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Women Living Well Blog: March 2009

Women Living Well Blog

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy April's Fools Day!

At Gourmet mom on the Go she posted these really cute pics of a great April Fool's Day Treat!

April Fool's Day happens to be my daughter's birthday also! I have a feeling there are going to be lots of jokes played on her, on her birthday in the future! I thought this one was cute for kids!

Discipline or Indulgence?

So last Wednesday I blogged on eating healthy - and I'm finding as I endeavour to eat more healthy foods - I'm hungry! So now what? What do I do with this hungry feeling?

Dr. Oz says "In your brain, you'll find the hypothalamus, a key command center for your body...When you're really hungry or dieting, your stomach sends messages (to the brain) every twenty minutes or so that your body wants food. After long periods, your body can't ignore those messages. That's why sugar cookies usually trump willpower. It's impossible to fight the biology of your body."

So what I hear Dr. Oz saying is every 20 minutes I have to tell my flesh "no". Well, seriously - I can only tell myself "no" so many times before I find myself in the cupboard digging for something salty! Why does eating healthy have to be so difficult? Why does being organized have to be so difficult? Why does getting up early every morning to read my Bible and pray have to be so difficult? Why does posting this blog daily have to be so difficult? Why is it so difficult to drag my body to the treadmill every evening?

It's my flesh - that's the problem! "The Spirit is willing - but the flesh is weak!!!" (Matt. 26:41)

Jesus says in Luke 9:23 "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

Do you see the dailiness of the denial of self that is necessary to follow Christ. Habitually - Daily I need to deny myself. This requires an amount of discipline beyond my flesh's power. My flesh has a desire to indulge itself.

There were two men in the Bible who are polar opposites with indulgence and discipline. First there is Samson - a man whose indulgence with women led him to complete ruin. Then there is Daniel - a man whose discipline in both his eating habits and prayer habits allowed him to be used mightily by God.

Today ask yourself - am I indulgent - and led by my flesh? Or have I disciplined my flesh to deny itself and follow Christ?

I'm in the trenches with you - each day I must again humbly come before God and ask for strength to follow him and deny myself. Take it hour by hour - this hour deny yourself. Then next hour deny yourself and then the following hour deny yourself. Soon hours will turn into days and days into weeks, then months and years. Force your flesh to deny itself and lead a disciplined life.

Walk with the King!

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Do Not Pursue Stuff - Pursue God

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 while my children were in Sunday evening church. 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!

Ecclesiastes is written by the wisest man to ever live - King Solomon. King Solomon was also 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, baskets, etc. 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 in the last month 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,

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Friday, March 27, 2009

God's Presence and Footprints in the Sand

Every day I sign my blog - "Walk with the King!" This is my single hearts passion - to walk with God Almighty - the King of Kings! I think that in the mundane tasks of daily life we can lose sight of the presence of God.

Though we cannot see God he is there - this is what faith is - Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I just explained to my daughter at bedtime last week, that God is like the wind - though we cannot see the wind - we know it is there - we can feel it and see effects from it. God is the same - we cannot see him but we can feel his presence, see answered prayers and experience the blessings of his work in our lives.

Do you recognize God's hand in your life? Do you see that he has taken care of you in intimate ways that sometimes you don't even recognize? Have you taken for granted that your heart is beating this morning, that there is food in the refrigerator, clean water to drink and warm blankets to sleep under? Do you complain about your overflowing laundry baskets, messy toy boxes or the weight you have gained since having your last baby? This is evidence of God's blessings - he has abundantly blessed you with clothing, toys and food! I can't get over the blessing of the computer I type on right now!!! Oh - may we never take for granted the presence of God and his grace in our lives!

I'm assuming that most readers will have read this poem before. The poem Footprints in the Sand reminds me of God's presence. I actually remember the first time I read this poem as a little girl. My older sister Jennifer was cross stitching this poem over and over to give to relatives for Christmas. In the course of the time that she sat and stitched, I remember reading it over and over. This poem clearly explained the picture of intimacy that we have with God when we walk with Him. Today remember when times are tough - to cling to Jesus - Walk with the King - let him carry you.

Footprints in the Sand

One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand:
one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.
He noticed that many times along the path of his life
there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:
"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.

I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."
The LORD replied: "My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."
written by Carolyn Joyce Carty

Do you sense his presence right now - whether you do or not - he is right there with you - he may even be carrying you today.
Walk with the King!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Real Simple Ways to Make Your House Shine

Real Simple - that's what I want homemaking to be! Homemaking is simple - yet SO difficult. The simple part is, in the time I type this blog I could probably have another closet emptied out. The hard part is finding the time, energy and discipline to do it!

So for me the complexity of keeping a home begins when I try to daily keep it orderly despite my little people who seem to be working against me! I have learned a few tricks to motivate myself - like setting a weekly schedule - that has helped me build a routine that keeps me disciplined. I have also learned that cleaning my home is not for company but for my family.

I remember a woman once said - "If you are coming over to visit my family - come anytime, but if you are coming to visit my house - call ahead!" This is true. My home is not a museum - it is filled with preschool drawings, legos and activity! BUT it is important to me that my children live in a clean home where they are free to play, laugh, love and worship God.

So guess what? I just received a copy of Real Simple Magazine for FREE! After I blogged about my spring cleaning and closet clean out this past Tuesday - I was contacted by Real Simple magazine and they sent me a free issue of the April Magazine overnight!

