Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Giveaway Starts Tomorrow!

Tomorrow morning, I will be posting a book giveaway. I love to be able to encourage you towards being a good steward with the resources that God provides. The giveaway is for "Dining On A Dime" from Tawra Kellam over at Living On A Dime. The giveaway will run for 1 week, and I'll have the details for you tomorrow.

Be sure and check back!

Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas, 2008!

Dear Ones~

I sit in awe that another year has come and gone ~ already! It doesn’t seem possible that it is once again time to celebrate the birth of our dear Lord. Where does the time go? Busy as always, we have had an eventful year. Here’s everyone’s update.
“For unto us a child is born…” On Mother’s Day, our newest blessing made his arrival. Ezra Alan was born at Deaconess Medical Center by c-section on May 11, at 9:30pm, weighing 8lb 14oz. We did not plan on a hospital birth, but are so thankful that they are available when we need them! Ezra was not positioned properly, and after over 2 hours of pushing, it was decided that a c-sec. was necessary. We had great Drs and nurses, and were very impressed with the care at Deaconess. Ezra is now 7 months old, and a joy to us! He already has 2 teeth, and is very social.

Josiah is now 2, and a football player. He is very much boy ~ loving anything to do with sports and guns. He is a pretty constant shadow to Levi, wanting to do just about anything his big brother is doing. It is very sweet to watch him follow Levi down to the barn to feed the horses. He is talking more and more all the time and even got 15 seconds of fame this football season ~ getting onto Friday Night Sports Extra. Si has a following of groupies everywhere he goes, being a favorite of the highschoolers and coaches alike.

Bob is now 6. This year she got to attend the play Annie with some friends ~ which she greatly enjoyed. In August, she participated in the Missoula Children’s Theatre for the first time. She has anxiously awaited this for two years. She was a raccoon in their production of Little Red Riding Hood. In October, Both Laura and Kathleen attended the Mother/Daughter Tea with Mama, and had a lovely time. Now, Laura is taking gymnastics and is greatly enjoying herself. She is very energetic and pretty athletic, so gymnastics is a good match for her. Bob’s other big venture this fall is mouse trapping. She and her Daddy have a competition going with Will to see who can catch the most mice. Every morning, she runs her “trap line” to see if there are any victims ~ if there aren’t; it’s all Daddy’s fault. :)

Kathleen is an exuberant 8. She took piano lessons this year, and once she decides she will practice, may get to take them again someday. :) She too, went to the production of Annie ~ and along with Laura was *amazed* that I knew what song they sing! (The sun will come out, tomorrow…) Kathleen was a raccoon as well in Little Red Riding Hood, and thoroughly enjoyed herself. In October we attended the Mother/Daughter Tea and Kathleen had a grand time afterward, when the little girls were invited up to the piano for a hymn sing. She loves to sing! Kathleen is currently in Ballet/Tap lessons, and so spends a good deal of time pirouetting around the house.

Logan is 12 this year. He had his first big game hunting season, and although he did get a shot off, he didn’t bag anything. :( Let’s see. Logan’s year consisted of a cut hand, which needed 11 stitches ~ to the tune of over $700! (Let me just suggest if you need stitches, to avoid the ER if at all possible!) In July, he attended our church’s camp in Montana, and he came home with some profound questions and thoughts in his head ~ we were very pleased with how he responded to the Spirit’s prompting. In August, he too participated in MCT. Logan was the Little Loveable Wolf, who, despite what you may have heard, was the *real* villain ~ not his big brother, the Big Bad Wolf! Logan did a GREAT job, and the directors encouraged us to try to find more opportunities for him to be able to act as he really has a talent for it. Once school started, Logan played his first year of football. He is on the small side, but he did a great job, always doing just what his coaches wanted.

At 14, Garth is becoming quite the athlete. This year, there was a Little League team in Plummer, so he was able to play baseball. He pitched and did quite well. Then, in June, he broke his foot playing a pick-up game of basketball. He then worked in the firework stand and proved himself to be a salesman as well (must be in the blood). In football, he QB’d the middle school team, leading them to an undefeated season. He shot a nice little doe, adding food to the freezer, and in a moment of understated heroism, put out a fire in the dining room that Si managed to start (burning up a pair of overalls waiting repair and charring the table).
Levi is 16 and a licensed driver! He decided this spring that he would do track, and so, he ran the 200M, and on the relay team and did the triple and long jump. He did alright, considering he had never done any of those things before. Then began BFS (Bigger, Faster, Stronger), a weight training program, and both Levi and Will, and to a lesser degree Garth and Logan participated in it. We have seen a tremendous difference in their sports since BFS began. When Ezra was born, both Levi and Will really stepped up to the plate and took care of Josiah the week we were in the hospital, while the rest of the clan stayed with Pak and Grammie. In July, Levi went to the big Creation festival at the Gorge in George. Its 4 days of Christian concerts and “lectures” in the heat of central Washington. He had a great time. In August football began and Levi had a great year. He is a running back and he ended up being one of the leading rushers in the state with 1426 yards, and scoring 90 points for his team. He has worked a lot of odd jobs, but is now also working at the local hardware store.

Will is now officially an adult! Yes, he turned 18 this year. How did *that* happen?!? :) In the spring, he coached Garth’s baseball team, and did a really good job. I was a little concerned as he can be a *little* on the bossy side at home, (1st born tendency????) but he really did a good job of working with the kids ~ even Garth. :) Will also had a great football season, playing guard and middle linebacker. He was one of the leading tacklers in the state, making 142 tackles for the season. BFS really benefited Will, not only in strength, but also in speed. Both Will and Levi made All League this year. After turning 18, Will had the opportunity to apply for a part-time job with the local Post Office. He was hired, and in a year will have the opportunity to test for a clerk position. We were really excited by this opportunity for him. Will is an outstanding young man, who is well thought of in the community and we are really proud of him.

My year has been a blessed one! Full of traveling to sporting events ~ I try to get to every game, but I did fail to get to a few of the track meets. May was my big month, with the birth of Ezra. Can I just say that a c-sec is a terrible way to have a baby? I am sooo thankful for the Drs that have the skills to deliver babies surgically, but it sure is a difficult way to get a baby into this world! I was not awake for Ezra’s birth because of difficulties with the epidural, but we know that was God’s hand of protection, because I hemorrhaged, and was in surgery for an hour after they delivered him. I *would not* have wanted to be conscious for that! Because of our difficult birth, I spent most of the summer just trying to recover and get my strength and energy back. I think that I am finally back to my normal state of tiredness ~ but what a blessed tiredness it is ~ it means that my home is full of children to love and nurture, and that my arms have a baby to hold.

Mike is now *really* old! :) LOL Just teasing! But, he’s not getting any younger! For the 1st time in 14 years, I can’t say that he’s still working at the store. In March, things came to a head, and he left. *That* was a stressful day at our house! However, God is wonderfully faithful, and two days after leaving the store, he had an interview with Warpath Corporation and had a better job than he had left. It is always amazing how things fall into place when it’s God’s timing. One of the great things about his job ~ besides the fact that they really appreciate him ~ is that they are very supportive of family and the kids in the community and they were more than happy to let him arrange his schedule in the fall so that he could continue to coach Middle School Football.

Well, that’s pretty much our year. One full of difficulties and blessings, but mostly blessings. Time and again we have witnessed God's faithfulness to us as a family, and I am continually in awe of His great love for us. May you be blessed as you reflect on the many blessings in your own life, knowing that He loved you enough to send His one and only son to die on a cross so that you could have eternal life.

Monday, December 1, 2008


It's a Grand Opening! Modest Mamas Boutique is now open for business! Featuring gently used maternity and nursing clothing in feminine, modest styles. Good prices too! :-)

Be sure and hop on over and check it out.

Not expecting or nursing a baby right now? Take a look anyway and see if you'd like to recommend it to someone who is.

We're running a Grand Opening special of free shipping on domestic orders until December 15.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Black Friday Sale at Vision Forum

Vision Forum is having a Black Friday sale. This is a great opportunity to get some wonderful resources for living out a vision of a godly family, good quality toys for boys and girls, and wonderful story books.

