Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Try It Tuesday!!

It's Tuesday and time to challenge yourself and try something new, or maybe something that you generally don't do.

For me, this week's Try It Tuesday would be the latter.

Proverbs 15:1 says,

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." NKJV

The NLT puts it this way,
"A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare."

Any idea where we're going this week?

I wish I could tell you I'm gentle and soft spoken by nature. I'm not.

I am a quiet person if I don't know you, but around those I know--gentle and soft spoken would not be me.

I read an article one time about how we tend to treat strangers better than our family. If we're out and about and a stranger accidentally bumps into us, they apologize (usually) and we say, 'Oh, no problem', pick up our dropped things and move on. But if we are with our children and one of them bumps into us and we drop our things, they apologize (usually) and we say something like this, 'Be careful, would you!! You saw my hands were full!! Now help me pick this stuff up and watch where you're going!".

Hmmm..do we see a problem here?

And what about our husbands? Maybe we've asked them to fix the leaky toilet or to bring the trash cans back down to the house. Maybe we asked them to pick up a loaf of bread on their way home from work or to change the light bulb in the hallway. For whatever reason those things didn't get done.

Maybe DH hasn't had the time yet to fix the toilet. Maybe he's had a hard day and the trash cans and the bread just slipped his mind. Maybe we're out of light bulbs or it's raining outside and he's waiting on it to stop so he won't get soaked going to get the ladder.

Even though I try hard (and usually succeed) to not get upset, if I'm honest, somewhere deep inside me I'm just a bit irked because things aren't getting done on my time frame and sometimes my mouth flies open and there go those words spoken in anger--'You know that the garbage is piling up because the trash cans are at the end of the driveway, right?' or 'How do I make grilled cheese sandwiches with no bread?'

I can honestly say that when my mouth has jumped ahead of my brain and those angry words came flying out, what followed was never good...never positive.

After my angry words I usually see hurt faces and drooping shoulders. Those are often followed by snippy attitudes or hateful, angry words from those I've come unleashed on.

How is that God honoring?? Do I like it when folks talk to me in anger? Not a chance!!

So for this week, let's begin today to put into practice the art of not saying things in anger.

DH forget the bread? It's okay. We've all got enough in our pantry to improvise or make something else.

Tiny tot #1 spill their juice for the 3rd time while tiny tot #2 jumps up and down in the spilled mess? It's okay. Just remove those tiny tots and clean up the mess.

Teenager doesn't hear you ask them to empty the dishwasher because their MP3 player is attached to their ears? Just wave at them and get their attention.

But whatever we do....no angry words.

Explain to DH that you'll just whip up something else. Hug those tiny tots and tell them you'll read a story together once the mess is cleaned up. After waving at the teen and making your request, thank them for emptying that dishwasher.

I'm sure we'll be amazed at the difference in our families and even in ourselves when we refuse to speak in anger or frustration.

My family may even report me abducted.......

Keep me up with how you do this week and remember what Philippians 4:13 says....
" I can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens me."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stepping Out---More About Me

Good Monday morning to all my bloggy buddies out there!!

I was out running some errands this weekend. I had the radio blaring (yes..I do listen to my music too loud--and my teenagers love it!!!.) I was thinking about my blogging and what God would have me do with it and all of a sudden I heard More About Me.

More about me??? Doesn't that sound a little pompous??

But, I turned my music down and tried to get a little quiet so I could know whether it was just my twisted mind thinking or if God was actually wanting me to begin something for a season.

It has been something I've thought about and prayed about all weekend and so with that here goes...

My Monday posts are going to begin with you. How's that you ask?

Well on Monday's (at least for a season) I'm going to have More About Me. You get to send me some questions (in good taste please) and I'll try to answer them.

In the bloggy world, we all tend to write about our what's going on in our lives or things God lays on our hearts. We write about ways to save money and be a better spouse and parent. We write about our awesome Father and what works He's doing in our lives and I want More About Me to focus on those same things, but on a deeper, more personal level.

For instance, I'm a 44 year old, stay-at-home Mom. I've been married to the most awesome man in the world for over 25 years. We've been homeschooling for almost 12 years, with our oldest graduating in May and our baby graduating next year.
We went through 5½ years of fertility treatments before getting pregnant with DD. I've been a child of the King for almost 17 years.

Pretty basic stuff, but how did I get there???

Maybe the paths I went down are where you are now. Small example...

I met Jesus when I was 27 years old. I grew up in a strict non-Christian home. I did go to church, but it was because a friend of the family came and picked me (and later my sister) up every time there was a service and took us to church. Even though I went to church with these friends for about 10 years, I didn't accept Jesus as my Savior. I was always a "good girl" and never got into much trouble at all and the trouble I did get into wasn't very serious.

I met DH and we married after knowing each other only 4½ months. We tried churches here and there, but we were good people and didn't give God too much thought.

We'd been married about 7½ years and DH and I entered the party scene. Circumstances in our workplace (we worked at the same place) put us in situations that led us to leading a very hard party lifestyle that truly, almost destroyed our marriage. We had reached the point of dividing things up, DH looking for a place of his own to live and trying to decide who would get DD when. (DS hadn't come along at that point)

In His Awesomeness, 3 years earlier God had moved us to a very rural community and planted us next door to a church. The pastor of that church lived across the street and visited us on occasion. He was never overbearing, just came over to chat and invite us to church. He was a super nice guy and DH actually got to where he enjoyed his visits. Me? I just hung out inside and wouldn't go outside until he left.

During our party phase, DH found a new job and so things in our marriage only got worse because I was still working with that party crowd. I still wanted to hang out with those people--they were fun!!

Again--God showing up and showing out (though we didn't know it) DH found out that the son of our next door preacher worked at the same place DH now worked. They decided to save on gas, they'd start riding together.

By our 8 year anniversary, we realized it would probably be the last one we'd have. Things were horribly bad and getting worse.

All of a sudden one Sunday morning I felt DH get out of the bed. We were both nursing hangovers and so I figured he was just going to the bathroom (again). He did, but instead of being sick he was getting a shower. He came out, got dressed. I asked him where he was going and he told me church. I belted out laughing. I remember saying, "You've got to be joking!!!", but he was very serious.

Me: "Well, I don't believe you so I'm going to church too just to make sure that's where you're going."

DH: "Good. C (the preacher's son) invited me...well, us...to a...revival? Thought I'd check it out."

Me: "Sure...I'll be ready in just a few minutes."

Didn't have to worry about getting DD ready, she was still at Grannie's house.

Sure enough, within the hour we were sitting in our next door church and talk about feeling like a hair in a biscuit!!!!

The man preaching wasn't our next door preacher, but I was sure this guy had been stalking us..sitting outside our door listening to our fights and accusations. Now I know it was God Himself, but at that moment...I was pretty shook up.

By the end of service, I knew if I didn't get out of that place, the roof was going to cave in on me. I had never felt so nasty dirty in all my life!

This preacher offered something called an invitation. Did I want to give up this world and come to a Man Who could help me get out of this pit I was in and live a better life with Him? If so, come on up. Someone would be there to introduce me to Him.

I didn't know about DH, but I couldn't stand still a minute longer. I don't remember getting to the front of that church. I don't remember talking to that preacher. I do remember falling in that altar and crying like I'd never cried before and telling God how sorry I was and begging Him to forgive me and clean me up.

He did.

As I stood up, many ladies were hugging me and encouraging me and I looked to find DH standing up from that same altar. He'd met with God as well.

It was the end of an old, destructive life and the beginning of a new one...the three of us...me and DH with God in the center.

