Saturday, February 28, 2009

GETTING READY FOR "MAKING YOUR HOME SING MONDAY" MEME

In case you're wondering why I printed the instructions for the "Making Your Home Sing! Monday" meme today, I did it so that they'll be there to link up to when I do the Monday post. That way, I can just link to them and don't have to write everything in my post itself. If you want to read them, please scroll down or go here.

I hope you're all having a great weekend and I will see you on Monday.

MAKING YOUR HOME SING MONDAY GUIDELINES


Welcome! Glad you could join us! I don't want to delete any links so please follow the instructions and have fun!

WHAT IS "MAKING YOUR HOME SING! MONDAY?"

Every day you are doing something to make your house into a home for yourself and your family (if you have one).  My point with each Monday post is, what are you doing or going to do today, tomorrow, this week? What did you do last week?  It can be an attitude or an action.


Topics can include marriage, parenting, encouraging women, organization, cleaning, saving money, our behavior and attitudes, homemaking, homeschooling, recipes....the opportunities are endless.

HERE ARE THE GUIDELINES SO YOU CAN PLAY ALONG:

Write your post and link up!

On my left sidebar (down towards the bottom) is the "Making Your Home Sing! Monday" button which you are welcome to grab and paste if you want but it's not a requirement.

Write your post and please keep it family-friendly (no swearing), honoring to God and respectful of others.  I reserve the right to delete any post that I don't feel is appropriate or within the guidelines.

Once you have completed and published your own post return to my blog and use Mr. Linky to link up. Please link directly to your own "Making Your Home Sing! Monday" post and not to the homepage of your blog. That way people will be able to find your post when they click on your entry.

Please don't link to any kind of business or shop like an etsy shop, or to a giveaway, or to something you have for sale. These links will be deleted as they aren't in the spirit of the linky party.

Please don't put your blog URL in the name field, just put it in the URL field so that it won't mess up Mr. Linky. In the name field, please use spaces between words as necessary to make it easier to read.

Lastly, please go visit the other blogs of those who've linked up here and have fun and be encouraged!



SATURDAY AND ME

I love weekends. Don't you? For some reason I always am optimistic whenever a Saturday rolls around. I know that this Saturday will be different. This Saturday I will manage to accomplish everything on my to-do list. I will manage to clean my entire house, top to bottom. Every cupboard, every drawer, every closet.

I just know that this Saturday will be the day. The day that I get everything done that I put off until Saturday. Does anybody else do that?

You know, you think during the week "I can't get it done today so I'll put it off until Saturday." Then Saturday rolls around and you have 5,000 items on your to-do list.

Somehow I always have great confidence in Saturday. Saturday will not let me down. I know that somehow I will manage to squeeze in the 5,000 things that I put off during the week. Even though Saturday only has 24 hours available (some of which, admittedly I need to use for eating and sleeping), I blindly ignore the fact there there is a time constraint....confident that it will all get done.

Until I run out of time and there are still things to be done. But I don't worry. I can always put them off until next Saturday.

Friday, February 27, 2009

At the risk of sounding like shameless self-promotion and embarrassing myself, I want to explain to you what I'm doing . You may have noticed something new on my blog. Then again, maybe not! I asked Tara (she designed my blog, I love working with this girl!) to make me a button for my Making Your Home Sing! Monday posts.

I have been thinking of getting a Mr. Linky and doing them as a meme on Mondays in case anybody wanted to play along with me either now or in the future.


Now, I know that the blog world probably does not need another meme. And I know that most of you probably like doing your own posts and many of you already do memes on Monday. I also know that this topic may not resonate with some of you like it does to me.


I started doing these posts because I feel that I needed to encourage myself (and hopefully some of you) in the things that we do to make our house into a home. A warm, loving, nuturing home that we want to be in, that our family looks forward to coming home to, and that is a happy place to be. A home that sings!

But I would love some company along the way! There are so many areas that we can encourage and teach each other about. Motivation, our attitude, baking, encouraging our husband or children (if we have either one), organization, cleaning, saving money....the opportunities are endless. Every day you are doing something to make your house into a home for yourself and/or your family. So my point with each Monday post is, what are you doing today?

It can be an attitude or an action. Whatever you're doing you are blessing your family. I just want people to post what they're doing that day to "make their home sing." Anything we do to bless our families, to make our homes run more smoothly, anything we do to go about our homemaking more joyfully and thankfully will apply.

Sometimes we may not even really be aware of the influence that we have upon others. I want to encourage us to think about the impact we are having and the blessings that we can bring to our homes. Just doing the "job" out of habit, without really investing ourselves in the process is not a joy, it's a chore. What a privilege and a blessing it is to make our homes! What fun and encouragement to share your ideas with others.


We can take the running of our house so seriously that we can forget the part about making it a home! There's joy in the journey, my friends!

So, now I have a button (it's on the left sidebar near the bottom) and I just wanted to give you a heads up about Monday and to say that you are welcome to do your own post and join me each and every Monday as we journey together on our way to Making Our Homes Sing!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SLEEP IS GOOD....

When I was single I really dreaded the end of the weekend and the beginning of the work week. Many times I would stay up late Sunday night/early Monday morning in my own personal protest of Monday. As long as I stayed up late I was still on "weekend" time. Relaxation, church, fellowship, and hanging with my friends. As long as I didn't go to bed, Monday couldn't come, right?

My days of staying up that late are pretty much over. I remember leaving the house at 9:30 at night to meet some friends somewhere. I remember going to a midnight showing of a movie. I remember a time when 9:00 p.m. seemed early and the night was young.

Now, I can't even imagine anything that I would want to leave the house for at 9:00 p.m, less much midnight. Go to a midnight showing of a movie? Why would I want to do that? Do you know how late we would get home? Getting home at 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning no longer seems fun to me!

I still will go out and go for a walk in the snow at midnight. I still will, if the moment is right, be up for something that sounds fun.

But my "spur of the moment" late nights or crazy trips are pretty much a thing of the past. I don't know if children or sleep deprivation does that to you. Some things just don't sound as fun anymore.

What sounds fun is staying home and being with my family. And sleeping. Sleep is good.

WORKS FOR ME: TEACHING KIDS TO MANAGE THEIR TOYS



We Are That Family is hosting "Works-For-Me Wednesday!" This is my first time participating.
You ever notice that kids usually make a mess when they play? They go into a clean room, play in it with their toys until the room is trashed, then they move on to the next clean room and trash that one. Then it's on to the next room.

You ever step on a toy when you're barefoot? Yowza! Ever practically break your neck because you tripped over a toy? Been there. Done that.

When our oldest was a baby/toddler, we put all his toys in a milk crate on the floor in the living room. That was "his" spot. As a toddler I used to take his hand and gently encourage him to pick up his toys at cleanup time and we sang a little cleanup song. As he got older, the toys multiplied. They do that. It's an evil plot. Trust me.

When he was verbal and able to ask for something I began toy training. First I put most of the toys up where he couldn't reach them. That way he couldn't just dump all the toys out and make a mess. He had to ask me for the one he wanted.

The reason I wanted him to ask is that I was teaching him to manage his toys. He would have to play with one toy at a time, and when he was done with that toy he had to put it away (bring it to me) before he could have another one. This keeps the mess to a minimum and teaches them the pick-up habit.

Of course, some toys are meant to go together. For instance, if he was playing with his plastic zoo animals, I did not give him one animal at a time. I gave him the whole plastic lidded container that held all his zoo animals. Some toys come in sets. So I gave him the whole set.

But I did not give him the zoo animal, and the legos, and the blocks, and all of his toys for him to play with all at once. That would have defeated my purpose. Of course, I did allow him to use his imagination and play with whatever toys he wanted together (like zoo animals and blocks for "building" a barn, etc.).

When you are training them, you will need to get the toys down for them at first, as well as put them back. It may seem like more work, but remember you are training them and training takes time. Once the child learns the pick-up habit, you can put all the toys back down again within their reach. Then they can get them (and put them back) themselves.

I also selected three rooms that they could play with toys in. The living room, their bedroom, and the dining room (the "room of choice" for my youngest). As they got older they were allowed to play with toys downstairs as well.

This kept some of the rooms (such as the kitchen or our bedroom) a toy-free zone. For the rest of the toy-playing rooms we had three toy pick-ups a day: before lunch, before dinner, and before bed.

