Sunday, July 31, 2011

Let It Rain

Just want to encourage you today. You may be going through a trial in your life. It could be small or it may be a major crisis. No matter what it is; Marriage problems, children, family, your job, or financial. I wanted to share a word God spoke to me today to encourage you. It was fitting, and God has perfect timing. I needed to hear it to encourage my wife and I.

The Lord says, “Let it rain upon the mountain. Let the river flow from the mountain of pain, of worry, of frustration, of fear. For God will do a good work in all these. For God will get the glory. For you shall shine on the hilltop. It will not be in vain. He has great plans, but you must grow through the struggle, you will come out the fire as a sword that is forged by fire. To battle for what belongs to Him.”

Mark Soto

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pool Party!

Summer Pool Party at Mark and Raquel's!

Too much fun!

Jeff and Tony

Kevin and Gana and a whole bunch of kids!

Mark and Jordan

Jordan, Kevin and Gana

The Daddies watched the kids in the pool and the Mommies relaxed in the shade!
Raquel, Teresa, Arlin, Minoska, Kristina, and Micha

Herman "supervising"


Intense conversation?

 After the sun set, Mark cranked up the Latin music and everyone just started dancing and/or kissing.

That's how we do it at Eden Rock!

Summer fun! 

Please join us at our next family adventure or date night!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Release Your Spouse

Have you released your spouse to God? You hear about releasing our problems, burdens, fears, and our children to God. To truly hand them over to Him. Well I ask, have you released your spouse to Him? Or are you still trying to be the Holy Spirit in their life? If I can be real, I will say we all have some habits that will irritate each other. We take each other in the hand of marriage for better or for worse. The in love experience will over look these issues until the in love experience fades away. This is when we need our Fathers love. But all to often we start to focus on our spouse’s issues and tend to forget our own. Romans 2:1- “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” So we tend to want to fix our spouses issues or shortcomings. We begin to get frustrated, angry, resentful, or feel unloved or disrespected when these changes don’t happen. Even after we have expressed our feelings with our spouse, or bought them the latest Christian book or video. Maybe even drag our spouse to next conference hoping this will be it. Expectations in our spouse will likely lead to disappointment.

But when we release our spouse to God. Start to focus on our own issues, pray for our spouse and allow God to be God in their life; He does amazing things in our marriages and families. It is not easy at times, because we want the quick fix. So we feel if we don’t have them read the latest marriage article, or the need to point out what they need to change it might not ever happen. But we live on God’s timing, not ours. I’m not saying not to try and be proactive in marriage. You do need to share and communicate with each other. But there is a way to communicate with each other how you feel. That is a whole topic in its self. Learn to allow God to work in our spouse. Learn to have that faith that can move mountains. Yes, it is easier said than done, but when we pray for our spouse and allow God to work on His time, you will see the changes in your spouse. When God reveals the areas in our life that we need to change, it will be life changing. But when we try to point out those areas that we feel our spouse needs to change, it becomes nagging. Over time nagging falls on deaf ears. So release your spouse to God. Allow Him to work in your marriage. Have faith that He can do the impossible. Because He can.

Mark Soto

From An Older Sexually Confident Wife!

Today when I read Shannon Ethridge's Hot Tip, I immediately thought, "I have to share this on the Eden Blog!"  I mean, if Eden isn't about a lifetime of love and intimacy, I don't know what is!  Read this, be inspired and spice things up--all the days of your life!

Helen writes:

Shannon, you spoke at our church this past year. I was one of the “older” gals in the crowd. My husband and I have been married almost 50 years, and we’re probably considered the poster children for the “happily married couple.” I wanted to share what happened to me at the retreat…

I prayed that Friday morning that the Lord would use me and that I would be open to anything He wanted to teach me, then I went off to the retreat.

And then you showed up…

If anyone had asked me, I would have said that my husband and I have a great sex life and have from the beginning of our marriage. I had orgasms easily from the first day of our marriage. We are fortunate in that we were both virgins and believers when we got married…

I thought our sex life was “normal” and better than a lot. Yes, my husband seemed to want it all the time and yes, I was worn out during the child-rearing season so we did have plenty of those “not tonight” discussions during those years. But I was always happy to “pay” him for help around the house with a “quickie” every so often.


I keep asking myself that question. Something major – MAJOR happened. My menopause lasted many years, and I had several health issues and enough depression to warrant medication. Unfortunately a side effect of the medication was that I could no longer have an orgasm. Having never had that problem before, I begged God for the feeling to come back, to the point of tears, but eventually told God that I would be content with whatever I currently had or did not have. I stopped the anti-depressants after a few months, but the ability to climax never returned. My husband has also had some erectile dysfunction issues over the past decade, but we’ve operated under the premise that it’s always too soon to give up! This has resulted in greater intimacy. Even though all we had to offer each other sometimes was holding and kissing, we never gave up wanting all we could have with one another.