Now I want to say for the record - I have purchased their magazine before. As a matter of fact, I have one on my coffee table right now - so I do like the magazine! Also, I have visited their website multiple times and LOVE it. So, I can truly say from my heart (and not just because I received a freebie) that they offer real solutions to real homemaking problems and their tagline "Life Made Easier" is true about their magazine and website!

Their cover story this month is "78 easy ideas to make every room shine - fast" Awesome! I could use some help! So here's some tips for making your home shine! They suggest you use a lemon in your garbage disposal to clean it and make the kitchen smell lemony! Mmmmm... great idea - I love the fresh smell of lemons! Another solution: use toothpaste to polish your faucets and taps in the kitchen and bathroom, use toothpaste to remove scuffs on linoleum or to clean piano keys. Pour table salt on a spill in your oven and let the salt soak it up. Then once the oven is cool - wipe it off with a damp sponge.

That's just 5 of the 78 easy ideas to make your house shine! There's more solutions in their April issue. But if you want some cleaning suggestions today go to and click on the "home and organizing" link. Also, if you have not already created your own daily cleaning check list here's a link to one you could print out on their site! Daily Quick Cleaning Check List

Joshua 24:15b says "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The way we care for the people in our household and the diligence, joy and passion that we go about our tasks in the home, reflect who we serve. Truly mashed potatoes will taste differently if the woman serving them is smiling rather than grumpy. It's the same with your cleaning. The house will only truly shine when you as the mother are smiling and pleasant - and giving the warmth of God's love. We are blessed to have so many tools available to us to make things simpler! Take advantage of the resource Real Simple.

But most importantly...Walk with the King!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants

As I continue my thoughts on "personal order" - another area that I have been working on this month is getting back into the habit of eating healthy. I find that as I grow older, I gain more and more knowledge about what is healthy and unhealthy. But as I grow older, I also discover new foods that I love that aren't the healthiest! This creates an inner struggle for me.

Psalm 63:1-5 says "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you...Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you... My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you."

Many homes in America are suffering from food idolatry. We have stuffed ourselves so full with food that we have not realized that our true hunger of the heart is for Jesus. We are starving for Jesus. Rather than unwinding with a bag of Cheetos or chocolates - seek God for 15 minutes in his word. You will be surprised how fulfilling your time alone with God will be to your soul! As the Psalmist said - when he earnestly sought God - his "soul was satisfied as with the richest of foods."

So with my husband on board, we have determined to make better choices this month! Our family does not usually eat out - but when we do this list will help us. Maybe it will help you also?These restaurants are taken from the authors of "Eat This Not That!" and from a recent article on MSN's Health and Fitness Page, here are some of the healthiest Fast Food Restaurants and why:

Chick-fil-A: A-
Between the breakfast and lunch menus, there are only two entrées at Chick-fil-A that break 500 calories, a rare feat in the fast-food world. What this means is that you can't possibly do too much harm—especially if you stick to the chicken. And unlike the typical fast-food chain, Chick-fil-A offers a list of sides that goes beyond breaded and fried potatoes and onions. (Just beware the large cole slaw, which adds an extra 600 calories to your daily intake!) That's why we dub the Atlanta-based chicken shack one of our all-time favorite fast-food restaurants.

Survival strategy: The worst thing you can do is supplement your meal with a milkshake—not a single cup has fewer than 600 calories. And instead of nuggets or strips, look to the Chargrilled Chicken Sandwiches, which average only 320 calories apiece.

Subway: A-
A menu based on lean protein and vegetables is always going to score well in our book. With more than half a dozen sandwiches under 300 calories, plus a slew of soups and healthy sides to boot, Subway can satisfy even the pickiest eater without breaking the caloric bank. But, despite what Jared may want you to believe, Subway is not nutritionally infallible: Those rosy calorie counts posted on the menu boards include neither cheese nor mayo (add 160 calories per 6-inch sub), and some of the toasted subs, like the Meatball Marinara, contain hefty doses of calories, saturated fat, and sodium.

Survival strategy: Cornell researchers have discovered a "health halo" at Subway, which refers to the tendency to reward yourself or your kid with chips, cookies, and large soft drinks because the entrée is healthy. Avoid the halo, and all will be well.

Cici's Pizza Buffet: B+
Cici's began in Texas in 1985 and now boasts more than 600 locations, proving definitively that Americans love a good buffet. The good news for our waistlines is that the crust is moderately sized, and the pizza comes in varieties beyond simple sausage and pepperoni. But if you check your willpower at the door, you're probably better off skipping the pizza buffet entirely.

Survival strategy: It takes 20 minutes for your brain to tell your body it's full, so start with a salad and then proceed slowly to the pizza. Limit yourself to the healthier slices like the Zesty Vegetable, Alfredo, and the Olé, which is a Mexican-inspired pie with only 108 calories per slice.

McDonald’s: B+
The world-famous burger baron has come a long way since the days of Fast Food Nation—at least nutritionally speaking. The trans fats are mostly gone, the number of gut-wrecking calorie bombs are now fewer than ever, and the menu holds plenty of healthy options such as salads and yogurt parfaits. Don't cut loose at the counter just yet, though. Too many of the breakfast and lunch sandwiches still top the 500-calorie mark, and the dessert menu is fodder for some major belly-building.

Survival strategy: The Egg McMuffin remains one of the best ways to start your day in the fast-food world. As for the later hours, you can splurge on a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder, but only if you skip the fries and soda, which add an average of 590 calories onto any meal.

