Tuesday, March 31, 2009

WORKS FOR ME: MANAGING OUR KITCHENS


"We are THAT Family" is hosting Works-For-Me Wednesday again!.

Many times, when we move into a home we aren't thinking about organization. One of the first rooms we usually unpack is the kitchen, and sometimes we're just in a hurry to get it unpacked and useable. We're not thinking about function.

Often we think we'll "organize" it later, but many times we don't. Sometimes we set up our kitchens the way mom did, which is great if mom knew what she was doing. But not-so great if mom didn't.

Is your kitchen working for you? Are you walking the equivalent of miles and miles just to get a meal prepared? (Great for the legs but not so great for your patience.) Does everything have a place that makes sense, or does it have a place because you were in a hurry to move in?

In my kitchen I try to store things that I use alot in my every day cooking and preparation. I do not store my crockpot in the kitchen, because I do not use it every day, or even weekly at this point. (I'm hoping to get back to that point though.) I do not store big serving platters in my kitchen because I don't use them every day. I don't even store my cookbooks in my kitchen.

With storage, it's a good thing to think about an "as-needed" basis. You don't have to store everything in the kitchen just because it's used in the kitchen. My kitchen is primary storage, "A" storage. I try and store all my "A" kitchen items in there, as well as some "B" items. My "C" kitchen items are usually stored elsewhere.

If you're feeling some frustration in your kitchen, take some time and sort through it, one cupboard or drawer at a time. Ask yourself if you really need this item or that item. Are you using it? Will you use it? How many cookie sheets do you need? How many mixing bowls? Mixing cups? Do you really want to store the turkey roaster in the kitchen if you're only using it twice a year?

Classify your items as A, B, and C. "A" being the items that are used pretty much every single day, your dishes, coffeemaker, pots and pans, toaster, etc. "B" items could be items used weekly (maybe your crockpot, or breadmaker, etc.) and your "C" items might be used monthly, seasonally or once a year or so.

Storing your "C" items elsewhere (unless you have a huge kitchen, which I don't) can free space up in your kitchen and make it much easier to find something without being attacked by wayward silverware or serving bowls. When you need it you can go and get it. If you're not using it that often, the pleasure of an uncluttered kitchen may be worth the "trouble" to go get the item.

Another great idea is to have zones. The pots and pans would be stored near the stove, where they are used. The dishes would be stored near the dishwasher. The mixing bowls, etc. would be stored near the sink and near the area where you do your primary "mixing."

This same idea would be carried into your refrigerator. You could group "like" items together to make it easier to make a sandwich, for instance. No more hunting all over the fridge. You could also have a leftovers shelf where you store all the leftovers, etc.

This works for me anyway! To hear more of what other's are saying on "Works-For-Me Wednesday" please go here!

WHY I HAVE UGLY NAILS

This is so ridiculous that I have to tell you what I attempted a couple of days ago. I meant well. I'll explain.


I have ugly nails. They are thin and they break, and I have no idea how to file or shape them. I set out to try to shape them and pretty soon I have the strangest looking nail you've ever seen. I accidentally file the sides too sharply and then it's one big pointy nail. Then I end up cutting it so what was the point? Hahaha. Get it, "the point?" Get it? Hehehe. Never mind.

O.k., so I know my limitations. But I decided I wanted to have pretty nails. However, I am to cheap to go to the nail shop and pay to get them done every few weeks. I did consider asking several people to sponsor me, but thought that might be a bit much. Even for me.


So one day I was at the store and bought some press-on nails. Yes I did. Stop laughing. I really did. I just was in the mood to try it. After all, how hard could it be? Glue and press. Glue and press. A child could do it. So could I.


I didn't try them then but just set them aside. Then last Sunday, before church, I suddenly had an overwhelming urge to put on the fake nails. So I sanded my nails a bit and glued those suckers on my right hand. After I did that I discovered that I hated them. All five of them. There was no way I was gluing the rest of them on the other hand.


They looked like long red claws. Or talons. Not only that, I couldn't do a thing with them! They didn't look that long when I was applying them though. I think they grew while on my fingers. So I walked around with them, trying to "live" with them, and decided I couldn't stand them and they needed to come off. The only thing was I had no idea how to do it, and I was starting to panic because I had to leave for church soon.

I googled it (have you ever tried to type with nails that feel like they are five feet long?) and wound up taking cotton balls dipped in acetone (thankfully I had some), stuck one on each nail, and then wrapped aluminum foil around each finger and let it soak. It looked ridiculous! However, my t.v. reception improved immensely.

To top it off, I suddenly remembered I hadn't eaten yet. I managed to fix myself some food and eat it, all with one hand. I didn't want to use the other hand as I didn't want acetone dripping in my food.

Finally, it was getting down to when I had to leave. My family had all left before I glued the nails on and had no idea of my dilemma. That's good because their laughter wouldn't have helped anyway.

I still hadn't changed my clothes or fixed my hair yet, the nails wouldn't come off, and I strongly felt that people might notice my aluminum foiled fingers. I stood there wondering what to do, madly thinking and praying with each breath.

I took a minute or two, asking myself what possessed me to glue claws on my hand right before I had to leave for church. At this point, I was considering my options. At first I figured I would just go to church with my bright red claw hand, and one normal hand and hoped noone would notice. Yeah, right.


However, I do not have the personality to do that. I found it hysterically funny (though frustrating) and I knew that I would have to point out my faux paux to practically everyone and show them my claw hand and normal hand. Then everyone would know because I couldn't help telling them. I'm wierd that way.

Then I thought maybe I could cut the claw hand down, so they wouldn't quite look like talons. Then, I would just have one fake hand with bright red polish and one normal hand with no polish. I could set a new trend! I had one desperate thought of wearing my gloves for the entire service, or at least one glove (channeling early-Michael Jackson). I even thought of wrapping bandaids around each finger.

Finally I grabbed a nail file, removed the cotton and aluminum foil and tried to pry them off....saying/praying under my breath "Please God let them come off. What was I thinking? Please let them come off. I must have been out of my mind. Please let them come off. What was I thinking?"

You'll be happy to know that with a little poking, prodding, praying and a little pain they came off. I stand before you with ugly nails. One hand looks normal ugly, and one hand looks strange-ugly. Oh well. What else is new?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

MAKING YOUR HOME SING MONDAY: MANAGING OUR HOMES




Welcome to the "Making Your Home Sing Monday" meme!

I remember working at my job before I had my children. For the most part I was pretty productive and got lots done. I kept my mind and my thoughts focused on my job. I was there to do my job and I did it. I didn't begin working at my job and then get distracted for hours (or even half hours) by reading a book, surfing the net, watching t.v., chatting on the phone, or seeing what was in the fridge.

If somebody came up and asked a question, I didn't frown or raise my voice at them. I didn't sigh. I didn't burst into tears of frustration, sobbing "Why me? Why me?" I didn't say "Why are you interupting me? Can't you see I'm busy?" I didn't say "What? Again? How many times do I have to tell you the answer? I can't believe you're asking me again!"

This is not to say I was the perfect employee. I'm human and not perfect. I did not, however, take everything personally. If somebody didn't get something, it did not lead me to tears of frustration or anger. I just looked upon it as part of my job to train them. Again and again if necessary. (Although there was this one guy.....never mind.)

I did not drag myself to work looking as if I just got out of bed, unwashed and uncombed. I did not wear pajamas, slippers or a bathrobe all day. I dressed nicely out of respect for my company and out of respect for myself. I dressed for the job.

I washed and combed my hair and took care of myself. I had yet to have the "mom" hair that I posted about on Saturday.

If someone wasn't around to watch me, that did not mean I slacked off on the job. Integrity is what you do when noone's around. And you do your job because you're paid to do it, regardless of who is watching. Right?

I did not show up late for work. Well, not very often and I usually had a good excuse each time, hehehe! I had a starting time and an ending time, and I stuck with it.

