Monday, May 30, 2011

Clean Sinks...A Small Victory...




May I share something personal?

{Clean sinks.}                   


My heart is bursting with praise and gratefulness. Tears... yes over... clean sinks~


I have these (once beautiful) cream-colored porcelain sinks. They are so hard to keep

clean.... to get clean. Hard use has scratched the surfaces and there are even some chips

around some of the edges. But they are very deep and practical for large bowls and pans

for large family meal preparation. I still appreciate them, though they aren't as pretty.


__________Do you ever get really discouraged about small things? To me, it's

discouraging to spend time on something that doesn't seem to bear much fruit. Can you

relate to that? Most of the time I don't let it bother me. I appreciate a clean house but I am

learning not to stress over imperfections. Even so, when things seem to be piling up, the

silliest and smallest of things can seem to be magnified.


We were preparing to travel to my daughter's graduation in Phoenix. I had not been very

motivated to get the usual pre-trip cleaning done. (We all enjoy returning home to a

clean and orderly nest.) The family had been working on getting our music together

to share at the senior center, there is writing to do and so much to learn about blogging

and it's time to tie up the home school year.


Daily maintenance along with extras and the unexpected had left me feeling a little

overwhelmed. I had been looking at those sinks all week thinking how desperately

they needed a good scrubbing. I had been bleaching them for a very long time,

but it just didn't seem to be doing the trick. So why bother?  Because, it's my job and

I want them to look nice for my family.


____________________Upon deciding to tackle the job, I collected

the bleach, a rubber glove and a rag. The job takes 5 to 10 minutes. As usual, the

results were less than desirable. Seeing some black scratch marks, I decided to apply

some Bar Keeper's Friend. (If you have never used this slightly abrasive powder

with bleaching agents, you really should try it. It works great on stains and can be used

to polish coins, clean stove tops, pots, pans and all sorts of surfaces. It works great on

soot-blackened dishes and all sorts of items that you may want to salvage from a fire.

(Our home burned in 2005.) It can even be used very gently on fine china.)





As I applied the cleanser along with some elbow grease..well.. what do you know?

Off came the scratches and stains! I was so excited! The sinks were almost completely

restored to their original color! Bright and clean!


_______________________    Now, I don't get really into cleaning

like some do. Shining and polishing the refrigerator and stove. I work at clean, but

wiping every fingerprint off the microwave and cabinet doors is not what I do after the

kitchen is finished up. But I had been disappointed in these sinks since they had been

installed so I was very encouraged and pleased. The reason that it came as such a

surprise is that I had tried Bar Keepers Friend before and it didn't clean it as I had

expected. In combination with the bleach, however, it worked marvelously!


It was a small victory but as I have grown in the Lord He has enabled me to

appreciate the minor details of life . The reality is that life is made of more small

victories than big ones. In my life, it reflects the ONE who is

helping me on the journey of contentment and gratefulness.


Beyond the sink.. There isn't a tremendously deep spiritual truth behind this little

story; it was a nugget for me to treasure. Sometimes I forget that I serve a God who

is so connected to the hearts and souls of His children. It is His delight to reach

into our days. He helps bring circumstances into perspective and touches even

the smallest of things that matter to us though they may seem insignificant to

others.


Remember, through the ins and outs, and ups and downs of your day, that He has each

strand of hair numbered and you can reach out and grasp His hand at

any given moment. If  something matters to you, He has already considered it.




Many, Yahweh, my God, are the wonderful works which you
 have done, and your thoughts which are toward us. They can't be declared
back to you. If I would declare and speak of them, they are
more than can be numbered.
Psalm 40:5



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fresh Fruit Smoothies

Pineapple/Banana Smoothie


Our family tries to make healthy choices when it comes to our diet.

We believe that we should take care of  the body

that God has fearfully and wonderfully made.


 Most every day begins with fresh fruit.

It's best to eat fruit to ease the body back into

the digestion cycle. This is why the first meal of

the day is called breakfast.


When we have good fruit combinations for smoothies,

we make those for a treat. I try to serve these about once

 a week. Usually on Friday morning as our schedule

for that day is a little more relaxed. We like to take the time to sit

down together and share about our week( Jeff is off on Fridays).