Taco Bell: B+
Taco Bell combines two things with bad nutritional reputations: Mexican food and fast food. The result should be horrendous, yet somehow it works out so that a little prudence at the ordering window can bag you a meal with fewer than 500 calories. The potential for belly-building is still there, but the calorie bombs are generally easy to spot. And to limit the chances of a mistake, Taco Bell reengineered some of its classic items and listed them under the Fresco Menu for a savings of up to 10 grams of fat per item.

Survival strategy: Grilled Stuft Burritos, anything served in a bowl, and anything prepared with multiple "layers" are your worst options. Instead, order any combination of two of the following: crunchy tacos, bean burritos, or anything on the Fresco menu.

Wendy's: B+
Scoring a decent meal at Wendy's is just about as easy as scoring a bad one, and that's a big compliment for a burger joint. Options such as chili and baked potatoes offer the side-order variety that's missing from less-evolved fast-food chains like Dairy Queen and Carl's Jr. Plus they offer a handful of Jr. Burgers that don't stray far over 300 calories. And for our money, the 1/4-pound single is one of the best substantial burgers in the industry. Where they err is in their recently expanded line of desserts and a lackluster selection of beverages. But you're happy just drinking water, right?

Survival strategy: The grilled chicken sandwiches and wraps don't have more than 320 calories, which is less than even a small order of French fries. Choose the chicken or a small burger and pair it with a healthy side, and then hit the door before you receive the 500-calorie penalty for giving in to your Frosty hankering.

"So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (I Corinthians 10:31)

Walk with the King!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tidy Tuesday - Spring Cleaning has Begun!

Let me just say for the record - I am not the Queen of Clean! I am an average homemaker who dreams of making my home a beautiful haven for my family, yet I struggle with my messy tendencies! I have learned to discipline myself to do the things that must be done in order to find order, peace and more free time for fun things.

At the beginning of March, I blogged on my desire to find personal order. For me, personal order comes through making a weekly schedule, daily schedule and having a menu plan . In the fall, I cleaned out my entire closet but due to my lack of maintenance - the closet is a mess once again! So yesterday I spent the day taking every single thing out of the closet, sorting the clothes in piles: keep, giveaway, sell and trash (and I also moved fall items out to a spare closet) and then I put everything back into the closet.

Sorry I am not posting a before shot (that would be too embarrassing) - I am only showing pictures as evidence.

The closet almost empty.

The Master Bathroom filled with my clothes!
The finished product.

Proverbs 31:17 says "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."

Is your world a little out of control? Part of finding personal order, comes by getting junk out of your house! We Americans have A LOT of junk! Decluttering will give you time - your stuff is holding you back from living well! I must say that I feel so much better now that my closet is in order. For me, this was another piece in the puzzle of creating personal order. How does your closet look? If it's a mess - you may be feeling a little out of order like I was.

I must be honest - I have many more closets in my home that are out of order. So together let's get busy today - it's spring cleaning time. Many of the "self help" books suggest you set a timer for 15 minutes - I use the alarm on my cell phone as a timer. I use it to limit my time on the computer, to time my laundry in the washer or dryer or to speed clean! It works! Are you ready? On your mark, get set, GO!!!!

Remember our first priority is to ...Walk with the King! We cannot live well without drinking from the living well which is Jesus Christ!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Endurance and Perseverance

In 2 weeks, I will run in a 5K (3+ mile) race. No I am not a runner - nor have I ever ran in a race before - but part of "living well" includes me bringing discipline to my body (my temple) and so this challenge has forced me to do something I hate - run! When I started training - running one mile was pretty easy for me, running two miles was difficult and running three miles was beyond my abilities. But today I can say that I am able to run 3 miles without stopping to walk. I have learned endurance - so I thought!

So this past Saturday I went with a group of girls to where the race will be held, and we did a practice run on the course. To my surprise - Mt. Everest was on the course!!! And guess what - I did not have the endurance to run up the hill. You see there's this hill right at about 1 1/2 miles into the run, that is extremely steep - and to my chagrin - it reappears on loop two - right before crossing the finish line. So when my legs feel like rubber and my chest like someone has laid a weight on it - I need to sprint up this hill before crossing the finish line - LOVELY! This was not a pleasant surprise.

So for the next two weeks - I will be training on how to persevere hills - something I had not prepared myself for previously! "Perseverance" - it's a strong word - if you never have to endure hardship you will never learn perseverance. Perseverance can not be taught - it must be learned through experience.

James 1:2,3 says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

The Greek word means "the ability to stay under pressure." God uses pressure to teach us to never give up. You can't learn it by everything going your way. And what is God's goal? Verse 4 says "Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

God's goal is to mature you...when he saved you, he loved you as you were - but He's not going to leave you like you are - his ultimate purpose is to grow us up and make us like Christ. Character is the bottom line. This is God's agenda for your life - do not be overwhelmed by your difficult marriage, difficult child, difficult in-laws or difficult illness. We must see the bigger picture - if God sends you a trial - he has a purpose for it. He's building character not comfort. He is building perseverance in you.

There are two ways God makes us like Jesus - one is through his word - his truth. The more we get into his word, the more the word gets into us and it transforms us. If his word doesn't do it - then problems will!

If God wants to teach you love - He might put you around unlovely people. If he wants to teach you his peace, He may put you in chaos. If He wants to teach you His joy, He may surround you by sadness. And if He wants to teach you patience, He may just put you in the midst of a traffic jam! Anyone can have peace on a beach vacation - but God wants to give you His peace, His love, and His joy that perseveres in the midst of our trials. We are God's workmanship - he wants to make you into a masterpiece.

