Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
With 3 kids and one income (other than the little I make teaching piano), I am always looking for new ways to stretch our money and make do. I'm sure there are a lot of people in the same boat. Here are a couple of my favorite frugal "recipes." I got both of these from a Yahoo! group to which I belong: frugalfamilies_ncsc
Basic Wood cleaner & polish
1/8 cup oil (either linseed, olive or vegetable)
1/8 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Laundry Detergent stretcher
1-2 tbsp borax
1-2 tbsp. baking soda
1-2 tbsp. of liquid detergent
You can mix the borax and baking soda half and half and keep it in a tub; then just scoop 2-4 tbsp. of the mix as needed depending on how dirty your laundry is. Start the water in the washing machine, put in the borax and soda mix and add 1-2 tbsp. of liquid detergent, then put all the clothes in. This works REALLY well and makes the detergent last much longer.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
What makes my status as a mother worth all the trouble? Moments like one from yesterday when Miss Muffet chased Pookie Bear down the hall with her arms open wide (trying to hug Pookie) sweetly saying, "I yuv oo!" Or another moment from a previous day when Pookie wrapped her arms tightly around my neck and said, "You're my best friend, Mommy!" Ah, it makes my heart just melt!
Friday, October 27, 2006
OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!!! You will NOT believe what these toys are! I was visiting Thrifty Mommy's blog and hopped her link to this site where I found these "plush toy keychains" and the story behind them. (Use "The Story" link in the sidebar under "Info.") Believe me, you MUST check this out! You will either be barfing your guts out or rolling on the floor because you are laughing so hard. (I did the latter.) Have fun!
If you scroll down to the bottom of my top page, you will see a little number that is slowly but steadily climbing higher. It is my stat counter. It is free from this site, and I thoroughly enjoy it because not only does it count my visitors but it also tells me where they came from and other interesting facts. I have to be careful not to get too wrapped up in the numbers because that can get to be a pride trip. Although having just moved to this site, there's not too much to be proud about. ;) I started the counter at the number of visits I had already had at my previous blog so what you see is not really what has happened since I moved here but rather reflects the grand total of my blogging "career". (Confession is good for the soul!) Anyhoo, I checked my stats this morning and was impressed that I have had visitors from Italy, Canada, and Australia along with visitors from all over the good ol' USA. How fun is that?!? (Not everyone RETURNS though!) In case I have worried you, the counter does not give me any private info such as name, address, or e-mail. Maybe you would like one for your page. It's fairly simple to install. Just click on the link earlier in the paragraph, and you'll be on your way.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I called a half dozen places yesterday to compare prices. I ended up getting the front brake pads and rotors replaced and had the rear brakes cleaned and adjusted for $231. Not too bad considering the original place quoted me at $450 and discounted it to $325! It's a good feeling when I step on the brake and it only depresses a little bit before the brake engages!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
The title sounds good, huh? *grin* I thought I might start something new here. If you ever get to see my Bible, you will see pages that were created blank but that I love to fill with any quote that speaks to me. Some are humorous while others are thought-provoking, but all have spoken to me in some way. I am constantly adding to my collection and thought it would be rather fun to share some thoughts with you on Tuesdays. Here's to the beginning of a tradition! :o)
"Marriage is like a phone call in the middle of the night ... there's a ring, and then you wake up."
...that's all, folks! (At least for this round.)
This morning I took our van to the shop for some maintenance and repairs. It needed to have the oil changed, a tire patched, all tires rotated, and a front end alignment. I had all 3 girls with me, of course, and I was so proud of them. They were very good during the hour and a half we were there. They had fun but were obedient, too. In the end, I was told that I did not need the alignment; an air pressure adjustment took care of that problem. Also, they could not find the leak in my tire. I will just have to wait for it to get worse before they can do anything about it. That was good news in the sense that I did not have to pay for that, either. I was only charged for the oil change; that particular shop will rotate tires for free when you have an oil change. I had a coupon for the oil change, and I only paid $15.01 for that visit. Yea!!! That was great news.
The bad news? The front brakes are GONE; in fact, the rotors are so badly damaged that they need to be replaced as well. The back brakes only need cleaning and adjusting. After speaking with my husband, I am calling shops to compare prices and hope to be able to make an appointment for Thursday or Friday. Oh, well. It could have been worse! ;)
Monday, October 23, 2006
Thank God it's Monday! That sounds backward, doesn't it? I'm just thankful things will be back to normal around here.
It was a hectic weekend. On Friday night my mom arrived to spend a couple of days with us. In November she is traveling to see one of my sisters who lives several hundred miles away. My sister has a little 2yo boy and is scheduled to have her daughter via C-section while Mom is visiting. My Mom came to visit me with the specific intention of our going to a local thrift store that sells their stuff at garage-sale prices where she planned to purchase clothing for my sister's kids. We intended to leave early on Saturday morning, do her shopping, and be back at my house in time for my piano lesson at 11:00; however, when I called to check on store hours, they didn't open until 10:00. GRRRR! OK, that plan changed.