This will not work for some people as they may not like being this fussy about toys. Training like this did not prevent the kids from playing with toys. It simply taught them that they could enjoy their toys without having to make a huge mess of their room or the entire house in the process.

I felt that it taught them to be more responsible and respectful with their toys and with our home. It worked for me, anyway! For more "Works-For-Me Wednesday" go here!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

FREE FOOD, CHECK IT OUT!!

Tracey from $1200 Frugal Challenge 2009 has done a great post on free food today. Arbys, Jack in the Box, IHOP, Quiznos all will be happy to feed you for free!

IHOP is offering free pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. today (February 24) at various IHOPS. You can get a free short stack of their buttermilk pancakes. For every short stack served today (National Pancake Day) they are inviting IHOP guests to make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network. Visit here to find a restaurant near you.

Jack in the Box will let you register for two free tacos today, February 24, (go here) as you eagerly await to see if Jack is going to be o.k. after his "accident." The button is at the top right of the page.

If you would rather have something different Arbys is offering you a free Roast burger with any drink purchase here so go print out your coupon.

Quiznos is offering a free sub coupon here but you'd better hurry as there's a limit.

You will need to check out these links yourself as I cannot guarantee the availability or time limit on any of this and also not all stores are participating. Again, thanks to Tracey for passing this info along. I would encourge you to visit her website. I love it! She is on a mission to only spend $1200 this year. So go visit and see how she's doing and tell her I said "hi!"

MY CLEANING SUPPLY COLLECTION

I have discovered something bad about myself. Some people collect dolls, or baseball cards or antiques. I think I collect cleaning supplies. Seriously. Whenever I am in a store and I walk by that aisle I just gotta stop and check them out.

Whenever I see a commercial on t.v. for something new, I just "gotta" have it. How could I have lived without it before????? How can I live without it now????

Suddenly I believe that that particular cleaning item will solve all of my problems. I know it will! It doesn't even matter if it's a cleaning problem, those supplies will solve anything. Honestly, I suspect that it will solve the national debt problem as well. I feel that intense about it. I gotta have it.

Fortunately, the frugality in my nature usually overcomes the cleaning supply collector in me, so I don't have everything. Just some things. Things I have acquired over the years:

  • I have the floor duster thing. Yup, it's that thing that picks up dust off the floor. It does pick up dust but is not so hot with dog hair. Frankly, I wish the dog would manage his own dog hair but whatever....!

  • I have the wet floor swifter or whatever it's called.

  • I have the swifter duster. I bought all of these things years ago in order to make the cleaning easier and more "entertaining" for the kids. Now I am the one that is easily entertained by them (the cleaning supplies, not the kids)...although the kids can be quite entertaining, go here.

  • For awhile I bought the wet cleaning wipes to use in the bathrooms and things.

  • Recently I bought something that is able to sanitize my kitchen counters but doesn't need to be rinsed with water. I rinse them anyway, can't help it. It makes me feel better.

  • I have some kind of "green" cleaner that someone gave me that I haven't used.

  • I have some kind of pink cleaner that I bought and I haven't used.

  • I have the chamois cloth or whatever it's called (to soak up spills).

  • I have microfiber cloths.

  • I had to buy Oxi-clean for my laundry when it came out.

  • I had to buy the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (and I am glad I did, that thing rocks!).

Whenever something new comes out I think (like some lovesick teenager)....maybe this one will be "the one."

I have even (peers over her shoulder to make sure noone is listening) watched some of the infomercials to see the latest handy-dandy gadget that they say I can't live without. We never go to the fair anymore, but when we did I always loved going into the place where all those salespeople were demonstrating their cleaning and houseware products.

O.k., so is it just me with this problem? Heather, Mimi, Toni? Anybody? Is it just me????? Don't even get me started on the kitchen gadgets I have that I rarely use....that will be another post in itself!

Monday, February 23, 2009

THIS IS GONNA SOUND STUPID

O.k., this is gonna sound stupid but if all of a sudden you have lost me as a follower will you tell me please. Of course, I follow some people that have absolutely no idea who I am, so they wouldn't miss me if I was gone. All of my dashboard shows that I am publically following but I didn't see myself on somebody's site but then I magically appeared again....so in case you miss me, please tell me because I don't know that I'm gone!!!!

PROBLEMS WITH COMMENTING OR LOSING FOLLOWERS?

Apparently blogger is having some problems today. That may be why I have lost some followers, or perhaps they just chose to stop following me, as is their choice. I would like to think it's Blogger fault and not mine! I have not stopped following anybody either.

You may want to check the sites on your dashboard since you may be following people anonymously instead of publically, and that is why people are losing followers right and left. Go here to A Nut in a Nutshell for instructions on what to do (thanks Beth!).

Also, there seems to be a problem posting comments on sites that have comment moderation, like mine. At first, I thought everybody hated me and was leaving me all at once. But after I got over my little pity party, I noticed that I couldn't comment at other sites so I went on Blogger Helps and sure enough, people are having trouble.

Well, you may still hate me and are leaving me, but up until we can post again you can reach me at momstheword2008@hotmail.com.

THE SIMPLE WOMAN'S DAYBOOK - FEBRUARY 23rd EDITION


I confess that I have always found this whole idea enchanting. So I thought that I would participate in it today!

FOR TODAY: February 23, 2009

Outside my window...I see birds in the trees. I love it!

I am thinking...that I love the idea of getting back into my routines after the weekend, even if I am a bit lacking in discipline today.

I am thankful for...my wonderful Savior, my precious family and friends.

From the learning rooms...my son is working away at Math.

From the kitchen...nothing is happening yet today! I do have a menu plan, however, so I do know what I'm cooking for dinner.

I am wearing...blue jeans and a blue shirt. Not very exciting, I know.

I am creating...well, nothing.....I am not very creative. But I do like to organize!

I am going...nowhere. My husband's car died so he drove mine to work.

I am reading...well, my Bible, and another book on finances (I love being frugal).

I am hoping...that I can talk myself into exercising today. I need to do this.

I am hearing...my puppy play around in the kitchen.

Around the house...it's a little messy but it's looking up. As I mentioned earlier I am lacking in discipline today, but I am counting on my love for my family to motivate me!

One of my favorite things...I love spending time fellowshipping with other families. That way, you can be with your own family and yet have a great time with other people and their children. Awesome!

A few plans for the rest of the week: ASL classes, church activities, exercise class with some friends.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...I don't know how to do that yet. Sorry!

Please go here for other Daybook entries!

MAKING YOUR HOME SING MONDAY: MOTIVATED BY LOVE

Welcome to another Making Your Home Sing! Monday post. Please go "here" to view the other posts in the series. One of these days I gotta figure out how to make me a button. But don't hold your breath, lol!

When I did my Conquering the Messies series, I talked about having a daily and a weekly cleaning schedule, and I also talked about several ways of taking your home from clutter to clean.

This is all great and wonderful, but it's nothing without discipline or motivation. If you can't start, then how are you going to finish? If you cannot even get yourself to take one simple step, how are you going to take two?

What are you going to do when your house is a mess but the computer is calling your name? How do you make yourself stop doing what you want to do and do the things that need doing?

The world will not come to an end if you don't mop the floor today. No, it won't, Mimi....I promise (love ya, gal!!!!) So how do you keep yourself doing what needs to be done around your home when what you really want to do is sit and read, or blog, or watch t.v., or whatever?

Discipline and motivation are not the same thing. Discipline is having the self-control to do what you know you need to do, whether you want to do it or not. Motivation is what stirs you into action.

Discipline tell me that I need to stop playing on the computer and go cook dinner for my family, motivation tells me that if I don't, we're all going to go hungry. Discipline says that I need to clean my messy home, but motivation tells me that I am making a peaceful, happy home for my family. Discipline whispers in my ear but motivation is what pulls me up by my ear and gets me moving.

Discipline is learning to apply self-control. It's the action of training yourself to do the things that need to be done, even if there is noone around to make you do them. Especially when there's noone around to make you do them.

But motivation is important too. Motivation is what gets me moving across the room. Motivation is what keeps me going. Motivation is what fills me with love for my family and is why I do what I do.

I Cor. 16:15 tells us "Do everything in love." That means love is to be my motivation. I am to serve my family in love. When we are ministering to and serving others we are to do it with our whole hearts, as if we were serving the Lord, because we are. That means when I serve my family I am serving the Lord.

