Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One Thing

There are tons of things I want to talk about but we have to start with the first and most important.

We have to start with the one thing that will leave its mark on our family more than any other.

One of the main things your kids will take from you when they leave your realm of influence is their faith.

Their faith.

You have huge influence on this aspect of their lives.  And it begins with the overflow of your heart.

How things played out among the laundry piles and spilled milk.  Last week I was encouraged that "My kids don't need me to be on top of all my chores or even be perfect in taking care of all there needs.  What they need is for me to be content and patient with life.  To walk by faith that God is in control.  To allow the Holy Spirit to give me peace and joy in the midst of life's inevitable ups and downs.  In a sense, they are looking to me as a barometer of how our lives are faring.  When I model patience in the midst of difficulty, joy in the midst of messes, contentment in the midst of lack, then I provide them a pattern for their own lives.  They will learn that my joy is not circumstantial but real because I have an endless source of strength through the power of the Holy Spirit in my life."
-exerpt taken from The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

My sweetest memories are of our morning routines.  My oldest son wakes up first.  Walks in all sleepy eyed and sits down.  He sees his Mama reading the Word.  Sits in my lap and hears me talk about it.  I love to read my Bible.  Love it.  I didn't always love it though.  I'm talking about even after I became a Christian I didn't always love it.  I'd read it every now and again so I wouldn't feel guilty but there were years after I became a Christian that reading my Bible had no joy and no life.  It felt confusing. 

One night, about 13 years ago something changed.  A simple talk by my Campus Director in the ministry I was involved with.  My friend, Chris, talked from Exodus 33.  Joshua and Moses would go into the tent of meeting to talk with God.  Moses would leave and head back to camp, but Joshua stayed, lingering in God's presence.

He stayed.  He wasn't ready to leave God's presence.  That got me to thinking about my own time of reading the Word.  I never wanted to stay.  It was a clock watching experience so I could get it over with and be done.

The next day on Oprah (before she turned to the dark side) Olympic athletes were on.  One young girl in particular caught my attention.  She got up at 5am every morning to train.  She went to school and left to head straight for the gym again.  She had a vision.  Life was centered on accomplishing her dream.  She made sacrifices of time and energy.

The wheels were really starting to turn now.  I wanted to want to linger in God's presence, in His Word.  I commited to get up earlier.  To get completly ready for school and have an entire 45 minutes to read my Bible.  I started to ask for a desire to read The Word and understand it.  At first it was sheer discipline that kept me going.  But, something started happening.  Things started making sense.  God started answering my prayers to give me hunger and thirst for The Word.

I began to love reading my Bible.  45 minutes turned into hours. 

In Ex. 33:18 Moses ASKS to see God's glory.  Guess what.  God answered his prayer and showed him His Glory!

In the next chapter God commands Moses to be ready in the morning.  Guess what happened?  Moses was ready and God spoke to him. 

Today you might love to read your Bible or you might not pick it up ever.

Baseboards and piles of laundry can wait.  Sleep can wait.  Facebook can wait.

There is only one thing needed.  It is worship.  It is taking time to open your Bible and read.  Asking God to give you understanding.  To open your eyes and ears to his truths.

How is your overflow today?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Family Routine

"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." Pr. 16:3

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." Pr 16:9

"The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out." Pr.20:5, Lord, give me unusual insight into my children's lives.

"A prudent wife is from the LORD." Pr. 19:14-prudent means wise in practical affairs, careful in providing for the future.

"The plans of the diligent lead to profit, as surely as haste leads to poverty." Pr. 21:5

"The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.  All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing."  Pr. 21:25-26

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."  Pr.24:3-4

" I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgement; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.  I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw; A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man." Pr. 24:30-34

School is back in full swing.  Schedules and places to be.  If you are like me, your heart is to create an atmosphere in your home that is peaceful and non-chaotic.  You want a place of beauty and rest, good food, and time where you can relax and spend time quality time building relationship.  Here's where the road my come to a Y-if you are like me following a routine and schedule does not come naturally.  The details drain you and take lots of effort and work.  If you are like you, the non-me version of you, it is a piece of cake!  A schedule energizes you and is more exciting than the sound of the ice cream truck on a hot summer's day!

There's is a fascinating thing that I've seen occur in my home.  Even though I stay home with my boys during the day, my head can hit the pillow at night and I will realize that we did not have one meaningful conversation during the day.  Where did the time go?  It flew out of my hands without me evening knowing it.

Along with that is the constant struggle managing it all.  Wanting to have relationship, keep my home in order, and the list could go on quite awhile as we all fill in the blanks.......................

We are in the process of tweaking our routines.

There's a saying that says,
 "If you aim for nothing you'll hit it every time".

When thinking about your days and how you spend your time you can see how those words ring so true.

