We rented a very small home to begin with, but it was brand new. I liked it very much, but even though he was the one who picked it out, the size was not something my husband could deal with. About six months after we moved, he was approached by an associate who was in a similar position...he was moving and knew the market was bad. His home was much larger and had a huge fenced backyard. He was also on a dead end street. He would rent it to us for exactly what we were currently paying. This is how we made our first move right before Christmas, move number 8 in the line of moves. In the end, it was the most fabulous move ever and it really was a God thing. We had just joined and AWESOME Church and we were moving into a neighborhood litterally filled with young couples from our Church that had children near our son's age. We all came out every night when it was nice and visited and played. It was like a street party ever night! We were a family, our kids loved each other, and those people helped us through some of the most difficult times in our life.
Our next door neighbors had a son one year younger than ours, and one a year older. They were together all the time. That couple announced they were pregnant in January, and we found out in April we were expecting as well... we were about 10 weeks apart, and it was so much fun being pregnant together. We went through hand-me down baby clothes together, discussed names, and how excited we were that we would be raising our baby girls together. I knew we wouldn't be, but I allowed myself to dream anyway. It was fun.
Then we had Ashton, and everything was perfect. Then we got the call and went through all the Cystic Fibrosis testing and diagnosis. Our dear friends from Cherokee Street and church family from WBC were sent to us from God for such a time as that. I know without a doubt that we were sent to that town, that Church, and that street specifically for that time in our lives. Thank you God and I love you, amen!
Then the time came for the sales tax that funded my husband's job to be voted on again. To make a long story short, it was an ugly, personal campaign and the tax failed. Just a few weeks earlier he had been contacted by another town, one much closer to our families, about coming to work for them. He told them he might be interested if the tax failed, but that he could not discuss it until it knew how that turned out. The day after the election, he received a call and he went to interview. They had been watching and knew the outcome of the election. One week exactly after the tax failed, we had a new job offer. Praise Jesus, we were headed home! Our families were beyond excited, a though we were going to miss our Church family and friends dearly, we knew this was a good move.
During this time we were praying as we always had that our next move would be our last, and although we were excited, we knew this was still not the type of stable job we needed to stay put. We knew this was not the last move, but we prayed that it could maybe be the next to last. Also, during this time, it had been over 2 years since we put up our last house for sale, and after two sets of renters, it was empty and still ours... ouch.
And all that is how we came to move #9, where we are currently, for a few more weeks anyway...
I recently ordered this 6 piece bath towel set in mocha. The towels are not all that fluffy, but they are plenty absorbent, a very pretty color, and did not fade in the wash or leave fuzz on the rest of the laundry. I am very happy with them.
There will be more to come on CSN Stores, so stay tuned!
The, my husband received a phone call. A town in Northeast Arkansas was looking for an economic develper, and they wanted to interview him. His was highly recommended. He turned them down. It was too far to commute, and we did not want to move again, despite the growing negative situation at my job. However, a while later they called again. We felt lead to at least see what they had to say, so he interviewed. We had our "list" of what an offer would have to be before we would consider moving again. How much pay, relocation assistance (our previous moves had done some financial damage), and more. They came through with everything we had on our list and much, much more. After careful prayer and consideration, we decided to go. The only issue was our house. We immediately put it up for sale and offered it for rent. It was a town that two colleges after all... it had to at least stay rented, right? That was how move number 6 came about...
First, let me restate that my family and I are moving to Knoxville, TN. This is at least 9 hours away from everything we have ever known. My husband and I grew up in the same, small South Arkansas town. When I say small, I mean no McDonalds, no Walmart, and no Dollar General until after I moved. There is a liquor store for every Church, and at least 100 of each, lol! I was 15 when we had our first "date," in which he picked me up at the ball field where my parents were watching my brother play little league. He met my parents, they discussed how they knew his parents, and we were off to my house, 8 miles outside of the this small town in the middle of the woods,literally, to watch a movie. He was 17. It was not love at first sight. He told his parents that night he would not be doing that again. I talked too much. He was right, I do:)
He did do that again, however, and we married four years later, in May after my freshman year of college. He was going to start his senior year after the summer. Those four years were dramatic to say the least. With teenagers, especially girls, there is always drama, right? A year in high school together, two years with him in college and me in high school, and then a semester of us both being at college before we got engaged. We struggle with the long distance issue, with the "are we too young to really be in love issue," and many more. However, if there is one thing I know in this life other than God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross to save our sins, and that because of that I am going to heaven, it is that God created my husband and I for each other. I have known that for a very, very long time. He created the circumstances of our lives to draw us together, and I am eternally thankful for that.
The point of these posts it to record what God has done in our lives to this point. Sometimes it may seem common, but almost all of it is supernatural, and I want the world to know. I'll start with my 109 followers. Stay tuned...
I do not know why this was the case. Maybe the fact that we always cherish more what we have to work for. Maybe to help detour other nations from trying to take over, seeing as they may be less likely to attack a nation that has defeated so many already. But I do know this. We have promises from God today, just as they did then. These promises will not be just handed to us. We may have to fight battles to get to them as well. (Keep in mind I am not talking about salvation. That is ours, a gift to be accepted only and never taken away. We do not and cannot earn that, no matter what we do, so He gives it as a gift, we only have to accept it.) Promises, based on what we see with Israel, may be different. We might have to suffer through illness, poverty, sadness, or any number of things before we can fully enjoy whatever the Lord had promised. However, as long as we keep our eyes on Him, obey Him, and give Him the glory, we can be assured we WILL win, even if winning doesn't look like exactly what we thought it might.