During the meantime, my husband's relatives had arrived to help work on the building some more. I taught the scheduled lesson, and then my husband told me he needed me to go to BDC to get more supplies. Fine, they close at 1:00 p.m., and it is only 11:45 a.m. now. Plenty of time, right? I made the list of items he requested and then got sidetracked with someone else's needs. When I finally was able to go to the building center, it was already 12:15. I got all the supplies on the list and arrived home at 12:55 only to find out that the shingles I had purchased were the wrong color, and I had somehow missed the fact that my husband needed additional supplies of 2 kinds of nails instead of the 1 kind I purchased. Double GRRRRR! I called the manager at the building center, and he very graciously told me that he would wait for me until 1:15. I immediately grabbed a shingle sample and one of the nails I had not known to purchase and jumped back in the truck. I arrived in time. That was a good beginning. Unfortunately, the shingle color we needed was no longer in stock. They sold me a (more expensive) bundle of shingles that was the closest match they could find. I gave them the nail I had, and they got me a box of that nail; except, when I got back to the house, the nails they sold me were not the same as the sample I gave them to match. By this point I was completely exasperated! My husband said that they could make do with the supplies they now had.
I proceeded to hang some curtains in my girls' room. Then I put the two youngest kids down for a nap and asked my husband if he needed my help for anything. Since he did not, Mom and I headed to the store.
That turned out well. Kids' clothes from newborn-6x were on sale for 25 cents, and sizes 7-14 were 5o cents. Mom was able to get more than 50 items for less than $20. We arrived home about 5:30 p.m.
Everyone was just finishing up on the building for the day. The roof had been completed and most of the siding was in place. All the relatives loaded up and went home.
After supper, Mom, the girls, and I headed to church. The next day was Homecoming Sunday, and Jack Green, the visiting preacher, had arrived early enough to preach on Saturday night as well. It was a good sermon, and I was glad to be able to relax.
We got home sometime after 9:00 p.m. I got the girls in bed and worked on some other chores I needed to complete. Sunday was a blur like always. Mom went to church in the morning and ate lunch with us before loading up her car and heading back home. Of course we went back to church that night. We went to bed at 10:00 p.m., about an hour earlier than normal.
So that's why I am glad it is Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend. I'm not anxious for a repeat of mine anytime soon!
Friday, October 20, 2006
I received my "Early Stages" Magazine from Focus on the Family. Page 2 had an article called "Mothers and Fatigue" which listed results of fatigue, and when I read it, I just burst out laughing because my name should have been printed there:
- Disconnection from others around you
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty concentration (oops! should have been concentrating! See what I mean? 10/26/06)
"Sleeping Woman" print by Pablo Picasso from www.allposters.com
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Since I finished the exciting-but-at-the-same-time-tedious work of setting up this blog and transferring old posts, I have been trying to think of a wonderful, inspiring post. Well, forget it ... that's not me! :) In the end, I was inspired by Sandra at Diary of a Stay-at-Home-Mom. She basically told all of us bloggers to just be ourselves; great advice which I will proceed to follow!
Yesterday rained all day. I didn't mind, but the kids were a little bit fractious. I checked on the building a few times since the roof has not been shingled yet and we just moved all our unused supplies inside it last week. We covered the roof with tarps, and that did pretty well keeping the rain out, but Pookie Bear and I still placed about 10 pails to catch drips. She had a blast emptying them out this morning. Pure joy was on her face. I sometimes wish I were more like my children and found joy in the tiny things.
We all went walking this morning, and that felt good. I have been needing to get back into some kind of exercise routine. I am currently 20 lbs less than my highest non-pregnancy weight, and I would like to continue the downward trend. :) A neighbor said that she would like to walk with us, and we set a specific time to walk each day. That is a big help: I am committed to exercising rather than depending on whether or not I feel like exercising. Big difference for me! Anyway, the walk was therapeutic for me inasmuch as the kids had created several large messes and I was ready to kill them. Do any of you ever struggle with the urge to slowly strangle your darling angels with your bare hands?!? (I'm halfway joking here.) Life goes on, and when one mess is cleaned up I know that there will be 20 to takes its place. I love my children but am definitely lacking in the patience department. I mentally flog myself quite often because I have yelled at them yet AGAIN. It hurts me when I see how much I have hurt them. I always have to tell them that Mommy was wrong to yell and ask them to please forgive me. Oh, how sweetly and unhesitatingly they grant their forgiveness! That is another childish trait I would like to emulate. When Pookie Bear says that she forgives me, she really does. It becomes as if the incident never happened. How often do I say I forgive someone but keep the matter in the back of my mind? It's amazing what I learn from my children.
How are you guys doing? It seems like my good friends are really busy; only a few of you are putting up any new posts. I know ... life is busy. Well, take care, and I'll keep checking in on you.
Monday, October 16, 2006
The time has come for me to post a disclosure policy. This policy is valid from October, 2006.
The Porch Light is a personal blog written and edited by me (Revka). This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may or may not be identified as paid or sponsored content.
This blog abides by word of mouth marketing standards and strives to evidence integrity at all times. I am sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though I may receive compensation for posts or advertisements, I always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. Although I strive to verify all facts before publishing them, I am human; therefore, please do not merely accept my word. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.
If a product or service which I review results in a sale or a business relationship based on my opinions, neither the customer(s) nor the company(ies) shall hold me responsible for the approval or disapproval that might result between the customer(s) and the company(ies) and their products/services.
I may change this disclosure policy at any time and will do so at my own discretion.
I've finally transferred all the posts I wanted to keep from the 360 blog. I know most of them are serious and heavy. Sorry about that; I promise I am not always boring.