Proverbs 15:22 says that plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Over the next days I'm going to be talking about managing your home.

The heart of these talks is going to be creating spaces in our hearts, homes and schedules where we can bring God glory. 

In the Old Testament, a message God was continually relaying to His people was to
Plan Ahead or Deny Yourselves.

I'll be remembering these words as I finish my last day of hiatus!

My alarm will be ringing at 6:00ish, no, shame on me!  My alarm will be ringing at 6:00am in the morning to start my routine.

6:00am              shower
6:10-7:15          read my Bible, drink my cream with a splash of coffee
7:15-7:30          apply smokey eye and create big Texas hair
8:00                  school bell rings
8:00                  my morning routines begin after the boys get going on school-I'll give you a hint...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Roast Beef

I am in the process of cooking the quickest roast I've ever tried.  My Mama always cooked them in the oven and hers always tastes better than mine.  I always threw mine in the crock-pot.  Now if this confession isn't the epitome of lazy, I don't know what is...but there are sometimes I don't feel like getting the roast out of the freezer, thawing it, and stepping into the garage to get the crock-pot to bring it in.

This morning I got to thinking about that frozen roast in the freezer and how it would be the perfect thing for tonight's dinner.  Then I had a light bulb moment.  I wander.  I mean, I just wander, could I cook this in the oven frozen?

One phone call to my Mom at work confirmed it.  Yes.  Yes you can place a frozen roast in the oven and cook it.

No thawing.

No searing in hot oil.

No walking out into the garage to get my crock-pot.

Just a 9x13 pan, a frozen roast, and 1 packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix.

Now you already know this, but you always want to Pam your dish, especially when it is about to spend 5 hours hanging out in your oven.

Once I sprinkled the top of the frozen roast with a packet of the Lipton Onion Soup mix, I added 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pan and covered it tightly with foil.

I placed it in a 250 degree oven for 5 hours.

Girl, you know I'm gonna serve up a huge ol' bowl of mashed potatoes and even though it's Carbapalooza we're having sweet corn with it and even though I don't have a white gravy boat we'll be having brown gravy made from the pan drippings.

I hope you have a frozen roast you can put in your oven for 5 hours to enjoy!  Lipton Onion Soup Mix is the key to the most amazing flavor.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Yesterday I was overwhelmed.  Got myself all worked up over life.  Schedules.  Commitments.  If you asked me if I compared myself to other people I'd say no.  That is unhealthy and never leads down a path of God's choosing.  Last night as I sat on the couch boo-hooing to Shane I realized my eyes were looking around at other people.  Looking to how A+B looked on paper.  Looking at how I could make things work out best.

And just like that I was Peter in the water and I was sinking. 

Do you believe the Word of God is alive?  The Living Word?  Living enough to speak truth into your circumstances?  I do.

Listen to what God told me through His Word this morning.

God said He will instruct me in the way chosen for me.

I did a double take when I read those words in verse 12.

He will instruct you in the way chosen for you.

That's why looking around to other people is futile.  Because they are on the path of God's choosing for them and you are on the path of God's choosing for you.

Maybe you are looking around uncertain of if you are really on the path of God's choosing for you.  I have really great news for you.

The LORD confides in those who fear Him.  He will show you how to spend your time.  He will guide you in what is right.  He will show you the way He has for you.

Don't be like I was yesterday and put your hope in what does or doesn't make sense on paper.  Put your hope in God.  He says if you put your hope in God you will not be put to shame.  You don't have to fear the fear of failure.  He will show you His Ways and He will teach you His Paths.

Ask God to show you what to put your hands to.  When to say yes and when to say no.  At Bible Study last week someone shared that every day we can ask God to place our steps. 

This morning I prayed that.  As I was praying the phone rang.  It was a friend inviting us to the park to play.  The air was cool and it was beautiful.  My list of things to do was long but it was OK.  God gave me the freedom to put the lists aside and to enjoy the weather with friends.

It's surprising the way He places our steps when we ask.

Psalm 25, Psalm 90

Monday, August 8, 2011

White Sauce

2 T butter
2 T flour
1 cup milk
1/4 t salt

Melt butter in saucepan; add flour, stirring until foamy, not brown.  Add milk slowly until smooth.  Cook on lowest heat until thickened.  Season with salt.  Serve over steamed broccoli.

Hint: Add 1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese for a wonderful cheese sauce.  Good with steamed vegetables or baked potatoes.

(this recipe can easily be doubled)

Tonight I'm making this cheddar sauce for dinner.  I'm serving it over elbow macaroni noodles with a side salad.  Quick and easy summer meal!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lamps and Light Bulbs

If you are also married to a frugal man, chances are you've come home to find the ceiling fan bulbs and every lamp in the casa outfitted with these energy saving bulbs.  You don't notice it at first until one night you are getting ready for bed.  You drop your earring back and have to turn on the dreaded overhead light to find it.  The loud music begins to play after you flip the switch and you feel like the spot light at a car lot on a summer night has entered your bedroom.  Quickly you find your sunglasses, put them on to see what has happened and that is when you realize the unthinkable has happened.