Discipline is something that I am lacking in today. Dare I say that outloud? O.k., I'll whisper it. Discipline is something that I am lacking in today. But I know that today, when I serve my precious family, I am also serving my precious Lord, and that's more than enough motivation for me!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

CHECK IT OUT!




Hey, my blog has been added to "5 Minutes for Mom!" You can read it here. This is also a great website and a great way to find other blogs so check it out.

BLOGGY AWARD



I almost forgot to post this. Sorry! Isn't this a lovely award? This comes to me from Chris at The Mommy Journey. Have you met Chris yet? She is a real sweetie and has a fun blog with all sorts of different stuff that you might enjoy. She really has a heart for moms and she has two young kids of her own. Go pay her a visit and tell her "hi!"
The rules for this lovely award are:
1. Show the award logo in your post.
2. Pick a picture you have with your kiddo/s.
3. Post should include your best experience as a Mom.
4. Nominate other blogger moms out there that you consider the best mom, like yourself.
I do not currently have any photos on here to post of me and my kids. Just picture me in your mind. Picture however you think I look like. That's more fun that way. I can look like however you picture me. Blonde, brunette, redhead, young, old, tall, short....whatever.....hey, this is kinda fun!
My best experience as a Mom? Wow. How could you narrow that down? I have loved every moment (well, perhaps not every moment...hehehehe) Seriously. I love being a mom so how could I choose? I love the day that each of them were born. I loved teaching each of them to read (we homeschool). I loved seeing the expressions on their face as they learned how to walk, I loved watching them trying to talk. I love watching them grow up into the wonderful, handsome young men that they are now. I have loved every moment. I cannot choose.
As for best moms to nominate, I cannot choose either. For those of you that have kids, I have seen your hearts in your blogs. I know you love those kids. So please, feel free to put this button on your own blog.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

SURVIVING BOYS AND BUGS AND GIVING YOUR HEART AWAY

I told you yesterday that we have carpenter ants. Isn't that gross? You would think that they wouldn't bother me. After all, I have two boys. Besides dogs we've had various pets over the years.......one snake that the boys caught, fish, one lizard, two gerbils, a frog, more walking sticks than anybody should be allowed to have, praying mantis' (and let me tell you, the only thing they were praying about was a way to escape their cage....).

I put my foot down on the pet tarantula...well, not literally. My husband said he had one as a kid and I said "Good for you" all the while questioning the sanity of his mother. He did say that when the tarantula got out of it's cage (got out of it's cage????) that his mom didn't go near his room until he found it again. Now there's a nightmare in the making.


Being the mom of two boys I've had my share of blood, sweat, tears, mud, cuts, bruises, stiches, mucus...you get the idea.


You would think the idea of a few stray ants crawling around my home wouldn't bug me (no pun intended). But it does. It bugs me. I am squeamish. I don't like bugs. I don't like blood. I'm not so crazy about vomit either.

There is a reason I am not a nurse, God bless them! Seriously, I don't know how they do it. I tried to be calm when my boys would come in with scratches, cuts, bruises and the occasional black eye. After all, "boys will be boys," right? Isn't that what they say?

I tried to be calm as they played hard and rode bikes and skateboards and climbed trees and fences and wrestled and played "dangerous" games like tag. I mean, come on, they could trip over something or run into a tree! Don't even get me started on football....

I tried to be calm as we drove to get stiches in the head or the finger. Or have an x-ray done to see if they broke something.

I tried to be calm when they were hanging out the second story window. I tried to be calm when they were crawling around on the roof helping put up Christmas lights or mowing the lawn (hey, that mower has sharp blades). I tried to be calm when the youngest got a concussion. I tried to be calm when the oldest one rode his bike down a steep hill and got all scratched up.

I tried to be calm as they took those first baby steps away from me, forever taking my heart with them. I tried to be calm when they were old enough to play outside by themselves. I tried to be calm as they finally were old enough to drive their bikes down the street by themselves.

I tried to be calm as the oldest one got his license and drove alone in the car for the first time. I tried to be calm the first time he took his younger brother with him. I tried to be even more calm as I watched my whole life drive away in that car. I tried to be calm as I remarked to my husband "There goes my heart."

It is just beginning to dawn on me where these strands of gray hair are coming from. I blame the boys.

Friday, February 20, 2009

SAVING FOR AN EMERGENCY

Sometimes owning a home or a vehicle can cause you problems....and money. Something unexpected happens and suddenly, you have to spend money that you weren't planning on. In our case, carpenter ants have decided to move into our home and yesterday my husband's car died. So now, we have to spend money to get rid of the ants (anybody want them?) and to fix the car.

It is for times like this that you want to have money saved in the bank. This is so that, in case of a situation like a job layoff, a home or car repair, etc., you will have some money to fall back on. Then you won't have to go into debt (or get further in debt) by putting it on a credit card.

To do this, you'll need to decide how much money you want to save in the event of an emergency, and you begin saving for it. The thing that scares alot of people about saving for an emergency fund is the amount. Years ago I read somewhere that you should have at least a month's salary saved up. Some people recommend three to six months.

For many people, the thought of saving even one month's salary is a daunting task. Not to mention six months.

I don't think I have never read Dave Ramsey's books but I keep hearing about him. I heard somewhere that he recommends having $1000 for an emergency fund, which I think is a great idea. Even saving up for that amount can be difficult for many people. When you're pretty much living paycheck to paycheck, how do you come up with extra money?

Also, it's so much easier to spend money on something when it is staring you in the face. It's alot harder to save for an "emergency" that hasn't happened yet. You like to hope that maybe there just won't be one! After all, it will never happen to you, right?

Many times there are things that can be cut out of the budget in order to save money, but it hurts! Give even the faintest whisper that someone should give up their daily Starbucks or diet Pepsi (gasp) and you may find yourself in an argument. Suggest that someone drop cable, cell phones, the internet, or the newspaper in order to save money and you may have a problem on your hands.

Dare to even suggest that someone give up their extra car to save money and you may find yourself alone in a room, talking to yourself. Suggest that someone scale down their home and buy a smaller one in order to have smaller payments to save money and it's on....

Do I need my own car? Well, no, I don't (don't tell my husband I said that). It's not like there aren't buses around. I could drive my husband to work if I needed a car that day. It is just that it's convenient to have my own car. Many of us don't even question owning two cars. I need one because it is convenient to have one. It would make my life more difficult not to have my own car.

Are you wishing you could start an emergency fund but wonder how you could afford to do it? Why not take a little notebook and write down everything you spend money on for the next few weeks. Everything. No matter how small. That will let you know where your money is going.

Ask yourself, "If there was a serious need in my family and we needed money right away, what could I cut out of our budget? What could I live without, no matter how inconvenient? What changes could we make in our spending habits?" If the budget cannot be adjusted ask if perhaps there might be a way to generate some more income. When you find your answers then maybe you'll find the beginning of your emergency fund.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

AN EMPTY LAUNDRY BASKET MAKES ME SMILE

Even though I know I don't "have it altogether" (and if I did, I would forget where I put it) there are certain things that fool me. There are certain things that make me very happy and tease me with an illusion that I have this whole homemaking thing figured out.

These things make me smile and teasingly whisper "you are a great homemaker" in my ear. When these things happen, they just make me want to dance around the house singing, content with my role as a homemaker and feeling like "I got this! I have arrived!" They are:

  • Vegetables in the vegetable drawer of my fridge

  • Fruit in my fruit drawer

  • A sparkling clean bathroom

  • An empty laundry basket

  • Dinner cooking in the crockpot

  • Clean hair (o.k., I have no idea why....it just makes me feel better)

  • Crossing something off my to-do list

  • Buying something on sale

  • Using a coupon to buy something

  • An empty sink

  • Walking into a clean kitchen

  • An abundance of clean socks and clean towels for my family

Somehow, these things have the power to lift me up. I walk into a clean kitchen and I am happy every morning. I don't have to start out my day already behind.

When I buy something on sale, or use a coupon, I am saving money and that is a good thing. If my fruit and vegie drawers are full, that means that I can feed my family some healthy foods and I don't need to go shopping for awhile.

I love having dinner cooking in the crockpot. It's just so nice to have dinner preparations already under way. It makes you feel so, well, organized and efficient! Like a "real" homemaker!