I am one of those. You know, the ones that get the weird looks in Church because they are waving their hands, or jumping around, or whatever, during worship? Really I'm not, but I wish I was. I am not like that in Church. I mean, I have been known to raise my hands, or lift my head and close my eyes. Things that would have created quite a stir in my little 40 member congregation in my home church where I grew up. Things I never knew were OKAY, let alone desired by God in the right context. When I did see it at other Churches, boy was it WEIRD! (Please know I am talking about God prompted worship, not putting on a show for the benefit of others or yourself.) But that is not the point of today's post. Public worship is for another time. I love public worship, but today, I want to talk about private worship, between you and God, and what your family sees of it.
In my alone times with God, I have been know to lay face down on the floor and sing, weep, whatever. I have been know to dance, raise my hands, sing, or weep, or both! I have cried out, and I have simply sat and listened. When it is just me and my Father, I praise Him however He leads me in the moment. I truly believe this is how it should be. He speaks to me during these times. Sometimes I speak back audibly, sometimes in my mind, and sometimes not at all. Although, since it is impossible to not have a single thought, and He hears all thoughts, I suppose I am always speaking back really.
But say you hear the pitter patter of little feet coming down the hall, or hear the door to the bathroom signaling your spouse is awake. How do you react? Typically, in the past, I have jumped up. I'll grab my Bible and devotional book, pen, and notebook, and assume "the position" in the recliner. There, I am a dignified lady doing a dignified quiet time. Now, don't get me wrong. There is NOTHING wrong with sitting in the recliner for quiet time. I do not spend every minute of every quiet time dancing or rolling on the floor. There is a time and place for each, which should be determined by God at His prompting, not man.
Why do I jump up? I've been thinking about his lately. I've noticed in my son's bedtime prayers he is using some of the same phrasing he hears me use when we pray on the way to school. Things like "protect our minds from the evil one" and "protect us from all illness and injury." My five year old did not come up with that on his own, and he may not even understand what he is praying. But what struck me is that his early relationship with the Lord is being modeled after my own. Hmmmm.... so what kind of relationship do I pray for him to have with the Lord? It took me a LONG time to get to the point where I was comfortable with God led worship. Where I could get over my pride and lay face down before my God and not feel silly, but connected. I want my children to come to that place sooner. I am not sure you can teach it, but a good start might be not jumping up. Let them see you, let them giggle and ask questions. Then tell them. Tell them you were on your face because you were bowing at God's throne. Tell them you were dancing because you were soooooooo excited about God. Tell them you were crying because you broke God's heart, and you were telling Him how sorry you were. Even if they do not understand it, it will begin to build a foundation. A foundation for their own budding relationship with the Lord, our God and Savior. Hopefully, when they start to hear His promptings in worship, they will be more quick to obey and act, and not be ashamed! :)
I will not lie. I do NOT excercise. I do not get up early and do a DVD. I don't walk on our treadmill, but my husband does:) I do not leave the house early and walk. Occassionally I take my kids for a walk around the neighborhood, but not consistently.
Several years ago I read the verse above and was very, very convicted about my lack of excercise. Until I really thought about what it says. "Her arms are strong FOR HER TASKS." Our phenomenal lady was in shape, but it doesn't appear that she spent significant time working on this. Of course, we aren't told one way or the other, so she very well may have, but in light of what we are told, it doesn't look like it. She was simply strong because of the work she did everyday. Please, please do not think that I am say to not excercise. If you have the time to do that, then by all means, enjoy. I would love too, and in another season of life I very well may. It is not for this season, however.
So what does this look like in our daily lives? Consider the following daily choices that could add up to big changes over time.
- Park as far away as reasonable and possible. (Crazy, I know, but I promise it works!) Choose the space that is the fartherist away at work, the market, wherever. If you have to carry a toddler, you are burning even more calories!
- Take the stairs! Skip the elevator, unless it's a hundred flights or something. If it is too far, consider taking the stairs to another floor and getting on the elevator there.
- Work one handed whenever you can. Carry a small child in the other and you will burn extra calories.
- Get active. If your are playing with your kids, play chase, wrestle, whatever.
- Remember that vaccuming, dusting, and other household duties burn calories!
- Make multiple trips. Sure, it is more effecient to print everything at once and go get it all at once, but if you have the time, and you share a printer that is away from your desk, print things in batches and make more trips. This works for putting away laundry, groceries, etc. as well! Every little bit counts:)
Blessings and have a great weekend!