And as we consider our plans for the weekend,

  we sip the goodness that the LORD

has given to us.



The fruits we typically put together are:

*strawberry/banana

*strawberry/banana/blueberry

*banana/blueberry

*pineapple/banana

*mango/pineapple/banana



Smoothies are very easy to make and much better for you

than juice. Ours are made from fresh fruits which are a whole food.

This just means they haven't been processed by the

 hand of man with artificial

colorings, flavorings or preservatives.



The recipe for Fresh Fruit Smoothies
is as follows:


(We prefer adding ingredients in this order.
They blend more easily.)


In your blender:

   1 C. ice cubes
                       1 and 3/4 C. vanilla yogurt
 1/4 C. honey
                 2 and 1/2 C. fresh fruit
    2 ripe bananas
                1 and 1/2 C. ice cubes

Blend until smooth.

We hope you will try these delicious smoothies.
They are very easy and take only
about 10 minutes to prepare.
You probably have ideas for your own
fruit combinations.
Have fun experimenting!

We also enjoy them frozen in popsicle containers.
You can also pour the mixture into 3oz. paper cups,
cover tops with foil and poke popsicle
sticks through the foil and freeze.

These make refreshing, tasty, healthy treats
on a hot summer day!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gentle Forbearance





Forbearance is good and noble but it requires perseverance and attention. It doesn't come
easily but is commanded by scripture.

When I consider my own shortcomings, it enables me more readily to be long suffering
with compassion. Looking at God's gentle forbearance with me, I am
convicted. There is no one who is worthy of less forbearance than myself. How easy it is to
forget my own shortcomings and the grace and mercy that has been so graciously poured out
upon my life, washing me of my sin. I have often battled with impatience, harshness, and
being critical while walking with others.




1. Mild; meek; soft; bland; not rough, harsh or severe; as a gentle nature, temper or disposition; a gentle manner; a gentle address; a gentle voice.







                                                        3. The exercise of patience; long suffering;                    
{Forbearance:                           indulge those who injure us; delay of resentment or
                                                      
                                                        punishment.


Here is a gentle reminder of the need to walk purely toward others.

*****************************************

I am sorry for you; but suffering is needful for us. We are sent into the world only to
be purified by dying to our inclinations and to all our own will.

Let self die in you then: you have excellent opportunities for doing so: what a pity to
let them be lost.

I am convinced as you are that the daily rule must not be relaxed in any way; but you
must deal gently with the infirmity of others. You must learn at times to slip quietly over
certain matters, while you need firmness in those which you believe essential.

But remember that true firmness is gentle, humble and tranquil. Anything like sharp,
haughty, and restless firmness is unworthy of God's work. We are told that Wisdom
"sweetly ordereth all things"; do act in the same manner.

If you are ever betrayed into acting harshly, humble yourself immediately without reserve.
Confess that you are wrong manner and in substance keep to your rule.

There is no kind of reading or prayer that would make you die to yourself as much as this
subjection will.
                                                                            Fenelon
1651-1715




But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated,
full of mercy and good fruits, without
partiality and hypocrisy. And the fruit
of righteousness is sown in peace of
them that make peace.

James 3:17,18



      

A Song For Your Honor.. A True Account of Persecution in the U.S.




Do you know anyone who has been arrested for homeschooling in the United States?
Are you acquainted with any families whose children have been removed from their
home because of their convictions?

There are thousands of families in this country who have experienced some form
of violation at the hands of less than upright agencies.

Read more and learn how you can protect your parental rights.

Click here to visit the website of  Parental Rights.Org

This is a serious issue in our nation and many fight the battle for years; their families are
traumatized. Some never do recover from the devastation.

*******************************************************************

A Song For Your Honor is a true story of God's faithfulness. After her husband passed
away, Kay Evans and her children were thrust into the spiritual battle of their life.
Read how her faith in God kept her steadfast and strong. God was her refuge as she faced
seemingly insurmountable odds.

You will read how she fled the country and hid for 3 1/2 years only to be
tracked down and arrested with her bond posted at $1,000,000.

