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Women Living Well Blog: November 2009

Women Living Well Blog

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Cranberry Sauce

I can hardly believe Christmas is JUST 25 days away! I am so excited!
This thanksgiving my Uncle was in town and he gave me a HUGE hand in the kitchen. We were expecting 22 guests from my side of the family. But my husband's grandfather had passed away the previous Saturday, so the funeral fell on the same afternoon as our big Thanksgiving Dinner.

Luckily my Uncle saved the day and did nearly everything in the kitchen while I followed him with the camera! One of the recipes he made was this cranberry sauce. It was my first time to ever seen cranberry sauce made (who knew the cranberries actually pop!) and it was delicious, so I thought I'd share it with all of you. It will look gorgeous on your Christmas dinner table!

Cranberry Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
12-oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries (3 cups)
freshly grated orange zest
1 cinnamon stick (optional)

Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries just pop, 10 to 12 minutes. Then cool. It will gel and get thick.
Cooks' note: · Cranberry sauce may be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered.
I am participating in Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie , Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tuesdays at the Table recipe exchanges. For more blogger recipes go to these links.

Walk with the King!


Video Blog: How To Deal With Difficult People

Don't forget to pause the music on the sidebar!

"You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves." - Saint Francis de Sales

Walk with the King!

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Shop To The Glory Of God

Shopping is a necessary part of a woman's life. We must shop to provide food, clothing, gifts and more for our families. It is hard work when we do it to the glory of God. I respect women who are willing to take the time to find a deal, stay within a budget and apply wisdom to their shopping. As you shop today - remember to shop to the glory of God!

Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men."

Walk with the King,


Thursday, November 26, 2009

From My Family To Yours - Happy Thanksgiving!

My family celebrated Thanksgiving a day early - so here are our pictures from a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! Enjoy your families today as we give thanks to God for our blessings!

This is a picture of my husband and my brother-in-law who didn't want his face on the blog! lol!

But I caught him in action eating pie! So his face is revealed!!!

This is Lexi in the kitchen with me getting her 4th cookie!
This is my mom with my Aunt Lori who traveled all the way from Colorado to be with us for the holidays!

This is my Uncle Wayne from Colorado. Lexi was thoroughly enjoying his visit! She's a people person like mommy!

We did the "Giving Tree" (I posted about this idea here) and had a meaningful time of sharing, laughter, tears and a prayer time at the end. I'll post more pictures of this time in a later post.

From My Family To Yours - Happy Thanksgiving!

Walk with the King!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Everyday Should Be Thanksgiving!

For a Christian everyday should be thanksgiving as we daily celebrate God's goodness in our lives. Here's a poem with that reminder:

I love the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

I love the taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed.

I love the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.

I love a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

I love all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.

I love the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.

I love my huge heating bill because it means I am warm.

I love the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.

I love the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.

I love weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.

I love the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I'm alive!
- Author Unknown

I Thessalonians 5:18 "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

We have so much to be thankful for - we just need to adjust our perspective and open our eyes to all the many many blessings that we have been given - then our hearts will overflow with thanksgiving. What are you thankful for today?

Walk with the King!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Dinner Rolls in the Shape of a Turkey

Look at these adorable Turkey Dinner Rolls!!! These only take a few simple ingredients and will surely be a dinner conversation piece!

2 Rhodes Texas™ Rolls or 2 Rhodes™ Dinner Rolls, thawed but still cold

1 egg , beaten

sliced almonds, slivered almonds, chopped pecans, pepper corns

Flatten one roll for the body and place on a large sprayed baking sheet.
Cut a narrow piece out of the remaining roll to be used as a head and neck. Roll it into a rope shape and place on one side of body to form a slight curve. Cut head piece on an angle and pull down against neck to form a wattle.
Flatten the rest of the roll into a half circle. Cut about ten long slits to form feathers. Place on body opposite head and neck. Brush with egg.
Place peppercorn on head for eye and push a slivered almond into the head for a beak. Decorate body and tail with nuts as desired.
Let rise 15-30 minutes. Bake at 350°F 15 minutes or until golden brown. And enjoy!!!
I am participating in Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie , Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tuesdays at the Table recipe exchanges. For more blogger recipes go to these links.

