Life and Rest…

I thought it would be beautifully ironic to make my first post (that isn’t a catch up) in November, about rest. This is the time of year where life really begins the holiday cycle of madness for a lot of people. We are no exception. However, the Ortiz family has plans of staying home this Christmas.

Like I said in my last post, October was insane. Coffee was my friend. My eye just stopped twitching after weeks of its sporadic fluttering. It tends to do that when emotions, nerves and my feet are at a constant. Something that I have learned over the years (yes, I know I am young and still have much to learn) is the necessity of rest. I have learned this by trial and error…a lot of error. While pregnant with both of my kids, I had a moment where my body was done due to lack of rest and my body got my attention. Through that, God got my attention. Where was my dependency, what was I trying to prove by not slowing down? The things I was doing weren’t bad things…but in the middle of those things, I had lost sight of something important. I love this verse, The Message says it beautifully.

Matthew 11:28-31 – Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Being at rest doesn’t mean lazy. I am still learning what it means and looks like. I love the occasional lazy day but life doesn’t allow that kind of rest often. I do know that there is a peace and rest that comes when we take heed and walk in the previously stated scripture. No matter what seems to be going on, no matter how uncomfortable life may be…we can find rest. I think of what being at rest says to those around us…I am grateful for the wisdom of others that has shown me what it means to be at rest…

As I am writing, a bunch of ideas go running through my head. I will make the next post about rest as well…. and I’m excited to get writing.

Happy day everyone!

So I have this cousin…

I had a planned on posting about this past weekend’s women’s conference. I will say that it was phenomenal. I will post about that another day.

Right now there is someone who has been on my heart and I ask that you pray.

My cousin Kevin is fighting cancer for the second time. If you know Kevin, you know that there is no one who is more stubborn and no one who loves to laugh and crack jokes more than him. The doctors thought that his fight with non-hodgkins lymphoma (diagnosed in 2008) was going to be the end of his life. Well, to the doctor’s surprise, Kevin miraculously beat the life out of that cancer and went into remission. He was diagnosed just a few months ago with stomach cancer. Something rises up on the inside of me and gets just plain mad at sickness. We don’t like to think of someone we love being in pain…I would much rather picture Kevin being goofy and laughing…and healthy!

I have the following picture. The first one I had wanted to show was of Kevin and Sophia (who went to him immediately with a big ole smile) when he had the lymphoma. The second was taken 9 months later at Christmas….a healthy Kevin and a goofy Sophia. Maybe it’s for the best that I can’t access that picture right now…

I could go on and on with memories of Kevin but I don’t want to sound like I am announcing the end of his life and this is some kind of day dream sequence.

Right now, we’re believing for a miracle…cause that is EXACTLY what Kevin needs.  I also ask that you pray for Kevin’s daughter Hanna…Hanna is one incredible girl!

We have been singing My God Reigns by Abundant Life Church UK a lot as of lately…and I love it! So with that, I say this “My God is greater, my God is over all”!

Thank you for your prayers!

Women’s Conference…imagining possibilities!

So today is the day! We have been talking about this weekend since last year. Our church’s Strong Women’s Conference 2010 kicks off tonight! There is always a unique anticipation when it comes to conferences in general….and this is no different. Our church is a buzzing with anticipation and preparation.

We are blessed at CFC to have some amazing women in leadership. They truly are some of the most amazing and most fun women I know. They love God and are a walking party!

What I love about this weekend is that it is a bunch of women. I know, go figure, it’s in the name “women’s conference”. I suppose that there is something on the inside of me that starts to imagine the possibilities, something that starts to dream when there is a gathering of women, the young and not as young as they were 20 years ago….coming together to worship, learn, grow and just be. To know what it is to just “be” in the presence of God. Rest, refreshed….imagine that.

I imagine this….stay with me. There are two boxes. One is “the” box….the box that we put ourselves in. The box that sin, hurt and daily living causes us to dwell in. It’s the box that as we dream, as God reveal pieces of His heart and the purpose that He has for us….we whine “but God”, like he doesn’t know our hurts and hang-ups (I think of Moses telling God that he can’t really talk right).

The second really isn’t a box at all….it’s life outside of our box. Letting go of that hurt, realizing forgiveness and His possibilities. You know those things to us that seem like the impossible…those things can scare the crap out of us…but when we walk, say “But God” cause only He can make it happen. Life is awesome!

So imagine that in a room full of women walking outside of their boxes. Coming together, knowing we are not alone….and with God all things are possible! Look out world, here she comes!

Can’t wait for tonight and the weekend ahead!

Better is One Day – Part 1

The Ortiz family just got back from our summer vacation. Last year we said we would never take one that late in the year again. So of course this year we took it later. We were grateful for some down time, time with family and the friends that life just wouldn’t be the same without. You know those friends you can talk with, dream with, pray with and laugh so hard you cry your make up off???  I am grateful for that!

Now we are back to life (“back to reality”…the song was suddenly in my head). Back to our own beds and routines…and blogging. It is good coming back refreshed. The next couple of months don’t exactly slow down. ‘Strong’ Women’s conference at our church is in less than a month!

Yesterday I was looking through Psalms, looking at what I have highlighted.  For someone who tends to talk fast, surprisingly, I take the time to read at a slower pace. I stopped at Psalm 84. It has been one of my favorites since I was in high school. I had the words “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” taped on my wall. I blame the Passion CD that someone got me for my 16th birthday. I listened to it over and over again. I loved those CD’s. I swear I learned to harmonize listening to Christy Nockels on those CD’s. The words to the song Better is One Day….and the chapter/verse were captivating to me. They still are.

Just think over these words:

How lovely is your dwelling place O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and flesh cry out for the living God….for a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

There is a lot of awesomeness in between there. I love reading the passion in those words. To say “my soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord”. Wow! I’ll have another post on those words tomorrow.

Today, read and read slowly…take it all in. Better is one day….

My Cephas Alexander turns 5 today!!!

Today, 5 yrs ago, life was changed forever. Many remember this day as the day the levies broke in New Orleans. I remember that….however, one life altering, amazing thing happened in our lives. Cephas Alexander Ortiz graced this world with his presence at 4:38pm.

For those of you who don’t know….his name doesn’t sound how it is spelled. Yes, we thought of this in advance. It is pronounced kae-fa. The “s” is silent….he is not! Ha! You don’t get a much stronger name or personality than his. The statement “a baby changes everything” is the grandest of all understatements. He is a joy! He is busy! I thank God for his personality, that he never wakes up in a bad mood, loves music more than any kid I have ever met…he wins the award for super-traveling child….my list goes on and on. We often say he is a product of his environment….loving music and never really understanding that all of these teenagers aren’t his age. He is awesome….Ray and I are incredibly blessed.

So….today, my baby boy is 5! Pray for me, as now, he is convinced that turning 5 is the equivalent of turning 18!