Saturday, February 28, 2009

Am I Failing at This Motherhood Thing???

Do you sometimes feel like you are just failing miserably at this motherhood thing?

Does doubt creep in somedays when what you see around you does not match up with what you thought it was going to look like?

Do you see your weaknesses showing up in your children and you start to wonder "am I doing any good here or just harm?"

I'd like to remind us all that this is what God has called us to, and by His grace, we will not fail!

"And you cannot find any place in Scripture where a man was ever sent by God to do a work in which he ever failed." (D.L.Moody)

I'm reminded of Moses, how many times did it look like perhaps he missed God and was failing? Did God fail to do what He promised?

Consider Joseph, don't you think maybe it appeared as though what he believed God had called him to was never going to happen? Did God fail?

What about Abraham and Sarah? I could go on and on with the list of people who were called to something and it looked like it just wasn't going to happen. Take a moment and think on the many examples.

Take your eyes off of your circumstances, off of your day to day and put them on to the Living Almighty God! You are well able and equipped by Him to fulfill this calling on your life!

Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward. For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36)
Our might is in His Almightiness!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Simplifying the Weekend

This concept can be a struggle for me too, but I really believe when I PLAN, it makes for a restful day.

Saturday is a work day around here. Due to home schooling and busy family life, we must use Saturday to catch-up, and if all goes well, maybe get something extra done. Even this day can go awry without a plan. Lists, lists, and more lists are generated. My husband and I usually make a list together. I refer to my notebook where I have probably kept a long running list of things to do all week.

We have separate columns for each child and start plugging in their to-do list for the day. This keeps everyone working, lightens our load, and teaches them responsibility. Even the young ones pitch in.

  • So I guess one tip would be never do yourself or have an older one do what a little could do. The older they are the more valuable there time is to me. It would be crazy to have my 18yr. old fold the dish towels when he could be doing something more significant, that in turn frees up my husband.

  • At the end of the day on Saturday, we try to make the house "company ready" so we wake up to a beautifully organized home on our day of rest.

  • We also keep meals simple on Sunday by having the same meals each week; eggs for breakfast; roast chicken for dinner. In a perfect world, the chickens are thawed, dressed and ready to be roasted the day before, as well as the potatoes peeled. So Sunday prep work is cut to a minimum.

I think lists and meal planning are a huge part of keeping the weekend simplified. Also, enlisting everyones help makes everyones load lighter. This takes some training, but it is so worth it.

This is part of Living Simply Saturday.

Blog Party Updates

Okay ladies, next week Monday begins our unique opportunity to fellowship via blog world! As I look outside at the brown muddy earth and gray sky, I am thrilled with the Lord's timing of this party. I sure need some cheer, warmth and light-heartedness that a week long party is sure to bring!

I am so happy you all are joining in. We even have Linda from Australia! And Joy from Indonesia! Most of you already have the party button and some of you have a post inviting others. Those who don't might want to do that soon.

Don't forget to get your 'intro/party' post written this weekend. This is the post that tells us who you are, the heart behind your blog, your interests, ect. I am working on editing/reducing mine, it's gotten a bit long ;-) Not that long is bad, mine's just a bit too wordy!

When you are ready to 'link' your 'intro/party' post just come here and link up with Mr. Linky. If you are unsure of how to do it, we will hopefully will have it explained. :) It really is so easy. Once you do, everyone who comes to my blog that week will see your link and have direct access to your blog. Be sure to welcome them!

I am praying about some fun things to do each of the four days next week. One thought I have had is that my writing seems to fall into four main categories based on Titus 2:3-5:

Sober of mind. . .Spiritual Encouragement
Love their husbands . . . Godly wife
Love their children . . . Motherhood
Keepers of the home . . . Keeping the home.

So I think I might focus on one of those things each of the four days. Maybe recommended resources, something humorous, questions to answer. I would even like to have mini-giveaways each day in addition to the BIG GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY on Friday morning! You do not want to miss that! Other ideas include favorite family recipes, funny videos, creative ideas, great tips, the ideas are endless really.

Don't let this party burden you. Let the Lord lead what you do. You are only required to put up your 'intro/party' post next week. If that is all you are able to do, then that is more than sufficient. Don't compare to what others are doing! You do what is right for you! We do not want this to distract us from being Titus 2 women. Keep proper balance.

I am so excited to see what the Lord has planned. Hopefully the uplifting of His name and the encouragement of the saints!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Grace is Sufficient For You.

My grace is sufficient for you. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

His Grace is great enough to meet the great things~
The crashing waves that overwhelm the soul,
The roaring winds that leave us stunned and breathless,
The sudden storms beyond our life's control.

His grace is great enough to meet the small things~
The little pinprick troubles that annoy,
The insect worries, buzzing and persistent,
The squeaking wheels that grate upon our joy.
(Annie Johnson Flint)

It seems almost easy to trust His grace in those very great things, the circumstances that 'overwhelm the soul', the ones that leave us 'stunned and breathless'. Easy, I say, because when they happen it is like we almost don't even have a chance to consciously rely on His grace~He often times just seems to carry us. And we easily see the sufficiency of His grace.

