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Women Living Well Blog: September 2009

Women Living Well Blog

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pursue God Not Stuff - Ecclesiastes 5

So I was at Target last night. I didn't go there to shop, but to find a table to sit at and do my Bible study. As I sat there studying the book of Ecclesiastes I found it ironic that I could hear the non-stop beep beep beep beep sound of things being rang up at the cash register!

The writer of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon, was known for his immense amount of wealth and his extravagant palace. In chapter one he sits back and evaluates all he has and says, "Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly Meaningless! Everything is Meaningless!"

Beep Beep Beep Beep - go the cash registers. In chapter 5 King Solomon continues, "Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them."

I get up from my seat to get a refill on my drink - the lines have grown quite long - beep beep beep beep - the cash registers all play in unison.

"And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them. The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep."

I look out the window and watch as men, women, young and old walk out of the store with overflowing carts - beep beep beep beep - the people continue to flood in through the doors.

Who am I to judge I think? I can see one mother with a baby carrier and diapers. Those certainly are necessary. Who am I to judge? I see another family carrying a bag - the bag is clear and I can see the letters W - i - i . What a blessing - their family now has a Wii - I bet those children are going to have a ball when they get home!!!

Oh what a blessed nation we are!!! Or are we? Have we realized that this is all meaningless? Have we realized how much work we have made for ourselves trying to organize all of our STUFF! We buy bins, shelves, hooks, and baskets just to try to manage all of this stuff!

I sit back in my chair and just ponder for a minute - and the noise of the beep beep beep beep sound has grown terribly distracting and annoying! I cross reference over to Proverbs and read chapter 23:5. "Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky line an eagle."

Are riches stable? I think about what is happening on Wall Street and Main Street and in our Capital right now. For many, their life savings or retirement just grew wings and flew away. So many have lost so much! All that hard work and labor - gone... meaningless. Beep Beep Beep Beep - the registers continue their song.

What do we do? The book of Ecclesiastes comes to a close with 3 conclusions. Chapter 12 tells us: 1.) "Fear God" 2.) "Keep God's commandments" and 3) be prepared for judgement day because "God will bring every deed into judgment including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."

I read a challenge on another blog that I want to bring to you - I challenge you to try to use every single thing you own in your house this month! What? Did you just say - "It's not possible." Me too. What are we teaching our children? Are we fearing God and keeping his commands in America? Are we ready for judgment day?

Beep beep beep beep - the registers continue to sing their chorus. I sense the Holy Spirit urging me - do not pursue stuff - pursue God.

Walk with the King,

This post is linked to InCourage.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Creative Lunch Packing

Last year I asked my friend Kelly (mom of 4 in photo to the right) to take photos of her packed lunches so we could all see her creative lunch packing! Here is what she had to say to go along with her pictures:

This is actually an art form in Japan called "Bento" but I'm not that creative so I just call it "Creative Lunch Packing". I started doing this last Fall when we began eliminating High Fructose Corn Syrup from our diet and I needed some ideas for my kids lunches. Since pretty much all prepackaged foods contain corn syrup I wanted something that could compete with the lure of Little Debbie's but be a bit healthier. I was also trying to eliminate the amount of plastic and waste that comes from the prepackaged food. I found silicone muffin liners and use them as dividers in reusable containers. I have found lots of fun little containers at the Dollar Store and the Target Dollar Spot. Typically, I make a sandwich and then cut it into a shape with a large cookie cutter, like a pumpkin or maple leaf for Fall. They usually take fruit or veggies and dip, this one is made with peanut butter and maple syrup. I make little fruit skewers with berries, grapes, melon, or kiwi on toothpicks and you can use small cookie cutters for cucumbers or cheese slices.Yogurt covered raisins and natural applesauce with sprinkles are popular too. About once a week I send along a special little note about something they have been doing good or just about how much I love them. Recently I was cleaning out my daughter's closet and found ALL the notes I had sent in her lunch last year so I know they treasure those. They also tell me how the other kids at school talk about their lunch and how fun it is. It does take some extra time and planning but it is worth the smile on their faces!
-written by Kelly
Maybe this will give you a few ideas of fun things you can do special for your children! My kids LOVE it when I use a cookie cutter for their sandwiches or cut small shapes in their slices of cheese - I haven't tried to cut my cucumbers in shapes yet - but this post is inspiring me! It's hard to find the time to do this daily - but it's fun every now and then to spice things up a little!