There are some things in life we will never be free from on this side of heaven. And so James gives us a promise in verse 12 "Blessed in the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God promised to those who love him."

There's going to be a reward for perseverance - God promises it! This isn't just for the church superstars on earth - this is for anyone who perseveres - this is for the faithful woman who smiles, believes, loves and rejoices despite her hardships.

Are you learning endurance or giving up? You haven't failed until you quit. Don't give up - press on! I know this was lengthy today (so if you are still reading - way to persevere!!!! ) - but this is something that God has laid heavy on my heart recently - and something he has been teaching me through different trials in my own life. Are there any areas where you can see that you are stronger than you were only months ago?

Walk with the King!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Feedback Friday - What books are you reading?

It's Feedback Friday! The last time I asked this question - "What books are you currently reading or have lying around on your nightstand?" - I answered:

1.) Taking Care of the Me in Mommy - Realistic tips for becoming a better mom - spirit, body and soul by Lisa Whelchel

2.) On Becoming Child Wise - Parenting Your Child From three to seven years by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam

3.) Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes... in you and your kids! by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller

I've completed all three books and they all have enriched my life in different ways. So I've moved on and have begun just yesterday two new books:

1.) The Duggars: 20 and Counting - Raising one of America's largest families - How they do it by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

2.) His Name is Jesus - The Promise of God's Love Fulfilled (The birth, mission, death, resurrection and legacy of Jesus) by Max Lucado

As you prepare your heart for Easter, nothing is better than to read the gospels. But I also highly recommend the author Max Lucado. If you have a Lucado book collecting dust on your shelf - pick it up and read it again. His writing always stirs my soul. If you do not have a Lucado book - your local library most definately will have some on their shelves or you can go to

So I'm looking for feedback! What books are you currently reading? Any suggestions or lemons?

Walk with the King!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Being a Good Friend

God created women to be awesome companions. Do you remember when you were a little girl at recess? We‘d giggle with the other girls, hold hands, write notes, and have pretend clubs. I wore a necklace that was half of a heart – my best friend wore the other half. But there was a dark side to this, you see unlike the little boys who were throwing punches and wrestling on the playground – we girls were slinging verbal punches.

Remember the pretend club you couldn’t get into because the little girls didn’t accept you? Or the clique of girls that ignored you, or the girl who was your best friend one day and someone else’s the very next day? Then we grew up and it was the sorority you couldn’t get into or the clique of girls at church who ignored you or the girl who was your best friend the one day and didn’t return your calls or email the next. If you are a human – you’ve suffered a wounded friendship. I've been there - I have had a few friendships over the years that have soured and I can't describe in words the deep pain that I have experienced and wrestled with.

Yesterday I scratched the surface of the first fruit of the Spirit - Love. Today I want to move into the application of living out love in our friendships with women.

Think about one strand of spaghetti. Alone it is very weak – easy to snap in half. But when you grab a big hand full of spaghetti and you try to break the whole group in half, it's difficult. They strengthen each other. That’s what we can do for one other.

Romans 15:1-3 says, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me”.

In our friendships we should seek to build our sister up for her own good. When she is weak - you can make her strong. And when you are weak - a good friend will make you strong.

Verse 3 says to look at Christ, he is your example, he did not please himself. As a matter of fact, when someone insults one of his children, he takes it personally – it’s as if they have insulted him. Do you insult and gossip and criticize your sister in Christ? If you do, it’s as if you criticized Christ!

Hallmark and American Greetings card lines know how vital women friendships are. They have a card to say how much you mean to me, encourage you when you’re down, a special thank you, congratulations, or a precious goodbye. Do they have friendship cards geared at men? No - it’d be a financial disaster! God designed women to be awesome companions. It’s a gift from God. Be what God has designed you to be – a good friend!

Tell your friends you love them - don't be shy, hug them, cry with them, write them encouraging notes, point out their strengths, listen to their heart, pray for them, forgive them when they have a bad day and are thoughtless, be loyal, and love them like Jesus does. Not only will you receive unconditional love in return but you will be teaching the next generation how to build strong Godly friendships - this is vital in the body of Christ.

The first fruit of the Spirit is love. Be a good friend today!

Walk with the King!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Love - The First Fruit of the Spirit

In Galatians 5:22, 23 it says "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

Are you walking in the Spirit? If you are, you will be exhibiting love and not just the type of the love that the world gives - but God's love. The wonderful thing about the Holy Spirit is he won't just change your life - he will change your day - today!

What is love? I Corinthians 13:4-8 defines it for us - as you read ask yourself if this defines you? "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails."

The most perfect example of God's love is shown in Matthew 27:27-31:
"Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify Him."

Do you feel Christ's pain as you read that passage - or have you become so familiar with His suffering that you skim the passage? Do you feel His love? As we grow in our walk with God, His grace becomes greater, His death more wonderful, the work of the Spirit more powerful, your sin gets uglier, the devil more heinous, and the celebration of his love louder!

Loving others starts with understanding God's magnificent love for us and loving him back in return with our entire heart, soul, mind and strength. Once you have given him your deepest affection of love you are able, in the Spirit, to love your neighbor as yourself.

So, go today and walk in the Spirit. Reflect God's amazing love to your husband, children, in-laws, sister's in Christ and your neighbors. Give grace and mercy freely because it has been given to you. Strive, work hard, and discipline yourself to be a loving person.