We are managers of our homes. How are we managing? Are we showing up late for work every day? Do our families have no idea what to expect of us? Are we dressing for the job of being a homemaker, or are we dressing for the job of going back to bed?

Are we taking care of ourselves and dressing and grooming out of respect for ourselves and those that have to look at us? Or are we dressing and grooming ourselves as if we just don't care? If someone looked at us, would they think we care about our appearance (ouch!)?

Are we managing to take care of our responsibilities and getting things done or is housework taking all day? Is it taking all day because we have to much to do or because we aren't managing our time well? Do we have an ending time, when we can just relax and say "enough" and enjoy our families?

Do we see every interuption as an opportunity to minister and serve our children/families or as an interuption of our fun? Are we sobbing tears of frustration and anger because we keep having to repeat ourselves if they're just not "getting" it?

Are you a professional homemaker or are you just a temporary one? Are you invested in the job because you see long-term benefits or do you act as if you just "filling in" for someone?

I know that so often, it is easy for me to get distracted by the fun and not get my work done. After all, there is noone here to watch me and keep track of what I'm doing. Sometimes it is easy for me to get discouraged or frustrated by someone not "getting" it and having to repeat myself.

Today I want to remember that I am a "professional." I want to apply the same diligence to my job at home as I did when I was working away from home. I want to remember that when I serve my family, I am serving the Lord. I want to serve with joy!


What are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing? Please go here for instructions and/or ideas and come back here to link up to join us today! As always, please don't forget to leave me a comment!





Saturday, March 28, 2009

SEVEN THINGS YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ME

Deb has give me this sweet Lemonade award. Isn't it cute? Deb's blog is a wonderful blog and I really love her heart. She posts about her family, the things God is teaching her, and she gives lots of ideas and encouragement in a weekly post called "Try It Tuesday," posted on Tuesdays of course. Please hop over and be encouraged by her!

This award is given to a blog that shows attitude or gratitude. You are supposed to pick ten bloggers that show attitude or grattitude and link to them on your post. Then you contact them and let them know you've linked to them.

Terri gave me the Sweet Friend Award. She created this award herself as a way to thank her commenters and other bloggers for their friendship. Isn't it pretty? I am honored to be the first receipient of this award! Terri is a mom of two and I love her blog because there is a little bit of everything in it, including a fun picture of her ironing pile (a woman after my own heart, lol!). Please pop over and meet this lovely lady.







Dani Joy and Carrie have tagged me. I am to tell seven things about myself, and to tag seven others who might do the same.I have just recently met Dani and Carrie but they are fast becoming great bloggy friends!



Dani is a missionary mom to three boys who is currently serving in Spain. Her blog has all sorts of things from family life to recipes to spiritual encouragement and many others. I love visiting her blog!



Carrie is a mom with two young children who blogs about her children (with pictures) and the happenings of her home and her daily life. I love reading her blog and catching up with her busy life!




I hope you'll stop by and visit both of these lovely women and tell them "hi!"




There are some rules with this tag: You need to link to the person that tagged you and share seven things people may not know about you. You need to tag seven people to share seven things and link to them. Then you need to let them know they've been tagged.




Seven things about me that you probably don't want to know:






  1. I love my Lord and Savior and I love my family to pieces! O.k., well not to pieces because then there'd be nothing left. But I really do love them.


  2. I get airsick when I fly and have been known to lose my lunch from time to time.


  3. My favorite m&m color is red. Don't ask me why. They all taste the same. But for some reason I like the red ones.


  4. Red is my favorite color. Well, red and blue. O.k., maybe blue.....


  5. Sometimes I have trouble making up my mind.


  6. I love to read. I always have. Not only that but sometimes I read while I'm watching t.v. My husband still can't understand how or why I do that. Me neither.


  7. I love to organize things. It is fun to me. Unfortunately I can obsess about organizing the little things and ignore the big things. So when people are coming over and if the house is a mess you will find me in the bathroom cleaning out a drawer that noone will ever see. I have to be careful of this.

I am not going to tag anybody because I don't know who likes to do these things and who doesn't. So feel free to grab the tag and post to your own blog your seven things or post here if you don't have one. Tag you're it!


"MOM" HAIR

Recently I happily shared with you about my "Mom" feet. Weren't you thrilled? Now it's time to talk about "mom" hair. Do you have "mom" hair? Do you even know what "mom" hair is?

"Mom" hair looks different on everyone. My "mom" hair started right as I was in labor with my firstborn. I put it up in a ponytail and it stayed there for years. And years. And years.

You all know that I had always wanted long hair, from the time I was a little girl. I confessed that to you on my blog one day. So you know I wasn't going to cut my hair just to make life more simple. I just stuck it in a ponytail and watched it grow and grow until I could sit on it. Hey, it gave me something to do!

But it's hard to be a mom with long hair worn loose and free. I didn't have to have spit-up in my hair for very long before I figured that one out. You can always change your shirt but spit-up in the hair is not as easy, unless you want to stop and wash your hair and who has time for that?

If you're a mom of a child still living at home you haven't showered in years. Admit it. It starts with babyhood and you just go on from there. Just stock up on deodorant and call it good. Also, don't get to close to anyone. They'll never know. Trust me.

What mom hasn't had her baby pull her hair with dimpled little baby fingers? What mom doesn't have a serious debate about whether or not to put her hair in a ponytail, a bun, or just hack the whole thing off with a knife while she's chopping vegetables for dinner?

What mom doesn't live in fear of running into her hair stylist on a desperate run to the store, when her greasy hair (and spit stained clothes) have seen better days?

What mom doesn't look into the mirror and ask how come she only gets one good hair day a year....and realizes today is not her day? Tomorrow isn't looking good either.

"Mom" hair is the easy style of momhood. The lazy, simple hairdo that we acquire in order to spend more time doing something else. After my first son was born, my friend's husband asked me if I was going to cut my hair. He said that he had observed that whenever a woman had a baby, she seemed to cut her hair shortly afterwards.

I did not cut my hair after my first child. I waited until my second one was born. I always was a rebel.

Friday, March 27, 2009

MAKING IT FROM SCRATCH OR BUYING IT?



Phoebe from Cents To Get Debt Free is hosting another Finding Freedom Friday. She asks the question "What is your take on making from scratch versus buying store bought?"

I think making things from scratch is an excellent way to save money. I do make several things from scratch. But here's the thing, sometimes I will just spend the money in order to save myself the time. I guess that's why they call it "convenience" food.

Tonight I came home after being gone for several hours, and I realized that my left-overs weren't left over enough. They weren't going to cover everybody. Especially three growing boys (one son had a friend over).

So, did I whip up a homemade pizza? No, even though it would have been quick and easy. Did I take a casserole out of the freezer? Again, no, because I didn't have any left in there for such a time as this. Did I at least make homemade pancakes, waffles, or quickly make grilled cheese soup and tomato sandwiches (oops, typo, I mean grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.....did anybody even notice my mistake, lol!?). Did I even sit down and at least make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? (Seriously, do you even have to ask at this point?) No.

I calmly walked over to the phone, called my hubby at work and asked him to please pick up a pizza on his way home. We haven't done that in ages and honestly, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Somewhere, someone out there in internet-land is turning in their grave. Well, at least spinning around in their computer chair.

See, while I know that making things from scratch makes more sense and saves money, I falter when I fail to plan. I falter when I am tired. And I falter when I am cranky, hot, cold, happy, sad, mad....you get the picture.

Like I said, I do have several things that I make from scratch, and yes, they are saving me money. I don't buy near as much convenience foods as I used to, but I am still buying some. My bad!
I have a recipe to make Rice-a-roni from scratch. I have recipes for salad dressings, mixes, sauces, and all sorts of stuff. I have recipes to make my own cleaning products. I even have a bread maker for goodness sake. A bread maker! Am I making bread with it????? No. (Blush)

What I am lacking right now is will power. Will power and time. I have so many things that I want to do and things that I want to try, and I'm not doing or trying any of them lately.