Isn't it funny how the little things, small as they are, can just mean so much in the running of our home? An empty laundry basket, a clean bathroom, there are just some things, for some people, that make them feel good. Ya know?

I am not going to try and explain why these things make me happy. I have no idea why. I think it's because as little as they are, they mean something. They mean, for one moment, in one area, I have accomplished something.

It may not stay acomplished, and I may have to do it again tomorrow, but I have reached a goal. It may be a small goal, but I have reached it in my desire to love and serve my family. And for that, I'm happy.

I wish I could say that I am starting my day with all of this under control. But I'm not. But you know, it really doesn't matter. Because my hair is clean, I've got some fruit and vegies on hand and a few million pairs of socks available and you know what? I got this!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

HOW TO EAT AN ELEPHANT TODAY (A.K.A. FINISHING PROJECTS)

I've been hammering away at my family for years about the little minutes. If you spend 15 minutes a day doing something, and you do it for six days, at the end of that week you will have accumulated a total of 90 minutes work on that project.

Work for 30 minutes a day (for six days) and it will give you a total of three hours of work that week. Think about that. Three hours! Is there some project that needs doing around your home but you keep putting it off because it's to big and you don't have the time?

If you spend as little as fifteen to thirty minutes a day (for six days), at the end of the week you would have anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours of work done. For as little a time investment as fifteen minutes a day!

Ninety minutes of work on a project may not seem like a lot. Three hours of work may not seem like much either. But if you're spending absolutely zero amount of hours on a project, then isn't an hour better than nothing? Isn't it better to move forward at a crawl than to not move forward at all?

You can sew an entire outfit in just fifteen minutes a day....if you keep at it every day until it's finished. You can clean your garage in just fifteen minutes a day....if you keep at it. You can build muscle or exercise and lose weight in just fifteen minutes a day....if you keep at it.

What project do you have at home that is waiting for your time and attention? What has been frustrating you but you keep putting it off because you just don't have the time to do it? What needs doing but isn't getting done because you keep waiting for huge blocks of time....that never come?

I know you can find fifteen minutes a day can't you? If you can't, can you find five minutes...three times a day? Isn't it worth the fifteen minutes if it means you can get started on some project that's been making you feel guilty or frustrating you?

Even five minutes a day will add up to a half hour at the end of six days. It all adds up. Take advantage of the little minutes, the little pockets of time to clean or accomplish something today. Get started on something today. After all, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A WOMAN AND HER HAIR STYLIST

I have a "perky" new hairstyle which I just love!

There was a time when going to the hairdresser (sorry, I don't know what they're called now) was a scary experience for me. It rated right up there with going to the dentist on the nerve factor scale. (My humble apologies to any dentists out there)

I always was nervous about getting a haircut those first few times with a new person. Once you cut that hair you can't get it back. O.k., nowadays you can buy hair extensions but you couldn't then. Besides, even if they'd had them I doubt if I could have afforded them.

Except for a person or two who had their own idea of how my hair should be cut, I didn't have horrible experiences. Still, I trembled every time I had to go. "What if she cuts it to short this time?" or "What if I look awful?" or "What if she does something different and I don't like it?"

Changing hairdressers was even worse. You either had to quit going to the shop entirely or feel guilty every time you ran into "her" on your way to the new "her."

I would not want to be a hairstylist. For one thing, I have no talent for it and if you saw my hair you'd know it. This is not a slam on who cuts my hair. I am just not so great at styling it afterwards. For another thing, people are very picky about their hair.

See? This is what a hairstylist has to put up with. What a terrifying thing to cut someone's hair, knowing that you can either make them very happy or very mad or very sad. To much pressure.

That's why I am very thankful for my friend who cuts my hair. She is a very brave woman.

Monday, February 16, 2009

MAKING YOUR HOME SING: THE MOM YOU WANT TO BE

I don't know how old I was when I saw her. I was watching a t.v. commercial, and even though I don't remember the product today (it may have been Kool-aid), I do remember her. You know her, you've seen her as a kid growing up, she's the mom you want to be someday.

In the commercial the kids were all happily playing in the yard, there looked like there were 30-40 of them but I doubt there were that many. Then the mom came out with some kind of a treat, either cookies or Kool-aid or something. She was the cool mom. The fun mom. The mom I wanted to be someday.

Then came our first child, and somewhere around the 5th diaper change or so I realized that mommyhood was a whole lot more work than I thought it would be. Rewarding work but still work. I also realized that I wasn't born with the ability to change a diaper perfectly. Bummer. Thank you Lord for velcro.

I also realized that I couldn't always figure out what the crying meant. Was he hungry? Thirsty? Sleepy? Was his diaper to tight? To loose? Goodness, why don't these kids come with an instruction manual?

Then there comes a moment when they're asking "Mommy, will you play with me? Will you read me a story, or play with my toys with me?" or any of the other things that they ask.

Suddenly everything is kicked up a notch. Whereas before you were trying to balance mommydom with wifedom and trying to keep up with your chores while carrying for your baby or toddler, now the kid notices that he doesn't have your full attention all the time. Can you say guilt?

Suddenly you're trying to balance work (if you work outside the home), meals, dishes, laundry, housecleaning, and raising a happy, healthy child(ren) who follows you around begging for all of your attention, all at the same time. Can you say stress?

Achieving a balance is hard. It's a dance and everyone does it differently. Some may play endless games of Candyland or make playdough creations, while letting the housework and laundry slide. Some may have an immaculate home but have very little time left over to sit down and read a story to a young listener. Some may be eating dinner at 9:00 at night every night because of to much play that day and dinner is a "Oh yeah, I forgot."

Some may fall in the middle. Some days are one big monopoly game, or playing at the park, or swimming, and maybe the house suffers that day. Other days you're busy catching up with the housecleaning so maybe you don't have time to spend hours at the park.

Even though my kid are older I still struggle with balance sometimes. Some days I just drop everything (that I can) and off we go somewhere to have some fun. Other days I just feel like I need to get some things done or there won't be any laundry or food!

Raising children is a precious God-given responsibility. One that we want to take seriously-but not to seriously. Having fun, reading a book, playing Candyland or Monopoly, making up silly stories, going to the park, these are all moments that you can't get back, so go for it.

But having a peaceful orderly home is important to. A home that is chaotic can be very stressful for the grownup to live and function in, not to mention the kids. Finding that balance of fun and function isn't easy, but it's possible. How are you finding it today? Let the rest of us know how you are "Making Your Home Sing!"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

QUESTION FROM THE UNEDUCATED BLOGGER

O.k., so I have a question. And yes, I know that I started it with an o.k. as if we were already having a conversation. I also know that I don't get many visits on Sunday. I don't know if that's because I don't post very often on Sunday anymore or if that's because none of you go on the computer on Sunday.

So, if there is anybody alive out there in the blogging world please tell me about displaying links to my post. By that I mean allowing someone to link to your post (at the bottom of your post). I don't understand that.

I know how to do it, you just turn the function on. But why would you do it?

Once, I read a post that I liked and so I followed a couple of links that were attached to the post. The links I followed had absolutely nothing to do with the subject to the post. They weren't talking about it at all. So what was the point of linking?

So, what is the point of having backlinks or links to your post or whatever they're called.

Also, do you allow your posts to be emailed? I just assumed if someone wanted to email one of my posts to a friend (which I doubt very much) that they could just make a screen copy or something and do it or send a link and have the person just read it themselves.

Do any of you allow your posts to be emailed? Do any of you email other people's posts to your friends?

I'm just wondering what everybody else is doing out there and if I'm "missing out...." hehehe!

My mom is still in the hospital, for those of you that don't know which is probably most of you, or all one of you if nobody is blogging today. So I am going to go visit here and I will post your comments when I get back (if there are any). Is anybody is alive out there. Heeeellllooooo! Anybody home?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

VALENTINE'S DAY

Happy Valentine's Day! Or Happy Single Awareness Day as some like to call it! When I was younger this day could be a great day or a not so great day. I remember getting valentines at school and wondering if I got as many as everybody else. Did the other kids like me? It almost seemed like a competition and I felt vulnerable.