The two main issues I have seen come up with the "me time" discussions are time and money. So, here is tip that can help take advantage of what precious little time you have for yourself with very little or as much money as you want to put into it. It is called a "me time box." It can be a shoe box, a tote, whatever. It might include your current devo book and Bible, or an extra Bible if your regular one is too large. It might have a favorite magazine that can be changed out as needed, or a novel your are currently working on. I haven't made mine yet, but I think I will soon, and here is what I have planned for it:
1. A small copy of the Bible
2. A devotional book with a selection of short devotionals
2. Whatever magazine I currently have that I haven't finished
3. A small bag of almond M&Ms
5. A cute, small note book
6. A fun ink pen
7. A yummy scented hand lotion
8. A trial size pack of flavored coffee
9. A small timer
Do you see the beauty of this? I think I will use a bag I got at a recent health fair until I want to let go of the money to spend on something new... you could keep it in your car in case you have a few minutes waiting to pick up kiddos or something. A lot of the stuff I included I get often from signing up for freebies online. For example, I recently signed up for a zebra ink pen and some intensive hand lotion that should be arriving soon. Those are NO COST items that I do not have to feel guilty about. The M&Ms might be $1. The coffee is $1.50, $.75 on sale... it will make 2-4 cup pots, so I will get a couple of uses out of 1 pack. I have a couple of magazine subscriptions using Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks, so that is free also:) Now for the time issue.. what good is this if you don't get time to use it. That is the best part. This set up allows you to make the most of short spurts of "dead time" so you can pamper yourself, in small ways, during these rare moments. Say I pull up to work after lunch with 5 minutes before I have to be back at my desk. Out comes my magazine and a handful of M&Ms:) Or, say I am especially drained and just HAVE to have a minute to myself. After I put the kids to bed, I brew a cup of my coffee while I put some clothes in the washer, I then proceed to pour my coffee, ignoring the clothes that need to be folded, take out my Bible, notebook, pen, and another handful of M&Ms and set my timer for 10 minutes (or however long fits for you). I pray, journal, study, meditate, and enjoy my coffee until the timer goes off and then I go fold the clothes:)
There, you have a practical way to make the most of whatever "you" time you might be able to scratch up, that can be virtually guilt free. I know, I know, it's not much, but hey, I will take what I can get! Be creative with what you might put in your box/ bag... leave a comment and let us know.... I think it would be so fun to see what we all might use to make the most of our "me" time and get some ideas from each other.
One last thing, let's say a prayer over our boxes as we prepare them. Let's pray that God helps us to recognize the moments He might give us to use it, and that he will bless those moments so that we come out of them being better mother, wives, emplyees, and more than any of that, better daughters of Christ. Let's pray that we come out of those moments knowing Him better and loving Him more.
Normally I would read something about "me" time, or spending money on yourself, or something similar and just dismiss it as insane and impractical. I mean, honestly, how do you buy yourself anything, even a facial moisturizer, when you child could have a new outfit with that, or might need new shoes next month, or that $10 or whatever could go in savings for a family vacation, or even an emergency fund. How do you take a bubble bath when there is laundry that needs to be done, dishes in the sink, and food on the floor, and you JUST got both kids down for the night. How do I, in good conscience, sit here and type this post while all of that needs to be done? Even if it is late, how do you go to sleep then knowing all of that needs to be done. Now, granted, I work outside of the home, and that is a different issue all together, not for this post. Right, wrong, or indifferent, that is the situation I am in and I can't believe I am the only one. Just because I work doesn't mean I have extra money. I work to pay the bills, and I know many of you do to. My children are little and demand a lot of attention, especially after a day at daycare. I know too many women who have way more, and much younger children than I do and do much better at housekeeping that I do to believe I am the only one who thinks "me" time is just plain crazy. You really can't do it all, and if something has to go, what mother isn't going to throw things for herself out the window first.
And don't even get me started on more sleep. The same books that tell you to take better care of yourself, get plenty of sleep, blah, blah, blah... tell you to get up early or stay up late for quiet time ( not knocking it, I totally agree), they point out verses about the Proverbs 31 Woman that say she got up early and stayed up late, and they reinforce that your home should be put together AND you should look good for your husband:) Ever try looking good on little sleep? Doesn't last long...
Here is the part about the post that I linked too (here), that got to me. The part where she says that how we treat ourselves is how our daughters will treat themselves, and how our sons will think women should treat themselves. Ouch! I want my daughter to take care of herself. I want my son to let his wife take care of herself. Hmmm... you see my dilemma and confusion? I know the part about daughters and mothers is true. My mother sacrificed and rarely spent a penny on anything that wasn't necessary for herself. Fast forward to now, and she is constantly telling me I HAVE to let go of some money and buy some good moisturizer for my face (which she does now but didn't when she had children at home.) She tells me I will be sorry if I don't... my argument? But mom, you didn't do it when you had small kids at home. You see, I know what that means. (Oh, and can you tell I have facial moisturizer issues? lol!)
So, what I am hoping for here is that someone out there in bloggy land will come across this and will have some practical advice for HOW to do this. In light of the post linked above dealing with looks and buying clothes, make-up, etc., as well as time and sleep. How are you supposed to both get the things done that must get done and make time for yourself? Honestly, how?
I do NOT want anyone to think I am saying these things shouldn't be done, they all should, I am just looking for someone that might have some advice on how.... and hoping and praying I'm not the ONLY one that doesn't get it!
I have taken to heart Proverbs 31:11 which says "Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” This is SO NOT the case at my house. My husband cannot possibly have full confidence in me as I am an absolute airhead that is clumsy to boot. He also lacks LOTS of value when it comes to having me as a wife, lol! However, this verse encourages me to keep trying. I make lists on top of lists and become more mindful of what I need to do when time allows, etc. I WANT to be this wife.
Here is where I messed up. How do you measure this? Well, I began measuring by my husband's actions and reactions. If he was displeased, I was convinced I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing. If he assumed I would forget something, I began to quietly tell myself that why shouldn't he? I have never done anything right before... ever been there? Am I the only one? When my husband is happy with me, all is good, when he isn't, I sink to the depths. Even to the point that even when he didn't mean it personally, I took it personally. How else am I supposed to take it? Here is the point I had gotten to...