So I guess the thing to do is to decide to try one thing. Just select one thing to try and try it. Then try another. Then another.

When we start trying to save money we will often do all the "big" changes first. Big changes are big and exciting and we can see a drastic difference in our finances immediately.

Little changes take work too. Little changes like using cloth napkins instead of paper ones. Using rags instead of paper towels. Washing out and reusing freezer bags. Cooking things from scratch. And there are choices to be made in what little changes you want to make.

It's the old saving time versus saving money argument. On some days money wins, but on some days, like today, time wins. They say you have to continually remind yourself of your financial goals. You have to continually examine how you're spending your money. You need to stay focused if you want to save money.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try not to, you just fall off the wagon and buy pizza. You just want to remember to get back on it again. To see what everyone else had to say on this topic please go here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

THE ROAD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

Just in case you've ever wondered, I don't have a Christian bumper sticker on my car. There's a good reason for that. And not just because they're hard to get off.

Let's just say that I am concerned about my Christian witness when I am driving my car. Oh I won't honk at you (well, not without a lot of thought anyway, and even then probably not because it's not necessarily safe nowadays), and I won't do rude or mean things, and I won't roll down my window and yell at you.

However, if you do something bad enough I will probably frown at you and may even call you a jerk under my breath, or if I'm upset enough, I might say it outloud. If you look in your rear view mirror I may even be frowning at you....big time. You may also see me calling you a jerk. And you probably will see me glaring at you.

Oh, but I wouldn't do it if I knew it was you....you know. Only if I don't know you. Or think I don't know you.

For some reason, when I get in my car, I really do think that I own the road. If somebody cuts me off it scares me and doesn't make me very happy. If I'm late and somebody is going waaaay under the speed limit and I can't pass them, it annoys me. Then I have to pray and try and remember that maybe it's an older person driving. Or a teenager just learning to drive and being careful. I have to pray alot when I'm driving.

I remember driving one time long ago, and somebody cut me off and I said something like "stupid jerk." From the backseat I heard a precious little voice say "toopid joik" and I thought, "Oh dear...." All of a sudden my words were thrown back in my face and I realized I wasn't setting a very good example for my child.

I still don't set a very good example all of the time. Oh I try. But sometimes when I'm driving I still call people "stupid" or "jerks." Not as much anymore. But sometimes. I'm sorry about it too. I know it's not right, and I feel bad about it, but for some reason when I get in the car every rational thought and every patient word goes right out the window. So does my Christian witness.

Funny thing is I don't use words like that anywhere else but in the car. Know what I mean? So now you know that sometimes I'm not very nice. Well, when I'm in my car, anyway.

Clearly, the Lord is still working in this area of my life. I have had some moments of victory, alot of them, but I've also had moments where you can see whose grace and patience I am living out of that day, and it's not the Lord's. It's me, all my rude and selfish glory hanging out for all to see.
Still, God is faithful. The more I let Him in, the less room there is for me. And that works just fine.

I live in fear of giving someone a mean glare or frown and then pulling into church behind them. Don't laugh. It could happen.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

PRAYERS FOR STELLAN

Prayers for Stellan



Just wanted to remind those of you who don't know, that baby Stellan still needs our prayers. Just a little while ago his heart rate went into the deadly V-Tach rhythm. Due to some medicine it slipped back down, but then in the blink of an eye went back into the SVT again. SVT is Supra Ventricular Tachycardia which means he is having a very high heart rate).
His mommy is Mckmama who hosts "Not Me" Monday every week. They are on a roller coaster here, and need our prayers as well. You can click on this button to get updates on Stellan's condition and to read his story and I hope you'll join me and many others in praying for him. There are lots of children and people out there in need of prayer that we never hear about. But here is one that we know of. I know they'd appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

QUICK AND EASY COFFEE CAKE RECIPE


"We Are That Family" is hosting Works-For-Me-Wednesday again!

I suppose this is a rather lame post, but honestly, it's a simple, yummy recipe (if you like coffee cake). When I was a child my mom used to make coffee cake and she used to ask me if I wanted some. I always said "No!" with a grimace on my face. As I got older my mom still continued to make coffee cake and offer me some. I still continued to say "No!" with every fiber of my being.

One day my mom commented "I just don't understand why you won't eat coffee cake. It's so good!" and I replied "Mom, you know I don't like coffee so why would I a cake made out of it?"
After she finished laughing my mom explained to me that the coffee cake did not have any coffee in it. It was just called that because it was a snack-like cake that some people liked to serve with coffee. Seriously, who knew?
Well, after that I tried it and I loved it. Still do in fact. So here's a recipe for coffee cake that is quick and easy and yummy (well, I like it anyway). For those of you who, like me, don't like the taste of coffee you'll be happy to know that there is no coffee in it!
Mix together in a bowl:
  • Two eggs

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of milk

  • 3 cups of flour

  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder

  • A "pinch" of salt
After you've mixed it all together beat in 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Pour it into a 9x13 baking pan. Then sprinkle generously with brown sugar, cinnamon and bits of butter. Bake at 350 for twenty minutes and enjoy!

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Be sure and come back Monday and link up to the Making Your Home Sing Monday meme!

This recipe is so easy to make that it works for me! Please go here to check out more Works-For-Me-Wednesday tips and ideas!

MY SON'S WISDOM: TALES FROM CHILDHOOD

My 20 year old son is my guest host today. I decided it might be fun to ask him to give some "parenting" tips! No, he doesn't have any children, but he's alot closer to his childhood than I am to mine! So I asked him to think back over his childhood and see if he could come up with any ideas or suggestions from his perspective. He's still close enough to being a kid, but old enough to have learned something from it all.

It is a long post, so I just want you to know that. But I think it's worth the read. I didn't want to cut it down. Let me say that when he talks about "draining my grandpa's wallet" he means that his grandpa gave him the money, he didn't steal it.

Also, the homeschoolers comment isn't to offend (clearly, since we homeschool). It's just that occassionally kids from public school may have negative ideas of how a homeschooler should act, look, etc., and I think my son is just saying that to the public school kids he just seemed like a "normal" kid, which indeed homeschooled kids are. Sometimes people expect them to act wierd or unsocialized or something.

I find it interesting that he said we set boundaries and weren't horribly strict, when in reality we were somewhat strict. I guess it just shows that the boundaries either made sense to him or that he didn't feel restricted or just didn't want to say it, lol!). There was much that he could do, to make up for the things that he wasn't allowed to do.

Lastly, we did restrict their t.v. watching to certain shows and there was always a filter on the computer to protect them (there still is). Just wanted to clarify those few points. Clearly, you can see his sense of humor coming through (he has my warped sense of humor, poor kid).


Please understand that I asked him to post about what worked from his perspective. He is not trying to brag about how wonderful he is (although he is, both my boys are, but I'm not biased or anything, lol!). Please also understand that my husband and I are not perfect. We've made many mistakes over the years, and will continue to do so, I am sure...sigh. By God's grace our son seems to have forgotten many of them so he didn't mention them (or he's just being nice, lol!)!

I feel a little concerned posting this because I don't want you to get the wrong impression that I think we did things perfectly in raising our children. We didn't. We just love them and are doing the best we can with alot of prayer. That's all we can do. So please don't see this as a pat on our backs just because our son says some nice things. Any praise or honor goes to the Lord. Not us.

I just thought you might like a different "parenting" perspective from someone barely out of the trenches of childhood. The purpose here is just to encourage you to keep on loving and parenting those kids of yours, and remember that they aren't going to remember every single time you feel like you've messed up.

