Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Learning from a Fresh Version

I grew up learning from the NIV (New International Version) of the Bible. Because of that, it's typically my version of choice when I am reading or studying. Every once in awhile, though, I've started reading from The Message. If you aren't familiar with it, The Message is a fantastic paraphrase of the whole Bible. While I am bent towards studying with the NIV, I enjoy reading a fresh interpretation of particular verses that strike me. This morning, the first part of Ephesians 5 (verses 1-2) jumped out at me in my quiet time, and I wanted to share it with each of you:

"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that."

Today, my prayer for each of us is that we not get overwhelmed by the SAHM life, but that we choose to love our children extravagantly, just as Christ loves us. I also pray that we will desire to show the example of proper behavior to our children. A friend of mine always attaches a quote to her emails that reads something like, "Don't worry that children are always listening, just be aware that they are always watching." It's so true, isn't it?

Enjoy your last two days of our "30 minutes of play for 30 days" challenge of October. Join me tomorrow as I discuss what I've learned through this discipline. Be blessed, mommies! 

Tip #42

My son just got excited about drawing/coloring. Something that I tried is a dry-erase marker on an empty picture frame to use for practice. Put the kiddo at a glass table, and the clean-up simply involves a good wipe down with a dry cloth! Yes, he tried to eat the marker...but that's just another day in the life of toddlerhood :-)

Monday, October 29, 2012

The SAHM's Guide to Quiet Times

Welcome back! I've written many times about the importance for us as mothers to take time away for ourselves...whether we crash at a coffee shop for a few hours, take a weekend away with our husband, or head out on a retreat with our girlfriends. In a past post, Non-Mommy Time, I list scriptural evidence of Jesus taking time away from His ministry to rest and rejuvenate with the Father. While coffee shops and hotel rooms are fantastic, it isn't realistic to expect these treats in regular occurrence. A daily quiet time? Now, that we can expect and look forward to.

I used to think a daily devotional/quiet time was just part of being a "good Christian." I did it when I felt like I was on top of things in my spiritual life, and I let it slip when I became busy with more important things :-( It actually wasn't until the midnight feeding of a newborn became a common practice that I intentionally started spending a daily (or nightly!) quiet time with the Lord. I would read scripture to Caleb as I nursed him at night. It was a precious time for me to share with my new son, and it helped me to stay awake while focusing on being grateful to God, instead of focusing on my complete and utter exhaustion :-)

Eventually, our sweet boy started sleeping through the night, so I would try and read the Bible during nap times or after he was down for the night. This became more and more challenging as he got busier, and as I continuously evolved into the SAHM profession. There was no denying the fruit that always came from calm time spent with the Lord, but I just couldn't figure out how to swing it with a busy baby who was beautifully consuming my life.

Maybe six months ago (near the time of this blog's birth), I decided that a daily encounter with God wasn't a luxury, it was a necessity for me. I made a change in my method, and it is working out to be a great thing. I'm a morning person by nature, so the before-bed reading and praying never worked for me. I would fall asleep while praying, every time, then feel guilty in the morning :-) So now, I set my alarm for 6am, and I make myself get up before my husband and my son (yes, sometimes I push snooze...). I get my coffee, turn on the fire place if it's chilly, and curl up by the lamp in our overstuffed chair. Yes, there are usually toys strewn about from the previous day, there are probably dishes to be done, and I could be making lunch for my husband. BUT! I need this time. My husband gets it, he respects the fact that there needs to be quiet, and he is sweet to let me proceed with my peace and quiet with Him...after all, a lunch isn't too hard of a thing for a husband to put together.

You know that I'm organized by nature, so why wouldn't I have some order in my quiet time! Here is what I do...
  • I pray for God to open up my heart, mind, and spirit to whatever He needs to teach me
  • I read the daily devotional from my current devotion book (there are lots of these available at various Christian book stores...I highly recommend getting one, as it really helps to focus my mind on a specific topic)
  • There is always one verse used in my devotion. After I'm done with the devotional lesson, I read the entire chapter that the devotional verse was pulled from in my Bible (example...if the devotion focused on Isaiah 33:3, I would then go and read Isaiah 33)
  • I started journaling about the same time I started this blog. If a scripture or a thought jumps out at me while I'm reading, I write it down. God always makes things obvious for a reason!
  • Next, I go to the verse of the day on my Bible app. No joke! I do the same thing by reading the entire chapter that the verse was pulled from and write down verses, thoughts, or impressions that I feel from the Holy Spirit.
  • Then, I write down praises to the Lord...things He has done in my life that prompt me to express gratefulness.
  • Finally, I write down the first five things that come to mind that I can specifically pray about, in addition to my husband and my son.
  • I spend time in quiet prayer until I feel like it's time to be done, or until Caleb begins to stir :-)
I share all of this to give insight into my "how" and not just my "why." I imagine that many of us know we should be doing a quiet time, but I was stuck on the fact that I didn't know how to do it for years. For me, I need to be by myself without TV or music. Maybe you aren't as distracted by those things. Learn what you need, and what you don't need.

