Tuesday, March 31, 2009

'Trusting' to Find Rest For My Soul

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord
with all your heart and mind
and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him,
and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
reverently fear and worship the Lord
and turn [entirely] away from evil.

Proverbs 3:5-7

TRUST in the Lord with all my heart and mind. . .

The topic of trusting God is such a broad topic.
Just for today it is speaking to me about trusting Him
with all the details, big and small in my life.

Can I just stop the fretting and continually cast my burdens on Him and then just TRUST?

Trust Him to order my steps.
Trust Him to give wisdom.
Trust Him to hear my cries.
Trust Him to hold me up.
Trust Him with whether my bread turns out or not.
Trust Him when my day is not going at all like I had planned.

Do not rely on my own understanding. . .

Isn't that what I am doing when I am trying to figure it all out?

In ALL of my ways acknowledge Him. . .
not just the big issues of life, but ALL my ways!

Do you wonder if you should bother God with the little details of your life?

Do you know He even wants you to acknowledge Him in things like. . .

Should I use cloth or disposable?

What should I make for dinner?

How should I best feed my family?

How can I make our money go further?

Which curriculum will I really use? ;-)

As you prayerfully search your heart, what areas do you rely on your own understanding?

Which areas do you struggle to trust Him with?

Which areas do you not even acknowledge Him?

Monday, March 30, 2009

'Casting' To Find Rest For My Soul

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. (1 Peter 5:7)

Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). (Psalm 55:22)

Blessed be the Lord, Who bears our burdens and carries us day by day, even the God Who is our salvation! Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! (Psalm 68:19)

Casting my burden on Him! It almost seems easy to cast the big things that are so beyond me, but what about all the little daily thoughts that cause me to leave that place of rest?

. . . the chores not done. . . how to handle a screaming baby. . . how am I going to get all this done

. . . am I reaching their hearts . . . am I missing something. . .what about college. . . when is our van going to sell . . . am I doing enough with our diet . . .

If I choose to glance His way prayerfully and cast each little thing unto Him, peace begins to fill my soul because I can trust He cares for me!

What burdens could you cast on Him, trusting He cares for you?

Matthew Henry Commentary on 1 Peter 5:7

Cast "all you care;" personal cares, family cares, cares for the present, and cares for the future, for yourselves, for others, for the church, on God. These are burdensome, and often very sinful, when they arise from unbelief and distrust, when they torture and distract the mind, unfit us for duties, and hinder our delight in the service of God. The remedy is, to cast our care upon God, and leave every event to his wise and gracious disposal. Firm belief that the Divine will and counsels are right, calms the spirit of a man. Truly the godly too often forget this, and fret themselves to no purpose. Refer all to God's disposal. The golden mines of all spiritual comfort and good are wholly his, and the Spirit itself. Then, will he not furnish what is fit for us, if we humbly attend on him, and lay the care of providing for us, upon his wisdom and love?
For the first part in this series please read Seeking Rest for My Soul

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Seeking Rest For My Soul...A Week Long Series

(The following is a page out of my journal)

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls. (Mt. 11:28)

There seems to be a place of peace and rest that I do not seem to stay at very long. I consider myself to be fairly surrendered. I trust You completely... well, maybe just in certain areas.

It seems easy to trust You in the really big things in life, those things that are pretty much out of my control, So why do I still feel unrest in my soul? Why do I strive and strive? Why does my mind go a million miles an hour? Why do I feel the need to figure everything out? To constantly battle the uncertainty of next week, or next month?

I seem to think I trust you with everything. But you know what? I don't think I do. Maybe a hundred times in any given day I give way to fretting, trying to figure something out, needing to know, NOW! It is a constant underlying, sometimes subtle, sometimes not, anxiety deep within.

No wonder I struggle to maintain joy. It's no wonder I'm edgy and snap when interrupted. I'm probably deep in thought and anxiety trying to figure out my next move, or trying to solve some future problem.

It's like my fretting, anxiety-producing overthinking, causes cracks in this vessel, and the joy, peace, rest and calm just oozes right out! I get all filled up, think right thoughts, cast burdens, and not two steps into my day I am taking on something I shouldn't. There it goes, I hear a little crack. Something comes across my path I just need to figure out NOW. . . crack. A thought about what I am going to do about "xyz" next week . . . crack. Are we on the right path? Crack!

This feels like what I call 'Christianity 101'. Something that seems so foundational, it seems I should know this by now.

I deceive myself when I think that just because I am at a place of trust and peace with what I consider the 'big' things, yet live almost daily with angst and fretting.