This story will inspire you and deepen your faith as well as bring an awareness to
the times that we face as Christians and homeschoolers right here in America.

And this account is just one.

You can purchase this book through Christian Light Publications

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Desires of Her Heart~

Mikailah and Alli


God is faithful....we know. He is a personal God. His care runs deeper than we can begin
to comprehend. He fashioned each one of us to be unique and He understands what gives
each heart a thrill.

When we pray, He listens. He sets His hand to working on our behalf. On our behalf
may mean that we don't see the results that we want; We don't necessarily get our way.
In His infinite wisdom and unfailing love, He determines the most
beneficial path.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Our daughter, Mikailah, has been asking God for a horse for a very long time. She enjoys
everything about them. The riding is fun but she is so content to just brush and walk them.
To her, a horse is a friend.

We have not wanted to commit to having a horse for two reasons.

#1
Having a horse in Arizona is very expensive. In the mountains where we live, the moisture
accumulation is somewhere around 12" per year. The grass is lush and green ( for Az.)  for about
the last 6 weeks of summer. Pasture-fed horses are not an option unless you
have irrigation. We don't.

On the average, hay costs $15/ bale. That adds up very quickly.

#2
Our lifestyle takes us away from home a bit. And as we get more established in our
music ministry and business, we look for this to increase. (We have strong feelings about
asking others to care for our animals when we are away; It can be a burden.)

It just didn't seem right for our family to take on that responsibility.

But Mikailah has been very patient and in the past 6 months, it has come to pass that two
of our (neigh)bors *smile* have horses. A registered Quarter Horse that stands 17 hands tall
and a sweet, little Arabian mare. They have offered to let us ride them whenever
we choose. We feel so blessed to have such gracious friends.

This has made Mikailah very happy, indeed! She doesn't mind that the horses aren't hers.
She is content in this arrangement and thankful for the provision of her two new friends.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Watching our children grow in the Lord and coming to own a faith that is personal
to them is such a joy. Allowing them to experience the faithfulness of God in their
own circumstances is so important.

It is so precious how He takes our tiny seeds of faith and shelters them, nourishes them
and brings them to the full fruit.

I am grateful for an attentive God who sees our hearts.  He never sleeps and
is always mindful of the things that we long for. He knows what is best for us.
He is waiting to bless us in His time and His way.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Church Pressure



During His ministry, Jesus held a particular posture towards those He taught and discipled.
By posture, I mean His spiritual position, His methods of teaching and His heart toward
those that He discipled and taught.

His authority was one of a definitive nature as His teachings presented a final solution of
absolute truth. He was the embodiment of the fruits of the Spirit. The manifestation
of the heart of God.

As He walked in the authority given to Him by His Father, He mentored and befriended
those around Him. He was a leaderHe was a servant.  His relationships were based on
love, trust, and honesty. His motives were to disciple men to bring them to the truth.
He taught to equip them to accomplish the purposes of the Kingdom, the will of the
Father, not His own.
..............................................................................................................................

A recent conversation with a young friend has again brought a serious concern and
question to the forefront. Her frustration  and confusion were evident as she shared
her experience. The local church was applying pressure and expressing their
expectations toward her family.

My friend is not a shirker, a drafter, or lazy. She and her husband are in agreement
that for this season, God would have her focus her efforts on her family and women
who need encouragement in their roles as wives and mothers.

As we are in conversations with pastors, evangelists and friends, this concern seems
to be a prevalent, common cord throughout the body of Christ.


Here is the question. Is it appropriate, is it scriptural for church leadership to apply
pressure to people in their congregation? Should people in the church be pressured
for the purpose of bringing them to a place of commitment to service in the church?
After doing some research, I came to understand that the word pressure can
sometimes be interchanged with abuse.

I have put off approaching this subject for a considerable amount of time. It is not
my wish to sow seeds of contention or to stir up strife but to bring an awareness.

Our family was very involved in and supportive of a church for many years. We felt
the Lord leading us into a new season. A new season of ministry as well as of rest.
The leadership was not supportive of the ministry or of the rest that we needed.
It was a very traumatic time for our family. We sought the support of a Christian
counselor. There was a lot of confusion and battling with guilt. After many months
of being unable to come to an understanding with the leadership, we were encouraged
by the counselor to leave our place of fellowship. With much sadness and prayer,
we resigned.

