Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our New Editions...

"All I want for Christmas is a dog." says my 6 year old son. He has been begging for a dog for 2 years. How can a parent deprive a child of such a request??? So, we took the plunge... not once, but twice.

We came home with two puppies. WHAT WAS I THINKING!!! All jokes aside they are adorable and smart, but they are a lot of work. Up late at night and constantly watching to make sure they aren't going to the bathroom in the house. Since I have always shared my bed with my babies and nursed I didn't really have a problem with being up or loosing sleep with newborns... These two have their days and nights mixed up sleeping all day when the kids want to play and staying up all night when mom and dad want to sleep.

I've never been a dog person... I would laugh at people who made their dogs their children, but I gotta say these two are growing on me... turning me into a mushy dog lover.

My neighbor asked me yesterday what kind of drugs I was on to have 4 children and 2 puppies... Testimony to how much work these little creatures are... Well, I'm not on any drugs, but that might change...

Anyway, my sweet boy got his request and seeing the boy with his dog is one of the sweetest things I have ever witnessed so all the hardship is worth the delight I see in my boy.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Master Trade...

It's an easy thing to get overloaded... Busy is a way of life these days. After becoming a Mom I found it difficult to do all that I needed to do here and do all the outside stuff too. I felt like I needed to do this or that, but then I would neglect husband and children to do this other thing. Good things... It was always Good things, church stuff. The church needed me and I was burdened by guilt one way or another. This started me on a quest to find out WHAT does God's word say for me. I'm a Mommy with small children. What does the Lord require of me... It was amazing what I found.
I Timothy 2:15 "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."
This verse is talking about the role of woman in the church. Well, let me just say that I have not seen this patterned in any church or area of life since becoming a Christ Follower so I was very surprised. There are many other good verses about a woman in my position and what our role is, but I like this one because it gives me permission to FOCUS on my family. In this world and even in the church we woman are always running around doing something, so to be told that the only thing God really expects for me to do is have children and raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is REFRESHING!!! I say that because I am not someone who can do it all or wear many hats. I need to know that it's OK to focus on one thing and do it to the best of my ability. I personally believe that if I'm taking good care of the home and family that my husband has the freedom to "Go tell" and share the Gospel with a lost and dying world.
I read a book recently that said if every member of the church would find out what God wants for them personally to do, and then do it, and then hold fast in that position that God's work would be much for affective. Instead we all want to do someone elses job. WHY??? We have to ask ourselves WHY??? I have found in my own life that it's because what God has asked me to do does not bring me much recognition or glory. I don't get praised for sleepless nights or changing dirty diapers. No one sees me doing the ordinary things I do each day. No one pats me on the back for doing 1000 dishes and 15 loads of clothes each week. So, when a chance comes for me to be seen I jump at it.
The thing is though that it's not about us it's about HIM. The thing is that if I'm doing something He did not ask me to do I'm not doing His will. The thing is that someone does see EVERYTHING I do and when I do His will for His glory with His joy as my strength HE SAYS WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. The thing is I don't need to step out of my place to be seen because then I'm just trying to get the applause of man and IF I receive my reward on earth then I don't receive on in heaven...
So, I have to stay singleminded on the task he has placed before me. Day in and day out no matter how little anyone sees. God sees EVERYTHING!!!
As a result of this seeking I have learned that I can have a flourishing ministry that I share with my husband. Because I am focusing on my home I am able to open it anytime to anyone and do what God has called me to do and that is be hospitable. We have family night on Tuesdays with our extended family and tonight I received the most wonderful compliment... Someone said "I love it here I never want to leave." Lord thank you so much for helping me see that when I am in your will and doing only what you have asked me to do that I can be a Master of my trade. Thank you for using our home to ministry to others...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

5 things that save my sanity...

Today was ONE OF THOSE DAYS!!! You know the kind... the it's 8:05am and you wanna turn around and get back in bed cause YOU KNOW it's gonna be rough kind of day. Some days on this journey of Home-schooling are definitely harder than others. The days of school that coincide with teething baby and fussy toddler are the ones that do me in. They get me to thinking maybe I'm not cut out for this.

Today was a EVERYBODY including mommy is just too tired for this day. If baby wasn't crying and screaming momma while he pulled on my pants leg, then 3 year old was throwing himself on the floor in a fit of crying, and then to top it off if neither of them were crying, 7yr old was crying, whining, and throwing a fit about what she had to do. I literally sat on the floor at one point with 3 crying kids wailing around me, thinking WHAT AM I DOING???? It would be so much easier to send my big kids to school. I could take my littles to the park and play and do all the fun stuff I used to do when the bigs when they were little. I could clean my house (which by the way looks like FEMA should be called in). Someone else could be dealing with this 7 year old right now. BUT, I KNOW this is what God has called me to and that everyday is not like this. In fact yesterday my 7 year old was a perfect student. Anyway, back to the point of this post... I KNOW it is God's desire that we are thankful even in hard times, so as I was sitting here reflecting on this day I came up with a list of 5 things I am thankful for even on days like this.

1. I'm thankful PAPER PLATES!!!
2. I'm thankful for my beautiful husband who works from home and can interject some humor in days like this.
3. I'm thankful that on days like this when I know we won't get much learning done anyway, that I can sit on the floor with the bigs and the littles all together and read book after book to entertain them.
4. I'm thankful for dish washers, washing machines and dryers, and ANYTHING else that makes keeping this place going EASIER.
5. BUT the thing I am MOST thankful for on days like this is the UNCONDITIONAL LOVE of my four children, because I AM NOT the perfect mom and Jesus is working this thing out in me. My kids see the worst of me and I am so thankful that they forgive easily and love completely!!!