Walk with the King!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pleasing God With a Disciplined Life

For years I have transferred this quote onto the first page of every prayer journal:
"Observed duties maintain our credit, but secret duties maintain our life." (John Flavel 17th Century Clergyman)

There are duties that we do, that others see but then there are duties we do, that no one will ever see. It's the secret duties - the duty of studying God's word and praying daily - that maintain our lives.

How are you doing with your secret duties? Did you make a new year resolution to read your Bible daily, to memorize some new verses, or to start a prayer journal? Often times the busyness of life squelches out time even though the desire is still there. But if you've gotten off course - do not despair!!! God is not a legalistic God - he loves you so.

Here's what Elizabeth George says about discipline:
"You do it because it is what you need to do and are supposed to do and because it is the right thing to do... somehow... the duty of the discipline turns into sheer delight and we reap the blessings of a priceless, tender relationship with the Lord a thousandfold."

This has rang true in my life. I do not always enthusiastically open God's word - yet I always know I need a word from God no matter how busy I am.

Do you remember the story of Enoch? Genesis 5:24 says, "Enoch walked with God and then he was no more because God took him away." Hebrews 11:5 tells us why he was taken away - "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken he was commended as one who pleased God."

Why should we maintain our secret duties in our walk with God? Because it pleases God. Do you want to please God? Then today discipline yourself to "Walk with the King"!

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Saturday, March 14, 2009


And the winner is (according to ..... Becky!!!! Becky please email me your address at!

Send me your favorite "time saving tip" for a chance to win the book:

More Hours In My Day by Emilie Barnes

and to have your tip debuted on !

To Win:
Please share your favorite time saving tip! It can be one item you cannot live without, something that has helped you manage your home, family or yourself, a schedule that works for you, a book that has helped you or a problem spot you have conquered. The winner will be chosen by

Post your best tip in the comment section below and you will be entered into the contest. If your email address is not connected to your ID please leave your email address with your comment or email it to me at with the subject "Giveaway".

RULES: Starts March 14th, 2009 and Ends March 28th, 2009 at 9 p.m. Open to residents of the United States who are 18 and older. Winner will be contacted via email.

BONUS ENTRIES: For fellow bloggers, blog about this giveaway and include a link back to this post or grab my button and then let me know in the comment section for a bonus entry!


Friday, March 13, 2009

You are Gifted!

Do you remember in Elementary and High School the "gifted" classes. I had a sister who was in all of those classes - she graduated as Valedictorian - I always admired her intelligence - and truly she is gifted. I was the chatty sister - hence I grew up to write blogs!!! Haha!

Well, if there was a gifted class at church it would not be exclusive because God's word says we are ALL gifted! Romans 5:6 says "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us." Then it goes on to list some of the gifts which include: serving, teaching, encouraging, leading, giving and mercy. (I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and I Peter 4 also talk about gifts of the Spirit if you want to read further.)

These gifts are usually called "Spiritual Gifts" and they are given to us freely by God's grace to meet the needs of the body. When we use our spiritual gifts, the body is built up, encouraged and unified.

In the past, I found myself tempted to act like I had all the gifts (this was obviously prideful - I'm being vulnerable here) - I tried to be an encourager, evangelize, teach, serve, give, administrate, and lead. Then it hit me - I was over comitted and stressed out!

When I sense "burnout" I remember something my Greek Professor in college once said. He said "if you feel burnt out - then you are not serving in the Holy Spirit's strength." And then he said "I'd rather rust out than burn out" meaning he planned to focus on his area of giftedness given by the Holy Spirit and serve in that one area until the day he died!

So where are you on the spectrum? Are you getting burnt out trying to do too many things for the body of Christ or are you unsure of what your gift is and serving very little? Many people ask - how can I know what my gift is? There are many spiritual gift tests you can take BUT I recommend that you get serving! As you serve, pray that God will show you what your gift is.

Get your feet wet trying all types of ministries. Volunteer to do different things for 3 months at a time. Find out which one lights your fire and excites you and which ones you dread. I learned through trying to coordinate a mentorship program that I was capable of administrating it - but dreaded the administrative aspect. I wish I could be more of an encourager but I really don't like to write letters - just blogs! I've taken many women meals over the years but I'm not the best cook - it's just not an area I shine in.

Don't get me wrong - all of these ministries are necessary and vital to the unity of our body of Christ - but I think God has gifted someone else better for these tasks. But when I open my Bible to write a Bible study lesson or stand up in front of a group of women to share a devotional - my heart skips a beat - I get so excited to teach! It's my passion - it's what God "gifted" me to do and I feel compelled to do it.

What is it that you feel compelled to do? What do you find joy in doing? Have you found the ministry that makes your heart skip a beat with joy when you have the opportunity to do it? That's the Holy Spirit working in you! Don't just use your gifts for your family or employer - but use it to build up the body of Christ - we need you!!!

Walk with the King!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Greatest Teacher Turns 6 Years Old Today

Today my greatest teacher turns 6 years old! My first born son, Alexander has taught me so much in six short years. I have learned so much about God, myself, love, patience, forgiveness, joy, self-control, anger, endurance, obedience to God, and humility.

Psalm 127:3 says "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him." This boy - this little boy that God has given to me for a short time - is my reward. Some days are so rewarding. And then there are days when the sacrifice and patience that it takes to train him does not feel like much of a reward and I am reminded - God is not just doing a work in this little boys life - but he is using this little boy to do a work in my life.

