Saturday, January 31, 2009

Simple Living: Part Twelve

May I continue to put my family first.
May I remember that my children are only young once.
May I think to grab my husband's hand or shoot him a smile.
May I connect in the small moments of life.
Keep my motto "I only deal with today's problems."
Keep my eyes fixed on you.
Keep my heart trusting in your sovernty.
Show me the joy in everyday moments.
Show me how I can be a blessing to my family this week.

For more Simple Living Saturdays, check out Keeper of the Home.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Real Resolutions for Moms: Part Four

In continuing with our Real Resolutions for Moms (part 2, part 3), we're continuing to delve into the idea of prayer.

"When times of crisis, conflict or confusion arise, I will hit my knees before I hit the phone knowing that by my example my children will discover that although friends are important, God alone is the one who holds the solution to life's every problem."

As relational creatures, God has designed us to grow and learn from each other. Friends are a true blessing and community is the model of who God is. I am continually blessed by the friends that God has brought into my life.

However, friendship crosses the line when we come to rely on our friends to fill a place that was only designed to be filled by God.

Did you hear that? There is a place in our lives specifically orientated to only be filled by God. Only God.

So when problems arise, where do you turn first? To those friends who are a great blessing, or to the only one who has all the answers?

This was recently illustrated for us on our trip to my mom's over New Years. As we were traveling and having car trouble, I spoke up and asked Big Boy to pray with me. We prayed that our car would hold up, that we would be safe, and that we would find a mechanic to help us out. As we were in the middle of nowhere, with no cell service, we had no one to call on, but the Lord. The further I drove, the more I knew we'd have to stop. But all the more sure I became that the Lord was truly with us. Best thing, I was able to demonstrate to my kids that our only true and ultimate hope could be found in God.

"Lord, remind me that you are our ultimate hope. Bring me to my knees before you in every moment. May I demonstrate community to my children, but only after I've brought my requests to you in prayer. May this be something that I don't do only on the occasions that my children are watching, but on every occasion."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Menu Monday 1/26-1/31

Yum, yum! Late, but here you go. I'm hungry!

Breakfast: Blueberry Crumb Cake
Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, apple, jello
Dinner: Spaghetti

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Quesadillas, Super Easy Bean Dip
Dinner: Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

Breakfast: Toast and fruit
Lunch: sandwiches and salad
Dinner: Pea soup and homemade bread

Breakfast: Toast and eggs
Lunch: Potato Soup and Salad
Dinner: Pad Thai with Shrimp? and veggies

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, fruited jello, carrots and dip
Dinner: Homemade Pizza

Breakfast: Gingerbread Waffles
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Vietnamese Fried Rice, Steamed Veggies, Wontons

Breakfast: Leftover Waffles
Lunch: Baked Potato Bar
Dinner: Super Bowl Party at the Church/ Dinner on the run


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Simple Living: Part Eleven

This morning, Stephanie, at Keeper of the Home, is talking about how busy moms can spend time in devotion to God. I must admit this has, and continues to be, a huge change for me. Since Big Boy was born three years ago, I've struggled with how to spend time with the Lord and balance the demands of being a mother and a wife. While knowing that this is a season in my life, there are a few things I've learned:

1. Post Scripture everywhere in your home. No, it's not the same as having a concentrated amount of time in the Word, I find that those quick nuggets of truth give me something to meditate on as I'm making another peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And often times, they just happen to be the exact words I need to hear in that moment.

2. Memorize Scripture with your children. Big Boy turned 3 this year and we've been memorizing small chunks of Scripture here and there. At first, it was motivated by my desire to instill small bits of foundational truth in him from a young age. However, I've come to find that it's just as important for my own spiritual growth. So we memorize together and if I'm ready to move on before he is, I add an additional Scripture for my own memorization.

3. Prayer with your kids in the evening. I climb in bed with Big Boy every evening and we say our prayers together. I love to hear about his day in his own words and model for him what prayer looks like. Recently we were able to thank God for an answered prayer and I'm so glad to model that for him as well. That testimony can be found here .