Lord help me be a better Mommy please in Jesus name!!!




Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Do's of God.

One thing that has always confused me since becoming a Christian is why people who have not grown up in the church are zealous for Christ while so many of the people who have grown up in church are at best luke warm. This is NOT to say that that applies to everyone either way. It's just an observation.

I was 19 when I gave my life to Christ. I grew with very little Bible knowledge and we never went to church. By the age of 19 I had done many things I was ashamed of. I didn't really know anything about God and everyone around me was doing the same things as me so it wasn't an imposed guilt that I felt. It was something deep inside me that told me the life I was living was wrong. So, when I went to church one night because my mom had recently started going and begged me to go, I was SHOCKED by the message I heard from the pulpit. It was Christmas that night so I was sure I would hear about Jesus in the manger... But, instead the Pastor was talking about John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only son, that WHOSOEVER believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life." I had never heard such a thing. I knew God was my Creator and Judge, but not my REDEEMER. Jesus had come to redeem me, to set me free from all my baggage and bondage. NOW that was a message I could use. Like I said I knew God was my Judge, but I had never been told that God had loved me so much that He did something drastic about the situation I was in.

I decided right then and there that ANYTHING God wanted from me in return was perfectly fine, but I COULD NOT live one more moment without HIM. He was my SAVIOR, MY REDEEMER, and even now my FRIEND. What more could a person want? I zealously wanted to please my new Father. Don't get me wrong as a baby christian with no one to really lead the way I screwed up big time lots of times. I was confused and I even left everything behind to go back in the world at one time, but I LOVED GOD. He had been SO GOOD TO ME. I was not disciples in the ways of God.

Which brings me back to my former statement. I couldn't understand why people who had grown up in church would leave the Lord. I "thought" they knew better than I how to serve God and live for him, but what I found was a bunch of joyless drones who did what they "had" to do to get by. So many times I saw people who were just going to church because that's what you do. People my age who grew up in church were leaving in record numbers and trading in the blessedness of following Jesus for the world. I had been there before and I KNEW there was NOTHING out there. WHY were they leaving? Why didn't they love God or see what He had done for them?

I don't know all the answers, but I know some of it is home-life, and some of it perspective. Something else I have learned is too much of the time we Christians focus on the Don'ts of God and NEVER on the DO's of God.

There are over 600 laws in the word of God and everyone of them is for our Good, but the I'm mostly talking about the 10 commandments.

I thought about those 10 laws and wondered what they would look like if they were the 10 Do's of God???

1. Do KNOW that there is ONE God and WORSHIP HIM.
2. Do realize that no one has ever seen God so we can't compare him to anything we know of.
3. Do call upon the name of the Lord WHEN you need Him and only use His name in Praise.
4. Do Keep the Sabbath holy and set it apart to rest with your family and worship him together.
5. Do Honor your Father and mother and DO live long and be prosperous because of that honor.
6. Do LOVE your neighbor and enemy and see every life as valuable.
7. Do be faithful. "It makes you feel better to do the right thing."
8. Do work hard and provide for your family. "It makes you feel better to do the right thing."
9. Do ALWAYS tell the truth. It makes you feel better to tell the truth.
10. Do be thankful for everything you have and realize that God is GOOD and He knows exactly what you need. Somethings you want are not good for you.

The big lie has always been that God is not Good, but for those of us who have been dead in our trespasses and sins KNOW that God is Good. Those of us who have lived apart from God and were desperate and lost without him know that HE alone satisfies. We know where we have been and never want to go back there. As for our own children who we are raising in the faith, we MUST pass on our zealous love for God and focus on the Do's of God. There is so much that we can DO in this christian life it's a shame so many focus on what we can't do.


Capturing hearts....

It's vital to our children to teach them the Laws of God. It's vital to lead them in the paths of righteousness. It's vital to "train our children in the way they should go." We know all that.

BUT, what is equally important is praying for their hearts to remain soft and pliable, so that the Word of God can take root. IF the soil of our children's heart is not soft then all the training in the world will be for naught. We can spend all day everyday training and teaching and end up with children who turn away from everything they have been taught the first chance they get.

As I read the word of God I see over and over how the downfall of a person was a hard heart. It wasn't that they didn't know the truth or that they didn't know the consequences of their actions, they just had hard unrepentant hearts. Starting from the beginning we have all wanted our own way. We desire to fulfill the lust of the flesh. WHY we are so shocked when our children have the same desires is beyond me. My little ones from the earliest ages all wanted things their way. As they have grown and matured they see that having what you want all the time leads to destruction, but that comes from experience and revelation. My one year old doesn't understand this. He just wants what he wants. We are the same way. We figure out along the way that our ways are most of the time not the best way. Then we cry out to God with broken hearts for the mess that we have made in our life and as a good parent he swoops in and saves the day. UNTIL we learn that really the WAYS of God are so much better than our way. So, we begin to live our lives for him because Father knows best and HE IS GOOD. My point is that like us even though they know the truth sometimes they will choose another way. They will fail and disappoint, but if their hearts are soft and pliable they will repent quickly and seek God's face.

The question is how do we keep their hearts soft??? MOST IMPORTANTLY we have to PRAY for this. I think PRAYER is the most effective tool that we have as children of God, sadly though it's the one we overlook. IF we do pray it to whine and cry and fuss about what we need or don't have. BUT, the word promises WHAT we ask will be given. The bible also promises that what we sow in tears we will reap in joy. We shouldn't waste our prayer times on all that selfish whining. We should be crying out to God for the hearts of our children, our families, our neighbors, and our nation. We should be pleading with God to turn our hearts back to him. We must pray for our children's heart to remain soft and pliable so that they can receive the word of God and be equipped to do the will of God.