Yes, I am tired every single morning, but the experiences God has allowed me to have as I have continued in this discipline are priceless. He always honors obedience. Most of my blog topics have come to me during these quiet times. There will always be more to do, but God delights at time we choose to spend with Him. Time is the biggest thing we lack as SAHMs. Ask Him to show you a certain hour during your day when it would be doable to meet with Him. I promise that your sacrifice will not return void. It simply can't. The more moments we spend with Him, the more we get to know Him and the more we get to love Him.

I pray that this post is helpful to you. Whatever time you spend with Him, tailor it to make it your own. Do what works. Change what doesn't. But, do your best to try it. You won't regret it. Be blessed, mommies!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Submitting to Him and him...continued!

Happy funny Friday! A big thank you to our son for providing today's giggle. When I went to check on him the other night, I found him awake and laying there like this (sorry the picture is rather dark!):
I knew that we had an out-of-control pacifier obsession, but this takes it to a new level. Oh well, you can scold me if he takes his paci to kindergarten with him :-)

I want to thank you all for the wonderfully encouraging comments on my past two posts. The topic of Godly submission to our husbands is a tough one, typically met by much criticism of the seemingly controlling and old-fashioned mind set. As I gave you two practical examples, I hope you can see that my goal is to not allow my husband to abusively control my every thought and action, but to choose to obey God and the man He set as the leader of my family when it comes to decisions that can directly impact my husband's confidence. What do I mean? Whether or not I do the dishes in the morning or the evening does not impact my respect-level for my husband, or how much my husband feels that I respect him. Whether or not I take Caleb to the park or to the zoo does not effect the amount in which my husband feels that I honor him and his position in our family. Even the choice of which groceries to buy doesn't really make or break relational building in our marriage. Please don't get the impression that I call and "ask permission" before making any decision throughout my day. I know that I need to submit to his authority over our family if not doing so would cause him to feel disrespected, belittled, or to have hurt confidence. Sometimes I'm wrong. Sometimes, I can tell that a decision I have made without consulting him has caused his feathers to ruffle. I simply apologize and promise to try and remember to come to him in the future. On the flip side, there are subjects where he has simply said, "I don't care what you do." This is never said with meanness, but he is communicating to me that my decision on the matter doesn't effect us for the long-haul. In other words...knock myself out and let him know how it goes :-)

I hope I am making sense to each of you reading this post. As women and wives, we do have sound minds, Godly wisdom, and excellent multi-tasking and decision-making abilities. God did not place those in us by mistake! In fact, I firmly believe they are crucial for mothering in a Godly manner. Take a step back and think about the number of decisions we make everyday as SAHMs. What do we eat, what do they wear, do I clean this up now or later, what do we do for fun, when should they nap, when should I shower, what needs to be cleaned first, how do I enrich my children spiritually today, what errands do I run first, what do I wear, and most importantly...when do I go to the bathroom??? Add about a thousand more daily choices, and you are getting closer to the average day in the life of a SAHM. I'm sure our husbands would prefer that we don't "submit" every one of these thoughts to them all day long. But, when it's a "heart subject" (i.e. something that can have lasting effects on your feelings and/or your marriage and your family), make sure to take it to your husband and discuss. This will look different in each of our marriages. My husband will care about subjects that your husband would never dream of, and vice versa. We must want to know our husbands enough that we understand his deepest cares and concerns. Just imagine what years of submitting to his authority over our family would look like! I suspect that we would have confident, God-fearing, excellent decision-making husbands and fathers. Who loses in that situation? Certainly not the wife!

So, a question has been on my heart. I've asked the Lord what I should tell you, sweet mommies, who have a husband that is not committed to the Lord...a.k.a. your husband isn't a Christian. Here are some verses that I hope will offer encouragement and direction:

"Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters." Romans 14:1

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." Hebrews 13:17

"For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife..." 1 Corinthians 7:14

While there are many other verses that could support this topic, these three are powerful. First, we simply need to accept our husbands no matter where they are on the never-ending timeline of spiritual growth. Just as we are on our own journeys towards becoming more like Christ, we must remember to give our husbands the grace to take the same journey. Over the nearly nine years my husband and I have known each other, we have each had personal spiritual growth spurts, times on mountain tops, times in valleys, times of refining, times of blessing, and times when we have questioned the work of God in our lives. As I shared in my very first post, we met during a time when we were not walking with the Lord. Partying, drinking, and instant gratification of self-interests ruled our lives. Thankfully, God was faithful to gently draw us out of that destructive lifestyle and into a life focused on Him. But here's the kicker...he drew us out of the lifestyle at different speeds and in different ways. My husband is not the man today that he was when I met him. I am not the woman today that I was when he met me. Thank God! While it is hard to put into daily practice, we must continuously give each other grace to take our own spiritual journey with the Lord.

The next verse talks about how we are commanded to obey and submit to our husbands. It doesn't say that there is an exception for "repetitive bad decision-making!" Read above as it says they are "men who must give an account." God will ultimately hold them responsible for the decisions that they made during their time on Earth, not us. I love the second part of that verse. It says that it is to our advantage to obey them! We want to be a joy to them, not a burden. 

Finally, what if the Lord has pre-ordained YOU to be the one that leads your husband to Christ. We read time and time again that we are to lead by example, not necessarily by preaching. Who knows how your daily choice to submit to your husband as the leader of your family may eventually lead him toward submission to Christ. What an amazing honor!