But, it's those 'small things' of everyday life that seem the hardest to trust His grace for. As a mama, there are countless opportunities I fear I let slip by without even thinking of trusting His grace to be sufficient. Many of those 'pinprick troubles, worries, 'squeaking wheels that grate upon my joy' I struggle through without even thinking to rely on His grace.

Maybe it's not the area of being a mama for you today. Maybe it is trying to be a Godly submissive wife to that (gasp) sinful man. (as if we have attained perfection ;-)

Maybe it is friendships,
family members,
church folk~
it matters not~
His grace is sufficient.

Turn to Him and find it true!

Are you struggling today? Do you need a fresh revelation of this sufficiency of His grace? Look to Him, believe His grace is sufficient!

I would love to pray for you today Let me know if you need prayer by leaving a comment and I'll lift you up specifically today. I have already prayed for those reading this post.

My heart feels for you as I too am choosing to trust the sufficiency of His grace!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm a Little Teapot...

I have a very cute idea for storing your dishsoap. I can't take credit for it, I read something somewhere, about something like this. This is my adaptation. I hope you think it is cute too.
I found this teapot at a thrift shop for dirt cheap and the plate from the Dollar Store! (of all places)
My only complaint is that it comes out a little slowly, but I think that is because inside the spout is some 'screeny thing' that slows it down. I did not notice this when I bought it. :( But I can't get over the cute factor, so I am putting up with it!

This is part of Works for Me Wednesday.

Have a lovely day!

Please click the Titus 2 Blog Party button to find out more about a fun way to meet other women and get your blog noticed! Oh, and there is a big prize giveaway!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Calling ALL Women!

Are you a younger woman?

Newly married?

A mama with little children?


Are you an 'older' woman?

Married for years?

Children all grown?


Are you somewhere in the middle?

Some 'littles' and some 'bigs'


Are you a single woman?

Young or old?


Maybe you are unable to have children?

Maybe a widow?

(I hope I didn't exclude anyone ;-)

What is the point to all the questions?

I just wanted to make it clear that each and everyone of you are invited to the Titus 2 blog party!

There have been some questions about who the party is really for. My desire in hostessing this party is really for any Christian woman, regardless of her season in life, to gather in one place, to get to know one another, to encourage each other, and I guess, to get some of the lesser known blogs, or newer blogs noticed. I thought a party would be a great way to do it. I have 'stumbled' across so many precious Godly women's blogs that are maybe new or virtually unknown.
So, in answer to the questions, it is for all of you!

Please accept this invitation.

Put the party button on your blog.

Write an invitation post (this one is a lovely example)

Encourage others to invite their readers.

Then be sure and link your blog up the week of the party!

Don't forget the prize giveaway.
Its the perfect gift for any woman.
Who doesn't love a giveaway?!!

Please feel free to ask any questions you might have.
(Oh, and leave a comment when you have put the button on your blog, I love to go see it!)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Speaking Mama Truths

Gathering At the Well

What are some ways that I can turn the conversation around when other women begin to gripe and complain about their children?

When I asked the Lord if He had anything for me to write, the first thing that came to mind was not so much what my answer would be for those who complain and gripe, but what do 'I' do when I am the one complaining or griping.
First, I repent. Complaining and grumbling is blatant sin. No matter how any excuses or reasons I have.

Next, I get out my little book of 'prayers and truths' and start reading and speaking. My little book of Prayers and Truths is nothing more than a journal filled with prayers or truths pertaining to my ongoing struggle of being a joyful and thankful Mama. I picked a yummy feeling journal made of that soft 'Italian' leather type material. It came in my favorite green. I guess I was hoping that if it was pretty and fun to hold I would use it.
When I have lost my joy, it is usually because my focus has become more on me, my circumstances, and feelings instead of on God and His Truth. Sometimes it takes just one time through to get me back on track. Then there are the times it takes days! Surely you must know those days? As soon as I start replacing what I think and feel for the truth, my heart eventually follows.

Here is a peek inside...

  • My children are a gift and a blessing from the Lord.
  • I love and enjoy my children.
  • I delight to spend time with them and listen to them.
  • I correct my children with gentleness and patience.
  • The law of kindness is on my tongue.
  • It is a great honor and privilege to take care of my children's needs.
  • I am thankful for this high calling of motherhood.
  • I am a joyful mother of children!
  • By God's grace, I speak only encouraging and life-giving words to my children.
  • I speak to my children with a gentle tongue and soft answers.
  • Lord Jesus, may only pleasant and sweet words be spoken by me today.
  • Fill my heart with joy this day, I pray.
  • Keep my mind and heart calm and undisturbed today.
  • Oh Lord, let my heart be joyful and let them see that light in my eyes and so have there hearts rejoice.
  • Keep me from anxious thoughts and give me a glad heart today, as I love and nurture my children.
  • Cause me to walk in love towards my children.
  • Burn a deep, passionate, and selfless love for them in my heart.
  • Help me to love as Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me.
  • Help me to clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
  • Thank You Lord, for the joy that fills my heart.
  • I am full of joy because You live in me!
  • I am a joyful mother and today our home will be filled with joy.