Walk with the King!


Thanksgiving Traditions

The word "tradition" is not found in the Old Testament but God does give instructions for remembering works that God has done through practices that are called traditions. Exodus 12:42 is speaking about the Passover and says "Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come."

Here's how we are to practice traditions:

1. Use them to remember what the Lord has done for us - "Because the Lord kept vigil".

2. Use them "to honor the Lord".

3. Teach them to your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren so they too will honor the Lord - "for the generations to come".

Noel Piper says "A tradition is a planned habit with significance."

Do you need an idea for a tradition to start? Here's a few ideas:
1. I bought a notebook that has fall colors on the cover last year and began a "Thanksgiving Journal". Each family member wrote a paragraph in the journal of things we were thankful for. Already just one year later I delighted in reading about the kids favorite toys, friends, teachers and trips! I know that in 20 years this journal will be priceless!

2. This year we are reading The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. After we read it, all the guests in our house for dinner (22) will be asked to write on a paper leaf one thing they have been given this year that they are thankful for. Then we will take turns sticking our leaves to a tree trunk...and we will have created our own Thanksgiving Giving Tree!

3. My friend Karen shared her tradition: "This isn't a family one (I'm single), nor is it especially meaningful, but it's fun. Each year I have my preschool students tell me how they would cook Thanksgiving dinner. (The hardest part is not chuckling as they very seriously tell me just how to make each thing). I put them all together in a little "cookbook" to give to their families. The parents always enjoy reading their children's creativity! My extended family loves to read them every year, too, so I make sure that I always bring a copy of the book to Thanksgiving dinner."

4. My friend Kelly shared her tradition: "We are doing something new this year. I'm having the kids take their little kiddie cameras and take pictures of things they are thankful for (before Thanksgiving). Then I'm going to print them out and on Thanksgiving (after dinner when we are just hanging out with the family), they can make a "thankfulness collage" with the print out pictures! It will keep them busy and will also keep their minds and hearts in the right place! They are already chomping at the bit to take pictures!"

5. A Women Living Well reader named Brooke wrote "I just received the book "Growing Together in Gratitude" by Barbara Rainey. It is a book with stories of faith for families. I heard about it on the radio through Family Life. We are reading one story as a family every week and then we share what we are thankful for that week."

6. And finally, make a turkey body out of construction paper. Give each person in the family a construction paper feather and have them write on it one thing they are thankful for. Then stick all the feathers on for all to see and rejoice in!

I hope this stirs in your heart a desire to make Thanksgiving meaningful for your family. If you have a family tradition you'd like to share please share it in the comment section!

Walk with the King!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thriving In a Mismatched Marriage

(Image copyright Tammy Labuda Photography 2009)

Are you married to an unbeliever? Do you struggle with your husband not being the spiritual leader that you dream of him being?

My friend Deanna was in a mismatched marriage for 27 years. She shares the pitfalls to having a marriage that thrives and practical ways to apply God's word to your marriage. And she offers hope as her husband recently became a believer!

Many of you have emailed me questions about this topic. I posted this article over at Women Living Well's main site - Click here to read Deanna's inspirational story .

Walk with the King!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Fit Friday: Equipping Ourselves Physically and Spiritually

Today's guest post is written by Clare - a Certified Fitness Instructor. For more articles by Clare click here.

I was cutting coupons yesterday and saw a cold and flu ad with pictures of nasty looking worm-shaped germs resting on a phone. Needless to say, it reminded me of how I need to be mindful of where these little fellas are! (Nice marketing work on behalf of the cold and flu company!) As if the seasonal flu wasn't enough to think about, we now have H1N1 2009 to worry with--we can't avoid disease!

It's hard for me to "remember" where all those nasty germs lurk! We've got them on door handles, shopping carts, name it..they live there. And unfortunately the dangers of the germs aren't only encased outside of our homes, but they make their way into our beautiful little houses!!

Thanks to modern technology, we are able to protect ourselves from the infiltration of the flu germs. Thank goodness for hand sanitizers, antibacterial wipes, and soaps!! We can't forget the ever-present (and controversial!) flu vaccine either. So not only can you take care of these germs externally and momentarily, but you can get injected with something that will work internally least until next year.

