Beauty and Health: Grapefruit Seed Crush This stuff is a sanitizer and an antibiotic; it's a must-have for all mommas! Pillow Case Dresses Make your little girls beautiful on a dime with these cute little dresses. I Love Jewelry I have recently discovered my latent jewelry addiction. Who knew? rbt Bags These oilcloth bags are beautiful and functional!
Ugandan BeadsThese are created by hand from recycled magazines by women of the Karamojong tribe in Uganda. Wow! They are beautiful. Spirulina I'm on year four of taking this pill made out of algae, and I still haven't had a cold except for when I missed days!
Web Sites: Weekend Planner Don't have a clue what to do with your family this weekend? Check out this site for a complete weekend plan! Blurb Make a scrapbook online; it's easier and cheaper!
Here are ten more excellent things I learned about Kingdom parenting this Sunday:
(See here for the other posts in this Kingdom Parenting series.)
1. My goal as a parent should be the same as my goal as a person: God's glory.
2. Do I communicate #1 with my actions as a parent or do I just communicate that parenting is about making myself comfortable?
3. It should be a freeing thought to know that I might never measure up in my kids' eyes. Parenting is not about my kids approving of me. It is about giving God the glory (see #1).
4. God is writing my story and my kids' story. It is helpful as a parent to step back and remember that neither of those stories are finished yet.
5. Remember that kids can see through to our deepest reasons for things. Our behavior indicates our values and our world views--and children have a sense of this. We really can't fool them just by pulling up our boot straps and trying harder. (It has to be a Jesus thing!)
6. Be brave! Parenting is not for cowards.
7. When kids are young, we think for them, when they get older we think with them, and eventually our goal is to turn them loose so that they can think alone. (Walt Mueller, CPYU)
8. Worship together as a family.
9. Don't let your kids negotiate out of church; this is one issue that is worth fighting for!
10. And this from The Book of Common Prayer from 1928: "Grant, we beseech the, O Heavenly Father, that the child of this Thy servant may daily increase in wisdom and stature, and grow in Thy love and service, until he come to Thy eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen"
Linked with Tuesday's Tip Jar, Tuesday's Tips, Market Yourself Tuesday, Top Ten Tuesday, and Tackle it Tuesday.
We had another couple in our Sunday School class yesterday talking about Kingdom Parenting, and AGAIN I say, I could listen to parents giving advice for hours and hours every Sunday and learn something from every word!
I learned a lot yesterday, and tomorrow I'll be posting more, but today I'll focus on the recurring theme: community.
About half-way through the talk the speaker (another of our pastors) stopped and asked if anyone had questions. Someone asked, "What are the characteristics of healthy relationships between parents and children?" The speaker used that to segue into talking about community because so many of the healthy parent-child relationships that he has observed have been ones where the parents have made a conscientious decision to be part of an active Christian community.
**As Christian parents we need to look up to and gain advice from those who are ahead of us in this walk, live life alongside of our peers, and mentor those who are younger.
This gives us many benefits inside our own immediate family. Benefits like:
1. When hard times come in our family, we will have walked alongside others through their hard times and will have a precedent of openness and rejoicing in the end.
2. We will have had to respond (repeatedly, I'm sure) to the sin of those around us. Our children will watch as we (hopefully) do not condemn, but pray for, and lift up those who are sinning. Then our children will know that they can communicate with us about their own failings.
3. We will have the opportunity to ask for prayer from not just a few people, but a whole community, when troubles arise.
And how do we find this community? Some of us (and you) already have it! Wow! Count your blessings. Others of us will need to pray and put ourselves in community-type situations. Because it is REAL community that we are looking for (honest, open friendships) we cannot hurry or force it. It is definitely the work of the Holy Spirit.
The speaker yesterday quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer in saying, "Community is a gift of the Holy Spirit." I loved the quote and searched for the rest of it, but couldn't find it. I did, however, find this excellent quote about community from Bonhoeffer from 1974: Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when He called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot escape yourself; for God has singled you out. If you refuse to be alone, you are rejecting Christ's call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called.... Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. Into the community you were called -- the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one of the great congregation of Jesus Christ. If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ. Click here for more posts on Kingdom Parenting. Linked with Motivate Me Monday.