So, here's my precious son's post:

So here I sit, pondering a topic my mom asked her 20-yr-old boy (man, as my grandma politely corrected her) to write about. What was it that my parents did -right- in raising me? Obviously it's a no-brainer, and I have a list right here:

  1. They got me hooked on Dr. Pepper at age five

  2. They took my brother and I to Disneyworld three times

  3. Allowed me to take over the computer for most of our one-computer, no wi-fi life

  4. Let me highlight my hair the most hideous shade of blonde.

..ohhhh those aren't the types of ways you guys were looking for? Dang it. Haha but no seriously, I don't know how many things I could actually sit here and come up with, whether these are traits that I picked up from watching them, or specific events that ingrained themselves into myself. Nonetheless, here's a start.

I appreciate the homeschooling that they did, and now appreciate just how much work it took for my mom to do that for us, and for my dad to be there for her and pay for all of the curriculum as well. They taught me that there wasn't anything to be embarassed about with being homeschooled; in fact, a lot of my friends were jealous of that. I'm so thankful to not be one of those kids where people take one look at 'em and go "yup, a homeschooler." You know what I'm talking about. There isn't anything wrong with that, but...it does set kind of a hard first impression to overcome.

You see, my parents put me into sports through the local school district (come to find out that was mostly because the doctor said I needed to run or I'd walk like a duck the rest of my life, but you know), they took my brother and I to a homeschool co-op once a week, they allowed me to get involved in theatre through church and a local theatre company; they let me live and have fun.

The sports team taught me how to be okay with a loss; I certainly wasn't the best person on the soccer team, once having this awesome drive down the field which my teammate stole from me and didn't even make the shot. But you know what? Even though my parents were a little upset that I didn't get the chance to make the shot, I was pretty okay with it. At least I am now.

I learned at that age (about 7) that some kids may just be jerks, but there's no point in getting mad and holding a grudge. I remember being on a team with my best friend, and we would talk about all the kids we thought were kind of mean, but in turn we would be nice back.

My parents homeschooled me because they wanted to give me a firm Christian education, and to some extent to shelter me from the bad of the world. The difference was, they weren't afraid to let me be -in- the world. I'm so grateful for the protection and guarding they gave me, while not being so strict that I wasn't able to live life.

Sure, I've made some bad choices. Like that Pokemon EZboard I had which I spent hours and hours on into the early morning. Too bad my dad caught me on it at 5am that one day, and subsequently I received a 6-month ban on the internet. And..yeah, ok, maybe I snuck on occasionally during that time too. But I learned my lesson. I eventually got over it.

And yes, I was really mad when they were upset for some reason that I pierced my own ear without asking. I mean all 15-yr-olds do that, right? ...ok...well maybe not. But I know it took them by surprise, and they told me if I wanted to do it when I turned 18 I could. Well, I didn't. They were right.

And what about that one time I spent all of my hard-earned money (all $33 of it) on Pokemon booster packs? And how I drained my grandpa's wallet with some as well? Oh mom and dad, there's no WAY I'll ever regret spending so much money on Pokemon cards! ...wrong, once again. Looking back I realize it was a dumb thing to do. But my parents let me realize that on my own.

I still remember them saying that someday I'd agree with them, and I still remember saying no way. But they didn't push, and I remembered what they said. They allowed me to try on my own, without forcing themselves on me. Now granted these aren't -really- stupid things I was doing, of course there -are- times for a strict response.

When I was growing up, we weren't allowed to watch shows like The Simpsons, South Park, or any other potentially crude television show. Because we had those rules in place, I didn't have any need to question them, and I lived without some of that subject matter or jokes in my head. They were right in limiting the type of shows we watched growing up, and because of that I'd say I'm a pretty well-mannered kid. I say my please and thank you's, and learned at a young age.

Oh, the piano. I didn't want to play it. Not at all. But my parents made me practice and told me that I was great. They started me young, at 7, so I had already played for a few years before any kind of teenaged rebellion could set in. I'm so thankful that they started me then, because who knows, maybe I wouldn't have continued it or even played. I play on the worship team at church and...yeah I love it.

That makes me think of Awana. Perhaps the most important thing was being put into that program at 3 yrs old. Growing up in the church obviously has a huge affect on one's life and who they turn out to be. Yeah, I started the program out just wanting a lot of medals and such, but the verses stuck, and the ideals stuck, and because of that, I'd say I'm a pretty likeable guy (man I'm sounding rather arrogant, huh). It helps that my parents modeled their lives after Christ and set a great example for my brother and I.

I don't know where I learned it, but as a teenager I knew that rushing into a relationship is just about the dumbest thing one could ever do. My mom always told me that dating is preparation for marriage, and why rush out and get into a relationship with someone you don't even see yourself with? I still have never dated. But I'm okay with that. I feel like by waiting and being smarter about it, it'll pay off in the end. Plus people respect that, at least the kids my age.

Nowadays I'm obviously older and in college, but I'm so thankful for the relationship I have with them. I can come home and tell them about my day, I can tell everyone that I truly love them and love spending time with them. I know maybe it doesn't seem like it cuz I'm gone all the time, but that's another way they've shown trust in me. I tell them where I'm at, and they aren't pushy about it.

So I don't know if I can put this all in a nutshell, but I'll try. The things my parents did right:

  1. Grounded me in the Word and modeled a loving family; evening prayer, devotional, etc when we were growing up

  2. Loved each other and spoke kind to each other in front of us. If they ever got into a big argument, we never saw it

  3. Gave us advice but didn't push it on us; they let us discover them by ourselves

  4. Showed trust by letting us do things if we followed some rules (back by a certain time, called them, etc. this all started at a young age)

  5. Let us have a social life outside of homeschooling via theatre, sports, church, etc.

  6. Let us use the tv and computer

  7. Set boundaries, but weren't horribly strict. Yeah, at some point along the way we got exposed to the world, but at least we have a realistic viewpoint and are able to share our faith with others and not come across as social inept people (haha sorry but..just sayin ;) ) (btw none of this is aimed at anyone. lol so if I'm talking to you..I'm not. :D)

Perhaps the biggest thing I left out is the encouragement. They've always encouraged us, no matter what we did. And they were also truthful, but not in a hurting way. They'd say "you did awesome, and I know you'll do better if you work on it more." The biggest danger here is being overly encouraging and turning the kid into a little diva. Haha seriously, it won't do the kid any good if you're totally fake about it, but obviously it's important to encourage the kid to keep trying and try harder if something isn't absolutely fantastic.

I don't know if this helped anybody out there, we all know my parents' egos are about four times as large (just kidding guys. haha). But seriously, again, I don't know what exact things they did. But I know the punishments were just, and if they hadn't punished us (timeouts, grounding, etc), we certainly wouldn't have turned out any good.

Sure, I've made mistakes and I continue to do so. But I never had to fear for my life in telling my parents, or feel like they were so disappointed with me that they'd never be able to forgive me. I can't think of anything they did -wrong-. Sure there are things that I still wish I could have done, approaches that maybe I didn't like, but I'm who I am today and totally fine with it.

So this turned out monstrous, and I probably didn't even say anything that pertained to anything at all. Haha. I don't have time to go back and re-read it right now, I have a calculus and econ final to get studying for and need to leave soon for rehearsal! Thanks for your time, and maybe I'll talk to ya'll later! -

The Oldest

Monday, March 23, 2009

PLEASE PRAY FOR STELLAN

Many of you know that precious Stellan is in need of your prayers right now. He is in NICU with some very serious things happening with his precious little heart. He needs prayer to get his heart out of SVT (Supra Ventricular Tachycardia) which means he is having a very high heart rate).
You can read about it here on MckMama's blog. She has been updating us all on his condition. He needs prayer that his little heart will return to a normal beat and that they will be able to stabilize him. Please read her blog for further information.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

MAKING YOUR HOME SING: DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT




Welcome to the "Making Your Home Sing Monday" meme!

I have blogged in the past about how I struggled with guilt when the kids were little. Guilt over not being the "picture perfect" mom that I so wanted to be. Guilt over losing my patience, getting annoyed, raising my voice, having the "mad mom" face, wanting some time away from my kids, wishing that they'd go to sleep without getting up four thousand times, and a ton of other things.