So you have my testimony of how I met Jesus--but do you have questions about my growing up years, or that party period and how God has uses that in our lives now.

Do you wonder about homeschooling or being a Biblical wife.

Questions my buddies. Just ask. (again in good taste, please). Don't worry, I'd never share your names or point you out and if you have something of a very personal nature, just zap me an e-mail.

Maybe the story of my life is just what you need to hear to encourage you in yours.

Can't wait to hear from you!!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Husband Rocks!

It's Friday and that means that I'm going to be joining Katy Lin over at The Great Adventure to share with you how My Husband Rocks!

I've got to tell you, my husband is a very patient man. Oh, my kids wouldn't believe that--but he is.

We are at a season in life where we have two teenagers. Active, on the go, never sleeps when everyone else does, teenagers.

I've shared before that DH has a very stressful job and when he comes home in the evening, all he really wants and needs is rest, however, because he is on call 24/7 his sleep at night is often interrupted by a call from one of his men...not to mention the fact that many nights he doesn't even get to go to sleep before 11:30.

It's not for lack of trying though. We are often in bed between 10 and 10:30, but many nights, that is the first opportunity he and I have to really catch up. He tries so hard to stay in touch with the kids and the things that are going on in their lives...

Take yesterday for instance---he worked all day. When he got off work, he drove over 20 miles in the opposite direction of our house to go get some strawberry plants. Why? Because he knows how much I love strawberries and how I would love to be able to put some in the freezer this year.

He comes home (almost 40 miles) and he and DS plant those plants while I finish supper.

We eat and he takes some time to read his paper and catch up with the kids.
DS mentions that he would love to get some "really cool speakers that will make his stereo in his car awesome!!" put in. What does DH do?? He gets up, tells DS to get the tools they need and they are outside, after dark, it's raining and they are putting speakers in. Why? Because he loves his kids. He'd do anything for them.

We finally make it to bed, only to have DS come in my room around 11:30. A demon of his from the past several months called and left a voicemail on his phone and he needed...asked...me to come and talk to him. We talked and read Scripture and prayed for over an hour...but he reached a point of having God's strength.

DH knows every time I get in and out of the bed, so of course, this interrupted his sleep.

Around 3:30 am, the phone rings. It's one of the head people where he works. They can't get hold of the man who actually does the physical on call. DH tries himself, finally gets hold of the guy, handles the problem and a little after 4 is back in bed. The kicker is, DH, once he's woke up, takes hours to go back to sleep. He never got to go back to sleep before needing to get up and start his day.

Right now he's at work and there is no telling what will come his way today. He will handle it though and he'll do a great job at it. Why? Because he's committed to his family. He lives by the Scripture that tells us to do everything as if unto the Lord. He refuses to do a job half way. He's an awesome man and I'm a blessed woman.

Yes, my friends, My Husband Rocks!!

For more My Husband Rocks, click here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Won the Lemonade Award!!

Many thanks to Valencia over at Buildeth Her House. She has blessed me with the Lemonade Award! This award is given to a blog that shows great attitude or gratitude . If you haven't visited at Buildeth Her House, please get there quickly!! You are sure to be blessed.
Now, time to pass the award along. The rules are:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to this post and person from whom you received the award.

The winners are.........

Putting God First Place
She Looketh Well
Heart Joys
Living In The Dash
My Heart Speaks
Homeschooling Solo
Cherries Jubilee
Faithful Life
On Eagles' Wings

There are so many more blogs that I just LOVE to visit--however, being on dial-up, it took a long time to get the internet to cooperate with the 10 I listed.
I love all of you my bloggy buddies and I'm just asking God to give you a wonderful day full of the blessings He has designed for you today!

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

It's Thursday and time again to link up with Sonya over at Truth 4 the Journey.

This has been a full week of blessings in our household and 5 would not begin to scratch the surface.

Even on the worst of weeks though, it would do us good to remember that God is so faithful. He loves us so much and just being a child of His is enough cause to be thankful.

I know me. I know my thoughts and my motives and believe me...I know God blesses me because He is faithful..not because I deserve it.

So..here goes my thankfuls for this week:

1) I am forever thankful for God's hand of protection while DS and I were out driving Tuesday. (Check out my post here)

2) I am thankful for DD's renewed interest in piano. She's been taking piano for several years and she's very good at it. She'd reached a point, though, where it was more of a chore than anything, but a few weeks ago God put some different songs on her heart and she has been filling our home with praise and worship music ever since!!!

3) DH received his first paycheck with the reduced hours. I am thankful to God that even with the reduction, all bills, needs and even some wants were met. Go figure...God is awesome!!!

4) I am thankful that one of the men that works for DH is giving us some strawberry plants today. We LOVE strawberries at our house and will look forward to reaping that harvest later this summer!!

5) I am very thankful for the positive difference in Christ that we've seen in DS this week. So many people have come to him and told them how much they've missed him. More than once this week, he's shared with me that he didn't realize that he'd gotten that far away. It is truly a huge blessing to have my son back.

For more Thankful Thursday, click here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Do We Listen?

I shouldn't be here. Seriously. I should be praising my Father with the angels in Heaven. In all actuality..DS shouldn't be here either. He should be with those angels, right beside me...

But God had favor...

What happened? Let me share.

Yesterday, DS had to work at his new job. He also needed to go afterwards and pick up his check from his old job and take care of some banking, getting a tag for his car, a haircut and a few other things. He asked me to come up there and run errands with him and help him with some of those things he wasn't too sure how to do.

Of course I quickly said yes!! A chance to hang out with my 16 year old son?? Oh, I was all over that!!

Before leaving my house to go pick him up, I remembered that he needed his uniforms from his old job to turn in when he picked up his check.

Where were they??? In my son's room--that was a million dollar question!! I knew one place they weren't--in his dirty clothes basket!! So the search began...

I finally found one in his closet (with his clean clothes..)--the other one I couldn't find, nor could I find his hat.

Oh well--gotta go, we'll just have to take our chances.

As I finished doing my hair I began praying--

"God, we really need to find that other uniform and hat and only You know where it's at. Please let me know where it's at--soon."

Almost immediately God said, "The trunk of your car".

As soon as He said that, I remembered---he had changed from his old uniform to his new uniform on Friday evening and threw his old one in the trunk of my car.

I walked outside, opened my trunk and there it was--uniform and hat--just like God said.

Well, I just threw my hand up in the air and said, "Thank you Lord!!"

Why does it amaze us when God even answers prayers concerning the small stuff??? If it's big to us, it's big to God.

A little later, I was picking up DS from work and we headed to the bank. We took care of his banking and then needed to head downtown to get his car tag.

I pulled out from the bank and got stopped at the red light. I was the first car in the turning lane.

The intersection I was at consisted of two side roads that turned on to a major highway. I was on a side road, needing to turn left onto the highway.

Since the light was red, I was just looking around at the buildings and businesses and actually, for a moment, in my own little world when DS said, "Mom, you can go."

I looked up at the light and sure enough, the green arrow was lit up. My turn to go.

I gave the car some gas, went about a car length and heard God say, "STOP!" I hit the brakes and looked to my left. What I saw rattled me to the core.

A black sports car was headed east (I was turning west) and he was flying!! When I say flying, he was doing at least 80mph in a 45. As he flew through the intersection, I look across to the car turning opposite me only to see the shear terror in that driver's eyes. I looked at DS, who was clearly shaken as well.

I finally made my turn and thanked God again and again.

Had I not heard God and listened, we would have gotten hit. Little black sports car would have hit my door or the back of my car and sent us into a spin--and who knows. At the rate of speed he was going, only by the grace of God would I have survived and the same for DS.