I hope I have not hit this subject ad nauseum. It has really been on my heart lately, obviously, so I felt truly compelled to share it with each of you. I would love to hear stories about how you have shown intentional submission to your husband. I will keep sharing my stories, as well. Today, and everyday, be blessed!

MMSM #55

It's that time again, ladies...craft fairs! No matter where you live, you should have a plethora of shows to choose from between now and Christmas (look for flyers, newspaper ads, etc.). These events are great ways to browse with girlfriends, while your kids hang out in the stroller. Even better? You can get some stinkin' good deals. If you see something you really like, give bargaining a try! Go towards the end of the show/weekend, and see if you can score a deal on items that the vendors don't want to pack up and take home. Finally, browse through the lovely items and make mental notes of things you could create at home. I know...so wrong, but I've done it! The budget is always happier that way. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How To Trust him...

Aaahhh...the break was taken, and it was lovely! The time away with my husband was needed more than we knew. I highly recommend finding a way to do this, even for just a night, every so often. We had an absolute blast! The moms retreat get-away was everything I had hoped for...refreshing, relaxing, fun, and spiritually encouraging. I came back a happy girl on Sunday night! My husband left on a business trip Monday morning, so I was thrown back into the norm right away. I truly love my life, but it's taken me a couple of days to re-set...and clean up from the "man time" this weekend :-)

Today, I want to practically share two ways in which I practiced godly submission with my husband over the past couple of weeks. One night, he told me that he found a 1988 Toyota 4Runner that he really wanted. I literally bit my lip while the following went through my mind:
  • we already have three vehicles with only two drivers in the house
  • he currently drives a 1989 Honda Civic...but we need an older car?!
  • who spends nearly $3000 on an almost 25-year-old vehicle?
  • it was super ugly
  • there are so many other things we could do with $3000
  • this was a terrible idea
In the past, all of these things would have come flying out of my mouth at record speed, which would immediately lead to an argument of how I don't support his dreams, I like to control situations, and how I am unable to have a calm conversation. For many years, I assumed it was my God-given responsibility to tell my husband when he was having a really bad idea and to lead him into the light of my all-knowing womanly mind. As I'm sure you could guess, he somehow never responded well to this method of "spousal support." So this time, instead of enlightening him with all of my wisdom, I simply said, "Okay...why do you want to get this?"...with a smile!!! Ladies, he was shocked, but intrigued! He answered my sweetly-asked questions, and I agreed to go look at it with him. I entertained our son for two hours (patience is a virtue!) while my husband inspected the car, and I simply prayed for him to make the right decision. He told the seller that he needed to sleep on it and talk to his wife (thanks, honey!).

That night, he finally asked for my opinion. I intentionally waited to see if and when he would ask. When he did, I respectfully told him that I didn't think we needed it, but I know that he found some amount of joy in the man-toy. I freely gave him my support to make the right decision (minus the manipulating tone I typically used), and low and behold, he decided that he didn't really need it the next morning. Wowza! This scripture stuff actually works!

As I was processing the whole situation, I realized that the two possible outcomes (getting the car or not getting the car) would not make or break our marriage...at all. What does make or break our marriage in the long run is love, respect, and the refusal to create contention between one another. I know that, at his core, my husband is a wise and godly man. He makes great decisions, but not all the time. I make great decisions, but not all the time. We all do. In that situation, it was more edifying to our marriage for me to show submission and respect for his authority over our finances than for me to list all of the ways why buying this vehicle was a bad idea. To this day, I still think it would have been a bad idea to buy it, but that isn't the point. Every time I let my husband make a substantial decision for my family, it forces him to take the subject to the Lord and to either allow his confidence to be built in the wake of a good decision, or deal with the consequences after a poor decision is made. The higher our husband's Godly confidence in leading his family, the better it will be for us and for our children. I truly believe that confidence is built by letting him learn and make decisions. No confidence is built in a man by simply following someone else's nagging direction.

The second example where I practiced intentional submission was on Sunday night when Patrick opened his heart to share with me that God may be calling us to do some mission work in South America. Whoa. Total blindside, wasn't expecting this at all, and we've never really talked about that part of the world. Again, my mind blew up with resistance...
  • we finally feel settled in Colorado
  • we're making lots of friends and getting plugged into church
  • we don't have any experience in missions or church leadership
  • we're supposed to put down roots and have lots of babies
  • where did this come from?!?
Instead, I chose to say..."okay, how can I pray about this?" He asked for me to pray for focus as he listened to God. So, I didn't make it a lengthy conversation tackling the logistics of a move, why or why not this was a good or bad idea, or how it would drastically change the life I thought we were supposed to live. I swallowed hard, and agreed to pray for God to develop this plan if it was something He needed us to do. Patrick thanked me, and we actually haven't discussed it since. Again, I really don't feel like the point of submission has anything to do with the issue...whether is is an old 4Runner or a drastic life move to another continent. The point is that our husbands know they are allowed to dream and speak freely with us, without having immediate resistance. Here's the thing, ladies...even though we may feel like our quick-tempered thoughts are the only right and true way of looking at the situation, we could be dead wrong. I could be encouraging my husband on the South American mission field with multiple kiddos in tow in a few years, and it could be the absolute best experience of my life. How sad for the thought to have been abruptly squelched simply because I refused to lean in on my husband's lead.