Next, we have to REJOICE IN THE LORD. I am convinced that the reason so many of our children are leaving the faith is because WE are a joyless people. Rejoicing and worshipping keeps our hearts soft before God and the same is true for our children. My children and I turn the worship music up and dance all around this house praising the Lord. They fall in love with God when they see Mom in love with her Savior. Be thankful for every thing. Loudly praise God for the good things in your life. This makes a huge impact on your children.

Lastly, we have to be gentle with our children. Gently guide and nurture them in the Ways of God. Gently lead them. Don't force them to do the things they should, gently lead them. Be excited about devotional time with them. Show them how much you love the word of God and they will be curious for themselves. Be excited about going to church as a family. Listen to them and answer their questions gently. David says in the psalms that God's gentleness had made him great.

You are the greatest influence on your children. IF you are in love with the Lord and not just serving out of duty then they will love the Lord. IF you are excited about the things of the Lord they will be also. Love the Lord with all of your heart and they will love the Lord also. AND PRAY PRAY PRAY!!! God will answer those tearfilled prayers for your children.

Father we cry out to you. Revive our hearts again. Draw us near to you. Give us the desire to desire you above all things. Help us live for you and help us to love you will all of our hearts. Please capture the hearts of our children and keep their hearts soft before you. In spite of our failures and flaws redeem this generation for your GLORY!!! Thank you!!!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

5 WHYS???

1. Why do my children want me to hold their siblings to the full letter of the LAW, but for themselves they BEG FOR MERCY???

2. Why is it that my little guys favorite thing to do throwing things in any body of water... toilet, bath tub, pool???

3. Why do my big kids talk about scary things right before bed and then cry because they scared themselves???

4. Why do they want the opposite of what I have chosen for them JUST because I chose it??? EX. today there were 2 pairs of underwear in my 3yr olds drawer. I pulled one out and he said no I want the red ones??? WHY, JUST BECAUSE I CHOSE IT!!!

5. Why do they GRIPE AT ME ALL DAY ABOUT EVERYTHING I DO and then cry if I happen to leave them home with Dad for 2hrs for 1 night in a month???

No matter how many WHYS I could come up with or things that drive me loopy I am so thankful for each one of them. I don't know what I did to entertain myself before they came along. I look forward to the time of day each day when it's just me and dad on the couch laughing about the crazy antics of the day. I'm so blessed to have 4 wonderful, silly, specially made, God-given, make me shake my head, children. Life would be so boring without all the WHYS???

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What do you need today???

Did you know the Word has it???

Psalms 19:7 "The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul..." That word converted means to restore. Whether you need to be restored for the first time or for the 100th time God's word can do that. God's word can restore you to a right relationship with God. Since my heart is deceitfully wicked I need to be restored all the time.

v7 "the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple." Do you need wisdom? I don't know about you, but I do. I need wisdom, because I am learning that my ways are so far from God's way. After I have been restored to HIM then his word gives me wisdom and insight and understanding. God's word and his wisdom are the only ones that we can really trust.

v8 "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart..." Do you need rejoicing today? Look to the word of God. His word gives us comfort in times of stress, mourning, or fear. Do you need reassurance of the future? Look to the word of God. Are you sad? OR do you just need the Joy of the Lord? Look to the word of God.

v8"...the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." The word of God is a light to our path and a lamp to our feet. I don't know about you, but I NEED to know what to do next. I need the security of knowing that I'm going God's way. God's word can lead us.

v9 "The fear of the Lord is clean enduring forever." The word of God can bring us to a place of respect and awe of God and that fear will bring us to a place of repentance and we will be clean and pure before God.

v9 "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." We can trust the word of God, because He is good and true and righteous. We can trust God and His word. That gives me comfort because people will let you down. People have agendas, but God is HOLY.

v10-11 "More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much find gold: sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping them there IS GREAT REWARD." God's word is more valuable and satisfying than ANYTHING we could desire. The WORD of God will bless and reward the person who applies it.

I NEED the word of God for wisdom, direction, comfort, peace, reassurance of the future. I need to know what to do and I need to be reminded that this place is not my home. I need to be reminded of what my purpose is. Sometimes I just need to know that God sees me and every time I open the word of God he speaks to me to let me know He does see me, AND HE will never leave me or forsake me. He has a plan for my life that sometimes includes suffering and pain, but ALWAYS leads to righteousness and that not only is He preparing a place for me, but He is preparing me for a place. I need the word of God to conform me to the image of Jesus. I need the word of God to help me not love this world and want to fit in here. God's word has EVERYTHING I need.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Good Advice.

Today on my FB feed I read this from Above Rubies and it really made me stop and think:

"It can be so easy to get caught up in the parental role, above every other role! After all, we are our children's advocates, and they are the most dependant people on us, often unable to do much on their own, especially when they are young. Is your husband feeling a tad neglected? Take some time today to make sure you are also being a loving wife, as well as an excellent mother. I know I need to! Love Michelle"

This statement made me take a minute to ponder is my husband "feeling" neglected? I can assure you my definition of neglected and his would be different. So, how is he feeling? I didn't ask him. But, so much of the time it's just me and the kids. Honey is working and doing church stuff so it's easy to get used to focusing on the kids and leaving him to himself. This statement reminded me that I am not just a mom, but a wife. A wife first and foremost. I cannot forget to nurture this relationship on a regular basis.

The wonderful thing that I learned a long time ago is that it doesn't take too much to make a man happy and in love with his wife. The honeymoon doesn't have to end after kids, it just takes effort. It's all about putting the other person first which is what we are supposed to be doing anyway. You cannot neglect someone you are putting above yourself.

I pray that I will remember what a precious gift my husband is and cherish every moment that we have together. I pray that I will treat him the way he deserves to be treated!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Teach me to love my children...