I considered expounding on the meaning of pressure. I decided against it. Allowing
others to ponder their own circumstances and come to their own conclusions is
often more enlightening.

How much control does your church leadership try to exert in your life?
(This is not the same as submitting to your spiritual authorities.)

If you have a question, comment or opinion on this topic, please feel free to share.
Your input is valuable to us.
If you would like to send us an e-mail, we would love to hear from you. 

(In the near future, I will be sharing some signs of a healthy church relationship.)





Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our Friendship Tea

Plant a seed of friendship;
 reap a bouquet of happiness.
 Lois L. Kaufman





When you have wonderful friends, you want to give of yourself to serve,

 bless and encourage them. The Bible teaches us to practice hospitality.

This isn't difficult for our family; we feel it is our privilege and

honor to share what God has so graciously given to us.

And we just love people. Serving others brings us so much joy.



So to honor some of our friends and rejoice in the relationship

that God has given us, my girls and I hosted a friendship tea.



It was a blessing to see them apply some of their gifts to create

beautiful designs for the decorations. They were excited to use their baking

skills to make something special

for their friends. Combining the work and the fun of preparation is

part of the blessing. There is a golden thread that is

 woven into our relationships

 as we put our hearts and hands together to

work for a common purpose.








We'd like to share some photos of the wonderful time we had.




A banner that speaks of love, friendship and family.




Such a joyful little flower!

                                                      

A table ready to receive our guests.



 A beautiful spring tulip.



The accompanist.


                                                                                        
                                                   Sweet voices singing                                                 
 How Deep the Father's Love For Us


Cucumber and chicken salad sandwiches with pecans, apple and thyme.
The fruit kabobs were graciously contributed by a friend.
Aren't they lovely?
They were delicious!



Heart shaped scones~



Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.
His love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1



Everyone is served.




My girls and I~



My sweet girls~



Enjoying one another around the table.



 We wanted to share a craft. It was decided that felt bags
with appliques would be fun, fairly quick and useful. Each one chose
two colors of felt. Cookie cutters were used to create the appliques.
There were several themes to choose from. 
The running stitch, blanket stitch and whip stitch
were demonstrated to allow each one to choose the finished look
 that they wanted to creat for their bag. It was a lot of fun while
 learning a new skill as well!





********************
The time that we spent with our friends that afternoon
will always be cherished.  It was a delight and blessing
 to be in such special company and to share encouraging words.
 We enjoyed this quiet afternoon of sweet fellowship
around worship, simple foods and working with our hands.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

All Nature Declares the Glory of God~




All Nature Declares the Glory
of God ~



I'm sure it seems strange to some of you that I would be

posting photos of snow. This was my experience. It is part of the charm and beauty

of living at 7500 feet in the mountains of Arizona.



Last week, on May 10th, we had freezing temperatures.

We were blessed.. yes blessed,

with 4 inches of snow in the surrounding mountains.


*********************

The drive was one of the most beautiful that I had ever remembered.

I slowed my speed.

Each side of the road was lined

with Spruce and Fir stretching toward the sky.

The needles of each branch laden

 with frosty white. It seemed as if God had embraced my world with

His pristine touch.



The forest was perfectly silent accept for the

wildlife that was stirring; An elk ran across the road.

It stopped only for a moment

to gather it's feet for one graceful bound over a fence.



Snowy powder was blowing from the trees in clouds of white.
My heart was overflowing with gratitude and praise.

 I was engaged in His goodness. In awe of His creation.

Overtaken.

I wanted to stay in that place.. where His

presence was gentle yet so all-encompassing.



 I drove out of the snow and back to reality.











Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Training Children~Following Through





As a parent, I have spent a whole lot of time reading books, observing and seeking God
about the details of the subject. I have learned so much from others and from my
own mistakes. Considering and evaluating the heart and delivery of my parenting is
a daily practice.


Being a parent is a wonderful blessing and privilege; there is so much joy packed
into a day with my children. AND there's a bundle of challenges as well.