Through my parenting challenges and hurdles God has drawn me closer to Him as I have sought Him in prayer and in His word. God has used this boy to teach me. As I look at Alexander, I see a mirror - so many of his flaws are partly my own flaws. I tell him to be patient with his sister - while I am impatient with him. I tell him to use self-control while steam is pouring out my own ears. But each year as he grows one year older - I notice that I also have grown one year older. As he matures, I mature. Together we are growing in our walk with the Lord and becoming more like Christ as God reveals our flaws through the flow of family life.

Alexander is the perfect child for me. God created him in my womb and placed him into our family because God knew that this is the child that we needed for his glory. And we are so thankful for him.

Happy 6th Birthday Zander - You are my favorite little boy in the whole world!

Walk with the King!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Peace During this Economic Crisis

Last week I blogged about making weekly schedules and daily schedules and meal planning - but no schedule or plan could foresee the financial crisis that our country is currently experiencing. Are you experiencing the recession in your home? So what do we do when our plans don't go our way? Where do we turn? How do we handle this downturn in the economy emotionally and spiritually?

Philippians 4:6 says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God." This verse tells us to not worry about anything and how can we do that? By praying about everything!

We must remember the same God that carried us yesterday will carry us today. Beth Moore says, "Often times we want to be delivered from our trial but God wants to take us through the trial to make our weaknesses strong. When we get down on our knees - God gets up." There is power in prayer!

How should Christians respond to America's financial crisis?
1. Recognize that God is in control.

2. Pray for the financial health of your family and our country.

3. Do not give way to fear and panic. It is not "In Money We Trust" but "In God We Trust".

4. Realize that all the money we have is God's and we are a steward of the money he has given us.

5. Reject the ugly monster inside of us that wants to go to Target and buy those new sandals (when you still have last years sandals in the closet that are just fine) if you are going to go into debt to have them. Do not even allow yourself to meander down the isles with all the cute spring decorations - the temptations may be too strong!

Dave Ramsey said on Christianity Today's website, "Have money in savings, get out of debt, live on a budget, live on less than you make, don't co-sign, and diversify your investments. These are things the Bible tells us to do with money. If you do these things, you're going to survive in bad times and prosper in good times. I'm not sitting here fretting that my world is going to come to an end based on what they are going to do in Washington."

Today, I challenge you to obey God's word and pray about everything and worry about nothing. When you do this the next verse offers this promise "And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:7)

Peace - that's what we all seek - peace comes through prayer. Pray about everything.

Walk with the King!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Tomorrow President Obama Celebrates 50 Days in Office

A lot has happened in our country in the last 50 days. The biggest factor of change has been brought by the new presidency of Barak Obama. Tomorrow he will celebrate 50 days in office. Let's review some of the changes in policy that have been made in America, that are relevant to you as a believer. Here are some of the issues:

Abortion: Friday, January 23rd, 2009...President Obama lifted a ban on federal funding for international groups that promote or perform abortions, reversing a policy of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
What does this mean to you? Your taxes are being used right this very minute to pay for abortions in other countries.

Conscience Clause: Barak Obama has promised Planned Parenthood that he will pursue the Freedom of Choice Act - which will force faith based hospitals and health care facilities to perform abortions and compel taxpayer funding for abortions.
What does this mean to you? If the Freedom of Choice Act passes, Christian Dr.s who refuse to perform abortions due to their faith and conscience will legally be required to perform the abortion or lose their job if this clause is overturned.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research: The ban placed by President Bush to use federal funding is to be lifted TODAY by Obama.
What does this mean to you? Your tax dollars today are paying for embryonic stem cell research. Though this may violate your conscience - legally you are required to pay for this research. This research that previously was payed for by private sector charities, are now funded by your hard earned money.

America's Relationship with Israel: Throughout the months of December and January, Israeli troops pressed into Gaza City against Hamas after the Palestinians sent over 110 rockets across the border into Israel earlier in December. Israel successfully demolished the Gaza Strip. "Obama administration officials had indicated last week that the U.S. was preparing to pledge $900 million in assistance for Gaza, but Wood's description of the plan Sunday indicated that the only portion going directly to rebuilding Gaza was the $300 million." (
What does this mean to you? Your tax dollars will be funding the enemies of Israel to be rescued and rebuit. If you read the Old Testament, you know the last group of people you want to "mess with" are the Israelites! America has always been a friend and protector of Israel. Obama and Hillary Clinton's move to aid the Palestinians puts your tax dollars directly into the hands of Hamas - the enemies of Israel.

This was all completed in the first 50 days of Obama's presidency. There are many more issues like these surfacing - and this troubles me. I took out my calculator and did the math, we have 1,374 more days of Obama in office. That's 27 times 50! Are you on your knees for America? If you have not been - it's time! Please take a moment right there at your computer to say a prayer for our nation, for Barak Obama, for the House and Senate and for Israel.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Walk With the King!
** Info above taken from multiple resources: (Family Research Council),, and


Friday, March 6, 2009

Healthy Dessert Choices and Feedback Friday

Since I've been sharing my meal plans I thought I'd share some of my healthy dessert options. Healthy may not be the perfect word to describe them - but they are low in calorie and fat grams. Also, they are quick and easy and child friendly! Can't beat that!

Here's some from my list:

1. Serves 4 - 12 Strawberries sliced, 1 1/2 ounce chocolate melted and drizzled over the strawberries with a dab of whip cream

2. Serves 4 - 8 Ice Cream Sandwiches made out of 16 reduced fat vanilla wafers and 1 cup of lite ice cream

3. Pretzel sticks with chocolate drizzled over them

4. Yogurt, berries and whip cream with a dot of sprinkles

5. Jello Parfait - 4 jello packets in 4 bowls with 1/4 of a banana sliced into each bowl and 1/2 of a pudding container on top of each. You can also substitute graham cracker crumbs for the jello.