4. Enjoy Sunday morning fellowship and small groups. I often hear moms talk about how they can't make the time during the week to truly engage in a small group. However, I wonder how they could possibly NOT make time. We've found our small group time to be invaluable. They encourage us, support us, and grow us as parents and human beings. Plugging into a small group has transformed all of us in ways we never thought possible.

5. Pray without ceasing. My challenge this year has been to learn to Pray without ceasing. Pray when my kids' volume level exceeds my threshold. Pray with the kids as we're leaving town and traveling. Our last adventure can be found here. Praying without ceasing has provided me with more patience, more love, and more community.

These are just a few ways I've found to spend time with the Lord through out my day in the land of "littles." I'm thankful for this season in my mothering as it has brought me many joys and challenges. And grown me in ways I never though possible, including this are of my spiritual growth. I continue to embrace where I am and hope to one day look back on it as a time of great revelation. Hope this challenges and enlightens you in this season of your life as well.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Frugal Friday

Bath and Body Works is at it again. Print this coupon, purchase any item in the store (many as low as a $1), and receive any item up to $12 for free. What a deal!

For more money saving ideas, check out Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Real Resolutions for Moms: Part Three

In continuing to think about the Real Resolutions for Moms, (check out Part 2 here), that we've been unpacking, this next one couldn't come at a better time.

"I will make my prayer requests known before God and my children, enlisting their help in the process and informing them of the outcome, for by letting them help when I petition our Lord will they learn of a living God who still answers prayer."

Each night I lay in Big Boy's bed with him after he's been tucked in and is getting ready to sleep. We start with the question, "What do you want to tell God tonight?" I've been trying to teach him that prayer is nothing more than just talking to God, telling him what Big Boy thinks and feels, what made an impression on him in the day. Then I give him the option of me or him praying, or both of us praying. Usually he opts for Mommy to pray, but once in awhile he'll pray and it's so refreshing to hear how innocent and real his prayers are.

For the past couple of weeks, we've been praying for one of his good friend's dad to get a job as well as our Daddy to get a job. Every night for about 6 weeks, we've faithfully prayed for both Daddy's to find good jobs. This afternoon, I received a phone call from our friends letting us know that our prayers had been answered and a job was offered and accepted yesterday. Additionally, my husband had a great interview yesterday and we're patiently awaiting what's going to happen in that situation. I can't wait to pray with Big Boy tonight and tell him the outcome of our prayers.

"Lord, may I continue to disciple my children in seeking your face. Remind me to include them in our prayers so they can see that your truly hear and answer us. May I never think that prayer should just be instinctual, but rather remember that it's taught. Remind me to keep it applicable and relevant. And keep us mindful to thank you when you answer us."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nutritious Freezer Meal Carnival

Lindsey, from Passionate Homemaking, is hosting a fantastic Nutritious Freezer Meal Carnival this week. I'm so excited as this falls right in line with the Nutritional Goals that I'm hoping to incorporate in our family this year. I'm constantly looking for new and useful, as well as easy ideas for our family. So while this recipe can still use some "tweaking" to make it more nutritious, we love it and it's very easy to prepare and freeze ahead.

Chicken and Rice Casserole

2 C cooked Chicken
2 C cooked Brown Rice, cooked in chicken broth (Ok you can use Rice a Roni, but...)
1 C grated cheese
1 diced onion
1 sm. can chopped chilies
1 can creamed soup

Mix all together and pour in 9 x 13 pan
Top with a little more cheese
Cover with foil
Bake at 350 degrees until heated through (30-45 min)

This is so yummy. We all really enjoy it, and as I tell my husband, all things in moderation. Yeah, there's cheese, but all things in moderation. This freezes very well. Just sit on the counter to thaw for a little while and pop in the oven.

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesday, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

Gingerbread Waffles

This past week, Big Boy started preschool. I'm so proud of him, seeing him reach and grow in new experiences. It's been a tough week as he's learning to take direction from other adults and interact with kids for a bigger chunk of his day. But all in all, he's growing and learning in many different directions. And I'm so proud to see him grow up. He is my first born and I love him very much.