“I have done my best but I just cannot do everything that needs to be in the house today. I'll put the dishes in the dishwasher so there isn't food left out to attract bugs. The baby needs some extra attention, and supper HAS to be cooked. I have honestly done my absolute best, so now it is time for bed, and I want to spend some time with my husband (an important part of being a good wife that cannot be ignored!). I will get the towels out of the dryer and put them on the couch to be folded tomorrow night, and start another load before bed.”
Fast forward to the next morning, and say that morning my husband gets frustrated that there are no towels in the cabinet, and he has to go get them off the couch. I am devastated. He is unhappy; I have not been the helpmate I was meant to be. I have failed God. Seriously, that was my logic. I might just cry or be silently upset, or I might start screaming about doing my best… which invokes first confusion, then anger on my poor husband’s part. I based my success in what God has for me to do on my husband's, a human, reaction. Therein lies the fallacy. We CANNOT base our Christian walk on human nature. My husband is a great, Godly man and I love him dearly, but he is human. Generally he is very understanding, helpful, and supportive, but he is human.
God showed me that in these situations, when they arise, I should asses whether I really and truly did the best I could, and if so, then I am good with God. He knows all I did, He knows what kept me from doing what wasn’t done, and He knows where my heart was during it all. If, however, I asses, bring the situation before God, and realize I did not do all I could do, like maybe I spent too much time online, or went to bed a little earlier than I needed to, then I should apologize to anyone who was put out because of it and do better next time. Move on... after all, mom's and wives are only human also....and we cannot do it all
Now, this is fairly new to us. She was just recently big enough to receive this kind of treatment. At first, it was kind of fun for her. But, can you imagine keeping an almost two year old occupied, while sitting still and beeing shaken like a polaroid picture for half and hour! No easy feat, I tell you. We do books, songs, movies, show, WHATEVER we can to make this a bearable, if not fun, time. She usually does okay for the first 10 minutes at the low speed, then with the next 10 she starts getting a little ancy, as it speeds up some, by the time the last 10 minutes comes around and we are at full speed, she is a very unhappy a camper a lot of times. We typically spend a good portion of that time in tears, sometimes with her all out screaming.
It is often a fight to even get her to put it on. She knows what is coming. What is the point of this? As I was fighting with her to put it on this morning, firm in my resolve knowing that though it broke my heart to see her go through it, it was necessary for her to live a healthy life. She doesn't understand that yet, she just knows she HATES it. Aren't we like that with God often times? We fight Him tooth and nail, get angry, and all out scream sometimes that we don't want to do or go through something. But He knows it is necessary for our spiritual and sometimes physical, mental, and emotional health. Then, in the middle of it, we still kick and scream. We want out of whatever circumstance, or "vest" we may be in. But you know what, He is holding us all along. Just as I am always there, holding my little one. Hugging, kissing, and comforting. I CAN'T let her out, she has to finish, but I hold her tight and get shook and cry right along with her. She is my child, just as we are God's children. How much more does our Heavenly Father love us?! And you know what, most of the time now, when she starts to get upset, she reaches up, grabs my neck, buries her face in it, and want sme to hold her tight and sing in her ear. I hold her as tightly as I can and sing and kiss and rock, and she makes it through. She does not always make it through happily, but she makes it. She knows drawing me closer to her is what is will take for her to be okay with this. When we are in the midst of strife, if we will just grab God around the neck, draw him close, and though he can't let us "out" (because he knows it is in our best interest to finish), let Him comfort us and know He is right there with us, weeping for us and comforting us, allowing Himself to "shake" right along with us, we WILL make it through! :)
If you are interested, you can read more about my baby girl and how God has lead us through this here, here, and here.
But, truthfully, as far as housework goes, we are barely surviving. As much as I LOVE to kid myself when things "feel" put together, like right now. I mean, when you go from DISASTER to moderately livable, you kinda feel good about that, right? But a closer inspection yields that the baby's room in not so picked up, and picked up only means throwing toys in a basket. Her clothes are not hung because something else seemed more pressing and she doesn't care anyway. Son's toys are thrown haphazardly in the toy box and on shelves, and in, GASP, a cardboard box!? The appearance at a glance is much improved, as everything is off the floor, but seriously? A cardboard box?
There are piles of "stuff" everywhere, stacked neatly of course, that have been moved from the straight line of vision to give the illusion of "lack of chaos." Hey, out of sight out of mind, right? This does not even TOUCH the closets and cabinets.
Why is it like this? Well, part of it is lack of time. Part of it is priorities, I would just simply rather be with my kids and husband and not keep telling them to go away so I can do a "decluttering" project. The time I do have, while they are occupied or sleeping, is spent on what has to be done to survive. But a HUGE part of it is lack of organizational tools. A laundry basket, a toy box, and 3 shelves cannot hold it all. A basket on the bar is nice for papers and mail, but my husband has banned it saying it is a catchall, in which case it all just sits, along with backpacks for the next day. I asked for nails for the backpacks by the front door, and was asked why we just couldn't put them in the room of the person they belonged too... I just thought it would be easier to just have them by the door and grab them on the way out...