I hope you can find some blessing in these posts on submitting to our husbands. As always, I write about experiences that I am currently working through with the Lord. Never have I claimed to be an expert on any subject! Thanks for reading, and join me next time as I discuss Godly submission in response to an ungodly husband. Today, and everyday, be blessed!

MMSM #54

As you know, I absolutely love holiday decorations. I was in the market for a new Fall wreath for our front door, and I was shocked to find them for sale anywhere between $70 and $100!  What?!? So, I took inspiration from some wreaths that I liked and decided to make my own. I found the base wreath at Hobby Lobby (HL) for 5.99. Then, I went around and dug for sprigs and Fallish flower bunches that I could pull apart, on sale of course. Find some pretty ribbon (great deals after a holiday has passed) that you like, and splurge a little for some glitter sprigs to add some sparkle (found in the floral section). Grab a glue gun and start creating! It took me a couple of hours to do this one, but I chatted with friends and had fun trying different things. My method is to get your bow done first, then start adding your broken apart sprigs and bunches until the desired look is achieved. Douse the wreath in hot glue so that your creation stays in place. For more specific tips, comment below. Happy decorating! BTW, always check the Coupon App for HL coupons to make this purchase even cheaper! This whole wreath cost around $30.

Tip #41

After working with this for a couple of months, here is a revised cleaning schedule. It's really working well for me, and I rarely feel overwhelmed or embarrassed by the house! Tweak it to fit your situation, and see if it can bring some organizational blessing to your home!

  • Make Bed 
  • Bathrooms
  • Clutter
  • Trash
  • One Load of Laundry
  • Kitchen

  • Make Bed
  • Clutter
  • Dust (weeks 1 and 2)
  • Catch-Up (week 3)
  • One Load of Laundry
  • Kitchen

  • Make Bed
  • Clutter
  • Windows or Floors
  • One Load of Laundry
  • Kitchen

  • Make Bed
  • Clutter
  • Mail
  • One Deep Clean Project
  • One Load of Laundry
  • Kitchen

  • Make Bed
  • Clutter
  • Vacuum
  • Bills and Budget
  • One Load of Laundry
  • Kitchen

  • Make Bed
  • Clutter
  • Yard/Inside Project or...
  • Coupons
  • Water Plants
  • One Load of Laundry
  • Kitchen

  • Make Bed
  • Clutter
  • Kitchen

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Time for a Break!

Thanks so much for the great feedback from yesterday's post that I have received on Facebook and from friends. I love the discussions that blogging brings about! I pray that we all will meditate on what it means to be submissive to our husbands over the next few days.

I have not forgotten to continue this subject in my next post, but I just found out that my husband is whisking me away for an overnight trip to celebrate my 30th birthday! Then, I'm attending a mommies retreat that I will return from on Sunday afternoon! The last time I attended this retreat, this blog was born :-) Please pray that I will gain fresh insight and direction from Him as I take some time away from normal life.

That being said, I will return as a wife and mom in my thirties on Sunday! This weekend, and every day, be blessed!

Tip #40

Who knew?! Recently, I spilled red wine on the carpet :-( I've never been very skilled at removing stains, and my son was screaming upstairs. So, I grabbed this product that we use when the doggies leave a mess and soaked the area while I attended to Caleb. I came back down about 15 minutes later, and ladies, I couldn't even find the puddle. It was totally gone! No blotting, scrubbing, or rubbing. The solution lifted the stain and there is nothing remaining. Try it then next time you knock over a glass of grown-up juice! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

If We Trust Him, then We Must Trust him...

Welcome back! I had a huge epiphany this weekend. Like monumental. Like, my marriage will forever be changed, for the better, if I can keep this up. Let me give you some background...

Last week at my mommy bible study, we watched a study video featuring speaker, Elizabeth George. She is fantastic, and I always enjoying hearing her speak and learning from her vast amount of womanly wisdom! This particular session taught on how to have a heart for your husband. Given the crankiness I felt for my husband due to a few choice comments he had made about my birthday the night before, I was less than enthused to learn how to love him more. I know...a real godly attitude, huh? Then, I nearly became nauseous as she listed all of the ways I could spoil him rotten, while secretly dreaming of a day when I might be spoiled rotten. Again, I was more than cranky. Finally, to top it off, she shared the recognizable verses about submission. Lovely! I was nearly crawling out of my chair. Not only was my attitude sour, but I could feel the Holy Spirit seriously convicting me as the minutes of our study ticked on. If I may share the verses with you...(Wow!...no joke, I just picked up my Bible and it opened right to the page that I needed in Ephesians. God cracks me up!)

"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:22-24 (emphasis added)

Like many of you, this was not the first (or twentieth) time I had read this. For heaven's sake, it was part of our wedding ceremony, spoken over us as we vowed to love each other for eternity. But on this mundane Tuesday in October, it hit me as never before. It is not suggested, it is not recommended, it is not asked, but it is commanded that we submit to our husbands, just as the church is to live in submission to Christ. We have already discussed in previous posts how our God is a God of order. Just as there is order in His church family of the congregation following the Pastor who follows Christ for the direction of the church, the same order is found in the family after God's own heart. The husband is subject to Christ, the wife is submissive to the husband, and the children are under the protection and guidance of the parental umbrella of the mother and father. 