Lord, today let Thy praise abound. Let joy and gladness resound everywhere. How I long for joy, great bounding, liberating joy; joy in God, joy in the Holy Ghost, joy in life, joy in love. Cause this to be a joyous house today, all day.

I hope this helps or encourages someone who might just struggle as I do. I also write these types of things on note cards. Sometimes it's just the writing it out that helps, other times I carry them around with me wherever I go. Then there are the days I wish I could somehow dangle them from my forehead so they are never out of my sight!

What do I say to others when they complain or gripe?

"You know, I can so relate to what you are saying. When I feel that way I try to quickly remind myself that these children are blessings and a gift" "I know it is hard when it doesn't feel like it, but I have to believe God on this one"

This usually stops the negative talk and at least hopefully plants a seed of truth, as well as let them know that others feel that way too, all while giving them hope.

Check out what other Titus 2 women have to say "At the Well"

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Question about Mr. Linky (Blog Party)

Mr. Linky is a 'thingy' that enables others to put links of their blog post all on one blog.  So the week of the party, your link will be on my page and others can access your blog.

An example of what it looks like can be found here.  Page down and you will see many different people linked to this one blog.  You can click on any of them and it directly takes you to their blog.  Go check it out. You will see the Mr. Linky box just like the one that will be on my blog.

A couple of thoughts:

The sooner you put an invititation post (where you invite others to join in the party) on your blog, along with the party button on your sidebar,  the more people will read about the party.  Therefore  more traffic for the party.  The hope is to reach many women and get your blog noticed so we can continue to encourage more women.   

The post you need to write for the party is what I call your intro/party post.  It is the one where you let us know who you are and what your blog is about.  This is the post that will be linked up to Mr. Linky.  So when others click your link, they will go directly to your blog and be on your intro/party post.  They then, hopefully, will check out your blog, maybe become a follower or save you in their favorites.  

Remember that we will be having a prize giveaway that is quite lovely.  Mention this in your invitation post.  When they click the party button on your site they will be directed to the explanation of the party.  Hopefully they will join in too and invite their readers.

Please, oh please ask me questions if you do not understand.  I am not sure if I am explaining it clearly.  Thank you so much for being a part of this.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Blog Party!

It's a Titus 2 Blog Party!
Update!  It's not too late to join in, keep reading!

What is a Titus 2 Blog Party?

Well, most of you are familiar with the following verses...

"Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble, So that they will wisely train the young women to be sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children, To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited). (Titus 2:3-5)

There are so many wonderful women out there with so much to offer, and I am finding 'blogworld' a wonderful place to, at least in part, fulfill this scripture. I think a party is a great way to reach more women, get to know others, and get your blog noticed. God has woven such beautiful lives for each of us. We have an opportunity to learn so much from each other. How wonderful to have a blog to share all He is doing and has done. I love the verses about encouraging and exhorting one another in the Bible. What an ingenious way to do it!

Here is what we will do:

1. Invite your friends!

Put the invitation button on your blog, and write a post inviting your readers to come to the party. The 'party button code' is on my sidebar, just cut and paste it into an HTML sidebar gadget.  Consider making a 'sticky' post of the invitation. This keeps it at the top of your page continuously or you could put it into your sidebar.

2. Throw a party!

During the week of the party, write an intro/party post. Your introduction may include whatever you want us to know about you. It may be short or long. Share the heart behind your blog. Are you a true 'frugal fanatic'? Organizational freak? Chef extraordinaire? Want to minister to others? Whatever your vision is, be sure to share it! You may include pictures or not. It's your party, let us know who you are!

3. Sign into Mr. Linky here at She Looketh Well and add your link. (your intro/party post)

I will put Mr. Linky up the night before the party and participating bloggers who have their intro/party post can add their link any time during the week. The sooner you do it in the week the more traffic you will have.

Please do not add your link until your intro/party post is up on your blog, and please make sure you link your intro/party post to Mr. Linky, not you homepage. When the ladies start arriving, you want them to know they are in the right place!

4. Make sure the week of the party you go 'blog hopping"!

Visit the other blogs in Mr Linky at the She Looketh Well site. Just click on the links to go meet other women. Make sure to leave comments to let them know you were there. Who likes to throw a party and think no one shows up? When you find blogs you like, be sure to become a follower and/or save them in your favorites. It would be an added blessing if you let them know you did this.

5. Just to keep up the fun, the following week write a post about some of the wonderful people you met and blogs you visited.

We at "She Looketh Well" will be having a huge drawing. Prizes will include a Soy Bath and Body Basket, Soy candles, handmade note cards and more!