As many differences as it's brought in his life, our family is to adjust to a new morning routine as well. Baby Girl usually sleeps until we're ready to head out the door, and even then I have to wake her up. So I've been working on breakfasts that are portable, breakfasts that she can "eat on the run."

And waffles have been the perfect choice. Gingerbread waffles to be exact.

I found this recipe on a friend's site and we've fallen in love with it. This past weekend, I got up early, made a single batch of waffles (which yielded 20 Mickey heads), and froze the leftovers.

So now as we're getting ready in the morning, I only have to take a waffle out of the freezer, pop it in the microwave, and Baby Girl can munch happily as we drive Big Boy to school. She loves them. These waffles, along with a banana here or there, have really Work for Me.

These waffles are a great Nutritious Freezer Meal that we love.

Tackle it Tuesday

So do you remember those thank you cards I was looking for last week?

Yeah... NEVER found them...

So I'm tackling it again today. I reprinted and folded them last night and today I'm writing on them. What a pain to do a job twice. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out where I laid them.

Oh, well. Moving on. :-)

See what others are tackling at 5 Minutes for Mom and Tackle it Tuesday.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Menu Monday 1/19-1/26

Well, we've been hit by some unseasonably warm weather so my husband's trying to veto soup. My brain just can't wrap itself around that since it's January. I'm craving soup. So here I am trying to piece together a menu when I have no interest in it. What's a girl to do?

Plus I have to figure out three easy meals for hubby to make as I'm picking up an extra shift at the Y and two preschool shifts at the end of the week. What can he make? This week's menu planning is turning out to be much more complicated than I'd like.

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, oranges, pudding
Dinner: Aztec Chicken

Breakfast: Toast and eggs
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Sandwiches and salad
Dinner: Rosemary Potato Pizetta, green salad

Breakfast: Blueberry Crumb Cake
Lunch: Sandwiches and carrots
Dinner: Lentil Tacos

Breakfast: Muffins
Lunch: Sandwiches and fruit jello
Dinner: Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Breakfast: Monkey Bread
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Shredded Pork Salad

Breakfast: Leftover Monkey Bread
Lunch: Out with friends
Dinner: Vietnamese Fried Rice, steamed veggies, wontons?

Peppermint Mochas
Orange Smoothies

To see what others are planning this week, check out Organizing Junkie.

Link Love

These are some Great Gift Ideas for little ones (@ whatever).

This Chocolate Play Dough sounds fantastic, but I'd probably be tempted to eat it (@ Foothill Home Companion).

If you're looking for a great child's gift, pair this apron with some thrift store cookie cutters and you're all set (@ Mod Girl).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Simple Living: Part Ten

We just had a fantastic time visiting with friends this evening. Entertaining friends is always a challenge for me. I often take a big breath before I call friends, another big breath before I start dinner, and another as I'm opening the door to let them in. It's just a challenge. I'm always trying to figure out how I'm going to juggle getting a larger meal made, hoping everyone enjoys it, keeping the kids entertained without neglecting them, and the thoughts that go through my head go on and on.

Needless to say, we don't do it often.

However, we had some dear friends that we don't get to see often enough and thought we'd invite them over for dinner. As I called my friend Erin, she asked if she could bring anything. My first thought was to tell her not to worry about it. But I thought it and said I would make the main dish and dessert if she'd be willing to bring something to go with it. Whatever she wanted.

So the invitation was extended and we had to follow through. Plans were made and the date was set. I was hemming and hawing over what I was going to fix for dinner when my husband graciously offered to help with preparing lasagne. Again my first instinct was to tell him I would take care of it, but then I thought "why?" He's offering to help me so why would I turn him down.

Honestly I found this to be one of the funnest times we've ever had company for dinner. I relaxed and enjoyed our time together more. I had to take less deep breathes, less worrying about whether or not my kids had their moments of bouncing off the way. And accepting help turned out to be the best way I could simplify our meal.

I've always felt that having company for dinner meant doing it all myself. Everything. Dinner has to be perfect from drinks to side dishes to dinner to dessert. But this time I just took the help that was offered. I still helped with dinner, made sure the meal came together, but realized I didn't have to do it.