I can't help but think of how Satan is similar to these hidden, nasty germs. How many times do I...a believer of almost 20 years...forget how dirty and powerful Satan and his evil forces are!! They lurk everywhere in my attitude towards my husband, my unthankfulness towards my possessions, my lack of zeal for serving the Lord...the list goes on and on. You see, Satan comes in quietly and tries to eat away at our lives.

John 10:10 says that "The thief, comes only to steal and kill and destroy..." much like those pesky flu germs!

But just as modern technology has equipped us to fight the flu germs, our all-knowing Lord has equipped us with ways to fight Satan and his forces!! He has given us HIS armor!!

Ephesians 6 says : 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. "

So, today, when you are cleansing and avoiding the lurking flu germs, be mindful of the one lurking to steal, kill and destroy our spiritual lives! Remember that we have been injected with THE Living, Breathing, Powerful PROTECTOR! The best part is we don't have to get Him injected year after year--we've got Him on our side eternally!
- Clare

Thank you Clare - yes ladies, we MUST equip ourselves physically and spiritually! Physically we must stay strong so we can serve our husbands, children, and others in need. And spiritually we must stay strong so we can serve our husbands, children and others in need!
Walk With the King!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

How To Pray Continually

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: "16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

(I apologize for getting the address of Jen's blogspot wrong - the correct blog address is )

Also, "My Prayer Walk" was featured yesterday on Internet Cafe Devotions.

If you haven't read "My Prayer Walk" which is another method of "Praying Continually" check it out here!

Walk with the King!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Managing Your Home With A Cheerful Heart

Today we continue to learn from Jeanette Wood from A Moment With Mom - a homeschooling mother of 10. If you missed Mondays post - scroll down and learn about Jeanette and how she deals with weariness.

Next I asked Jeanette: "Not only do you have 10 children but you also run a farm. How do you do it all? What is your secret to managing your home with a cheerful heart?"

Training my children in the small details of life and the big issues has been the most important 'secret' to our home running smoothly and cheerfully. I don't expect the children to know how to act, I teach them how to act and train them in overcoming obstacles and traps of bad behavior. My greatest desire is to have a sweet relationship with my husband and children. I have spent much time guarding the peace of our home and making sure that I am creating the environment I want for my family- God's people!

Here are a few practical things I do:

1. I work on creating memories, considering what's really important, and doing those things. I often ask myself, "If the Lord were to return at this moment what would I want Him to find me doing?"

2. I make sure that we are not so busy "doing" that we can't simply enjoy one another.

3. I make sure to always go to bed with the home clean and laundry done. Waking up to yesterday's chores is no way to start the day. There are times that it simply happens however, we all work hard to make sure our daily duties are accomplished before bedtime.

4. I limit distractions such as Internet, TV. and phone calls that would keep me from being available to hear the children express their hearts. If I no longer have time to hold the baby, read a story to the little ones, or kiss the brow of my child... then I am too busy with the 'clutter' of life. For me, the simple moments with my family are the most important! I love to create their favorite meals, yummy treats and work along side them as they care for animals they enjoy!

5. Managing our time is critical. We don't have a schedule we keep but we do have a routine we follow. I've found the home is orderly and peaceful when everyone knows what to expect for the day. The key is keeping us open and flexible to hear the voice of the Lord and set aside our own plans to do His. It's a balancing act that I work on daily.

6. I've learned to smile on purpose! It's important to me that I am teaching my children by example. I want to teach them that I don't just act kind when I leave the house, smile when life is easy, or have a joyful tone in my voice when things go my way. I also want them to know that I don't hide my pain when I hurt, my struggle with temptations, or my repentance when I sin.

7. I also guard myself from excuses. I don't want to teach my children to make excuses for poor behavior so I need to make sure I am not doing so as well. I often tell my girls, "We were told to walk in the Spirit at all times. It doesn't say, except when it's that "time of the month."