6. Angel Food Cake with strawberries, whipped topping and powdered sugar

7. A frozen juice pop, "Skinny Cow" (brand) dessert or Sherbet.

Okay - it's Feedback Friday - please share a healthy dessert with me! I could use some new options!!!

Walk with the King!

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Q and A about my Meal Plan

How far in advance do you plan your meals and how often do you try a new dish? Do you generally rotate the same dinners throughout the month? Thanks for sharing your meal plan with us! It does help! Now I just gotta figure out how to use Excel!

Thanks Kimmy for your great questions!!! Yes, I generally rotate the same dinners through out the month. In Excel you can create a “workbook” and it has multiple “worksheets” in the “workbook” with tabs to access them. I have titled the tabs Meal Plan, Grocery List, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert and Snacks. About 2 years ago, I sat and entered all of our favorite breakfasts on the breakfast sheet, lunches on the lunch sheet and so on. So when I am making my meal plan, I click on the breakfast page and look at my options and then go back to the meal plan and enter breakfast items. Then I do the same with lunches, and dinner. I also look at the ads for the best deals, and my coupons.

After the meal plan is complete, I click to the worksheet titled “Grocery List” and I enter my list of groceries. I check my cupboard and fridge to verify what items I need. After everything is entered, I print the meal plan and grocery list. I put the plan on the fridge and I put the grocery list and coupons in a ziploc baggy (so I can see the coupons and list).

When I meal plan it is usually for the week. But as the seasons change, I love to pull out my recipes that represent that season and work them in. Do you collect recipes but then never make them? Taking a Saturday, when I have free time, to write down which ones I will try during the month helps me. So yes, I do try new recipes but I don't have an organized system for trying them. On the last day of February (last Saturday), I sat in my dining room for nearly 2 hours organizing all my spring recipes and getting them ready for March. I also had a few healthy recipe books from the library and was jotting down some new healthy recipes that I will incorporate. As I type out each week's meal plan, I will look at my monthly plan that I jotted down on scrap paper to remind me of meals I would like to incorporate.

And finally - do not feel the pressure to use excel. I learned this meal planning system off of the author and organizer Emilie Barnes. Her method is simply to use a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. So do not let the "excel spreadsheet" part scare you away. Excel is a great tool - but so is a pencil!!!

Have fun and do what works for you! The average woman will plan, shop, cook, and clean up over 1,000 meals in just one year. Find the system that works best for you and then tweak it and tweak it and tweak it until you find the one you enjoy and can do most efficiently with your resource of time and money.

Walk with the King!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Menu Planning Day

On Monday I shared my weekly schedule, on Tuesday my daily schedule and today I will share how I meal plan. I must admit that all this transparency - out on the web - is a little unsettling. I've shared these things with friends before but never with the "world".

My way works for me and my family but I want you to pray about what is best for your family and your needs and then do whatever it is that God lays on your heart. Way back in the beginning of our marriage, I was quite immature with my homemaking skills. One day Keith gave me a pep talk. He said - "Courtney, you are the queen bee - this is your home to manage. I don't want you to be perfect but I want you to "own" it. Be the best you can be at it. Learn more, try harder and be organized." While this was a blow to my ego - because I wanted to be a perfect homemaker and my husband was saying I needed to work on my skills, I appreciated the kick in the pants. At that point, I put down some of my theology books and began to pick up homemaking books. And the joy of managing my home began for me.

If you struggle in this area and want to learn more - head to your local library - the shelves are full with motivational homemaking books. If your husband is like mine - he will be happy to see you trying! I remember a friend telling me that her husband could care less how she keeps the home therefore she felt no ambition to try. She only felt the need to be a better homemaker because other women made her feel like she wasn't "good enough" at it.

My thought is this - we women are not in competition with each other. This is not a game to see who can keep their home the best. I first want to please God with my homemaking diligence but then secondly, I want to please my husband. In Proverbs 31 it says "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things but you surpass them all." This is the praise I want - praise from my husband and children - not others.

So find out what it is that your husband thinks is a priority for you in the home and do it. If he could care less what time dinner is but really values a bed that is made - be sure that is your priority. If he is very particular and wants dinner at a certain time - schedule your day so that is possible. Your priorities and schedule should look different than mine because you have a different husband. Do not try to "copy" anyone else - but rather mold yourself around your husband's desires and you will have a happy home and one day he will rise and praise you as the Proverbs 31 lady was!

Okay - here's my meal plan. I have an excel spread sheet that I just literally plug in the meals and voila - it's quick and easy! Often times I leave the breakfast, lunch, snacks and desserts the same and just change the dinners. I hang this chart on the fridge and I find that it resolves all meal time dilemmas. And I must admit "candy" eating is not on the chart - but we do eat it. The chart is too big to plug into this blog so click on this link to see an example of my "Meal Plan".

Walk With the King,


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Personal Order Part 2 - My Daily Schedule

Yesterday I shared my weekly schedule which mainly consisted of my homemaking duties. When my home is well taken care of and I am diligent about my daily duties, God is pleased. So I desire to do it well and my weekly schedule is my little helper.