A second made all difference--One Single Minute.

Since yesterday afternoon I've been thinking..how many times does God speak to me and I don't hear Him? Or, maybe I hear Him, but don't listen?

Small thing--a lost uniform...big thing--my life and the life of my son.

God taking care of me, speaking to me--I just have to listen.

How frustrated I get at my own children because they don't listen--how frustrated God must get at me....

The events of the last two months of our lives have really led me to be in an attitude of prayer and have put me in the Word more often. I'm convinced that is the only way to hear God. How can you recognize someone when you don't spend any time with them?

We stay so busy, with so many things vying for our attention. There is so much noise--tv, radio, conversation--that we don't sit in silence and just let God do the talking.

Yesterday was a confirmation for me, just because God has answered prayer and worked miracles does not give me the right to turn away from what He's led me into--real time with Him. And not so much time talking to Him, but time being quiet and just listening to Him speak.

DS and I were spared yesterday. For what purpose--I may never know. But one thing is for certain, I want to be able to hear God when He leads me to that purpose.

"Be still, and know that I am God!.."
Psalm 46:10a, NLT, emphasis mine

"So he said to Samuel, 'Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, 'Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.'..."
1 Samuel 3: 9, NLT, emphasis mine

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Try It Tuesday!!

Welcome to another Try It Tuesday!!!

I love to bake. If I had the time, I'd bake.....A LOT!!!...I'd also be incredibley overweight because I like to eat what I bake, so maybe it's a good thing I don't have an abundance of time!! :o)

I also love to try new recipes. As always, some are hits, some are duds.

In our family, the hits get made quite often. So often in fact that we usually end up getting tired of them and I don't make them for quite some time.

Sure enough though, someone will inevitably ask.."Hey! It's been a long time since you've made _______. Why don't you make that again?"

To which I begin thinking..'Wow, that was really good and easy to make. I should make that tonight.'

Then the hunt begins.

What cookbook was that recipe in?

Was it even in a cookbook?

Did someone just write it down for me?

Did I print it off the internet?

Now... 3 hours into trying to find this recipe, I look at the clock to find that we should be ready to eat by now..not me still searching for the recipe!!

So I've begun gathering up all of those recipes my family loves and organizing them in one notebook. I printed a pretty cover for it titled "My Family's Favorites".

When I try a recipe that's a hit, I copy it and add it to that notebook. Now when I need something that I know my family loves, or I need a meal in a hurry, I can just flip that notebook open and pick something out!

It's ended a lot of frustration for me trying to "find that recipe"!

It has also allowed me to weed through a lot of cookbooks and loose recipes lying around. Let's face it, most of us only try a small portion of things in our cookbooks.

Our reasons could be, 'That doesn't sound/look good' or 'It's too expensive to make' or 'It takes too long to make' or whatever. By collecting those we love and organizing them into one book, we've also organized our homes just a bit. I print a lot of recipes off the internet and my mom and I are constantly sharing recipes.

Once I try the recipe, I can either file it with our favorites or I can throw it away.

We all want our lives to be easier and better organized. By being better organized we make things around our homes easier for us.

Try It this week!! Gather up those cookbooks and loose recipes and start organizing those your family loves. In no time at all you will be enjoying the benefit of having all of those yummy recipes in one book at the tip of your fingers!!

Here's a great, quick, easy recipe for rolls that my family just loves to get you started!!

Quick Rolls

2 cups Bisquick
1 stick margarine, melted
8 oz. sour cream

Mix all the ingredients. Spoon into a well greased muffin pan. Bake at 350ยบ for 10-15minutes. Be careful to not over-bake, (they are very soft and light tasting rolls when they are not over-baked).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Perfect Beauty

Our lesson last night in my teenage girl class at church talked about outer beauty. We've had a couple of such lessons focusing on pressures to be thin and beautiful, and what the world's idea of a beautiful woman is.

As I've sat and listened to these girls talk about the pressures--not only from friends but even from their own families--to be thin, my heart breaks.

It's no wonder that our girls can't love themselves just as God created them.

I've heard..their hips are too big, their tummy is too big. Their teeth aren't straight enough, their nose is too big. Their eyes are too close together, their eyebrows are too bushy. They are too tall, too short...the list goes on and on.

As grown women, we are not immune to this ourselves. All around us on tv and magazine covers we see 40, 50 and 60 something women who don't look a day over 25. Then we look in the mirror and see the sags, bags, wrinkles and gray hair and wonder what in the world is wrong with us!!

In the world's eyes, I'm in desperate need of shedding about 40 pounds..at least...getting a face lift (among other things lifted..), a new hair cut and a serious dye job. Then, of course, in accomplishing that, I'll need a new wardrobe and who knows what else to make me feel like a real woman..an acceptable specimen of the female race.

Frankly, I'm fed up with that mentality.

In studying my lesson for my class, I came upon this scripture in 1 Peter 3: 1-5--

"In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands." NLT...(emphasis mine)

I can't find anywhere in God's Word that He emphasizes outward beauty. It's always about inward beauty--having the fruit of the Spirit and living a life that mirrors Christ.

True beauty comes from a gentle and quiet spirit--not a loud, boisterous, look-at-me personality.

I'll be the first to admit, I like to look nice outwardly. But, to me, that means clean clothes that fit. Tidy hair and a happiness from within that is so strong it beams outward.

I've notice that when I'm on the same page with God, when I'm in His will..no matter what I look like outwardly--I still feel beautiful!! It's because that kind of beauty is coming from the Holy Spirit and that is perfect beauty. You can't buy that kind of beauty in the cosmetics aisle or at the beauty salon or under the knife of the best plastic surgeon in the world!

When we let go of the world's idea of beauty and get on board with God's idea of it, we'll notice a change in our attitude and that will flow over into our relationships. It will cause us to stop having bad hair days and then taking that out on everyone we meet.

I challenge you to pick up your Sword today and find some verses on beauty. Study them and commit them to your mind and heart and begin to live God's version of beautiful instead of the world's.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thank You All!!...so much

It has been a very trying week (well..last several months actually) in our household, but as always, God has shown Himself faithful.

No intimate details, but just know my bloggy buddies, that your prayers have been very effective.

The situation that our DS has been in, God resolved. We have been praying for several months for him because satan has really been attacking him, trying...sometimes successfully..to lead him astray. This past Thursday though, God had removed enough scales from his eyes that DS was able to see clearly for the first time in....in a long time.

It was incredibly emotional, long, hard day. But God showed up and and showed out!!

It was so awesome to watch Him work in our DS like we haven't seen in quite some time!

Anyway..thank you for your prayers...I am so humbled and blessed to know that there is a whole network of buddies out there who are praying. Please continue to pray for DS--Zack--as God continues to strengthen and grow him.

Another blessing of this week was when I checked my computer Friday morning, I found out that I'd been blessed by Larie over at Proverbs 27:19. I found out I was one of her chosen friends and am being blessed with a beautiful plaque!!

In light of the week, this was just icing on my cake!! (you can see a picture of it here!)

I know this is a short post for me..but I am so behind on so much in my house...and knowing how hard I strive to be a Titus 2 woman..well, you can imagine how nuts I am right now!!

I love you my bloggy buddies!!..and God Himself helping me, I should be back on track come Monday.

" Yes, You have been with me from birth; from my mother's womb You have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising You! My life is an example to many, because You have been my strength and protection. That is why I can never stop praising You! I declare Your glory all day long."
Psalm 71: 6-8 NLT

Love and prayers and thanks to all of you!!!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just Like God

She walked in the kitchen and looked around. Had it only been a couple of hours since she'd finished the dishes and swept the floor?