Another thing I struggled with was discouragement. Discouragement because I keep having to remind my kids about the same things over and over, discouragement because I kept having to clean the same things over and over, discouragement because I kept struggling and failing in the same areas over and over.

I think guilt and discouragement is something that we all face. We love our families so much, and we desire to make a home for them so much, and when we don't measure up to our own expectations, we get discouraged. We get frustated and then often we can feel like failures.

We also can get discouraged when it seems like the teachings and things we are trying to instill in our children are not being learned. Having to tell a child over and over again not to slam the door (or you fill in the blank _______) can get discouraging.

We just have to remember that parenting is a process. You don't just parent once and the child gets it. You parent over and over and over. Just like our parents did with us. Just like our Lord does with us. I would love to say that I have "arrived. " But I haven't. God is still working in me (Phil. 1:6) and He still has lots of work to do.

But when I get discouraged at my failings, I try to remember to take it to the Lord in prayer, just like the old song says. I try to remind myself that tomorrow is another day, that there is still time for me to grow in grace. That God is sufficient for me and I need to trust that He is working to make me more like Him.

I remind myself that I love my family, and my home, and that everything I do to that end is a blessing. Even if it's not perfect. Even if I'm not perfect. Although I still have weak areas in which I still struggle, I can also see God's faithfulness and many areas that He has strengthened me in.

When I lose my temper, my patience, or my face or tone of voice is less than pleasant, I ask for forgiveness (from God and my family) and then I have to forgive myself and move on. We don't ever want to give up. We don't ever want to live in our failings. We keep moving forward in the Lord's strength. We keep pressing on.

I desire to love and bless my family and be the best wife and mom that God has for me to be. I already know that I don't measure up. Fortunately, His measuring stick has more grace than mine does, and I know that He loves me, and continues to work in my life daily, smoothing out the rough spots.


We can't make our homes sing if we are holding on to past mistakes. We can't make our homes sing if we keep trying to be somebody else. This week I will remember God's faithfulness to me, and keep seeking to love and bless my family. Instead of trying to make a perfect home (and failing), I will seek to make it a home where love, not perfection, can be found.


What are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing? Please go here for instructions and/or ideas and come back here to link up to join us today. As always, please don't forget to leave me a comment!




Saturday, March 21, 2009

IS CLUTTER COSTING YOU? (PART TWO)

Welcome back to part two of "Is Clutter Costing You?" If you missed part one you can find it here. In part one we talked about the emotional cost of clutter.


Clutter causes stress. It can make you feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with it. You can be embarrassed when company drops in (I know I used to be and still live in fear sometimes of someone dropping by if things are messy!), and it can cause conflict in the home.

Imagine how frustrating it is to be on your way out the door and you're late because you can't find your keys, the right clothes or shoes to wear, the right accessories to match your outfit, or your purse, etc.

Getting up, dressed and out the door becomes an Olympic event, not to mention hazardous. Do you know that in my messier days I tripped over a pile of stuff and injured my wrist? Sad to say I was carrying my baby at the time and sacrificed myself to make sure he was o.k. (and he was, thank the Lord!). Still, it wouldn't have happened if my clutter had been under control. The scary thing is my baby could have been hurt.


I still struggle with clutter on some days. I have days where I feel like I have everything under control and things are neat and days where I wonder how on earth a tornado managed to sweep through my home without me being aware of it. After all, having a place for clutter is awesome and all, but it won't work if you don't put the stuff away......sigh!

Now let's talk about the financial cost of clutter. Having clutter can cost you money if:

  • You can't find something and have to buy a new one.

  • You can't find all the parts to something you own and have to buy a new one.

  • Something gets ruined because it wasn't stored properly and you have to buy a new one.

  • You can't store your car in the garage because there's no room and being outside in the elements ruins the paint job.
  • You misplace a library book and have to pay a fine.

  • You lose a library book and have to replace it.

  • You trip over something and hurt yourself and have to get an x-ray and a cast or a brace.

  • The chaos is stressing you out, depressing you, frustrating you and making you feel overwhelmed. You can feel your blood pressure rising and your patience level dropping and are at the point where you may desire medical intervention.

  • Let's say that you live in your house but you aren't using some of the rooms as they are filled with clutter. You can't use one of the bedrooms at all as it's packed with clutter. You are paying for a three bedroom house but are only using two of the bedrooms so clutter is costing you money, per square foot. You are also paying for heat and electricity for that room of clutter. If the clutter was gone you could scale down to a two bedroom house and save money. At the very least, you could remain in your home and at least use the third bedroom for people, not storage.

  • If you are paying to store your things in a storage unit, clutter is costing you money. Is the value of the things you're storing worth the money you're paying to store it? You could be paying $100 a month to store things that might only earn you a small amount of money at a yard sale....that's $1200 a year you'd save if you rid yourself of the clutter.

Years ago we rented a storage unit to store things in while our home was on the market. We did that so that our house looked less cluttered. I learned to like it that way! After we moved into our new home we took the boxes out of storage and stored them in the spare bedroom so we could go through them. Think of all the money we would have saved if we hadn't had so much stuff to store in the first place!

I think the first step in getting clutter under control is wanting to and believing that you can. It's knowing that you're going to stop making excuses for your clutter.

It's believing that you deserve to have a nice, orderly home. It's letting go of the guilt as you let go of the stuff.

Friday, March 20, 2009

ULTIMATE BLOG PARTY - WOOOHOOO!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

5 Minutes for Mom is having their Ultimate Blog Party and I am joining in. This party is awesome and there are prizes and hundreds of blogs that are opening up their blog homes and introducing themselves. So come along and join the party and make some new bloggy friends!

If you are visiting here for the first time, Welcome! Let me introduce myself. I am Momstheword. I am a Christian, happily married to my wonderful husband and a stay at home mom to two awesome kids (15 and 20).

I love to blog about all sorts of things, such as the awesome grace of God, marriage, parenting, children, frugality, homemaking, organization and clutter, cleaning, etc. I love to laugh so I will occasionally do a humorous post as well.

I also host a weekly meme on Monday called "Making Your Home Sing!" in which we post the things we are doing or going to do that day to make our home's sing. I hope you will come back and join us. You will even find the occasional recipe thrown in now and then.

Now for the things you won't find on this list, well you might if you look hard enough.....I like a neat, orderly home but I have trouble keeping it that way. I have great ideas about how I want to save money but have yet to implement some of them (like making my own bread or making my own laundry soap).

My dog still isn't potty trained, my legs are still hairy (sorry, I suppose you really didn't need to know that but cheer up, spring is coming), my countertops are a mess at this moment, and my toilet needs cleaning. I am not perfect and I don't have it altogether. If I did, I'd forget where I put it. Sad, but true.

On the other hand, I love my Lord and my family, and am excited about this job called wife and mother that He has blessed me with. I am continually seeking to please the Lord and my family by doing what I can to make my home sing. I am not perfect, but that's o.k., because my Lord is. I have all the strength, love and help I need in Him!

For the drawing: I would be happy with gift #58 or #19, #21, #26 or #68.

If you like what you see and want to subscribe in a feed reader it's on the right sidebar and if you wish to follow it's on the left sidebar. I would love to have you! To visit the blog party please go here!

FINDING FREEDOM FRIDAY: FRUGAL FAMILY FUN




Phoebe from "Cents To Get Debt Free" is hosting Finding Freedom Friday again and the topic is frugal family fun!

It is amazing how much fun a family can have and spend little or no money. There are free concerts in the park, free plays, the library has all sorts of free events that we used to take our children to (puppet shows, magic acts, fun science experiments, storybook readings, etc.).

Sometimes you can find certain museums and other special places that are free once a month. Other places have certain days where they are heavily discounted. All you need to do is do a little research or ask around.

Making crafts can be a great source of family fun and the library is full of books that you can borrow for free. Or you can find a mini play for you and your family to do for friends, neighbors or other family members. Sometimes a local church or theater will have a family-friendly production in which familes are urged to try out for a part and participate together.