Buy two, get one free ~ be sure and take advantage of this great sale ~ AND miss out on the Black Friday crowds!

You can shop Vision Forum by clicking the banner at left. Thank you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Prayer Alert for Noah

Please be in prayer for little Noah. They are having to pull his broviac. They think that this is possibly the culprit in the infection he is fighting, but they just don't know for sure.

Here is a link to his family's blog, where you can read straight from his Mama what's going on.

Thank you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thrifty Thursday ~ Shampoo and Conditioner

This may seem like a silly thing to be thrifty about, but if you have a very large family (or even just very long hair) these are items that can rack up cost rather quickly.

My hair is a little longer than waist length and it is of a texture that I *have* to use conditioner on it. And, I can't use just any conditioner, because some are just not effective in keeping it from tangling. Cost doesn't really seem to be a determiner, expensive might be just as bad as el cheapo when it comes to tangling. However, even Suave can get spendy when you use it every day.

I realize some of you may not wash your hair everyday, but I need my shower! :-D It's a short period of time each day when I am alone, and I can just relax under the hot water or take time to pray uninterrupted. I have also never really been able to do much with my hair once it is dry, so I always do my "styling" (braid, bun, etc) while my hair is wet.

Okay. On to the "thrifty tip". I wish I could give credit where it is due, but it's been so long since I read this tip, that I honestly don't remember which website I got it from. However, if you have time and are so inclined, I would encourage you to look up different hair care sites, there are many of them and they have some neat hair care tips. I only use a tiny amount of shampoo. Somewhere I read that if you are getting suds (and weren't we trained that a good shampoo suds-up?) you are using too much shampoo! I also only shampoo my scalp. Once every 3 months or so I will wash the full length of my hair, but for the most part, I just wash my scalp. The length of my hair is cleaned by the shampoo as I rinse it. It truely does work! I bought a "family size" bottle of Suave shampoo the beginning of September and I am probably not even a third of a way through the bottle ~ *that's* savings!

In contrast, I only condition the length of my hair ~ not my scalp. I still use more conditioner than shampoo (there's a lot of length to my hair), but not the amount I was using before.

I believe that my hair is in better condition now than before I changed the way I washed it. There has to be less soap build-up, just because I'm not using the amount of soap I used to, and my scalp is healthier because it's not getting extra oils from the conditioner that it doesn't need.

This will even make expensive shampoos and conditioners affordable ~ if you can break the cost down over several months. And if you are already using inexpensive brands, this will break the cost down to just pennies!

Just one more place to cut a corner, but still get the job done well. ;-)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How Do You Do It All?

I was asked this question yesterday, and so, while I realize there may be some of you without children at home that read this blog, I wanted to address this question here, as I hope there are younger women reading that may be wondering this and that can be ministered to by reading here today.

With 8 children, this is a question I get every once in a while. :-) The honest answer is, I don't! In the spirit of complete transparency, this is something that I continually struggle with. While growing up, household matters didn't mean much to me. I loved my horse, and had every intention of spending my life raising and training horses, so why did I need to learn how to organize, clean, cook, etc.? Well, I have mastered cooking! And interestingly, in the smaller things, I really am pretty organized, but overall, I am not. (Still haven't totally figured out how that works, but...) So, often my house is cluttered, the floor might need to be swept, there are dishes in the sink, and there is laundry waiting to be done. However, I do have my moments, and my housekeeping skills really have improved over the years. So, I will share what I have discovered and what I am still working on.

My first encouragement is to keep a good attitude. This can be extremely difficult! It is so easy to slip into martyr mode. "I just swept that floor and now you've tracked mud in!" Try, as much as you can, to keep your focus off of yourself. Be creative in thinking of ways that your responsibilities can be made joyful and not "chores". Do them as unto the Lord ~ because that is what Scripture commands us to do ~ in *everything*. If your children are little, spend time just enjoying them ~ you do not realize how quickly this time will go. Before you know it, you'll be watching them leave, ready to start their own households. In the moment, it often seems as if time is dragging, but trust me; it's not!

Next, determine what is *most* important to get done. Sit down with your beloved and see if there are one or two things that just say, "clean house" to him ~ and determine to make sure those are done everyday. Then, decide if there is something that just really pulls on you if it's undone. Does a sinkful of dirty dishes make you feel defeated? Then make sure they get done! Do you feel overwhelmed if there is more than a load or two of laundry waiting? Then make sure the laundry gets done. The reason for this is simple. If you have a newborn, or two or more little ones, you very likely are not going to get everything done. So, you want to prioritize what needs to get done for your beloved's comfort and your sanity. Remember, you want your home to be a haven for him when he gets home from work.

After you figure out what needs to get done, then determine to let your little ones help. :-O I know, it can be scary! And, it will take longer. However. Your children will not be children forever. You are training them to be adults. This doesn't mean that they never get to play, but it does mean that they learn to contribute to the household. Even a child as young as 15 months can learn to pick their toys up. As soon as they are mobile and understanding what is said to them, you should begin training. Be simple and direct and work alongside of them. Josiah is 2 1/2. If I say to him, "Pick your toys up." Nothing happens. If I say, "Si, pick up your boots. Now put them in your basket." He picks up his boots and puts them in his shoe basket. The same goes with the rest of his things. Little ones long to spend time with you and to help. Take advantage of that and train them while they are young. Initially it will take longer to complete your tasks, but in the long run, it will free you up. It's also important because sooner or later, you may find yourself out-numbered! This is not a bad thing, however, it is nigh unto impossible for one person to keep up with multiple people's clutter, especially when there is laundry, cooking, and possibly schooling to get done as well. Planning is important, because if a little person is helping you peel potatoes, it will take longer to get supper on the table. You may also have to lower your standards somewhat. Not that you shouldn't encourage them toward the best they can do ~ but a little person isn't going to sweep as thoroughly as an adult, but it will come in time.

As they get old enough, start turning some responsibilities completely over to them. When my older boys were about 8 and 9, I taught them how to do laundry. I gave them a day of the week, and they were responsible to get their own laundry done. Now, all 4 older boys take care of their own laundry. This doesn't mean that I never do their laundry, but for the most part, I don't. I still have plenty of laundry to do, mine and my Beloved's, the girls', Si and Ezra's and the household laundry; but it helps tremendously that the older 4 boys can take care of their own. Wow, reading what I just wrote, I realize it's time for Kathleen to learn to do laundy. This is something else I am discovering. I taught the older boys to help, but I haven't done a very good job with the younger ones! I had help already, so it just didn't occur to me. :-/ Now, the older boys have jobs and are in sports and are just gone: a lot. So, I am left with mess makers, but not mess cleaner-uppers. :-) So, we are working on this once more. Another laundry tidbit is to put a load in before going to bed. When you get up in the morning, switch it over to the dryer and start another load. I have a dryer which has a drop down door, so I fold clothes as I take them out of the dryer. That way, I never have baskets of clean but unfolded clothes sitting around. If the clothes in the dryer have been sitting for a while, I turn the dryer back on for a few minutes to fluff, and then fold.

Perhaps meals are what gives you fits, either because you don't like to cook or because your dealing with morning sickness or a new baby in the house. If so, then consider cooking for more than one meal at a time. If you are making a casserole, make 2 and put one in the freezer. My Grandma used to make huge batches of chili and freeze it, or it can be canned. You can make soup and freeze or can it. Our local market puts hamburger on reduced price about once a week. If I get into town on that day, I try to buy several packages. I'll bring the hamburger home and cook it all up, divide it into meal size portions and stick it in the freezer. Then it only has to be thawed and heated ~ it can be thrown into soup, a casserole, spaghetti sauce, etc. You can do the same thing with chicken. There are several different once a month cooking books out there, but you can do something similar without the book. If you can, spend a day or two canning up dry beans. They are cheaper than "canned" beans and if you home can them, you get all the convenience of store bought, but without the additives and for a fraction of the cost. Spend some time thinking about ways to make your time in the kitchen more efficient while still providing nutritious meals for your family.