Looking at the counter covered in cheese wrappers and bread crumbs, it was hard to remember.

The griddle was still sitting on the counter along with half a dozen dirty plates.

Open chip bags along with an almost empty loaf of bread and open tub of butter confirmed the fact that teenagers had been present in that kitchen.....

She woke up tired that morning. Wishing she could sleep in, she slowly got out of the bed and began getting ready for church.

It wasn't that she didn't want to go to church--just the opposite..she needed the food that God would feed her through the message and the music--it was just one of those mornings that she wished she could go in her pajamas.

It had been a late night getting to sleep and she realized now that in many ways, having teenagers was no different than having tiny tots...you are still sleep deprived. Maybe that just comes along with being a parent....

An hour later found her and her family heading out the door for the 2 mile drive to church. She found herself thinking that back in the Little House days, they'd have walked that 2 miles, but now.......

As normal, God spoke to her weary heart that morning. There is much truth in the statement that you can only get out of something what you're willing to put into it.

Still physically tired, but spiritually full, she was looking forward to eating a small bite at home and then catching a nap on the couch for a couple of hours.

In the parking lot, only a couple of steps from her car, she was suddenly surrounded by 6 teenage boys..only one of them belonged to her.....

"Hey mom! Can B, S, R, J & D come over this afternoon??"

Oh how she hated to turn her son down. He'd always been able to charm her into doing pretty much anything.

"Now? Today?" Couldn't he see how tired she was? Didn't he remember the late night family meeting they had to have last night?

"Yeah! B & S have no where to go and D's grandma has to run an errand....and I just want R & J to hang out to!! Is it okay?"

Why is it that every time one of your kids want you to say yes, they always make sure their buddies are hanging around??

How do you say no to 12 eyes pleading for you to say yes?

"Sure. I guess it's okay.." What!! Did that just come out of her mouth??

A collective YES!! went up from the crowd along with a lot of high fives and then teenagers scattering to various cars heading toward her house.

Nap??? Yeah.....

As she and her husband pulled into their driveway, she couldn't help but think their driveway now looked like a used car lot. Even before getting out of the car the could hear the house thumping.....she couldn't understand the words, but she knew the surround sound in her son's room was at full volume.

DD and her boyfriend had decided that they would just go out for lunch...smart kids...

Walking in the back door she found 12 shoes of various sizes and styles...look for the positive.....at least they pulled their shoes off at the door.

She and DH changed and came back to the kitchen only to find the frig door standing open and a couple of guys trying to decide what soda to drink. One grabs a bag of chips and their son becomes the spokesman of the group wanting to know what was for lunch.

What do you feed 5 unexpected teenage boys? Well...it doesn't much matter..just as long as you feed them and you do it quickly.

She shooed them out of the kitchen and then she and DH decided that soup and grilled cheese sandwiches would handle the crowd.

Her hubby started opening the soup while she heated the griddle and buttered the bread.

Working together, it wasn't long before the soup was hot and 24 grilled cheese sandwiches were ready to eat.

Calling the boys in for prayer, they blessed the food and she excused herself while the feeding frenzy was in progress.

Only moments later she came back to the kitchen to find a wide-eyed husband desperately holding on to 3 sandwiches. With a look of utter fear on his face he presented the grilled cheese sandwiches to her and said, "I almost lost a hand trying to save these for us..."

She lost it!! Laughing until her tummy hurt and her jaws were sore. That's what she loved about this man...he knew exactly how to lift her spirits and make her smile.

Only minutes later the boys filtered back in, thanking them for the food and heading back to DS's room for more Rock Band. They shut the bedroom door, but it didn't do much good. She didn't think there was a way to contain that much noise....

She and her hubby finished their lunch and he headed toward the kitchen to help her clean it up. After a little insisting though, she convinced him to go relax on the couch and read the paper. He worked so hard and his job was so stressful, she wanted to make sure that he got the rest he so deserved.

Now..standing in the kitchen, looking at those cheese wrappers and that open bread and chips..she fought a battle. Part of her wanted to be so angry. How come her son didn't pick up on how tired she was? How come those boys didn't at least offer to help clean the kitchen back up? After all...they were a little unexpected weren't they??

But the other part of her was thankful for answered prayer. She always wanted to live in the house where the teenagers wanted to hang out. She wanted to be the cool mom. That had happened. God had answered her prayers. How could she be angry?

She began cleaning the kitchen and before long, joined her hubby on the couch to read the paper.

In only moments she felt her eyes begin to close and she just leaned her head back.

The house was still thumping and the laughter was loud, but amazingly..she got a nap. God provided.

And isn't that just like God?

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Today I join up with Sonya over at Truth 4 the Journey for Thankful Thursday.

I believe what I love most about Thankful Thursday is the fact that no matter how tough your week has been, this gives you cause to stop and look back at wonderful God truly is.

No matter what you're going through, there is always plenty to be thankful for.

1) I am thankful that DS finally got a car!! It needs a small bit of work, which DH and DS will be doing this weekend..but I'm at the short rows of having to share a car!!!

2) I am thankful that DS got a new job in a better environment. When he began his search, he decided that with the economy in our neck of the woods, he would take whatever...well, he got what he asked for..a job. But as of yesterday, he was hired in a place that has a much better environment....okay..he starts tomorrow at Chick Fil A!! (I'm truly thankful for this one!)

3) I am thankful that my Mom and Dad celebrated 46 years of marriage this week and I was able to be there with them. There have been many years that we lived out of state and a card and a phone call had to do.

4) I am thankful that we are eating supper at my mother-in-law's tonight. I am very blessed to have a wonderful mother-in-law and time spent with her is always great!

5) I am thankful for answered prayer and the fact that I can see God moving in a matter that has been at the top of our family's prayer list.

For more Thankful Thursday, click here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Try It Tuesday!!

We're back for another Try It Tuesday!!

I hope this last week found you taking at least 15 minutes a day strictly for yourself and I pray that you can tell a very positive difference within yourself by doing that. Keep up the good work!!

This week's Try It, finds us looking for cheaper ways to clean our homes.
For about a year now, I've turned to plain, white vinegar for a good portion of my household cleaning.

I'd been hearing for years how well vinegar cleaned and already knowing how cheap vinegar was, made me very interested...but I was very concerned that by using vinegar, my entire house would begin to smell like a pickle factory--not very appealing to me, let me assure you.

One day though, I just took the plunge and thought if I can't take the smell, I'll open the windows and air out the place and start new.

To my amazement, my house didn't smell like an open bottle of vinegar!!! I was truly amazed by this!! I found that the vinegar was so diluted by the added water (usually a ½ cup vinegar to a gallon of water) that you could hardly smell it at all!!

So...our challenge this week is to strive to clean our house without using costly cleaners--an added bonus is vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice--they're not toxic!!

Below are some ways that I use vinegar in my cleaning. I'm sure you can come up with more ways to use it and other household things to clean your home.

* Add 1 cup vinegar to your rinse cycle in your washing machine. It's great for softening clothes. (I actually put the vinegar in my Downy ball. I just fill the ball almost to the top and drop it in!)

* Add ½ cup vinegar to a half-gallon warm water to mop your hardwood floors

* Mix equal parts vinegar and water to wash your windows. Dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.

* Loosen the food splatters in your microwave by heating a solution of ¼ cup vinegar and 1 cup water in the microwave until boiling (make sure to allow the water to sit a few minutes before removing the cup so you will not get burned!!)
The food particles will wipe right off!

