Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Big Brother's Love



Caleb and Sarah

Can I be a servant?

Jada isn't feeling well today (nothing serious...but she's been laying on the couch all morning). Rachel made her toast and has been taking care of her. After doing this for a while, Rachel came to me and asked, "Can I be Jada's servant today?"

I of course told her, "Yes"!!

She told Jada that anything she needs, she just needs to ask for it. We'll see how long it lasts. It is nice to see a little bit of a servants heart in your children, isn't it?

Deeper Thoughts - Matthew 11:25-27 - The faith of a child

11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children. 11:26 Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will. 11:27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him.


Jesus turns in prayer to his Father. There are several great things in these few small verses. First it reiterates that God reveals himself to whom he chooses. He chooses those who are like children...trusting...having simple faith. The wise and intelligent see themselves as too important to have to trust in anyone besides themselves. Now, obviously, this isn't saying that someone who is intelligent and wise can not be a child of God. But, that wisdom and intelligence does nothing to get them to God. All he wants is simple faith...trusting him and NOT ourselves.

Jesus ends the prayer by letting us know that the only way to know the Father is through Him...and that Jesus must decide to reveal the Father to us. Again, letting us know that unless we are chosen by him, we can never truly understand.


Thank you Father that all we need is simple faith. There are no intelligent quotients for Heaven. Thank you that you gave Jesus all authority over everything...and that he can reveal you to us. Help us to have the faith of child.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Making your Home Sing Monday


Today I decided to participate in Making your Home Sing Mondays. You can go here for the rules to participate.

My oldest loves to have a schedule with check-off boxes for his school assignments. I make him one in word...and write each of his assignments on it. Then as he finishes an assignment he checks it off. Over the last several months I haven't made him any schedules. The last few months of pregnancy and first few weeks with a newborn have left me too tired to get his schedule around. We've been doing a lighter load (math, grammar and reading) over those weeks, so I just told him to do the next thing.

Well, the last two months have really been a struggle to get even those minimum subjects done. Every day was a battle. So, yesterday I made up his schedules for this week. I even made a schedule for son #2 and my schedule as well. This morning my oldest set right to work...without complaint...and worked until all his work was done. It's amazing what a difference that little piece of paper makes for him! The morning was calm(er) and productive. This definitely made my home sing!

(Unfortunately the list is not a motivator for son #2...I still need to figure out what motivates him!).

Matthew 11

This chapter begins with a eulogy of John the Baptist. John is in prison and sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the one they have been expecting. Jesus tells them to tell John all of the miraculous things he has done (Healing the blind, lame, lepers, deaf, raising the dead) and the preaching of the good news to the poor.

Jesus then turns to the crowd and tells about the greatness of John the Baptist. He is the fulfillment of prophecy from Malachi 3:1 (the messenger who will prepare the way). He also comments that John was rejected just as He will be. That John abstained from eating and drinking...and they say he had a demon. Jesus came eating and drinking and they call him a glutton and a drunk.

Jesus continues with condemning the cities he has performed miracles in for their lack of repentance. If Sidon and Tyre...Sodom and Gomorrah had seen such things they would have repented. The judgement on theses cities will be greater than that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus was rejected even after seeing his miraculous deeds which could only be from God.

The chapter ends with Jesus revealing the message of the Gospel. No one knows the Father except the Son and those he chooses to reveal Him to. We can find rest for our weary souls if we just turn our burden over to Jesus.

Menu Plan Monday


Well, we're back to planning menus this week...I'm very thankful for all the meals brought in from ladies at church over the last two weeks. This week we're keeping things simple...and loving on our baby!!

Monday - Leftover beef stew, bread (thanks Gen!!)
Tuesday - Chicken Nuggets, carrots, fruit
Wednesday - Pancakes and sausage
Thursday - Grilled Pork chops, baked potatoes,
Friday - Jo's Birthday Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad
Saturday - Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Sunday - Pizza Party!!

See more menus here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Living Lovely with Famly

This week at Mt. Hope Chronicles Living Lovely with Family we're discussing special treats, random surprises, and seasonal activities.

I'm typing with one hand, while holding the baby, so I will just list a few.