The newspaper is often a wonderful source of information about all the free or nearly free entertainment that is happening that weekend.

Another weekend favorite, when the kids were little, were yard sales. I would give them some money and would take them with me when I went. They enjoyed shopping around and being able to buy something and I enjoyed teaching them the art of being frugal! (Not to mention the great math lesson for them of counting out exact change when possible).

We also enjoyed several camping trips. We would camp with our families and siblings, or with our friends (sometimes both!). The kids loved the campfire and all the family or friends around.

Go down to the water (if you live near it) and take a walk along the beach. Or go to a local park and play. During the summer, especially, there are lots of people there.

Many times we would take a walk around our neighborhood (sometimes with other neighbors and their kids) and our children would ride their bikes. Sometimes we all would ride our bikes.
Sometimes we would go over to the local school and play basketball, baseball, or let the kids play on the toys. Sometimes we would pack up their bikes and go to a bike trail and let the kids ride while we walked (or rode).

You can save money at the movie theater by going to a matinee instead of an evening show. You can save more money by not going at all and waiting for it to come out on dvd or, better yet, wait for it to come out on t.v.


We also would borrow movies from the library (or from a friend), pop pocorn and have a movie night. We enjoyed having a game night too and managed to add all sorts of fun games to our collection. We still enjoy watching movies or playing games together.

Another thing we like to do to have fun together is to invite a family (or families) over. You can invite them over for hamburgers or just have a potluck meal where everyone brings something. For that matter, you can skip the meal and invite them over for dessert (or popcorn!).

I know the subject is family frugal fun, but you're not going to have any fun if you're not intentional. Years slip by, kids grow up, and before you know it they're off to college.
You can have all the wonderful ideas in the world but they don't mean a thing if you don't put them into action. So have some fun with your family this weekend! To see more posts on this topic please go here!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

IS CLUTTER COSTING YOU? (PART ONE)

This is a two parter on clutter. Today is part one so if you're reading this you haven't missed anything! In the past I've done some posts on how to deal with clutter and how to organize some things (you can find them on my sidebar). Organizing is great, but all it's really doing is slapping a bandaid on the problem of our clutter.

At some point, we need to stop and look at the stuff we're saving and the reasons we're saving it. There are lots of different reasons why people hold onto stuff that they aren't using or maybe even don't want:

  • Sentiment. Someone they love gave it to them and it is special to them for that very reason.

  • Obligation. Someone they love gave it to them and they're afraid that maybe the person's feelings will be hurt if they get rid of it.

  • Heritage. It belonged to a family member such as a parent or a grandparent and has now been designated as a "family heirloom" even if it's not an antique.

  • Frugality. They paid good money for it and to give it away would be like throwing money away.

  • Future need. Just because it's no longer their taste now doesn't mean that their taste might not change back someday.

  • Frugality. It's broken but they're sure that it can be fixed and be as good as new....except that they've never gone to all the trouble to fix/get it fixed.

  • Novelty. It's a "one-of-a-kind" item and therefore, a conversation piece and can't be replaced.

  • Future need. It may come back into style one day (if it's clothes).

  • Future need. They may be able to fit into it again someday (if it's clothes).

  • Comfort/frugality. It is comforting just to have it because you never know what the economy is going to do nowadays, and then you'd have to buy another one if you gave it away.

  • Future need. Wasting things is wrong, and you just might be able to find a use for it someday.

  • Future need. If one is good to have two is better, so why not keep one for a spare?

  • Self-esteem. The status you get from being the go-to person that has whatever someone needs or can get it for them.

  • Fear. Worried about not having it when/if you need it.

  • Pride. It is a symbol of something that you felt proud to be able to afford to buy (even if you bought it on credit).

  • Money. You're still paying it off on credit so why would you get rid of it when you haven't finished paying for it yet? Even if you no longer want it.

  • Guilt. It's still good. Doesn't matter if you want or use it. It's still good.

  • Guilt. The responsibility you feel for being "the" person in the family that keeps the family antiques and memories alive for everyone.

  • Sentiment. Just plain fact that you like these things, you are sentimental and like having all this stuff around.

There are probably lots of other reasons too. The problem with clutter is that it can cause chaos and stress in the home. Just looking at all that clutter can cause stress as there isn't any place for your eye (or your body) to rest and relax after a hectic day.

Clutter is costing you, and it can be physical, financial, emotional, or all of these things. You may not even know that clutter is at the root of it. You may be blaming it on something (or someone) else. But if you find yourself feeling stressed, unhappy, frustrated or overwhelmed, unable to unwind and relax, stop and look to see what is causing those feelings. Maybe it's not what you think it is at all. Maybe it's clutter.

Come back on Saturday for the second part of this. Well, come back Friday, too, because I'd love to see you again!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

WORKS FOR ME: LEARNING TO DECLUTTER




"We Are That Family" is hosting Works-For-Me Wednesday again.

I have noticed that people react to things in different ways. Some are savers, some are tossers and some are in-between. Some happily get rid of stuff, and some agonize.

I did not want my children to grow up without the ability to be able to declutter. It may sound silly, but to me that was an important lesson they needed to learn. Probably because I needed them to learn it!

I just really don't like a lot of clutter. I worked hard to dig my way out of my clutter mess (go here to see how) and did not want to revisit it! I wanted them to learn how to do it when it was needed.

When they were younger, I used birthdays and Christmas as a time to teach them the process of making decisions and letting go (spring cleaning, yard sales or donations are good times too). I could have done it for them, but then it wouldn't have involved them in the process, and they wouldn't have learned the lessons I wanted them to learn. Plus, I may have given away something they really loved and I didn't want to do that.

I would have four bags/boxes marked Keep, Give Away, Throw Away, and Undecided and have them sort into those categories. (Watch the Undecided box however, or everything will end up there. That's for when the choice is agonizing and is holding up the process).

Sometimes I might ask them to select a certain number of their favorite toys that they couldn't live without (say, ten). Then I'd have them select ten more. And then ten more. This helped them begin to see which ones they really loved, and to see what ones they didn't care about as much. It begins the process of learning to let go.

I would ask questions to encourage them to think, such as "When is the last time you played with this? Do you think you'll ever play with it again? Do you even like it anymore? Are you keeping it because you like it or you like the memory it brings? Could we take a picture of it and let the toy go? Would it be easier for you to let it go if we gave it to someone you'd know would appreciate it?"


The first few times you will probably want to be in there with them, encouraging them to let go of some things, for example "this is broken so let's throw it away." I always checked their bags before I threw or gave it away as sometimes the things they throw away may be something you want to keep as a momento (I kept "Barney" as I couldn't bear to throw him away. He practically lived with us for awhile).

I still ask myself much of the same questions for my things: "Are you ever going to wear/use this? Are you keeping it because you like it or because you feel like you should keep it? What's the worse thing that would happen if you get rid of it? Will you ever repair or fix this so you can use it? Could you get another one if you find you can't live without it? Would you be happier with the item or with the freedom of not owing it or storing it? Would someone else appreciate it more?"

Asking myself these questions helps put the item and my feelings about it into perspective. For more posts on Works-for-Me Wednesday please go here!

CHOCOLATE OR CUTE SHOES?

O.k. In my quest to bring you nothing but the best (and to have something to blog about) I have an earth-shattering question for you. Please be brutally honest in your answers. Also, please don't hate me for wasting your time with such a ridiculous post.

What can I say? I am tired and well....my mind is wandering and there's just no way that I can pull it together and come up with something good today. So this is what you get. My humble apologies and please come back tomorrow. Maybe it will be better.


So let's just say that you have to make a choice. You can either give up eating chocolate for the rest of your life, or you can give up wearing cute shoes. Which will you give up forever? Chocolate or cute shoes? Hmmmmm?