* To clean the drains in my house, once a week I pour a ½ cup baking soda in the drains and pour a cup of vinegar on top. Yes, you do get that volcano erupting effect (and it's really cool to watch!!!---and if you homeschool, this just became a science lesson!!). I let that sit for about 10 minutes and follow with about 2 quarts of boiling water.

* To get rid of that ring around the bathtub, wipe the tub down with vinegar and then with baking soda. Rinse clean with water.

* Got weeds in your garden? Spraying vinegar full strength on the top of the weed will kill it. You may have to reapply a few times until the weed starves, but it will kill them. Be very careful to not let any vinegar spray on something you don't want killed--from my experience, this stuff kills fast and usually with only one application!!

There you go! Just a few things to get you started. Let me know about your cheap cleaning ideas and let's start working together to save money and clean wisely!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Whether on the Mountain or in the Fire....

Sorry that I haven't been around much these last few days....

DH has had a few days off of work due to a reduction in hours and so I've spent a lot more time with him. I try very hard to not be on the computer so much when he's around.

25 years of marriage has taught us that things can change in One Single Minute...so when we have the opportunity to just spend time together..that's what we do.

In reading some of my past posts, you have also gathered that there has been a definite attack on our family unit.

With that, I've decided that I must devote much more time to prayer and being a vessel that God can use.

Am I going to stop blogging? No...I don't believe God is leading me in that direction. But, with my family being under the attack of satan, I just cannot ignore it.

All around me I am watching families crumble. Strong, Christian families that I look up to and admire.

I'm seeing husbands and wives arguing over little, insignificant things. I'm watching kids in those families make very unwise decisions...rebellious to the uttermost. Jobs are being lost, finances being destroyed...strong men having a downtrodden countenance..strong women looking exhausted and defeated.

For several weeks now, my own family has been under attack and God has made it very clear to me that I cannot sit back and do nothing. I'm sure that what we are going through is a refining period. The fire is hot and the atmosphere intense.

"I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'These are My people,' and they will say, 'The Lord is our God'." Zechariah 13:9, NLT

God does give me hope and encouragement as He gives me glimpses of our family as I know He designed it to be. He is reassuring me that He hasn't left me or DH or our children.

I'm reminded of the cartoons that we've grown up with where you've got the little devil sitting on one shoulder and the little angel sitting on the other.

Satan is whispering in one ear that I may as well give up and Jesus is in the other telling me that, "...the Spirit Who lives in you, is greater than the spirit who lives in the world." 1 John 4:4b, NLT

I know that giving up is not an option. As an old pastor of mine said..."I've read the back of the Book. We win!"

Yes, I am growing tired. But in my tired state, I'm also growing angry. I'm growing angry at a being who is doing everything he can to destroy what God is doing.

I am growing angry at a being who is destroying everything in his path at a rate of speed that boggles my mind.

And, believe it or not, I rejoice in my anger. This anger has caused me to dig in the Word.

It has caused my prayer life to become a state of being with me..not just something I do.

It has caused me to go before the Lord and beg Him to strip me down, and bare my soul and reveal to me sins that I've hidden and never confessed...and ashamedly..there have been many.

It has caused me to ask the Father to test me and try me that I may be without blemish and be a vessel who is not only ready to be used, but desiring to be used.

My anger has caused me to be bolder in sharing Jesus Christ..bolder in telling others of this amazing Savior I have and the fact that He is everything....He is MY everything, and without Him....there is no hope.

So, my bloggy buddies, don't forget about me if I go a few days and you see the same ole' post. Know that if I'm not posting, I'm spending time with my Father...either on the mountain or in the fire..and when I do get back here, we'll rejoice in the lessons learned and the glory of the One Who is in control of it all!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Husband Rocks!!!

It's Friday and that means I'll be joining Katy Lin over at The Great Adventure to celebrate our hubbies!!

This week I'm going to share what an awesome Dad my DH is.

A couple of Sundays ago we woke up to about a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Not a big deal for some people, but for those of us living in the deep south....it's somethin' to get excited about!!!!

We actually got up intending to go to church and were well on our way to doing just that when one of our deacons called and told us that church had been cancelled....(again, if you live in the south...you understand this!! :o)

With that news, it didn't take us terribly long to change into warm clothes and head outside for a good round of playing fetch with the dogs, while having a good battle among ourselves with snowballs. (I think I lost that battle because I had more snow in my clothes than anyone else had on them!!!)

One side of our yard is on a hill and I noticed DH come up missing for a few minutes. It wasn't long before I saw him emerge from his shop with tarp in hand. Oh yeah...we were going "sledding" down the hill.

Thing was, somebody had to pull you so far down the hill and then let you go.

In my family there are 4 of us..DH, myself, DD (18), and DS (16). None of us are....tiny..people. God has built us....strapping.. to say the least..:o)

DS did quite a bit of the pulling, but DD nor I could pull anyone!! So my DH stepped up to the plate and began pulling DS and us women folk as well.

The big deal about this??

My DH suffers incredibly with some type of problem in his shoulder. We're not quite sure (and neither are the doctors) what is wrong. We just know that even sleeping on his arm the wrong way can cause him incredible pain for days on end, much less putting a lot of strenuous activity on that shoulder.

But he was a trooper. It snows so seldom in our neck of the woods and our kids are almost ready to start spreading their wings....he wasn't about to let an opportunity like this pass him by..shoulder pain or not.

After about an hour, we were thoroughly frozen and ready to go inside and warm up.

After changing into dry clothes and putting the wet clothes in to wash, I got DH some meds for his shoulder and a warm cup of coffee.

This man of mine is amazing. To risk a lot of pain for a lot of days in order to make memories for his family......just makes me love him even more.

Yessir!! My husband rocks!!!!

To check other My Husband Rocks participants, click here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Today I join up with Sonya for Thankful Thursday.

I always look forward to sharing what I'm thankful for and catch myself spending my week putting those special things back in a little mental folder to share.

Here goes...

1) I am truly thankful for the breakthrough that DS and I had yesterday. He is really struggling with some things and God blessed and answered prayers and we were actually able to communicate...hear... each other yesterday. It was a very big blessing!!!

2) I am thankful that DD finally saved enough of her own money to upgrade her phone!! She has been talking non-stop for weeks now about this phone (even following us around the house to talk about it.....)

3) I am thankful that this week has had some beautiful spring-like weather. I've been able to open my windows and enjoy the subtle breeze and listen to the birds sing. Something I like to think God does especially for me..:o}

4) I am thankful our dog is feeling better. He was out of his fence this past Saturday and got into a fight. He got hurt pretty badly and didn't move too much for days. He actually met me at the fence yesterday for a nummie!!!

5) I am thankful that DH has the next 4 days off. He works in a highly stressful job, and even though the off time is due to a reduction in hours, it's time that he'll be able to rest up and catch up on some things that he enjoys doing!

To join up with more Thankful Thursday, click here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

He is So Awesome

I just want to give a shout out to my Savior....

He carries me when I'm too tired walk on my own. He holds me close when I tremble and am afraid. He assures me with His presence and even when I can't feel Him, I know He's there.

He opens doors and breaks down walls and heals wounds...even when they run deep.

When all I can do is cry, he wipes my tears and comforts me.

He is my strength when I'm weak.

He is faithful even when I'm not.

He never breaks a promise or changes His mind.

He never lets me go, even when I'm pulling away from Him and wanting to do things my own way and handle things myself, He refuses to let go.

"I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lords' greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; He surrounds and defends all who fear Him. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear Him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing."
Psalm 34: 1-10 NLT

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Try It Tuesday!!

