No fear in love

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." 1 John 4:18

This morning I came to understand a little more of what this verse is teaching (actually all of verses 7-21). I have been reading Spiritual Depression by D Martyn Lloyd Jones. It has been so good. I just finished reading the chapter on fear of the future, something that I regularly struggle with and seem to be so easily tempted in. The following quote was so helpful for me. After reading it, I pulled out my Bible and read 1 John 4 and felt I had such a better understanding of this chapter and was so much more equipped to engage the Spirit's help in this area. I'm grateful!

"For what after all, is the main ccause of this spirit of fear? The answer is 'self' - self-love, self-concern, self-protection. Had you realized that the essencce of this trouble is that these fearful people are really too absorbed in self - how can I do this, what if I fail? 'I' - they are constantly turning in upon themselves, looking at themselves and concerned about themselves. And it is just here that the spirit of love comes in, for there is only one way to get rid of yourself. There is only one cure for self....

There is only one way to get rid of self, and that is that you should become so absorbed in someone or something else that you have no time to think about yourself. Thank God, the Spirit of God makes that possible. He is not only 'the spirit of power', but He is also 'the spirit of love'. What does it mean? It means love to God, love to the great God who made us, love to the great God who has made a way of redemption for us miserable creatures - for us who deserve nothing but hell. He has 'loved us with an everlasting love'. Think of that, says Paul to Timothy, and as you become absorbed in love of God you will forget all about yourself. 'The spirit of love!' It will deliver you from self-interest, self-concern... It gets rid of self at all points. So talk to yourself about this eternal, amazing love of God- the God who ever looked upon us in spite of sin and planned the way of redemption and spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all."

This is so good. Just a little more...

"What then? Go on to think of the love of the Son in it's breadth, its length, its depth, its height; go on to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. Think of Him who came from the Courts of Heaven and laid aside the insignia of His eternal glory and was born as a babe, worked as a carpenter and endured contradiction of sinners against Himself...There He is on the Cross. What is He doing there? There He died for us, there you and I might be forgiven and reconciled to God. Think about His love, and as you come to know something about it, you will forget yourself.

And then, love for the brethren. Think of other people, their needs, their concerns. Shall I go on? Timothy seems to have been saying to himself, 'I might be put to death'. Paul says: 'Think of other people, look at those people perishing in their sins. Forget yourself"."

I realized afresh this morning how self-focused I really am and how my pride keeps me from realizing this. It's because I have too low a view of my Savior and what He has done for me. The cure? Once again, and always, it's the Cross - the gospel that preaches the truth of my wickedness and the hope of eternal life. The Cross frees me from myself and enables me to love my Savior more and those around me. May this be my ambition! And as a result, may this love cast out my fear.


Wheaton park

What a weekend for being outside! The weather could not have been more ideal. I know we need the rain badly, but until we get it, we are enjoying the sunshine.

It was a low key weekend around our house, which was very nice. We really did not have any plans, so we decided to venture out on a family outing. I went online to check out what parks we have not been to yet. I learned that Wheaton park has a minature train ride and a carousel.

We packed up lunch and left after Selah's nap. We ate under some big trees with lots of shade. The grass has been so brown around our house, but it was nice to see and sit in some green patches under the trees (I actually took a picture of it). What a great place! Mckenna absolutely LOVED the train ride and went on the carousel 3 times....and even then got off asking, "may I go again?" The train ride and the carousel were only $1.50 per person, which we thought was pretty reasonable.

Another exciting event - Selah took her first steps! We put on the grass and she took a number of steps back and forth between Dave and I.

Below are some of the pictures of our train ride and Mckenna on the carousel. Highly recommend this park for a family outing! The activities are cheap and they have a huge playground as well. However, our girlies were too tired and falling apart by the time we got there, so we didn't stay too long to explore it. But it looked like lots of fun!