While I have been preoccupied with setting up this blog, we have gotten quite a bit more done on the storage building. (For those who don't know, we are putting together a DIY 16x16 storage building package.) This past Saturday, my husband's grandmother, mother, father, and brother all came down to help work on it some more. His grandmother lives the closest to us, and she still lives about 1 1/2 hours away. One of our neighbors has also come over to help us every time, and his services have been invaluable. This is the 3rd time they have given their Saturday to come help us. Family and neighbors can be so nice! The roof trusses were erected and sheathed, and the "barn" is looking better all the time. We cannot wait to get it done! Maybe it will be completed by November.
Pookie Bear's hair has turned curly and was looking messy all the time, even if I had just brushed it. She had asked me to cut it like Miss Muffet's hair (impossible! Miss Muffet's hair is several inches longer than Pookie Bear's and isn't actually cut in any style). I cut it to shoulder length and added layers. She was thrilled with it, and I am, too. It looks adorable even if I haven't brushed it - a BIG plus for me. Her birthday is coming up soon; it's so hard to believe my firstborn will be four in a couple of weeks. She wants a princess party (AGAIN) and is excited about inviting her little friends. I gotta get with it and make the invitations, plan the games, etc. I'm fast running out of time!
Mr. Incredible still loves his job. We have some decisions to make about new benefit options for the coming year. It's nice to HAVE benefits, let alone so many choices!
- The Beginning of Wisdom"We live under a law of sowing and reaping that is as certain and unrelenting as disease and death."Debi begins this chapter by stating that wisdom is the child of fear and that modern Christianity often waters down the need to fear the Lord. How true I have found that to be! Yes, I definitely believe that God will punish sin, including MY sin, but ... I must ask myself, do I really live out that belief??? If I truly believed God WILL punish sin, would I fight the same battles and so easily give in to the same temptations? As Debi declares, "If our actions were without consequence, or if consequences were never painful or permanent, then fear would be foolish." I am afraid that all too often, my life says that I really do not have the fear of the Lord that I must realistically have. I may think, "I know this isn't the best decision, but it won't hurt that much." Who am I kidding?!? Once more quoting Debi, "But our actions and reactions do indeed reap painful results in this present life as well as in eternity. We live under a law of sowing and reaping that is as certain and unrelenting as disease and death." My day of payment might be delayed, but it cannot be evaded.
"...if our choices can bring us to miserable ends, then fear is the healthiest deterrent we can have. It is the beginning of wisdom. ... What physical pain is to the preservation of the human body, fear is to the preservation of the soul. A Christian life without fear is a religious life without a living God." Ouch! I want a vibrant, living relationship with my God, not a cold, unfeeling profession of religion.
My life's happiness is directly related to my fear of the Lord, for I cannot be truly happy outside of the will of God. Any sin in my life is a direct violation of God's will, for it is never His will for me to engage in sin. One sin that I can so easily practice is the sin of failing to be my husband's helpmeet as designed by God. "No woman has ever been happy and fulfilled who neglected to obey God in regard to her role as a help meet." I have found that I am happiest when I am cheerfully working toward the goal of helping Mr. Incredible in every way possible. When I get wrapped up in my selfish desires and attitudes, I find that I become most unhappy. As always, the focus on self is the most narrow and the least happy of any focus I can have.
I can also fall into the trap of thinking that I need to take the lead in spiritual matters because "I am more spiritual than my husband". (BTW, that is a conclusion that is easy to draw because he, being a man, tends not to verbalize his convictions and/or spiritual growth while, as a woman, I tend to talk about what I believe or have learned. Over time, I have learned that my husband's convictions, once formed, are carved in bedrock and are virtually unchangeable and that he can be growing spiritually without once saying a word about it.) When I attempt to lead in spiritual matters because I am dissatisfied with the apparent lack of spirituality on his part, I have stepped outside the bounds of my God-given role. "When a woman attempts to live for God contrary to His Word, her 'spirituality' is equal to witchcraft because she is attempting to 'divine' the will of God in total disregard of His clear written words. ... A woman who thinks she can walk her own way because she believes herself spiritually gifted has no fear of Almighty God." A later chapter delves more deeply into the reasons God has ordained that the man be the spiritual leader. My responsibility is to give input when asked, follow where my husband leads, and pray for him at all times but particularly when a decision has been made that I feel is incorrect. I can tell you from personal experience that God honors this approach. Recently, we were in a situation where Mr. Incredible asked my input, which I gave, but he ultimately decided to go in a direction with which I really was not comfortable. Instead of nagging or getting bent out of shape because things didn't end up the way I thought they should, I determined that I would honor his decision and back him up with my whole heart and a cheerful attitude. I did, and the Lord worked so that in a single month circumstances changed to the point that Robert decided (on his own *big grin*) that we needed to go a different way. Praise the Lord, this situation has worked out beautifully, and we never had any arguments or unpleasantness over it. It pays to let the man lead and then pray when he leads where you are not comfortable following. NOTE: I am not talking about his leading us into sin. That is a whole different issue.
What I put into practice now is what I will perform for the rest of my life. "As practice enables the pianist to find the right keys without effort or thought, so a woman who practices discontentment will, without thought, hit the notes of bitterness and discontentment. She has practiced her bitterness until it comes naturally, and she does not even recognize it. She will usually define herself as one who stands against pride and evil. She will 'do what is right, even if no one else will.' " I personally know an extreme example of this. This old woman is the person everyone dreads to see and be around. She NEVER has anything good to say about anyone or anything and is always complaining. Her face is permanently etched with the drooping lines of discontent. In contrast, I also know an old woman who is the sweetest person I know. She, too, has lines in her face, but they reflect a life of happiness and laughter. She doesn't even have to be smiling to appear pleasant, and she can always find the good in a less-than-perfect situation. Guess which lady I want to resemble when I am old? The foundation for the end is laid in my actions, reactions, and attitudes that I practice every day.