I am participating in Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie and "In Passionate Pursuit's" Tasty Tuesday . For more blogger recipes go to these links.

Walk with the King!

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Video: Dealing With Negative Thoughts

Do you struggle with negativity, frustration, sadness, or irritability? Does your soul feel discontent and unsatisfied with your place in life right now? When we focus on all the problems in our life - we miss the grace of God. Listen and learn one practical way you can change your thinking.

Hebrews 12:2 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning it's shame and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men so you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Walk with the King!

After my first video, I got some feedback that the video took a long time to buffer or it would not load. If that happens please refresh the page or leave the page and return a few minutes later. That should fix it (I hope).


Friday, September 25, 2009

Fit Friday: The Comparison Trap

Psalm 139:13,14 "For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

I linger in front of the mirror for a moment...what do I see? A grey hair popping out, that big sun spot on my cheek, those bags under my eyes - those are new since having children. And then there's my beloved muffin top - possibly the thing that makes me most insecure. For me - all it takes is a mirror to get me discontent. The only thing worse than a mirror is the comparison trap.

We all do it - we compare ourselves to...
1. Ourselves - and our pre-baby days. I have a picture of myself with friends in college by my computer - sometimes I marvel at how thin I was!

2. Our siblings - Both of my sister's are size 0! I blogged about this struggle here.

3. Our friends - I have some tall friends who make me feel so short! You know who you are!!! lol! Those who know me well know I ALWAYS have a heel on unless I am exercising.

4. Our foes - if comparison for you turns into jealousy then you are way off track from where God wants you and you have gone from being a friend to a foe. Jealousy is ugly and deadly - it'd be better to pluck your eye out than to covet your neighbors beauty.

5. Strangers - I'll admit it - I've walked through the mall at times and have seen those skinny, tan, tiny bottomed teenage girls with perky chests - it's a tough pill to swallow.

6. Celebrities - Comparing yourself to celebrities is a lose/lose situation - they have trainers, cooks, nannies, hair stylists, fashion designers, and airbrushing!! We can't possibly keep up!

So what can we do? It's really a matter of mindset. I dare you right there at your computer - praise God for how well he made you. Go ahead do it.....

Did something you don't really like about yourself pop into your head? What is it? Now praise God for it... - does it feel strange?

Here's my prayer: "What a blessed life I have led! Thank you Lord for my muffin top - it means I've had bountiful amounts of food. Thank you for my grey hairs it means I've been blessed with years, thank you for my bags under my eyes - it means I have been blessed with many people in my home to love and care for, thank you for my sun spot - it reminds me of all those fun days on the beach or at the pool."

That's a strange prayer isn't it. The world says - suck the muffin top out with lipo suction, color the greys (I do that by the way!), conceal the bags, have the sun spot removed and on and on it goes.

Now try again to thank God for that thing in the mirror that drives you nuts! It's hard I know - that's because you've been focusing on it and thinking so negatively for so long that your mind can barely bare the idea of actually praising God for how wonderfully you are made. You have been beating yourself up with the comparison trap!!!

Now try again - focus on the wonderful things he has given you - eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to serve, feet that walk, a heart that beats, lungs that hold air, a brain that can read and understand this, and a heart to feel God's love - wow - you are amazing! Aren't you wonderful (and I don't mean this in a prideful sense)? God made you and he says you were wonderfully made - trust him that he made you the way you are for his purposes!

John Piper says "The fight for joy is a fight to see." It's a fight to see things from God's perspective rather than this world's. We must fight for it if we are going to live well!

Walk with the King!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Real Simple Organizing Product

Do you have trouble managing all the teacher notes, permission slips, reminders and just paper paper paper that is coming into your home? A mom friend of mine was talking to me about how overwhelming it is to keep all her kid's school papers in order and when you add in mail, receipts, slips of paper with things jotted on them like lists or phone numbers and coupons - our kitchens can become a cluttered mess and with clutter comes stress.