Provoking perspective

This is a great quote that I read this morning in John Stott's book on Ephesians. He was commenting on Paul's example:

"At this point it may be wise to pause a moment and consider how much all of us need to develop Paul's broad perspective. Let me remind you that he was prisoner in Rome. Not indeed in a cell or dungeon, but still under house arrest and handcuffed to a Roman soldier. Yet, though his wrist was chained and his body was confined, his heart and mind inhabited eternity. He peered back 'before the foundation of the world' (ch. 1:4) and on to 'the fullness of time' (1:10), and grasped hold of what 'we have' now (1:7) and ought to 'be' now (1:4) in light of those two eternities. As for us, how blinkered is our vision in comparison with his, how small is our mind, how narrow are our horizons! Easily and naturally we slip into a preoccupation with our own petty little affairs. But we need to see time in the light of eternity, and our present privileges and obligations in the light of our past election and future perfection. Then, if we shared the apostle's perspective, we would also share his praise. For doctrine leads to doxology as well as to duty. Life would become worship, and we would bless God constantly for having blessed us so richly in Christ."



There's nothing like cold yummy popsicles on hot days like these!

too cute!

Picture of their personalities - I love the expressions!

More please, Nani!

funny face

all lined up in a row.


Grace for my weak heart

Encouraged by Spurgeon this morning. Yesterday was one of those days in which I felt very weak, and it seemed with the smallest temptation my sin was exposed. Spurgeon's description below seems to have described me well. I was encouraged by grace this morning.

"A bruised reed shall He not break, and a smoking flax shall he not quench."

"Some of God's children are made strong to do mighty works for Him; God has His Samsons here and there who can pull up Gaza's gates, and carry them to the top of the hill; He has a few mighties who are lion-like men, but the majority of His people are a timid, trembling race. There are like starlings, frightened at every passerby; a little fearful flock. If temptation comes, they are taken like birds in a snare; if trial threatens, they are ready to faint; their frail skiff is tossed up and down by every wave, they are drifted along like a sea bird on the crest of the billows - weak things, without strength, without wisdom, without foresight. Yet, weak as they are, and because of they are so weak, they have this promise made specially for them. Herein is grace and graciousness! Herein is love and loving-kindness! How it opens to us the compassion of Jesus - so gentle, tender, considerate! We need never shrink back from His touch. We need never fear a harsh word from Him; though He might well chide us for our weakness, He rebuketh not. Bruised reeds shall have no blows from Him, and the smoking flax no damping frowns."


Relief for the straight hair enthusiast

I just came across a pretty good deal recently that I thought I would pass along to anyone who likes to blow dry their hair, but would love for it not to take so long (especially in these hot summer days). Last week I was at Marshalls to purchase a blanket for our pull out sofa. As I was in the check out line my eye caught a display of blow dryers off to the side. My faithful Conair "cheapo" one has been sounding quite rattley lately, and I have been thinking it might be dieing a slow death on me. Anyway, I walked over to the display to find that they were professional Rusk ceramic dryers. I knew there were ceramic straightening irons, but had no idea they even made ceramic dryers! It was pretty discounted to $32, which even that sounded pricey, but it claimed to do the job fast and with much less damage to the hair....just what I needed to hear! I was sold! I didn't have my cell phone to call Dave and ask him about it, so I purchased it with the "I can always return it" mentality. Dave said it sounded great when I got home and the next day I put it to the test. Yes, it was faster (I have to admit I was surprised!) and it was not as hot on my hair. Doesn't make sense to me, I know, but I was left impressed.

I didn't realize what a great deal this was until I went on the internet and couldn't find this blow dryer for less than $180!!!! Yep! So, I thought I would pass on the info. for anyone needing a dryer or just trying to save a few precious minutes in your day.


Green bean and tomato salad

I made this side dish for our dinner last Friday night. I forgot how much I love it! My mom first introduced it to the family a number of years ago. There really isn't an "official" recipe, just a few key ingredients. And, oh, you must love garlic to enjoy this one! Best part about it is that it's super easy to make. It can be served warm or cold.

String beans
grape or cherrry tomatoes
few garlic cloves, crushed (add how ever many you like)
olive oil and balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
anything else you want to throw (last Friday I cut up some crisp cucumbers and threw them in)

Cook the string beans until just done. Don't overcook, it's best that they are a little crisp. Add tomatoes, crushed garlic, olive oil and vinegar, salt, pepper and anything else. Toss and....voila, you're done!