When I was older (and before I got married) I finally realized that I did not have to feel vulnerable on Valentine's Day. I did not have to feel inadequate or unloved if I didn't have a boyfriend to send me a box of chocolates! I did not have to feel bad if I didn't have a date. I did not have to feel inferior if I didn't have an answer to the question "What are you doing on Valentine's Day?" I didn't need one special Valentine to prove to anyone that someone loved me or that I was "worthy."

I don't know everyone who reads this blog. I only sort of "know" those of you who comment regularly. So I don't know where everyone is at in their life.

I do know that today is just a holiday. It shouldn't have to be a day where someone has to feel bad because they don't have a valentine. It shouldn't have to be a day where someone feels vulnerable. It shouldn't have to be a day where someone has expectations that aren't met.

I am not trying to put a downer on everyone's day today. I am just thinking of people who may not think they have a "Valentine" (whether it's because they lost a loved one or they don't have one special person in their life right now or whatever). You know what, that's o.k.

It's just a day and if you want a valentine your valentine can be whoever you want it to be. It doesn't have to be a sweetheart. It can be your mom, dad, or just friends that you may want to show love to.

If you don't want a valentine then you don't have to have one. So take today and make it whatever you want it to be. And remember that the Lord loves you dearly and that He proved it on the cross. So you do have Someone Who loves you very much. Happy Valentine's Day my friends, how ever it finds you.

Friday, February 13, 2009

BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!

I am sitting here hungry and my abs hurt. You figure it out. I would imagine that the words diet and exercise comes to mind.

When I started dating my husband I found out that he was a jogger. He would run pretty much every morning before he went to work. I was very impressed when he told me that. I tried running with my roommate once. We ran all the way up to the corner.....three houses down.....I thought I'd die.....She kept running and I turned back and went back to bed. Hey, it was 5:30 in the morning!


Did you know that they have two 5:30's? There is one in the evening called 5:30 p.m. but, get this, did you know that there is also one in the morning!!! Can you believe it? It's called 5:30 a.m. I was shocked. Who knew?


So I thought it would be very romantic to go jogging with my lovely future husband. There can't be nothing much more attractive than a woman gasping for air, her hair all sweaty and in her face, and wearing an ugly purple velour jogging outfit. Hey, it was in the 80s, o.k? Everybody was wearing them.


My sweetheart offered to crawl, I mean run, with me but I suggested that we each go at our own pace. Actually his was a pace. Mine was more of a slow painful shuffle. I cannot tell you how many times he lapped me on that track.


The cool thing is that, when they pass you, they can't see what you're doing because they are now in front of you. So you can slow down to a crawl and they'll never know. Not that I did that or anything.

Fast forward to the present day: So lately I have fallen off the exercise wagon and now I am back on it. Which is why my abs hurt. And my shoulders. And my calves. Not that I am complaining or anything...wheeze....gasp....ouch!

I have heard of that "runner's high" that you're supposed to get when you exercise. I'm still waiting for it. I think it's just a myth that somebody made up to get me to exercise, lol! Not that I am complaining or anything...wheeze....gasp....ouch!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

MY NEW BLOG LOOK

Yes it's me. Don't worry, you're on the right page. I just got a new look! I also got a new button so feel free to grab it if you'd like!

I would like to thank Beth for having a Blog Giveaway and giving me the gift of a makeover, I love it!

I would also like to thank Tara at Blog Makeovers By Tara for doing the makeover. If you are considering a makeover she is awesome to work with. I sent her 1,000 emails; changed my mind 5,000 times; and couldn't make up my mind about 50 times. She is very helpful and patient and doesn't hate me after working with me....at least, she said she doesn't, lol!
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THINGS I NEVER THOUGHT I'D BE SAYING TO MY KIDS

When I was a child, there were certain things I said that I would never say to my own children someday. There were also things that I never dreamed I'd be saying to my kids one day. Here are some things I didn't think I'd ever be saying to my kids years ago when they were younger:


  1. Because I said so.

  2. Why did you throw that at your brother?

  3. What do you mean you wanted to see if you could hit him?

  4. There's very little blood so you're fine.

  5. Why did you spit on your brother?

  6. Stop spinning or you're going to fall and split your head open.

  7. No, you're not going to die but you do need to go get stiches in your head.

  8. Grandpa let you do what? Grandpa said you could eat what when?

  9. You flushed your truck and a sock down the what?

  10. No, you cannot hang out the second story window, it's to high and it's to dangerous.

  11. Stop picking your nose.

  12. Stop picking your nose.

  13. Stop picking your nose.

  14. Go get a kleenex and stop using your sleeve.

  15. No, you can't have any more carrots until you finish all your french fries....

  16. Please clean your room before you go to bed.

  17. Please just go to bed, you can clean your room in the morning.

  18. Did you just call 911?

  19. Stop eating the dog food. She's hungry and you have your own food.

  20. Please do not pour milk all over the dog.

  21. Did you eat all of your dinner? What is that hidden in the corner over there?

  22. Please don't use the cupboard to pull yourself up onto the kitchen counter.

  23. Yes, I think daddy can reattach the cupboard back to the wall but I don't know if he can repair the dented floor and be careful and don't cut yourself on the broken glassware.
  24. We don't eat playdough.
  25. Just be more careful next time.
  26. No, we walk down the stairs. We don't jump.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

PRAY FOR THIS BABY GIRL PLEASE


Here is a precious little baby named Veiyah that needs your prayers right now. She is in surgery now. Please go here to read her story. She is having heart surgery at the moment. She is a twin but her sister did not survive and is with Jesus. This family would appreciate your prayers.

THE MESSY ZONE

I have told you before that I am nosey, well.....I'm not a nosey person in "real" life (am I?) but apparently I am in "blog" life.....because it never seems to bother me to ask you a question. Of course, I don't mind if you ask me either.


So, let's talk about hot spots today. That's what flylady calls them. You know, the messy zone (a.k.a the Bermuda Triangle of your home where things just seem to disappear). What are those one or two (or three or four or fifteen) spots in your home where clutter seems to multiply? You set one thing down there, and after that, it gives birth to a whole multitude of items.


You may wonder why I said the spot where things just seem to disappear and the spot where things seem to multiply all in one paragraph. That's because both are true. Clutter does multiply. But I also find that it disappears. Because after awhile, I just don't notice it anymore. It becomes a part of the background "decoration" or something. I walk by it one to many times and then I ignore it.


That's why I have "check hotspots" on my daily list on my sidebar. So that I will remember to check them so that things don't pile to high and get out of control. Checking it keeps it under control. Sort of.....if you check it....which I haven't despite what my sidebar says. Hey, I'm a grown woman and I don't have to do everything my sidebar tells me to do....sorry! please forgive the attitude here.....little defensive I guess....hehehe!


Where are your hot spots? I have a place on my counter top that people like to pile things. Also on top of the microwave of all places. Seriously, the microwave???? Also, on the floor next to my side of the bed. Ooooohhh, hot zone. Nobody sees it (well, except for me) and it can be the perfect stash and dash place. But shhhhh!...don't tell anybody.


I think one smart thing would be to examine why these places are a hot zone. Why do you pile things there, of all places? Is it because you need to see them to remember them (are you a visual person?), or do you not have a filing system? Perhaps you just don't have a place for them yet. Or maybe you just don't feel like putting them away.


Look at your hot zones and ask yourself why they're there. What isn't working out? Ask yourself if they have anything in common (are they all papers, clothes, books?). Ask yourself what you could do to get rid of this hot zone once and for all.


Maybe you need a special place for library books, or a catch-all for papers to be filed. Perhaps you need an errand basket for the things you need to take with you on errands, or a spot for your husband's keys, wallet, cell phone. Maybe the newspapers need their own "home."

Whatever the spot, see if you can figure out how to fix it. Then, you'll be spot-less! (Sorry, couldn't resist).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

THE D-WORD: DEBT

Earlier my husband and I were talking about the d-word....No, not divorce, that has never been an option to even think about, less much discuss. No, I'm talking about the other d-word: debt.

I had seen a plasma t.v. and made a joke saying that we should buy it. My husband laughed and said "Yeah, like we would ever do that." You see, our old tube-type t.v. (how's that for a technical word) is still working just fine, and it doesn't need replacing. We just really don't do upgrades.

We started talking about our earlier years, when we had credit card debt. Back in the day when we lived differently than we do now. When we made different decisions than we do now. When we could "afford" to use our credit card. When we made some poor choices, and "paid" for it later, in more ways than one.