So I purchased this NEW and cheap organizational tool at Office Max last week - it's called - Post-It Pockets.
I stuck one inside my kitchen cabinet to hold all the calendars that are coming home with the kids through sports, church and stuff.

I love it because it gets the papers up off the kitchen counter so the kitchen is clean - and they aren't hanging on the fridge looking messy. They are tucked neatly away where I can always be sure to find them on the way out the door.

This package contained three envelopes that are three different sizes - letter, bill and receipt. The cost was $12. I bought two packets because there was a special - buy one / get one half off. Now I can label one with my son's name and one with my daughter's. I can also add one to the school room and one in my office for my little lists I love to make - but then can never find! I am just so excited about these little pockets!

They could also hold restaurant coupons, rebate receipts, memory verse cards or phone numbers.

Do you have any fun organizational tips for how to handle your paper stuff - feel free to share in the comments section!

Walk with the King!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Women Friendships - Ecclesiastes 4

Wednesdays in the Word

Women Friendships - they can be complicated at times can't they? We all know how hard friendships are for little girls with the "mean girls". Then there's cliques in Jr. High and High School that can be terribly painful. Then we grow into big girls and hopefully by this point we have learned a few things about how to be a good friend and how to avoid the "porcupine" people - the people who seem to poke us all the time. We want to learn to NOT be the porcupine - and how to manage those porcupines in our life!!!

God created women with the need for relationship. Today we'll identify what to look for IN a friend and what qualities you need to develop to BE a good friend.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reads "(9)Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; (10)If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (11) Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? (12) Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

In verse 9 we see friendships are valuable - there is a "good return" - in other words - it is a good investment to build strong friendships.

Characteristics of a true friend:
1. According to verse 10 - In order to be a good friend - you must be someone who is there for the other person when they fall down. If you are not practicing this in your life - then most likely you will find yourself feeling alone when you fall down. As a result verse 10 says that you are to be pitied. "Pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up." In order to have friends who are there for you in crisis you must be a good friend to others through thick and thin times.

2. According to verse 11 - a true friend can keep you warm. This verse makes me think of my friendship with my husband because it talks about laying with each other. But figuratively - my girl friendships warm my heart regularly. Their presence in my life make the journey brighter. So many times they have filled me with courage, hope and wisdom for today's trials.

Give of your own heart selflessly and if the recipient is wise and worthy - you will have won a friend. When you see a friend in crisis do not merely twitter, text or Facebook them - pick up the phone and pray with them, take them a meal, or take their children for the day. In these ways - you become Jesus in the flesh to them and you will warm up your friend's life.

3. According to verse 12 - A true friend helps you to not be overpowered - and defends you. A true friend overlooks your flaws and will not gossip about you behind your back but will rather defend you. I have a couple friends who have gotten "hot" when I've been verbally attacked - in those moments I saw flashes of their loyalty that I did not know existed without the attack and I greatly appreciated their depth of faithfulness. For a moment they shared my feelings and though they never acted on their feelings (because they are Christ followers) their hotness simply warmed my heart.

4. "A cord of three strands is not easily broken." Simple equation: You + Christ + plus your friend = 3. When Christ is at the center of your friendship you will find a depth and love that far surpasses that of what the world offers. That is what is so precious about Christian fellowship. We are not to be lone ranger Christians - God wants us to go to church and fellowship - if you are not a part of a church body - you must go this Sunday and begin to connect - the body of believers needs you!

My conclusion is do not bring into your "close friendship circle" a porcupine. If you find yourself saying Ouch Ouch Ouch all the time that is a red flag. A porcupine is also someone who is not there for you when you are in crisis, gossips about you and does not have Christ as the center of her life - she should be kept at arms length. Yes, she can be A friend - but she should not be your "close" friend.

And as for us - do not become a porcupine by jaded friendships! We must strive to be a true friend - be Jesus in the flesh to our friends in times of crisis - keep them warm when they are faced with trials from this cold harsh world, be loyal, faithful, loving, encouraging and life giving to them! And always keep Christ the center of your friendships. They will know we are Christians by our love.