Can I just say that I love the ocean, the sand, and the sun! I love vacation and I love being with my family with slightly fewer chores to do and far fewer places to be. I love it. And this year, for the very first time, my hubby will actually have the week off when we are at the beach. (I'm so excited! Can you hear me trying to contain myself over here?) Since he works on the glorious world of the internet, taking time off really just means taking the laptop wherever we are going. But this year, for one week of the summer, he will be totally, wonderfully, and amazingly OFF! I am so thankful.
The picture's a bit blurry because this is the actual view from the front porch of the house that we secured just last night. In looking for vacation possibilities for our family of five (and squeezed in a hotel room being out b/c that is NOT a vacation in my book), we found that renting houses is really quite affordable. There is usually a great discount for renting for five days or a week and for two bedrooms and two baths, you really can't beat it. AND when I began looking at the cost difference for "beach view," "beach access" or "across the street" verses "beach front," I realized that being right on the beach is very much worth it! While the youngest is napping, the older two can rest in their very own room or head out to the sand right in front of the house to play. When we put the kiddos to bed at night, the hubby and I can have a romantic date for two by the beach on our front porch! Yeah!
So I love the beach, and I'm very excited about taking our family there this year. : )
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.
Psalm 95: 4&5
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands;
Let the hills be joyful together
before the LORD...
The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.
Last year our "schooling" during the summer months included posting a large tree on the side of the fridge and taping on a leaf every time the oldest read a book. Each branch held ten leaves and when the oldest filled a branch, she got a prize. The prizes (like picking a treat from the store or getting her nails done in a salon) got progressively bigger until she had filled the whole tree and was able to "take the family" to a local theme park.
This year my goal for summer homeschooling for the oldest is to maintain the math and reading level that we have achieved this year. For the boy, I'd like to give him the respect of participating and the fun of getting prizes. They'll both be heading to a tutorial in the fall (4 days a week, 3 hours a day, homework and extracurriculars to fill in the rest of their homeschooling time).
So, after discussing it with the two of them we decided that they'd like something similar to the tree idea only there would be three ways to gain leaves/points: worksheets, memorizing Bible verses, and reading books. I'm keeping it as simple as possible so we'll actually follow through with it.
I'm at a loss as to what to do for recording their points. Having something they like to look at is a must (the tree was a thing of beauty, don't you think?). Perhaps a board game-like poster where they can color in the squares or something.
Each time each of them reaches 15 leaves/squares/points, they will receive a small prize, with the culmination being going somewhere special as a family. This year's special place might be Gatlinburg (TN); I think we can pull it off as a day trip, and the ski lift and an ice cream cone would probably be enough to make their day.
For the worksheets, I'll print them all out at once and leave them on a shelf in our homeschool cabinet. Here's where I'll find them (free of course!) Homeschoolmath.net tlsbooks.com abcteach.com
Any ideas or suggestions for me? What are all of you doing for schooling during the summer? Linked to Friday Finding Beauty, Finer Things Friday, Tickled Pink, and Just for the Joy of It.
I have a friend, let's say her name is Esther, and she is about to leave our community. She hasn't lived here long, but she's the kind of friend that it's easy to love. She challenges me and she livens every party and she's deep and she's a lot of fun. She's given me permission to share her story because it's one that every wife and momma needs to hear. It's a story that screams, "God is in control and His plan is good, so good!"
My friend Esther has lived many places in her life; she's accustomed to moving, but when she moved here, she loved it and was ready to stay. Our community needed a fun leader like she is. She sought out and was welcomed to a position at a near-by women's resource center, her kids loved their schools, and her hubby had a good job.
Esther's one thorn in life was that she couldn't have more babies, and though her three boys are wonderful and make her life full of love, she wanted a girl. Desperately. Her husband grew up in a family of three boys, however, and felt their family was complete and that adoption was not an option. After years of arguing about it, she felt the Holy Spirit whisper for her to leave it alone, and she obeyed.
Her heart continued to yearn for a little girl, and during a meeting with the wife of our pastor, she shared her heart and how hard it was to let it go with her husband. The pastor's wife counseled her, "Esther, you need to figure out your husband's main issue and fill your heart with prayer about that." Instead of trying so desperately to NOT think about adopting a baby girl, she should fill her mind with her husband's issue. This issue happened to be school debt. Esther took this advice to heart and got on her knees about this debt.