Okay, I got it. It felt life-changing, and I was deeply remorseful of my behavior towards my husband over the years. But, as soon as I felt the true meaning and understanding wash over me, the immediate question followed..."But, God, what if Patrick makes a wrong decision?" Get this. Here is the impression I felt upon my heart from the Lord. "Kindra, that isn't your concern. Your concern is to follow your husband, and I will teach him the proper way to lead his family under My guidance." I then felt the Lord ask me if I trusted Him. Of course I trust Him. He is my Savior. I've known it from the time I was a little girl, and while I have veered off course from time to time, He has always been faithful to bring me back. So, in my heart, I felt His response of..."I appointed Patrick to be the leader of you and of your children. If you trust Me, then you must trust him. I don't make mistakes."

Here's the thing. There have been times, and there will be more times when my husband, and your husband, will take the wrong path, make the wrong choice, or lead us down a path that is not God's intention. Here's the cooler thing. Our God is a God of grace. Just as we are insanely imperfect mothers, our men are imperfect husbands and leaders. But, does it really build up their leadership abilities when we second-guess, judge, nag, or remind them that they are wrong? In my experience, no. As I think back over our nearly five-year marriage, most of the tension and problems that have occurred have not been because my husband has done some horrific thing that goes against the teachings of our Lord. Most of the time, like 99% of the time, it has been because I think I know better, I have the answer to the problem, or I simply want control of the situation. 

I'm a natural leader, I have a strong type-A personality, and frankly I enjoy having things under my control. Just as God doesn't make mistakes in families, he doesn't make mistakes with His creations, either. He gave me the opportunity to exercise those personality traits in many appropriate areas of my life. He gave me the gift of teaching so that I may control a whole classroom just as I see fit! I'm strong administratively, so the act of paying bills, organizing our home, and keeping t's crossed and i's dotted is a task that I welcome. He encouraged me to write. This blog is my own thing, under my logistical control, and it is something that is just for me and the women whom He chooses to bring to the site. He gave me the gift of a child, and in turn the opportunity to stay home, so that I may (under the guidance of Him and my husband) be the primary influence in our son's life. An area in which He did not give me full reign to exercise my leadership authority is with my husband. He simply asked me to submit to my husband.

  • to yield oneself to the power or authority of another
  • to defer to another's judgment, opinion, decision, etc.
So, why is this so hard to do? Because the Father gave us free will. If we were womanly-shaped drones that replied "yes, Master" to anything our husband asked of us, there would be no exercise of self-control or willingness to obey the Word of God. God doesn't want to force us into anything, ever. He wants us to physically show the act of choosing Him. And, as I was hit over the head with this new revelation last week, I believe He wants to see us willingly choose to submit to our husband's judgments, opinions, and decisions. It is a sacrifice! Sometimes, I think my ideas are pretty great! But, I need to remember that my husband already thinks that I am pretty great. After all, he chose to marry me. I know my husband values my input, and he will come to me when he needs to know my opinion. But, usurping his authority by boldly shoving my opinions into his face rarely brings a pleasant outcome.
At the end of the day, I don't want to resist my husband or his opinions and decisions. Ultimately, I want to show him respect for the man that he is and for the place in which God has appointed him in the design of our family. I am called to be his helper...not his nagger, his spiritual reminder (wow...that is God's position!), his parental figure, his judge, or his taskmaster.
The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Genesis 2:18 (emphasis added)
I know this is heavy, I know this subject is controversial in today's society, but I also know when I have heard and felt a conviction from the Lord. If some of you may also feel conviction through my story, I pray it will be a tremendous blessing upon you, your husband, and your marriage. Next time, I will share about an experience that just happened, and how I chose to submit to my husband instead of yelling my opinion at him. It's a good one! I will also share about what we can do as wives to support our husbands. Today, and everyday, be blessed, mommies! See you next time! 
MMSM #53
Unless you toddle around with your sweet babies on a bike, we all have to buy gas. We also all have to buy groceries. Luckily, many grocery stores will help you out in this area. Kroger stores and Safeway stores (and I'm sure many others) will offer you money off on gas when you buy groceries. Recently when I filled up, I got 40 cents off a gallon simply by buying food and then using their gas station. Not a bad deal in today's world of disastrously high fuel prices. Many of you are probably already doing this, but if not, check and see if your favorite store gives a gas discount. If not, find a new store! Happy grocery shopping and fueling!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Free Starbucks!!!

Hi ladies! I couldn't resist sharing this fantastic deal I heard about today. Check this out:

You can only get one today (Monday 10/15) from 4pm to 6pm. I plan to go and see if this is correct...just for research purposes, of course :-) I will update my blog to let you know if it is legit! Happy free-coffee Monday!

***Update...it was only at participating Starbucks, and mine was not one of them :-(  The barista was very nice, though, and gave me a free coffee for coming all the way out. I think I will continue my patronage at Starbucks!***

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Encouragement for the Weekend

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors  through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35, 37-39

 "Lord, I Lift Your Name on High"

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fabulous Fall!