"The fruit of the Spirit is not a party to tension, stress, nervousness, uptightness, or bitterness." "...in time, practice makes perfect."
I did get to go to revival last night, and, boy, was it good! It made me think of the sermon that inspired the post about beginning with the end. Evangelist Behrens preached on "Your Name Will Follow You All Your Life." Here are some points to ponder:
- Other than our salvation, our name is probably the most important issue in our life
- We have 2 names that stay with us through life: our given name and the name associated with that given name. My given name is Revka, but the "name" associated with that name is whatever comes to mind when you hear my given name. Some examples were Michael Jordan and OJ Simpson; Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton; Mary and Jezebel.
- Even God uses both of our names. Look in the Bible - Abraham is known as "the friend of God." David is "a man after God's own heart." Enoch "walked with God." The disciple John is "the Beloved." Our reputation is important to God as well as to man.
- Our name will follow us even after we are dead. Heb. 11:4 makes reference to Abel's blood crying out even though Abel was already dead. I know it's not quite the same application as the rest of the sermon, but he used it to illustrate the fact that we still "speak" after we are dead.
- Our name will influence people to accept Christ or to reject Him, to live for Christ or to live for self. Mr. Behrens told about a Family Conference he attended. It was so large that they booked the entire motel where the conference was held. After the conference was over, the motel worker asked to speak with the local pastor. Mr. Behrens went along with the pastor. The motel worker asked that pastor if the conference attendees believed and lived like the people in his church. "Oh, yes!" the pastor confidently declared. "They're just like us!" The motel worker posed his question in another way and received the same assured reply. "Then why is it that over 65% ordered pornographic movies during their stay here?" he asked. The pastor was shocked and had no reply. From that day on, the motel worker has been closed to the Gospel, all because people did not guard their name.
In closing, Mr. Behrens gave us the advice to live our lives in such a manner that the preacher will not have to tell lies at our funeral. GREAT advice, and in my mind, it will take planning for the end to achieve that goal.
I was on my way home from grocery shopping last night (all by myself - Mr. Incredible kept the kids. Thanks, sweetheart! ) and was listening to the radio. Some guy was preaching, and his message really made me stop and think.
He was talking about the need to begin with the end. At first I was confused, as you probably are, but he went on to say that most of our lives we are living from now to the end. That is NOT the recipe for success. A successful business is successful because it began with a plan to achieve the desired end result. I need to live from/for the end. How do I want to be remembered when I die? I need to live in a manner that will achieve that goal. What do I see my marriage being at the end? Am I even thinking about the end of my marriage, my life, my career, my children's time under my roof, my ... whatever it may be? I must PLAN for the ending that I want and keep that plan in front of me as I live my life. Having a plan will keep me from meandering aimlessly and making choices based on feelings. If I have no plan, I will be much more likely to react than to carefully choose my actions. My judgment and feelings may change from moment to moment. Focusing on a predetermined goal should eliminate the emotion factor.
Some areas that came to my mind were the following:
- My marriage - I plan on being married to my darling husband for the remainder of our lives. Keeping that goal in my mind will help me determine my course of action when I am confronted with a situation where I have a choice in the path I take. Longevity in marriage is not achieved with a bitter and critical spirit, hasty and hot temper, sharp tongue, impatience, unforgiveness, or any of the other sins to which I may so easily fall prey. Will my current actions and attitudes get me to my desired destination - a lifetime of loving companionship (not a lifetime of long-suffering!) with my husband?
- My children - My desire is that my children be saved while young, live for and love the Lord, marry Christian mates, and raise Godly families to carry on the torch. If I am not actively pursuing that end now, it will never happen, and certainly not by chance! If I am not teaching my children the Bible and, even more importantly, modeling in my life what I want to see in their's, I will reap what I have sown - nothing of eternal value. God, help me carry out this awesome responsibility faithfully!!!
- My life - At the end of my journey here, I would like to be remembered for my sweet spirit, kindness, Godliness, honesty, compassion, and all the other wonderful virtues I can call to mind. A life is built one moment at a time. What I am doing now is the foundation for what I will be doing later down the road. The "notes" I practice now are the ones I will be playing in the end. If I were to die right now, how would I be remembered? I don't know how much time I have. I can't afford to be anything other than what I want to be in the end.
All of this reflection came from one point in his sermon. I heard just the beginning of his next point, but to me it was just as thought-provoking. "Don't sacrifice tomorrow today." Wow! I have heard that before, but it really struck me this time.
How often do I do that? So many times, instead of DENYING self I find myself BOWING to self. "I don't want to do that now ... I have a right to act this way because ... Oh, it won't make much difference if I do (or don't do, whichever the case may be) ... He/they make(s) me so mad, I just can't help it when I ... " OUCH! His illustration was that Jesus willingly suffered the pain and shame of the cross because of the glory that awaited at the end. The suffering was no more pleasant for Jesus than it would have been for me; however, His focus was on the end, and He was not willing to "sacrifice the future on the altar of the immediate." I am to follow His example and deem SELF as unworthy to jeopardize the laudable end that is my goal.