To be eligible to win you need to have linked up to Mr. Linky with your intro/party post sometime before Thursday at Midnight the week of the party. On Friday, I will have a drawing and announce the winner by Noon on Friday. I hope to post the video of the drawing. (Sorry, USA only due to shipping costs)

Note: The week of the party you are only required to put up one post about the party, you may post as usual the entire week or you may continue to post 'party' type posts all week with special recipes, music etc. Whatever you like, just make sure your intro/party post is linked to Mr. Linky!

Leave a comment to let me know if you are in!

Hi there, this is an update because the party has already begun, BUT it is not too late to join in.  Below are all the links to the party.  If you just want to cut to the chase and link up then go to my homepage.
The first post is the official party post where you can link your blog.

Please feel welcome to join in!  You can link up until Thursday at midnight!  
Also, by linking up you become eligible for the Grand Prize Drawing on Friday Morning!

Being a Mama is Where HE Placed Me

Is your place a small place?
Tend it with care!
He set you there.

Is your place a large place?
Guard it with care!
He set you there.

Whatever your place, it is
Not yours alone, but His.
He set you there.

(John Oxenham)

With infinite care and forethought God has chosen the best place in which you can do your best work for the world.  You may be lonely, but you have no more right to complain than the lamp has, which has been placed in a niche to illumine a dark landing or a flight of dangerous stone steps.  The master of the house may have put you in a very small corner and on a  very humble stand; but it is enough if it be His blessed will.  Some day He will pass by, and you shall light His steps as He goes forth to seek and save that which is lost; or you shall kindle some great light that shall shine like a beacon over the storm swept ocean.  Thus the obscure Andrew was the means of igniting his brother Peter, when he brought him to Jesus
(Springs in the Valley)

Only faithful service counts with the Lord of all...

As Mamas, we are right where the Lord put us and it is the best and most important place for us!  It is difficult at times and can be lonely.  But not if we realize our work is for Him and He is always with us.  Be encouraged today that your work is given by His hand and it pleases Him to see you faithfully serve Him right there in your home.
Delight in being a Mama, it is for Him that we do what we do!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Frugal AND Healthy!

If you are unfamiliar with Quinoa, you need to search it out. It is an amazing grain that is incredibly high in protein. We love these burgers and they are so cheap to make. I do buy my quinoa in bulk, so that makes it less expensive. I have seen it available in my local grocery store.

Quinoa Burgers
Rinse and then soak overnight:

1 ½ cups quinoa
enough water to more than cover

Next day:

Saute in oil until tender:

1 onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Add and bring to a simmer and cook for approximately 15 minutes.

½ t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 ½ cups chicken broth (homemade is best, can also use beef)
rinsed and drained quinoa

(You do need to let this cool a little. I spread it out on a baking pan so I don't burn my hands and cook the eggs!)

Once cool enough


1 cup oat flour or whole wheat flour
4 eggs, beaten

Mix this well, but not too much that it gets gummy. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a skillet. Oil hands and form into 3 inch patties. This seems too loose, but it is not, they firm up when they fry.

Fry in skillet.

Serve on homemade whole wheat buns with your favorite toppings! High protein, delicious and frugal!

The estimated cost of this meal:

Quinoa burgers approximate cost is $3.00

Oven Fried Potatoes: $1.25

Salad: $2.50 ish

This is estimated high, so it is probably actually less. I like to error on the safe side.

This recipe fed our family of 10 with a few burgers leftover. So, $6.25 for our whole family!! That's a little more than one 'horrible for you Value Meal' at your local burger joint!

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook "Healthy Recipes from the Heart of our Homes" by Phyllis and Shirley, available at
This is part of Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

Today's Snack! Super Duper Sloothie!

Okay, funny name, but yummy nutritious snack. This summer we made, what we called Super Duper Slushies. Our version of this recipe. We added coconut oil and flax seed to this and ate them all summer. We made Popsicles out of this recipe and it was a delicious treat.

Yesterday, I was looking for a change in our normal smoothie, which is Kefir, strawberries, blueberries, flax seed, coconut oil and Stevia. I really want to get more greens into us and remembered our summer Super Duper Slushies.

So this is what we came up with.

Super Duper Sloothie

2-3 cups Kefir

3 large handfuls of organic baby spinach

up to 1/2 cup flax seed

1-2 cups frozen strawberries

1-2 cups frozen blueberries

Some raw honey

Stevia as needed to sweeten

Water as needed to thin it out.

Blend greens, flax and Kefir until completely blended. Add the rest of the ingredients until smooth.

Note: I do have a very powerful blender (part of my Bosch Universal)

You absolutely cannot taste the spinach! You have probiotics, greens, flax, super-food blueberries, come on, does it get any better?! The kids love it.

This is what the sloothie looks like before you add the fruit. It's pretty, right?

Give it a try!

P.S. We considered the name Super Duper Smooshie ;-)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Twenty-five Random Things about Me!

My sweet friend from 'busymomof10' has tagged me and I am supposed to come with 25 things about me. So here goes!