Anyway, all the neat little organizing "tools" cost money, money that I can see put to better use elsewhere. So, today I would like to know a two things from you:
1. Is it just me? Am I the ONLY one who can't make this work?
2. Please, please tell me someone out there has some low cost or free organizational tips!
Have a blessed day guys,
1. It makes food yummy! It brings out the flavor.
- God’s chosen people give this world a little spice, bring out the “flavor” of life and make it “yummy” by bringing the hope of Christ to the world!
2. It is a preservative.
- Believers act as a preservative for the Gospel. How long has the Word survived on the earth? Thousands on thousands of years! Of course, God has ordained His Word so that is can NEVER be destroyed, but His people continue to spread it to this day!
- Believers are to take a stand to preserve goodness on the earth.
3. It is an anesthetic. It cleans out infection.
- As children of God we are to be diligent in seeking out and destroying the infection of the enemy, sin! In our own lives first!
4. Salt creates thirst!
- Our lives should create a desire, a “thirst” for the living water, Christ!
One last thought about salt. 100% pure salt does NOT lose saltiness. We need to strive hard to stay pure. How? The usual, but oh so true... time with the Lord, prayer, study, and meditation. But also, what do you watch, read, and listen too? Keep that in mind… ouch, I just stepped on my own toes!
I’m all about practicality, right? That is the point of this blog, to bring together resources and practical ways to be the women, wives, and mothers that God created us to be. Of course, part of this is keeping our homes. Do you think the Proverbs 31 Woman ever had laundry up to her ears, dirty dishes in the sink, toys EVERYWHERE, and couldn’t get to any of it because the baby REFUSED to be put down from her hip? Probably… I mean, let’s be honest. I know, I know, she didn’t work outside the home, right? Well, technically, yes, she took care of her children WHILE she did her work. I, however, work outside of my home while someone else cares for my children. (That’s another post.) Also, she had servants, right? Right. So do we… dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, etc., etc., etc. But how oh how do we honest to goodness keep a clean, if not perfect, home on little sleep and little people running around demanding our attention? (Not to mention the big guy who would love our attention, and he deserves it!) I contend we have to do as much as possible in the time we find, and possibly find more time. Impossible, right? Well, we will save the priorities post for another day, but think about how much you could get done in just 1 hour after the kids go to bed. “Her lamp does not go out at night.”
I read “A Life that Says Welcome” by Karen Ehman a few years ago, and I am currently re-reading it. I mentioned her book before in my post here. She talks about a cleaning system that I have yet to be able to try fully, but I am very much considering it again. She swears it cuts cleaning time drastically. The system is laid out by “The Clean Team.” She discusses how she followed as best she could until she saved enough to buy the kit, which included a heavy duty apron, some cleaning supplies, and their cleaners. It is based on the premise that you wear your tools on you body, via the apron, and clean each room completely from top to bottom as you work your way around it, therefore only walking your home one time, rather that doing all the dusting, then all the floors, then the bathrooms, then the kitchens, or whatever order, hence walking around your home NUMEROUS times. Pretty clever, huh? Though I haven’t tried the products, the ideas make sense. Still, it would all be hard to do one handed, that is my season of life. But, if I could cut my cleaning time, say baby goes down at 7:30, then one night in the week I could set aside and possibly have the house clean by 9:30 (except for her room of course.) That’s not bad…
Do you have any practical tips for getting things done in the different seasons of life? I mean, everyone says things have to be done, but no one ever tells you HOW to do these things when life happens.
Still, rest is not always sleep. We definitely need sleep, and the blog post here discusses this better than I ever could. So check that out. For my post I am going to talk about rest. Exodus 33:14 says that having His presence with us gives us rest. Isaiah 63:14 and Jer 31:2 both declare He will give us rest. My favorite is Matthew 11:28! How reassuring! Obviously, these verses are discussing spiritual rest, and my whole point in starting to post about this was to consider how to practically get the physical rest we need. Well, what if they go hand in hand?
Consider this, say you cannot get the Sunday afternoon nap, but you can occupy your children for a small bit after lunch. Resist the urge to spend the whole time doing laundry, and take a small amount of time, even if only 10 or 15 minutes to have a cup of coffee (or tea, or whatever) and sit, quietly, with His word. Read, study, pray, meditate, let His word sink in… and see if you don’t come away feeling refreshed.
We are in a season in our lives where we have a one year old, who still naps, and a five year old who does not. I do not feel comfortable leaving him awake on his own while both my husband and I indulge in a Sunday afternoon nap. Occasionally my husband and I will take turns with short (1/2 hour) naps, or sometimes he doesn’t want a nap, and he will let me doze longer. Mostly, we cherish anytime we have at home together to really be together. What you do will depend on your season in life, but the following are some practical tips for finding rest on the Sabbath that work for us in our current season.
• Prepare the day before as much as possible. Whatever it takes to making getting out the door for Church peaceful. I don’t know about you, but Satan attacks us on Sunday morning before Church more than ANY OTHER TIME. I strive to have the shopping done and to not have any household chores left that cannot wait until Monday. This is not always possible, but it what we shoot for. I also try to have a plan for a simple breakfast and lunch, utilizing the crockpot, toaster, freezer meals, and cold cereal! We try to have the offering ready and in place in the wallet or purse the night before also, as well as clothes for Church ironed and ready to go. Seriously, whatever you can do to make getting to Church easier will go a LONG way toward making this a day of rest.