You thought the lamps in the living room had been casting insane amounts of bright light but you thought it was just you.  Room by room you walk, only to find it is true.  Ginormous, spiral shaped bulbs have made there way into your home-unbeknownst to you.

Friends, if you have found yourself in this situation it is time for an intervention.  I don't care if you have to take on a night shift at McDonald's one night a week to pay for the extra electricity.  You just have to trust me that it will be worth it to change your bulbs back.

My personal favorite bulb is the Reveal brand.  How 'bout you?  Do you have a personal favorite bulb?  Yeah, I didn't think so.  This must be why my Mama always told me I was special. 

This light is very nice on these bulbs.  Try a pack out, I bet you will really like the difference.  Once you have a great bulb you want to think about your lamp placement in your room.  Think triangle.  3 lamps (at least!) in a large room, placed in a triangle pattern around the room.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Atmosphere

The last couple weeks I've been asking God to give me a vision and wisdom on what our days need to look like.

We were ready.

Ready for schedules and summer days to be done.  We started school Monday and it has filled the air with an atmosphere of joy and excitement.  Bible stories, songs, and the sound of phonics is filling the air.  It is a sweet sound.

Atmosphere has been the word on my heart this last week.  I'm in a study with some other moms and we're reading a book together-this weeks chapter was on the atmosphere of our home.  That is a subject that is near to my heart!

So many things contribute.  The overflow of my own heart is the biggest thing that can make or break our home.  If I find myself being impatient and having a sharp tongue I know that I am not walking in the Spirit.  God's graciousness runs deep.  He can turn the hardened heart around in an instant.  A few minutes reading the Word along with a prayer of repentance goes a long way.

Tidiness also contributes.  When surfaces are clutter-free and orderly our entire day is more peaceful.

Around the 5 o'clock hour we light a candle in the kitchen.  It does something to set the mood that it is time to transition into dinner, bath, book and bedtime.  My current favorite candle is from Wal-Mart.  It is Cranberry Mandarin and you can get one for $3.25.  This candle smells so amazing.  It is very fragrant.  The label peels off.  You can tie a pretty ribbon around the candle to make it look pretty.  There is something about the flicker of candle light and the smell that create a feeling of warmth and coziness.

On these hot summer 100 degree days we've had to keep our blinds closed.  Turning the lamps on around 5 before you start cooking dinner also does wonders for creating that atmosphere of warmth and home, even when it is still light outside.  As you get busy with dinner, dishes, baths, jammies and stories the sun will begin to set.  Having the lamps on will make your home feel very cozy.

Good lighting, candle glow, yummy smells coming from the kitchen...these are the things I grew up on in my parents home, and this is the atmopshere I like to create in my own home.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Non-Crafty Toddler Ideas

Hello Friends, I'd like you to meet our resident 3 year old.

He enjoys running, playing, long walks on the beach and peanut butter and honey sandwiches.

This year I am teaching school to my oldest two children.

I am in serious need of ideas for this little guy to keep him entertained and busy.  I'm not opposed to the black marker mustaches he is fond of creating on his person while my back is turned, but I'd like a few other ideas to go along with that. 

I am so not the crafty type mom-I'll just go ahead and lay it out on the table.  I pretty much hate play-doh, paints, anything crafty.  Sigh, I know.

I am crossing my fingers that you can help me with some non-crafty ideas for 3 year olds that don't require hands on direction from me.

I'm coming clean.  I eat white bread, my kids eat sugary cereal and I'm OK to let him play on the Internet for a little while each day.  With that said, do you know of any educational sites for toddlers on the Internet besides Fox News?  Or do have you heard from a "friend" about Internet games their kids play?

He will color for awhile.

I can read a book during certain times of the morning.

He can come with me to fold clothes.

I try to put in a 30 minute video but they never hold his attention.

I'm hoping all you creative Mama's come through for a sista with some ideas :)!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Accessorizing the Seasonal Sweater Vest

Accessorizing the Seasonal Sweater Vest is easier than you might think.

You always want to start with a strong denim jumper base.

You may remember from last year's first day of school that my denim jumper is a little riskay.

If your Seasonal Sweater Vest has strong argyle appliques then you are really miles ahead of the game as far as achieving that pulled together look goes.  If you've done a great job picking out the basics you really only need to add a great pair of earrings, bracelet, watch and possibly a broach-especially if the weather is rainy and/or cloudy outside.

I do hope this tutorial helped.

Now we're ready to let the ABC's and 123's begin!