Since it's March Madness time, I'll tell you about filling out our brackets. We each fill out our brackets, and keep track of points. Whoever wins gets to pick a place for us to go out to eat. So, we have a little friendly competition...then enjoy dinner out as a family.

We also let each kid pick someplace to go out to for their birthday. This ranges from a nicer restaurant to Chuck E Cheese to a cheaper restaurant and a movie at the dollar theater. Again, we all get to go out together as a family and each kid gets to do something special.

Special treats make me think of food. Some special treats we make only occasionally are lemon shake-ups, fluffy hot chocolate, oven baked caramel corn, and Cheeseball.

We like to take hikes in the warmer months. We always take a drive with hot chocolate at Christmas time to look at lights. We carve a pumpkin together in the fall.

Check out some more ideas here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sarah Elizabeth




Sarah Elizabeth born on Friday the 13th at 12:05 am. She weighed 9 lb 8 oz and was 20 inches long. Welcome home!! Blogging will probably be sporadic over the next few weeks as we get this little one to learn how to sleep at night!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Loving my Husband Friday

I've decided to start Loving my Husband Fridays. It will be a time to focus on our marriages and our husbands. I know that sometimes I focus more on the negatives in my marriage than the positive. I want this to be a weekly reminder to think of the things you appreciate about your husband, the things that you love about him, the things you admire. Hopefully, by focusing once a week on something positive we will build stronger more intimate marriages.

Maybe even send your husband a link, if he doesn't read your blog. Everybody loves to be praised and appreciated! Also, while you are writing your blog post for the week, remember to pray for your marriage and your husband.

You can add your name to Mr. Linky...and pray for the marriages of other ladies, as well, as we read of how they love their husbands.




This week I've been trying to keep the house clean and ready...since I'm expecting little Sarah any day. On Monday morning, I went back into my room to make our bed...and it was already made. Then, Tuesday morning the same thing happened! I went in Wednesday morning and the bed was made again...it took me until Wednesday to realize that Aaron was going out of his way to make the bed (and pick up the dirty clothes on the floor) just for me! I appreciate his thoughtfulness and servants heart. Thanks Aaron
!




Thursday, March 12, 2009

Living lovely with Family


I stumbled across Mt. Hope Academy last week, and noticed she was hosting a weekly series about Living Lovely with family. I decided I wanted to check in to get some ideas on how to be more purposeful in my family life. This first week is the daily edition - it is about what you do daily to connect with your family. Check out her blog here, and see what she and others have to say!

This is an area where I need to strive and grow. I spend pretty much 24 hours a day with my kids...but I often neglect the purposeful interactions designed to produce those lasting memories. I am going to try, after the adjustment of adding our newest member of the family (hopefully soon!), to make sure this is added to my to-do list everyday!

What we do now:
  • My husband reads a read-aloud and bible passages each afternoon or evening (depending on his work schedule)
  • We homeschool, so I daily have one on one interactions with each child as we go over their work, learn new things, and discuss what they've learned
  • Also, along with homeschooling, we study history and science all together as a family
  • Eating together as a family
  • We have several chore times a day where we all are doing our own jobs, but we are working together

Things I'd would like to do in the future:

  • I would like to do more day to day cooking with the kids. It is often easier to just do it myself without littles underfoot, but I think I'm missing those bonding opportunities.
  • As the kids get older, I would like to do a "tea time" in the afternoon where we can enjoy a snack and discuss what we are learning.
  • Take time everyday to do something fun together as a family (playing a game, art projects, hikes, hands-on school projects)

Things I love Thursday - The Ocean


I love the ocean. I won't be able to make a trip there this year, so I just have to revel in my memories. I love the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. I love the smell of the salt. I love the sand squishing between my toes. Most of all I love how big the ocean feels...it is someplace that I can really feel the majesty of God. It helps me to keep myself in perspective...I am so small compared to God and his majesty.

Last time we were at the ocean (a year and a half ago!) I went out at night and just stood on the shore. Wow! It was an amazing experience. I felt so small. I felt engulfed by God. It is something I recommend doing at least once in your life.

Go here to see more things that people love.

Deeper thoughts on Matthew 10:37-39

10:37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 10:38 And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it.