Two weeks later communication came from a job opportunity in the town where Esther's mom and sister live. This was the place where Esther's husband had done some work before and where he had most wanted to work when he finished school. At that time this place was not accepting any new applications. Now, though, they were begging Esther's husband to come, and offering him quite a bit more money than he was making here.
In talking this over with her husband, Esther realized this was a definite answer from God for her prayers that He would alleviate the stress of their school debt.
The next time Esther saw the pastor's wife, she (only half-way jokingly) said, "What have you done! God has answered this prayer, but it will take me away from my friends!" The pastor's wife immediately answered (without even a moment's thought--I was there, I heard her!) "Oh, Esther, this is how God is going to give you your baby girl!"
So Esther and her husband and their boys began to get ready to move. Esther said good-bye to her boy's schools, her work at the PRC, and began the difficult good-byes with her friends.
And then, three weeks before the move, her dear husband casually said one day, "Esther, I think after we get settled, we should definitely look for a good adoption agency and start the process."
Now her husband makes comments like, "When we eventually build our house, let's make sure we have a great nursery for our new baby." and "Don't throw away those kid dvd's; our baby will want to watch them someday!"
And that's not all, no that's not all.
This past week, Esther's sister has been tested for and most likely has lymphoma. Esther and her sister are so close that if a diagnosis like that came back, no matter how established she was in a community, she would be looking for a way to be in the same town as her sister. Instead of that, God worked everything out before the diagnosis, so that Esther could be with her sister through these difficult times.
Even this is not the end of the story. As Esther shares her story with other wives, and they begin to pray about their own husband's issues, big things are happening all over. This is not to say that if you do A, God will necessarily do B. He often answers in ways we would never choose or expect. But when we wives get on our knees in a humble, submissive way, the Kingdom work is accomplished in an incredible way.
Oh, isn't our God good! Isn't He magnificent, and aren't His ways so much bigger than our ways! “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9 Linked with Things I Love Thursday
This picture was taken right after the youngest tried to use up all of her big sister's new play lipstick and right before her mother (valiantly biting her lip) firmly but gently reminded her that she is not allowed to use the lipstick on her own.
(But you know what, maybe I should have just let her see me laugh.)
Here's the spread from the House Party I threw yesterday for our small group. (If you're interested in free food...ahem, who isn't? you can go here to register and find out about hosting house parties of your own.) Quite a bit of the food you see was completely free. Plus Kraft (through House Party) sent us beach balls, frisbees, plates, napkins, shopping bags, an apron, and tons of coupons. Others from the small group brought fruits and veggies and there was (free) Digiorno pizza that's not pictured here as well. It was fun!
See those cupcakes way in the back with the ugly icing job? That was my contribution. They were YUMMY!! and I'm going to share the recipe.
I've already explained what I do to recipes, so I won't go into all that, but this recipe was my inspiration for the cupcakes. For the actual cake part I borrowed a recipe from a friend (thanks, Stacie!)
So here it is:
1 cup of chocolate chips
2 cups of sour cream (I used reduced fat and they turned out fine)
Chocolate Cake Mix
1 stick of butter
1 cups of peanut butter
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
3 T milk
Mix first 4 ingredients well and pour into greased or lined cupcake pans (I used large mini muffin pans, and the recipe made 38. We won't speak of how many I ate while I was making them.) Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your cupcakes. Cool completely before icing. (Unless you pour the icing on.)
Cream butter and peanut butter well. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Put milk in 1 T at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
You can ice the cakes one of two ways: warm the icing for about a minute in the microwave and carefully pour it on your cupcakes OR just spread it on with a knife.
Oh, and here's the (very loose) plan for this week's menu. Don't be expecting fancy or healthy this week; I'm taking it easy in between ballet recitals.
Monday: hubby has late meeting, so we're sandwiching
Tuesday: black beans, sausage, and rice
Thursday: pigs in a blanket
Friday: go out to buy a new dishwasher as a family (HALLELUJAH!) and probably eat out
Saturday: leftovers for lunch and breakfast for dinner
I am reading new fairy tales.
I love to read fairy tales, but it puts me in a mood, you know? When I get so engrossed, the rest of the world starts to seem a little unreal.
The ones I happen to be reading now are in an anthology called Once Upon a Time: Treasury of Modern Fairy Tales. It was written by modern folks and published in 1991. I very much recommend it.