  1. I have been pregnant or breastfeeding 17 1/4 years of the last 22!
  2. I have five precious babies in heaven
  3. I live in a 1248 sq. ft. home ( 10 of us!)
  4. I love to bake bread.
  5. I love to learn new things.
  6. I have struggled with health issues for over five years, and the Lord has broken a lot of 'me' during it.
  7. I used to think leading bible studies or writing a book was where ITs at.
  8. Only in the past few years am I finally getting a grasp on the fact that being a mama is where IT is at! (and I want to shout it from the rooftops!)
  9. I hate correcting school work!
  10. I love to encourage others
  11. I love candles (smelly, yummy candles)
  12. I drive a 'candy apple red' 15 passenger van and love it!
  13. I have an Italian stove-top espresso maker that I use frequently for hubby and I
  14. I enjoy a triple latte w/ extra shot, not syrup please
  15. I drink raw milk
  16. I love to scour out my sink and my clean stove, but rarely get to do it
  17. I LOVE my quiet time with God
  18. In storage, I have boxes of old quiet time journals
  19. I love to throw things away!
  20. I am allergic to pine trees (aka Christmas trees)
  21. Favorite snack is Doritos and Frito Lay Jalapeno Dip...or maybe Oreos, dunked in milk, whole cookie in mouth...okay this is not good for the diet!
  22. I drink Black Currant Tea every single day!
  23. I love the beach, really, really love the beach. (Many family vacations on Lake Michigan)
  24. I want twin girls really badly!
  25. I spend every single sunny day in the summer by the pool with the kids. (has to be sunny or I won't go out!)

To Love and Be Loved

On Valentine's Day we tend to focus on the more romantic form of love, and that is just fine. But what is on my heart today is, do we take time to love our Father and be loved by Him?

We make cookies, or buy chocolates, flowers, go on special dates, but do we take the time to love the One who loves us with an everlasting love?

If you get to know me at all, you will find I am passionate about the importance of having a quiet time with the Lord. I have already written little bits about it here and here and here.

I will repeat a few important points:

1. We are all at different seasons in our lives, so do not compare and be discouraged!

2. We are all unique individuals on similar, but different journeys. Therefore God speaks and moves in our lives in many different ways.

What He uses for one, He may not use for another~so~no condemnation, no discontent, unless it is a good discontent that spurs you on to another level, okay? ;-)

Many people have asked me over the years what I actually do in my quiet time, so I will share a peak inside what has become a very precious time. Writing a blog post about it cannot possibly express what it means to me or how wonderful it is, but I will try.

First of all, I am a journal-er! I have to write, it seems, for it to count as my quiet time. Quirky, I know. Don't even ask me how fussy I am about journals and pens!

I always start out by dating the top of the page and my usual salutation:

Saturday 2/14/09

Good Morning Father,

I then proceed to thank Him for...maybe sleep, or the children, or this calling of mama-hood, or Brian or whatever wells up in me. Years ago I got into the habit of starting out thanking and praising Him first because of this verse:

Every day [with its new reasons] will I bless You [affectionately and gratefully praise You]; yes, I will praise Your name forever and ever. (Ps. 145:2)

For weeks I had a sticky note with that verse to remind me to start by praising Him.

Next is where I literally pour out my heart. Whatever, and I mean whatever is going on in my heart. Be it a certain struggle with sin, a need for wisdom or strength, health issues, a heartache or all of the above- whatever is welling up in my heart just spills out into my journal.

Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). (Ps. 62:8)

So, I love Him by praising and adoring Him. By trusting in Him enough to pour out my heart to Him, by waiting on Him, by bearing my soul to the One Who knows before one word is written in my journal, every longing, every tear, every dream, every sorrow.

Then I read the pages for the day from 'Streams in the Desert' and 'Springs in the Valley' (highly recommended!) and whatever verses those might lead me to. Or, I might read the Psalms for the day or wherever I sense the Spirit lead. Sometimes it is a big old study of the Greek or Hebrew of some verse. Other times it is just one verse that pierces right though!

Do you know what almost always happens? Something I read speaks volumes to the very things I poured my heart out about. I am always amazed and overwhelmed at the love I feel when he speaks to me this way. How does He do that? I marvel at how I cry out about something so specific and then literally minutes later I read a verse or devotional that is exactly what I needed to hear!

I write down the verses or the section from the devotional at that point, usually through tears.

I then pray or sing or have to hustle off to put out some fire somewhere else, but that is the gist of what it looks like.

Ladies, I share all this to encourage you, that if you do not have precious, intimate times with the Lord, you are missing out and He is missing out!

I believe He longs to shower us with His love and mercy. GOD is LOVE! We long to be loved, right? It is a perfect fit.

He loves us with an everlasting love. (Jer. 31:3)

All the paths of the Lord are mercy and steadfast love...

I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy and steadfast love...

O love the Lord, all you His saints! The Lord preserves the faithful...

The Lord preserves all those who love Him...

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness--trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].

The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.

For the Father Himself [tenderly] loves you because you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from the Father.

So, love your husbands and your children, make treats, eat chocolate ;-) but more importantly LOVE your Father and sit before Him and let Him love you!

Oh, one more reminder, be patient, be diligent. Don't give up if you don't 'feel' anything. Continue to love Him by showing up, pouring your heart out, by waiting on Him...we don't love Him just so we get something out of it, right?

