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Women Living Well Blog: July 2010

Women Living Well Blog

Friday, July 30, 2010

How 2 Years of Blogging Has Changed My Life

Next month, I will have been blogging for 2 years. At this point, blogging has taken up a HUGE chunk of my free time. This ministry has changed my life.

The emails I receive from hurting women - have touched me.

The encouragement and support from women whose lives are being changed - have touched me.

The criticism I have received from angry women - have touched me.

The writing of other bloggers in the "blogging community" - have touched me.

But most of all - the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has touched me. He has opened my eyes to the needs, hurts and beauty of my generation. He has opened my eyes to the beauty of the Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 woman. He has opened my eyes to what the word GRACE really means.

We do not and will not all look alike. There is no cookie cutter mold for how we as women will serve our God. We each have our own story from where we came, where we are today and where we are going tomorrow.

We are journeying together in this thing we call life. If I have ever appeared to have it all together - I apologize - because I am a very flawed sinner saved by grace. Nothing more.

During these two years, I've been surprised by some of my bloggy happenings...things like the Rachael Ray Show producer emailing me (I remember being weak in the knees during that phone call!) or when my readership spiked over 1,000 visitors in a day for the first time. Sure, those moments are exciting. But it's not what my blogging is all about.

It's about me being faithful to what I believe God is calling me to do. As I listen to God, submit to my husband, train my children, serve in my home and then turn my attention to the social media world -I open myself up - and say - here I am Lord, use me.

Has God laid a ministry on your heart? Have you surrendered your life to him saying "use me Lord Jesus". Oh, it's scary to say those words - but let me testify - it's so exciting too! There are hard nitty gritty painful days but THEN there are those moments when I sit on my deck, with my face towards the sun and the wind blows and I feel his presence like a warm coat around me. I have never been more confident in my life that this is the work God prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10) .

I am reminded of Noah building the ark for days on end. Others walked by and wondered what in the world he was doing! (and trust me I have had plenty of people say "you do what? You blog? Why? Who has time for that?) In Genesis 6:9 the Bible says "Noah walked with God". This is what Noah was doing - walking with the King! And this is what happens when you walk with the King. The King might ask you do to something outside of your comfort zone!

Dear sister, take risks - follow the King of Kings! Is he asking you to submit to your husband? Is that scary to you? Do it - and you will find freedom there! Is he asking you to sacrifice something you enjoy so that you can spend time training your children? Do it - you won't regret it. Is he asking you to step out of your home and talk to your neighbor, your cousin or a mom on your child's soccer team? Do it! Be like Noah - who surrendered his all to the King - took a risk - and found joy on the other side. Do it!

If I can - so can you! But you must be listening - you must be sure that the quiet voice you hear is God's. And when you are sure it is - surrender.

I'm reminded of missionary and martyr Jim Elliot's quote "Where ever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."

God can use anyone and he wants to use you. Below is a 4 minute video by Author and best seller of Crazy Love, Francis Chan. At birth his mom died. At 9 his step-mom died. At 12 his father died. His only close family was his aunt and uncle and at 16 they both DIED! And so at 16 Francis had nothing...

Are you living a "safe" life? Then You MUST watch this video - it is only 4 minutes long - but it will prepare you for the day you meet Jesus!

Join me in abandoning the safe life - let's serve our King of Kings with every breath we have - till we all meet together in heaven! I'll see you there!

Walk with the King!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Don't Need a Spa - I Need Solitude!

I am thinking about the power of solitude. Solitude is something mommies with little ones rarely get. In the part of my life I call B.C. (before children) it was not difficult to get times of solitude. But once I brought my first baby home from the hospital, I realized my life was changed forever! I remember showering with the bouncy seat right outside the shower curtain. I remember peaking out to be sure my little boy was okay and there he'd sit in the bouncy seat, happy as a lark with the shower noise and steam delighting him. My solitude was gone!

I remember a time when my children were littler, they'd push notes and toys under the bathroom door (the crack was large in our old house lol!) Needless to say – I’ve learned that mothering is an intense – around the clock job and solitude is not something that happens to a mom – it’s something we have to seek out.

I have learned that I must be purposeful to get alone with God daily. It is in my times of solitude that God refuels me and I can hear him speak. I can find order in the midst of chaos and connect with my creator.

Solitude is powerful. Moms – are you getting enough of it? If you are feeling inpatient, irritable, bitter, forgetful, disorganized or disconnected from God – it’s time to take care of your soul in a time of solitude. Grab your Bible and get alone with God.

Jesus has set us an example to follow.
  • Jesus inaugurated his ministry by spending 40 days alone in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).

  • Before Jesus chose the 12 disciples he spent the entire night alone (Luke 6:12).

  • When the disciples had finished a long day with the crowds Jesus instructed them “Come away, by yourselves to a lonely place” (Mark 6:31).

  • Following the healing of a leper Jesuswithdrew to the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16)

  • And Jesus was alone again when he was transfigured (Matthew 17:1-9) and before his death in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36).

    If Jesus, who is God, needed solitude then certainly we do also.
    When we forgo our own needs, including our own need for solitude, we not only shortchange ourselves but our families also.

Here are some ways I have been able to find solitude in my own life.

1. For about 4 years I have risen by 6am so I can have time alone with God in prayer and scripture before the rest of the family awakes.

2. When the children were little I set the timer on my oven for 30 minutes every morning around 9am while the kids were still fresh. I had my daughter play in the playpen while my son played in his room. This taught my children how to appreciate solitude also! (This did take some time of training - starting at 5 to 10 to 15 minute intervals - working them up to 30 minutes of being able to play alone without calling for me.)

3. When the children were little, I lined up their nap times so they were both asleep at the same time – some days this felt like a work of art.

4. On days when we are home all day long, I still give my children (ages 5 and 7) a one hour "roomtime" (in place of naptime). It's usually around 3pm. They look at books and play alone. It's a peaceful rest time in our house. We all get a break from each other and I see that it really does refresh us all.

5. When the children were younger my husband would travel sometimes for a week straight. On those weeks, I had a sitter come once a week for 3 hours in the afternoon during the overlap of the kids nap times so I could actually leave the house and breathe fresh air without 2 children, 2 sippy cups, 2 snacks, toys and stress!!! I ran necessary errands and then always finished my time off at the library or Starbucks with my Bible and journal in hand. These were sweet moments of solitude that I savored!

6. Now, I take advantage of evening hours, once the kids are in bed, to sneak away to my bed for a moment of solitude with scriptures.
Mommies, we don't need a spa (although I'm not against it lol!)! We need solitude with Jesus!

Walk with the King!

holy experience

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Vlog: Teaching Our Children About Friendships

I originally made this video with plans to run it on a Friday - but it's Wednesday! So up it goes and I'm sorry for mentioning the wrong day on the video! (and the freeze frame of me below is even funnier than my mess up on the days lol!!!)

Deuteronomy 6 says that parents are to teach our children along the way of life, the truth of God's word. Sometimes we will be in formal settings reading God's word to our children. But other times there will be opportunities just in the normal course of the day, to speak God's truth. So here's how to turn cooking a spaghetti dinner into an illustration for our children on friendships.

Walk with the King!
I am linked up here today:
works for me wednesday at we are that family

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Tasty Tuesday:Quick Cottage Cheese Veggie Dip!

I will admit that my recipes are not spectacular - actually they reveal my very basic cooking skills lol! The good news is I have a spectacular cook coming to Women Living Well for Tasty Tuesdays in September - she's gonna knock your socks off!! But until then - you're gonna have to put up with my 3 ingredient recipes lol!!!

Two weeks ago we had our church VBS all week long - I worked with the sweet 1st graders! We have it in the evening and we serve the children dinner! Our church served over 500 dinners every night - incredible isn't it!!!
The kitchen served this veggie dip that I loved - so I facebooked a friend, got the recipe and voila - just made it yesterday! It's so yummy!

Here's the 3 Ingredient Quick Cottage Cheese Veggie Dip! I can hardly stay away from it!

12oz Cottage Cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 packet of Ranch Salad Dressing Seasoning

Mix it together, chill and enjoy!

My good friend who is a fitness trainer, Clare, would suggest that you chop up green peppers, carrots and other veggies and just stir them right into the cottage cheese mixture and eat it as a salad. I've had her cottage cheese salad and it is very good too. So that's an extra twist you can add to the above dip!

Walk with the King!

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.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Following Your Husband's Vision

Ephesians 5:23 "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church."

It's week #7 in our Summer Completing Him Challenge! Here's this week's challenge: Support his vision. Discuss his vision for your family. Where does he see your family in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. Share with us how you let your husband lead.

Let me say in advance, I know this topic is controversial. It is hard for women in the year 2010 to step back and allow their husband to lead their family. The challenge this week is to first - listen. Listen to your husband's vision for your family. Secondly, enter into their vision and share what you dream and envision. From there see where the differences may lie and flesh those out. In the places where you do not see eye to eye - let your husband lead.

Pray for him as he leads and trust God that he will protect you as you obey Ephesians 5:23 in allowing your husband to lead. Indeed this is a challenge isn't it!

3 years ago, my husband and I went out on a date night. During the course of dinner, my husband pulled out his napkin and a pen and began to draw out some career path changes. I was mortified! They were nothing like the path we were currently on. I was comfy and cozy and liked his career choice. And in the blink of an eye, he was changing everything.

I could hear the passion in his voice and see the excitement in his eyes. My mind said - "follow your husband where ever he leads you" but my heart said - "he's asking too much of me!" I wrestled with some of his choices but allowed him to lead.

It was scary. I cried for about the first 2 months off and on. I cried to my friends, cried to my family, cried to my husband and yes, even cried in front of the children. A lot in our life changed as a result of his vision for our family - and I had to sacrifice a few things.

3 years later, I have a husband who thanks me for putting all my faith and loyalty in his decisions. It was not easy to make the choices he made. Knowing that I got on the roller coaster ride beside him and hung on tight for the ride meant so much to him. We grew closer as a couple - we saw qualities exhibited in each other that we had never seen in the first 9 years of our marriage.

I am so thankful that God gave me the strength to follow my husband's vision. I won't say that it was all rosie. We had some very hard moments. But I trusted that the God who gave this command would protect me through this. And I can testify, God was, is and will always be faithful!

Today - listen to your husbands. Talk with them about their plans, dreams and visions for your family. Share yours in return. Don't let it become a debate. Close your mouth and simply listen. Imagine how you can help him reach those goals. Remember - behind every great man is a great woman.
Now tell me about the challenge - if you are a blogger - link up below and be sure to leave a link in your post back to this post. If you do not have a blog, comment below!

Walk with the King!
It's 11am and I have been visiting the blogs of those who linked up below. I came across this very moving youtube of the Beach Family Blog. This video is the ultimate picture of a wife following her husband's vision. She has freed her husband to pursue his passions, talents and gifts. She has sacrificed much to follow him! She is a perfect picture of what this challenge is all about.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010


Who likes failure? Not me!!! Back in June I shared with you the planting of our very first garden. It truly was a joy to plant and the hope of juicy fresh veggies was on everyone's minds. Well...let me be honest...I failed.

We had very heavy rainfalls for 10 days straight after our planting - and moss began to grow in our garden! Uh oh - I knew that couldn't be a good sign. Then weeds began to grow and I couldn't tell a weed from a seedling - uh oh! That can't be good either. So I let the weeds grow a little, while we looked at books and tried to decipher. Eventually it was clear the seeds had been washed away and most of what was growing in our sweet garden were weeds.

There were a few hopes though. Our strawberries were beginning to get plump and turning light shades of red. Our corn stalks shot up to the sky and our tomato and green pepper plants did have signs of veggies. BUT then the birds came and ate the berries. And something (I don't know what?) tore down and ate all of our corn stalks in the middle of night just last week! Devastating!

At this point all we have in our garden are tomatoes and green peppers. Both have unripe veggies forming BUT I just noticed yesterday one of the tomatoes has a huge bite taken out of it. This is not a good sign!

SO, I failed miserably at our very first garden...

I shared this with a bloggy friend who has ten children and lives on 16 acres where she grows her own food, raises beef cattle, has her own dairy cow, sheep for meat, chickens for meat and eggs, ducks, geese, cats and dogs for pets and horses as well.

Today she wrote a blog post for me at A Moment With M.O.M. Maybe you will find something in there for you too.

The children are very disappointed but I have already told them - we will not give up and we will try again next year. After talking with a few friends, I have realized some of my flaws and why we have had our failure.
It's a part of life...falling down...getting back up again...the feelings of defeat....rising with defiant joy .

Life is filled with hard moments. We do have a choice - will we choose defiant joy or defeat? On our own - we will be defeated. But when we walk with the King - Romans 8:37 tells us: "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Don't let your failures define you.
Get back up again and Walk with the King!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

My Summer Book List

Here are the books I am working my way through this summer(and I made a HUGE mistake with this picture and FORGOT TO INCLUDE MY BIBLE ugh! The Bible would be at the top of the stack as I daily read in it first!~). I am not recommending any of these books as I have not finished many of them yet. But for those who wonder - this is what I'm reading! Here are the categories and titles:

My Walk with God:
Just Give Me Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz (I'm 100 pages in and it is excellent! I am doing this with a group of girls from my church! Fun!)

My Marriage:
Intimacy Ignited by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus (Their book Intimate Issues is EXCELLENT and I highly recommend it)

My Parenting:
The Family by RJ Miller
Raising Maidens of Virtue by Stacey McDonald (Her book Passionate Housewives Desperate for God was an inspiring read)
Financial Peace Jr. by Dave Ramsey (for teaching our children how to manager their money - my husband will be leading the family through this)

My Homemaking:
Sink Reflections by The Flylady (This one is finished - I got it at the library. It was a good read!)

My Friendships:
Friendships for Grown-Ups by Lisa Whelchel

My Finances:
More Than Enough by Dave Ramsey

My Ministry:
Purple Cow by Seth Godin (I got it at the library and I have finished it. This is not a Christian book - it's a book that has been recommended by some of the big time bloggers so I thought I'd see what the fuss was all about.)

A book that is not in the picture but I just finished reading is "Grace Is For Sinners" by Serena Woods. Serena writes "The purpose of this book is to reach out to those who have fallen in their walk of faith and give insight to those who have watched somebody fall."

So what's on your summer reading list? Have you read any of the above - what are your thoughts on them?

Walk with the King!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

How To Take Sermon Notes on Sundays

How do you take sermon notes on Sundays? Every Sunday, my husband and I worship in the pew beside my mother and father. I take sermon notes on the back of my bulletin, while my mother writes in her spiral bound Steno notepad - a practice she has been doing since I was BORN! That's 34 years. Don't bother to try to read her writing (lol! No one in our family can read her writing!) - she writes very quickly in shorthand (shorthand is an abbreviated symbolic writing method that increases speed or brevity of writing as compared to a normal method of writing a language)

From time to time, she will reference past sermons - she remembers details I do not remember. She'll get out her notepad and quote the pastor. I have sat in her Bible studies where she will includes the pastor's words as a part of her teaching. She not only worships on Sundays but she is focused and hungry to soak up God's word and listens intently to the preachers words.

I asked my mom to write briefly about her notebooks and here's what she said:

Prior to 1975, I wrote my sermon notes on the church bulletins using the front and back and often running out of space (as you can see below - she has saved her old bulletin notes). I realized that I needed a better note taking method. Beginning in 1975, I decided to use a steno pad for my notes. I had previously been a secretary and was familiar with shorthand so this was the perfect size notebook for me. It was also the same size as my Bible, making it easy to carry to church on Sundays.

I fill about one steno pad a year. The steno pads are dated by year, and sermon topics are written inside the cover. For example: April 4 – May 16, 2010, Pastor Butch Pursley spoke on the topic of “Heaven.” (that is noted on the cover) Because steno pads are slim, I can easily store all of them upright from 1975 to the present on one shelf in a cupboard. They actually take up very little space.

Some ask why I take notes. I like to take notes as the pastor is speaking because it helps me to focus my thoughts and keeps my mind from wandering. Also, I remember more of what is said if I write it down. I not only HEAR the message, but also SEE it written in my own hand. Whenever God uses a particular message to speak to my heart, I will often re-read through my notes, reflect on the passage, pray and make the necessary applications to my life.

Because God has given me the privilege of leading women's Bible studies, I refer back to my notes when preparing a lesson to refresh my memory of what I have learned in the past about a particular book or Biblical topic. Today we are blessed to have so many study tools available to us and many godly men and women who teach and equip the saints. This is just one of the methods that I have found useful in helping me understand what the Bible says, what it means, and then apply or act on the truth that God has taught me through His Word

Thanks mom - you always inspire me...maybe it's time I go buy a steno pad!!
Walk with the King!

holy experience


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Becoming a Domestic Artist

In The Hidden Art of Homemaking Edith Shaeffer says "I believe there is both an art form and a way of life, an atmosphere and a form of showing consideration, as well as a subtle way of providing education and inspiration in artistic areas that is being lost altogether if the meal table always has a bare center - or a bottle of milk and a jar of pickles."

I agree. There is much a woman can to do set the atmosphere and tone of the home. Some of those things are done with her tongue:

1. Words of gentleness and kindness
2. Words of praise and affirmation
3. Words of grace and forgiveness
4. Words of truth and wisdom
5. Words of faith and hope
6. Words of gratitude and joy

But then there are physical things we can do to set the tone in our home:

1. Turn on soft music
2. Light a candle
3. Bake cookies
4. Place fresh flowers on the dinner table.

As Alexis grows and becomes a domestic artist, it is my job to train her in the arts. The hard part is that I feel like I am still learning myself - and so we are truly learning together on this journey!

On page 344 of Polished Cornerstones, it suggests that I have my daughter "Pick a bouquet for the dinner table or make an interesting centerpiece with other materials such as shells, dried flowers, candles etc."

So we read some of Proverbs 31 together, discussed the virtuous woman and her influence on the home. We looked at her industrious ways such as her sewing her tapestries and beddings. Then Alexis went outside and made our family a beautiful centerpiece. We have been enjoying it for over 5 days now! She is seeing what a large influence she can have on the entire family and the praise she receives for blessing us in this way.

Monday, I encouraged women to be mindful of their husbands at the dinner table - but Edith Shaeffer reminds moms to be mindful of their children also,

"Instead of saying "Oh it doesn't matter, it's only the children", when you are alone with children for a meal, it is important to say the opposite to yourself. "I wonder what the children would enjoy the most? Being surprised by something special on the table - a mirror with that new toy duck on it, and some stones around the edge, so that it looks like a pond, lighted by candles in crystal candlesticks, ...something that will look like lamps near the pond? Or would they rather have a choice since they are the ones to be considered tonight...shall we have the green cloth, or the pink?"

Moms, remember your influence. Simple macaroni and cheese can be made special with just a few fancy folded napkins and a centerpiece you have created. Role model and train your daughters to become like the Proverbs 31 woman, a domestic artist, to the glory of God.

Walk with the King!

works for me wednesday at we are that family

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Hawaiian Meatloaf

I mentioned yesterday that this is one of my husband's favorite dinners. This is a great summer meatloaf that I've been serving since our first year of marriage!

Hawaiian Meatloaf (can also be made into meatballs)
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/3 of a can of crushed pineapple (or tidbits if you aren't trying to hide them from the children like I am! :-) , Drain and save the juice
1 tbsp. chopped onion
2 tbsp. of pineapple juice
1/3 cup of breadcrumbs
1 tsp. of salt

Mix it all together. Bake it in the oven at 350 for 1 1/4 hours.

Hawaiian Meatloaf Sauce:

1/2 cup of pineapple juice (or as much as you can get from the can)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of ketchup

Mix and warm on the stove-top over medium heat and ladle over the loaf. Enjoy!

Walk with the King!

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.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Way To a Man's Heart Is Through His Stomach

We are to week #6 of the "Completing Him" Marriage Challenge and this week's challenge is: Make your husband a priority. Ask him what his favorite dinner, dessert and drink are. Be sure to serve him all three one night this week. Bonus: cook his favorite dishes all week long!

Why would I make such a challenge and how is it significant? Here's a couple reasons:

1. Often times, meal plans can end up catering to what the children like. This is one time that we are going to take our husband's preferences above everyone else's preferences - including our own!

2. On special occasions like Father's Day and our husband's birthday, our husband becomes the center of attention. This is our chance to make him a priority for no reason other than we love him. Wouldn't we appreciate it if they did this for us? Let's go first, and make a special day just for our husband's. Get into it - maybe make it a surprise and get the children involved. Take just one evening and shower him with kisses, hugs, and all his favorites. It's not good to spoil your children - but it's okay to spoil (and I do mean bless!) your husband!

3. Take this opportunity to display our love. Titus 2:3-4 says the older women are to teach the younger women to "love their husbands". Selfishness hinders love. Take the time to give thoughtful care to how you can exhibit love to your husband.

I am reminded of the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In his book, the premise is that we all experience love differently. Some need words of affirmation, others need quality time, gifts, acts of service or physical touch.

As we go through these challenges, we will hit on each one of these love languages. There are some husbands who this challenge is going to speak volumes of love to. So let's get busy in the kitchen ladies.

I made my husband his special dinner on Saturday: Hawaiian Meatloaf (I'm posting this recipe tomorrow), homemade mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese, and corn. His favorite dessert is cheesecake and his favorite drink is my mom's orange julius recipe but it really didn't go with this meal. So we are having our orange julius's with my quick and easy pizza bread tomorrow night! And yes, he was a happy hubby!!!

It's your turn, if you are a blogger tell me your plan - OR if you already made the meal post the pics (and even a recipe if you have one to share!) We'd love to see and hear about his response! If you do not blog - comment below with your plans!

Walk with the King!

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