With the way things are in this world, I sometimes think about what would happen if Christianity becomes illegal. Sometimes I think it isn't too far off. One of my biggest fears in this scenario involves my children. What happens to them if I take a stand for Christ? Are they killed along with me...guilty by association. Will there be a way to hide them? Are they taken from me and indoctrinated with anti-God propaganda? The latter choice is the most frightening to me. I have several small children who have not made a decision to follow Christ. I have a baby that is due to be born in just a few short weeks. If they are taken when they are too young to understand the gospel...then indoctrinated...will they be lost for eternity? My Mommy's heart can't stand the thought.

But, these verses make it clear that if the choice comes down to saving my children or denying Christ...there is only one choice. I must take a stand for him. I can only trust that he will protect my children's hearts...that they will still be able to find the truth without the influence of me (and possibly with the influence of those who are anti-christ). He always takes precedence.

We need to stand for Christ when our life is on the line. But, we need to live our life for Him when our life is safe. This almost seems harder. Living a life completely for Him. Lord help us to live in this way.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Deeper thoughts on Matthew 10:32-33 - Acknowledging Christ Before Men


10:32 “Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 10:33 But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven.


Wow. What a profound message. If I deny Christ here on this earth...he will deny me. If I acknowledges Him...He will acknowledge me. These verses should define the way we live our lives. Those around us should know that Christ is the one we are living for.

We lead such cushy lives here in America. We really don't have the opportunity to take a stand for Christ like so many of our brothers and sisters around the world do. But...you never know how much longer that will last. I think having these verses written on our hearts will be so important when the tough times come. It's easy to acknowledge Him...and not deny Him...when there is no cost. But if the time ever comes when the cost is great we must do the same.

I think we need to daily keep our brothers and sisters around the world in prayer...they must live out these verses daily. They are losing their physical lives for the sake of Christ. They must decide to acknowledge Christ even though it could mean their death.

Lord...I thank you that you made the ultimate sacrifice for me. I pray that you will help me to live out my faith in my everyday life. That I take a stand for you...letting those around me know that you are the Only Way. I also pray for those around the world who have to make a choice...to deny you or acknowledge you. Give them the strength they need to stand for you. Give them peace. Amen.


Visit Megan to get more encouragement from God's word.

Wordless Wednesday - Our yard, or a lake?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Matthew 10

This chapter is about the sending out of the disciples. Jesus gives them instructions on what they are to do. They are not to take anything with them...they are to rely on the generosity of those they are ministering to.

He lets them know that things will be tough...they will be persecuted for His name. They will be hated...but he encourages them that if they endure they will be saved. He tells them when they are persecuted to flee to somewhere else. They are not to be fearful to lose their life...because their soul cannot be killed by them. These verses are such an encouragement:

Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 10:30 Even all the hairs on your head are numbered. 10:31 So do not be afraid; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

10:32 “Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 10:33 But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven.


Jesus also made it clear that he did not come to bring peace...which is what most thought the messiah was coming to do. He was going to turn family against family member. He is to be more important than anyone else...even our parents...even our children.

10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it.

What an encouragement to live your live for Him.

Practical Tip Tuesday - swish and swipe


My tip from today comes straight from Flylady. When you are done getting ready in the morning, take a couple extra minutes and do a quick wipe of the sink and toilet. I have the disposable disinfecting wipes that I use for this (which you can usually get a decent deal on at Walgreens with coupons), but you could easily do a quick spray and wipe with cleaner and rag. This keeps the sink and toilet from ever getting too nasty, and makes it presentable if anyone should drop in. I try to do this in the main bath every morning...it literally only takes a minute. Rachel has the job of doing the little half bath...she has her vinegar spray bottle and rags...but I only have her do the sink (which gets pretty gross with 4 kids brushing their teeth in it).

Go here for more practical tips.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Menu

Monday - French Toast, Scrambled Eggs, Sausage

Tuesday - Colorful Kielbasa, Pears, Salad (didn't eat this last week)

Wednesday - Tacos, Spanish Rice, Peaches

Thursday - Pork Chops, applesauce, corn, Sliced Baked Potatoes

Friday - Chicken Nuggets, fruit or Out

Saturday - Stromboli, chips, carrot sticks

Sunday - Pizza Party for Josiah's birthday

Matthew 9

Jesus starts out this chapter by forgiving a man's sins. I find it interesting that he forgives his sins because of the faith of the friends. I'll have to look into it a little more, that doesn't seem quite right. But, anyway, the Pharisees knew exactly what Jesus was claiming...that he was God. They called him a blasphemer. He then responded, which is easier to forgive sins, or tell this man to walk, and continues to heal the man. This is a clear example of Jesus declaring he is God!