Building good habits into their lives takes a lot work; It is not easy. But it is worth
the effort. The results will be a blessing to them and those whose lives they touch.


One of the most important ways we can help our children is by following through
with the actions that were framed by our words.


Being consistent can make the difference between a happy child or one that is very
insecure. When we back up what we say, our children learn that there are boundaries and
that the boundaries are meant to be observed and respected. Children with firmly and
lovingly held boundaries feel protected and valued.


We model integrity and instill trust in the hearts of our children when we follow
through. They may not appreciate the actions taken but they are learning that there is
strength of character in one who does not shirk their responsibilities; That person
is someone they can depend upon.


When children know what to expect from their parents, there is little confusion.
There is a lot less turmoil and conflict in hearts, relationships and homes when
boundaries are clearly established. Children who understand that, we as parents,
will be sure to follow through, will more quickly comply with family guidelines.

Sometimes it's difficult to know where our weaknesses are. Here are some symptoms
of a home where the follow through is most likely weak.

*Children try to negotiate rules
*They talk back when given instructions
*Obedience is the exception, not the rule
*Parent's frustration levels are high
*Frustration seems normal
*Nagging is used to motivate
*There is bitterness in relationships
*The heart of the home does not seem healthy

Do you feel that you have not been consistent in this area? If so, regroup as a family.
Use this opportunity to display humility to your children. Work with your children in
re-establishing rules. Remember, we can't expect our children to whip into shape
if we have not been faithful to establish boundaries.


Accept God's grace. Forgive yourself and move on. Ask your spouse to help you.
We all need help and accountability.

Enjoy your children. They are a blessing. Keep positive, remembering that God is
for you and He will help you to succeed. We all have areas to grow in.


If you have a victory or struggle, that you would like to share, please do.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

When "School" Isn't Working~




This past month of school has been somewhat of a mystery. The smooth running days seem
to have disappeared. The heart motivation has retreated to a place unknown. Eagerness
to get it right has faded into a distant look.

We have been living and loving this lifestyle, this conviction, for years. This pilgrimage was birthed out of love for our children and concern for the foundations of their faith

                                                         pil·grim·age (plgr-mj)
n.
1. A journey to a sacred place.
2. A long journey or search, especially one of exalted purpose or moral significance.
intr.v. pil·grim·aged, pil·grim·ag·ing, pil·grim·ag·es
To go on a pilgrimage.


We find ourselves praying for wisdom and direction; We can't see the way clear.

*************************************************************

What happens when "school" isn't working? When the facts, like a butterfly, linger
only for a moment and the mind seems to be as saturated as the seashore when the
waves spill back into the sea?

It's time to revisit the purpose and the plan. You see, in our hearts and minds, sometimes
intent gets buried in the mentality of getting through the seen thing. The things we see
not the things that God sees. We have to work extra hard at staying focused on what lasts
forever; the Treasures of Heaven.

The purpose is to teach our children, disciple them, and pour, pour, pour into them the
good things, the GOD things.. the truth of His Word. Deuteronomy 6 tells us when to
do this and how to do this. By teaching all the time and being living examples throughout
our daily routines. All things must lead to Him. The Way, The Truth and The Life.


The plan is to allow God to reveal how He weaves everything together in His Master
plan. We want His plan of love, abundance, mercy and compassion to be flowing from
hearts of gratitude and obedience.


If we are demanding our way, our children are not seeing God and we have elevated
our desires above His commands.
Be kind and tenderhearted to one another. Ephesian 4:32

What learning looks like and what the end result is, is not always within our understanding
to determine. (Though we have a responsibility to educate our children.) Letting go of pre-
conceived ideas and allowing God to transform our minds and hearts is an ongoing process.
But we do know that He should be in heart of it all.


God has created everyone of our children in His image. He has a plan for their life
and He is extending His grace and helping us to trust Him in that. His Word says that
He orders their steps. Psalm 37:23



We don't always know what is best for our children and how to direct them; But we know
the One who does. And as we grow in trusting in His divine plan for their lives, we
will give them more opportunity to schedule their time.