Walk with the King!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: The Duggar's Oven Fries

The book "The Duggars: Twenty and Counting" contains this recipe. It has become one of my simple go to side dishes. It is cheap and easy - the potatos cook quickly in the oven and are a complete hit with the children and my husband! So if you are hard pressed for what to go with your chicken or beef - add this to the plate and your family will cheerfully eat them and be stuffed (which for me is the goal - or else one hour later I hear those famous words "I'mmmmmmmm hungry!!!)

Recipe for Duggar's Oven Fries
  • One potato per person you are serving, sliced lengthwise
  • Olive Oil (Oops - I'm guilty I used vegetable oil as seen in the photo!)
  • Garlic powder, salt and pepper (or chili pepper if desired)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rub the potato with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or put the oil in a plastic bag and toss with the potato slices). Sprinkle on the seasoning of your choice. Spread the slices on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and fork tender and voila - golden steak fries! ENJOY!!!!

Maybe it seems late in life for me to have discovered such a simple side dish - but I'm thankful I gave it a try - it's jazzed up many meals this summer!

I am participating in Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie and "In Passionate Pursuit's" Tasty Tuesday . For more blogger recipes go to these links.

Walk with the King!


My Prayer Walk

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
My prayer walk begins as I pull the crumpled blankets from a sweet nights rest up "Lord, bless the man who slept here last night - give him strength for todays trials, integrity for today's temptations and wisdom for today's decisions." I go around to the other side of the bed and pull the blankets up "Lord, help me, help me be a blessing to my husband today, be patient with the children, and wise for today's challenges."

I walk into the bathroom - bathtub toys are strewn across the floor, I pick up the match box car "Lord, bless my little boy who dreams big and plays hard - help him use his strength for you." I lay my daughter's bath baby back into her bucket - "Lord, bless my little girl, she has so many words to say, help her be wise in her word choices."

I walk down to the kitchen, crumbs are wiped from the morning breakfast table "Lord, use this table to comfort weary souls and encourage my little pilgrims on their journey". I wipe the first chair "Lord, help our leader husband to be healthy so he can complete the ever mounting tasks on his plate." I wipe the second and third chair "Lord, give the children laughter in their adventures together - knit their souls together."And then the fourth... "Lord, help - I just need help...tears bubble under the more words for her need to be said - the Spirit already understands what words cannot express."

Then into the living room, pillows are straightened prayers are said for visitors, friends and family who once sat there. Dust is wiped from the piano as praise bellows in my heart for the joy that has come through the blessing of that black wooden box with ivory keys. Memories of children singing and dancing flood my heart with overwhelming joy. The joy is broken...the newspaper is lifted from the entry way - the world's troubles vomit on me - prayers are lifted for my city, state, country, and President.

My heart is heavy as I lift the heavy laundry basket and carry it out of the room and up the stairs - the basket seems to get lighter as I thank the Lord for giving us these clothes in abundance. The drawer is opened, the clothes slip into their comfy home ready to be used.

I walk past the television and pause - "Lord, have we dishonored you by the things we have watched on there? Help us to not waste our time on useless viewing which turns into useless living."

I walk to my computer...there it sits...the world at my finger calls my woos me to come and sit for a while.

My Bible is right beside the keyboard...there it sits...God's only written truth there at my finger calls my woos me to come and sit for a while.

Why am I so torn - why does the computer's wooing seem stronger than the Bible's? Pause for repentance - "Father forgive me for weak moments where time spent on my computer has caused me to neglect your word."

I open my Bible and drink a tall glass of refreshing living water that is spilt on every page. Sweet refreshment - I rise refreshed as distant little voices call out "mommy"...temptations to carry my heavy burden rise with me. I move forward leaving my burden to lie at the feet of Jesus. My heart is light - I walk in peace - I walk with the King - the King walks with me.
Today - pause, take the time to pray over the people in your home, over the places they sleep, their toys, the television that will capture them and keep them hostage for as long as you allow, the computer which can bring life or death into your home. Let God use a daily prayer walk to transform your family...if you don't pray for them - who will?