To read more about how others are simplying their lives, check out Keeper of the Home and Living Simply Saturdays.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Frugal Friday

I've found that as my husband has been out of work. my days have filled up quicker. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remind myself that it's temporary and I'd better enjoy it while I can. I've spent more time kid free, catching up with this friend or that, or simply toting one child as I run errands. Just a few nights ago, I ran over to Barnes and Noble. Big Boy came with me, being bribed by the trains in the kids' section and the promise of having Mommy all to himself for a hour or so.

Just yesterday I found myself walking a local trail with a friend, catching up on all that we'd been up to in the past six months. As we were making plans to get together earlier in the week, it had not even occurred to me to do something active. Instead the first things that came to my mind were coffee or ice cream. Where did that loose a few pounds New Year's Resolution go?

Still here we were walking. And I started to think about how in one sense, it's so easy to just get moving. All you need is a fairly decent day and a fairly decent pair of tennis shoes and you're set. We weren't the most fit after 3 C-sections between us and we certainly weren't the the most fashionable in our college shorts and T-shirts from too many years ago. But we were moving.

All that to say that money cannot be used as an excuse for not exercising. Next time you're trying to make plans with a friend, why not take a walk around the block? Stop and think about the money and calories you'd spend sitting down for a cup of coffee vs the benefits of spending time together while doing something active.

For more frugal ideas, check out Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Real Resolutions for Moms: Part Two

I was thinking on the Real Resolutions for Moms that I posted a few weeks ago (you can read them in their entirety here). How easy it is to start the year with good intentions and make resolutions that last for but a moments. It's hard to make resolutions that will have lasting impact on our families and harder still to follow with those resolutions. I often find myself having a hard time changing my character for a day, let alone a lifetime. How many times a day do I find myself repenting to God and my children, only to make the same mistake five minutes later? So it with that thought that I embark upon a journey to make real changes in my family, in myself.

"I will put my Bible before the television, the radio, the telephone, and even before good Christian books, for my children will know my priorities by the way they see me spending my free time."

Now I know what you're thinking: What free time? Believe me I understand. With a 3 year old and a 1 year old, my life feels like it's in constant motion. This one has gym class, that one has a birthday party to attend, plus there's naps to fit in, laundry to fold, dinner to be made, and a spouse that's craving your undivided time and attention.

But if we were really honest with ourselves, we'd find that we do daily find ourselves with some free time. Maybe the kids are playing together especially well for a few minutes. Maybe dinners in the crockpot and the baby's taking a longer nap than usual. Or maybe your husband is playing with the kids after helping clean up the kitchen.

And you find yourself on the couch.

And you're flipping channels. Or if you're me, you're checking to see who updated your favorite blogs. Or who posted new pictures of their kids on facebook.

But what could you be doing? Or could you do that later after you're spent some time with God? Could those things wait? Could the dishes wait? Could the dog wait? Do the clothes have to be folded that minute?

So practically speaking, what does that look like? Could it be my Bible be sitting on the end table in the living room? Could I be reading it as they get up in the morning for breakfast? What about a post-it on the TV, television, or computer reminding me to spend time in the word? How will I structure my life to show my children my priorities?

I'm gonna start by getting off the computer right now.

"Lord, help me to find the hidden moments in the day were I can meet with you. May I not do in a "showy" way, but remember that you are the greatest relationship in my life and the one that I most want to pass on to my children. Amen."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday

Are you ready for a big laugh?


Are you really ready?

I can't find my Tackle it Tuesday.

I know what you're thinking.... "Has this lady lost her mind?"

Well, kind of.

You see my Tackle it Tuesday this week was going to be to make, write and send Thank Yous for my one year old's birthday presents. So a few days ago, I printed out some cute Thank Yous that I found here. I spent yesterday afternoon writing in them while the kids played in the backyard and was getting ready to address them and send out photos today. Yeah, do you think I can find where I put them between yesterday and today? Not a chance.

So have I lost my mind? You could say that.

If you find it or my cards, could you let me know?

To see what others are tackling today, check out 5 Minutes for Mom and Tackle it Tuesday.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Book Club -- Sponsored by Passionate Homemaking

If you're looking for a "meaty" discussion on how to practically serve others through your home, check out Passionate Homemaking's site this week.