This doesn't mean you will be shoeless the rest of your life, or banned to only eating chocolate and nothing else. I'm just asking if you had to make a choice between chocolate and pretty shoes what would you choose? Feel free to explain your reasons behind your choice.

No cheating and pairing up and one of you buys the chocolate and the other buys the shoes. I am so onto you.

Nope. You have to choose. You can either wear cute shoes the rest of your life, but no more chocolate to eat. Or you can happily eat chocolate while wearing ugly shoes.

What will you choose? Chocolate or cute shoes? (By the way, in case you haven't noticed this has absolutely no nutritional or any other kind of value other than my wierd sense of humor and curiousity being appeased). And, if you really know me, you'll know that I will choose the chocolate.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

MAKING YOUR HOME SING MONDAY: LOVE IS...



Welcome to the "Making Your Home Sing Monday" meme!

I Corinthians 13 is such a beautiful chapter. No wonder they call it the "love" chapter. I am sure many of you are very familiar with this chapter. But have you ever read it and inserted your name in the place of the word "love."

For instance if your name is Sue, you would say "Sue is patient. Sue is kind. Sue does not envy. Sue does not boast. Sue is not proud. Sue is not rude. Sue is not self-seeking. Sue is not easily angered. Sue keeps no records of wrongs, " etc. Kind of gets you right there doesn't it?

Can you imagine what our lives, marriages and homes would look like if we lived out those truths in our words and actions (4-8)?

Love is patient. Am I patient with my family and friends? Do I have higher expectations of them than I do for myself? Patience is something we all want from other people but often have trouble offering it ourselves. Do I have a limit to the number of times I will show grace to you in a certain area? Do I have patience with some people but not with others?

Love is kind. Are my words and actions demonstrating kindness? Do I only respond with kindness if someone is treating me well enough to "deserve" it? It's easy to be kind when someone is treating you well, but it's difficult to show love when someone is treating you unfairly or unkindly.

It does not envy. Wow. That means that I can be happy for you even if it means you will get the one thing that I've always wanted. When God blesses you I can be happy for you without feeling sorry for me. I will not resent you for the things you have that I want. I will not resent how God is working in your life.

It does not boast. I don't need to sit here and tell you how wonderful I am, or how lucky you are to have me for a wife, mother or friend. I can be happy for you and your accomplishments and not feel in competition with you. I do not need to make myself feel better about myself by putting you down.

It is not proud. I can set aside my pride and say I'm sorry when I need to. I can set aside my pride and desire to control and give you my forgiveness when you have wronged me and say to you "I forgive you." I can lay aside my pride and serve another as God has asked me too.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. If I truly love you, then my desire is that you will be happy. That means that I am not sitting here thinking about me all the time. My "Me" filter is turned down low and I am thinking about what I can do for you, how I can bless you. I am not looking for what I can get from you. I am looking to serve you, and by serving you I am serving the Lord.

It keeps no record of wrongs. Hey, do you remember last week when you yelled at me? Sure you say you're sorry now, but you'll go ahead and do the same thing again. You always do. This is the same thing you did to me at last year's family reunion......and so on. Forgiving you means not throwing it in your face again.

Forgiveness means I give up my "right" to hold onto my hurt and anger. We're often reluctant to do that because it feels like we're giving someone else the "power" and the "control" over us by forgiving them. But refusing to forgive actually binds me to you, because I am unwilling to forgive and am enslaved by it. Forgiveness frees me.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. I will not enjoy telling others about your faults. I will not infer something into your words or actions that is not there or that you did not mean. I will listen to what you say and not try and wonder what it is you really meant. I will be honest with you in my words and my actions.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I will always seek to protect our relationship. I will show you my trust and let you know that your heart is safe with me. I will always hope and persevere in our relationship, and I will not give up.

Love never fails. Isn't is a blessing to know that God is the one who will enable us to love in our words and our actions? We don't have to rely on our own strength to do this. That is so good because if I did that, I would fall short every single time. When I let the Lord love others through me I am making my home sing! I am making my life sing!

What are you doing or going to do today to make your home sing? Please go here for instructions and/or ideas and come back here to link up to join us today! As always, please don't forget to leave me a comment!



BLOGGY AWARD



Darcy Lee of "In This Season" has given me this lovely Sisterhood award. This award is given to blogs that show great attitude and/or grattitude. First, I want to thank Darcy Lee and encourage you to pay her a visit. I love her blog as it has all sorts of great recipes, tips and encouragement for the homemaker.


Second, I am to pass this award onto ten people but I offer this lovely award (don't you love the jeans pocket?) to any of you who would like it as I am in a bit of a time crunch right now.

AWARD THANK YOU

> award
5 Minutes for Mom has a weekly carnival every Friday that allows people to feature their loyal commenters. Chris from "The Mommy Journey" has given me the Loyal Commenter award. I just want to take a moment and thank her for being so sweet as to do this. I really am touched!
Chris has a great meme that she does called Mommy Moments. Each week has a different theme and celebrates mommyhood by sharing pictures. Chris' blog is full of tips, ideas, and all sorts of different things so stop over and pay her a visit sometime! Thank you again Chris for giving me this award!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

GOODBYE HEELS, HELLO "MOM" FEET

I have mentioned in the past that I am not exactly fashion savvy. I dress somewhere between birth and death. When I try to put my best foot forward, it is usually encased in tennis shoes.

I didn't always wear tennis shoes. During my single days I rarely wore them. Oh no, they were reserved for the gym.....a place which I rarely saw but heard stories about.

I wore heels. Very, very high heels. Five inch heels. Heels so high that I needed a boyfriend who was 6'4" in order to balance me out.

I wore heels with my dresses and heels with my jeans. I had bright red heels and turquoise ones and pink ones and blue ones and purple ones and black ones.....I would also like to add that I bought them on sale.

I remember I loved to wear my bright red heels with blue jeans. I also remember falling occasionally. Anybody else remember that?

Then, one day, I found myself holding my precious firstborn son in my arms. After that I noticed something strange. My shoes no longer fit my feet. My feet had grown. Yup, you heard me. They grew. Not just once but twice. Once with each kid. If I had had many more children my feet would now be living in a different time zone.

I now had "mom" feet. Yup. Where my feet had once been cute and cuddly (o.k., not really, but you get the idea) now they were big. Just like my stomach. Just like my hips. Just like my purse that was now a diaper bag.

"Mom" feet. A woman's worse fear. Well, that and not being able to find a bathroom when you need one.

"Mom" feet get you where you need to go, fast. They can go from innocently standing in line at the grocery store to hysterically running down aisle 4 chasing after a toddler with a bad attitude and a leaky diaper. They can take you from a peaceful sleep into instant alert at the sound of a child's cough.

They can keep you waiting in line for hours while waiting for a 50% off sale at the toy store. They can carry you as you pace back and forth across the floor while anxiously holding and comforting a fretting child.

"Mom" feet are very smart. They know exactly when you should walk down the hall and check on a quiet sneaky toddler. They know exactly how quiet you should walk so a child doesn't know you're there until you sneak up behind him and catch him in the act of feeding his lunch to the dog.

"Mom" feet are very clever. They know exactly what store to go to to get the best deal, what aisle to walk down to find the rice cakes instead of the donuts that you really want to buy, and they know when it's time to leave the fun dinner with friends and go home to kiss their sleeping children good night.

My "Mom" feet may not be wearing perky high heels anymore but I can run pretty fast in my sneakers.

Friday, March 13, 2009

FINDING FREEDOM FRIDAY: BUDGETING





Phoebe of "Cents to Get Debt Free" is hosting Finding Freedom Friday again. The topic is budgeting and she asked several questions. Two of them were "Do you feel more in control now?" and "What are your tips to making a budget and sticking with it?"

Many years ago my husband was out of work for quite awhile and this is when we really had to tighten our financial belts and learn the difference between a need and a want. Some things that used to be "needs" were no longer as important and they were placed in the realm of "luxury." We learned to adjust our spending habits and our thinking.