• For this season in our lives, we are foregoing eating out after Church, or having company after Church. This is an aspect of Sunday’s that I miss dearly, but our baby girl is VERY ready for a nap by noon, and the time usually isn’t enjoyable anyway and she is NOT a happy camper when she is sleepy. Inviting others over after Church is an important ministry, and I cannot wait until we can do it again, but sometimes we have to cut things out to maintain peaceful, restful atmosphere for our family depending on the season of life.
• For this season in life, we have also, after much prayer, decided not to go to Church on Sunday night. I can hear the uproar now. However, our Church has Sunday night services beginning at 7 pm. My baby is MORE than ready for bed at 7:30. The chaos that ensues trying to get my young children to sit through services at this time of night, and the repercussions the next morning are not conducive to spiritual growth, and my husband and I have prayerfully made this decision with the Father… not in spite of Him. This is NOT forever. We may move and end up at a Church with an early evening service, or when my children our older, our Church’s schedule will not be such and issue, but for now, this is how it is. I am not advocating not going to Church, I am just saying PRAY about what you need to do to best bring glory to the Father.
• We have Sunday afternoon quiet time. My son may not nap, but he can understand quiet time. He can sit quietly with a video (and when he is older, an age appropriate Bible Study) and understand he is not to bother mommy or daddy until it is over. We do this while our baby is napping, and my husband and I use this time to reconnect after the week. This is often the ONLY time we get to watch a show together, do a couple’s devotional, or whatever.
• After quiet time comes family time. This usually involves some sort of “wrestling” or “tea party/ dance party” in the living room floor. As the kids get older it might involve a board game, Bible drills, Bible trivia, etc. The point is, UNPLUGGED time together.
These are merely things my family practice/ try to practice in order to practice the “day of rest” as we believe it was intended. I would love to hear some tips from you guys on this topic. Also, remember, rest and rejuvenation for our souls comes from Him alone, and we should be spending time with Him EVERYDAY… not just Sunday
The tip was this: keep a prayer calendar. You purchase or make a planner specifically for prayer and schedule when you will pray for what. You keep a "permanent" list in the back for your daily prayer requests. Mine included my husband, my children, those for whom I was praying for salvation, and my own personal issues. Then, you can schedule the rest however you like. I also had a list for weekly and monthly prayers. (Yes, I said "had." I have been lax...:( ) Prayers for my Church were on Mondays, the Sunday School prayer list on Tuesday's, and so on. This way, you are praying for everything you promised, nothing is slipping through the cracks, and you aren't overwhelmed or rushed. The author really explains it better than I do, and she covers a TON of other prayer topics. I am seriously thinking about giving this one a re-read:)
I mentioned that I really, really like sleep in my post on sleep and responsibilities. I also mentioned that I wondered where the line was between getting sleep and taking care of responsibilities, as it often seems impossible to do both. What better place to get a question answered than in God's Word?! I started by researching verses about sleep, slumber, and bed. Sometimes this included verses about death, as sleep is used as another word for death in God's word sometimes. After studying and reading through, this is what I came up with.
First, God doesn't sleep. (Ps 124:3-4) However, Jesus, God on earth, did sleep while he was here. (Matthew 8:24) Since we know that Jesus NEVER sinned, sleep is obviously not a sin. I know that seems like a silly thing to say, but I felt I needed to get it out there before I get into the meat of this post.
There are not very many positive things said about sleep, or slumber in God's word, and a LOT of positives are related to lack of sleep, (or not sleeping too much.) For example, there is the whole scene in the garden when the deciples could not keep their eyes open (Mt 26:40-46). Before that, there is the declaration that sleep makes you poor (Pr 6:9-11). Also, the person who stays in bed too long is lazy, or a sluggard (Pr 26:14).
I want to camp on that verse in Proverbs for a second. Proverbs 26:14 says:
so a sluggard turns on his bed."
" When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. "
This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Woodrow Wilson. All opinions are 100% mine.
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Stay tuned to see what I picked out to review.... there is so much to choose from, it could take forever, but I already have some ideas:)
Do you like sleep? Boy I do! I am one of those who could sleep all night, wake up to eat, and sleep in between meals… seriously. At one point in my life sleep was a slight form of entertainment even. Give me a few minutes with no other obligations, and off to sleep I would go. I was TERRIFIED that when I had children and suffered from “mommy sleep deprevation” I would not be able to take care of my children, let alone work! However, the Lord equips us for what he gives us, and I was blessed with fairly restful children (notice I didn’t say they slept well), but I was able to rest when they were awake, and I was given what can be explained no other way than a supernatural ability to function on less sleep. Also, I firmly believe that God created coffee for mommies! (Coffee can only do so much though, the rest is supernatural!)
The issue began weighing on me heavily when my oldest child was a few months old. As I was putting him to sleep one night I was OVERCOME with sleepiness to the point that when he fell asleep, I went with him. He had been playing and there were toys all over the living room. I went to sleep and left them there. My husband had been working late and when he came home I could hear him picking up. The next morning we had an “altercation.” Please keep in mind this is not a “husband bashing” post. Imagine how he felt after working late and coming in to find the house a wreck while I was sound asleep. He is human and not perfect, and I can totally see where he was coming from. I tried to explain that I was so very tired from not sleeping through the night and working all day, then coming home to make supper, get the baby bathed, and get him put to bed. By the time he was asleep I was too tired to do housework. I should explain that this was the norm. The housework was not getting done on a regular basis due to the reasons I just stated. He made the comment that if “we” would just not go to bed when the baby did, we could get most of the work done after he went to sleep. I told him I did understand that, but by the time I finished the baby would be awake again and I would have to put him back to sleep, which would cause me to get even less sleep! The next comment is what cut deep, and caused me to ponder, cry out, question, be angry, and finally study and seek answers over the next 5 years. My husband said to me “Sometimes you have to do the work even though you are tired.” Ouch. Obviously I knew that, but this was a special kind of tired. I HAD to have some sleep… seriously. And yet, he was right. Where was the line? At what point do you just “push through?” As a new mom the world tells you that you need rest, to rest whenever the baby does, the house will wait. Doctors tell you that your body needs so much sleep per night to function properly. Magazines remind you to not forget time for yourself. However, responsibilities will not be met if we take all of this advice. Then again, our bodies were CREATED by the CREATOR to need sleep/ rest, right?