She'll be leading us through a reading of Practical Hospitality starting February 1st. I for one could definately use a few pointers and am excited to delve into this book. Won't you join us?

Menu Monday 1/12-1/18

I love these chilly winter months. I can still indulge in some comforting soups and family favorites.

Living in California, "chilly" takes on a whole new meaning as we seem to be experiencing a mild heat wave. However, I'm not letting that stop me and I'm building in lots of winter treats in my menu this week. Enjoy!

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Pumpkin Soup
Dinner: Lentil Tacos

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Leftover soup
Dinner:"> Homemade Pizza

Breakfast: Toast and eggs
Lunch: Potato Soup
Dinner: Aztec Chicken

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Quesadillas, Super Easy Bean Dip
Dinner: Taco Soup

Breakfast: Yogurt and fruit
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Chicken Enchiladas

Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Baked Potatoes
Dinner: Rosemary Potato Pizetta, broccoli salad

Breakfast: Leftover Pancakes
Lunch: Sandwiches and Leftovers
Dinner: Crockpot Black Bean Soup

Link Love

Great Homemade Gift Ideas to keep handy throughout the year (@ Sparkle Power!)

Here's another Homemade Gift List full of great ideas (@ Chocolate on my Cranium).

This Chicken and Artichoke Pasta may need to become a staple in our diet (@Blissfully Domestic).

I'll be using these Printable Thank You Cards in the New Year (@ Skip to my Lou).

Finally be sure to read The Not So Good Boredom Buster for a reminder of how to constructively fill those down moments (@ Little Flock).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Simple Living: Part Ten

It's Saturday again and Stephanie at Keeper of the Home is hosting her weekly Living Simple Saturday. I love these Saturdays 'cause they remind me to slow down and focus on what's really important: God, my family, and reaching out to others. And that's what today has been for us: a breath of fresh air.

We got up this morning, made some yummy homemade waffles, and I went out to lunch with a good friend. I've been doing small chores around the house. There are always toys to be picked up and laundry to be done, but I haven't been in a hurry to get it done. There's a load in the dryer, but there's no hurry. Instead, we've had a leisurely Saturday at home. But I'm rambling again...

While Sunday afternoons always seem to be a good time for meeting with friends, there's one small problem: Baby Girl needs a nap immediately after church. So how do you juggle meeting other couples on Sundays and being parents? I think we may have finally found a solution.

I could just make lunch after church, but like the kids, I too want a break after a busy morning. The plan we've devised is for my husband and the other couple or friends to go out and pick up dinner while I run Baby Girl home for her nap and we all meet back at our house. This way no one has to cook, we can still get a treat (Chipotle is a favorite) and we're still opening our home to building new relationships. This has enabled us to find more time to spend with others and juggle the kids.

An added bonus is that if the other couple has kids as well, we have the toys to keep them busy, a big backyard to run in and no need to leave a busy crowded restaurant. We can just take our time and be sure to concentrate on the meal in front of us and the relationship growing between us.

What a simple solution to focusing on what really matters and using our home to reach out to others.

To see how others are simplifying their lives, check out Simple Living Saturdays.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Nutritional Goals 2009

Each new year brings its own challenges and dreams. And while I have many personal and ministry goals I hope to accomplish in 2009, I also have a few nutritional goals that I'm striving to achieve. I continue to find myself challenged by a few of my favorite blogs (Passionate Homemaking, Keeper of the Home, Frugal Granola, and The Nourishing Gourmet, to name a few). Many of their nutritional values we've incorporated into our lives already. I've spouted beans and legumes for years with great results. Still for every idea that we've used, there are still 3 or 4 more that we haven't tried.

When I think about all the improvements that could be made in our family's diet, the challenges can be overwhelming. So much so that I'm often tempted not to do anything. How far we still have to go in learning. However, how far we will still have if we don't continue to make small changes now.

So it is with the motivation of The Nourishing Gourmet's Nourishing New Year's Carnival that I'm writing out just a couple of our nutritional goals for 2009.