Walk with the King!


Friday, September 18, 2009

Feed Back Friday - My First Video

Well Women - I got a little wild and crazy and decided to try a video! I've never done this before but I felt the start of the Good Morning Girls Groups warranted a little "Hurrah" from me! So for all the Good Morning Girls this is for you! And for those who wanted to give this a try but timing wasn't right - don't be discouraged! We will take a break through the holidays and give it a shot again in the New Year - so hopefully you can join us then!

The background for the video might seem strange because it's in my bathroom - but I have turned my vanity into a "desk" and that is where I have my quiet time and where my computer is located to write my blogs. Be gracious as I know this video is a little corny!!! Lol!

I would love to hear some feedback from any Good Morning Girls who happen to read today -- how it is going for you and your group? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section or in an email to me.

Walk with the King!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Clothes Swap

I Timothy 6:18b says "Be generous and willing to share."

Last Friday I had some friends (the Good Morning Girls) over and we had a clothes swap! It was so much fun!!! We all cleaned out our closets and collected lightly worn shirts, sweaters, pants, skirts, dresses, purses and jewelry. Then we spent the evening trying each others things on and chatting. In the end, I received a couple new pairs of pants, skirts, some workout clothes, a beautiful pair of earrings, a purse, and a whole bunch of new tops - FREE!

It's funny because we all are different shapes and sizes - I am 5'2" and the other two girls were over 5 inches taller. Our shapes and curves are in different places too - but it still worked out that we all were able to find stuff that worked and the extras went to a friend who couldn't make it to the swap.

This is a thrifty way to update your wardrobe - consider inviting some friends over who wear a similiar size and style as you and do a swap! Also, don't forget that you could do this with children's clothes, toys and even your husband's clothes. Often times it's easy to drop all of our stuff at Goodwill. This is my first time to share with my friends - and I must say it was delightful to see old things take a new life once again rather than being wasted!

Walk with the King!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dealing with Change - Ecclesiastes 3

Wednesdays in the Word
Change - do you like it? I suppose it matters if it's a good change or a bad change? Is it a pay raise or a job loss? Is it a new born baby or the death of a loved one? Ecclesiastes 3 describes 28 different seasons of life and one thing is guaranteed - change is absolute!

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."

In John 14, when Jesus met with his disciples he told them that change was coming. He was going to depart but they were to have no fear because he was sending them the Holy Spirit. Despite the change - one thing would remain constant - His presence. He would be with them guiding them, counseling them, and teaching them through the Holy Spirit.

The Greek word for "Holy Spirit" is parakletos which means one who comes along side and helps and comforts. Jesus wanted his disciples to know that he was leaving but they were NOT alone! Women - we are NOT alone!!! When everything around us changes - when we move to a new town, we change jobs, we add more children to the fold or sickness is upon us - one thing is certain the presence of God is with us.

Are you practicing the presence of God in your life? Do you sense his presence - are you listening or are you hurrying through your day just surviving it. Are you missing the hand of God in your life...thinking that you are making up time when really you are losing it.

God uses change to shape us and to open our eyes to his presence. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end."

I struggle with what I am about to say - but I'm going to say it to you and in my own heart wrestle this out...embrace change. Know that God uses change for his glory. Change is what turned Mary the peasant girl into the mother of God almighty! Change is what turned David the shepherd boy into the King! And change is what turned me - a useless piece of clay into a blood bought child of of the King.

Slow down today - stop rushing through life and missing the presence of God. do you see Him?
Look...he's been there.
See...he will always be there.

"Eyes that look are common - eyes that see are rare."

Walk with the King!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Easy Homemade Apple Pie with Crumb Topping!

So I made my first homemade apple pie of the season for friends (and if I don't say so myself) - it was DELISH!!!

This is my sister Kristen's recipe and you have to give it a try!!! I highly recommend if you are stinky at making crust like me - to buy the prepackaged crust - I made the crust from the recipe below and it tasted great - but it didn't turn out too pretty. But the filling is simple, quick and SOOOO good! And the crumb topping mmmmm... girls now we are talking comfort food!!!