Now obviously, things have to get done. If you have prioritized, and still are not getting to everything, then take one day a week and make sure some of the "leftover" things are getting done as well. But remember, the housework will be there tomorrow, this moment you have a sweet little one that wants nothing more than to sit on your lap and have you read a book, or to play with you, whether it be with toy cars or having a teddy bear tea. Don't miss your child's intimate moments because there was a little dust on the piano.

If you are an older mom, whether of many or a few, please take a moment and leave a comment sharing how you have "done it all". God has given you wisdom, share with us! Thank you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Song of Solomon Devotion #8

"O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crannies of the cliff, let me seeyour face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face lovely."Song of Solomon 2:14

Do you speak in loving ways to your husband? The Shulamite asks to see her lover’s face, to hear his voice, for they are sweet and lovely to her. Do you feel that way about your beloved? Do you speak with loving words to him? Or, do you mock him? Nag him? Tear him down verbally?

What would happen if you began to speak sweetly to your husband? If the tone of your voice is kind and loving, and your words encouraging, what impression would it make on your beloved? Would he be suspicious? Do you only speak that way when you want to manipulate him? If so, it might take a while before he realizes that you are sincere. You must persevere through his suspicion, because your own behavior has caused it. As he sees the reality of a sweet, loving wife, he will be more likely to act in a way that shows that he loves and cherishes you.

In the New Testament, we are taught that a wife is to respect her husband. “and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33b “Likewise, wives, be submissive to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives ~ when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” I Peter 3:1-2 (emphasis mine).

The Shulamite voices her approval of her husband to her husband. She wisely understands the value of not merely stroking his ego, but of genuinely complimenting and speaking in a loving way to him. When you speak in a loving manner to your husband, it is a way of respecting him. What man would not respond well to respect and sweet words from his wife? This is something that can take some thought and foresight to do. We live in a society that continually puts men down, and we rarely if ever, in "entertainment" see wives that behave in a respectful way to their husband. And so, when we desire to live in a godly way with our husband, we find ourselves short of examples. Until we look to scripture, and if we are very blessed, some real-life examples in our lives.

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to thebody." Proverbs 16:24

I want my words to be sweetness and health to my beloved. I desire for my words to be gracious. It is important that as wives, you and I realize one of our top priorities is to be our husband's biggest cheerleader. Who else will he turn to when he's had a lousy day at work? Where else will he go when he's experienced a failure, or hit a 'home-run' at work, or at play? We should desire for him to come to us above all others, except, of course, the Lord. Men need to be admired, and respected, and if they don't get it from their wives, they will find it somewhere else. Possibly from their mother, or a secretary, or some other woman who finds them attractive. You want to be the one to fill his needs. This is what you were created for, this is the man you were created to help.

The Bible is full of verses that speak to the way we use our tongue. Look in a concordance, and read these verses as if they are speaking directly to your relationship with your husband. Is it convicting? More than likely. God gives us the instruction we need, we just need to look for it. Once again, I encourage you to renew your mind. And, speak with gracious, sweet words to your beloved.

Father God,
I am convicted by how often my words are not gracious or sweet to my dear husband. I ask Father, for Your forgiveness. I pray that You would enable me to harness my tongue, and to speak sweet words of truth, and life to my beloved. I pray Father, that (insert your husband's name) would feel blessed to have me as his helpmeet. Mold me Father, into the supportive, encouraging wife that he needs me to be. Amen.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Please Pray for Noah!

I have asked for prayers for baby Noah before. I come to you again, asking that you lift this precious little boy and his family before the Throne of Grace. Noah is very sick and being admitted once again to the hospital.

Here is the link to their blog, so you can read what Noah's Mama has to say.

Thank you!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recipe Share Friday ~ Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe comes from a book called, The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook by Christopher Kimball. I changed it slightly when I made them, but they disappear quickly, so my changes must be good!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/2 c rolled oats
2 sticks butter, softened but still firm
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking powder
12 ounces chocolate chips *
4 ounces grated semisweet chocolate *
1 1/2 c chopped pecans or walnuts *
(* These three ingredients I left out! In their stead I added 1 c milk chocolate mini MM's and about 3/4 c caramel chips)

1. Heat oven to 350*. Place oats in a blender or food processor and blend until very fine. (I blended until it was basically flour consistency).
2. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat 20 seconds after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat for another 15 seconds to blend.
3. Whick together the flour, processed oats, baking powder, and salt. With a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, blend the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. (This will be difficult since the batter is very stiff.) [I blended the dry ingredients into the butter mixture with my mixer, not by hand.] Add the chocolate chips, grated chocolate, and nuts. (The easiest method of grating chocolate is to use a heavy-duty food processor, fitted with the metal blade.)
4. Form dough into balls about 2 inches in diapmeter and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. (The parchment paper is optional). [I just dropped the dough by spoonfuls. I also chose not to use parchment and it was fine.] Bake 14 to 15 minutes on the middle rack or until the bottoms are lightly browned. The cookies should still feel a bit soft at this point. (They will not spread very much and will look undercooked. Do not over-cook or they will become hard and dry when they cool.) They will harden as they cool. Removed from oven and let cookies cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to cooling racks. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving. (Good luck with that last one! HA!! ;-) )

Makes 30 - 36 large cookies.

I got about 40 cookies and they were medium-ish sized. Those didn't make it through the evening.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thrifty Thursday ~ Cloth Diapers

I've been looking for more ways to be frugal in my desire to be a good steward of the money my Beloved earns. Right now we have two in diapers. Have you bought diapers lately? They are expensive! A tour of cloth diaper sites educates one rather quickly that cloth diapers are not a very inexpensive option either. When we very first did cloth diapers 8 years ago, I think we bought either 18 or 24 diapers and we figured they would pay for themselves in about 4 months. They were one size snap diapers and I loved them. However, when our next baby was born, they were starting to get thread bare and I couldn't find the same diapers anymore. We ended up going back to disposable. Now, cloth diapers are apparently "chic" ~ at least according to their prices!

I love the snaps, but they do not fit every baby well ~ they are only so adjustable. I greatly dislike Aplix, finding that even those with fold-over tabs still end up getting stuck together in the wash. I have thought about making diapers in the past, however I don't have a snap setter, and I didn't really want to spend the time and effort on diapers that are going to be outgrown rather quickly.

One day, about a month ago, I was blog surfing, and came across a pinnable, one size pocket diaper. The Rita's Rump Pocket Diaper was just what I was looking for! So far, I have made 20 of these diapers. I bought flannel sheets at the thrift store. One full size flat sheet will make 10 diapers. I was able to get 4 diapers out of a twin size sheet. The cost for my 20 diapers was about $6. For the doublers, I am using micro fiber towels bought in the automotive department at WalMart. They come in packs of 8 for $5. And for the covers I am just using the old fashioned Gerber pull on pants. I also have some Dappi covers, and will probably get more, I just haven't ordered any yet. We've only been using them for about a week, but they are working out quite well. I bought a couple more sheets the other day and would like to make at least 10 more diapers (remember, I am diapering 2!)

Here is Si in one of the diapers. He weighs about 30 lbs at 2 1/2. Isn't he cute? :-) This diaper has 2 towels folded into thirds in the pocket. I have found that 1 towel just isn't enough lining. Josiah has only worn the cloth once so far. I still have disposables in his size, so we're finishing those before we switch over to cloth. But, he did model for me, and got to wear this one to bed. It must have felt nice, because this morning when I changed him, he wanted cloth (after spending the night in disposable). For wipes, I bought the inexpensive washcloths that come in packs of 18 for about $4. I just have them folded at the changing table, and if needed, we just take them to the bathroom, get them wet and clean up baby. This is sooo much nicer than wipes! They are warm, and they clean so much better!

And here's Ezra. Isn't he adorable?? :-) Six months old now, he weighs 20 lbs. He's been liking his cloth diapers. Oh, I forgot to mention, these pin together with just one pin. Which is really nice. Ezra is a challenge to get changed ~ once you get his diaper off, his toes go into his mouth, and it's difficult to get his feet out of his hands and get the clean diaper on!

