Friday, September 30, 2011

Sink Scriptures

"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."  Deut 6:6-9

During this past summer, when I was studying a different passage in depth each week, I started writing the verses of the week above my sink in my kitchen. I have a tile backsplash, and I have found its a great place to write God's words where I will be sure to see them. 

 I used an erasable marker, and use difference colors so some of my favorite phrases and keywords can stand out better. I have noticed that my eyes go to those naturally, so I find myself often recalling the words God spoke to me so wonderfully before and continue to speak to my heart now. 

I want to be more in the habit of writing God's word about my home. A friend of mine told me she filled the walls of her laundry room with pages of scripture so that she was doing her most unfavorite chore she could have something to read and meditate on instead of complaining. I love that. 

She shared with a bible class I was in once one of the pages of scripture she uses. I have it tacked on the inside of my laundry room cabinet so every time I get some detergent out of there I find it and smile :) 

Where do you place scripture where you will see it the most? What scriptures do you have there? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ladies Day ..a way to encourage

I love Ladies Day's and Ladies Retreats!  ...I love planning them and I love participating in them. I wrote over on my Everything You Need blog about that very topic, having just got to participate in great one this weekend.

Have you had a chance to participate in a wonderful Ladies Day or Ladies Retreat? ..tell me, what was your favorite part? What activity did you love the most? ..silly? thoughtful?  ...I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

No! No!

Ah, yes. We are moving swiftly into the months where my less than 2 year old (18 months, actually) is learning how to say an emphatic "no!no!" ..which, truthfully is still cute at this point because he is also learning to couple that with a pretend mad face (no worries, we arent letting on ;).

It's a good lesson to be learning along with Joshua, because saying "no!" is a huge part of living peacefully. 

Depending on your personality, it may be easier or harder to say no in gernal ..but we all have to do it in order to keep any degree of order in our lives. We must master the ability to say it at the right times, in the right ways just like our little ones do.

How do we know though? How do we know when to say "no, thank you", when to say a more firm "no." and when to say adamantly "no! no!"

Here are some rules I live by ...

* If it is not a good use of your resources ...say no. 

It may be because the activity in question is ungodly, or because it has no value in the kingdom of God but if it is not a worthy use of what God has given you for his work - then dont use what you have for that activity.

* If you don't have the resources ..say no.

How many times have you known full well you didnt have the time, energy or ability to do something and you still said 'yes'?  Don't deny it. I know are me.

One of the best things you can do for yourself and for your family is to admit you are out of resources. It doesnt do you any good to add more to what is needed from the limited resources you have.

* If you are doing it out of guilt ..say no.

This is one is easier said than done, I know. But, if you are only saying 'yes' because you will feel guilty otherwise, don't do it. Chances are, you will be using resources that you either don't have or can't afford to use towards it...and for all the wrong reasons.

* If it takes away from something better ...say no.

A friend told me once that  'not every good thing is the best thing.' ..that has helped me say no to many things that I may have been tempted to otherwise.

There are alot of "good" things we can do, but if it keeps us from doing the "best" things then it isnt worthy of our resources.

So, how?

I think that is specific to the situation and the person. I have found that some people need to be let down more easily than others. Some, have to be given a more direct approach.

I have found that saying in whatever way they need, "to be honest, I do not have the resources for that right now" usually gets me out of most things they a request to do a job, to participate in an out of the house activity, a friend's Thirty One party or whatever!   I find that most people can relate to that!

Saying no is a necessity if you are determined to use your resources the best way you can.

Do you have other tips on how to say no? tell! 

{Welcome, ifellowshippers glad you visited!}

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pear Budget: Update

I have been using Pear Budget now for 6 months. I can say that I love it now as much, if not more than I did when I reviewed it 6 months ago! It has made easy work of keeping up with my monthly budget and keeping track of my pennies.

The system is simple, the program is very easy to use. Pear Budget does all the math for you, every calculation you can think of to keep up with things. It makes it easy to know what your current and past budgets look like, keeping track if what you are spending where ...all through simple receipt entering.