To begin with a confession....I have failed miserably with last week's Try It Tuesday!!.....It seems like I couldn't get my kitchen cleaned before going to bed no matter how hard I tried. I think I was only successful twice last week....I'm glad that Try It Tuesdays are geared toward a lifestyle change. (It may take me that long to accomplish that!!!)

Moving on...

I've been thinking a while on how as wives and mothers, we tend to put ourselves on the back burner.

We are awesome caregivers and teachers and house cleaners and wash women and chauffeurs and doctors and the list goes on and on...but do you know what we're not awesome at???

Carving out even 15 minutes in our day..just for us..

SHHHH.....Can you hear the gasping?? It's coming from one of two groups.

Group one is gasping because they're short of breath from trying to be everything for everybody.

Group two is gasping because they believe they're reading the words of a nut who honestly thinks they can find 15 minutes in their day.

It can be done though. Not only can it be done, it has to be done.

We, as women, give so much of ourselves everyday. A little bit here, a little bit there until we quite literally feel like we can give no more. Do you know what you have when you have a worn out, give out woman???

Someone who is negative, depressed, uptight, angry, stressed...Someone whom nobody else wants to be around. (There are times I'd walk away from my own self if I could!!)

We need to understand that it's incredibly important to take some time for ourselves every day. It may only be 15 minutes, but that 15 minutes will change our day completely.

I'm not talking about the time you take with God....that's God's time.

I'm not talking about the time you spend while waiting on little Suzie after school, or little Johnny after soccer practice...that time is focused on little Suzie or little Johnny and what you need to do once you pick them up.

I'm not talking about the time you spend sitting in the Dr's office or waiting in line or anything like that.

I'm talking about 15 or even 30 minutes a day that you spend on you.

In 15 minutes you can enjoy your favorite drink (oh, yes, iced green tea with raspberry!!) and read a book or look through your favorite magazine.

In 15 minutes you can take a walk or just sit on the porch and enjoy the quiet.

In 15 minutes you can put your feet up and just lay your head back and close your eyes and be silent.

When can you do this?? It depends on your schedule, but I know that if we try hard enough, we can find just 15 minutes.

After just that few minutes you're able to regroup, take a breath and see things a little more clearly. You will notice the change in you and so will your family.

So, are you willing to Try It??

We spend so much time lovin' on others, spend a little time this week lovin' on yourself and let me know what happens!!

At the Well...

At the Well Blog Button

Hi Bloggy friends!!

My normal Try It Tuesday!! post will be following shortly.

Meanwhile, how about taking a visit over At the Well, where I've done a post about The Heart of the Home....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Redeeming the Time

I can't explain it.

Have you ever just had an urgent spirit? You know that God is speaking to your heart--you know that He is encouraging..desiring you to get closer to Him.

You can't explain it, but you just know that the clock is ticking and you can't play games anymore. You're either in or you're out. No more straddling the fence.

That's where I am.

If you read my Thankful Thursday post, you've gotten a little insight into the fact that there have been some struggles going on in our household.

Now, not anything over the top..nothing more than many people are facing right now. DH has had a reduction in hours, DS trying to prove he's a man at 16...not doing anything we've thought about calling the police for-- :o} --just things that are causing us to tighten the reigns on him.

The blessing...the hope...the knowledge that God is faithful, lies in DD who has spent around a year and a half in the wilderness. (Apparently DS has forgotten what it was like when his sister was there....) In the last 2 months, we have been so blessed to watch our strong headed prodigal come home..and what a homecoming it's been!!!

This girl is so in love with and so on fire for our Savior that she's literally contagious!!

Please don't misunderstand. We have good kids. I wouldn't trade our life with them for anything. They absolutely know how to make their mother smile and they are a joy to be around. But don't we all want our children to be on fire for, sold out to Jesus??

Within myself though, going over my life in the last year, praying, asking God to open my eyes, to reveal to me His perfect will for my life at this time--to purge me and show me my sin that I can confess it and stand before Him, a vessel ready to be used. That's where I'm at.

Something God has repeatedly shown me is that I waste too much time. It's something I've known, but have refused to confront. I mean, the house is clean, the laundry is caught up..most of the time..meals are cooked..but in my asking God to reveal things to me, I have to be honest with myself. I do waste a lot of time.

It seems as if I've allowed Satan to make me easily distracted. Something I used to not be. That has got to stop.

I've touched on prioritizing in prior posts and on not wasting time, but I have to step up and begin to "practice what I preach".

I love blogging and I love reading other blogs and praying for those people who share their needs. I have made some wonderful friends through the blogging world that I'm positive God has placed in my life. I don't intend to stop blogging unless God just shows me that's what He wants. He has shown me though, that I am spending too much time on this computer and therefore, wasting precious time that He wants me to use in other ways. Such as......

With the reduction in DH's hours, the dryer is a luxury. I've got to stop wasting time and get that laundry washed and on the line. I can't wait and mosey around and then get it out on the line around 2 in the afternoon and expect it to be dry by 5. I've got to get it out early.

I've got to get more creative in my cooking and I've got to do it on a smaller budget. That means better planning, even more cooking from scratch and that means not waiting until 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon to decide a meal.

My family loves having snacks on hand and that means I need to make time to bake these things.

I've got to stop making unnecessary trips into town..for whatever. Unless DH has asked me to pick something up for him, I've got to learn that most things can wait. For me a trip into town will usually end up in spending money (and time) that doesn't need spent.

With DS, I've got to ask myself...what are my children truly seeing in me?? Are they seeing a Mom totally sold out and committed to God, spending time with Him because she desires to be with her Savior, or are that seeing a Mom who tries to "fit God in"? Do I speak to them in love with a gentle voice or do I get all "psycho" (their word)?

In asking God to purge me and reveal to me, it's been a little brutal---done in love and in answer to prayer--but brutal...and I'm thankful for that. It's how I want God to be with me...actually, it's how He needs to be with me. I'm a stubborn daughter and truthfully, brutal honesty is what gets my attention.

I've been forced to back up and ask myself how many of the trials that I go through are self induced?

I believe this is where the urgency comes in.

I can't be lukewarm any longer.

I have aging parents, of which both are lost. I can't waste anymore time.

I have a sister who is out of fellowship with God, I can't waste anymore time.

I have in-laws who are lost and out of fellowship with God. I can't waste anymore time.

I have a son who is at a crossroads, I can't waste anymore time.

Our income has been cut, I can't waste anymore time.

I have 3 sets of dear friends whose marriages are in trouble, I can't waste anymore time.

I read the headlines and listen to the news and can't believe how quickly we've come to this place, I can't waste anymore time.

People all around me are searching for hope. They are searching for Who I have, but do they know I have Him?

How quickly, how easily Satan creeps in when we grow complacent, lazy, wasteful.

"So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do."
Ephesians 5:15-17, NLT (bold emphasis mine)

So, as I truly grab hold of a faithful God~as He takes me places that may stretch my faith~as He shows me His will for my life, I choose to hold on to this Scripture...
"Therefore, since we (I) have been made right in God's sight by faith, we (I) have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us (me) ."
Romans 5:1, NLT (bold print mine)

So I ask, how are you redeeming your time??

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Husband Rocks!!

It's Friday and that means I'll be joining Katy Lin over at The Great Adventure to celebrate our hubby's!!

I've only been part of this meme a week or two, but I find myself looking very forward to participating on Fridays.

This week, Katy Lin posed the question, "What makes a happy marriage?"

DH and I have been married a bit over 25 years and today we are more in love with each other than we've ever been.