One sewing forum I'm on even suggested that these diapers would make a great addition to a young lady's hope chest. I thought that was a marvelous idea.

They went together very quickly. The curves are sweeping enough that I was able to cut them out with my rotary cutter, and was able to cut 2 diapers at a time ~ I did cut out 4 diapers once, but that was really a bit much for the cutter! I then sewed them assembly line style, so I was doing all the zigzagging at once, then all the top stitching at once, etc. The other thing I really love about them is that I was able to get plaid sheets, so they look *so* boyish!

Anyway, if you're looking for an easy way to save money, and you've got a baby or two in diapers, this is it. Have fun sewing!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thrifty Thursday ~ Food Stores

One of the things a godly wife does, is to provide food for her family. She may garden, forage, hunt, butcher animals she's raised, or go to a grocery store. I believe that also includes putting up stores of food. We have a pantry that is built into our home, and I have added to it by re-purposing bookshelves to use for food storage.
I enjoy canning. I love walking into my pantry and seeing the shelves lined with food ~ cans that have been bought at a good price, and jars that my labor has provided.

This year, with Ezra being born in May by c-section, we didn't have a garden, and in August, when it was time to be canning, I either didn't have time to stop and buy vegetables to can, or there wasn't money to do so. However, we have been getting food from some friends. They are set up as a receiver in a second harvest kind of deal. We are blessed to be one of the families they call when the food comes. It truely has been a blessing! One week, there was an abundance of green beans ~ I was able to put up 25 quarts of beans for free.

The following week we received a case of baby carrots ~ into jars those went, and I have 33 pints of canned carrots in my pantry ~ for nothing more than my labor. I have also been able to make jam from some of the fruit we have received. I am so thankful that God has provided food for our family through the winter! It brings a feeling of comfort and security ~ we live 10 miles from the closest grocery store, and in the winter, we can't always get out, so knowing that there is food in the freezer (or will be soon, with hunting season!), and food in the pantry makes me less anxious about snow and/or ice. What a blessing to know that if things are tight, we will still eat fairly well.

I still have some stocking up to do, and do try to add to my pantry stock a little each paycheck. That way, it never takes a large sum of money to stock up. With now 5 hunters in the family, there should be several deer in our freezer within the month, and we're going halves with my folks on a pig ~ which is good, because Levi eats a *lot* of bacon!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Part of the Uniform

One of the lovely items that we have the priviledge of wearing as Keepers at Home is the apron. Aprons come in all shapes and sizes, but my favorites are the ones that cover my torso as well as my skirt. I have one that belonged to my great-grandmother, and I love to wear it. She was a beautiful, smart, creative, talented lady and I like to think that putting on her apron helps get my creative juices flowing!

I particularly like aprons that harken back to a gentler, slower time. Jennie Chancey over at Sense and Sensibility Patterns has created a beautiful Edwardian apron pattern. It is a lovely, ladylike pattern that will cover your clothes well. While this is not a "new" pattern, what is new is that it, along with several other Sense and Sensibility patterns are now available in e-format. That means that you can take advantage of having a whim to sew and getting your pattern within minutes!
If you are interested in checking out the new e-patterns and/or Jennie's paper patterns, you can Click here to view more details or click on the link in the sidebar.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Challenge For You

I want to challenge you to take a challenge! :-)

Do you honor and respect your beloved? Could you do better? Revive our hearts has a 30 day Husband challenge. I started it on Monday.

In it you are challenged to speak only positively to and about your husband, to pray for him, to relate to him in honoring and encouraging ways. Are you up for it?

There are two formats, you can either print it out, or you can sign up for daily emails. Take advantage of this wonderful little tool to improve your relationship with your beloved ~ even if it's already good. Just click on the link below and it will take you directly to the challenge page.

Revive Our Hearts Challenge

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday

"An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it, with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates." Proverbs 31:10-31

Image courtesy of Snapshots of Joy

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Law of Kindness

"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26

This weekend, I took my daughters to the Christian Heritage Mother Daughter Tea. Deborah Brown, wife of Scott Brown was the speaker. We had a lovely time, visiting with dear friends, and talking with some aquaintances, and meeting some new ladies. Mrs. Brown's talks were very encouraging (because my daughters are still young!), but also very convicting. She talked about raising our daughters to be Proverbs 31 women, and of course to do that, we must be Proverbs 31 women as well.

I decided to share this this morning because while she was speaking primarily about raising daughters, being a wife is an integral part of that, and I have really been struggling in the Proverbs 31 department lately. In talking with some others, they have also been struggling and so I decided it might not just be limited to a few of us. It seems that fall is always a time of struggle around here (as well as other parts of the year!); I don't know if it's because through the summer things have been more relaxed and then when fall hits, not only are we doing school, but football season is in full swing and we are on the go *a lot*. When we are not home, we don't have any real sort of schedule, and it is more difficult to catch the "foxes" of misbehavior/bad attitudes, and discipline suffers, and Mama's attitude suffers (I've also noticed now that we have adult and nearly adult children that their attitude tanks somewhat as well).

I have been thinking for at least a month (probably longer), that I need to be in the Word more, that I need to be thinking on the Scriptures throughout the day because I am not the wife and mama I need to be, let alone want to be. Then came Saturday. As Mrs. Brown read through Proverbs 31, I was... not crushed ~ God doesn't do that, but I was certainly wounded as I listened to those words of wisdom and realized how far off the mark I am. In the physical things, surely. My home is in disarray ~ while I do have the "excuse" of c-sec. recovery, a baby and toddler (one of which is fairly demanding of my time), and just flat out being out-numbered, in the end, that's all those are: excuses. I have allowed my lazy nature to grab ahold of those things and my household has suffered. My younger children have not been trained well because I had older children to do some of these things and it was easier to let that happen than to train the younger. Only now, my older children have jobs outside the home and they are playing sports, and they are not home to help very much, and I am left with children that really only know how to make messes and not clean up very well.

Worse than that however, is how far off the mark I am with my attitude. The verse I started this post with was particularly convicting. NKJV, phrases it, "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness." Prov. 31:26 Ouch!

I have allowed the state of my heart to resemble the state of my home. It is disheveled and disorderly. I am short, impatient and far too often, unkind words proceed from my mouth. Not to my Beloved so much, but certainly, too often. However, my children are with me day in and day out and they bear the brunt of my sin. As I realize this and think about it, it makes my heart ache. I see it in their faces, and in how they then treat each other.

How thankful I am that in Christ there is no condemnation! Romans 8:1 tells us, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." That doesn't mean we don't do wrong, that we aren't convicted of sin; what it means is that we are forgiven and we can start fresh! I am so glad that each morning we are presented with a new day, full of possibilities and the strength of the Lord. I have not been in God's Word as I should, which means that I am trying to be a godly wife and mother in my own strength ~ which doesn't work particularly well. Did you read that? I am trying to be a godly wife, without the help of God. On my own. How arrogant is that? How ridiculous?

So. Tonight, after we're home and things are quiet, I am going to go to my Beloved and apologize to him for not being the wife he needs me to be. I am going to talk to him about what changes need to happen around here. Then, in the morning, I am going to gather the children (some of whom are not really children anymore), and apologize to them for how sinful I have been lately. I am going to ask for their forgiveness, and then we are going to talk about how the law of kindness is going to be on *all* our tongues. For they too, have gotten to be terrible in this area, but I know that much of this is because of the broken example I have set.

I'll probably be mulling over some of the other points she made as the days go on, but this is the most immediate point in my mind right now. I am so thankful that God has the wonderful ability to convict and encourage us at the same time. That we serve a God of forgiveness, and that when I am convicted of sin I am not left in despair, but know that there is forgiveness and restoration. That each moment is full of it's own possibilities and I don't have to wait until tomorrow or next week, but now, in this moment, I can ask for forgiveness and change my course.

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit." Psalm 51:1-12

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Refreshing Place to Visit

I wanted to encourage you today to go and visit the Revive Our Hearts website. I have found it to be a refreshing place to visit on the world-wide web. For years I have appreciated Nancy Leah DeMoss's ministry. She is not afraid to say the hard things, and is an unapologetic teacher of the truth.