Art with Aunt Kim

On Saturday afternoon, the house quieted down for a few hours. The boys went home to take naps, Dave and Charlie went to do some house projects on our rental house we're selling, and Selah was down for a nap. I let Mckenna stay up a little longer to play with Aunt Kim. Mckenna started by painting a few pictures (one of her favorite things to do, as of late) Then they spent a good bit of time cutting and pasting with one of her activity books.

Mckenna's masterpiece

Helping hands

"I can do it all by myself!"

I love those still chubby little fingers


Charlie and Kim

This past weekend, some relatives came to stay with us, Charlie and Kim Wulfken. Kim is my dad's cousin. They drove almost 9 hours, from Warrensburg, NY to stay for only a day and a half. It's a hard time of year for Kim to take off work. Summer is her busiest season.

They arrived on Friday evening and we had dinner with them and and then the Ploons came over for dessert. Saturday, we ate NY bagels for breakfast and just spend the day hanging out, going to the park, and catching up. In the evening, my mom and grandmother came over for a cookout. It was a full and wonderful day. The next morning they had to head back home. Quick trip, but it was great to see them and catch up. Thanks for coming guys!


Strength for my inner being

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." Eph. 3:14-17a

I was so encouraged as I meditated on this today. Through God's riches (meaning he has an abundance of it), He can strengthen my inner being for this inner being, right where I need strength. Yes, physical strength, emotional strength...they are all good, but what I really need is strength for my inner being. And the result: Christ will dwell in my heart! Strength to fix my eyes on Jesus today, and to be aware of what He has accomplished for me...this is what I need and desire. And even if I am feeling weak in all other areas, my soul will be joyful and all other areas will be infused with an eternal perspective.

May God grant us all strength in our inner being so that Chrisy may dwell in our hearts through faith!


Blackberries and a Cinderella dress

Here is the result of Mckenna eating blackberries in her Cinderella dress! She had purple splotches all the way down her dress, her hands were purple, and so was her face. It definitely was not as bad as I've seen her, but I took the opportunity to snap some shots! (BTW, if you are at Black Hills Park, bring a container and go along the tree line next to the big playground...loaded with blackberries)


What really matters

The quote I posted recently has been continuing to impact my thoughts as of late. Just this morning in my devotions, the Lord has been building on it and reminding me of truths I know are true, but that I often do not live in the good of. I am currently studying the book of Ephesians in my devotions (highly recommend this commentary) and this morning was reading about Paul's emphasis on God's peace through grace being worked out in our lives and the importance of the church and relationships. How easily I forget that relationships, people, are what are most important in this life. My default and too often my life speaks that "things" are. All to often my mind is filled with all the "things" I need to do, the "things" I need to know, the "things" (emails) I need to respond to, the "things" I need to buy...and the list could go on and on. If I spend a morning away from the home, to fellowship with a friend and let my girlies play with other kids, I can be discouraged as I come home and see what "didn't get done" that morning and my list of "things to do" piling up. What I forget is what "did get done:" I spent my morning investing in a person's life, having them invest in mine and serving my children. How I desire to be a person who is less selfishly focused and instead looking to others (my husband, children, friends, people we're reaching out to, and the church) and consumed with how I can serve them, pray for them, think of them, and love them. It's only by the gospel and God's work of peace through grace in my life that can accomplish this. I'm so grateful for these reminders to help me see afresh... what really matters!



I recently read an article by Mary K. Mohler, called Motherhoood Matters. Very encouraging and provoking. Here is a quote...

"Right now in your home, there may be dishes piling up, pesky socks that don't match, a potty training set back, lunches to pack, and a long list of things to do. We start thinking that our job as mothers is little more than one menial job after another. Don't forget that today has also been full of monumental opportunities. Did you take advantage of them?...