Courtney, I have loved sharing with you. Keep in mind that I am simply a sinner saved by grace. I work out my salvation each day by His strength alone. I look forward to tomorrow not because I have all the answers or the perfect life. I look forward to tomorrow because I know that He is faithful to complete the good work He has begun in my life. I am excited to see what that looks like!
Thank you Jeanette for sharing your wisdom with us! For more from Jeanette stop by A Moment With Mom. Now Consider today which one of the above things you need to work on - begin to put it into practice. For me, lighting a candle and putting on some worship music quickly sets a mood and tone in the home that is calm and cheerful! Go and smile at your husband and children today!

Walk with the King!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Potato Casserole

Every year we have this Sweet Potato Casserole on our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner table. For me this side dish is almost a dessert - I LOVE it!

Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients:
3-28 oz. cans sweet potatoes mashed
1/3 cup of butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Beat together and pour into a buttered 9x13 baking dish.

Mix together topping and place on top of potatoes.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.
I am participating in Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie , Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tuesdays at the Table recipe exchanges. For more blogger recipes go to these links.

Walk with the King!


How A Mother of Ten Deals With Weariness

I have been receiving emails from moms who want to know how to deal with the weariness of being a mom. So I emailed my facebook friend who always has joy in her journey - Jeanette Wood. We crossed paths on her blog at A Moment With Mom . Today she'll share her "secret" with us young moms.

Here she is:
My name is Jeanette Wood(pictured at right). I am the wife to my best friend, Joe, and the mother of ten children ages 21-5(pictured above along with their grandparents). Six children were born from us physically and four were born from our hearts through adoption. We have a special needs child, our adopted son, who was born with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome).

Life is always busy at my home but also blessed! Our days are often filled with home school activities, living on a robust farm, and sharing our lives with others. Currently, we live on 16 acres where we grow our own food, raise beef cattle, have our dairy cow, sheep for meat, chickens for meat and eggs, ducks, geese, cats and dogs for pets and horses as well.

My husband is a truck driver and is often on the road for a week at a time. I have had to learn how to juggle the demands of the day with him long distance. We enjoy living simply and have spent many years of our marriage living 'off the grid.' Living without electricity, washing our cloths in a creek, harvesting our food from nature, cooking over an 1800's wood cook stove, growing our own groceries and learning to process the food we grew or raised.

The Lord has and continues to do a transforming work on my life Courtney. Often people 'see' who I am today and believe I must of never suffered the pain of sin, had a perfect childhood, made all the right choices, had a perfect marriage, never weathered life storms and yet that is simply not the case.

Here's what I asked Jeanette: "Having 10 kids would overwhelm most of us - is there one verse that you would recommend to a weary mom and tell us practically speaking how you overcome the challenges of weariness so you can enjoy your children."

Oh, one of my favorite verses is: Galatians 6:9 "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

Let's face it; life is simply hard at times! There are so many challenges we face, struggles we wrestle with and unexpected courses that take our breath away. Life is not for wimps and some days I wonder if I am not the queen of wimps! However, the Lord has faithfully taught me over the years and continues to do so.

Let me share what I have learned. There are three things sure to bring a spirit of weariness in my life.

1- Trying to do things in my own strength. I will never forget the day the Lord talked to me about this lesson. I was a young momma of three, driving across town to take a meal to a friend who had just come home from the hospital. My day had been overwhelming and I was in tears as I considered the dishes I needed to do, the laundry that was piling up and the school lessons I still needed to grade. As I prayed for help, the Lord reminded me that I can come up with many 'wonderful ideas' but that doesn't mean they are His ideas.

If I just do the things I think are wonderful and don't carefully pray about what He wants me to do I will become weary. I won't have the measure of grace to see me through, the strength to complete the task before me nor the joy to share with others in the process. I won't have the confidence to endure the trials because I don't have the confidence of knowing I am right where He wants me. This means that I must take time to sit at His feet, that I must truly study His Word and prayerfully considering my thoughts and actions.

2- Getting caught up in 'rights.' When I start counting offenses, or thinking about what I deserve, what's right or what's fair. I'm sure to grow weary and fast! I am constantly reminding myself, and the children, that we were "bought with a price- we are not our own." My days are ordered by the Lord... good ones, bad ones and ho-hum ones! Each day God is doing an eternal work in my life for His glory and my own good. I must release what I feel I have 'rights' to and allow Him to simply work.