They need the opportunity to seek God for the answers to their questions.
Big and small.

Time to explore the wonders of life's curiosities.

We listen to them as they share their dreams and passions. We are supportive and
do our best to help provide the resources that will enable them to accomplish what
is in their hearts. God does this for us as well. (Nehemiah had a vision to rebuild the wall
and God was His source for all that He needed.)


We never stop asking for His wisdom to illuminate our path.

God's ways are bursting with life; Whatever we allow Him to touch will
be full of that life as well. That includes the way we teach.

As we seek The Teacher, He will be faithful to enable us to see through His eyes.
His plan and purpose will be made clear.

He will be faithful to enable us to be fruitful in every good work (teaching and
training our children is definitely a good work) as we grow in the knowledge of Him.
Colossians 1:10


                                                          
                                        

                                                                 




    

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Building Ourselves Up in Song~

Sometimes life can be discouraging; Circumstances can weigh heavily on our hearts

and minds. It is important to take our thoughts captive as the Word teaches.

Meditating on and memorizing God's Word is a powerful way to

encourage ourselves in His truths.

Hidden in My Heart is a beautiful collection of scripture songs that will

soothe your spirit and encourage you heart

as  you are reminded of some of God's promises.




Some of the selections include:


Be Still And Know

The Peace of God

Bless the Lord

The Lord is My Shepherd

.........................

Though Hidden in My Heart is described as lullabies,
it is encouraging for anytime of the day. Even the adults in our family find it to be
 a blessing. I listen to it when I feel the need
for some quite assurance of God's love and direction.





Monday, May 9, 2011

Paul David Tripp...John Piper~Parenting

Paul David Tripp is an amazing man of God with tremendous insight. In his books War of  Words
and Age of Opportunity (parenting teens), he is painfully transparent; He shares his own
shortcomings as they are measured by the Word of God. He uses the Word to teach along
with personal, practical applications.

 
The website of John Piper, Desiring God/ Live will host Paul Tripp on Tuesday, May 10, 7:00 PM (EDT) to discuss the content of a new DVD resource, Getting to the Heart of Parenting. This DVD consists of ten 25-minute teaching sessions by Paul Tripp recorded at a parenting conference.



                                                       Order David Tripp's Resources Here





Tripp explains that parenting is all about the exposure and change of the child's heart. Join them Tuesday for a practical discussion on what this way of parenting looks like whether your children are toddlers or teens.



                                                        Visit Desiring God Here

Encouragement for Mothers

In my post Motherhood Stands Alone, I had said that I would follow-up with some
encouraging resources. I hope you find them to be helpful.


Being a mother is a privilege and very rewarding. It is a God-created and honored role
according to His Word. There is an indescribable joy that is birthed in the heart of a
mother as she realizes the beauty and wonder of motherhood according to God's design.


Though our culture changes with the times, our values and beliefs must remain
aligned with what God says in His Word. It is sometimes difficult to throw off the
views and criticisms of those who believe that motherhood is somehow less than
successful, important or influential.


But even as David had to encourage himself, we also must work at building ourselves up as we
face the battle of deception and de-generation. We want to keep ourselves strong and focused;
It's important to be able to encourage others as well as ourselves.


The first obvious place to do find truth is in the Bible.


You Are Captivating celebrates the glorious design and beauty of a mother released to be all she was meant to be.


100 Powerful and Challenging Devotions to Strengthen, Encourage and
Inspire You in Your Divine Calling as a Wife and Mother.
100 Days of Blessing


The ministry of Nancy Leigh DeMoss is called Revive Our Hearts. This is a powerful
ministry for women looking for encouragement in the truth of God's Word.


Dear Mothers, draw close to Him. He is the source. Trust Him to lead you and guide you.


Your Heavenly Father rejoices over you with singing;
He will shine His light on the path that is right for you
and your family.Grow in the gifts and talents that He has
given you. Remember, you are unique!


There many other resources available; If you have a favorite,
please share it with us and how it has encouraged you~ We need each other.
Thank you!

Blessings to you and your family.



Saturday, May 7, 2011

Motherhood Stands Alone






While considering the upcoming day of honoring Mothers, this thought came to my mind.