This seems huge to me. I seem to have lost my peace lately. I feel as I sit here and meditate on this thatYou reveal one thought after another, like a movie playing. I foolishly take on these thoughts myself instead of joyfully resting and trusting You to order my steps, to lead and guide, to take care of my every need. I am utterly inferior at figuring all this out. You are my Father, You know what is best.

And so I pray. . .

My Father, who art in heaven, you are my Father, you alone know what is best. Holy, holy, holy, is Your name Lord. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, not mine but Yours. Give me today just my daily bread. I trust you with all my needs. By your spirit cause me to take my thoughts captive, to rest, to trust you in all things, even the tiny day to day.

Do you struggle to trust Him in the small things of life?

Is there an area/areas that you just can't seem to surrender? You hold on so tightly, trying to figure it out?

Each day this week, Lord willing ;-), I am going to post some scripture and perhaps some thoughts on how it speaks to me pertaining to this subject. My hope is to renew my mind with His truth and take my thoughts captive as I seek to trust Him in all things.

Please feel free to join in and share your heart. Leave a comment, share a prayer or scripture or even write a post on your blog and leave your link in your comment.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Gently Rebuked in Blogworld!

I read A LOT of things on any given day. I usually print up all the blog posts I want to read as well as a copious amount of 'research' I am doing. In all of this reading I read some really good things.
Things that encourage, enlighten, and convict. Every now and again I read something that the Lord uses to deeply speak to my heart. I don't mean just a little, that happens often, I am talking about being grabbed by both shoulders and shaken up a bit.

Do you know what I mean?

Something you just can't stop thinking about and praying about?!

I don't know if this will rock your world like it did mine. We all have our 'own little load of oppressive faults' (Gal. 6:5 ;-), but maybe it will bless you too. It spoke right to where I am and what the Lord is teaching me.

If you have a chance, go and read this. I would love to know what your thoughts are if you have time to come back here and comment.
Let me know if it affected you also.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Holy Desires

"No desire will ever be placed in you by the Holy Spirit unless He intends to fulfill it."

"All you long to be as a Christian, and all you long to do for God, are within the possibilities of faith."

"He who puts the natural instinct in the heart of a bird to fly across a continent in search of a warmer climate is too good to deceive it. . . And He who breathes heavenly hope into our hearts will not deceive or fail us when we press forward toward its realization."

(Quotes taken from Streams in the Desert, my favorite devotional!)

What are those desires that the Holy Spirit has placed in you?

Some of mine are . . .
  • to be sweet and gentle with my children (all the time)
  • to be selfless in serving my family
  • to submit sweetly and quietly to my dear husband
  • to love the seemingly unlovable in my life
  • to be adorned with a meek and quiet spirit

All of these to name a few. . .

When you go to bed each night and wonder if you will ever see the things you long for, don't let discouragement set in!

He who promised is faithful!

. . .that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.

Check Spelling

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Inexpensive and Wholesome Entertainment

While reorganizing our schoolroom the other day, I was reminded of a neat idea I had years ago to keep the littles quiet during school. They loved to sit and listen to books on tape, but we didn't have many, they were expensive, and I was uneasy about borrowing them from the library. (Too much responsibility!)

I set out to do a search for blank audio cassettes. I wanted shorter than 30 minutes a side so they wouldn't have to fast forward too much at the end of a book. I determined that ten minutes or less was ideal. This depends on how long the books are you plan on putting on tape. I found some for eight minutes, I think, and bought them in bulk. I don't remember where I bought them, but this website is an example of what I found. (I didn't search around for the best price so you may want to do that.)

I chose which books we wanted on tape and read them to the children as I recorded them. It is fun to listen back to them. You never know what the littles are going to say. ;-)

Make sure you remember to say "turn the page" or whatever you want to use to signify the turning of the page! This is easy to forget. Part way through a book, I would describe a page to make sure they were on the right page. I would say "do you see the lion in the picture" or whatever was appropriate. You get the idea.

I also then labeled ziploc bags to keep them in. One hint might be to choose books that fit in the bags you are going to use. I did not do this and had to modify bags, well, didn't have to, it was my neurotic side coming out. I wanted them to fit perfectly like the ones at the library. I actually sewed all the ziploc bags to fit the books. ;-)

By using books you already have and buying tapes for under a quarter a piece, you have some pretty inexpensive and wholesome entertainment!

You will find other great tips at We Are That Family

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Could Still Be . . .

I could still be lost, my eternal destiny grim.

I could still be groping around looking for something or someone to fill the deep emptiness inside of me.

I could still be terrified and unsure with no one to trust .