There are many things to enjoy there, from beautiful desktop wall papers to 30 Day Challenges designed to help you grow as a godly woman. You can even sign up for daily emails that are designed for your encouragement.

Enjoy and be challenged!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Be a Hedge-Builder

"And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, "I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows, so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband is not at home, he has gone on a long journey; he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home." With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him." Proverbs 7:10-21

As I read this portion of Scripture this morning, I was struck by the lengths to which the adulteress goes to to seduce the man. And God spoke to my heart and said, "There is nothing new under the sun." The adulteress is still lying in wait. Most men who are working outside of their homes are confronted continually (intentionally or otherwise) by "seductive" women. Women who are hungry for the attention of men. Perhaps they flirt, maybe they innocently seek advice (and in so doing, show honor and/or respect), or they may be dressed in such a way that can potentially cause a man to stumble.

And then the question came to me, "Am I willing to go to the same kind of lengths to keep my man happy at home? Am I willing to be a 'hedge' of protection for him?" I don't mean acting or dressing like a prostitute, but as I read these verses, I see things that the adulteress is doing that I could/should be implementing within my own home.

"She seizes him and kisses him..." I need to be physical with my Beloved. Hugs and kisses when he gets home from work. Rubbing his shoulders after a hard day's work, or just sitting next to him and laying my head on his shoulder. As he 're-enters' the home after being gone all day, am I helping him reconnect to me in a physical way?

" I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you..." This ties in with the above. Does my Beloved know that I eagerly await him? Do I stop whatever I am doing when he arrives home and greet him at the door ~ or maybe even greet him before he gets to the door? If he finds me in the laundry room, folding clothes, instead of at the door, do I convey joy at seeing him? Do I show an interest in how his day has gone or do I start in with how my day has gone? Piling more upon him instead of helping to lighten his load of cares.

"I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen..." What does my bedroom look like? Is it the depository for every "orphaned" article in the house? Are there piles of laundry (dirty or clean) lying about? Is it neat and tidy? Is the bed made, or is it a pile of rumpled covers? Are the bed linens in good condition or are they thread bare? I need to do what I can to make my bedroom a sanctuary ~ a romantic hideaway. This doesn't mean that I spend lots of money, but good quality (or at least, good condition), sheets, blankets, etc. can be found inexpensively anywhere from ebay to thrift stores to yard sales. It means that I am going to make the effort to keep our room peaceful. That may mean that I have pegboard on the walls to organize his tools, or it may mean that I have lush fabrics and lots of candles, to anything in-between. Neat, tidy, peaceful ~ these things will be more conducive to intimacy and will let my Beloved know that he is a priority to me.

"I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon..." Do I engage all the senses? Scent can affect us in different ways. It can make us queasy, it can make us hungry, it can repel us, it can draw us in, it can make us feel romantic. Am I seeking out scents for my bedroom that will encourage intimacy? Room sprays, candles, potpourri ~ perhaps even a late evening dessert of tea and a delicious treat that not only tastes good, but smells heavenly as well. Vanilla and cinnamon have long been considered aphrodisiacs, so maybe some cinnamon rolls are in order?

"Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love." Am I willing to spend long periods of time making love to my Beloved? All night? In the morning? Do I delight in his love? Does he *know* I delight in his love? Or does he think that it's a chore for me; one more thing to check of my "to-do" list? I struggle so often with this. As a homeschooling Mama of 8, 2 of which are nurslings (who don't sleep through the night!), and not as young as I used to be, I often find myself tired, and just wanting to sleep when I get to bed. It is difficult to keep a good attitude and delight in my Beloved. God has really been speaking to me about this lately. I need to get back into the Word, and see what God says about marriage and intimacy. I need to pray more about my attitude; I need to ask for His enabling when it comes to my marriage relationship. My Beloved needs to know not only that I love, honor and respect him, but that I desire him. He needs to know that I am doing more than just meeting his needs, but that I am delighting in our lovemaking. I need to be a hedge-builder because I love him so deeply.

Father God,
I pray that You would enable me to love my Beloved as You intend. I ask that You will help me to have more than a good attitude, that I would not just be meeting the physical needs of my Beloved, but that I would long for times of intimacy with him. Make me the wife he needs me to be. Let me be a deep well, from which he is continually refreshed. Infuse our marriage with love, respect, and passion, I pray.

I ask this in the Precious Name of Jesus, amen.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday

A timely and good reminder for godly wives. Submit, respect, honor ~ glorify God in all your actions.
Image courtesy of Snapshots of Joy.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Reminder To Pray For Your Beloved

I know it's been a while since I've posted a Pray for your beloved post. Sorry! Things are crazy around here right now with football ~ we've got 3 games a week for the next couple or three weeks.

However, I just want to remind you to be in prayer for your beloved. He needs your prayers! You can pray more effectively for him than anyone else in the world. You know him, his strengths, his weaknesses, his needs intimately, so lift him up! Be his Aaron and Hur(Exodus 17:8-13), and uphold him before the Lord. Be his support and help him live victoriously.

So far, we have prayed for:

If you know your beloved specifically needs prayer in any of these areas, go ahead and reread my posts on them ~ they all contain Scripture that can help as prayer prompts.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Please Pray for Noah

Please be praying for Noah Estes. As I was checking my email this morning, I saw there was an update on their blog. It was an emergency prayer request.

"We are rushing to the Greenville ER. Noah is vomiting, shaking uncontrollably, and running a fever of 103.5. He is extremely sick. Please ask everyone you know to pray. I'll update when I can. Kate"

To keep updated on Noah, or to find out more about him, you can click through to their blog from the Prayers for Noah button to the left.

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Appreciating My Man

I believe it's important to recognize and appreciate the things that our beloveds do. So, I wanted to share about my darling.

I woke up this morning to horses in my pasture! "So?" You may ask, "Isn't that where horses belong?" Well, yes. However, our fences are, shall we say, suggestive. Meaning, they suggest to the horses that they should remain in the pasture, but the horses (the mares in particular) haven't been "listening" very well lately. So, every morning I wake up to my old gelding whinnying, wondering where his mares went. It's been very stressful for me to say the least. With a 4 month old fussy baby, I haven't been able to get out and do any fence fixing on my own, and although my 16 year old son has worked on them, we've not been successful in keeping them in.

My Beloved and I have talked at great length what to do, but with limited resources, most of our ideas haven't really seemed to be much of a fix. Well, last night, after football practice, my Beloved came home and worked on the fence. He got out the fence charger and got everything hooked up and electrified. And now, the horses are listening when the fence says, "Stay!" :-)

This may not seem like a big deal, but my Beloved grew up in town, and not on a farm. Being on a farm is much more my dream than his, and so, the "animal" chores are not ones that he particularly cares for. So, it is a big deal that he took the time to take care of something that was causing me so much distress.

I was so overjoyed to not have to run out in my nightie and call horses in this morning! I called my Beloved and let him know how appreciative I was/am.

So. Let me encourage you today to find something about your beloved to be appreciative about and tell him ~ and someone else.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Quick Apology

Just a short post to apologize for not posting much last week or this. We've had the stomach flu here, and between sick children (and husband!), a fussy baby, and trying to get things ready for school starting, I just haven't had time to even think about posts, let alone get any written. I hope to be able to post later in the week, or at least by Monday.

Thanks for hanging in there!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Song of Solomon Devotion #7

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 2:7

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 3:5

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 8:4

We’ve already talked about some of the ways that we awaken love before it should be. We are willing to take a cheap imitation, that is attractively packaged, rather than waiting for the most beautiful, holy gift of married love. We also talked about regaining a position of purity before Christ.

Perhaps, you’re thinking, “No, it’s too late, you don’t understand.” Maybe you lived with your husband before you were married. Maybe you lived with more than one man before you were married, or you’ve been married more than once. Maybe you had one or more children out of wedlock, or had an abortion. It doesn’tmatter. Are you a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ? Romans 8:1 says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” that means that Christ’s blood covers those sins. If you have asked for forgiveness, you have it! (I John 1:9) Does that mean you won’t have to live with the consequences of those decisions? No. God never promises to spare us the consequences of sin, but, we can live free from the guilt and condemnation.