Oh, sweet Fall...how I love you so! Personally, I find decorating for this season a pure joy. I had to promise myself that I would finish my dusting before I got to decorate. It was my reward! As I was delightfully arranging all of my pieces, I thought about the many great deals that produced my little pretties. Therefore, today's post is not really biblical, it's just fun :-)

It's true that I have a passion for decorating...especially when the decor costs almost nothing! As a woman, a wife, and mom, I feel that it is my responsibility to create a home that is peaceful, inviting, relaxing, and enjoyable. Does my husband flip over our Fall wreath? Not so much. But, happy wife, happy life...right?! He knows that I love to do it, so he sweetly obliges me when I inform him that the Fall fairy has arrived for the year. I hope you can get some great ideas from these pictures, and feel free to share your Fall decorations and ideas in the comments section below! I do plan to create another wreath and a porch display with our pumpkins in the next week. I will post those pictures when they are done! Happy Autumn to you and your families :-)

I found pumpkin place mats at Pier 1 a few years ago on clearance (maybe $2 a piece?)...make sure to check the kid sections for pieces you can use more formally.

Please excuse the wrinkled table cloth! I purchased these candle sticks from a garage sale, and then the candles from Walmart. They are unscented as to not over-power the food! Weave a leaf garden through the candles and let the leaves fall where they may. I love to layer, so play with table cloths, place mats, and decorative plates to pick up the colors from your centerpiece(s). I found these plates on clearance for 99 cents a piece at our local grocery store last year!

Sparkly pumpkins will always make me smile. Arrange them like a "pumpkin patch," and enjoy how they sparkle when you light the candles. These were purchased in a post-Fall clearance sale at Hobby Lobby three years ago.

Another view of the "pumpkin patch!"

One of my dear friends, who is an interior decorator, taught me that pieces always look the best in groups of an odd number...1 single piece, or 3, 5, etc. I do splurge on pumpkin scented soaps from Bath and Body Works every year, but you can find great coupons online for that store. Yankee Candle also has a BOGO1/2 coupon pretty regularly on the Coupons App for iPhone, or you can just ask for them as gifts :-) Candles make me oh-so-happy! The Fall cross was another Hobby Lobby clearance find. Love that store!

Find an inexpensive Fall towel at the grocery store, Walmart, etc., and liven up your bathroom. Mini-wreaths to surround candles are frequently at garage sales or thrift stores.

We aren't really into Halloween, so this is the most Halloween-y thing I put up. It was given to me by a family member, and I thought it was pretty cute (and free!). Try and find pieces that compliment each other...for example, the multiple jack-o-lantern items seem to belong in a decoration group.

This is our TV mantle that simply has a pumpkin candle (bought for $2 at the grocery store) and a flower arrangement that I display all year. And yes, that plant needs a drink!

An up-close view of the arrangement shows a Fall sprig stuck in the middle to add some orange and brown color. These can be found for super cheap at any hobby stores.

My sister-in-law, Liz, has an amazing crocheting gift! For those of you who also have that gift (I do not!), find inexpensive Fall towels and add a holder loop and button to the top. The towels look great in the kitchen, and the little ones can't pull them off!

So smart, Liz!

This, my Fall pride and joy, sits in the middle of our kitchen island. I couldn't get a great picture, so I moved it to the floor for its photo shoot. I purchased the metal pumpkin shell with the colorful ball accents from a craft fair two years ago. I believe it was $20. It was a splurge, but I loved it. I found the candle on sale at Hobby Lobby, set the whole thing on a moss-covered charger, and then put that on a green place mat to bring out the green accents. Again, I love to layer. Try it and see what you can come up with!

Fall clearance at Bed, Bath, and Beyond had a lot of these arrangements with darling orange bows. This pumpkin candle was found, with a pair, for $3 at TJMaxx last year. I broke my rule...this needs a third item in the arrangement, doesn't it?!

Again, another candle with a mini-wreath surrounding it. Put it on a Fall-colored place mat, and it's an arrangement that can stand on its own.

If you have pictures of your kids in holiday-themed outfits, frame them in an inexpensive frame (garage sales, clearance bins, etc.), and pack them away each year with your holiday decorations. Then, you can pull them out and enjoy them once a year instead of getting tired of looking at the same frames all year long!

This was another Hobby Lobby find before I got married...so more than five years ago. Find Fall-colored tea light candles (their little holders are in the dishwasher!), and alternate the colors around a flower arrangement. Use a place mat to give it more dimension.

This is my husband's favorite decoration. I found this mug at a garage sale for 50 cents. It's sitting atop a plate (this one was 49 cents!) from that grocery store score I found last year. Buy Fall-themed napkins after Thanksgiving each year and pull them out to use for the next round of holidays. I fill this mug with candy corn, orange and brown M&Ms, etc. Just keep re-filling it as they get eaten...it's a fun thing to have as a treat in our kitchen.

Replace a piece of art with a decoration. I have a third quote plaque that typically hangs in the middle, but I simply removed that and put up another Hobby Lobby clearance find for some added decor in the bathroom.