Motherhood stands alone. Just as a priceless jewel; a diamond needs nothing
to make it sparkle and shine.

Nothing needs to be added to Motherhood to maintain it's value. We need not make
any excuses or apologies. The more we try to justify the position, it seems the less
it is respected.

There are many different kinds of mothers.  Each on of you is special; You are unique!
A treasure. We will not all look the same or have the same gifts and skills. (God has given
you special abilities to bless your family and to contribute to the body of Christ.)

Do we allow ourselves to be pressured by our culture's expectations?

Worse yet, is this what we believe ourselves? Do we approach our days with the hopes
of achieving these expectations?

____________________________________________________

The list below does not qualify a woman be a mother.

______________________________

*Always has meals on the table on time

*Knows how to budget perfectly

*Knows how to get every stain out of the laundry

*Never leaves laundry in the basket

*Gets up at 4:30 to read her Bible and pray

*Keeps a perfectly clean house

*Can sew a dress in a day

*Bakes a perfect loaf of bread

*Never loses the checkbook

*Pays every bill on time

*Never kills a houseplant

*Grows a garden that has no weeds

*Has written a book

*Serves in many positions at her local church

*Always has make-up on and every hair in place

*Has a degree in SOMETHING

*Started and runs a home industry

*Always has fresh cookies to serve unexpected guests

*Is in perfect physical shape

*Never needs help

*Holds a political office

______________________________



The list goes on... I am certain many of you face pressures, deceptions and expectations
 unique to your situation.
________________________________________________________________________

Learning to be a mother is a process. Guard your homes and hearts against the
deceptions and expectations of this world.

As you begin or continue your journey:

*Renew your mind in the Word (find out what God's words teaches about motherhood)

*Learn to discern your Heavenly Father's voice above the clatter of expectations
  and criticisms

*Be in regular fellowship with people who encourage you

*Don't compare yourself with others

*Pray for wisdom and guidance

*Don't strive, but rest in Him

*Set your standards high but allow grace for mistakes 

*Be organized and diligent but allow God to do the work

*Let go of past mistakes..learn from them and move on

*Talk and pray with your husband often concerning your role

*Keep your days simple and God-focused (don't over-commit)

*Focus on your God-given strengths and passions

*Understand your weaknesses and don't allow them to cripple you

*Remember, it is only with His help that we can be the mothers that we
  desire to be


Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
                                                                                        
                                                                                        Psalm 127:1


Here are some encouraging words by Voddie Baucham.





     Being a mother is beautiful. The position needs no qualifiers or clarifiers. Oh, sweet mothers, if you could understand the thoughts that He has toward you and how precious you are in
His sight. Cease to strive and allow His work to be fully accomplished in your heart and home.



I wish to remember those of you who have never birthed a child. You are a treasure as well
for you have given your hearts, homes and love. You have nurtured and mentored
and sacrificed. A mother is not only someone who has brought a child into the world.


There are some encouraging resources that I would like to share. However, because of the
length of this article, I will save the information for the next post. I hope you can join me.


Happy Mother's Day, precious friends. May you feel honored
and blessed in the sweet place of Motherhood~




Though Mother's Day has passed, it is never too late or too early to honor the sacred role.

If you are interested, the follow-up article is entitled: Encouragement For Mothers. 







Thursday, May 5, 2011

Presenting Your Home






Our Welcome Wreath



It is spring. The change of any season  inspires me. (Do you feel that way?) All throughout
the year, I try to create an interesting, inviting entrance to our home. Greeting friends and
family at the door with something that speaks of the season is special, fun and fulfilling.


Make it personal. We all have different tastes and that is ok; Your family is unique, so let it
show! One of the wonderful things about visiting another's home is that it is fresh and
inspiring. Be creative in reflecting the heart of your family. I love seeing the talents and gifts;
If someone offers me a tour inside or out, I eagerly accept.

                                                 ***************

If this is something new to you, here are some suggestions to help you get started.


1) Ask your family if they'd like to get involved. (This is a great opportunity for training
young homemakers and training young men to have an eye for details.)