Jesus then called Matthew as his disciple. The Pharisees were, of course, upset that he would spend his time with such sinners as tax collectors. Jesus lets them know that he came for sinners...not those who considered themselves righteous. I often see the same attitude as the Pharisees within our churches. We wouldn't even consider being seen with certain "sinners". We often forget that we are all sinners!

Jesus then goes on to perform several miracles. A man comes, asking Him to raise his dead daughter. As Jesus heads that way, a woman with bleeding issues comes close to touch the hem of his garments...believing this will heal her. Jesus turns to her and tells her her faith has healed her...and she is immediately healed. He then goes and raises the little girl. Then, two blind men approach him, asking to be healed. Jesus asked them if they believed he could do it...they say yes...and Jesus lets them know their faith has healed them. Then finally he drives a demon out of a man who has been mute. He can immediately speak!

Jesus ends the chapter by discussing the great need for people to hear the gospel...and the few workers. Calling on all to go out in service for Him.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Matthew 8

The chapter starts out with several having faith..then being healed. Jesus goes on to heal many others and drive out demons. Once again Matthew shows that this is a fulfillment of prophecy. "He took our weaknesses and carried our diseases."

He then challenged those that follow him to put him first. No turning back to the things of this life...no putting off following him. Do it NOW.

Jesus then calms the raging seas. He has power over nature! The disciples, of course, are scared...and Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith.

The chapter ends with him driving the demons out of two men and into a herd of pigs. The pigs ran over the edge of a cliff and drowned. The owner of the pigs let the town know what happened...and they all wanted Jesus to leave.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Things I Love Thursday!


Today the thing I love is the sound of birds singing. As spring is approaching...and springlike weather is on the horizon, the birds are beginning to sing. It is such a calming and relaxing sound! (O.K., there are some birds that aren't calming or relaxing to listen to...but I'm not talking about them! I'm talking about the songbirds!). One of the simple pleasures given to us as a gift from a loving God! It is a sound that is sure to put a smile on anyone's face.

Go here to see more Things to Love!

Matthew 7

This Chapter is a string of teachings of Jesus. Matthew starts the chapter talking about judging. Jesus tells us not to judge unless we want to be judged. We are to worry about our own sin (which none of us are without). We spend so much time worrying about other peoples sins that we ignore our own.

Then Jesus goes on to say if we ask it will be given to you...if you seek you will find. God will not deny those who are truly seeking. He then talks about the narrow gate that must be entered to reach God. Many will enter the wide gate that leads to destruction, but few will enter the narrow gate...it is difficult.

Jesus also warns us to beware of false teachers. We can tell if a teacher is a false teacher by their fruits. Only a good tree produces good fruit...a bad tree produces bad fruit. He then goes on to discuss those who do many acts in his name who will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Although they do many great things in his name, Jesus does not know them.

He then finishes the chapter in telling the people that if you do as he says you are like man who built his house upon the rock. If you don't heed his words you are like a foolish man who builds his house upon the sand...you will be will be destroyed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park

Matthew 6

~Giving should be a private thing. If we do it to get the reward of the people around us...that will be our reward. Once again, an attitude of humbleness is required.

~Prayer should also be done privately. It is not something to show how pious we are. It is a private time to talk to our Lord. We also are to just repeat words over and over just to make it long. The lord's prayer is focused on us focusing on God and his provision.

~Fasting, likewise, should be a private thing between you and God alone.

~do not store up treasure here on earth, but treasure in heaven. Man...this seems so contrary to everything in our world. I'm not quite sure how far to take it. Should I not have any "things" on this earth. This is going to be something I continue to challenge myself on. Am I treasuring the things on this earth? I think I probably do. Am I serving God or money. Definitely one to think on.

~Don't worry about things. God will provide your needs, so spend your time working for him, and leave it all up to him.