In our 25 years we have traveled so many paths. The first 8½ years, neither of us knew Jesus. We were living for the moment, partying hard, living fast. We were "good" people, people you wouldn't mind having as neighbors..but we were unsaved and it showed as 7½ years in we were talking divorce.

The next 7 or 8 months proved to be the toughest we'd ever been through before or since.

But God in His Sovereignty, had mercy on us. He put people in our lives that would lead us to Him and it's been uphill ever since.

For us...the secret to a happy marriage is really no secret at all.....It's Jesus.
There is no other way for a marriage to work. God must have every area of a marriage in order for it to be successful.

When God has first place, men desire to be good husbands...women desire to be submissive and good helpmeets.

There is power in numbers--a marriage is two people--but put God in the mix and now there are three. Three is most certainly stronger than 2 in the natural, but since God is Supernatural---well, it's really a no-brainer.

A happy marriage can only be found when you take yourself out of the way and put the other one first. When you do that you're not turning yourself into a doormat, you are loving someone more than self.

A happy marriage is work...it doesn't just happen. There are days when I'm confident I try DH's patience more than he would ever let me know..and I'm sure it's on those days that he'd like to take off running down the street, screaming at the top of his lungs..but the option to leave..to call it quits..is never an option.

A happy marriage is love. Whether you have little or much. Whether you are healthy or fighting an illness. Whether you are working or unemployed. Whether the kids are being wonderful or keeping you up all hours of the night. A happy marriage is sacrificial love....and who can we learn that kind of love from???

The Giver of the most sacrificial love ever...Jesus Christ.

Fall in love with Him, spend time with Him. His love will be shown to you and you can freely and easily pass it on to the one you've vowed to love forever.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Me? In the Spotlight!!


Hi Bloggy Friends!!

Just wanted to share that I'm going to be in the Spotlight this Saturday!

Ashley, over at Putting God First Place, does a weekly spotlight each Saturday featuring a different blogger and her site. It's an awesome way to get to meet other bloggy buddies!!

Take a minute and check out her site. You will MOST CERTAINLY be blessed by this very talented woman of God.

Can't wait to see you there on Saturday!!

Thankful Thursday!!

Thankful Thursday at Truth 4 the Journey

Today I join up with Sonya over at Truth 4 the Journey for Thankful Thursday.

I have to confess friends, that this has been a tough week. Satan had been on the attack, not just in my own family, but in the families of friends very dear to me.

In reading my Bible this morning, I found this verse: "Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you." Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT

Thank God that He is always with me, even if I can't sense His presence, I know He is there.

1) I am thankful that even though DH's hours at work have been cut, he still has a job.

2) I am thankful for a DH that is strong when I am not. Considering the last week, he's been my rock!

3) I am thankful that a dear friend at church has went 5 days without a cigarette!! This has been a chain around his neck for many years. I am sooo happy for him!

4) I am thankful that in the midst of turmoil, God gives me peace.

5) I am thankful that DD, who spent about a year and a half in the wilderness, has found her Father and a hunger for Him that amazes even me...

Click here for more Thankful Thursday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blog Party--Motherhood

Today's topic at the Blog Party over at She Looketh Well is Motherhood.

Being a mom is so special to me and I can't think of a greater calling on my life. I am humbled each time I look at my two precious children and think that God specifically chose me to be their Mom.

I was especially struck by something Michelle wrote: "All mothers love their children, but not all mothers love motherhood." As soon as I read that I totally understood what she meant.

Motherhood, to me, is so much more than giving birth and meeting the needs of the children I've been blessed with.

It's being involved in everything about their life.

It's not only sharing Jesus with them, but showing Jesus to them, living Jesus in front of them. Now that my children are teenagers (16 & 18) how I wish I'd done a better job doing that.

To me, motherhood means holding on to each precious moment and making sure that my children learn and live the truths that we are to love others as Christ loves them...and maybe when it's hard to love others, we let Christ love them through us. That we are to put others before self. We are to be humble instead of prideful. We are to be encouraging (even to our siblings..).

Motherhood means, tea parties and dirt bikes. It means snuggles and I love you's. It means late nights...whatever the reason. It means being available...even when available isn't convenient.

It means staying in an attitude of prayer over those children. Lifting them up because the world is fighting so hard to hold on to them.

There is no down time. It's a calling. It's who I am. It's what I will always be.
Each Mom lives a different situation. Some can stay at home, some have to work. Some are married, others are single for whatever reason. Some moms have one child, some have 15 or more. The calling on a mother's life is the same though, no matter the number of children she has or the situation she lives in.

Motherhood is a life-long calling...one I am thankful for and grateful to be a part of.

What does motherhood mean to you?

To join the Blog Party, click here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's a Blog Party!!!

Let me stick a side note in before you read further: I had problems with the button for some reason, so PLEASE click on the links below to access the party!!

I have found a wonderful party going on in the bloggy world!!

The host is Michelle over at She Looketh Well. She is having a Titus 2 Blog Party and I think this is probably one of the best things I've seen around in quite some time!!

The idea of this party is to get to know other women who are or who desire to be the best Titus 2 woman they can be. As most of you know, this is something that is near and dear to my heart....a desire, a yearning..a need..to be the most Biblical wife and child of God we can be.

I feel that there is a whole generation of women--and now a generation of young women--whose minds have been so clouded by what the world's definition of a wife truly is. We have stood silent too long, hoping they'll "get it" God doesn't want them to "get it", He wants the older women to train the younger--and I don't believe He's talking about older in age. There are many women out there younger than me who are a much stronger Titus 2 woman than I am..

All around me I am watching marriages fall apart--strong, Christian marriages--and it breaks my heart.

Something has to be done. We, as Titus 2 women, need to come together and encourage each other, glean from each other, strengthen each other--that's why I truly love the idea of this party.

It began Monday, but I only found out about it this morning. It's not too late to join in and I would greatly encourage all of you to do just that.

If you want to join the party, click here.

See you there!!!

Try It Tuesday!!

It's Tuesday and that means time for another Try It Tuesday!!

First, how did you do last week? Were you able to fix meals completely out of what was already in your kitchen??

I did very well actually. Towards the end of the week I needed to buy milk and found bacon on sale (the really thick kind that DH loves sooo much) and bought it. Of course when he saw it, he wanted me to cook some so...I feel that I learned two things:

1) No matter what you go to the store for, you put yourself in the midst of temptation of buying things you really could do without.

2) When you're doing a challenge that has to do with food, don't let DH (who already has you wrapped around his little finger) influence you to cook something you bought on sale until the challenge is over!! :o)

Now, on to today's Try It..

Sometimes I know early on what I want to do for Try It Tuesday. Other times, like this week, it hits me just in time. Last night as I was washing my dishes I was thinking to myself how much better the next day begins if I wake up to a clean kitchen.

I wake up, come in the kitchen and turn on the light over the sink and if the dishes have been washed and put away and the floor swept, if the counters are clear and there are no shoes piled at the back door, I'm immediately in a better mood. I feel like it's going to be a good day. But on those days when I come in the kitchen and there's dirty dishes all over every counter, cookie crumbs and dirt in the floor, garbage climbing the wall and 62 pair of shoes at the back door....I immediately get a heavy feeling within myself. I'm behind before I even get started and quite honestly, I don't feel like doing anything at all.

For me, and maybe for you, waking up to a dirty kitchen has far more repercussions than you might think.