French Apple Pie

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp shortening
2 tbsp water

Roll out and place in a 8 inch or 9 inch pie pan.

Apple Filling:
6-7 cups peeled and sliced granny smith apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp butter

Mix and place in pastry shell

Crumb topping:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour

Cut ingredients together until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Bake @ 400 degrees for 45-55 minutes.

Cut a warm piece of apple pie and serve it with a bountiful scoop of vanilla ice cream and savor the flavor of fall!

I am participating in Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie and "In Passionate Pursuit's" Tasty Tuesday . For more blogger recipes go to these links.

Walk with the King!


I Gained A Bit of Perspective This Weekend

Room #1 - Imagine your husband is called by God to go to the mission field - so with a 6, 4 and 1 year old you pack up all your belongings and for the first time ever you leave the US to head to Argentina to become a life long missionary. Imagine the sacrifice - leaving the comforts of your home, your family, your church, your friends, your language, your car, Target and Starbucks!

Saturday night our church put us on a simulated missionary journey and the true scenario above was the story of our missionary speaker whose children are now in their 20's. At this point - we all assumed a simulated call to the mission field and moved to room#2 where we began to think about raising support. A missionary to Jordan got choked up as he shared about the hardship he went through raising support for his wife and 3 children during the economic down turn in America last spring. He faced a lot of rejection and discouragment and spent much time on his knees in prayer dependence on God.

After raising support we moved to room #3 where we discovered the training involved for missionaries. Some spend years in Bible school and then language school before departing to begin their ministry.

Then with fake money in hand we moved to room #4 - time to get our passports, airline tickets, a Dr. check up and fill out mounds of paper work! We moved from station to station completing these tasks.

Then down the hall we went to board our plane to the field - we showed our passports and tickets and boarded our plane - the kids LOVED this part! With rows of chairs lining the hallway and stewardesses speaking another language - we enjoyed refreshments and a view out our window.

Once landing we went through customs - that was a hassle and we had to do some bribing to get us all through with our extra baggage! Then we boarded the very crammed bus with chickens on board and headed to our new home.

We arrived out back behind the church where tiki torches were lit and a bonfire was going.

Around the campfire one missionary shared his struggles - his ups and downs of his 20+ years of missions work. Our hearts were warmed with inspiration. I was thankful that my children could experience such a neat journey and have their eyes opened to the fascinating stories of these courageous men and women of faith.
I know that the kids of our age adore Lebron James and Hanna Montana...but can I just say - these heroes do not compare to the real heroes that stood before us that night. These brave and noble missionaries are the true heroes.

Who are your heroes? Who do you encourage your children to be someday? We need to expos our children to these heros through books, the web, or by attending these kinds of conferences.

Missionaries were a huge shaping force in my childhood heart. Our children need to know that they too serve a HUGE God who is worthy of such sacrifice. May we as moms and grandmas NEVER forget the sacrifice that some are making right this moment to further the gospel. We must pray for them and take a little perspective from them on how posh our life really is...and how much more we could serve God if only we had the courage!

John 3:30 "He must become greater, I must become less."NIV

Walk with the King!

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Fit Friday: The Art of the Bubble Bath

Proverbs 17:22 "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
If you are stressed out from all the back-to-school homework, sports, errands, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and economic troubles...then you NEED a bubble bath.

Here's why - a bubble bath is something COMPLETELY free that only you can give yourself. I remember when my children were babies and my husband was traveling a lot, I would be at my wits end by evening - with no break coming from my husband since he was gone. I found solace in my bubble baths. As soon as I knew both kids were asleep - the art of the bubble bath began.

I know there is a temptation at the end of a weary day to turn on the television and have a snack. This is a common stress reliever - but I don't believe that it really relieves stress like a good bubble bath does.