When I get this way, I remember another book I read a while back that really just put into words what I've always felt about fiction. Has anyone out there read John Eldredge's Waking the Dead? And no, I haven't read any of his other books, and yes, I'm sure much of his theology is not quite right (isn't that the way with all of us?), but like I said, I feel like this book of his was dead on. (pun intended)
In Waking the Dead the thesis is put forth that we learn key Biblical truths by reading fiction. The three main truths are #1: There is more to life than what we see. #2: There is a great battle or journey going on. and #3: I have a part to play in that battle or journey.
Hoorah for fiction!
I know there are people out there that have pushed non-fiction and turn their noses up to fiction (my hubby's boss and Amy Carmichael come to mind) but I really believe that fiction has an inherent ability to teach soul level truths that non-fiction doesn't.
So here I am back again to those fairy tales. Maybe that's why reading them gets me in such an other-wordly mode. They reach me on a soul level. (And maybe I'm part fairy??)
Linked with Six Word Saturday.
Crystal over at Soup Baby passed on the "Sweet Blog" award to me this week. Thanks, Crystal! I'm supposed to hand it off to ten other "sweet bloggers" who will then will each share it with ten bloggers themselves. I know the picture is "sweet" as in nice and cuddly, but please consider my recommendations as also being "sweet" as in a free vacation or a hot rod car. (Know what I mean? Sweet!)
Jill at The Diaper Diaries: Jill just went to the Dominican Republic with a group of bloggers, met moms over there and blogged about it. I think she's awesome!
Ashley at Life is Beautiful: Ashley is fun to read because she really does communicate that "life is beautiful" kind of joy!
Moriah at Please Pass the Salt: Moriah is funny and a great writer, and it's great to occasionally meet her and her kids while we're at the park!
Raise Them Up: This blog is inspiring and a great voice of a real mom enjoying the ups and downs of motherhood.
Kristen at We Are That Family: Again I love that name (especially when paired with her subtitle: "you know the ones!") Kristen is currently a part of an adoption carnival. You can go over and link up if you're on the journey to adoption or just help or pray for someone who is. Great stuff!
A Foreign Land: This is a blog dedicated so a wide variety of interesting topics that I just love. I also happen to know the writer which is fun. Maybe I should ask for her autograph?
Jennifer at Beautiful Calling: more inspiration and great ideas for motherhood. I'm especially enthralled by her huge rice box which she keeps in her living room and lets her kids play in (like a sand box) on rainy days. Wow!
Amanda at Adventures in Homemaking: I just love to read her accounts of her shopping trips. It kind of gives me the thrill of couponing without the exhaustion of it, you know?
Jamie at Embracing Grace: Jamie makes real life seem more funny and less crazy. I like her style!
So there you have it, ten blogs that I would recommend as "sweet" and "Sweet!"
This week in SS we had another couple speaking on Kingdom Parenting. Again I say I have learned SO much in this series. I am so thankful for the couples who have come to speak.
I'll put this week's thoughts in ten points. (This is helping me organize my thoughts on what I've learned.) Disclaimer: I definitely cannot condense what I have learned from this amazing couple into 10 "easy to follow" points. This is just a way for me to write them down.
1. Parents should beware of focusing too much on becoming good parents. Our real focus should be on becoming the people God intends us to be--on loving Him and our neighbor. This will naturally flow into our parenting.
2. Parenting is just a tool to further the goal of loving and being loved in our life.
3. Be real with your children. Allow them to see your struggles--be self-controlled but not fake.
4. Be very present in your life. Allow instances to transform.
5. In every situation (in life and in parenting) ask "What does love look like here? Who is God in this situation? Who am I here? Who are my children in this situation?
6. Recognize that God is weaving a tapestry with our lives that includes people and timing and His artwork is perfect!
7. Part of being real with your kids (see #3) is being vulnerable. In order for them to understand the Gospel, they must see that there is pain that is overcome by the grace of God.
8. Enjoy your home. Having a home that looks like a magazine is nice, but enjoying your children and using the space God has given you to nurture them is much more important.
9. Moms have the privilege of being a great encouragement to their children. Through our attitude and actions our children should hear, "I affirm you and I want to know you and love you."
10. Look for the good! There is ALWAYS good in every situation. "Our God is that big!" Linked to Tuesday Tip Jar and Tuesday's Tips.