1. Learn how to make more smoothies, particularly green smoothies-- I saw this idea on Passionate Homemaking and it greatly intrigues me. Our family does a pretty good job getting those fruits in our diet, but veggies continue to be a challenge. My three year old loves veggies and I'm hoping that trend continues with my one year old. However, every little bit helps and I want to keep introducing those vegetables as often as I can.

2. Attempt, again, to grow a few container vegetables--my attempts often fail in this area. I need to do more reading and studying to make this possible. I often say, I tend to over love them. Wish me luck on this one.

3. Learn more about sprouting grains and beans-- I've always soaked beans and legumes, not necessarily for nutritional value, but for cooking ability. I've found them to cook quicker, easier, and more thoroughly from soaking. Imagine my surprise when I discover it's also more nutritionally beneficial? I'd like to learn more about the whys and hows of sprouting and soaking beans and grains so that I can inform others as well.

4. Eat more seafood-- While my husband and I both love seafood, our kids have had few experiences with it. The price often seems baffling to me. However, I'm coming to realize how important it is to introduce it to my kids now. So I'm looking for new recipes (some old ones) to help me introduce seafood to my children without breaking the bank. I hope to have at least two meals a month with some form of fish or seafood.

5. Utilize the frugal produce list I posted earlier-- I want to continue to focus on this frugal produce list when planning my weekly menus to ensure the best use of our meals and budget.

6. Finally, find 3 new nutritious homemade snacks that I can add to our diet-- with two little ones and an active husband, I'm constantly on the lookout for nutritious snacks. Three new ideas need to be added to our staples.

We'll see how this goes. Here's to a more nutritious 2009.

Frugal Friday

I was surfing the web a few days ago and came across a great list of frugal produce, broke down by the month. Since I'm always looking for ways to incorporate fresh fruits and veggies in our diet, I've posted January's list for your information as well.


And since there's free grapefruits posted on Craiglist, how about this for our weekly menu:

Berry Avacado Grapefruit Salad

The Cheapest Fruits and Vegetables Month by Month article can be found here for future reference. Keep those fruits and veggies coming.

For more frugal tips and ideas, check out Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Menu Plan 1/5-1/11

Yeah! It's good to be home. We've had a busy past couple of weeks, traveling to visit family and having a great time catching up with everyone. It's been a joy to see my children's faces light up, not only as they open presents, but also as they spend time with family. It's truly been a time of reconnecting and reuniting.

But it's good to be home. It's good to settle back into routine and be back in my kitchen. Here's what we're cooking up this week:

Breakfast: Chai Muffins
Lunch: Pumpkin Soup
Dinner: Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast: Yogurt and Fruit
Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches, Carrot sticks, fruit
Dinner: Salmon Patties, Green Salad

Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers or sandwiches, canned peaches
Dinner: Crockpot Black Bean Soup

Breakfast: Cheesy Scrambled Eggs
Lunch: Baked Potatoes
Dinner: Lentil Stew, Green Salad

Breakfast: Orange Smoothies
Lunch: Leftovers or sandwiches
Dinner: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Tomato soup

Breakfast: Gingerbread Waffles
Lunch: Asian Noodle Salad
Dinner: White Chili

Breakfast: Leftover Waffles
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Impossible Cheeseburger Pie

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Super Easy Bean Dip

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Simple Living: Part Nine

Simple Living seemed to go by the wayside a bit during the holidays. I'm a self-professed Super Mom during the holidays. Or at least a wanna-be. Still our holidays were simplier this year with all the traveling we did and our focus on Advent Conspiracy. We tried to search out toys that would encourage our relationships as a family and remind us of the reason for Christmas. My kids got a great Little People Nativity Set with all the characters. I can see this being a great tool in the years to come as they learn more about the reason for the holidays. But now I'm rambling...

As the New Year begins, I find myself once again desiring Simple Living. And I find myself refocusing on what Simple Living is. I'd like to clear up a misunderstanding. Simple Living does not mean a lack of committments or an abundance of time. Rather it's a focus of time. As I commented a few months ago, my priorities have fallen in line with stregthening and building relationships with others. Still those relationships require time. Time with my husband, time with my kids, time with my disciples, and time with my Lord.