When money is tight, it may seem pointless to have a budget, because if it seems like there just isn't any spare money to be had then who needs a budget? But that's a time when you really do need one. You need to take a good hard look at where your money is going. If you don't you may find yourself spending your money unwisely in some areas.

Sometimes you get into buying habits and you continue to buy the way you always have, even in the face of a money crisis. You have to change the way that you are spending and having a budget can help you do that. Having a budget is focused spending.

It puts you in the driver's seat as far as deciding where your money is going. If you don't have a budget it is often so easy for money to just disappear, and you have no idea where it all went. A few dollars here, a few dollars there, and it all adds up to big bucks.

A budget gives you a sense of control when it can feel like everything is out of control. To decide where your money is going is to be fully involved in the process. It reduces stress since there is a plan for paying bills and a plan for getting out of debt.

When money is tight some people don't even want to open their bills as they feel powerless and it just seems easier to ignore it and hope it all goes away. But it won't go away. Having a budget not only means that you know where your money is going, but you have a hand in it getting there.

For us the best way to stay within a budget is to allocate your money where it goes, and pay for groceries with cash. When I'm at the grocery store, if I have cash than I use a calculator and I try to stay within budget.

If I have the checkbook or debit card.......look out. O.k., well maybe it's not that bad, but I definitely notice a difference. Suddenly, little things creep in that I hadn't planned on buying and I am off budget.

If you want to stay within a budget you want to continue to review your goals and remind yourself of what you're trying to do. You want to ask yourself of the value of something. Will buying this outfit or eating dinner out tonight move me toward or away from my future goal? Will it help or hinder?

Some people may feel like having a budget is restraining, but to me it's a very hopeful thing. It means that you have a plan, you are setting goals and you have hope of reaching them.

For more budget tips please go here!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'M TRYING......REALLY I AM!

Just in case anybody cares I have been gone all day and will be gone all evening. Now, I know that your life does not revolve around me or my blog....but don't tell me because I like to believe it does.

Now you've probably noticed that I haven't been visiting as many of your blogs this week.....again, I beg you not to tell me that you haven't noticed because, again, I like to think that you noticed and have missed me.

Also, I am aware that you will be able to sleep tonight whether I am able to visit your blog or not. But again, please do not tell me as I want to believe that you cannot sleep for fear of wondering why you haven't seen me stalking.....I mean visiting your blog this day or week.

I heart all my bloggy follower/reader friends and commenters, yes I do and that you can believe. I may not be able to visit you every day but I do try to visit as often as I'm able. So please don't leave me, I'm trying really I am. (Ask my husband, he'll tell you I'm very trying....)

This desperate, pathetic message is just to say that yes I'm still here and just because I didn't get to visit doesn't mean I don't care. Sometimes I don't have time to comment and I will read my google feed or whatever that thing is called. Today is one of those busy days where I've had only a little time to respond to my comments and very little time for visiting you all.

Of course, I just know that you all have been afraid to leave your computer for fear of missing a visit or comment from me. Some of you have probably stopped eating, bathing, or sleeping for fear of missing me. Like I said, I like to believe this so don't burst my bubble please. Maybe because I just sit here waiting for a comment from you all, lol!

SUMMER PROJECT HELP IDEA

Hey y'all! I don't really have time to get a post up for today, sorry. Just one of those days. So please feel free to make yourself at home and browse around if you feel so inclined. Just shut off the light when you leave please....you know, to save on energy and all.

But I do want to leave you with one thought: For the summer, what do you think about getting a few of your friends together for a "weekend project." I've always thought it would be cool to get say, four couples together and then take turns working on a project in each other's homes during the summer. Think of how much work you could get done.

Week #1 would be at the first couple's house, week #2 would be at the second couple's house, and then of course the other two couples would be weeks 3 and 4. Everybody would get to choose one Saturday project for their home and you all would work together on the project, helping each other out. Kind of like a good old fashioned barn raising.

The host family would feed everyone that day. The host mom would probably be the one watching all the kids that day as well as cooking......which might be a bit of a chore in itself. Either that or just let all the men do all the work while the wives sit inside and watch the kids and chat...works for me!

We have had people help us move into our home, paint, sheet-rock, etc., and we've helped people do projects around their homes too. This way, you get your project(s) done, you get to hang with your friends, and you have fun! Hey, I guess I have a post after all.....how cool is that?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

WORKS-FOR-ME: ORGANIZING TOYS

" We Are That Family" is hosting "Works-For-Me" Wednesday again today.

When the kids were little I started to feel like we were being overtaken by their toys. At first, I stored most of the toys in a milk crate which worked as the oldest was just a little guy. Then, as he got older (and his brother came along), I tried a toybox but that didn't work because he would have to dump almost everything out to find anything, making a huge mess.

Organizing their toys became very important to me as I wanted to find a way that they could put the toys away themselves (after I did some training on how to manage their toys), and yet everything would still stay organized. I began buying plastic bins. Some were shoeboxed sized, some a lot bigger, and some were dishpans or kitty litter pans (brand new of course). Some had lids and some didn't.

At first I put their dresser in their closet (to make more room) and brought in a small bookshelf to store toys on. Eventually I wanted to keep their bedroom clean (and make more space) so I designated the closet under the stairs as the "toy closet." Most of the childrens' toys were stored there (except for a few special toys in their room) and all were considered available for everyone to play with. As toys no longer became "special" they were moved into the toy closet to be shared.

I sorted the toys out by theme (Star Wars, Zoo animals, Disney or McDonald's toys, etc.) and gave each theme its own plastic lidded box. I then wrote the name of the theme and sometimes drew a picture (or pasted one) on the box so that he would know what to put it there.

All the cars and trucks went into a kitty litter pan. Train tracks went in another kitty litter pan. Star Wars toys went in another lidded plastic box. My goal was to get the toys up off the floor and into a plastic bin, if possible.


Library books went in a dishpan with the face of the book up so that he could just flip through the books. Putting them on a bookshelf just didn't work at that time as everytime he took a book out, the rest of them fell over or off the shelf. This way he could just flip easily through the books (like you flip through cd's in a store) and easily put them back when he was done.

For puzzles I took the pieces out of the box. I assigned each puzzle a letter and number. At the time, he had lots of Mickey Mouse puzzles, so they were M-1 ("M" for Mickey), M-2, M-3, etc.


So, I took out the puzzle and assigned it a name, for example "M-1." Then on the back of each puzzle piece I wrote "M-1" on it in black marker. This is so that, if you ever find a puzzle piece on the floor, you immediately know which puzzle it goes to. I cut out the front of the puzzle box that showed the picture and wrote "M-1" on it. Then I placed the picture of it in a plastic sleeve (with 3-hole punches on it) and put all the sleeves in a puzzle notebook.

I put the puzzle pieces in their own freezer bag and marked "M-1," "M-2," etc. on each one. Then I put the puzzle notebook and all the marked puzzle piece freezer bags in a dish pan. Anytime my son wanted to do a puzzle he just opened the notebook and selected a picture, then he looked through the puzzle piece bags until he came to the one with the correct number on it. The notebook and puzzle bags were altogether in one pan.

For coloring fun I took an old wipes container and put all the colors in it. Then I took all his coloring books and put them in a dishpan and placed the container of color crayons on top of the coloring books. That way, everything they needed to use to color was together.

I grouped and organized any thing that went together, such as colors and coloring books, Star Wars toys and vehicles, or toy sets that came together. I used sandwich and freezer bags to group and store small pieces that I didn't want to lose.

As they got older (and past the decorating the walls stage) I made an arts and crafts shelf. I put all sorts of things in plastic lidded containers: glue, scissors, beady eyes, craft sticks, paint, paint brushes, pipe cleaners, cotton balls, ribbon, etc. I placed construction paper next to the shelf and this became their special place to go whenever they felt like creating something.


This worked for me! For more of "Works-For-Me Wednesday" please go here.