- Please, Lord, help me to plan for the ending You would have for me, and help me to never sacrifice the future on the altar of the immediate.
photo from allposters.com
- The Gift of Wisdom
- "Do you have enough fear of God not to question His Word?"
Wisdom comes from God and is available to all Christians for the asking. In fact, God desires that we be wise, and we are specifically told to ask Him for wisdom.
- "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5
Throughout the Bible, wisdom is linked to the fear of the Lord.
- "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." Prov. 9:10
This chapter opens with a lady questioning how to behave when her husband is harsh, lazy, inconsiderate, and selfish. Debi answers by presenting 2 choices:
- This lady can decide that her unhappy circumstances excuse her from obeying God's Word regarding honoring her husband, or...
- She can ask God to help her to fulfill her role as He has set forth.
Debi states: "God has made you to fulfill this eternal vision [of honoring and serving her husband]. Until you embrace that divine plan for your life, your life will never make sense. You will always be struggling. ... Ask God for wisdom to become the very best help meet." She goes on to declare that if there is little or nothing in your husband to make you desire to serve and help him, you need to focus on serving CHRIST by serving your undeserving husband. She also says that for many women, it will take a miracle for them to be merry, joyful, and thankful as they serve their husbands.
"Women who have difficulties in their marriages usually follow their feelings and just react. But you must stop trusting your hurt responses or the advice you receive from the world, for today's media communicates a worldview that is skewed at best. You are not thinking from God's perspective, but the good news is that God is prepared to give you divine wisdom, just for the asking."
Oh, how true, even in my most-definitely-happy marriage! At times I catch myself feeling, "He didn't do [fill in the blank] so why should I serve him and try to make him happy?" What a STINKING, rotten attitude! It certainly is not an example of the wise woman building her house and does nothing to promote even my own happiness, let alone that of the rest of my household!
"A woman's calling is not easy. To allow someone else to control your life is much harder than taking control of it yourself."
Amen to that! Everyone has some kind of authority figure in their life. Try doing exactly what that person wants you to do, even at the cost of denying your wants; in fact, do everything in your power to help and please that person; strive to anticipate his wishes. Make that your life's goal. After you have tried it for a while, come back and tell me how weak you had to be to achieve that goal. My failures in submission come not because I was "too strong to obey" but rather because I was too weak to deny self.
Debi also addresses the issues raised in connection with the Bible's stated roles for women. Many people, including preachers, say that these roles were cultural issues, have been misinterpreted in our English Bible, or have been misapplied. These assertions leave many Christians with the idea that God did not really mean what He appears to have said. Debi directs such people to Titus 2:3-5. There, the aged women are commanded to teach the young women specific things, including obedience to their husbands. This passage is abundantly clear, even if the other Scriptures could be explained away.
Also referenced is Eph. 5:22-24 where God lays out the authority structure for the home: God, Christ, husband, wife. God tells the woman to submit to and be subject to her husband. The husband is directed to love his wife. Neither command is contingent upon the other. Whether or not I am sumissive, Mr. Incredible is to love me. Whether or not he loves me, I am to submit to him. Such commands always require God's wisdom, but never more than when I am in a situation where my "rights" have been violated by the very one to whom I am to submit!
"The gift of wisdom will remind you that God's rules are not there to put you in bondage but to help you make a man want to cherish, protect, and love you. Most of all, the gift of wisdom will enable you to serve and honor your husband because you are serving and honoring God. You will find fulfillment in your nature as a woman."
From the devotional-style end of the chapter comes this:
"Today, as you read this, you have two choices open to you. You can excuse yourself from responsibility by mentally assigning various excuses to your situation, or you can choose to believe God and become a 100% help meet regardless of anything that would stand in your way. ... To commit your way unto the Lord is to say, 'Not my will, but Thine, be done.' "
photo from allposters.com
print from allposters.com
There is a post at which I think anyone concerned with the issue of modesty for girls should look. Here are some excerpts from the post:
"In an effort to raise our collective voices, I've created the Moms for Modesty Mission Statement.
Many retailers, marketing and PR firms review mommy blogs for trends and opinions. If we speak as one we may be able to effect change. Please let your blogging friends know and if you normally don't leave a comment, please leave one now."
Moms For Modesty - click here to visit the site
While Pookie Bear can already count from 1-13, sing her alphabet, and knows practically all the colors, I think it's time to start teaching her more formally. I have searched the web for free worksheets and activity ideas (I don't want to buy stuff if I don't have to) and thought some of you might be interested in the resources I found. BTW, there is plenty of free stuff out there for grades other than pre-K and Kindergarten. Here are some of my favorite sites.
Worksheet Universe- has a TON of free reproducible worksheets in pdf format.
TLS Books also has a lot of reproducibles. They had 95 sheets for pre-K/Kindergarten alone and their copyright restrictions allow teachers to make up to 50 copies per worksheet.
Fun Lesson Plans is exactly what it says - a place to find fun lessons. There are free downloads as well as other resources that have to be purchased. I got some really neat downloads from here.
I just found a site that looks interesting. It is Progressive Phonics and for a limited time they are offering free downloads of their beginning reading books. They feature phonics as well as teaching the children words that have to be sight-read. Right now, they are only asking for feedback on the books as payment. The following books are available: Book 1: Short vowel A; Book 2: Short vowel E; Book 3: Short Vowel I; Book 4: Short Vowel O; Book 5: Short Vowel U; Book 6: Beginning Consonant blends; Book 7: Intro to Long Vowels; Book 8: End-of-word Consonant Blends and L-controlled Vowels; Book 9: ou/ow/oi Vowels; Book 10: Intermediate Long Vowels
Pre-school Rainbow has great activity ideas for toddlers
Sunday, October 15, 2006
- Thanksgiving Produces Joy
- "Live with thanksgiving, forgiveness, and joy, and enjoy all your moments as if they were your last."