Tell us about your quiet time. Do you have a special routine? Do you journal? Are you struggling to make it happen and want prayer?

Endless Reasons Why I Love My Man!

Warning: You may not let the enemy use these posts to compare or be discouraged. All husbands are sinners and therefore not perfect. But, it is our duty as wives, I believe, to focus on the wonderful and lovely in our husbands, and they all have something worth being thankful for, right?!

That said. . .I am so blessed by my husband and how wonderful he is that I am going to post reasons why I love him so. So, bear with me, okay? You have to realize that the ultimate reason for this blog is for my daughters, they will see how wonderful their daddy is and also learn how to appreciate their husbands. Okay, and I just love praising God for the wonder of my husband!

Today, Valentine's Day, I am praising God

for just how much my man GETS me!

He really 'gets' me.

Do you know what I mean?

He understands me like no other person.

He knows my thoughts, sometimes before I speak them.

He doesn't mind at all that God made me a woman with many, many, many words.

He listens to each and every one of them. (Well, sometimes he just can't stay awake;-)

So, today it's because he gets me and still loves me!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crowning Joy?

Am I a crowning joy to my husband? Are there times he would be more comfortable on a rooftop, exposed to all kinds of weather rather than dwelling with me?

A virtuous and worthy wife [earnest and strong in character] is a crowning joy to her husband, but she who makes him ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. (Proverbs 12:4)

It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop [on the flat oriental roof, exposed to all kinds of weather] than in a house shared with a nagging, quarrelsome, and faultfinding woman. (Proverbs 21:9)

It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop than to share a house with a disagreeing, quarrelsome, and scolding woman. (Proverbs 25:24)

I came across these verses yesterday ('came across, as if by accident!' ;-)) and felt the Holy Spirit nudge my heart a little. He has been dealing with me a lot on my tone with my children, which seems to be a constant struggle. But today, I was examining these verses in light of my tone with my husband.

Certainly these verses have many different facets to them, but how they spoke to me had to do with tone. I might rarely outwardly or blatantly nag, scold, quarrel, but does the tone of my voice betray me? It is easy to think, 'well, I don't do those things', when in truth, maybe I do, even innocently, just by the tone of my voice!

"Honey, did you put these socks here?"


"You didn't put these socks here did you?"

If I say the second like he is some sort of jerk for putting the socks there, he is apt to feel scolded, belittled, ect.

I want to know if I am doing this! I pray for the Holy Spirit to show me any ungodly tone in my voice. I have asked my husband to tell me if I do this. (gently, and maybe not right at that moment ;-))

  • Shaming him

  • Nagging him

  • quarreling

  • faultfinding

  • disagreeing

  • scolding

How about you?

Have you checked your tone?

What would your husband say if you asked him?

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Prayer For Today

Oh Lord, how complete is my need of Thee!  
To Thee I come, give me a gracious renewing of Thy life 
till my reasoning powers, 
my imagination, 
and my speaking are all of Thee.  
I seek Thy touch and thrilling grace today.
(Oswald Chambers)

This prayer could not have expressed my heart and need better today.

Why, O Jacob, do you say, and declare, O Israel, 

My way and my lot are hidden from the Lord, 

and my right is passed over without regard from my God?

    Have you not known? Have you not heard? 

The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, 

does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding.

   He gives power to the faint and weary

and to him who has no might He increases strength

    Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted;

    But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; 

they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; 

they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.

What about you, do you have a favorite verse or prayer for those days when you feel you really need someone to come and scrape you off the floor?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Welcome 'Old' Friends!!

A warm welcome to the ladies who received an invitation email or letter from me!

Grab a cup of tea or a latte ;-) and take a look around. You will notice on the right side of this page, after the adorable pictures of my children, (wink, wink) there is a spot called 'labels'.

All you have to do to begin your visit is start clicking on the subjects that I have written about. I am so thankful that you came. Don't forget to leave a comment as I described in my letter to you, so I know you were here. Big hugs to you ladies!
(If this is all new to you, you may email me at gentleshepherd2001 (at) yahoo (dot) com)

Rachel is the Winner!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Homemade Laundry Soap Savings!

Hi, my name is Michelle.
I’m a recovering "Tide, Clorox2, and Downy" user.
I’ve been "green and frugal" for about four months.

Okay, seriously, you need to know I have always used Tide, Clorox2 and Downy. I really like clean, stain free laundry. I have been found many a time with my nose fully enveloped in the laundry, getting my Downy fix. I’ve been known to hug longer just because the "hugee" has a clean Downy scented shirt on!

Do you get the picture of why it might be difficult to sell me on homemade laundry soap?
Well, it passed the test on cleanness, and I’m slowly getting over the smell factor. The benefits far out weigh any perceived disadvantages. (The smell factor!)
When the Lord started to move me to more frugal and healthful ways, this was one of the first areas. The amount of chemicals we ingest from our environment is alarming! I am seeking to reduce this as much as possible. Also, the cost savings of homemade over store bought is mind blowing.