We never were extreme in any one area. We charged some clothes, but never a whole new wardrobe all at once. We never charged a whole roomful of furniture. We charged a vacation (after several years of marriage we felt we deserved one!). We financed cars, not new, but still we had to make payments on them. We had some car repairs. We charged Christmas. We charged meals. We didn't plan, we didn't have a budget. We never got into a huge mass of debt but for us, it was scary.

We never gave a lot of thought to charging. It was before kids so we were both working and figured the money was there. We used our credit card as if it were cash in the bank.

I do think what they say about instant gratification is true. It's so nice and easy to just whip out that credit card and get what you want. And wow, you can even get your payments deferred for awhile with some purchases! Wow, what a "deal."

It is so easy to spend plastic. It is so easy for me to walk into a store and use my debit card instead of cash. And it's so easy to spend more money that way. Don't have cash? Hey, whip out the debit card. Woohoo! "Free" money!

At the beginning of our marriage we had an agreement that we would never spend more than $100 without talking to one another about it first. We both had to agree to the purchase. That kept us accountable. We couldn't do things like buy a new car, an expensive coat or a motorcycle (like an ex-coworker's husband did and let me tell you, she wasn't pleased) without the other person knowing and agreeing. Now, with me being home and the kids and all, we wouldn't spend anywhere near that amount without talking about it first.

We felt like we could "afford" to use our credit card because we weren't to concerned about paying it off. After all, we were just buying that one $30 thing....right? It's not like we couldn't afford the $30. Well, after one to many of those our credit card bill started going up. Then a few car repairs went on it. We took a "much-deserved" vacation. More debt.

Pretty soon, we had more debt than we could reasonably pay off that month. That's when it all starts. You can't pay your debt off that month, but you're not worried because you can make the monthly minimum payment, right?

It's a trap, people, to view our purchases that way. To view using a credit card as if it's the same as cash. To view something you can't afford and say that it's o.k. because you can afford the minimum payment. That's how you get into trouble. That's how we got into trouble.

I know alot of people do it, we've done it, and if you are comfortable living that way then please do not take offense at my words. They are just meant to encourage you and provoke thought, not offense.

If you're feeling a little uncomfortable with your debt, even if you can afford the monthly payments, then perhaps you might want to consider not putting anything on credit for awhile (even if you really, really want it). Don't buy the item and apply that money to your debt instead. You're not going to get out of debt if you keep adding to it.

The next time you're tempted to put something on credit, ask yourself how long it will take you to pay it off. Ask yourself what you want more, that item or to be debt free. Maybe it won't be worth buying after all.

Monday, February 9, 2009

MAKING YOUR HOME SING MONDAY: GO TO BED ON TIME!

I hope you guys aren't bored with these Making Your Home Sing Monday! posts. I'm kind of having a little fun with it. For one thing, I think we could all use a little encouragement in making our homes a joyful place to be. I know I could. Also, it gives me something to post about on Mondays, hehehe!. If you are bored, please bear wth me. I'm sure I'll tired of it eventually........lol!

Have any of you ever fallen asleep while watching t.v. at night? Or while reading a book or listening to music? Or while putting your kids to bed (you know who you are, I'm just saying......). Is it because you've had to many late nights?

Have you ever struggled to stay awake the next day? Or struggled to get through your day with very little energy and very little sleep? Or snapped at somebody because you just didn't have the patience? Perhaps you were having trouble concentrating? Perhaps the day seems overwhelming and long?

Being tired doesn't just make it difficult to get through our day. I don't know about you but I can get a headache when I'm tired. Not only that but it can make me cranky and impatient. It can also cause me to oversleep and then I wake up already behind in my schedule. I also don't eat very well when I'm tired. I can find myself snacking and grabbing the wrong foods to give me "energy." Someday when I'm gone you can say about me "She was tired."

Sometimes we are tempted to stay up late to grab some "me" time. Oh come on, it can't be just me that does this. I know there is somebody out there who stayed up to late last night. I can't have been the only one (well, I hope I'm not the only one). 'Fess up! Noone will ever know.....except everyone who reads this blog and the comments, of course.

Don't ya just love that "me" time? The time when the house is quiet and you have it all to yourself? Wooohooo! Nobody wants your attention, nobody wants anything of you, it's just you and the t.v., or the book, or the computer, or the whatever. You can sit there and scarf down that chocolate donut and noone will ever know. Noone but you and your hips.

Sometimes it's not "me" time. Sometimes it's staying up late folding the laundry, or cleaning the kitchen, or straightening up the house or flip flopping the laundry. You have pushed yourself to the point of exhaustion, or perhaps got your "second wind" as my mom calls it. Then, all of a sudden you're really awake, and now you can't go to sleep.

Perhaps you're lying awake in bed and you can't sleep because you're busy planning what you're going to do the next day. All these thoughts are rolling around in your head, and you just can't stop thinking and planning long enough to relax and fall asleep, or perhaps you're afraid of forgetting something. (Hey, how about putting a pen and a paper next to your bed so you can write it down so you won't forget it?)

Whatever you've got going on, whether it's "me" time or madly cleaning the house or lying awake planning the next day, whatever it is......you need your rest!

If you were a surgeon you would, hopefully, get your rest if you had to perform surgery the next day. If you were a pilot hopefully you would be doing the same thing so that you can stay awake to fly. If you were a professional athlete hopefully you'd be getting your rest too for the big day!

No, perhaps someone's life isn't literally in your hands if you've stayed up to late the night before. But Mom, their precious little hearts are in your hands. Your kind words, your loving actions, your encouragement, all of that means so much to those you love. Even if you're not a mom, there is someone out there that you mean so much to.

So if you find yourself dragging through your day or snapping at those you love, give yourself a break and get plenty of rest that night! Go to bed on time!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

INTERNET CAFE DEVOTIONS -QUESTIONING GOD



The Internet Cafe today is talking about a woman named Helen (a British medical missionary) who, in her walk with the Lord, suffered many difficult things. Though she was fearful, her desire was to grow closer to the Lord. One awful day, something horrible happened and she barely survived. Even during her long recovery, however, she desired to go back and serve the Lord. David Jeremiah said of her in his book "Captured By Grace:"

"There was no bitterness within her, though Helen had experienced terrible, mindless evil. It would have been so easy to demand of God why He allowed these atrocities, when she had been so faithful to His service. But in her heart of hearts, she felt that God’s question would be, “Can you thank Me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?”

For today’s Chat we are to give our thoughts about this question, as if it were being asked of us by our Lord, "When faced with difficulty, can you thank Me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?"

This is truly the heart of the matter. Can we trust God and not question Him? Can we rest in His loving arms and not wrestle or struggle with the Why? Can we trust in His sovereignty? Do we even have a right to question Him?

Romans 9:21 says "But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"

Sometimes the temptation is to say to God "Well, that's just not fair. I am following you and yet you allowed this to happen. It's just not fair!!!"

Why are we surprised when suffering comes? When illness comes? When difficulties come? We live in a fallen world. We have never been promised that there wouldn't be pain or suffering, or unfairness. But God has promised that He would walk with us though the fire (Isa. 43:1, 2), He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Joshua 1:5), He has promised that He is continuing to work in our lives (Phil. 1:6) and that He will never give us more than we can bear (I Cor. 10:13).

It can be difficult to keep walking and keep trusting when difficulties come, but that is where our faith comes in. We pick up our shield of faith (Eph. 6:16) and we put on the armor of Christ and we stand firm in our faith. Trusting that He is in control and is doing what is best for us. Taking Him at His promises.

We are putting feet to our faith here and we continue to move forward, trusting God. We don't stop and listen to the enemy. We keep moving forward in the Lord. It it trusting Him in the dark, even though we cannot see we trust Him. God is either a liar or He can be trusted. He can't be both. Since we know that God cannot be a liar, than we know that we can trust Him to keep His promise to be faithful. We know that we can trust that what He is doing is for our good and our growth and His glory.

When difficulties come, I have to ask myself: Why shouldn't I have to suffer? What makes me so special over everyone else? Do they deserve to suffer, but not I? Who do I think I am?
I have to keep it in perspective. God is doing a work in me, in you, and sometimes it is not what we expected. Sometimes it hurts. He is drawing us closer to Him, He is making us more like Him. Like a clay pot has to go through fire to be purified, so do we sometimes.