Motherhood matters because it's God's idea; because he wants us to train the leaders of tomorrow; and because he has lots to teach us as moms as we allow him to teach our children with excellence. When you hit the pillow tonight, take great joy in knowing that you can work on matching those socks eventually and finishing the project you started months ago. More importantly, God allowed you to impact your children today as only you can, and tomorrow is another fresh opportunity to be an even better mom to the glory of God alone. "


Zach and Anna

This past Friday we again went to Black Hills park to meet up with and see my Aunt Linda and Uncle Frank Marotto, who live in New Jersey. Aunt Linda is my mom's cousin. They are such a great couple and have a great story of how they linked up with Scott and Linda Jones (members of our church). For a number of years Aunt Linda and Uncle Frank were taking in foster children and keeping these children until homes were found for them. About 6 or so years ago, they took in a little boy, named Zach. They got him as a baby and cared for him for a number of years. They were praying for a good family to adopt him. At the time my mom was in the Jones' cg and knew of their desire to adopt, and particularly had a burden for Ethiopian children. Just happened that Zach is part Ethiopian.

After some time, the Marottos also took in and cared for Zachy's half sister, Anna. Hats off to them, who cared for both children, despite some physical difficulties on my Aunt Linda's part. To make a long story short, after MUCH difficulty with the state and many prayers, the Jones' finally just recently adopted little Zach. And now they have Anna as well and are waiting for the paper work to finally adopt her as well.

Anyway, the Marottos come down from time to time to see the children and stay for a visit. So, on Friday night the Ploons, my mom, grandmother, Jones', Marottos and we met up and had dinner together at Black Hills. It was a beautiful night evening!

Larsen chowing down!

This one came out a little blurry, but I love it too much not to post!

Keenan and Mckenna singing "Marching Soldiers."

My little explorer

...and last but not least, a few ones of little Anna


Update on Dave

As many of you know, Dave had surgery this past Monday. He finally decided to have the procedure done to cure his hypohydrosis, or as many of you know it as, his "clam." We drove down at 5am in Monday morning to GW hospital in DC. By 7:30am, Dave was in surgery. The doctor went in under each arm, one at a time, and collapsed the lung. Then he was able to get to the nerve that controlled it and snip it away! By around 9:30am, he was all done and Dr. Trachiotis came out to tell me that it was a success. He was in a lot of pain and couldn't really talk to me when I first saw him. By around 2pm they had gotten his pain under control and they transfered him to his room, where he stayed for the night. Because they had to collapse his lungs, he had a tube coming out of each side to drain any excess fluid. This is what caused a majority of his pain. The tubes extended into his chest about a foot - ouch! By the next morning, he was able to get them out and by 3pm, we were on our way home. For most of today, Dave has slept and rested. He is still in a bit of pain, but he is on hard core pain killers, so that definitely helps!

Thanks to all of you who have prayed and cared for us. Mom, thanks for taking the girls overnight on Sunday and then taking a day off of work so you could care for them on Monday...this allowed me to be with Dave all day. Dori and Isaac, thanks for caring for Mckenna on Tuesday. And, Kelly, with all you had going on, thanks for caring for Selah, who was quite a wreck yesterday. And on top of that, you provided us with dinner that night and somehow managed to make Dave his favorite dessert, cherry cobbler. You're the best!


Sunday at Black Hills

This past Sunday was the most perfect day! Not too hot and not too humid. Dave had the great idea of going for a picnic and inviting Isaac and Constance to come along, as it was Isaac's 32nd birthday. Happy Birthday, Isaac! We are so grateful for you!

"There it is, papa!" (Frisbee caught in the tree).

We found some wild blackberry bushes. Constance is feeding Isaac.


Happy 4th of July!

Another eventful week at the Castro home. This past weekend was very relaxing as Dave spent much time playing with the girls. He knew he was having surgery on Monday and would be out of commission for awhile (I'll share more on that later). On Saturday evening we went out for a walk to the park. Mckenna had a blast playing with her American flag. We found an apple tree along the way and Selah gobbled down two of them! Sunday was Isaac's (Dave's brother) birthday and we went with him and Constance (his daughter) to Black Hills Park for a picnic. I'll post some pictures from that soon.


  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP