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Women Living Well Blog: January 2011

Women Living Well Blog

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Battles With Loneliness

After posting the picture of my Good Morning Girls Group, I received a few comments and emails from sisters in Christ who are lonely and long for Christian friendships. My heart broke, as I can recall the seasons in life where I was caught in the dark cloud of loneliness.

I remember weekends in college in Chicago, when most of the girls either went home or out on dates with their boyfriends - I was homesick. I would sit in my dorm room alone eating popcorn and listening to George Winston’s Pachabel’s Canon play on repeat for hours(I still do this! lol!). I never did go out on dates in college - not once – I was dating Keith long distance. I poured over God's word on those long weekends and filled in the gaping dark hole with God's presence.

Finally, I married Keith after 4 long years apart and we moved to Columbus, Ohio for him to finish college at Ohio State University. I was in a new town – with a new name - with a new job – and a new church. I recall walking into my first Bible study in the new church and no one greeting me. I sat alone and was very uncomfortable. I had made some non-Christian friends at work. But I longed for a safe refuge of Christian friends where I could let my guard down and be myself. It took about 18 months before I developed my first "real" Christian was a long lonely 18 months.

Then I moved home after 7 years away. I had finally made Christian friends back in Columbus – but here I was “alone” again! I pulled out a prayer journal from my first week home and I had written in there… “Help me Lord to not get into a rut of self pity as it is hard in a new town with no friends.” Looking back it’s humorous. I wasn’t in a new town? I was in my hometown. These weren’t new friends? They were old friends. But I was scared - I had changed in 7 years - so had they - would they accept me?

David, “a man after God’s own heart”, was lonely. In Psalm 25:16 he said to the Lord, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” David turned to God.

If we choose to turn away from God in response to our loneliness we will go down a very cold road
. Job and Elijah felt so alone they wanted to die. Jeremiah wished he had never even been born. Satan can use this time to enter sinful thoughts into our minds such as self pity, self-centeredness, bitterness, anger, and jealousy. We may attempt to put a band aid on the pain by turning to the television, alcohol, shopping, binge eating, or excessive computer time.

But, the only comfort I ever found was in releasing my needs to God in prayer and then trusting God. If you are struggling with loneliness today I encourage you to read Psalm 84:11,12. Place your trust in God, then go one step further and delight yourself in God as the rest of Psalm 84 says.

Stop being jealous, stop shopping, stop suppressing the pain with food. I testify as one lonely sister to another (*tears are stinging as I write this next line because God has taught me this truth through tears over and over and over and I pray with all my heart you will grasp this) - it has been in my trusting and delighting - that God has filled the God shaped hole inside of me, to the brim.

In time, God will bring you the fellowship you long for but never let your friends replace your Walk with the King,
Hip Homeschool Hop Button Raising Homemakers

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Friday, January 28, 2011

The BEST Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe Ever

I made Janelle's hot cocoa for my family and we drank it for days lol! It made a lot and my husband LOVED it! As soon as it was gone he said "make some more!"

So this recipe comes with 2 thumbs up from my family!

Janelle says "There is nothing more comforting on a cool day than to walk into a nice warm home and be welcomed with a cup of homemade hot cocoa. This is a special treat I make for my children and my neighbors. It is simple and can be kept warm in the Crockpot. This recipe combines cocoa with chocolate chips to make it extra chocolaty. I also add 1 container of cool whip to make it extra creamy."

Milk, cocoa, chocolate chips, hot water, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar and salt

Add chocolate chips and whisk well until melted.

Add milk, vanilla, and cinnamon and whisk well.

Add an 8 oz container of cool whip- this makes it very creamy!!!

Transfer into a Crockpot on the lowest heat to keep warm

When ready to serve, top with whipped cream or marshmallows. Ahhhhh....this is not your instant cocoa mix, my friends! This is a REAL treat....mmMMM....Enjoy!


Homemade Hot Cocoa

(Serves 10)

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp salt
1 cup hot water
1/2 gallon milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 8 oz whipped cream
*extra whipped cream or marshmallows to garnish

In a med/large pot on the stovetop (med/high heat) pour in hot water, sugar, cocoa powder and salt- whisk well. Add chocolate chips, whisk well until melted. Add milk and whisk again until well combined. Add vanilla and cinnamon then stir in whipped cream. Serve and garnish!

If you are making this in advance (for example, going out to play in the snow-etc.) simply place in the Crockpot on low heat -it will be waiting for you when you come in from the cold!!!!

Thank you Janelle for an amazing recipe!
Walk with the King!

If you are looking for more recipes or have one to share - visit Janelle's new link-up today!

You can follow Janelle on her own blog Comfy In The Kitchen or on Facebook and Twitter.

I am participating in What's Cooking Wednesday, Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Dining With Debbie , Balancing Beauty and Bedlam , and Tuesdays at the Table recipe exchanges. I am also linked up to Raising Homemakers Weds. link up and Works For Me Wednesday! For more blogger recipes go to these links.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Temptations, Desires and Sin

I just posted a 6 minute video blog on Temptation, Desires, and Sin on my sister-site: If you have a few minutes visit me there!

Walk with the King!

The Blizzard Blog Hop

Blizzard  Bloghop 2010 hosted by Household 6 Diva

There's this HUGE blogging conference happening this weekend called Blissdom. So for all the ladies who couldn't go we are having a Blizzard Blog Hop. So I'm supposed to introduce myself to the other ladies here and write a post about myself - so here it is!

My name is Courtney and I have been married to my high school sweet heart for 13 years, I homeschool my two sweet peas and I'm a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute. I love Youtubing as you can see on the side bar - and I even ended up on the Rachael Ray Show due to one of those youtubes! Go figure!

I blog from my kitchen and here's what my little desk lookes like:

And I have my quiet times at the kitchen table here:I LOVE this spot in the kitchen because check out the morning sunrise out this window!

We have no pets - oh well actually we had an ant farm once -I wrote about that here (A lesson in laziness) !

And here is a messy picture of our homeschool room! And my two beautiful students!

So that's a window into my life. I hope you will choose to join me here as I walk with the King! Every week I write on marriage, parenting, homemaking and my walk with God! Come join me in this journey by following me on Facebook, Twitter, Feedburner or Google(along left sidebar).

Walk with the King!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You Go First - 10 Fun Ways to Praise Your Husband

I remember being in a fight with my husband and knowing he was wrong and I was absolutely right. There was NO way I was going to apologize for anything I had said or done and I was not about to be the first one to try to make amends. This huge fight was his fault and he was going to have to come to me and make it right.

I dug my heels in sure that any minute he would come up the stairs and beg me for forgiveness...and I waited...waited in anguish - crying - praying...praying...praying...uh oh I sense God telling me to give him grace. Uh oh - thoughts of forgiveness and mercy ran through my mind.

"No way God! Not this time! No quick easy forgiveness from me - no mercy!"

...a flood began surging in my soul...I knew that I could not suppress the truths of God's word...and so I got up slowly and put one foot in front of the other...I went down one step and then the next slowly...and I went first...and apologized. And as I went first - the flood gates of communication opened up free and clear - a civil conversation appeared out of no where and the road to reconciliation began.

Going first. It's not easy to go takes great strength and humility to go first. I've been called a doormat on many occasions on-line for my beliefs about marriage...a doormat sounds weak...I am not weak.

It's easy to scream, yell, and fight. No one has to teach me how to do that! lol! The harder thing is to bite my tongue and choose to not fight. That takes strength. The weak are those who hold a grudge, remain in their bitterness, refuse to forgive - the strong are secure in their faith knowing that they are loved with the unfailing love of Jesus. The strong can give what Jesus gave - forgiveness, mercy and grace.

And so no matter how poorly week 1 went with the 25 Day Praise Plan - I invite you to be strong and join me for week 2 of the Be My Valentine Marriage Challenge!

This week's challenge is: be a little more creative with your praise. Surprise your husband with these 10 fun ways to praise your husband:

1. A love message on the mirror

2. A love message packed in his lunch

3. Use sidewalk chalk and write a love message on the driveway

4. Write a list of ten things you admire about him and then read them out loud to him.

5. Make a toast to him at dinner with friends. Or raise your glass at dinner and list the things you admire about your husband for your children to hear!

6. Buy or make your husband a trophy and engrave it with the words "The Best Husband in the World." (I found a cheap trophy at a party supplies store - the kids loved presenting it to daddy)

7. Write a poem - even if you can't write - it can be goofy. Include in it references to your favorite movies, restaurants, places to go and memories. He will enjoy the trip down memory lane and the laugh!

8- Blow up balloons and put a loving message in each one. Fill your bedroom with balloons as a surprise.

9- Take a roll of receipt tape and write a long message with the things you admire and respect about your husband - then roll it up and put it in a bottle for your husband to open and read. (I made many of these for my husband in college when we were dating long distance. I mailed them in packages.)

10. Get creative with your selflessness!

"When you touch your husband's deepest need something good almost always happens!"~ Dr. Emerson Eggerich

So I challenge you today to not just show your husband you love him but show him that you LIKE him!

I want to invite bloggers to link-up if you are participating in this challenge. If you are not a blogger - please leave a comment below to let me know that you have committed to the challenge!

Join the fun, do a little blog hopping and don't forget if you join below -please add the Women Living Well Wednesdays button or the Marriage Challenge button to your post so your readers can find us here!

Walk with the King!

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My Mom - My Role Model

(Tomorrow is my mom's birthday - Happy Birthday Mom - I Love You! This is a repost.)

Psalm 145:4,5 "One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

My mom does not like the spotlight, so I know this blog post will make her uncomfortable. She and I are similar in our love and passion for God's word but we are very different in personality. I've always been a sanguine and she has always been a little more reserved. But I want to honor her. I know you all probably wonder who is the woman behind this woman who blogs. So if you are looking for a role model in parenting - here's my mom in a nutshell to me!

The best thing my mom ever did for me was equip me for life by teaching me to fall in love with God and his word. Through her example and love of scriptures - I too fell in love with her Savior. She taught me how to read the word and apply it and how to always go to the scriptures first for answers in times of trouble. She taught me how to share my faith and not be ashamed. She taught me how to go against the flow in a public school and be secure in my faith.

Mom always had her colored pencils on the kitchen table where she worked hard preparing to lead her precept Bible studies. If we had a problem - mom had the solution with a verse attached and if mom said she was praying - we knew - something was going to happen - because mom's prayers were powerful!

One of my favorite memories growing up were after school snack time - not just for the snack - but the time mom spent listening to all my boring stories! Mom listened and listened and listened as my two older sisters and I told many many stories. We are a chatty bunch! But I always knew I could talk to my mom about ANYTHING!

Mom introduced me to one of my all time favorite authors - Elizabeth Elliot through the book "Through Gates of Splendor." It changed my view on life for forever. It gave me a passion to live for God and a hunger to live life to its fullest for God’s glory and it planted the seed in my heart to go to Bible college.

Mom MADE me practice piano for 8 years even when I hated it lol! and now I'm so glad I have that skill!!! She taught us girls to never quit and to always do everything to the best of our abilities. Thanks mom!

Mom is so generous - and I know she would not be pleased if I gave details on her giving - but mom and dad were always supporting many ministries or sharing with others in need. She is a gift giver and loves to give in abundance. She taught me both in words and deed that everything she has came from God and belongs to God. And that we must be good stewards - she is a great deal finder!

Mom is a woman of conviction. I am thankful that she sees things as black and white and did not let us girls settle for lukewarmness in our lives. She pushed us to righteousness and to high standards. She had strict television and movie rules and I am so thankful now for how she protected my mind.

Mom protected my purity by not letting Keith and I stay out too late when we were dating and she always allowed us to hang at the house where she could keep an eye on us! She and dad also led Keith and I in a marriage Bible study to prepare us for having a Biblical marriage.

Mom taught me how to submit to authority. Although she raised me to be a strong girl with strong convictions – she taught me how to submit my will to authority. It has been a great benefit in my life - to know how to submit to my teachers, coaches, pastors and now husband.

And finally - mom (and dad!) gave me a childhood filled with joy, love and peace. I always knew I was unconditionally loved by them and by my heavenly Father. I cannot thank my mother enough for leading me to my rock - Jesus Christ my Savior. Thank you mom. I love you!

Walk with the King!

***For those who do not have a good mom as a role model - it's our chance to be the mom to our children that my mom was to me. With God's help we can do this too - we must saturate ourselves in God's word and obey it. Join me on the journey!

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Do Not Be Courtney

(This post is basically a disclaimer...the next time someone thinks that I am trying to make cookie cutter marriages, or parenting or homemaking I will send them this link - so just humor me for a moment while I publically get this out! lol!)

Some time ago, a reader bumped into me while I was out and about. She began to share her feedback on my blog. It was transparent and honest. It was friendly while at the same time inquisitive and seeking some explanation for why I write some of the things that I write. While there were a plethora of topics we covered, at the end, the part that disturbed me was that though I have said many times on this site that "you should NOT try to be like me." It appeared she did not receive that message. Ugh!

So let me explain - You should never seek to be are amazing - God created you with all those gifts and talents so different than mine that your life would be wasted if you tried to be me.

As Chris Brogan says "be you hard. You’re going to do so much more than me. You’re going to change your space. You’re going to... nail it. Why try to be me. I’m going to falter at some point and you’ll have forgotten about comparisons. You should. Be you. It’s way more fun."

The Biblical principles that I share on the blog should be the same for all of us - but how we apply them will look different in every home.

I open the doors to my home via this blog to simply say "come on in and take a peak. This is how I do it. If it could be of help or encouragement feel free to join me on my journey. I am here to serve God and you BUT if this blog does not serve you there's this little red X up in the corner that you should click."

Now of course, I don't want to chase you all away!!! lol! I love you guys! BUT I am not trying to gain followers of "Courtney" but rather followers of Christ. That's who I am. I'm a flawed follower of Christ.

Jesus Christ said in Luke 9:23 "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." I am learning how to live the crucified life one step, one day, one month, one season, one year, one decade at a time. God has used marriage, parenting, and homemaking to bring out my ugly sin and sanctify me and that is the process that I am sharing here with you - sanctification. On my own, I am feeble at best.

If you need a friend to journey along side of you in your life long pursuit of following Jesus - I'm in. But if you are trying to be like me...this is going to backfire - I am going to fail you and you will hate me in the end.

Rejoice in your uniqueness. Nail being you! Have fun being you! Delight in our differences! Do NOT be Courtney.

Walk with the King!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Considering Your Trials a Joy

Last night my Good Morning Girls enjoyed a Girls Night Out. (We are missing 3 ladies in our picture)
There are 11 women in my group emailing each other each morning after we have our quiet times - I LOVE it!

We are now at over 1,000 Good Morning Girls Groups and at over 150 Groups from around the world! It has been SO exciting to see women from nearly every state in the USA including Hawaii and Alaska plus from around the world in Croatia, Australia, Korea, Austria, Germany, Scotland, France, and Canada.

Some of the ladies have joined me for a walk through the Book of James. And today we have completed week 1 in our study. Every Friday I will be writing or making a video to go with our study and it will be posted on my sister site at

Going forward I will not duplicate my Friday post here but since it's only week 1, I thought I'd share the video with you all here too. (Sorry it's a bit too dark)

If you are not reading in God's word on a daily basis, I invite you to join me in my walk through the book of James!

Walk with the King!

This is linked to Amy at Finer Things Friday.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The 25 Day Praise Plan - Marriage Challenge

There are 25 days until Valentine's Day so it's time to implement the 25 Day Praise Plan.

Each week the challenge will be the same - to praise, encourage, inspire, admire, build up, thank and appreciate your husband. But each week I will give you different ways to express your praise. Feel free to tweak it for what you think is best for your husband.

JR Miller writes "So it is in the dark hours of a man's life, when burdens press, when sorrows weigh like mountains upon his soul, when adversities have left him crushed and broken, or when he is in the midst of fierce struggles which try the strength of every fibre of his manhood, that all the radiance and glory of a true wife's strengthful love shine out before his eyes. Only then does he recognize in her God's angel of mercy."

Let's be angels of mercy to our husbands. We may think they are filled with confidence and strength but they are only human. They have insecurities, fears, failures, burdens and cares that we do not always slow down to recognize. We lose our tenderness in the hustle and bustle of life and this month let's slow down and really see our husband's with fresh eyes.

It's tempting to make Valentine's Day all about ourselves - but let's pursue being selfless and living according to Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."(NIV)

Week 1 starts TODAY! Look for ways to praise your husband verbally. Praise him in front of the kids, friends, family, co-workers, on facebook, tweet it - get praise out anyway you can! Try to mention something noteworthy he has done - in his role as provider, father, husband, lover, or friend. If the thought of trying to come up with one terrifies you, then pray right now that God will give you new eyes to see your husband as God does. Then open your mouth and say something kind and uplifting to your husband today and tomorrow and the next day until Valentine's Day arrives!(if you want a devotional to go along with this Nancy Leigh Demoss has an amazing Marriage Pdf here)

Week 2 January 26th - This week we will be a little more creative with our praise. I will give you many ideas of fun things you can do to praise your husband such as surprising him with a love message on the mirror, a message packed in his lunch, using sidewalk chalk to write on the driveway, write a poem, making a toast to him at dinner with friends etc. Get creative with your selflessness!

Week 3 February 2nd - Pursue intimacy and place the intimate needs of your spouse above your own. Seek to "kiss him like you mean it" every single day this week! Solomon 5:16 says "His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely." Paula Rinehart says that for many men, "Sex is like a silent cheer." Our men feel stronger, more capable, and built up when we respond to their advances with a smile. "Be available, agreeable and interested" (~Linda Dillow) Give a Foot massage, back rub, shower together, be creative!

Week 4 February 9th
- Women love romance, chocolate and flowers on Valentines Day. Do you know what your husband wants? Ask him! Let me make a suggestion as to what a majority of men want even if they aren't willing to say it: a great tasting, looking, smelling home cooked meal and home cooked dessert, you pursuing him for a night of passion (remember you are married - HAVE fun! God created passion for us married folk! lol!) or a letter expressing all the things you admire about him. One of these things he would surely enjoy. Which of the three does your husband need from you right now?

"When you touch your husband's deepest need something good almost always happens!"~ Dr. Emerson Eggerich

So I challenge you today to not just show your husband you love him but show him that you LIKE him!

I want to invite bloggers to link-up if you are participating in this challenge. If you are not a blogger - please leave a comment below to let me know that you have committed to the challenge!

Join the fun, do a little blog hopping and don't forget if you join below -please add the Women Living Well Wednesdays button or the Marriage Challenge button to your post so your readers can find us here!

Walk with the King!

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