Comment #7: Miss Mommy said...I am a follower (as of one minute ago!) and would love to win! Current favorite piece of jewelry- I used to sell it, so I know bracelets are slimming by drawing attention down to the slim part of your wrist. I still love earrings, tho, too! As for your mom's pieces, I like them all, but if I had to choose, I would say top right.
http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000161853649&v=wall&story_fbid=117387104958265 Comment #25: Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...I follow in google friend connect and my favorite piece of jewelery is my engagement ring. After that it is the diamond studs from my husband.
I like the pink one the burgundy wine and the coral colored one! Your mom sounds talented. Comment #31: Dana said...Following! :)
Right now my fav piece of jewelry is my wedding ring. I recently got it reset and love it! Comment #1: Amanda A said...I posted on facebook... Comment #10: Janna said...I'm a follower! #10 bottom right!
Comment #13: rubynreba said...The jewelry I wear the most are a pair of gold hoop earrings. They just seem to go with everything. The bracelets are beautiful!
Comment #15: Darth Mama said...I'm a follower! Right now my favorite piece of jewelry is a simple pair of gold hoops -- I found a pair that are just the perfect size and I wear them almost every day. Comment #37: shirley said...I am a subscriber to email. Comment #6: Molly said...I'm a follower!!! I'm a follower!!!
I'm loving the silver & black long beads (it's the one on the light pink background 1st column, 2nd row).
Pick me. Pick me.
All winners will be receiving an e-mail to gain their contact information, and then will be mailed their bracelet(s).
Sorry that we're only two days away from this before I'm letting you guys know! (I just heard about it this week.) This is an extremely easy way to donate food!!
All you do is bag up items like canned foods (meats, vegetables, or fruit) or pasta, cereal, or rice. (No glass containers or expired items, please.) Your mail carrier will pick up the food and take it your local food bank. Wow! How easy!
Locals: I already called our post office. They are participating. If you're a couponer and have a stockpile, this will be even easier for you. Check out the Stamp Out Hunger Website for more information.
I love vacation with the family. I'm working on setting ours up for this year, and I can't wait for the memories that will come. But what this picture reminded me of really was that the "vacation feeling" doesn't have to be saved for vacation. So this week I'm clearing out the schedule (a little) and I'm really going to make an effort to play. Just play. I want to walk with the kids in the creek that the rain makes. I want to follow the boy as he proudly makes new trails through the woods. I want to weed the garden with the oldest. I know it doesn't sound like much, but to me it sounds like vacation.
Our Sunday School class had another couple come to speak about Kingdom Parenting yesterday. I am learning so much! I feel like we all could just sit and listen for weeks and weeks to the wiser and more mature parents in our church. As I told one of the pastors who is slated to teach in a few weeks, they could just come in and say, "We parented and we survived!" and we would all leave feeling refreshed and encouraged. But so far, we are receiving so much more and loving every word!
This Sunday's couple gave us some basic principles and then focused in on one hard area of parenting.
1. The great commandment begins at home. We must love our closest neighbor, our spouse, well. "It is easy to love everybody, but to love somebody is hard."
2. Parenting is a form of the great commandment as well; it is up-close and personal neighbor loving and it is for life.
3. The ten commandments are a specific outworking of the more general law of love. (That is, maybe your child is great with the law of "loving your neighbor" or maybe your child is one of those that needs more specifics, like "Do not steal" and "Do not covet.")
And then on to a specific and difficult area of parenting.
The husband of this couple spoke about how we as parents must handle sex rightly with our children. He was especially calling dads to teach their sons that relationships are key. Without this, boys do not know where to put their physical feelings. Boys must be taught a protective, chivalrous role with their female siblings and female friends starting VERY EARLY so that they may not interpret sexual urges as urges to dominate the opposite sex.
Specifically for girls, he spoke of how their self-esteem is a HUGE issue related to sex. He said that he has read statistics that say that a lot of 12 and 13 year olds are already defining themselves by either the sex they have had or the sex they were rejected for. Ugh!
And lastly he encouraged us not to have just one "sex talk." We must talk about age-appropriate issues a little along as our children grow up. I agree so much with this! Teaching our children how to interpret and handle emotions, responsibility, relationships, and the difference between right and wrong, is all a part of their sex education! We can teach our children at a very young age that they belong to the Lord and everything they do and say reflects upon His Kingdom.