An awesome bubble bath takes planning so here's what you need:
1. Privacy - all children asleep and the husband aware that you don't want to be interrupted
2. Hot water and loads of Bubbles - preferably ones that smell yummy!
3. Some soft classical music
4. A hand towel rolled up as a pillow
5. A cold drink to set beside the tub
6. A good Christian book
Optional: a lit candle

Now sit back and RELAX - 25 minutes and VOILA - you emerge a new woman. Sometimes all a stressed out momma needs is a little TLC. A cheerful heart is good medicine as Proverbs 17:22 says - and sometimes all we need is a bubble bath to cheer us up!
And guess what - your family will thank you for doing this. Face it - when we are tense, stressed out and exhausted we are not able to be the best wife, mother or child of God we can be. We will more easily give into the enemy's temptations to be angry, inpatient, insensitive, bitter, and the list goes on and on.
The logo for this blog includes a bubble bath girl because a woman who is living well cannot live stretched to her max and stressed out! She must learn to drink from the living well - which is God's word and have joy as she lives it out. Our body affects our spiritual life - so take good care of it! Schedule in a bubble bath for yourself this weekend!

Walk with the King!

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

What I've Learned in My First 12 Years of Marriage

My husband and I celebrated our 12th Wedding Anniversary this past weekend. These photos are from our wedding day. The first one makes me laugh out loud. Right after we lit the unity candle - we had to stand and hold hands while a long song played and guess what happened - the unity candle WENT OUT!

I kinda felt like it was a bad omen and right then and there my husband and I had our first disagreement of our marriage - I wanted to relight it - he did not. So I stood there grinning and bearing it while hundreds of eyes stared at us - those were some of the most awkward minutes of my life!

12 years later here we are...

I know I'm a bit blonder, tanner and have about 15+ extra pounds on me - things have changed. If you could really see my hair color you'd see a lot of grey peeking through. I'd like to say that it's a result of wisdom - but I think it's from how tired the children have made me!

Let me tell you about our earlier years for those of you who don't know me. We met in our church high school youth group and attended our high school proms together. He went to a Christian high school. I went to a public school. Following high school graduation he went off to the Ohio State University to get his degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering while I went to Chicago to attend the Moody Bible Institute. For FOUR long years we dated long distance. This was before cell phones and email (in the olden' days ha ha!) so we wrote each other a love letter every single day! Yes, I have loads of letters in my attic - he was a very faithful writer.

As soon as I graduated we were married the following September. I moved from our hometown to right outside Ohio State's campus and began a job as a receptionist, then Administrative Assistant and finally as a pager sales girl (That sounds funny too! Boy, do I sound old - who uses pagers now???) and I worked him through three more years of college.

Those first few years were hard, humble beginnings. I didn't really like my job - he didn't really like his school work but we both labored for a common goal. In a city far from family and friends we bonded. My husband saw first hand my flops in the kitchen, how slow I was at ironing a shirt and my messy tendencies.

I saw first hand a few of my husband's traits that bothered me. And so began the chain of apologies and forgiveness, love and acceptance, biting my lip when things weren't the way I'd like them to be, turning my head and ignoring things that bothered me, laughing at our opposing views, enjoying his amazing strengths, sharing our hopes and dreams, trusting, accepting, loving and forgiving.

The divorce rate in America hovers around 50% and if it weren't for Jesus in our lives I believe we'd be a part of that statistic. It is only by the grace of God and the Holy Spirit's conviction to time and time again apologize and forgive each other that we can still be madly in love at 12 years! I was tested at the marriage alter when that unity candle went out - he did NOT want it re lit - and I submitted. I have found that the more I respect and submit to his leadership the more joy we share in our marriage as he in turn loves me unconditionally.

I thank the Lord that I did not lose his heart over petty fights or bitter feelings. If you are struggling today with petty fights and bitter feelings - please stop yourself before all the joy is lost in your marriage. The grass is not greener - all husbands are flawed in one way or another just as we wives are. We all carry baggage into marriage - some a little more than others but we must accept, love and respect our husbands unconditionally.

Ephesians 5:22-24 says "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." I think the mandate is clear - submit to your husbands in everything...

To me my husband is stronger than a thousand warriors - he has overcome many hardships in his life and his strength gives me strength. He is the one who encouraged me to start a blog. Would it be corny to say "He's the wind beneath my wings"! Well he is!

Walk with the King!