Wow. A pretty profound chapter. So many decisions we make are financial decisions. Will we have more children? No, we can't afford them. Will we help this person? No we don't have the money. Of course, we've spent money we didn't have, and now are having to repay it (mostly for our student loans).

I'm just not sure where the line is. Is it wrong to have new things. Is it wrong to have this computer, and the TV and video games? Should we not have any furniture? Where is the line? Something to think about.

God...Thank you so much for your provision. You truly do provide. And yet with all you give us, we still want more. Forgive me for this. Help me to focus on you and your treasure. Amen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Funny Picture!

Practical Tip Tuesday-Recipe Storage


Keeping track of recipes is a daunting task. I hate having to search through cookbooks for my most used recipes. I read somewhere to use a large binder...but that was just too big and bulky to have lying around while I'm trying to cook in my little kitchen. So, one day I had a revelation! Recipe cards are 4" x 6"....and so are photos. Why don't I use a small photo album? So that is what I did. I bought 4 photo albums.

I divided them into categories (I have main dishes, desserts, misc. (includes sides, salads, breads, breakfast), and then the fourth I have menu items (maybe I'll talk about this some other time) and beverages in).



Then, within each category, I have sub-categories. For example in the mains I have it further divided into Soups, Beef, Chicken and Misc. I used tabs to label each section, so that it is easy to find exactly what I'm looking for.




Then, I just put my recipe cards in. Some, I had to retype to get them to fit the 4 x 6 format...but most were that size anyway. I can remove recipes if they fall out of favor (I haven't had to do that yet!) and I can add new favorites. I only put recipes that I actually use in these...I store ones I want to try elsewhere.

If you want to read more practical tips...check in here.

Deeper thoughts on Matthew 5:12-16 - Salt and Light

5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. 5:15 People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven.

We are to be salt and light to the world. Salt has many important qualities. It preserves, it heals, it flavors. We are to be salt to the world. Through seeing our lives and our faith others should be preserved and healed. As we rub shoulders with others in our everyday lives, we should be a light that points them to the Father and gives honor to him. The world is in darkness. We should be a light that reveals sin and point others to the savior.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Belly Shots!


I decided to take a belly shot today to add to the baby book. I don't know if it can get much bigger!! To compare, here is a picture 6 weeks ago.

Menu

Here is our Menu plan for the week:

Monday: Goulash, Salad, Garlic Bread

Tuesday: Omelets, Hash Browns

Wednesday: Colorful Kielbasa, Pears, Salad

Thursday: Beef & Noodles, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Biscuits

Friday: At my In-laws for Feb-Mar-April birthdays

Saturday: Frozen Pizza, Chips, Fruit

Saturday: Leftovers

In an ideal world...part of my menu would be thrown out the window this week because I go into labor. But, I'm sure that won't be happening! I can hope, though!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Deeper thoughts on Matthew 5:3-11 - The Beatitudes

5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. 5:12 Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way.

  • The beatitudes are beautiful...and opposite of everything we believe in our culture. Blessed are those who follow Jesus with their whole hearts.
  • They will blessed if they mourn...for they will find comfort in Him.
  • I think the next one is a true enigma in our culture. Blessed are those that are meek and humble. Not me...me...me, but looking to others ahead of ourselves. We are told to get ahead, walk over whomever you need to, success is what matters. But not to God! He wants humility. He wants us to realize we can't do it on our own...we NEED Him.
  • Blessed are those who desire righteousness. To hunger and thirst for it...to want to do what God wants no matter what.
  • Blessed are those who show mercy. It is so easy to become self-righteous and look down our nose at others. God wants us to show mercy, though. We have been granted mercy from him...how much more should we show mercy to others. Living a life of forgiveness and Grace is what God wants from us!
  • Blessed are those who are pure of heart. Keeping our hearts from wickedness and our sinful desires and turning our hearts toward Him.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers. We aren't to be stirring up strife. We are to be bringers of peace. Living peacefully among those in our vicinity.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted for Christ. If we live our life for Him and endure persecution because of it we are called blessed! Again...so contrary to what we believe in our culture. We desire to avoid persecution at all costs!

Humility...desiring righteousness...mercy...purity...peacefulness...standing under persecution.

May each one of us try to live our lives in view of these things. Slowly reworking our hearts and lives to align with what God wants for us.

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