Simple Living means being open and hospitable and vulnerable. It's by no means an easy life, but rather one that's deeply rewarding.

There! I'm off my soap box!

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions???

So yesterday I posted a note about making New Year's Resolutions for Moms. Still my mind churns constantly of things I'd like to do and areas I'd like to grow in. So I'm dashing off a quick note of just a few of the things I'd like to do in the next year.

1. Complete 2-3 sewing projects
2. Complete Baby Girl's first year album
3. Read three books off my list
4. Hike Mt. Lassen
5. Enter the cooking contest at the fair

These are just a few of the smaller goals I have for the year. Just a few of the things I'd love to be able to do with my kids and family.

Are you making New Year's Resolutions?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Real Resolutions for Moms

I found this posted somewhere last spring and have loved it ever since. I'll often times find myself coming back to it, remembering what really matters in life. Refocusing my priorities. Re-remembering why it is that I do what I do.

Still I find that I don't read it often enough. There still so much more that I can glean from it. So I'd like to start us on a journey of real change, making real choices that will really change our families.

These "Real Resolutions" will become the basis for a series of devotional that I plan to break down and develop over the next couple of months. But for now, here they are in their entirety. Enjoy! And today, as you make your resolutions as so many of us do (including myself), keep these in mind and ask the Lord to speak to you through them.

Real Resolutions for Moms
By Karen Ehman

"... But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:13b-14 (ESV)


It's that time when many of us are making New Year's resolutions, so how about some resolutions for mothers? Here are mine:

I will put my Bible before the television, the radio, the telephone, and even before good Christian books, for my children will know my priorities by the way they see me spend my free time.

I will make my prayer requests known before God and my children, enlisting their help in the process and informing them of the outcome, for by letting them help when I petition our Lord will they learn of a living God who still answers prayer.

When times of crisis, conflict or confusion arise, I will hit my knees before I hit the phone knowing that by my example my children will discover that although friends are important, God alone is the one who holds the solution to life's every problem.

I will erase the words "luck" and "lucky" from my vocabulary and will instead by my speech point my children toward the One who orchestrates every detail of our lives and brings all good things to pass, for by this my children will learn of an omniscient God.

When bad things happen, I'll neither grumble nor complain, but will instead help my children see that in the scope of our lives even the bad times are allowed for a reason, for by this my children will learn quiet trust in their Maker.

When normal childhood mishaps occur, I will remember that although difficult, it is still easier to remove grape juice from off-white carpet than to erase harsh and unloving words hurled at a child whose chubby little fingers have failed her, for by this my children will see a God who understands when our best efforts fall short.

When my children have witnessed something ugly in me - unkind words, an angry temper, "harmless" gossip, biting sarcasm or even my infamous "mommy pout" when things don't go my way - I will confess it as sin before them seeking their forgiveness, for by this my children will develop the much needed habit of wiping their spiritual slate clean before God and man.

I will teach my children the importance of cleanliness and order while at the same time remain sensitive to the fact that a skinned knee or hurt feeling is more crucial than a spotless floor or uncluttered counter, for by this my children will learn to value people above things.

I will make time for the lonely, the sick, the elderly, the difficult to love, and will bring my children along, for with each afternoon visit, each ride to the doctor, each raked lawn or washed window they will have opportunity to serve Jesus by serving the "least of these."

I will make our home a haven of rest and retreat from the outside world and a welcomed place for my children's friends, for with each impromptu backyard soccer game, each video viewed on a rainy day, each cup of hot cocoa or chocolate chip cookie, my children will have opportunity to practice the art of Christian hospitality thereby learning to share all God has given them.

I will by my actions and my speech let my children see a mom love their dad, for by this will my children sense family stability at a time when marriages all around them are crumbling.

I will not require of my children obedience, honesty, patience or kindness without first being willing to submit to the same rules whether in speed limit, in miscounted change from the grocery store or when answering a toddler for the fourteenth time, for by this my children will see a mother who is also learning and not a perfect parent to whom they'll never measure up.

In all things will I remember that more is caught than is taught.

There are little eyes upon you, mom. You are the first Bible your children will ever read.
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