You can do a search and find hundreds, if not thousands of websites with recipes and testimonials. Just type in " homemade laundry soap" into google and away you go!
Here is the recipe we settled on and are very happy with.

4 Cups hot tap water
1 Kirks Castile soap bar (I have used Fels Naptha also)
1 Cup Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water.
Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water.
Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir soap in the five gallon bucket and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
(I do not dilute it as of yet, I’m too chicken. There is really no reason not to~I said I am recovering!)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

I haven’t solved the yummy smell issue as of yet. I have tried essential oils in rinse and on scrap of fabric in dryer ~ not worth it. I am thinking of putting one of my homemade candles that smell like Downy in my bathroom ~ temporary fix any way.
One disclaimer ~
Dear Hubby uses Downy on our sheets when they are washed on Saturday.
What a treat crawling into bed on Saturday!
Here is the cost break down:

Kirks Castille Soap- $1.15
Washing Soda .50
Borax .30
Total 1.85 for 80 cups or 5 gallons or .023 cents per load

(remember it is actually supposed to make the equivalent of 10 gallons,
which would make it .012 cents per load)

My best guess for using Tide, Clorox 2 and Downy is approximately .30-.50 cents per load!
I use about a cup ~ the recipe recommends about a ½ cup.
Imagine my savings if I wasn’t so stubborn!

I’m slowly phasing out of our Costco supply of cleaning products. I’ll keep you updated as I switch to more natural ways of cleaning. I do have Costco size white vinegar, baking soda and peroxide waiting on the wings.
Stay tuned!

Do any of you use homemade soap? What recipe do you like?
See this related post for my "frugal and green" moisturizer.

I just did the math on how much we save a year and it goes like this:

Tidy, Clorox 2, Downy
.35 cents (best guess) a load times a minimum of 20 loads a week equals  $7.00 a week which is $364 a year!

Homemade Laundry Soap
 .02 cents per load  equals $20.80 a year!!!

I think I deserve a triple latte with an extra shot please!
BTW, if I can do this anyone can, give it a try!

Overwhelmed by His Love

The things weighing heavy on my heart today are not of earth shattering importance. They are things that are pressing, decisions seemingly need to be made and there 'seems' no clear answer.

I once again, in my quiet time, come before the Lord and poured out my heart. He is always faithful to listen, encourage, and comfort through His Word. But today, He chooses one of those precious times when he overwhelms me with His love. Every word I read speaks right to the very core of my heart! My mouth falls open in astonishment. How does He do this? How can this be speaking exactly to my situation? I mean exactly?!
The message He is speaking is not nearly as important as the wonder and awe that it produces. I feel it from the very top of my head to my toes; an overwhelming sense of His love. There is nothing I can do but close my eyes and weep, basking in the love of my God.

You know, any time we spend in secret communion with the Lord is certainly sweet. We are blessed recipients of mercy and grace everyday, but, oh, how utterly overwhelming when the God of the universe, the Great I AM, El Shaddai Himself seems to just saturate you with His presence, wrapping you with His love and gently hiding you under the Shadow of His Wings!
HE WHO dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust! (Psalm 91:1-2)

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple. (Ps. 27:4)

Dear Daughters and women of God, do you know of His tenderness and love? Do you take time to seek Him each and every day? Have you been overwhelmed by His love? Pour your hearts out to Him, He is faithful!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Are you present? (Mama has left the building)

One of the things that has been heavy on my heart for sometime now is the fact that most days I feel like I’m not ‘here’ with my kids! 
How can that be? 
You are a stay at home mom. 
You even home school your children. 
How is it you are not there?

Let me explain some of the things that keep me 'away' even when I am home.  

First of all, I have always struggled to be that ‘ooey gooey play on the floor all day with your kids' kind of  mama. It’s my heart, but a struggle to live it. 

Secondly, just the logistics of managing and keeping our home running keeps me very busy      and distracted. 

Thirdly, home schooling, while it actually would seem to cause you to spend time with your children, can keep you so busy with the ‘doing’ of it that you forget to be a mama.  

Last of all, but certainly not least, the things I derive great enjoyment from. 

Granted, many, if not most of them, are actually related in someway to the first three, but still have a lot of my enjoyment intertwined. If I’m not careful, they become an escape from the hard parts of being a mama. Things like, organizing, baking, cooking, blogging, writing, research,  etc...

Let me give you an example of something that seems so harmless and actually sort of noble.  I love, love, love to organize! The planning, the chart making, the decluttering, the cleaning, I love it! Now that seems noble enough, right? It’s part of my job! 

But, if I’m always organizing and planning or if I’m constantly distracted and busy, don’t I somehow miss the main point? Will God care that I had charts and schedules, containers with perfect labels, if I didn’t take the time to be sweet? To listen? To love?

Can you see that I’m not talking about always chasing off with friends, shopping, chatting on the phone? I’m talking about being at home, yet not really being there! From the outside it looks like you are doing all the things you are supposed to, yet somehow you are not really present for the children.