When it comes to my "daily schedule", I'd say that it is more about me - my mind, body and spirit. This is not a selfish endeavour. This is about deciding my priorities and then living them out in my daily life. When I "go with the flow" of life, I find that my quiet time, exercise regimen and bedtime get lost in the busyness. They end up not being a priority - but the result of letting those things waver is an exhausted, stressed out, temperamental wife and mommy. So this schedule helps me spiritually, emotionally and physically handle the daily challenges as a mom, wife and servant of God.

My daily schedule has helped me in my pursuit for balance. This schedule is only effective if I discipline myself to follow it. So, the easy part was creating the schedule (which changes with the seasons of life - I write and rewrite schedules all the time!) and the hard part is implementing it.

Currently my schedule applies 7 days a week - but it flexes with my family's needs. Also, you will see that there are chunks of time not allotted for - those are the hours that I spend doing the weekly tasks from yesterday's schedule. Also, I have scheduled in at 8pm my exercise time every night but I only workout 3-4 nights a week at that time because sometimes I attend an aerobics class at 9:30am.

Here's My "Daily Schedule":

My alarm goes off before 6:30am, 7 days a week. Periodically, on a Saturday I will not set my alarm. But this is rare.

6:30 - Proofread my blog written the night before and post it

6:40 - Pray and write in my prayer journal

6:50 - Read my Bible using my "Reading Through the Bible in a Year" Plan

7:05- check facebook and email the Good Morning Girls

7:15 - Shower

7:45 - Breakfast
8:30- Out the door - to preschool or Church 5 days a week
12:30 - Lunch
2pm - 3pm - Check my blog, facebook and email (the children have a quiet time in their room for an hour)
5:30 - Dinner

7:00 - Children's bedtime Routine begins

7:30 - kids are in bed - Begin the next day's blog, check facebook and email

8:00 - Exercise for one hour (treadmill plus weights or pilates)

9:00 - Back to my computer or do Bible study

9:30 - One on One time with Keith (my husband) to talk about our day for 30 minutes

10:30 - Begin to get ready for bed

10:40 - Read a Christian book in bed

10:59 - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

It is noted in the Book of Daniel that Daniel prayed three times a day - morning, noon and night. Also, it is noted that he kept a very strict diet - of mainly vegetables and water. He did not wish to defile his body with the food that the King offered him. Ultimately, this man who lived this disciplined life - was used mightily by God. Now Daniel was an exception - not the rule - but his life inspires me to focus and force my lazy soul to do the things I would not naturally do, had I not made a schedule to do them.

Do you have a daily schedule? I'd love to hear about it! Share it in the comments section!

Walk with the King!

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Personal Order Part 1 - My Weekly Schedule

I was planning to start "spring cleaning" as soon as March began and I was going to blog about my tips. BUT as I sat down to make my to-do list, it hit me. How am I going to get my house in order when I don't even have myself in order?

For years, I have risen early to have a quiet time at 6ish, I've prayer journaled daily, I've exercised 4-5 days a week, I've limited my television viewing time and I've gone to bed around 10ish. But lately I've been slacking in my daily disciplines. Somewhere between November and February I began to eat more, exercise less, go to bed later, web surf longer and prayer journal less.

So, I've decided to spend my month of March regaining personal order and start the spring cleaning in April! If you know me well, you know I LOVE schedules. And I've been asked many times over the years about how I do my schedules. So I thought I'd share some of them with you.

Let me first say - this is not a "Bible based tip". If you are not the "schedule" type do not feel that I am trying to put you in a box. The most important thing is that you honor God in the way you run your household. Proverbs 5:21 says "A man's ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths." Our main objective is to please God as we run our homes.

One thing I am sure of - God is a God of order. The sun rises and sets on a schedule. The tide comes in and goes out on a schedule. The seasons change from summer to winter on a schedule. These things are predictable and this predictability gives us peace in the midst of a chaotic world.

For me - my schedule creates peace in the midst of my sometimes very chaotic home with little ones. I cannot control sickness, bad moods, bad days, or what the economy will do next. But I can control what time I go to bed and will rise (except on nights when someone is ill.) I can choose what time I will read my Bible or what time I will exercise - unless there's an unseen emergency. I am responsible for how I spend every minute and the decisions I make control them. But we must beware of being rigid, I read somewhere where it said "if you are flexible you will bend with your schedule - if you are rigid you will break."

So today - I'll share my "weekly" schedule with you - tomorrow my "daily" schedule and on Wednesday my "meal planning" schedule.

Sundays - Church and Rest Day

Mondays - Declutter and Recover from the weekend mess

Tuesdays - Bible Study and Errand Day

Wednesdays - Cleaning Day

Thursdays - Grocery Shopping Day

Fridays - Laundry Day

Saturdays - Chore Day for the Children (Clean their rooms, bathroom and basement)

I know all women have a flow or a rhythm that you weekly do - maybe without even writing it down on paper - so what is your "flow" or "schedule"? If you don't have one and you tend to procrastinate and then do it all before there's company or when your fridge is empty - you may find that writing up a schedule - and sticking to it - will relieve some stress in your life.

On Tuesdays, I rest after errands - because I know on Wednesday I will be cleaning. On Thursdays after grocery shopping and putting the groceries away - even though the laundry is stacked high in the closets - I can exercise, do my Bible study or play with the children - because I know that on Friday the laundry will be washed and folded. I can have a clear conscience that is not weighed down by the tasks for tomorrow.
If you feel stressed and can't seem to get it all done -go grab a piece of paper and get writing - then implement what you wrote down and live well! There is much more than housework to be done in life - so get it done so you can play a little!

Walk with the King!

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