3- Expectations. This is related to the second issue yet, important to mention specifically. Expectations are dangerous to have and often lead to weariness. We all have certain expectations to some degree but it is important to let go of the expectations that keep our relationships in turmoil. I have learned to inspect my children's work instead of expecting them to do it. I have learned to appreciate what my husband does instead of expecting him to do something for me. I have learned that I have Joy when I am considering how I can serve others instead of how others are serving me.

There are still many times when I remind myself that I have done all I know how to do and now I must wait for the Lord to accomplish His work. "Duty is ours results are God's" is one of my favorite quotes from John Quincy Adams. I must continue to do what I know He has called me to do even when I don't see the fruit of my labor, for in due season I will reap a reward!

Thanks Jeanette for sharing!!! Wednesday we will hear again from Jeanette when she shares a list of practical things we can do to manage our homes without weariness. For more encouragement today from Jeanette go to A Moment With Mom. (Last week she shared wisdom on Potty Training, Laundry Issues and Sibling Issues) You will be blessed!

And just a side note, my life verse happens to be Galatians 6:9!! If you don't have it memorized - I highly recommend you jot it down and begin to memorize it! God has used it in my life to combat weariness more times than I can count!

Walk with the King!

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Mailbag Question: What is Respect?

Anonymous said "I was wondering if you could write something on the topic of WHAT RESPECT IS. As a young woman, I have asked people in church for years what respect is supposed to look like, how do you respect you husband, etc...I even asked my husband what being respected means to him, but no one seems to have an answer for me or knows how to put it into words."

Ephesians 5:33 says "However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

Since God commands respect - we must define it. In the Greek the word respect is 'phobeo' which literally means reverence, awe, or fear. It can also mean honor and esteem. This is an attitude of heart that will be displayed by our actions.

For many women these are hard words to swallow. And in this day in age, women are infuriated that I would even suggest such a concept - but let's pause...these are not my thoughts - these are God's. So if you are cringing and have a problem with this - your problem is not with me - it's with God.

Last night I played Jr. Monopoly with my children. It wasn't long before they were going too many spaces ahead, having trouble counting the money and starting to make up their own rules. As a result we had some chaos. I pulled out the rules and read them out loud and quickly they obeyed and we were able to enjoy the game.

Marriage has become like a Monopoly game with no rules. Everyone is doing their own thing - and the end result is chaos, fighting and divorce. Today we are pulling out God's plan for marriage and I think we will find that when we follow his plan - we will have joy and peace in our homes.

Remember, we are not always lovable and he is not always worthy of respect - but because we love God we must work hard to express it. If my husband said he loved me but never showed it - I would feel like he didn't really love me. In the same way, we must turn our words into actions so our husbands FEEL respected.

Here are some ways to display the respect, esteem, and honor you have in your heart:
1. Respect their knowledge, opinions and decisions.
2. Don't be a nag, criticize him, or assume the worst in his actions.

3. Watch for sarcastic and disrespectful teasing, rolling of eyes or bitter attitudes.

4. Respect his desire to work, protect, provide, and lead. Tell him - "I respect your hard work. I feel more secure when you are here and protecting the family."
5. Respect his need for physical intimacy. Do not get frustrated with your husband in this area. God made men differently than women. His lack of romance at times may be frustrating to you but you must remember that men were created with loads more of testosterone...and his desire is literally for you and he will continually persue you in the bedroom. Aren't you thankful he's pursuing you and not another woman. Respect his faithful and loyal pursuit! Give him what he needs...I'll stop here - because I do not want to be inappropriate but I have many thoughts on this subject!!! Respect your man in the bedroom. This matters to them.

Dr. Emerson Eggerich says "No husband feels fond feelings of affection and love in his heart when he believes his wife has contempt for who he is as a human being. Ironically, the deepest need of the wife - to feel loved - is undermined by her disrespect."

In the end, showing respect is a choice we make in obedience to God. When we push our husband away through disrespectful behavior - we are pushing the Lord away. Don't assume because your husband quietly accepts your joking or your leadership on decisions that he feels respected. He just may not have the heart to tell you the truth because he loves you so much. So let me tell you for him - please stop - and start to 'phobeo' him today!

Walk with the King!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mailbag Question: Where To Start Reading In The Bible?

Here's an email I received in my mailbag:

"I have never even read the Bible before! I start but I can't understand it or it's so blah. Do you have any recommendations about where I should begin at? ...I really want to understand the word of God. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I just don't know where to begin." - Heather

Heather - thank you for the excellent question. The Bible can be a challenge to read because it does not read like an ordinary book from cover to cover. It was written over thousands of years, by nearly 40 authors and in several languages. To put it in simple terms, the Old Testament gives us a foundation for who God is, his character and the foreshadowing of Christ's coming. The New Testament is about Jesus' life, crucifixion, resurrection, the spread of the gospel and instructions for Christian living.

So where do you start? Let me go book by book in order of where they fall in the Bible and explain it - I will give you my recommendations as I go. Hold on to your seat - cause here we go on a ride through the entire Bible!

The Book of Genesis tells us how God created the world, how mankind fell into sin, and the impact of the fall. This book is necessary for a complete understanding of God's word.

Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are filled with the Jewish law - which can be difficult to you may want to save those books for later in your journey. But don't miss them because all of God's word is meant to be read!

Joshua through Job gives a lot of Jewish history. When I studied these books I kept a "Character of God" journal - where I wrote down all the things I learned about my God. I learned so much about how my God works in the lives of real people. These are not hard to read but they are not the place to start. Once you have a good foundation - head over to these books.

Then there's Psalms - which I LOVE - as history and poetry collide, again the character of God shines brightly. This is what I am reading in my quiet time currently.

Next comes Proverbs. It's a favorite of mine. It is filled with God's wisdom for relationships - marriage, parenting, friends and neighbors. This is a great book to commit to memory.

Ecclesiastes is a wisdom book and Song of Solomon is a great book about having a loving marriage...if you want to read some hot stuff - read here lol!!!

Isaiah through Malachi are prophetic books and again a very difficult read...don't avoid them - but save them for later.

Then there's the gospels - This is where you start!!! If you want to know more about Jesus, his life and teachings you MUST start in the gospels - the book of John is the most common book people refer beginners to - and I agree. All four gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are wonderful - but they overlap each other - so you may not want to read all four in a row. Start in the book of John!

In Acts - we see Jesus ascend into heaven and the beginning of the Christian church as we know it today. This is the sequel to the gospels so I recommend you read this after you read a gospel.

Then there's the book of Romans - this book clearly defines salvation and grace - I love this book. So after reading the Gospel of John, then Acts, read Romans. If you read these three books -you will have a very strong foundation for what you believe!

From there we delve into the epistles - they are all helpful for how to apply the principles of God to practical life - but some are easier to understand than others.

My favorites are Ephesians, Philippians, James and I John. I recommend you read these next after reading John, Acts and Romans.

Then finally we come to Revelation - a book of prophecy about the end times. This is a hard book to understand but certainly a fascinating one. Read it when you feel comfortable with some of the other readings above.

So, turn off those cell phones, ipods, and televisions and open God's word - the Bible. The only place on this planet that you will find a word from God and what he wants you to do with your life is on those pages. Pray and ask God to help you to understand his word and then dig in and enjoy!

And for my seasoned Christian Bible readers - please chime in - what are your favorite passages and what would you recommend for those who are new to Bible reading? There is no right or wrong answer to this question so it's okay if you have a different suggestion.

The key is - Walk with the King!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mailbag Question: Smiling At Home

My mailbag is PACKED full!!! And this question was asked a lot so I thought I'd start here:

Here's an email from Jamie: "I am a stay at home mom of a 3 and 5 yr old. i would love to be like you for my husband but I just can't seem to keep my house clean, clothes washed and still find time for myself. How do you do it and still keep a cheery face on?"

The video above answers "how I stay happy in the home" - but in regards to how I do it all...I use a daily/weekly schedule. It will not work for every personality type. But for me a schedule works. Some of my old schedules are posted, so browse through them if you think they could be helpful. When I went back to reread my fall schedule, I see that I have already changed a few things that weren't working for me. But you will have an idea of my goals.

Please feel free to offer advice in the comment section if you have found something that works for you! My way is certainly not the only way and we can all learn from each other.