These beginning chapters have been rather intricately woven together and are by-products of each other.
- Chapter 1 - Don't take anything for granted.
- Chapter 2 - Have a merry heart.
- Chapter 3 - A merry heart leads to a thankful spirit.
- Chapter 4 - That thankful spirit produces joy.
Every marriage has its own unique dynamic, and we women must learn to adapt to that dynamic. Correction: I not only adapt to but also shape that dynamic.
The previous chapter spoke about setting the mood in my home. This chapter's opening sentences say, "You have control over whether or not you and your husband will be "heirs together of the grace of life" (I Peter 3:7), or partners together in the tension and stress of life. You have much more control than you know."
Debi then gives an illustration from her own life. Her husband just doesn't do trash so she has learned to enjoy taking care of this chore. Mike DOES like to show off for her, and on one occasion, he thought that helping her with a particularly heavy bag of trash would afford an opportunity for strutting his stuff. He toted it out in the most macho manner possible and flung it over the side of the dumpster. EXCEPT...it didn't make it over the side. It burst open, leaving the contents spilling all down the side and to the ground. Instead of cleaning up his mess, he slunk off in embarrassment, leaving Debi to clean up. At that point, she could have gotten mad at him for being inconsiderate and making more work for her. Instead, she willingly and cheerfully cleaned up the mess. She also knew that he would be looking for a way to make up for his failure. Sure enough, not too long afterward the same situation arose. This time, he very carefully put the trash in the dumpster. Debi was waiting at the laundry room window, and at the moment the trash bag left his hand, she let out a piercing scream. He froze, thinking that he had done it again. When he realized what had happened, he charged inside to what ended up being a fun wrestling match. So an incident that could have been a huge problem was turned instead into a happy time and a lasting (positive) memory. Debi controlled the outcome by CHOOSING to have a joyful spirit in spite of the less-than-ideal circumstances.
She goes on to say that one way a woman can help her husband is by being his playmate. That includes just plain ol' fun! Life outside of the home can be and often is grim and humorless. My husband needs a place to relax and have fun, and while it may not seem fair, most often I am going to be the one who determines if our home is any fun or not. I sure struggle with that! I want us to have "Date Night" and "Family Fun Night" and all those other wonderful ideas; however, I have not put the effort into planning them. In fact, sometimes I whine (to myself), "Why do I have to do everything? Why can't he ever come up with things for us to do?" Well, ladies, it IS up to us! The home is our natural domain, and that not only includes the housework. Having a clean house does not make it HOME. It takes work and planning to make a home and even more work and planning to have family togetherness. Hmmm. I know what I will be working on!
Here are a couple of quotations that really speak to me.
- "We have learned that life is fun and needs to be shared with our best friend, playmate, and lover."
- "Open your mouth and begin to thank God for His grace towards you. Thank Him for every good thing that He has brought into your life. Thank Him, thank Him, and thank Him again. Joy is the result of a thankful heart. A thankful heart is the result of a person who decides to give thanks. So say, 'Thank You, God, for ... .' "
- "Ask God to teach you to be thankful. Make a written list of ways that you can start showing thankfulness; then start living your list and showing a thankful spirit. Thankfulness starts by saying Thank You, and continues by making a mental note to appreciate all those people God has placed around you. If it is not already in your heart, than it needs to be by an effort of sacrifice that you show thankfulness."
If you are like me, you have found yourself terribly let down when people do not recognize or appreciate what you do, especially if you have put extra effort into it. In Sunday School yesterday, the teacher used a verse that really caught my attention.
II Corinthians 5:9 "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be ACCEPTED OF HIM." (emphasis mine)
Wow! That is wonderful, exciting, and comforting! It does not matter what people think. I am not working for people's acceptance and approval; I am working for Christ's acceptance and approval. While it is nice when people recognize what I have done, my ultimate goal is to please my Lord and Saviour. If people misunderstand or misjudge me, my works, and my intentions, I have the incredible comfort that God knows my heart and motives. If I have done my best and have done it for Him, I will find the acceptance I desire.
- A Thankful Spirit
"A Merry Heart vs. a Poor-Me Attitude"
- I love this quote: "A wise woman sets a joyful mood in her home. Through laughter, music, and happy times, she creates a positive attitude in her children. She knows that a lighthearted home relieves her husband of stress." I have found that if I want to introduce some peace and calm to our home, I can play Scott Roberts' CD "I Sing Because", and my spirit just relaxes. The music itself is not slow tempo or boring, but it is peace-inducing for me. That's just an example of one way I have found to deliberately set the mood and atmosphere of our home.
- Debi reminds me that being discontented with our physical or spiritual circumstances is dishonoring to God and to my husband. Like Paul I should learn to be content in whatever state I am. There can be no lasting happiness without contentment. If I am looking to my circumstances for my happiness, my level of happiness will always be changing because my circumstances are always changing.
- Truthfully, "discontentment is not a product of circumstances; it is a state of the soul." Proverbs 15:15 says, "All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast" God says that I am to be content when I have food and clothing, and the amount I actually NEED of those items is not as great as I think it is.