I love to cook and I love to do it frugally, but if I begin my day with a messy kitchen, here's how it pretty much goes:

Wake up, find a messy kitchen (sounds like little elves dirtied it while I slept, huh??), mood turns tired. Get DH out the door, look around at the kitchen...I'll get it when I finish my devotions. Finish devotions, go back and look at kitchen...well, I really need to check my e-mail and do a post and check out my bloggy buddies sites before the kids get up.

Finish that, kids are up. Kitchen can wait, DD has to be at work in 2 hours want to catch up with her and let her know her school work for the day.

DS is out the door to his job..."I love you!! Be safe!!"

DD leaves for work. Need to get out of these pj's, make my bed and clean the bathrooms.

Hmm..feeling hungry, need to make a bite to eat. Walk into kitchen..ughhh..still messy, quick bowl of cereal (have to wash a bowl).

Now it's past noon. Mail ran. Go through the mail, straighten the living room, finally out of my pj's.

DS will be home soon, need to get his lessons ready. DS is home, want to hear about his day..get him started on his school work.

Look at the clock---3:30!!!!!! DH will be home in an hour!! Kitchen is still a mess and I haven't planned anything for supper!! Crazy woman takes my place and by 5 we're sitting down to a quick meal (you know, those things you keep in the freezer for real emergencies??)

This is not much of an exaggeration at all. It seems as if my whole day is frittered away and I've accomplished nothing. I feel like I have let everyone down and especially myself.

Now, when I've gone to bed with a clean kitchen I get up, go in the kitchen. Coffee is already made because I remembered to program the coffee pot the night before. Counters are empty and clean, I'm not tripping over shoes.

DH leaves for work, I do my devotions and check my e-mail.

Get my bed made and straighten the living room. If the kids don't have to be to work early, I go wake them up. While they're waking up, I decide what I'm going to fix for supper and lay that meat out. Am I going to make bread? Sure! I've got clean counters to work the dough on.

Kids are up, eating breakfast. I've got a sink of soapy water waiting on their dirty dishes. All they have to do is rinse and stick them in the dishwasher.

Get out of pj's, make bed, hang out some laundry. It's only noon??? Check the mail, eat some lunch.

Kid's off to work, I'll grade schoolwork. Turn on the tv....oohhh, I LOVE this Little House rerun. Watch Little House.

4o'clock time to start supper. DH comes home to good smells wafting through the house. DS home from work (DD is closing at her job, make her a plate). I get to enjoy a meal and my family in a calm spirit.

Quite honestly it does amaze me at how much smoother my day goes if I wake up to a clean kitchen.

Here's what I've found:

1) Waking up to a clean kitchen saves me time. It is so much quicker to wash a dirty pan if it hasn't sat all night and the food cemented itself in.

2) Waking up to a clean kitchen saves money. I am able to bake and cook more frugally since I'm not relying on quick convenience foods to bail me out. We eat healthier too!!

3) Waking up to a clean kitchen puts me in a better frame of mind, I don't feel behind or defeated before I even get started.

So here's our challenge for this week:

Do not go to bed with a dirty kitchen. After your evening meal, go straight in and do those dishes. Dry and put away the ones that don't go in your dishwasher and stick that drain board under the sink. My family usually has an evening snack, so I'll run a small bit of soapy water and leave in the sink for those snack dishes to be rinsed in and then put in the dishwasher.

Wipe down all of the counters, the cabinet doors, the stove and the range hood.

If you get a collection of shoes at your back door (like I do), get the attention of the owner and have them come claim their shoes before you decide to auction them off (or let the Lab have them for chew toys!)

Check the garbage can. If it's full, take it out (or get the one in charge of garbage detail to do it).

Take up the throw rugs, give them a good shake and sweep the floor.

If I find spots on the floor, for example if somebody spilled something or dropped something, I use my swiffer thingy and a wet pad and just spot mop the floor. (No, I don't buy those expensive pads. I make my own cleaning solution and let a few rags soak in it. Then when I need to spot mop, I just pull a rag out, use it and toss it in the washer!)

Believe it or not, all of this usually takes less than 30 minutes!!!

Right before bedtime (I'll let the soapy water out of the sink and rinse it out) give a final check to the counters (put away the cereal bag (DS) and the chip bag (DD), and head off to bed where you can go to sleep with a smile on your face knowing that there isn't a huge mess waiting on you when you get up in the morning.

I promise you, you will see a big difference in your day and in your attitude and what better way to be a better wife and mom than to greet your family with a happier you!!

Are you up to the Try It challenge?? Can't wait to see how your week goes!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Throwing Snowballs

Since I don't usually blog on Sunday, I want to share with you about Sunday today..

Yesterday morning we woke up to snow on the ground and snow falling like crazy!

To many of you, that may not be a big deal, it may even be an, "Oh no!! Not again..." moment. Having grown up in Chicago and having lived in Indiana and Colorado, I fully understand what those moments feel like..but..having lived in the deep south most of my 44 years (and that being where I live now) even a little snow is a big event!

We ended up with 2-3 inches of snow, enough for our church to cancel services--which is normal for most places around here. Yes, my family and I can't help but roll our eyes a bit because we've had to drive in snow so deep it was best if you were directly behind the snow plow--but we remember that this is very unusual for where we live now and so decide to enjoy the moment.

After seeing the snow, DH and I went in and woke up the kids. DD hit the floor and went straight to the window to look, because even at 18, she is still blessed to have the ability to see and enjoy things through child-like eyes. I pray she never looses that..

DS was a little slower at moving, but he too finally was up and about.

It wasn't long before we were all dressed and outside.

DD had gotten out there first and built a snow family on our pool deck. The "husband and wife" were about a foot tall with "baby" about 6 inches tall. She even stuck some little twigs in the snow for "trees".

Then she got busy and made some snowballs for our dogs to fetch.

We had our lab when we lived in Colorado. Out there, we taught him to fetch a snowball. He learned to gently pick it up in his mouth and try to bring it back to us. Of course by the time he would get it back to us it would be nearly melted from his breath, but it was a fun game for him and, as yesterday proved, one he still remembered. However, our little beagle was a different story. DD would throw a snow ball for him and he would try to fetch it, but couldn't quite master the gentle technique of picking it up in his mouth. He would grab the snowball as if he was grabbing a tennis ball, and of course it would completely fall apart. He'd stand there a moment looking at the ground and then bark at the disintegrated snowball!! It was hysterical!!

Throwing snowballs for the dogs soon turned into throwing snowballs at each other. I ended up with as much snow inside my clothes as I had on the outside. For some reason, my family likes to gang up on me in moments like that.......

DH went to his shop and got a tarp and we took turns pulling each other down the hill in the tarp. One of us would sit on the tarp and either DH or DS would start running. About halfway down the hill, they would let go and we were off!! Most of the time we could get stopped before heading into the trees, but DH couldn't get stopped one time and almost found himself in the creek!! Now that would have been refreshing!!!

After we were totally frozen and covered in snow, we went inside to hot chocolate and coffee and a warm breakfast.

As is typical for our area, by mid-day, the snow was a memory..but what a good memory it was.

The season of life I'm in right now rarely affords me the blessing of those moments when DD and DS were tots. Both are looking at college or apprenticeships...each graduating in the next year and a half...They both have part time jobs and busy schedules and even though we homeschool, our nest is more quiet now than in years past.

Though I don't believe I took anything for granted while the kids were growing up, moments like yesterday become more precious to me.

Let me encourage you, especially those of you with tiny tots, to not take one moment for granted. When little bit is pulling on your shirt to come play or color..do it. When tiny tot needs you to drive the dump truck, drive it. When your teenager wants to stay under the warm blankets pull him out and get him outside to throw snowballs....believe me, neither of you will regret it.