Need a way to spruce up a wreath? Get another strand of decorative leaves, and wrap it around a boring wreath. This one is fine, but I've tired of it after five years (although the cheap price tag made it worth it!). It will hang on our front door until the new one is made!

I hope you have enjoyed the tour through our Fall home. Feel free to copy any ideas if you think they could work in your home. Today and everyday, be blessed!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Creative Fellowshipping

Welcome back! I hope you are all reading this while dressed to the nines, hair perfectly done, and sporting a fabulous new shade of lipstick. Right? Oh, I joke :-) It isn't even 8am, so I am sitting here in my jammies, wearing yesterday's make-up, and trying to tame my voluminous hair. Yes, I will put myself together today, sans yoga pants, but all good things come in time!

I have written several posts on making time for our children to play, playing with our children, allowing playdates for our husbands, playing with our husbands, and taking quiet time for ourselves. Well, I now feel led to write on taking time for us to play! Mom playdates, that is! As SAHMs, our lives are full of work. While we choose to stop at the end of the day, it doesn't mean our work is done. There is always something to do for a husband, a child, or a home. We can get so wrapped up in our motherhood duties, that we can forget that we need to let our hair down (while still looking fabulous), find some great girlfriends, and have some fun.

Remember the days when fun was unending? I specifically remember my college years where fun stopped only for going to class and for sleeping. In a sorority, truthfully, most fun was had when we should have been sleeping! Now, it is a luxury. And sometimes, it can even be a duty. I tease that I need to go do something every now and then because my child has become bored with my face. Perhaps it's not a joke! There isn't always a need for us to leave simply to relax. It is perfectly okay to leave, allow our husband and children to miss us (and our face), while we play!

I have met mothers who consider it a badge of honor to never leave their children. Some may label me as an overprotective mother that rarely leaves her child's side. Remember...all of my posts are on topics I am working through. You get a sneak peek into my self-therapy :-) I'm getting better. He is nearly fifteen months old, he totally loves being around other people, and my head is a bit more clear when I have laughed until I cried with my friends.

Playing can be defined as "fellowship." I love this word. Fellowship means:

  • friendly relationship, companionship
  • community of interest, feeling
  • friendliness
  • communion, as between members of the same church
You see, fellowship doesn't always mean choosing to do a bible study together. Sometimes, it simply means to gather with others who share common interests or feelings, celebrate companionship, and be friendly with one another. Not only is it good for our mommy and womanly souls, we are asked to do it by the Lord!

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:25

"For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance..." Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 (emphasis added)

I hate to say it, but no gold medal has ever been given for a mother who spends 24/7 with her family. Not only do we need time away to refresh, but we need time away to laugh! Limited budgets can be challenging to work with, but not every type of fellowshipping has to cost an arm and a leg. Here are some examples of things I have done with friends, and things we are planning to do in the future:
  • Coffee time at Starbucks
  • Home movie night (perhaps a Twilight marathon...just a suggestion!)
  • Discount store shopping spree
  • Pinterest parties (pick a project to share with everyone, or do your own)
  • Frozen meal preparation
  • Board game night
  • Craft Fair browsing
  • Run a 5K (whoa...getting a little ambitious here!)
If you have a hard time getting a babysitter, bring your kiddos along and let them play while you play! No, it's not the same, but adult talk has its advantages whether the little people are there or not. We recently went to our local pumpkin patch. There were tons of activities for the kids to enjoy, and I had a blast talking with several other moms as we supervised our kiddos. Another huge advantage to planning mommy playdates is to encourage (or force!) us to invest in our friendships. I can honestly say that some of my friendships have gone to the wayside since becoming a mom. Naturally, there are friendships that exist for a season and some for a lifetime. But if you have a nagging feeling that something isn't quite right with a friend, perhaps a bit of quality time spent together laughing will do the trick.

No matter how it's done, please don't forget to play! It is so good for us to laugh until we cry about something that isn't our husband, our children, or are home. Today and everyday, be blessed :-)

MMSM #52
Love, love, LOVE this idea! My friend, Kristen, and her husband are so smart. They recognized the need for a weekly date night, but small children and a limited budget didn't allow for it. Until, they realized they could simply do date night at home! Put the kids down early, and designate a night just for the two of you. Then make a list of ideas to choose from and alternate between one another with planning a date each week. Ideas on the list? Bubble bath, air mattress in living room while watching a romantic movie, "quizzes" about each other while lounging on the patio, bake something together, create something together (art project!), discuss your goals, etc. All ideas must cost $0 and be something to edify your marriage...i.e. no passing out in front of the TV at 8pm. Enjoy creating a list with your hubby, and watch how both of you will look forward to "date night" each week. Thank you, Kristen!

Tip #39

It's time to tackle the closet, ladies! In response to the great G3 class that I am attending at church, we were inspired to take inventory of our closets. Closet organization is a fantastic method to knowing what you have and wearing what you love. Take an hour while the kids are napping and do the following...remove everything you don't love and take it to the Goodwill, organize your clothing into groups (see below), then organize-by-color each group. My groups are:
  • T-shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Outerwear (cardigans and the like)
  • Tank tops
  • Long-sleeved
  • Short-sleeved
  • Dresses and Scarves
  • Bottoms that fit
  • Bottoms that will eventually fit :-)
Get crazy like me by organizing-by-color, and you can enjoy knowing what you have, knowing where it is, and watching fantastic outfits simply create themselves!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Power of Lipstick

Welcome to a new week! Let me start with a few verses on today's topic...