In the interest of not making this post too long I will stop now. I am studying some verses on these topics to see what the Lord will reveal. Jerimiah 33:3 says 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' I fully believe this and expect Him to answer. Also, I plan to buy a copy of Rachel Olson’s new book “It’s No Secret.” Read more about that here. In the linked interview she is asked about topics covered, and one of them is learning to view rest not as a “have-to” but as a “get-to.” I cannot WAIT to see what she has to say about what God’s word reveals about this topic!
Bear with me for the next few posts as we unpack what the Lord has to say about this topic. In the meantime, let me know what you think, or what may have been revealed to you through all the ways God speaks to us, through His Spirit, other people, circumstances, nature, and of course, His Word!
I'll be honest, when I first joined Mindfield last year, after I was laid off from a full time job, I was hopeful. I got surveys all the time for $5 and up... however, I NEVER qualified. I finally got a couple this year that I qualified for that paid $1 each. They lowered their required balance to cash out to $5, so I was hopeful again. Nine months later I had $3, lol! Sooo, I wasn't too hopeful again, and I never got the big survey offers anymore. That is, until earlier this week. I got a $3 survey, and at the end they told me they were gonna send me a product to test. So, I am really, really excited again. I will finally be able to cash out, and I get to test something. Also, typically with these companies, once you get to the point where they are sending you the "good ones", and they see that you are going to participate, you get more and better offers. We shall see. If you enjoy that sort of thing, go sign up, and to give a little extra security that you will get mostly surveys you qualify for, fill out the questionnaires. That way they are more likely to send you surveys that relate to interests you have and you are more likely to qualify for the ones that you get. That part can take a little time, but you do not have to do it all at once and it really helps. I will say that they are VERY slow in crediting your account, but it has FINALLY paid off. Maybe it will for you too:)
Check it out here.
I am hoping to do some more posts on "practical" ways to live like the Proverbs 31 Woman. I am hoping the research and study involved will help me as much as you. I have read MULTIPLE bible study/ devotional books on the subject and will share some of those with you, as well what I have done to try to put some of the principles into practice.
In the mean time, what are some things you are wondering about, as far as actually LIVING everyday life like the Proverbs 31 Woman? I've shared some of my struggles with you, and there are so many more. Remember the post about making the beds and having an empty sink before work? I can tell you it happens about 1/2 the time, and that may be generous. A lot of what is done around the house depends on the mood of my almost two year old... is that okay? What does the Word say about that? I want to discuss these things as well as some issues you might be wondering about... let me know:)
Proverbs 3: 21-25
21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment,
do not let them out of your sight;
22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble;
24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
It sounds to me that verses 23-24 are describing sweet, sweet peace. We will not (or do not have to) go to bed worried about a child waking up sick (yes, that is my stronghold), we do not have to worry about safety, nor do we need to fear sudden disasters. We can have perfect peace. How? The answer is in verse 21, sound judgment and discernment…. That is wisdom. We know Proverbs is full of verses on wisdom. How does wisdom give you peace? How does sound judgment and discernment? Well, if you have wisdom from God, you know His ways, and you will be in His will. If we are in His will, what can we POSSIBLY fear? Does this mean bad things won’t happen? Does this meant that your stronghold, the thing that you worry most about, however big or small, will never happen? Unfortunately, no, it does not. However, it does mean that we no longer have to fear those things. We are in God’s will, where he wants us to be, and He will take care of us, carry us, through it. We are His children. We cannot protect our children from everything bad, but we can comfort them and help them learn what they are supposed to learn through it. Our God is different in that He could shield us, but how would we ever learn anything? We humans are hard headed and often have to experience something first hand, sometimes more than once, in order to get the idea.
We just have to remember if we preserve sound judgment and discernment, our sleep will be sweet and we will go on our way in safety.
What does this look like in daily life? How do we “preserve” sound judgment and discernment? How do we gain wisdom? This is what I plan to be the topic of my next post, and maybe the next couple of posts, but I want to know your thoughts on this…
This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hampton Hotels. All opinions are 100% mine.
Have you ever traveled with friends? Our family loves to go places alone, but sometimes going with friends makes it extra special. We have loads of fond memories of trips we have made with friends and pray we get the opportunity to make more. Right now Hampton Inn is giving away free weekend stays at a Hampton Hotel, and one lucky winner with recieve a weekend stay for themselves along with pretty much all the rooms in the hotel for a TON of their friends! To enter, visit the Hampton Chain of Friends Sweepstakes website and sign up, or book a stay online at a Hampton Hotel during the promotion period with code "FRIEND" or "COF."