Maybe you’re reading this and realize that you do not know Jesus as your Savior. You desire forgiveness. You are grieved by the sin in your life. You try hard to live a good life, but your past haunts you. First off, know that you can never do enough good to get you to heaven. Romans 3:10 says, “as it is written:“None is righteous, no, not one;”

You have to realize that you are a sinner, and that there is nothing you can do to earn entrance to heaven. But, there is good news! Romans 5:8 tells us, “but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross ~ as a perfect sacrifice for your sins. But, it doesn’t end there. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead! He conquered sin and death, so you can have eternal life. His sacrifice on the cross, is a free gift. It’s being offered to you, will you take it?

Ask Jesus to come into your heart and to be your Lord and Savior. Tell him you know you’re a sinner and ask forgiveness for those sins.You now need to tell someone you’ve received Christ as your Savior. Romans10:9-10 states, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Now, according to scripture, you are a new creation, the old has passed away! (2Corinthians 5:17)

Congratulations, and welcome to the family!


Father God,
I am awed by how deeply You love me. That You would love me and pursue me even when I was dead in sin and Your enemy is unbelievable to me. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for me. I praise You that He was raised from the dead. Thank You, Father, for choosing me to be Your child. Enable me to learn from Your Word, and bless me with godly women to mentor me.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Song of Solomon Devotion #6

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 2:7

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases. Song of Solomon 3:5

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.
Song of Solomon 8:4

Three times within the Song, the Shulamite warns against awakening love too soon. This is a real danger within the society that we live. Many things can ‘awaken’ love too soon, and, as a result, pervert our view of true love.

We live in a society full of pornographic or near-pornographic images used to sell everything from toothpaste to auto parts. Although it is true that men in particular are targeted with this type of advertising, women are not immune to it. Women are also susceptible to other forms of ‘awakenings’, through the written word, and through relationships. We fall prey to images and ideas put forth in movies and on television. We wait in vain for our knight in shining armor, and when a good, and decent man comes our way, we don’t recognize him for what he is, because of what we have filled our minds with. We are bombarded by thoughts and images of what our society deems to be sensual, and because of that, we have a view of marriage and sex that is far from God’s design.

Some of us have had relationships before our marriage that were sinful. We thought God’s order was ‘old fashioned’ and we knew better. Living together seemed like a good idea at the time, and besides, everyone else was doing it. Maybe the man we lived with is the one we married, and yet, there are consequences to live with because we stepped outside of God’s will. We took His good and perfect gift of sexual love and contorted it into something it was never meant to be.

Emotional purity is just as important as physical purity, and yet, we often overlook it. Emotional purity is what we damage when we take in ideas about love and sex that are unbiblical. Emotional purity is destroyed when we look at other men, real or fiction, and desire for our husband to be more like that, instead of being satisfied with who he is. Emotional purity is damaged when we have unreal expectations for our marriage that come from books we read, or shows or movies we watch, or radio programs we listen to.

As a married woman, it may be that it’s too late for you to come to the marriage bed pure, but you can take steps to regain a position of purity and maintain it. Remember, emotional purity is damaged by what we choose to read, watch, and listen to. Do these things meet the requirements of Philippians 4:8? “Finally,brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever ispure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence,if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

What are you reading? Do you read romance novels? Do you realize what they do to your emotional purity? Secular romance novels, in particular, are little more than pornography for women. Many describe sexual scenes in detail. You may think, “Yes, but I’m just reading.” Would you walk into someone’s bedroom or stand at their window and watch while they were making love? Then why is reading about it okay? Romance magazines and the like are little better. Even some Christian novels set us up for emotional impurity, causing us to want our husband to be something he’s not, or to be someone that God never intended him to be. Evaluate your reading material against biblical principles and if what you’re reading doesn’t match up, toss it.

What do you watch? What kind of television programs? Soap operas? Once again,they are little more than pornography. Even if they weren’t, they are full of ungodly attitudes and relationships. Do you watch sitcoms? Do they show wives that are submissive and respectful? If not, beware your own attitude. What kind of movies do you watch? Are they full of adulterous relationships? Do they show marriage relations in an ungodly or unrealistic way? One other thingto be aware of, if you have a problem with body image, it is not going to be helped by watching any of the above.

Finally, what are you listening to? Do you listen to secular music that speaksof love gone wrong or of love outside the bounds of marriage? Maybe you listen to talk radio. What are they saying? Are you being encouraged to be a loving, respectful wife or to be the one who runs the show? Once again, I will give caution. Even listening to Christian radio will not ensure that what you’re hearing is biblical. How can you know? By opening up your Bible and being familiar with what it has to say.

You need to come to a place where you expect the Lord to fulfill your needs, and not expect your husband to be the be-all and end-all for you. You need to be satisfied with the husband God has given you, and you need to be content in your role as wife and, if God blesses you with children, as mother.

It is necessary to recognize the importance of emotional purity. I have spoken to women over the years who have been grieved by the fact that they were virgins only in the physical sense when they met their husband. All purity and innocence had been lost. If we have daughters, we need to jealously guard their purity, so that years from now they will not be filled with regrets. For ourselves, God is more than capable of renewing our minds and restoring us to purity.
Father God, I come before You, a holy and righteous God, and I ask Your forgiveness. Father, I realize that I have not kept my heart pure, and I know that grieves You. I see the effect that my sin has had on my marriage relationship, and it breaks my heart. Father, I ask that You would restore my heart to purity. I pray that You would enable me to be ever diligent over the things I read and watch and listen to. Help me Father, to avoid that which is damaging to my spiritual well-being and that which is displeasing to You.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't Take It Personal!

How else can I be a "cool" thermostat? By learning to not take things personally.

What do I mean by that? Well, when your beloved leaves his dirty socks laying around instead of putting them in the dirty laundry, don't assume he's done it just to make your day more difficult. If your 5 year old spills milk on hte floor, don't react like she did it to mess up your freshly mopped kitchen. Get the idea?

Pick up that dirty laundry, mop that floor (again!) as though you were doing it for the Lord Jesus. "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:17

Remember that it's a joy and a priviledge to be a wife and mama! While it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, and take what we do for granted, we have a high and holy calling. As I allow the Lord to work in and through me, speaking in a loving and gracious way to my family, and as I serve them, I set the tone, and I teach them. Your beloved will be affected by the way you live. "Likewise, wives, be submissive to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives - when they see your respectful and pure conduct." 1 Peter 3:1-2

Your children will learn from how you live before them. The saying that more is caught than taught is true. You can teach them all you want about love and servanthood, but if you don't live it out (joyfully) before them, you are talking into the wind.

May God bless you as you go through your day, seeking to glorify Him.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Be A Cool Thermostat

"A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention." Proverbs 15:18

This verse describes a relational thermostat. In most homes, that is the wife/mother. Which are you? Are you hot-tempered, stirring up strife in your home, or are you slow to anger, quieting things?

We need to be slow to anger. Our husbands and family need for us to be the quieting influence in the home. I have noticed more and more lately that if I get angry, the children are either uncomfortable, or they join in on picking at whoever I'm upset with. God has been making me more and more aware of the "temperature" I set in our home, and it hasn't been a pleasant experience. Too often I am reactionary, instead of being deliberate in my home. Being reactionary means that I tend to be loud and stir up strife. God is really starting to drive it home to me that I am not quiet enough. Ezra, who just turned 3 months does not handle noise very well ~ unfortunate for him in our household! Although the children's noise bothers him, he really does not deal well with me raising my voice. If he is crying and fussing, I have to take a moment, a deep breath, and as I pick him up, talk to him in a quiet, gentle voice. I feel like God is forcing the issue with me!