I say simple receipt entering because I have used programs like Quicken and MSMoney that both required more info that I really wanted to enter in order to track my receipts. This entry system is easy, requiring minimal info that I have no trouble keeping up with - even if I put my budgeting of til the end of the month (or two weeks into the next month ;)

Pear Budget support is also great, my having gotten very quick responses to any questions I may have had in the course of my learning the program. 

Basically, I still have found that this tool is one with spending the $ on - the work it does for me is worth paying for!

Pear Budget costs about $5 a month, or $50 a year. That is after one month to try it out for free (all you need at any point is your email address other personal info is needed, aside from payment info). This service is absolutely worth it ...a worthy use of my financial resources :)

{while I have received a few months of free Pear Budget use in appreciation for my past review of this online tool, I do not review any product I do not use myself and feel comfortable endorsing.
Basically, I would say the same things even if I didn't get it!}

Friday, September 16, 2011

Be Careful

I have a cycle that I go through about every 6 months.

At the beginning of the cycle I am a harried mess of having too much to do. I am feeling overwhelmed with my to do list, my days feel overfull, I am frustrated and feel as if my most important jobs are not being done well.

In the middle of the cycle I start feeling inspired to action, and I start sweeping away everything. I withdrawal from people and tasks I have taken on, and I do what I call "crawl in a hole."  Its my defense mechanism for those moments when I realize I have created a monster of my busyness.

The last part of the cycle before starting all over again, is when I have cleared my schedule, have had a moment to rest, feel capable of adding things back in and re-emerge from my hole. I start adding on again, start picking back up commitments and returning to my busyness one little bit at a time.  Thus, the cycle eventually starts over again.

I know that about myself. I know the extremes that I can go to and I honestly have been fine with it. At least, until this last time around.

I was a the peak of the cycle, where I start actively getting rid of everything and I crawl into my hole. I started giving things up in the way of commitments, mentally checking things off my list that were resource-consuming and working back towards my hole where we get back to basics again.

This is not a bad thing - honestly, I feel like we need to do it sometimes. But I have learned something this time through that I didn't really know before.

Its not always possible to clear my board and start over again at square one. There has to be a balance between nothing, and getting things done. There must be a balance between crawling in a hole and being productive. I must find the right balance between doing too much, and doing too little.

I started to crawl this time around, and realized that while I did need to pull back a little it wasn't time to withdrawal completely. While I did need to mentally let go of some feelings of being responsible for certain things, I have some tasks I need to complete.  It seemed that each time I let go of something to free up those resources something that I feel that God needs of me right now would fill in its place. I feel like as I am letting go, there is more there I need to take hold of.

I read this this morning ..."Be careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."  Ephesians 5:15-16

I love the messages I read here ...

1. Be careful how you live Purposeful
2. Not as unwise Wise
3. Making the most of every opportunity Active
4. Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is Discerning

In this phase of my life, I have whirlwind of busyness. Busyness is necessary to maintain the good work I am called to right now. In order to find the balance, we must all consider our days in light of the Lord's will for it. We must be purposeful in each use of our resources, we must be wise and discerning in the choices we make ...but we must be active in His kingdom.

God's active and the world's active aren't the same - God's "active" says to be discerning in what we do, not foolish. It is not blindly doing for the sake of doing. It is attentive to opportunities to advance the work of the kingdom, but in so much as it is God's will for our lives.

I pray that today you find the balance ...I know its hard some days, but God is faithful! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mommy Pep Talk

Hip Homeschool Hop Button I am coming to learn how much homeschooling is a lifestyle. Its not just a way to educate our children, its an actual day to day way to live.

It's not a simple as getting the kiddies to the table for math lessons every morning.  Not so much.

For starters, we are with them 24/7,  day in and day out.  That is something.

* Home is the center of action 24/7/365. There is never a point when it is empty, available to be overhauled or square one achieved so to speak.

* Errands are a family event about 99% of the time.

* Grocery shopping and coupon juggling involved everyone.

* If I get time with my girlfriends, it is with the soundtrack of many small screaming voices in the background.

Then, there is the actual schooling part ...

* Math lessons include baby brother's cheerios ..might as well, since he is throwing them all over the place anyways.