If I won, I would invite our friends that live between us and Dallas, and we would all go stay in Dallas and visit with our other friends who now live in Rockwall. The six of us have been friends for what seems like forever and we still keep in touch. We have 6 kids between us now and we desperately want to get together. I think winning the prize would be a GREAT opportunity for that:)
This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Boost Mobile. All opinions are 100% mine.
I have to admit, though it is a sin to covet, I have seriously coveted my friends with Blackberries. The ability to check e-mail and browse the web seems to be invaluable when sitting in hospitals and doctor's offices, and I am sure other places. I just cannot justify the bill on our budget. I recently found a GREAT company that offers a plan with a blackberry for the SAME price I am paying now.
Boost Mobile is a relatively new mobile phone company with numerous plan and payment options. The best part is NO contract! Their Blackberry plan offeres unlimited calling, text, web-browsing, and numerous other services for around $60! Isn't that AMAZING! When I was spending a lot of time at the hospital with my youngest, they turned off the TVs and computers at midnight because it was a children's hospital. This made for LONG nights with an nursing baby. I would have LOVED to have had the ability to get on facebook or myspace when she woke up at all hours of the night to eat!
Boost Mobile has many flexible payment options in what they call their Re-Boost program. This is how money is added to your account. You can pay on-line, in person, or by phone. You can use credit/debit cards, and even family members and friends can add money to your account. How AWESOME would that be for the new college student?! Instead of sending calling cards, you just add money to their Re-Boost account. You can also sign up your debit/ credit card to make automatic payments so you do not even have to think about it!
I was so excited when I discovered Boost Mobile, and then so very bummed when I realized they didn't have coverage in my area. But, if you, like me, have been looking for a more affordable way to have all the social networking/ internet browsing capabilities on you phone, check them out. Maybe you'll have better luck than me:)
I observed the differences in how others grieved. Some broke down, some just sat with a spacey look, some recounted memories, some sat silently with a tear slipping every now and then. Still some went back and forth between these. When I was younger this would have all made me VERY uncomfortable. As I’ve grown, not so much. You see, I’ve learned how to handle the grief of others. You do not have to say anything. You don’t even really have to DO anything. Flowers and food are always nice and appreciated. However, I have found the BEST thing to do is to BE there, listen, and maybe even cry if you feel the need. Cry with them, not for yourself, but for them. It helps to know others care. I believe this is scriptural. When Lazarus died, Jesus went to Mary and Martha, He was THERE with them, and Jesus wept. He was grieving also, as Lazarus was His friend, but he was Mary and Martha’s brother. As Christians we are supposed to love our fellow humans, and love on them.
These are just some random thoughts on grief, and how as I’ve grown I’ve become less awkward being around it. What have you learned about helping others grieve over the years? It’s something we’ll all have to deal with. How does a Proverbs 31 Woman do it?
But that is not what I want to post about today. Today I want to post about the "everyday" struggles. Perhaps it is your weight and making healthy food choices. Do I eat that cinammon roll or whole grain toast with peanut butte? It could be one without the other. For example, I do not have a weight problem, but I do have a problem choosing to eat healthy foods and excercise. Maybe it is debt and spending, or a combination of food and spending. Do you have any idea how much a few Sonic drinks or McDonald's Frappes can add up to in calories and money in a week's time, or a month, or a year? Maybe it is sleep, or lack of it. Maybe it is organization, or laundry, or just general housekeeping. Do you ever feel like everyone else in the world can easily keep their home peaceful and picked up except for you? (Trust me, my husband wonders this about me often, lol!)
I did get some quiet time with the Lord this morning, and during my devotional reading, He revealed that He created each of us with our own, unique, everday struggles on purpose. He created us with the particular struggles that would draw us closer to Him, and KEEP us close to Him EVERYDAY! One person was created with a predisposition to make food his/ her idol, and was given a body that would easily show the consequences of poor food choices so as to remind them that they do not get to indulge that way, and the ONLY way they can deal with that struggle is in God's power.
With another person, God knew that person would have a propensity put too much importance on material posessions, so they do not have an abundance of money. He knew that it would take His strenghth to help that person be a good steward of what He gave him/her. That was the POINT. We are SUPPOSED to lean on Him and His power.
He knew the one lady would have a barren womb, and that she would cry out daily for a child. He also knew she was the PERFECT person to parent the soul just waiting to be born, that for another reason, known only to Him, would not have any parents on this earth to take care of it. He could place that baby in her womb, but He has a beautiful plan for that also, truly, seriously, really it is for the good of everyone. All the pain and suffering that goes along with that is meant to bring you to a beautiful, intimate relationship with Him.
Still another was created with a desire to have a neat, tidy home where everything is always done. But if He were to let that person get all of that done in her own power, why would she need him. Really, if everything was perfect in our lives day in and day out, we would only come to Him when the "big" things hit. That is NOT the relationship He desires with us. We were NOT created to simple live here and be happy. We were created to BRING GLORY TO HIM:)
So hard, I know. I am not trying to gloss over these struggles, some of them are my own. I know they are real and raw, and that is just how God wants us to be with him. He MADE us how we are when we are real and raw anyway. Be honest with Him, cry out to Him, go ahead and be angry with Him if you must, He already knows you are anyway, but LOVE Him and Trust Him, and when the storm is over, when the tears subside, open your heart and mind, ask Him how you can use this to glorify Him, listen... and EXPECT Him to speak!