He desires for His daughters to be a calming influence. "But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit." 1 Peter 3:4 (emphasis mine). This does not mean that we have to speak in a quiet monotone without expression, but rather that we should be deliberate in how we communicate. We need to purpose ahead of time how we are going to respond to our beloved, or our children. Instead of storming through my day, I'm going to decide ahead of time to be the quiet center, the calm in the midst of the storm.

Some of us have a more temperate personality, so it's much easier to have a handle on it, while others are more mercurial in temperment. The only way we can truely live in a deliberate, calming way is to be rooted in the Scriptures and to spend time in prayer. It is only through the enabling of the Holy Spirit that we can live as godly wives.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pray For Your Beloved ~ Turning His Heart Toward His Children

"And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction." Malachi 4:6

God's desire is for a father's heart to be turned toward his children. I wondered what that meant exactly, and as I looked through the Scriptures, I found that fathers are told to instruct (Deut. 6:5; Eph. 6:4), give testimony to the workings of God (Ps. 78:1-8), and to discipline their children (Pr. 13:24, 29:17; Eph. 6:4). While they are doing this, they are to avoid provoking their children and causing discouragement (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21).

I don't know about you, but to me, that sounds like a full-time job! Some fathers are in the blessed position of owning their own business and being able to allow their children to work alongside of them. Many more work for others and don't have that freedom. Making it more difficult to do what God requires of them. Often we Moms will step in and take care of these things. While we obviously have a role in the training of our children, we need to be careful that we don't usurp our husband's responsibilities. We need to be in prayer that our husband's heart will be turned toward his children. We need to pray that God would inspire him in how best to fulfill his role when he is home. And then we need to step out of the way and let him.

Perhaps your children are grown. You can still pray for his heart to be turned toward his children. Adult children are still in need of love and support from their parents! If you have grandchildren, Grandpa can be a tremendous blessing in their lives. I am so thankful for the relationship that my children have with their "Pak" (Grandpa to the rest the world. ;-) ). He has so much that he is able to teach them, from hunting and trapping to public relations. I value the time they are able to spend with him.

Even if Dad or Grandpa are not believers they still have important things to impart. While being an unbeliever would make it difficult, if not impossible for him to fulfill some of the responsibilities mentioned, he is still responsible for instructing and disciplining.

One last reminder: don't nag, but pray! Let the Holy Spirit do His work in your beloved's life.

Some verses for meditating on as you pray for your beloved this week:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:5-7

"Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God." Psalm 78:1-8

"Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him." Proverbs 13:24

"Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart." Proverbs 29:17

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

"Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged." Colossians 3:21

Friday, August 15, 2008

Recipe Share Friday ~ Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Since yesterday was our anniversary, I thought I would share a recipe that my Beloved developed. He's a pretty good cook, and enjoys baking cookies, he even considers himself something of an oatmeal cookie expert. So, here is his oatmeal cookie recipe ~ Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 C shortening
1/2 C butter
1 1/4 C peanut butter
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1C flour
2 C oatmeal
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cream together shortening and butter. Add sugars, vanilla, peanut butter and eggs, blending well. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop in small balls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375* for 7-9 minutes.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

From This Day Forward ~ 19 Years Ago

Today my Beloved and I have been married for 19 years. I have been married for half of my life. I remember being terrified before the wedding. I had never been a big "finisher" in my life, and I was almost overwhelmed with the thought of making a lifetime commitment. We had both come from homes of divorce, and I knew that that was *not* what I wanted.

Now, 19 years later, I can't imagine my life without this precious man walking by my side. Most days I can't believe that he loves me, and longs to be with me ~ though admittedly there are days when I wonder that I haven't killed him yet! ;-) We are human after all. LOL

God has used our marriage to stretch me, and grow me, and sanctify me. He has abundantly blessed our marriage with children, with mutual love and respect, and with a deep friendship. I enjoy spending time with my Beloved more than anyone else. God has grown him and changed him so much ~ brought him so far from who he was ~ and I stand in awe of my Creator God that loves us so much.

We have walked along the easy path, and we have hiked narrower, more precipitous paths; full of joys and the deepest of sorrows. Through it all, we have walked together, giving the grace to walk at a different pace, in a different way. And God has drawn us closer ~ to Himself and to each other.

Thank You, Lord; for blessing my life with Mike. I never could have chosen so well for myself.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Song of Solomon Devotion #5

"As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the youngmen. With great delight I sat in his shadow and his fruit was sweet to mytaste, he brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Sustain me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am sick with love. Hisleft hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me!" Song of Solomon 2:3-6

Do I praise my lover? Not to others, but to him? Do I let him know how attractive I find him? Do I tell him what pleases me when we’re making love? Now, you may be thinking, “What?! Talk during S-E-X?” or “Talk about ‘it’?” But, how is your lover to know what you find most pleasurable if you won’t tell him? Your husband should be your closest, most intimate friend, and so, you should be able to talk to him about things that are most intimate. God created the sexual relationship to be a wonderful, enjoyable experience between a husband and wife. It is the physical aspect of the ‘one flesh’ mandate in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fastto his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Often, for a variety of reasons, a wife cheats herself of much of the enjoyment in lovemaking. We feel inhibited, because of sexual messages from our society, or our body image, or because of what we ‘think’ God says about sex, or because of past sexual sin. Now though, you are in a marriage relationship, the very place God designed sex for and the very place He intends for you to enjoy yourself. Once again, this is a place where we must renew our thinking. For some it will be a fairly easy process, for others it might take a long time. I have spent about eight years on the journey of renewing my mind about sex. It has not been an easy road. There have been times when it seemed for every step toward God’s ideal, there were two or three steps back. But, my desire has been to become a more godly wife and lover to my husband. As I have communicated this to him and been open about my struggles, he has been able to be supportive, and when necessary, patient with my progress.

As you make love to your husband, and discover what is pleasurable to you, and to him, you also need to praise his skill as a lover. God created men in such away that, for most of them, their feelings of being an adequate man and husband are closely tied to their prowess as a lover. So, lavish praise on him! If you are willing to be open with your husband about lovemaking, and you are willing to praise him as you make love, he will become a better lover. Remember too, that part of your enjoyment should be to make sure that he is getting as much pleasure as he can out of your lovemaking. There are times when I’m particularly tired, or I don’t feel good, or whatever, that lovemaking isn’t #1 on my list of things to do. But, when I get to bed, my Beloved is feeling amorous. At those times it is enough for me to know that I have filled a need for him, while giving him pleasure ~ joyfully. Remember ~ in the bedroom, attitude counts! Your husband knows whether or not your heart’s in it.

Finally, are you lovesick? When we look to the Hebrew, we see that the idea is of being weak and incurable. Do you have a case of incurable love that leaves you weak? If the answer is ‘no’, then why? Don’t look at your husband. Look to yourself. If you are not lovesick, it is because of choices you have made, not because of things your husband has or has not done. Choose today to let go of hurts you may be carrying around. Forgive ~ as often as you need to, and act in a loving way.

Practice the things we’ve already discussed. Think about your husband as your lover throughout the day, praise qualities you know others find admirable, tend to your ‘vineyard’ and in so doing, honor your husband. Listen to him and believe him when he compliments you, and compliment him in return. Create a romantic sanctuary in your bedroom ~ and take advantage of it! Most importantly, pray, pray, pray! Ask God to renew your mind. Ask Him to enable you to fully enjoy lovemaking. Ask Him to let you see your beloved through the eyes of the Father and to love him with the Father’s love. These are prayers God will answer, because they are within His will.

Father God,I am amazed by the beautiful gift of sex. Father, I do want to truly be ‘oneflesh’ with my husband. I pray Father, that You would renew my mind so that I can fully enjoy making love to my husband. Enable me to be open with him. I ask Father, that You would help me to be lovesick for the man You have given me. Amen

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pray for Your Beloved ~ Addendum

After posting this morning, I got to thinking about those of you who may have a husband that is so good at giving his time elsewhere, you never see him! You, his wife and family may be the ones in need. I just wanted to encourage you that it's okay for you to pray that he would see the need at home, and be generous with his time there. I do believe that our families are to be our highest priority after God, and that our family should be our first mission field.