2) Decide on  the theme of your (we'll call it) presentation.


3) Establish a budget (cash and time) if needed. (This does NOT need to be costly or
 elaborate. You may not want to invest a lot of cash or time.)


4) Work on your plan. (If you get stuck, your local library most likely has
 books/magazines that can help get your creativity flowing. You will be amazed
at how many ideas you have once you get started.)


5) Consider the tools you will need from start to finish.


6) Make a few lists:
             A. Materials needed
             B. What you may already have on hand
             C. Possible resources for making your purchases


7) Plan an outing to gather your materials.


8) Before you begin, you will want to clean the area thoroughly.(see list below)


9) Agree on a time to begin and have fun! (Remember, a project ususally takes
 more time to complete than one anticipates.)


10) Clean-up. (It took me awhile to learn to allow time for  this.)


11) Stand back and ENJOY your handiwork!



If you already have the presentation of your home established, you may want to take
a close look at it. As I get involved with other projects, I tend to overlook
things that need attention.


Here are a few details to consider when assessing your clean-up needs.

1) Sweep up (or rake) all that the wind has blown in.


2) Have there been neighborhood animals visiting? (The neighborhood tomcat
visits our house on a regular basis...and he marks HIS territory.{ SORRY}
If you have greasy looking dirt marks running up your siding, that's what it's from. 
{I know.. disgusting!}
It wipes away with any household cleaner or soapy water. We also have DOGS that
stop by. We keep kitty litter scoopers in various places around the flower beds to
SCOOP when necessary. {SORRY again...}


3) Clean up anything else that you can with cleaners. (Wiping muddy pawprints
off of doors or washing storm window doors, spider webs etc..(Jeff and I have always felt that a home with a neat, clean appearance was a good testimony to the Lord.)


4) Put away any items left over from the previous season. (We still have sleds
under our mudroom porch that need to be stored away.)


5) Touch up any paint that's showing wear.


6)Replace broken items.


7) Consider freshening the presentation with one new item.




         A simple going over about once a week will help keep this area ready to receive
 guests (in season and out of season) and welcome your family back home after an outing.
  

I am sure that you all have many of your own ideas of what and how to clean up
and add charm to the presentation of your home. Comments are welcome or even
drop us an e-mail. If you are so inclined, we would be pleased to see pictures of your
presentation. Thank you for stopping by. We hope this has been helpful~

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ordinary Days?

      Another day. A seemingly ordinary day. What makes a day ordinary? Ordinary is very much
 the same as common. 

  _____________________________________________________________
       {Common means......
                       Not distinguished by superior or noteworthy characteristics; average:}
                                       ___________________


When I think of the hope that lies wrapped up in the gift of a sunrise.. This is not ordinary~


         Perspective ~



          As I mentally walk through my day, how can I find the extra-ordinary... the miracle...

   the beauty...a message...some inspiration...a reminder to be grateful...within my waking hours.

                                                             ***********

Putting my bed back together in the morning is not something that I particularly enjoy...

but the blessing of a warm home and a comfortable place to take rest is something

I am thankful for.




                              The LORD does not give us common things...
                        
As I eat an apple while I write.... it is SO crunchy.. red and smooth on the outside...

I bite into the cool, crispness of the grainy white...

It is so sweet and juicy. ___________  I enjoy it..

                           It was formed from a bud on a tree..and grew into the fruit God created
                                                   for us to taste and say.. that is the best apple~

                                       Thank you, God....





My daughters are so willing to serve by tidying the kitchen after a snack...they do it every day...

without complaining. I am so blessed by the heart that God has given them...

a heart that sacrifices to do for others...





Our dishwasher has been empty for over a year ... It doesn't work...

 ___________ We chose not to have it repaired...
There is an awareness of each other as we fellowship around the washing of the dishes..

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am surrounded by the extra-ordinary...

As I take the time to look beyond the surface of seemingly common things...my heart will become

                        tuned in to the richness of the life that

                                                God has given me to embrace.. live...cherish... and...
             

                   find beauty in.



I am sure there are things that I am missing....


I would be so blessed to hear about your experience of finding the extra-ordinary treasures

in your Ordinary things....