There is a time and a place for all those things I listed. I absolutely am not suggesting a ‘child-run’ home! I’m talking about making sure that those very noble things don’t stop me from being the mama I long to be.

When I see Jesus will He say, I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after Me.”

May it never be!

He won’t care about my precious charts all typed up in a pretty little notebook. He just might ask, “Did you love them? Did you show them Me? Did you give your life and your time to the most important treasure I gave you?”

You understand what I’m saying, don’t you ladies? There is nothing wrong with those things in and of themselves.  You get that, right?

Let’s just make sure our focus is in the right place. Let’s not let one of those things keep us from truly being present for our children. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Learning to Cherish

Just nursed my baby for possibly the last time. (sigh)  I feel so sad.  I think I  have enjoyed nursing this baby the most, simply because I'm really beginning to see what a privilege and honor it is to be a mama.

I am learning, twenty-one years into this, to cherish every moment, every detail.  

People always say how fast it goes by and to enjoy it while you can, and frankly when you are knee deep in diapers, haven't slept in days and can't find the living room floor, you sort of secretly think, 'good!'  But we miss so much!  

There are so many precious gifts in the every day with each child.  God desires to make us joyful mothers.  I really believe that joy, at least in part, comes from taking the time to soak up and cherish the precious moments of our lives.  I don't mean just the grand, momentous happenings, like births and big milestones.  I am talking about the everyday blessings.  The beauty in the day-to-day things we do and see as mamas.

I want to remember

~a nursing baby's milky grin
~the quiet, night-time feedings
~the sweet smell of a baby's breath
~their silk-like skin

I want to cherish each and every diaper change when I get a glimpse of those sweet baby bunners!

The giggles, the tears, the hugs, and oh, may I always soak up those sweet kisses!

Life seems to fly by so fast.  Before we know it they have grown so much.  It is hard not to have regrets over what feels like 'lost years' when you don't even think to stop and notice the blessings all around you.  But no more, by the grace of God!  My aim is to not take these precious children for granted!  I pray for open eyes to see the beauty in each child each and every day!

What about you?  Are you taking the time to cherish these gifts?  I am not just talking about babies here, our bigs need us too!  There is so much to cherish with each of our children, regardless of their age.  

He makes the barren woman to be a homemaker and a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
(Psalm 113:9)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's the Same Grace

My heart breaks to see this child make the choices he does. Choices that not only hurt my heart, but also must grieve his Father in heaven. I can so easily get caught up in the pain, the fears and the doubts. It is so easy to lose sight of the Truth when you are drowning in your own tears... 

Then I hear a faint whisper... 

“It’s the same Grace”. 

I stop the crying a moment as I try to discern what I am hearing. Over and over again I hear...  

“It's the same Grace”

“It's the same Grace.”

I look back some twenty plus years ago and see a very young woman desperate for love. She is living a Godless, sinful, selfish, and broken life. 
On the outside she is tough, on the inside, a frightened, empty little girl. For all of her twenty short years she has lived a rough life and her heart has been broken and crushed. 

When  I  look at this girl, not knowing the rest of the story, it seems utterly hopeless that she would ever serve the living God. Circumstances of life have only seemingly driven her farther from God.  The odds are certainly stacked against her.

Fast forward some twenty-two years.  Would you have  guessed she would be a happily married woman striving to be a Godly wife? A mama to nine children, doing her best to teach and train them in the things of the very God she never even knew?  A keeper of the home and perfectly content in this calling? A woman, who is certainly far from perfect, and even carries a few scars from the past, but oh how she loves Jesus. She no longer craves for love and acceptance, now she strives to know her God, to become  more and more in love with Him. To live a life worthy of being called His own. 
She desires to love and serve Him with all her heart, soul, mind and strength.
This same girl who before didn’t even give Him the time of day, now has her whole life, every aspect of it, colored by Him.

What was it? 
What made the change? 
Did she finally get her act together? 
Did she just start making the right choices?

GRACE, Gods amazing and marvelous grace!

That same Grace that changed Saul, the self proclaimed persecutor and destroyer of the Church of God, to Paul, who God revealed His Son in, so that he might preach Christ among the Gentiles.  The bond-servant and prisoner for Christ.  The man who penned at least thirteen books of our beloved Holy Bible. 

That same Grace that changed a promiscuous, filthy-mouthed sailor and an atheist, John Newton, to a sympathizing pastor, and well known hymn writer.  Writer of the very popular “Amazing Grace”

That same Grace that took a ‘boy of sixteen, already a liar and thief, a swindler and a drunkard’ to the man, George Mueller.  The man who lived his life literally depending on God to supply his every need!

The stories of lives forever changed by this same Grace are endless!

So dear mama, dry your tears, it is that same, amazing, powerful grace that will bring your child back to My arms. 

Trust Me,

 “It’s the same grace.”

Thus says the Lord: Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord; and [your children] shall return from the enemy's land.

    And there is hope for your future, says the Lord; your children shall come back to their own country. (Jeremiah 31:16-17)