Don't hesitate to make your needs known to your beloved, but don't nag! Mention to him the needs of your family, but then take them to the Lord, and let Him take care of the rest.

Pray For Your Beloved ~ Generosity, Part 2

I wanted to add some thoughts on generosity. Yesterday was more from a monetary perspective, and I think that when we think of generosity, money is often where our thoughts automatically go. However, we can be generous with more than just our money. We can be generous with other resources ~ fire wood, hay for animals, food out of our pantry, clothing, the list goes on. Another thing we can be generous with is our time. Either helping someone with projects they may have, meeting needs, or just spending time visiting. We can even be generous with our children ~ sending them in our stead to minister to folks in need.

As I mentioned yesterday, I think that it can be easy for wives to be stingy. Especially if we place family time/activities as a high priority. I can be extremely protective of the time we have with my Beloved. There have been times when he worked long hours, or when he's working two jobs, and when he's not working, I want him with us! Certainly there are many times when we can minister as a family, but there are also times when it is not possible, and our husband may need to go by himself, or just take a son or two. We need to give them the freedom to do that. While we certainly don't want to give up all our family time, or drop family as a priority, we need to be flexible and allow for time to minister - be generous as well. Sometimes, that may mean a whole day away ~ perhaps cutting wood for a family in need, or helping to rebuild a shed that's burned in a fire, or any number of things.

I think of the Apostles, who freely shared the two most valuable things they had ~ their time and the gospel. Do we encourage our husbands toward that kind of generosity? Do we encourage them to go and help? To take food to a hungry family? To spend time with the elderly gentleman who has no family near by?

Pray for your beloved to be generous, in all things, to all men.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pray for Your Beloved ~ Generosity

Generosity is not an option for a believer. Time and again, in both the Old and New Testaments we are told to lend, to give, to be generous. God, Himself, sets the bar, “but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8 God gave His only begotten Son.

In Psalm 112:5 we are told, “It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.” That Psalm goes on to say in verse 9, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his horn is exalted in honor.” This entire Psalm talks about the righteous man, and being generous is mentioned twice in the 10 verses that make up the Psalm.

A righteous man does not hold tightly to his possessions, but freely gives of them to those that have need. “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.” Proverbs 14:31 A righteous man desires to honor God with his actions.

I often find at our house, that my Beloved is the one who is truly has the generous spirit. I love to give, and often am generous, but my tendency is to look at the checkbook and decide that we can’t afford it. But my Beloved would give the shirt off of his back if someone was in need of it. When he worked at our local grocery store, he often would loan money or pay for someone’s groceries if they were short on cash. People knew that if they were in need, they could go to him and if able, he would help them. As wives, we should be careful not to curb the generosity of our husbands.

We need to lift our husbands before the Throne and pray that they would be godly, righteous men. We need to pray that they will be generous. That they would give joyfully. “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And god is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor, his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all your generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” II Cor. 6-11

Some other verses that deal with generosity are:

“It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.” Psalm 112:5

“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” Proverbs 25:21

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” Luke 6:35

Use these verses as inspiration as you pray for your beloved this week.


Father God,
I lift my Beloved before You today. I ask Father that You would give him a generous spirit. I pray that he would honor You in all his actions, but especially as he reaches out to those in need. May others see You through him.
In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Recipe Share Friday ~ Savory Grilled Pork Chops

I thought it was time to get back to being regular about something! So, here is Recipe Share Friday, once again. ;-)

I found this recipe in one of those little recipe magazines you find at the check out stand. I don't remember if it was a Taste of Home, or Pillsbury, or what, but this recipe is YUMMY!!

Savory Grilled Pork Chops with Fruit Salsa
1 (8oz) can pineapple tidbits in unsweetened juice
1/3 C lite soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 center-cut pork chops

Reserved pineapple tidbits
1/2 C chopped fresh strawberries
1 med. Nectarine
2 Tbls sliced green onions
2 Tbls chopped cilantro
1 Tbls sugar
1 Tbls vinegar
1 Tbls lite soy sauce

1. GRILL DIRECTIONS: Drain pineapple, reserving liquid; set pineapple aside. In a 9x13 glass dish, combine pineapple juice, 1/3 C soy sauce and garlic; blend well. Add pork chops; turn to coat. Cover; refrigerate 2-3 hours to marinate, turning occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, in med. bowl, combine pineapple tidbits and all remaining salsa ingredients; mix well. Cover, refrigerate while pork chops are marinating.

3. Heat grill. When ready to grill, remove pork chops from marinade; discard marinade. Place pork chops on gas grill over med-high heat or on charcoal grill 4-6 inches from med-high coals. Cook 5-7 minutes on each side or until no longer pink in center. Serve salsa with pork chops.

Serves 6

This recipe quickly became one of our summer favorites! Once in a while in the winter, if I can get the fruit, we'll do it for a treat; cooking the pork chops under the broiler in the oven.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Being a Joyful, Intoxicating Wife

"Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always with her love."
Proverbs 5:19

Although written to a man, I thought the above verse to be instructive to us as wives as well.

"Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth..." I am the wife of my Beloved's youth, am I a wife he can rejoice in? According to Webster's 1828 Dictionary, rejoice is "to experience joy and gladness in a high degree, to be exhilarated with lively and pleasurable sensations; to exult." Sounds like something that should be happening in a marriage relationship, doesn't it? ;-) Shamefully, I know there are times that my Beloved doesn't rejoice in me. My behavior toward him or in general creates anything but joy and gladness. However, it is my goal to be the wife that he can rejoice in. I desire for our home to be full of joy and gladness.

"a lovely deer, a graceful doe..." When I think of a deer, I think of slender, quiet grace. Now, obviously, we're not all slender! Some of us are quieter than others, some more graceful. But, think of the overall impression. I *can* be gentle, quiet and graceful; it just might take some effort. My desire is that when people think of me, they aren't thinking of me per se. But they have such an impression of me that they think of my Beloved, and that he is blessed. It is another way of honoring him. I want my attitudes and actions to be complimentary to my Beloved, but more importantly, I want them to reflect my Heavenly Father.

"let her breasts fill you at all times with delight..." 'Nuff said? LOL At our house, this is more instructive to me than my Beloved. *I* need to remember that my body is for his pleasure. For me, as a woman who is often pregnant and/or nursing, it is so easy to be in Mama-mode. Which means that I get "touched out" during the day, and that I view parts of my body in a more, shall we say, utilitarian way than my Beloved does. I need to remind myself often that I am not *just* a Mama, I am a lover as well. I need to allow myself the freedom to let my breasts fill my Beloved with delight.

"be intoxicated always in her love." Do I love my Beloved in such a way that it's intoxicating to him? It seems that recently I have heard and seen a lot about the effects of certain sinful behaviors. Pornography and other sexual sins in particular create a "need" for more. I am *not* suggesting ungodliness in our marriages. However, am I doing my best to satisy him and love him in such a way that he desires more? Am I intoxicating to him? We can't always be in an "emotional high" in our marriages. That just isn't reality. But do I make an effort toward those times? Do I look for opportunities to show him how much I love and admire him? Do I make time to spend with him, to show interest in the things that interest him? Is our love relationship one that even when we're not in a "high" time, we do still "hunger" for each other? It goes back to being best friends.

Father God,
I lift up the woman reading this now. I pray Father, that You would encourage and inspire her toward being the wife You would have her be. I ask that where ever she's at in her marriage today, that You would draw her and her beloved closer to You, and in so doing, draw them closer to each other. I pray that her beloved would, truely rejoice in her and be intoxicated by her love. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Look

You may have noticed that my blog has a new look! I really liked the template I started out with, however, I wanted something that looked a little different from everyone else. :-)

My niece has started playing around with her blog templates, and she uses LeeLou Blogs. So, I clicked on through from her blog, and found this beautiful template! The colors are very "me", and I think they look welcoming. The gal over at LeeLou Blogs has lots of fun and funky templates over at her site, they are easy to install, and best of all, they're free!

If you are interested in what she has to offer, you can scroll down and on the left is a button that you can use to click through to her site.

Let me know what you think!