I have had moments of suffering in my life, I have lost people I loved, I have gone through difficult times that tried me to the core. But always, God has been faithful. These are the times when you want to, need to, offer Him the sacrifice of praise.

Saying "yes, Lord, Thy will be done," even when it hurts. Our adversary cannot work in an atmosphere of praise. We praise God, even when it hurts, especially when it hurts, whether we feel like praising Him or not. Faith is not based on feelings, ever.

Helen did not make it through her suffering because she was an exceptional person (although I imagine she was). She made it through because she had an exceptional God. And so do we. He did not fail her and He will not fail us. Ever. Please head over here to the Internet Cafe to see what others are saying.

MR. FRUGAL FIX-IT HIMSELF

My toilet has issues. Isn't that a great post starter? Don't you feel like you could have gone all day (and maybe all night) without hearing that?

Well, it's true. My toilet has felt like it's needed to spread the love a little. In fact, it was spreading the love a little to much. So my hubby fixed it and now it doesn't anymore.

I have to say that besides the fact that I love my husband for himself, I love the fact that he can fix things. He wasn't born that way either. Unlike one of my brothers who was born with a wrench in one hand and a hammer in the other.

My husband has fixed several things over the years of our marriage. He has fixed the toilet, tub, sink, broken toys, treadmill, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and several cars, not to mention a few other things I probably forgot. This has saved us money many times.

I asked him how he's learned to do all these things and he just shrugged his shoulders and said "I don't know......you just learn as you go, I guess. They were mostly easy fixes." Wow. Inspirational words. Just gets you right there doesn't it? I may shed a tear.

I remember soon after we were married I was downstairs in the basement and it started raining indoors, right on my head. I was dismayed to learn that the rain was coming from the toilet upstairs. Fun.

So I headed to the phone to ask my parents who they used for a plumber and my husband said "What are you doing?" So I promply said that I was going to get the number of a good plumber. My sweet frugal hubby replied that there was no reason to call a plumber yet, that he would see if he could fix it himself. And he did.

That doesn't mean that we don't know when to call in for reinforcements when we need it. There have been things that have needed the skill of a professional, and we absolutely will call them when needed.

But there are many things that a person can fix themselves, and my husband does what he can. He needs to, because I've been known to break a thing or two in my day. Like when I broke the blender and the Magic Bullet both in the same day. Yeah, we're still wondering about that one.

Friday, February 6, 2009

WHEN IN DOUBT, GO TO COSTO

Is anybody else surprised that today is Friday? I mean, seriously folks, really? Friday? That has nothing to do with this post at all but just thought I'd mention it.


Yesterday morning I found myself in another part of town killing time while waiting for someone to return. So rather than sit in my car for an hour and a half I went to Costco.


Did I mention that I heart that store? You could live at Costco. I mean, think about it. They have food, books, cds, dvds, electronic things that I know nothing about, mattresses, pillows, sheets and blankets, towels, clothes, shoes, furniture, medicine, fans, heaters, cookware, plates, utensils, glassware, napkins, pop (that makes me very happy), dog food (not that I had my dogs with me), cat food (not that I have one), tires (not that I need any), diapers (not that I need any of those either), toilet paper (I need that), kleenex (need that too), diamonds (yeah, like that's gonna happen), and lots of other things.


I just wonder at night, after everyone goes home, if there is a family that sneaks out and lives there. I know they want you to think that they are restocking the store and that people are running around driving forklifts and cleaning the floor and things, but I don't think that's really what's going on. I think that somebody lives there. (Remember they have bathrooms too.) Why else would they have all that stuff if nobody was living there?


It's like that Disneyland myth. They want you to believe they spend all night cleaning the park and getting it ready for the next day. I don't think that's true either, somebody lives there too. I know it. After all, that's why they call in the "happiest place on earth."


In case you're wondering about this lame post, I have a cold and am tired and just don't have the energy to write so this post is the best I can do. Sorry! So what store could you live at because I know that I could live at Costco.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

LESSONS I'VE LEARNED FROM MY PUPPY





Everything I've ever needed to learn in life I am learning from my puppy. My puppy is so cute! And so smart. She is teaching me so much. For example:

  • Sometimes it just doesn't matter how cute you are. People still say no.
  • Sometimes you just have to drag your behind across the floor to get anywhere.
  • When you are caught doing something you shouldn't be doing, look innocent.
  • Whenever someone asks you to do something you don't want to do, just ignore them.
  • Whenever someone isn't looking, eat off their plate.
  • If you bark loudly enough, somebody will listen.
  • Don't cry over spilled milk, lap it up.
  • If you're having a bad hair day, embrace it.
  • If you have to scratch, scratch as if your life depended on it.
  • If somebody accidentally kicks you because you got in their way, forgive them.
  • Follow those you love everywhere.
  • If somebody drops something within your reach - it's yours.
  • If somebody drops something and you can carry it away - it's yours
  • If you carry it away and they don't notice - it's yours
  • Don't chew on things people value. They don't like it.
  • Don't chew on people. It hurts and they don't like it.
  • Don't bite people on the nose. Bite them on the hand instead.
  • Always have puppy breath. People love that.
  • When people you love leave you home alone, cry as loudly as you can.
  • Tear the house apart while they're gone. That'll teach them not to leave you.
  • When they come back home, be happy to see them and jump up and down.
  • Don't come whenever they call you, you may not like why they're calling.
  • Sleep as much as you can.
  • If you want something someone has, wait until their back is turned to take it.
  • Don't be afraid to eat crumbs off the floor. Be thankful.
  • Don't be picky.
  • Don't judge people by how they look.
  • Love everybody.
  • You don't ever have to be bored. Just sink your teeth into something and don't let go.
  • Running in circles doesn't get you anywhere. No matter how fast you go.
  • Don't eat so fast that it makes you throw up.
  • If somebody comes toward you that you don't trust, growl. Then run.
  • Beg for what you want. Keep begging.
  • Make your home your whole world. Make your family your whole life.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

WHERE ARE YOU GETTING YOUR SELF-ESTEEM?

People, if your mind was a tape recorder, what words or sentences would be playing over and over? What would you be hearing? What are the words that play over and over again in your head and in your heart? Are they words of condemnation or affirmation? What makes you feel good about yourself? What makes you feel bad about yourself? Where are you getting your self-esteem? On what do you base your self-worth?


There are many women out there struggling with their self-esteem. Struggling to be good enough. To look good enough. To be accepted. Trying to have and do it all. Juggling, always juggling. Trying to keep the home running smoothly. Trying to keep it all together. Striving to do their best, if not better. Sometimes fighting their own expectations, or someone else's.


Do you have phrases that play over and over in your head? Phrases that cause you to wonder, is it really worth it? Am I really making a difference? Do the words "failure" or "not good enough" or "you should feel guilty because you don't measure up" go through your mind? If they aren't your own words, do the hurtful words of others go through your mind?


Do not listen to the negative lies that may be playing in your head. They are from the enemy. Turn the tape recorder off. On those days when you are having a difficult day, do not listen to the negative lies that make you feel like you aren't a good mother, that you aren't a good wife, that you will never be good enough.

II Cor. 10:3-5 says that "(3), For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. (4), The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (5), We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

We don't have to think about every negative thought that pops into our brain. We don't have to dwell on it. These verses tell us that we are to take our thoughts captive for Christ. We take those thoughts prisoner. We don't use worldy weapons but Godly ones. We put on the full armor of God (Heb. 6: 10-17), and we stand firm in our faith, with our sword (the Spirit) and our shield (of faith in Christ) and our helmet of protection (our salvation).

We have to think truth. Phil. 4:8 tells us what we should be thinking about. It tells us that whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy we should be thinking about those things. Phil 4: 13 tells us how we are to do it. We do it in the strength of the Lord, not our own strength.

We should not be dwelling on how we may feel like a failure, or how we just aren't good enough, or how we totally messed it up yet again. We have to ask ourselves is this true what I'm thinking? Is it right? Is it pure? Is it lovely? Is it admirable? Is it excellent or praiseworthy?

Of course, we do need to repent and asking for forgiveness if God is convicting us about something. Once we have done that we need to accept His forgiveness and move on. We don't need to continue to beat ourselves up over it.