If there is one thing I have learned since I decided to follow Christ it's this LOVE IS... AN ACTION. Love is often not love if it is not a sacrifice.

Titus 2:4 says that the older woman should "teach the younger woman to love their husbands and to love their children."

I don't know shouldn't loving our children be a no brainer??? Why should someone have to teach us how to love our children??? Why would God inspire the writer of Titus to include this? I think for the same reason He had to inspire the writer of I Cor 13 to explain what LOVE IS...

Love is Patient, Love is Kind
Love does not envy;
Love does not puff itself up,
Love does not behave its rudely,
Love does not seek it's own way, it is
not easily angered.

Using these verses we can gauge our Love.

I'm thinking about this verse today because it was "one of those days". We had a LONG busy weekend. Late nights and early mornings. And my children have been wild and crazy today. They are on overdrive and I am tired and grumpy. I want to lock them all in a padded room and go find a quiet place to take a nap. Since I can't do that my next impulse is to yell and scream and make everyone as miserable as I am. It was in one of those moments that this verse came into my mind. Praise God for his precious spirit for saving them from "me". Without the Word of God I am NOT the same person. I am a selfish, self-indulgent, self-worshipping person. So, I NEED God's word to show me what Love is. I need the Spirit of God to help me love that way.

We get a glimpse of this kind of love in Matthew 14:14 "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them and He healed their sick."

What happens before this verse is really important. At this point Jesus is weary. He has just learned that his cousin John the baptist has been beheaded and he is mourning. He wants to go to a quiet place and get away. He wants to cry and be left alone. He has been healing people and raising the dead, giving sight to the blind. He is exhausted and all he wants to do is REST. BUT, as He is going to get away people begin to follow him. Hordes of people looking for Jesus. Wanting something from Jesus. Right at the time HE DID NOT FEEL LIKE BEING WANTED. What did Jesus do in that moment? He GAVE more. He had compassion on them. He saw their need and he felt their pain and He responded by healing all their sickness and then He fed the 5,000. Verse 18 says "Bring them to me." and He fed them. THAT is WHY God told the older woman to teach the younger woman to love their children. Because Love is a VERB. Love does what we don't want to do. Love puts others first and ourselves (our needs, our wants, our desires) LAST. Jesus is our example. God put these little people in my life to teach me what love is. Since the day I knew I had a life growing inside of me I have had great affection and emotion towards each of my children. Love goes past affection and devotion and emotion to a place of sacrifice for another person. Most mothers if they are worth anything would sacrifice her life in place of her child, but would you sacrifice your time, wants, needs for your child? What about that few minutes after you lay them to bed and all you want to do is chill out. You know what I mean you don't want to see or hear another thing. You don't want to be needed... What if they came looking for you. What if they had a real need. What if they just wanted to talk?! Would you sacrifice then?

Love is a sacrifice and it's inconvenient and that's why we have to be taught how to love.

Friday, July 22, 2011

No time for crying...

This is just a developing thought that comes from a conversation with a friend the other day, but I think that we have too much self-reflection in the church. I know in the world it's all about finding oneself and becoming a better you, but in the church it's supposed to be about (J)esus first, (O)thers, and (Y)ourself LAST!!!

It's amazing to me how many depressed Christians there are out there. I mean down in the dumps and worried about tomorrow. I know please don't think I'm judging you if you deal with this. I just think it's a simply/complicated issue. Back to what I was saying. NO JOY, none, nada, zip, zilch, nothing!!!

Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice IN THE LORD ALWAYS: and again I say, Rejoice." This sounds to me like he is commanding EVERYONE IN CHRIST to REJOICE... not in their circumstances, but IN THE LORD. IF we are heavenly minded how can we do anything other than rejoice. I could develop this point more, but I'm sure you know that IN HEAVEN there will be no more crying, pain, sickness... That is something to rejoice about.

However, IF you are like most (myself included) heavenly things don't get me rejoicing very often. So, where does that leave us? With another command... Jesus said "come and follow me". What did He mean? To a place, of course not. Do what HE did. What did HE do? Healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the 5,000. You know what I mean. WELL, where does that leave you and me? I haven't healed any sick lately, but I CAN help take care of some. I haven't raised the dead, but I CAN minister to the elderly, the sick, and the mourning. I haven't fed 5,000, but I CAN open my house and feed a few.

There is SO MUCH we can do for the Kingdom in our everyday life that IF we were busy following after Jesus WE WOULD HAVE NO TIME FOR CRYING. If we were putting Jesus first and others above ourselves we would have no time to reflect on how depressed we are. IF we were seeking to follow after Jesus we would be surrounded by those that are truly in need and we would be overwhelmed with gratitude for our blessings. WE WOULD BE REJOICING IN THE LORD. How could we do anything else.

In no time in history have people ever had so much idle time on their hands and the result is a whole multitude of depressed people. Is the key to healing from depression as simple as giving our lives to others for the cause of CHRIST? Can we find contentment, fulfillment, and purpose in giving away our lives? Laying them down for others. In James it says true religion and undefiled is to take care of the widows and the orphans. THE FOUNDATION of the GOSPEL is LOVING OTHERS IN ANY WAY YOU CAN.

It's amazing to me that in studies people report they get a high from serving others and giving of themselves to others. GOD made us and he KNOWS what we need. He knows that we can not find purpose for ourlives by self-reflection. We can only find purpose in being used by him to serve those who are in need. What the world needs now is LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Not a feeling, but an action. What have you done for HIM/THEM lately???

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Keepers

I received this in an email and thought it was worth sharing!!!


I grew up in the 40's/50's with practical parents. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it..... A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away.

I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

But then my mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.

Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away....never to return. So... While we have it..... it's best we love it.... And care for it... And fix it when it's broken........ And heal it when it's sick.

This is true. For marriage....... And old cars.... And children with bad report cards...... And dogs with bad hips...... And aging parents.........And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special........ And so, we keep them close!


8 THINGS GOD WON'T ASK ON THAT DAY.

1... God won't ask what kind of car you drove. He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.

2... God won't ask the square footage of your house, He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

3... God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet. He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.

4... God won't ask what your highest salary was. He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

5... God won't ask what your job title was. He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.

6... God won't ask how many friends you had. He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.

7... God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived. He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.

8... God won't ask about the color of your skin, He'll ask about the content of your character.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Proactive Parenting...

Something AMAZING happened today. It was really an ordinary amazing. You know the kind you just might miss if you aren't paying attention. I've been praying for God to give me WISDOM in raising my children. You know "training a child in the way they should go". I really need to do this post in parts. This will be one small part. ANYWAY, like I said praying for wisdom, because WELL, I'm finding out I can't rely on my own understanding. My way just ain't working. The wonderful thing is that God makes us a promise in James that if we ask for wisdom HE will lavish it on us. WOOHOO. I could use a wisdom flood.

Ok... Part 1. "train up a child".... Well, I have been pretty reactive about this command. You know what I mean. Only dealing with a discipline problem when it arises... which come to find out IS NOT the best way to do it. We are supposed to be PROACTIVE. Hence the TRAINING. Teaching what we know, when we get up, sit down, walk by the way and lay down. You know all this. We are supposed to be passing down the precepts and commands all the time. Which brings up a very good point... you have to be in the Word to pass down the Word.

OK... back to the amazing thing. My niece and nephew spent the night last night. My 7 yr old daughter and my 8 yr old niece are constantly fighting and I really have tried everything to help the situation with some success, but they still fight. So, we are sitting at the table eating breakfast and about to do devotional. I opened up to Proverbs 20 and saw verse 3. I thought wow that will be a good verse for today. It says "It is to a man's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel." After I had the girls read the verse we began to talk about what this means. Just then my daughter gets very serious and says "Wow, we must be fools." I said, "well, why do you say that?". To which she replied "because we fuss and fight all the time." That was AMAZING to me. God's word had spoken to her heart and shown her something about herself and she didn't want to be a fool. I LOVE THAT!!!

The Bible says that the word of God is sharper than any 2 edged sword able to penetrate our hearts and change us from within. We NEED God's word. Our children NEED God's word. The Bible says that the Word of God is ALIVE and ACTIVE. It says that it NEVER returns VOID. We don't need more discipline and lectures. We NEED more of the WORD!!!

So, Part 1 is I need to rely on the Word of God to give me Wisdom so that I can pass it on to my children and be proactive about revealing sin to them so that they will seek a heart change. God's Word is soooooo much better at this than I am. Being imperfect they see my sin. God is perfect and so when they hear something from the Word of God they respect it.

I praise God for his patience and kindness. In Psalms David say the gentleness of God had made him great. Isn't that so true. God is so good to us that we want to live for him. We have to be so good to our children that they want to live for HIM!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Laundry

Do you have a laundry day or do you do one or two loads a day? I know crazy ??? Why does it matter how you do your laundry? It won't help me get mine done. Which brings up another good point. Why am I on the computer asking random people how they do their laundry which is wasting my time!!! I guess so I don't have to think about my laundry.

Well, since you are interested, I have a laundry day. I "try" to get all of mine done in one day... Which NEVER happens. With a house full of littles it's never caught up. Besides someone is always using a towel or spilling something or changing for the 3rd time since breakfast. Anyway, part of the reason I have a laundry day is because I don't want to think about it for the rest of the week. I have one day each week where I wake up ready to tackle the small mountain of clothes that is waiting for me. Washing, drying, folding, putting up... It seems to go on forever that day or at least until about noon when I stop doing it and never get it finished. With small piles of folded clothes all over the place and baskets of still dirty clothes. OH, yeah don't even get me started about socks... WHY IN THE WORLD can I never find matches to socks??? Where do all the lonely socks go??? I've started a sock basket. I just folded 20 pairs of socks and it's summer time so we're not even wearing socks... that tells you just how long they have been sitting there.

What about this... IF you are like me and you have a laundry day then you work hard all that day to get the laundry done... washing, drying, folding, putting up... only to look around the rest of your house and it's a total nightmare. You haven't done one thing around the house because you've been washing, drying, folding, putting up. So, there are dishes all over the kitchen, food all over the floor, toys ALL OVER the house. You get my drift. Nothing gets done, except some of the laundry.

What about this... You work hard all day doing the laundry only to be asked by the hubs "where's that white shirt (his favorite shirt, that you have to wash every other day)?" OH YEAH that's part of the not been washed yet pile.... ALWAYS!!!

OR your daughter comes in to tell you that she has NOTHING to wear... You walk up to the closet becuase YOU KNOW you just washed all her clothes. What do you find in the closet??? A closet full of NEVER worn clothes that are SUPER CUTE. You say what about this or this or this or this only to find out that none of this will do BECAUSE she wants her favorite outfit that is still in the to be washed pile. I know the people in our neighborhood think well they don't need anymore kids they can't afford to get those poor kids any clothes. Not that we're rich, but if they could see all the clothes they don't wear...

Well, enough about my laundry drama... Tell me some of yours...

Couponing...

I'm sure everybody is doing it now?! If it's not you it's probably someone close to you. I just started a couple months ago... I'm not an extreme couponer, but I've gotten some good deals for sure. It's been a rush to get some stuff for free. It's been like a puzzle (which is enjoyable to me) to match up coupons with the deals that are in the paper. I love getting more for my money. After watching prices for a couple of months I know what IS a good price or sale and what IS NOT. We are not running out of everything like we were before.