Over 20 years ago my husband approached me about doing a little more experimenting. By that he meant he wanted to have oral sex. I was dead set against it. It just seemed wrong to me. I tried to explain that intimacy to me was face-to-face, mouth-to-mouth, etc. We tried it a few times but I hated it and finally asked him not to bring it up again. He graciously complied. I mention all of this for two reasons: (1) a person’s mental attitude is everything, and (2) as I have thought about this over the past few days, I believe my husband’s selflessness and not-insisting attitude communicated that he loved and respected me, and that however I felt about something was all right. He wanted to please me more than he wanted to please himself and have sex the way he wanted it. I believe his wonderful attitude contributed to the freedom that I experienced after your retreat…

SOMEHOW, BY GOD’S GRACE AND THE ANOINTING ON WHAT YOU SAY AND HOW YOU SAY IT, God did something amazing. I’m not sure what He did or if I even know which time you spoke or if it was an accumulation of what you said plus your book. But it was like I had a curtain over my mind and suddenly God pulled the curtain back and set me free to FULLY enjoy myself and, though I had heard and believed the saying that “nothing is wrong between you and your mate if it is all right with both of you,” somehow, I now had a new GREEN LIGHT that God made these parts of our bodies for our enjoyment. More to the point, it was alright for me to enjoy it ALL! In fact, God delights in me enjoying myself. After listening to you talk, I wanted to buy your book thinking it might help. And I even felt free to buy the black copy of The Sexually Confident Wife – the one with sketches!

My husband said I was different when I walked in the door after the retreat.

I am FREE and I can’t explain it except that God has done something MARVELOUS! I came home and started reading the book out loud to my husband. I got online and ordered some “special aids” from the Christian website you recommended []. Thank you for that. WOW! They have really helped. We are having a summer of romance, for sure! Except for when he’s out of town, we have only missed one day of sex since the retreat! We’ve even done it 3 times in one day! I have even begun having orgasms again for the first time in 20 years, and I have high hopes for many more to come! (pardon the pun!)

I felt I wanted to write to you, Shannon, because I want women to know that it is never too late to more fully enjoy one’s mate! (even if she thinks she’s already enjoying him!) I’m also telling you these very private things about us because the devil really loves to lie to people my age that “some things are over” and I would like for older women to be encouraged otherwise.

I told my husband the other day that often I feel like I am this special child God loves. I was walking along minding my own business, showed up at the retreat expecting to be a blessing and to be blessed, but not even knowing the GREAT GIFT He was about to give me, or that I was even in need of anything, and HOW MUCH MORE FUN was ahead of me/us!! I love God. He is amazing and loves us SOOOOO much. I have been surprised by JOY and I can’t thank my Heavenly Father enough.

I can’t thank you enough either, Shannon. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We believe you have a special anointing to talk about sexuality to all ages. God bless you for doing what He has gifted you to do. We are also reading Every Young Woman’s Battle because we’re sending copies to our granddaughters. I can’t wait to discuss the book with them when we’re together!



Isn't that great?!  Please subscribe to Shannon's weekly hot-tip for Sexually Confident Wives!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Meeting Dr. James Dobson

Gana, Mark, Dr. Dobson and Jordan
Lake Avenue Church

What a special evening!  Dr. Dobson spoke about Bringing Up Girls.  As all three men above have daughters it was a really powerful meeting!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Motherhood Is A Calling

The article below blessed my socks off and challenged me at the same time!  One of my favorite lines is: Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.



Image from

Reposted from Desiring God Blog.

A few years ago, when I just had four children and when the oldest was still three, I loaded them all up to go on a walk. After the final sippy cup had found a place and we were ready to go, my two-year-old turned to me and said, “Wow! You have your hands full!”

She could have just as well said, “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “Are they all yours?!”

Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.

A Rock-Bottom Job?

The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.

Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.

If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?

It's Not a Hobby

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

Run to the Cross

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.

Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.

The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.

The Question Is How

The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?

It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.

Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.

Hands Full of Good Things

When my little girl told me, “Your hands are full!” I was so thankful that she already knew what my answer would be. It was the same one that I always gave: “Yes they are—full of good things!”

Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.

Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.

Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Cost of Freedom

2 Chronicles 20:15- “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Dig Deeper:

2 Chronicles 20:1-30

A wise person once said, “Freedom is never free.”

Nathan Hale was a school teacher when the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775. After hearing about the siege of Boston in a letter from a friend, Hale joined his five brothers in the fight for independence.

Hale fought under General George Washington in New York as British General William Howe began a military buildup on Long Island. When Washington asked for a volunteer to go on a spy mission behind enemy lines, Hale stepped forward. For weeks he gathered information on the position of British troops, but he was captured while returning to the American side. Because of the incriminating papers Hale possessed, the British knew ha was a spy. Howe ordered the 20 year old Hale to be hanged the following day without trial.

Patriot Nathan Hale was hanged on September 22, 1776. Before he gave his life for his country, he made a short speech, ending with these famous and inspiring words: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

As John Quincy Adams said, “You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” We must do all we can to protect the freedoms that generations past have entrusted to us.

Richard G. Lee In God We Still Trust

And even today our freedom in Christ came at a price.

1 Corinthians 6:20-“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”