brought this one with her from us, so this one is this year's special one.

Putting up the tree, we always play Christmas music and we all take a part on putting up the ornaments. After the kids go to bed, sometimes there is some mommy rearragement going on. This year they did pretty good though, although I have to admit that I set sound ground rules first..... I am ashamed...... what a party popper. :(

Don't ask me why I posted a photo of my girls backs.... I thought it looked pretty

Kayla matched with Mr. Snowman.

Nicole and Noelia with all of our ornaments

Gary and Matthew putting up the light.... I know, the photos are not in the right order...
So, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU AGAIN. Enjoy the holiday and remember our Lord.

Jesus vs. Santa-- No comparison

Yeah, I know no one is doubting this facts, but I got this email a couple of days ago and thought it was neat, so I thought about sharing it.
We need to shine as christians, and make sure that Jesus is our reason for the season.

Jesus is Better than Santa in so Many Ways
Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.
Santa rides in a sleigh
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.
Santa comes but once a year
JESUS is an ever present help.
Santa fills your stockings with goodies
JESUS supplies all your needs.
Santa comes down your chimney uninvited
JESUS stands at your door and knocks..
And then enters your heart.
You have to stand in line to see Santa
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.
Santa lets you sit on his lap
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.
Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is
"Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"
JESUS knew our name before we did.
Not only does He know our name,
He knows our address too.
He knows our history and future and He
even knows how many hairs are on our heads.
Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly
JESUS has a heart full of love.
All Santa can offer is HO HO HO
JESUS offers health, help and hope.
Santa says "You better not cry"
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me
for I care for you.
Santa's little helpers make toys
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts,
and repairs broken homes.
Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.
While Santa puts gifts under your tree
JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.
It's obvious there is really no comparison.
We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about.
We need to put Christ back in Christmas.
Jesus is still the reason for the season.
May the Lord Bless and Watch over you and
your loved on es this Christmas 2008.
And may He prosper and bless the work
of your hands in the New Year 2009.
Love in His holy name, The name of Jesus!
Keep CHRIST in Christmas this Season!


Such a sad time!

Well, good times, as bad times, come to an end. We are glad when bad times pass, but not so happy when good times end. My in laws are leaving tomorrow and yes, it is a sad time.
I happen to have wonderful in laws, and are going to miss having them around. It has been two weeks, but the kind that flies. Matthew is taking them tomorrow morning (or in a few hours I should say- 4am) to Madrid. It is a trip of over 4 hours and their fly leaves at 11 am, so they needed to leave early. I am kind of glad because I hate goodbyes… Have I ever told you that I don’t deal very well with difficult situations?…. I actually don’t deal with them period… I just pretend they don’t exist… very mature uh? J But it works for me. I won’t go on that way, but maybe one day we can talk about it.
Anyway, in the next few days I will be sharing some photos from our time together.
They have been a blessing to us in more ways that they would ever know. They came in the perfect time, time when we needed encouragement and people that loved us around us. They were that encouragement and gave us much love.
They also helped with the ministry! My father in law went out every day with Matthew passing out invitations for our first service. My mother in law made the skirt for the piano and the curtains for the auditorium (I will have to finish stitching because I waited until Friday to ask her if she could help me with them. I don’t have a sowing machine so we have to do it the old fashion way—Sorry Deenie but thank you very much. I love you!!).
Gary and Deenie- I love you very much. Thank you for being such wonderful in laws. I will miss you very much!


A question for you ladies

What are the things that you do in your home to keep Christ the center of this Holyday Season? For those of you that are not married or have not children yet, I will also like to hear things you would like to implement in your home once those children come.
Would really appreciate your comments. Thanks

Lesson 6: Living with hands of surrender

¨Life with hands of surrender¨ happens when we let go our hands from people and things saying ¨God, everything belongs to you. Give me whatever you want and take whatever you want¨.
When God asks us to give us something we are not willing to give Him, the position of our hands are close and towards ourselves
Surrendering happens when we are willing to give God whatever He wants from us accept Him what that decision may bring us. Of course, it is something hard to do because we don´t know what it is coming. One more time we need to trust in God´s love for us.
Joh 12:24-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.

When it talks about dying of ourselves, we are talking about putting aside our desires, our goals. The God can fully use us.
Joh 15:4.5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
We need to follow God´s will in our lives.
Luk 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me
God wants us to give ourselves to Him.
To be saved doesn’t cost us anything. It is a free gift. But there is a price involved to become His disciple. It is too easy for a Christian to center their eyes in their own dreams, their own goals, and lose track of God’s plans for us. Live a life with hands of surrender means to give up everything and trust completely in God. Are we going to do it willingly or is God going to have to open them for us?.
Betty Stam´s prayer was ¨Lord, I give you all my plans and purposes, all my desires and hopes, and I accept your will for my life. I give you my life, my all, to be yours forever. Fill me and seal me with your Holy Spirit. Use me however you want, send me wherever you want, be thou will in my life, whatever it takes, now and forever.¨
Psa 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore


Our Thanksgiving Dinner

How was your thanksgiving?
Ours was really good. It was going to be my first time cooking turkey since we have always been at someone’s else home for thanksgiving dinner. But thanks to my friend’s Deanna recipe for “Best ever turkey” and the help of my great mom in law, the dinner was great. If you want to try her recipe next year, look under “my blogging friends”’s section and go to “Deanna A”.
Turkeys are always a tricky thing. Often they are dry and hard to eat so you fill up on all the extras, but this year wasn’t the case. Great juicy turkey, great tasting gravy (also Deanna’s recipe), mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole, corn…. I think that was it. We had peach cobbler for dessert with vanilla ice cream….. soooo good.
Also the company was a blessing. We have spent 2 thanksgiving here in Spain, but we haven’t felt alone, God is so good to bless us. Last year we spent it with the Andrews, the Contreras, and with Miguel and Kristi. This year we had my in-laws and Olga, a lady that comes to our church.
After dinner we had a small devotional about thanksgiving, not only when things come our way, but also thanksgiving in times of difficulty. We are to be thankful to God for every season in life. We looked at the testimony of Paul, Job and Joseph. We sang and prayed, and share some of the things we are thankful to God for.
Later, we played games (Yathzee, Pit, Uno…) and had so much fun.
Today CHRISTmas starts officially at the Stark’s household (that will be us), so we are putting up our tree and decorating it. Slowly but surely, we will start seeing presents under the tree, always careful to remember that the birth of our Lord, and Savior, is the real reason for this celebration.
I pray you had a great Thanksgiving Day, remembering God’s wonderful blessings; and that now that CHRISTmas is around the corner, you would set aside time to remember Christ’t birth.
So, would you mind sharing how you spent Thanksgiving and maybe something you are Thankful for? Come on, I am sure everyone can at least share one thing…. Can’t you?

Deenie and I with Mr. Big Bird

Our Thanksgiving Table

Gary, Matthew and Deenie
Nicole and Olga (the other two little girls were playing under the table ;))