Some of the things I've gotten for free are: baby wipes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, bbq sauce, deodorant, body wash, contact solution, marinades.

Things that I've gotten for 30 cents and less are: Condiments (mustard, mayo, salad dressing...), pasta sides, brownies and cake mixes, taco season, pasta, more toothpaste, soap, body wash, deodorant, dish soap.

Things that have been 2-3 dollar cheaper because of coupons: dish soap, detergents, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, boxed meals, cereals, eggs, lunch meat, frozen pizzas, sliced, shredded, stick cheese...

These are just a few of the things that we've been able to save money on. We buy 8 papers each week... that costs us $20. I know what you're thinking... We can't be saving that much money, but I have found each week that just one coupon from each paper has paid for the paper. This week for example Kroger was having a really great sale. If you buy 10 of a certain item you get $5 off. It was mix/match so you don't have to buy 10 of the same item.

Dish soap regular price $2.49 on sale 2.19 with 10/5 sale it was 1.69... I had a coupon for .25 that tripled... final price .94. That's a total savings of $1.55 each.

$1.55 X 6= $9.30. I bought 6 at the best possible price and saved 9.30.

I know that's a lot of math just to say with coupons and matching them to great store sales we are getting alot more for our money. One week I was able to get 8 packages of wipes for $4.00 total. They were regularly priced $2.50x 8= 20. I saved $16 on that deal and even got 4 more for FREE!!!

Saving money has been awesome... Getting stuff for free has been a lot of fun. BUT, one benefit of using coupons has been that we have been able to give away excess. We couldn't use all the stuff we are getting for free or cheap. So, we have been able to share with others. This has been such a huge blessing for me. Sometimes it's people that come over who need something, other times we as a family have taken food and other stuff to the food bank. I have also been able to share with family members who are struggling financially. You should see their face when you come in with bags full of goodies. We also have a lot of people in and out of the house all the time. So we have had a fully stocked pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to throw something together and people don't have to feel like they are being a burden. We have get togethers and parties all the time that we can just whip up some 10 cent brownies for desert and it doesn't cost as much as it use to to have people over.

Really that's what it's all about. Hospitality and Giving to others. Coupons are helping our family fulfill those commands!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Joseph and Brooke

I've had 2 friends lose children lately. One of them had an 11 yr old son who had bravely battled cancer for the last few years. The other friend had just given birth to a long awaited baby girl and she passed away that same day. My Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer around Christmas time... she has been completely healed. This all leaves me to wonder WHY? WHY??? I know all the "christian" answers. I know that sometimes children die. It's just hard to fathom how these Moms get up the next day while the world is going about it's "normal" and they have to function. How do Mothers and Fathers function after the loss of a child? I know God's grace is sufficient... not because I know first hand, but because His Word says so. His Peace passes understanding when we need peace. I know at a time like this when the worst possible thing in the world has happened you have to cling to the promises of God. I don't know how they do it?! I don't know WHY this has happened?? BUT, what I do know is that this has made me think about how I have my children and I need to cherish them they way these mothers would if they could. I need to hold them close and be patient with them. I need to sit down and talk to them. I need to think before I speak. I need to put aside things that don't matter. I need to hug them and hold them when they will let me. Life is precious and we have no guarentee that tomorrow will come. We have NO Promises from God that tomorrow will be the same as it was today. We have ONLY now. As far as the Moms that I mentioned they are forever changed and an empty place will always be there. A sadness we can't really understand unless we have been there, but we can show them our love and let them cry on our shoulders. We can make them food. We can run errands for them. We can do anything to help them with the day to day. AND we can remember their children and cherish our own. So, for Joseph and Brooke I will do my best to honor what God has shown me through your lives and WE WILL SEE YOU AGAIN!!! Rest in Peace.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Between dinner and breakfast....

I'm not sure how it happened... One thing I am sure of is this house was clean yesterday. We were having guests over so we cleaned and I must say I was pretty proud. It even spelled good. Somewhere between then and now things changed. It's not like there was a moment that it happened. I would have remembered that. I know I cooked in a fairly clean kitchen last night and this morning we had cereal, but NOW...

IT'S a DISASTER and I don't know how it happened. How do they do this amount of damage in that short time? Well, enough surfing it's time to do it again. As I am sweeping pops up for the 4,000 time I have to remember that they are really precious little creatures. Blessings from the Lord REALLY and worth every moment of sweat and tears that goes into raising them. Thank You Lord that you clean up my messes. Thank you, Lord for beautiful, messy, little children that fill this place!!!

The Golden Rule...

Sometime instead of teaching my kids the Golden Rule I want to teach them an Eye for an Eye. It seems that I can overlook rejection from others if it's only done to me, but I bristle when it comes to the way people treat my kids. It's a sad day when the parents are worse about playing favorites or popularity than the kids.

We live in Reality TV reality. We form "alliances with the like minded" and formulate plots against those we want to eliminate. My family just moved to a new neighborhood (recently built) so everybody is getting to know each other. I knew from the start that we would not fit in, but I just assumed that we (the kids) would still make friends. And, I knew that God had place us here to witness and minister to others. What I did not know is that it would be this hard for me or them. I didn't know that moving here would be training ground for learning how to deal with rejection and loving people in spite of the way they treat you. One example of this happened this morning. Our neighbors came to the door and asked if the kids could come out and play. Sure we'll be right out, but before we could get outside the kids who had asked us to play were invited to someone else house and were allowed to go. This kind of thing happens alot and my 5 year old son doesn't even want to play with the boys because he gets left out all the time.