- Debi stated that the old adage is true, practice truly does make perfect. The question is, what am I practicing? Am I continually hitting the sour notes of discontent, bitterness, anger, frustration, hurt feelings, and the like? It won't take long before that is where I naturally turn. Everything will be filtered through the glasses of my negative, unthankful spirit, and I will be hard pressed to find happiness and joy in anything. The good news is that the opposite is true: the more I practice responses of gratitude and thankfulness, the easier those repsonses will become.
- Here are ways to practice those happy notes: Be thankful. Smile. Stop and laugh at the little things that steal my joy. Count my blessings and learn to be appreciative. Look for things for which I can be thankful.
Added note 7/28/06: I chose this photo because it makes me think of how a thankful spirit radiates beauty.
- A merry heart...the joy of the Lord is my strength
This chapter was a much-needed reminder to me. There are several good points and ideas to ponder and remember.
- Proverbs 17:22 "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Mrs. Pearl states that often long-faced women try to convince her that they have the joy of the Lord when their face and attitude does not reflect that joy. All too often, I forget that God wants me to be joyful. In fact, He says that His joy is my strength. Think about it this way: when I am focused on what is wrong with my life, situation, or whatever, I am not going to have joy. When my heart is filled with fear, doubt, worry, depression, discontent (the list could go on for a good long while), I get overwhelmed with it all and feel hopeless and unable to do what I should/need to do. In contrast, I have found that when I am prayerfully focusing on "the bright side", I am able to bear so much more. My patience is much more enduring, I am more stable emotionally, and I do not tire as quickly physically. I am NOT saying that we need to be an ostrich and stick our heads in the sand whenever there is a problem. Let's be realistic by all means, but let's keep our focus on the Lord and His ability to solve any problem we have. I must PURPOSE to "keep in tune with Jesus" so He can keep me sweet.
- Proverbs 15:13 "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." "Who and what you are is reflected in your face. Does your husband see you as a happy, thankful woman? ... Learn to charm him with your...grin" Oh, how true, and how convicting for me! It seems as time goes by, I tend more and more to forget what is attractive to Mr. Incredible, including the fact that he likes to see me smile. I mean, who WANTS to see a long-faced grouch hanging around the house all the time? I need to find things to smile about, and I need to be more conscious of what my face is displaying. Mrs. Pearl points out that men are highly attracted to smiles. I should never take my husband's love and attraction to me for granted. I should do my part to keep him attracted, and that includes something as simple as smiling.
- A spirit of criticism is not the best tool to draw my husband to me. "Honey, you NEVER spend ANY time with us. What is wrong with you? Don't you know you need to be with your family? Honey, you need to...blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." (Note: that is all a fictional scenario pulled out of my hat. Mr. Incredible is a wonderful man, husband, and father, and I do not have to nag him to spend more time with us.) I need to make home attractive by having a merry spirit and making a point to laugh and enjoy my family. As Michael Pearl put it, "No man has ever crawled out from under his wife's criticism to be a better man - no matter how justified her condemnation." PLEASE NOTE: this does not mean that you never address valid concerns, and one might be that your husband does not spend enough time with the family; HOWEVER, you need to learn to make an appeal in the proper spirit, and then leave it alone. Instead of nagging your husband to death, pray for the Lord to work in his heart. "Men do not repent for the sake of an angry, critical wife. ... Your husband is going to love what is lovely to him."
- Sometimes, in order to love my husband, I must forget my "rights". There are times when my rights may be trampled on, but if I respond in outrage and stand on those rights, it will hurt my marriage. For instance, I personally have already determined that if Mr. Incredible ever was unfaithful to me (please God, protect us!) I will not divorce him. If I were to say, "You lousy creep! You betrayed me and our marriage vows! Get out! I never want to see or hear from you again!", I would certainly be within my rights. He would have sinned against God, against me, against himself, and against who knows whom else. BUT I have determined that I will fight for my marriage, fight to LOVE my husband, fight to rebuild our marriage, and PRAY for God's intervention. (This doesn't seem to fit very well with this chapter, but it's in there, and this is what I have what I have reminded of by this section.)
- I think these are good points to remember: "It is a mistake for a wife to take her position for granted, to assume that love and contentment exist because 'we are husband and wife.' In a perfect world, being married to a perfect man, your vows would be sacred. Never demand that a man love you and cherish you because he ought to. Earn every smile and shared moment. Cultivate his love for you." "He needs to hear gladness and appreciation in your voice when you speak to him, even when you are talking of everyday things."
This chapter has reminded and encouraged me to daily turn to the Lord for the strength found in His joy. I have been prodded to examine my heart to see if I am consistently cheerful and lovely or if I am reflecting all the ugliness of discontent, fear, and all their relatives. I am spurred to be more mindful of the expressions on my face. And I have learned that "being right" does not always guarantee that you will win. I hope this has been a blessing to each of you.
- I am going to blog on Ch. 2 of Created to Be His Help Meet really soon, but before I do, I would like to add the following disclaimer(s):
- This is JUST a book; it is not the Bible.
- Since it is not the Bible, it was written by an "uninspired" human. (I know, I know! DUH!!!)
- Since it is not inspired, it is neither universally true nor universally applicable.
- This is not "the answer" for every woman and every marriage. (Again, that would be the Bible!!!)
- Not everything in here agrees with the Bible.
- We should be reading EVERYTHING with the discernment acquired by holding man's word up to the light of the Bible.