Walk with the King!

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Tasty Tuesday: Simple Pilgrim Hat Cookies

I love something that is a delight to the children - yet simple to do! These No-Bake Pilgrim Hat Cookies fit that description!

Pilgrim Hat Cookies Ingredients:
1 cup vanilla frosting
7 drops yellow food coloring
32 miniature peanut butter cups
1 package fudge-striped cookie
32 mini orange Chiclets gum

Combine frosting and food coloring. Dip the top of the peanut butter cup in yellow frosting and position over center hole of cookie, forming the hatband and crown. Add gum as "buckle." Repeat with remaining cookies. Makes 32 cookies. (Recipe taken from Taste of Home)

If you like these then you would have liked last weeks Simple Turkey Cookie also.

I am participating in Mama Buzz, Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie , Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tuesdays at the Table recipe exchanges. For more blogger recipes go to these links.

Walk with the King!


Answers to Modern Parenting Challenges

I was reading the book titled "Mothering Heights-A Novel Approach for Christian Mothers" by Keitha Smith and Susan Brereton this week. What I appreciate most about "Mothering Heights" is how the authors understand that there are serious modern day challenges for my generation of mothers.

1. One challenge is: "Living as many of us do these days, in nuclear families without the traditional support of extended family members, today's stay-at-home mothers experience unprecedented relational isolation. This isolation means that we rely on books and websites for the practical wisdom and parenting skills that young women once learned from their mothers, grandmothers and aunts."

I have seen first hand the struggle that many mom's face who do not have the support of their own mother near by. We live in a transient world and many have moved away from their hometowns. I see how books and websites have taken the role of mentor for mom's who do not have a real life role model. I see that gap and it is one reason that I blog!

2. "It can be difficult for modern, well-educated women to find themselves isolated at home and faced with this daily slog without feeling quite keenly that sense of loss of personal satisfaction..."

If a mom leaves the work place to stay home with her children - she may wrestle with the loss of status. If she loved her job - she may feel as though the world has gone on without her and feel isolated at home.

In the workplace, a pat on the back or bonus was affirming. But at home, many moons go by before we receive similar affirmation. There's a lot of self-doubt along the way as we wait for our children to turn 18 to see if all our time, energy, training, sweat, blood and tears -was successful!

3. Another challenge is expressed by a mom named Louise "I expected my baby to fit into our lifestyle...I was a patient person prior to children, and I looked forward to baking and making crafts together. I didn't expect to loathe baking with kids because of the mess that needed to be cleaned up...I thought that I would affirm my children constantly and didn't realize how difficult the role of discipline would be, or how difficult it is to find the balance between affirming and disciplining."

For some moms - our expectations of motherhood and the reality do not match. As a result, we may feel guilty for not being the mom we imagined we'd be. We didn't expect sleep deprivation, reflux, behavioral trouble, being a referee 24/7, difficult vacations or the defiance of our two and 13 year old!

So what is the solution to these modern day challenges?

The author writes "As mothers, it is vital that we ground our lives firmly in the Scriptures so that we listen to what God has to say, to Biblical wisdom and not to the wisdom of the world. Women who earnestly desire to be good mothers need to live in a right relationship with the Lord, to commit everything to him first and foremost, including their hopes, dreams, and expectations, not only for themselves but also for their children."

Whether you stay home with your children or work outside the home - the solution to overcoming many of the modern day parenting challenges is walking with the King (I'm referring to the King of Kings - God)? The Bible will not tell you specifically how to get your children to eat their peas or how to get your child to stay in bed...but it will give you principles for how to train your children's attitudes, character, and heart. God's word will also give you the purpose, strength, joy, hope, and the love you need to complete the tasks God has given you!

If you are looking for God's wisdom for handling your parenting challenges - begin in the book of Proverbs.

Also, a sample chapter of Mothering Heights is available here - this chapter is a MUST read! It has great succinct bullet point tips for marriage, parenting, homemaking and more! This book is written beautifully and includes the literary works of Pride and Prejudice, Treasure Island, Sense and Sensibility, Great Expectations and many more! I recommend this book for a mom who is weary with no role models!

Walk with the King!

Mama Buzz