Like I said though this has given me lots of teaching moments about loving people like Jesus loved them. He was rejected and mistreated and unpopular. But, He was loving and kind and forgiving. It's hard to watch your children be hurt time and again, but God is the healer of all wounds and I'm glad that they know Jesus. So, I am trying to teach them that they should treat others the way they want to be treated. Hopefully, this will help them to be kinder and more courteous people. I'm still very sad that as adults we are bombarded with this popularity message so much that we have become like the reality shows we watch and we're passing it on to our children. I'm telling you it's time to turn the TV off and get the book out and let the Word transform our hearts and change our lives. We have sold out to the message of the world too long, and we are becoming a society of mean people.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Charles Spurgeon on Motherhood.

This is a wonderful excerpt from taken from Charles Spurgeon's book Spurgeon’s Practical Wisdom {or Plain Advice for Plain People} about the influence of mothers.

MOST men are what their mothers made them. The father is away from home all day, and has not half the influence over the children that the mother has. The cow has most to do with the calf. If a ragged colt grows into a good horse, we know who it is that combed him. A mother is therefore a very responsible woman, even though she may be the poorest in the land, for the bad or the good of her boys and girls very much depends upon her. As is the gardener such is the garden, as is the wife such is the family. Samuel’s mother made him a little coat every year, but she had done a deal for him before that : Samuel would not have been Samuel if Hannah had not been Hannah. We shall never see a better set of men till the mothers are better. We must have Sarahs and Rebekahs before we shall see Isaacs and Jacobs. Grace does not run in the blood, but we generally find that the Timothies have mothers of a godly sort.
Little children give their mother the headache, but if she lets them have their own way, when they grow up to be great children they will give her the heartache. Foolish fondness spoils many, and letting faults alone spoils more. Gardens that are never weeded will grow very little worth gathering ; all watering and no hoeing will make a bad crop. A child may have too much of its mother’s love, and in the long run it may turn out that it had too little. Soft-hearted mothers rear soft-headed children ; they hurt them for life because they are afraid of hurting them when they are young. Coddle your children, and they will turn out noodles. You may sugar a child till everybody is sick of it. Boys’ jackets need a little dusting every now and then, and girls’ dresses are all the better for occasional trimming. Children without chastisement are fields without ploughing. The very best colts want breaking in. Not that we like severity; cruel mothers are not mothers, and those who are always flogging and fault-finding ought to be flogged themselves. There is reason in all things, as the madman said when he cut off his nose.
Good mothers are very dear to their children. There’s no mother in the world like our own mother. My friend Sanders, from Glasgow, says, “The mither’s breath is aye sweet.” Every woman is a handsome woman to her own son. That man is not worth hanging who does not love his mother. When good women lead their little ones to the Saviour, the Lord Jesus blesses not only the children, but their mothers as well. Happy are they among women who see their sons and their daughters walking in the truth.
He who thinks it easy to bring up a family never had one of his own. A mother who trains her children aright had need be wiser than Solomon, for his son turned out a fool. Some children are perverse from their infancy ; none are born perfect, but some have a double share of imperfections. Do what you will with some children, they don’t improve. Wash a dog, comb a dog, still a dog is but a dog : trouble seems thrown away on some children. Such cases are meant to drive us to God, for he can turn blackamoors white, and cleanse out the leopard’s spots. It is clear that whatever faults our children have, we are their parents, and we cannot find fault with the stock they came of. Wild geese do not lay tame eggs. That which is born of a hen will be sure to scratch in the dust. The child of a cat will hunt after mice. Every creature follows its kind. If we are black, we cannot blame our offspring if they are dark too. Let us do our best with them, and pray the Mighty Lord to put his hand to the work. Children of prayer will grow up to be children of praise; mothers who have wept before God for their sons, will one day sing a new song over them. Some colts often break the halter, and yet become quiet in harness. God can make those new whom we cannot mend, therefore let mothers never despair of their children as long as they live. Are they away from you across the sea? Remember, the Lord is there as well as here. Prodigals may wander, but they are never out of sight of the Great Father, even though they may be ” a great way off/’
Let mothers labor to make home the happiest place in the world. If they are always nagging and grumbling they will lose their hold of their children, and the boys will be tempted to spend their evenings away from home. Home is the best place for boys and men, and a good mother is the soul of home. The smile of a mother’s face has enticed many into the right path, and the fear of bringing a tear into her eye has called off many a man from evil ways. The boy may have a heart of iron, but his mother can hold him like a magnet. The devil never reckons a man to be lost so long as he has a good mother alive. O woman, great is thy power! See to it that it be used for him who thought of his mother even in the agonies of death.