"The King is enthralled by your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord...all glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. In embroidered garments she is led to the King..." Psalm 45:11, 13-14

"...She is clothed in fine linen and purple." Proverbs 31:22

"Your cheeks (we're going to go with ears!) are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels. We will make you earrings of gold, studded with silver." Song of Songs 1:10-11 (insert added)

I have a confession, my friends. I have succumbed to a lifestyle in which I never thought I would embrace. I swore to never be one of "those moms." I vowed to my husband that, though I stopped working outside the home, this one area would remain unchanged. But yet, over the past year, it slowly crept up on me so that I not only fell into its trenches, I actually started to love it. What is it, you ask??? 

The love of yoga pants, wet hair, minimal make-up, and flip-flops...duh, duh, duh!

Oh, mommy friends, I have been so in love with this lifestyle that I considered naming my blog: Rockin' the Yoga Pants. No joke! Whenever I would go shop, I would go directly to the clearance work-out racks...and I certainly wasn't working out enough to warrant new wardrobe pieces. I assumed that if I put on cute earrings with a stretchy pant outfit, it made it totally okay. I actually convinced myself that my husband loved the "sporty sexy" look. I could be comfy and the super-hot wife all at once! At the root of it, my puffy c-section pooch didn't fit nicely into my non-elastic pants, so I slowly slipped into a lifestyle of sloppy mommy-wear...a place I never wanted to go.

Then, something really neat happened. I got back down to my pre-baby weight a couple of weeks ago and I started going to a small group at church focusing on empowering yourself as a beautiful woman of God (the first verse above came from that group). Our first class discussed dressing nicely, showing our confidence, and coming out of the shadows. It sure did wake me up! I came home and tried on every piece in my closet. If it was a size 6 that I would never fit into again (or at least by the time I have my breasts done and my tummy tuck, it would be out of style!), then it went to the Goodwill. Everything else got organized by style and color, and I decided to actually wear an outfit (with cute shoes!) each day, or most days. I even dug out some lipstick from the abyss of my cosmetic drawer!

Well that night, when my husband got home from work, you would have thought I was all-out dressed in my wedding day attire. He noticed my blown-dry (and straightened) hair, my outfit, my shoes, and my lipstick. He wondered what the occasion could be, and I simply told him that I wanted to start dressing nicely. I teased that it was time to retire the yoga pants to which he replied, "Yea, you wear those almost everyday." Ouch! But true...

As Christian women, there are many quoted verses about dressing modestly, refusing vanity, and fleeting beauty being unimportant. This is all completely true, since it comes from His Word. If your perfect look becomes your obsession, then there is a problem. But, God created women to be the beautiful creatures that He intended. Look again at the verses above. This is how He talks about women in His Word! 

We know our husbands respond well when we pay attention to taking care of ourselves. We also know that we feel much better about ourselves when we put in some effort in the morning. And, we know how great it feels to receive compliments on our outfits, our hair, or our make-up. So, why aren't we doing this everyday??? I'll tell you why. I've lived it!
  • Pregnancy made us fat (we aren't sugar-coating here...)
  • Our babies produced lots of fluids
  • If we nursed, we constantly stretched out every shirt that we owned
  • We rarely left the house
  • We were lucky to get a shower every other day
  • We constantly had a small creature attached to us
Need I say more? If you do something long enough, it becomes a habit. As new mommies, we were in the habit of always taking care of everyone else first, and then we would rest instead of taking care of ourselves. I still feel like this is totally fine and acceptable...at first! Truthfully, I can't wait to revive the yoga pants post the eventual baby #2! But, sweet mommies, we have to pull ourselves out of the cycle. The power of lipstick, in a sense, shows reverence to the Lord, our husbands, our children, and ourselves. If He created us, then He obviously wants us to care for His creation.
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

He speaks about women as His beautiful creation, our husbands love to see us dressed nicely and taking pride in our bodies (even if they aren't back to where we would like), our children need to see us caring for ourselves, and there's nothing like a cute new top from the Target clearance rack to put a bounce in our step. 
Just my thoughts! I hope you can find a blessing out of my musings today. This day and everyday, be blessed in your mommyhood :-)
MMSM #51
Don't be so quick to throw your grocery store receipts away! Check the back of your King Soopers, Safeway, etc. receipt after you check out and find a bunch of local coupons ranging in great restaurant deals, to cheap oil changes, to half-off haircuts. Love it when you get coupons for free!

Tip #38

I always keep plastic grocery bags in the car for stinky diapers, clothes, etc. Until recently, they would float around the trunk and fall out when I open the hatchback. Then, I had an idea from my own brain :-) We buy our wipes at Costco and each new box comes with new wipes holders. I've been trying to think of a creative way to use them (they will eventually be art supply holders), but for now, they will be bag holders! Pull the bags out just like wipes, and they will stay tidy and organized in their little compartment!