* Science lessons may bring us to the refrigerator since only God himself knows the last time we had time to clean it out.

* History is a good subject to discuss while doing laundry, since it has been years since I was caught up on it.

These are not bad things. I dont say them to complain, I am blessed to be here. But to note that homeschooling is part of life now. 

Its the lifestyle we have chosen, and I will not lie that I am still working on figuring out how to do it. I am learning that I have to adjust my expectations of myself to fit this lifestyle, and I need to figure out to work within realistic guidelines for me, my home, my marriage and my kids.

Logically, I know that my house is not the most important thing yet it still must have a level of functionality to it. I am with my kids 24/7 yet I must find some time to myself to recenter and focus my mind and my spirit. Each child needs his own personal attention but where do the other brothers go while I do that?

We will figure it out, and we are a little at a time.

It's times like this when I am reminded that like any lifestyle change, it has to be by making small changes at a time. We have to learn what needs doing, and what needs doing now. I need to learn what to give outside of the house, and what i need to hold on to for my and my kids benefit.

We need to fully apply the the full arsonal of Stress Strategies ...Get Rid of It, Get it Done, Get Control of it, Get Over It, Get a New Plan, Get a New Perspective and ..most importantly, GIVE IT TO GOD, AGAIN!

As per usual - when we are called, God gives us what we need when we need it. We need to look for it purposefully and adjust as our callings change...but we have it!

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

This homeschooling thing is a good work girls, may you abound in it today! :)

I'm a Hip Homeschool Mom

I was featured at HHM I am excited to say that I got to be featured on one of my favorite blogs this past week. The thoughts I wrote there are ones I have been having alot as of late, and am excited to get to share those with you there and expand on them alittle here.

Being a homeschool mom has its ups and downs and as Galatians 6:4 says, we each have our "own load to carry." But, at least we get to carry it together as we encourage and uplift one another on the journey. I have found homeschool moms, as well as my non-homeschool moms are mandatory for me to fulfill this task that God has called me. Thank you all for your love and support ...I literally could not doing it without you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In a Hurricaine

Whew. That was a rough one.

I feel like the winds are starting to die down, but man ...those winds were ahowlin'!

As a friend put it, after I blogged about my whirlwind a few weeks ago, it suddenly shifted into a full blown hurricane.

How appropriate, since the physical weather and my spirit seemed to be matching each other as we watched Irene creep closer to the east coast, and then eventually bypass Charleston, South Carolina. As her winds picked up, the intensity around here did too.

Still much blessed, over the past several weeks I have had my heart full of the struggles and frustrations of many of those close to me. I have at times felt the most overwhelmed I have felt in a very long time, as I have watched many DIFFERENT loved ones struggle with profoundly difficult experiences ...divorce, death of a 4-month old baby, loss of a job, illness of a child, church turmoil ..its been a doozy of a month.

There have been times when the wind has been howling in my ears to the point that I wanted to just curl up in a ball and let it all pass over me.

The winds are starting to settle, though certainly there is still a significant breeze and wake of damage behind it. There is much recovery to be done, hurting hearts that need healed, new job positions to seek out, houses to sell, moves to make, relationships mended, grief to journey through and a continued monitor of precious little bodies that need physical healing as well.

It's in the moments of both the overwhelming kind and the moments when they pass, that you realize how great a God we have.

If you have ever been in a natural disaster, you know that when it passes you turn in awe at the incredible power and damage that these forces can create. You would most likely be in awe of the degree of devastation and then are so thankful that you survived it...and then worship God for how powerful He is.

In some ways I feel that way now - as I look to see how God has been present and accounted for in each and every difficult situation of the past several weeks. He will continue to do so, we have a ways to go in every situation. But, God has already demonstrated his power by getting us this far; by being faithful to this point, and by remaining close by throughout.

I am reminded this morning of one of my favorite images ...

"The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave." 1 Kings 19-11-12

May we always seek God in the howling winds and the gentle whispers, and may we find Him wherever He is ..for it is only through Him that we will survive these storms ...

{Welcome ifellowshippers ...I am blessed to have you here!}
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