Monday, April 11, 2011

T. G. I. Monday!!!

I know I know what am I thinking??? It's hard to believe, but I LOVE Mondays. They refresh my soul. I have never been an organized person or someone who keeps to a schedule, but recently I have been doing some soul searching. God has brought to my attention through a series of books, articles and of course the bible that IF I am to be a Keeper of the Home I NEED to spend more time at home. I have in the recent past been going and doing more than I should. I think as home-school mommies we can get sucked into thinking that we have to have our kids involved in "stuff" or they won't be normal. We "must" make them social creatures... blah, blah, blah. You know what I mean. The problem being that I couldn't ever get ANYTHING done. I have 4 children and my oldest is the only girl so in the best interest of her I have been trying so hard to get her involved with other girls since she doesn't have a sister... The Lord recently brought to my attention that this is "Worry" the opposite of contentment. WHICH I am rubbing of on her. Would our children be content and thankful IF we were not constantly trying to fill in what we perceive to be the empty spaces of our lives?! So, I have begun to pray for the Lord to help me LOVE being AT HOME... And to put first things first. Help me learn to be the keeper of my home and all that goes along with that. I am first and foremost (striving to be a Godly woman), a wife, then mother, then school-teacher, house manager, bill-payer, etc. Surely God would not have given me this cup IF with the help of the Holy Spirit I could not handle it. "I can do ALL (these) things, through Christ who gives me strength." Well, immediately God began to show me how I needed to rearrange my (non-existent) schedule and put my priorities in order of greatest to least. "Seek ye first the Kingdom, then all (these) things will be added unto you." First thing is To-do list and stick to it... Who woulda thunk that this is all it would take?! All the sudden I have time to fit it all in and my kids are schooled, my dishes clean, laundry (some-what) done, and then at the end of the day my daughter gets to go outside and play with her two girlfriends that live RIGHT NEXT DOOR!!! However, all of this does not explain WHY I LOVE MONDAYS... Since I have been praying for all of those things my heart has begun to LOVE being at home and keeping my home. THEN the weekend happens and there is no schedule and we're running here and there. And Sunday is a day of church and rest so by Sunday night my house looks like a tornado came through and the dishes and laundry are pile up again. Sunday does give me a chance to refresh my soul, but when Monday rolls around I'm glad to get back to Keeping my Home... I'm thankful for this my domain and I pray that God will continually draw my heart back to it. There are so many things that can draw us away. There are so many that would tell us there is MORE OUT THERE. There are so many that would try to convince us that we are UN-FULFILLED... We have to be on constant watch against the schemes of the enemy and keep our priorities in order. We must guard our hearts against being draw away by our own lusts. God has a purpose and a specific plan for us as wives and mothers. I pray I will conform not to the ideas and values of this world no matter how hard it is or how tempting or how others view me. I have to see my life from a heavenly perspective.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Practice, practice, practice...

My daughter recently started keyboard lessons. This has given me some insight into her personality. She loves the playing and going to class, she loves the attention she gets from others when she plays for them. I know it is boosting her self-confidence that she is mastering a new skill, BUT... She does not like to practice. She wants to be good and even know the songs the very first time she attempts to play it. She also doesn't understand why she has to practice the same songs over and over again. I've noticed it's the same way with school work. At first I was very frustrated by this and would lose my patience quickly with the lack of motivation. It didn't take long for the Holy Spirit to begin using this as a learning opportunity for me. As I began to see that I am much the same way.

The bible says that there is a way that seems right to man, but the end leads to death. Throughout the New Testament we are commanded to die to the flesh and renew our minds. Notice this word DEATH. This does not imply something painless and easy. However, I want EVERYTHING to be easy. I want being married and being a mom to be easy. I want homeschooling and housework to be easy. I want Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness AND self-control to be easy. I want hospitality to be easy and I want it to all be easy simultaneously. BUT, as you well know they are not. It takes years of practice and a test every now and then to learn any new lesson, especially when you are not naturally gifted in such areas.

God has always been faithful to allow me to get too far out in the water so that I will call out to him for help. HELP ME!!! That's my cry. I can't figure this thing out... At first it was marriage. I cried out for wisdom because "MY WAY" was definantly NOT working. God was faithful to answer my cry. He began to shower me with new ideas and ways of acting, thinking and feeling. I started to apply his wisdom to my marriage and WOW things really started to turn around. It wasn't easy, mostly because the principles that I learned didn't come naturally to me. Thankfully though things really changed and we have a good solid marriage thanks to God's word. THEN- dun, dun, dun... What happens you hit a few bumps in the road or some stress, or hormones or a new baby... Anyway there is a time of hardship and testing. How well did I really learn these new principles??? Well, I think I did pretty good when EVERYTHING was calm and still. Life doesn't stay that way long and what I have found is it takes a lot of PRACTICE to get something new down. Even then you still don't have it so it takes some testing to see how well you remembered what you have been taught. And over and over with the same lessons because like I said I don't come by this naturally.

Then it wasn't long after that that my two oldest children decided to have an opinion about life and distinct personalities marked by sinful heart. Don't get me wrong my kids are beautiful amazing creatures, but the Bible says that we all have a sinful heart and that foolishness is bound in the heart of a child. So, after tears of frustration again I cried out to God for wisdom. First I must say that I foolishly thought that this parenting thing was gonna be easy. Just make some rules and apply some discipline and nothing can go wrong. WHICH is severely underestimating the FREE WILL of these little humans. Thankfully once again God began to show me some things. This I must admit has been an ongoing day by day adventure. Training a child in the way they should go can be a minute by minute responsibility and then you add a new little person every couple of years and it gets pretty crazy. But, when we call God is faithful to answer!!! Along the way parenting has given me the most opportunity to become more Christlike. So, the lessons in patience, gentleness, kindness and of course self-control have all come through parenting. AGAIN these are things that are completely out of my nature and character, but I found out the hard way that children learn by example. So, IF I was going to see these characteristics develop in my children then I was gonna have to learn them.

So, what does that mean for me??? Just like my daughter has to practice that keyboard everyday I must renew my mind and practice. Just like she has to play the same songs over and over I must practice the same concepts over and over until I can play by heart without looking at the music or my fingers. It has to get out of my head and into the deepest parts of my heart. AND, when I have gotten it I must move on to the next song and practice until I don't want to practice anymore. Then just when I think I've really gotten all the old lessons God will shake it up again and test me on it to see IF I REALLY GOT IT?! So, instead of throwing fits I need to practice because I know I love to feel accomplished, I love to get the attention from my heavenly Father and even from those close to me who recognize the changes in me, that I'm getting better everyday. Just like my girl when she practices. I love to watch her as she plays. I love to see her face light up when she has played a song perfectly for an audience. Remember Heaven is watching...