However, I am talking about when our self-esteem is suffering, about the times that we don't feel like we're good enough, or feel like we've failed at our task at hand (whatever it may be). If we've failed, is it true that we are a failure? Because honestly, just because you messed up, does that mean you really truly are a failure...forever? Is that thought true? Is it right? Is it pure and lovely? Sure, you're going to fail. I'm going to fail. We are not perfect. Only God is perfect. And guess what, He loves us anyway.

John 3:17 says "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." Do you hear that? Jesus wasn't sent to condemm us but to save us. Because we aren't perfect, and we never will be no matter how hard we try. But that's o.k., because He is.

I ask again, where are you getting your self-worth, your self-esteem? From Jesus? Or from yourself?

So next time that tape recorder starts playing some negative thoughts in your head just turn it off and turn to the "Jesus channel!" Because He loves you just as you are but He doesn't want to leave you as you are. He is working in you so be patient, my sisters in Christ!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

ARE YOU WAITING TO BE FINANCIALLY RESCUED?





Lynnae over at beingfrugal.net is hosting Tightwad Tuesday again today.


I was talking with a family friend recently and he was joking around about wanting to win the lottery. Then he commented, "I guess I'd have more of a chance if I actually bought a ticket." We were laughing as he kept joking about how he just wanted someone to give him money and solve all his financial problems for him.


Later, it struck me how sometimes, without really realizing it, many of us may just be waiting around for someone to rescue us. Sometimes there are very real changes that we can make that will improve our current financial situation. However, they may involve a little work or a sacrifice on our part, so instead we hold out hope that someone or something will "rescue" us.


Instead of making positive changes in our lives now we just wait, hoping for something to change. Hoping to be rescued.


But what is better? To sacrifice a little here and there in order to reach our financial goals or to sit around waiting to be rescued? To be moving forward, even baby step by baby step, towards financial freedom or to be stagnant and unmoving, hoping against hope that somehow, somewhere there will be an answer to your problems? Is any move, no matter how small, a good move?


When there is a huge debt to be paid off, or a huge repair bill coming up on the house or car it can seem like the little things you do to save money aren't worth it. When you owe thousands tomorrow saving pennies today just somehow doesn't seem as important.

It can seem like it's just not enough. You can say to yourself that buying that one coffee is not going to pay off the $20,000 debt you have. The money you save by not eating out just this once is not going to pay off the credit cards.


You can tell yourself you need thousands of dollars so what is the big deal if you buy that hamburger today or that coffee tomorrow? Saving that small amount is not going to get you any closer to paying off your debt is it? Well, yes, it is. The little things will add up into bigger things.


We need to look at our money differently. We need to look at debt differently. We need to be good stewards of our money. We need to look at our spending habits as a means to end our debt if we have any. We can look at our current spending habits and determine if we are spending wisely in light of our future goals.


If we're in debt, whether it's a mortgage debt or credit card debt or whatever, adjusting our spending habits may not get us out of debt on it's own, but it might help keep us from getting into further debt. We may need to evaluate our lifestyle and look into further ways that we can save. At least we're doing something. When we sit there and wait for the big money to rescue us, we may be waiting a very long time. Please go here for more frugal ideas.

Monday, February 2, 2009

MAKING YOUR HOME SING MONDAY: MAKE THE CHOICE

Just another Making Your Home Sing! Monday post today. I woke up to a bit of a mess. That can happen on busy days when you are gone alot. And we were in and out all weekend.

You would think that your home would stay clean when you're all gone, because there is noone home messing up. That's probably true for the most part. But in our case, we were running in and out, making food to take to a potluck, being home long enough to start a project but not home long enough to finish it, or just daily living without the daily picking up process.

So, today is my digging-myself-out day. I just wanted to encourage you all to remember that every meal you make, every sock that you wash, whatever you are doing, you are doing it for the Lord. By serving your family you are serving the Lord.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the daily process of making meals, cleaning laundry, making beds, changing diapers or wiping noses, answering questions, working, shopping, etc. that we forget why we're doing it.

We forget that we are doing this because we chose to do it. Because we chose to have a family. We chose to say "yes" to marriage and "yes" to family. We chose to say "yes" to the Lord when we surrended our lives to Him.

Are you still saying "yes?" Are you still surrendering? Are you still choosing marriage and family? Or are you getting so bogged down in dishes, diapers, laundry, or teenage drama that you are having trouble remembering why you said yes in the first place?

Just remember, in the midst of any mess or any drama that you are in the middle of today, that you have the glorious opportunity to serve your family today and every day. You have the wonderful opportunity to serve them and love them like noone else can. Because you are his wife. Because you are their mother. Noone else can love them like you can. Noone else has the opportunity and noone else has the "right." You have the wonderful opportunity to minister to your family and yourself today by being thankful, by being content.

If you are single, you have the opportunity to love yourself today. To be patient with yourself and stop beating yourself up over past things that you may or may not have been at fault about. Give it up to the Lord and leave it there. Come home to a peaceful home that you are making just for you. You deserve a peaceful happy home and you don't need to wait for a husband to do it. Stop putting your life on hold while waiting to make a home. Make one for you. You're important too.

If you are married, you are making a haven of rest for your husband when he comes home from a hard day at work. Even if you've worked hard all day yourself. You are still the barometer for your home. If you have children you are in the process of raising your children up in the Lord. What an awesome responsibility but a joyous one as our Savior walks with us.

You have the opportunity to create a home of gloom and doom and drudgery that noone wants to come home to and noone wants to stay in. You also have the opportunity to create a home of peace and laughter and joy and love. What will you choose to do today? I choose to make my home sing and I trust my Lord to help me do it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

AT THE WELL: THE HEART OF TITUS 2


The topic for today's visit At The Well is "The Heart of Titus 2."

Here are the discussion questions: When you read the Scripture found in Titus 2: 2-5, how do you see this playing out in your own life? What are your areas of strength? Of weakness? If you could set some sort of goal in relation to this Scripture, what would it be?


“But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." Titus 2: 1-5

I love these verses in Titus 2. They are such a challenge and an encouragement to me. Through every stage of our life we are to encourage one another, lift one another up and build one another in the Lord. Every woman is an older woman, every woman is a younger one.

It doesn't have to be about physical age. You can be younger than someone physically but be older than them in your spiritual walk in Christ. You can be younger than someone but be able to encourage them and minister to them with the things that the Lord is teaching and showing you. You can be older than someone and be able to share with them some of what God has been teaching you in your walk with Him.

We older woman are to live our lives with a purpose. Our purpose is to live for Him. We shouldn't be busybodies, sitting around and gossiping and complaining that the younger women are not raising their children the way that we raised ours. We want to be builders, encouragers.

We want to encourage one another in the wonderful blessing of being a keeper of our home and serving our husbands and our children in the Lord. We want to be in the construction business of building our homes, not the destruction business.

There is never a retirement age for serving the Lord. We are never "done" serving Him and ministering. We are to use our gifts to build up the body of Christ. He has given us gifts and we need to use them to serve and minister to others.


These verses show that we are to continue to mentor, to serve, to encourage one another as we grow older. Sometimes, that serving may include helping out in the nursery while a young mother is in the service being ministered too. Sometimes it may be offering an encouraging word, a meal, an offer to babysit. Sometimes it may be that we need to give a word of comfort, a listening ear, encouragement or wise counsel.

I love to encourage younger women in their walk with the Lord as well as in their role as wife and mother and keeper of their home. A young mother might feel very lonely and isolated sometimes being home all day. I love to connect with them as I can.

The problem is that as we age, sometimes our lives can get so busy. Or we may feel that we've raised our kids, or have almost raised them, and we don't want to go back to that stage. We like the peace and quiet so we may not want to volunteer to babysit or help out in the nursery or spend some time visiting with a young mom and her children.

Sometimes the younger generation of mothers is picking up the slack because the older generation of mothers is not doing their job. There are lots of things you can do to build or encourage a young mother.
You could start with helping out in the church nursery, or taking her a meal so that she doesn't have to cook that day. Offer to teach a Sunday School class and teach her child about the Lord like someone taught your child when they were younger. Send her a note, a card, or call her up and ask "How can I pray for you today?"

My desire, as I prayerfully read through these verses, is that the Lord will impress someone on my heart that He wants me to minister to this week, with either a phone call, a note, a letter or whatever He shows me. Please go here to see what others are saying At The Well!