- I personally have been blessed, convicted, and encouraged by this book. (But it's okay with me if you read it and aren't blessed by it.)
- The majority of the book is based on sound Biblical principles.
- I still recommend reading this book; just remember to check it against Scripture.
There's my two cents' worth. Take it or leave it.
- This is JUST a book; it is not the Bible.
When I was little, Daddy used to record himself reading stories to us. He would have the radio playing in the background and would adjust the volume in all the right places. He would also use different voices for different characters. I remember listening to those tapes over and over, and one of the things that I regret is that they have disappeared and/or broken over the years.
One of the stories he taped was "The Best Nest", which I believe was by V. Gilbert Beers. (I recommend his stories if you can find them.) The story was about a bird couple, and the mama bird was tired of her old nest and wanted a new one. The papa bird tried all these different places, and she would be satisfied at first, but after a short while something would happen that would show that the chosen place was not the ideal nest.
One place was in someone's shoe- you can imagine how that went! It ended up that they finally tried their old nest again, and this time it was perfect. The mama bird settled down in contentment and sang, "I love my house! I love my nest! In all the world this nest is best!"
Well, this is a photo of my "Best Nest." This is our house here. It was the only decent house in our price range, and it turns out the Lord knew what He was doing when He put us here. It is perfect for our current needs, we have good neighbors, and it even has extra perks that I would not have even thought of looking for - a room that is suited for a toy room (which keeps the kids' toys out of the REST of the house!), ceramic tile in the kitchen and both baths, a smooth-top stove, a 16x20 deck, and several other nice features.
I thank the Lord for His provision and know that He truly provides the best for those who trust and wait on His timing and direction.
- In my first entry (Yahoo! 360 blog), I mentioned that I was learning a lot from Created to Be His Help Meet (by Debi Pearl). I also shared that my personal "soapbox" is God's role for me as a wife, woman, and mother. I'd like to share a couple of lessons I learned from the first chapter: God's Gift.
- Marriage is not like the fairytales - NO ONE just marries the right man and lives "happily ever after". I think we were all aware of that very soon after the wedding ceremony, maybe even on the honeymoon! ;) As a preacher said during revival, "A good marriage is only possible if there are two good forgivers."
- As Mr. Incredible's wife, I was created specifically to fill his need for companionship. God created me for the purpose of completing my husband's lack in this area, not for my own personal fulfillment. As long as I function within this created nature, I am inferior to none, for God equipped me uniquely for this task. No man could ever fill it.
- "The degree to which you reverence your husband is the degree to which you reverence your Creator. As we serve our husband, we serve God. But in the same way, when we dishonor our husband, we dishonor God."
- God designated the husband as the leader and the wife as the helper/follower. It is according to God's design that there be a chain of command in the home. It does not mean that one is superior to the other. It is the same as when Jesus is under the authority of God the Father. There is no loss of dignity in subordination when it serves a higher purpose.
- A perfect help meet is actively looking to see how she can be of help and service. She does not require a list of chores, nor does she carry a mental list which, when accomplished, is the limit of her efforts.
In summary: "A good help meet will have a passion to be of service. Her first calling is to be of service to her husband, then her children, and when time affords, her passion of service will spill over to serving others."
- Everyone knows that jello is the easiest dessert to make, right?
All you have to do is empty the packet of jello into a bowl, add boiling water, stir, add cold water, and chill until set. Even a little child could follow those directions!
Well, the first time I made jello, I thought I would get creative and dress it up a little. The jello was strawberry flavored, and I had pecans, strawberries, and kiwi on hand. I remember thinking how yummy it would be to put those in the jello. I followed the directions for the jello and added the fruit and nuts to the liquid. Then I put it in the 'fridge and eagerly anticipated how wonderful it would taste. In a couple of hours I checked on it, assuming that it was either ready or nearly so. I was rather puzzled that it didn't seemed much more "jelled" than when I first put it in. I figured it just needed more time and let it set for a couple of hours longer. When I checked on it again, it still had not set. What in the world was the matter with the stuff?!? I decided that somehow I must have put in too much water so I combined some unflavored gelatin with hot water, added it to the mixture, and put it back in the fridge. This time I waited overnight. Surely that would be long enough! I checked on it the next morning. Nope! Still not jelled! I decided something was drastically wrong and the stuff was never going to set, so I ate the fruit and nuts and poured the liquid down the drain. The fruit was delicious, by the way. They were kinda marinated in jello :) It was a couple of weeks later when I found out that there is some kind of acid or something in kiwi that prevents jello from jelling like it should. Go figure!
This last week, I decided that I would make individual jello molds for the girls to celebrate Miss Muffet's birthday. We were having her party a couple of days later, and I knew we would not eat 1 cake, let alone 2. I figured I would stick a couple of candles in Miss Muffet's jello and she could blow them out after we sang to her. Of course, it was late evening when I had this brilliant idea and the kids needed to go to bed in a couple of hours. What to do? I made the jello according to directions but decided to put it in the freezer to help speed up the jelling process. OF COURSE, things got busy, and I forgot all about the jello cakes. The next day I remembered them... and they were frozen solid. I stuck them in the fridge to thaw. They did thaw, but formerly-frozen-and-now-thawed jello is NOT the same as regular jello! It has plain water floating around in addition to the jello. The mold did not come out smoothly like they were supposed to, and the whole thing was a disaster.
The moral to this story? Next time, I think I'll follow jello directions WITHOUT any creativity!!!!