I could still be aimlessly looking for my purpose in life.

I could still be bitter, having never known true forgiveness.

I could still be struggling to find happiness in this life, while all along it is deep joy I'm lacking.

I could still be without hope.

I could still be without peace.

I could still be without . . . . . . . . . . Jesus!

It is so easy to get caught up in the struggles of life and lose sight of how unbelievably rich I am. The frustrations, the little things that grate upon me daily, can just wear me down. I have a home, a beautiful home. I have nine wonderful healthy children, a heavenly marriage and, relatively speaking, I have good health. Yet it is so easy to "feel" down and begin to complain about the little things until they "feel" like big things.

Last night, in a moment of sanity, I began to recount all these very basic things that the Lord has chosen to gift us with. People all around are losing their homes, their marriages, their children. We are so blessed.

Then it hit me in my list of things He's done for me or given me, at the very top is salvation. Something I guess I must take for granted. I wondered why He would save me? I think of my still lost family and I marvel and am humbled that for some reason He saved ME! As of yet, not my sister or brothers, but me. I was nothing more special, actually I was an utter mess, yet He saved me!

What a foolish woman I can be, complaining about the house, the children, my aching head. I am so rich, so blessed.

You are too, if you know Jesus and have been saved by Him.

Let's lay aside all these day-to-day struggles and praise and worship Jesus, our Savior. The One who chose us to be His own.

BLESS (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits--

Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;

Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]! Psalm 103:1-5

I WILL extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever [with grateful, affectionate praise].

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

Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; and His greatness is [so vast and deep as to be] unsearchable. (Psalm 145:1-3)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sisterhood Award!

Elizabeth from busymomof10 very sweetly awarded me the Sisterhood Award.  Thank you Elizabeth!

This award is to be given to those who display great attitude or gratitude in their blog. I am blessed and thankful to have been awarded this by Elizabeth!

Here are the rules for accepting this award:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.

2. Nominate at least 10 blogs who you feel are worthy of this award by displaying great attitude or gratitude in their blog! (Naming 10 is a lot! I'm just going to select 5 blogs, which is also what Elizabeth did.)

3. Be sure to link to the blogs you nominate within this post.

4. Let your nominees know about the award by commenting on their blog.

5. Link back to the person who gave you this award.

Ladies, you know as well as I that there are an almost endless amount of wonderful blogs out there, we are so blessed. I hope you take the time to go visit these women, they have blessed me and encouraged me.  I am certain they will do the same for you.  

Here are the blogs I nominate for the Sisterhood Award. 

Rina from Into Still Waters ( I just love her heart and her wonderful encouraging posts!)

Mrs. Parunak  from Pursing Titus 2 (very encouraging and convicting posts)

Connie from Reaching Up and Out (Ladies, this woman is a breath of fresh air!  So sweet and encouraging)

Joy from The Stay-at-Home Missionary ( a very sweet and tender woman willing to share her heart openly)

A new friend from Simple Beauty ( I could tell the first time I 'met' her she has such a tender spirit and I loved her right away!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

He Sees My Heart!

I thought perhaps I should let you know that being a mama and desiring to be a Christ-like Mama may just be a struggle your whole life. I know, not so encouraging sounding, right?

Oh , for sure there are women who seem to be that always joyful and tender mama. Maybe she really is. Maybe she struggles and hides it well. It matters not, let's not compare. Let's keep our eyes on our own hearts and how the Lord chooses to deal with us.

I've been a Mama for nearly 22 years and I still struggle greatly to be the Mama I desire to be. Granted, I wasn't saved until several years into my adult life. I've had to learn everything I know about being a Godly Mama and wife from the ground up. Regardless, part of me still thinks I should "get it" by now.

As organized as I am, as disciplined as I am, as many books as I've read, as many teaching tapes as I've listened to, as much time as I've spent with the Lord, one would think I would have this "being a Mama thing" perfected.

Let me share a little snapshot into my life.

For months I've been feeling almost overwhelmingly burdened by the desire to be more gentle and tender with my words and tone with the children; patient, sweet and tender.

Monday I read in Colosians 3 about "putting on behavior marked by tender hearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of ourselves, gentle ways and patience, which is tireless and long suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes with good temper. Be gentle and forbearing with one another . . . above all put on love . . ."

"Yes, Lord, oh I desire to be like this in my home, make it so in my life. I desire, almost ache for my life to reflect this to my children."

Monday by 4:00 pm I have had a pretty rough day, exhausted, hormone issues. ect. and then I lose it with two of my children. I rail against them when patience, gentleness and mercy would have been the proper way to handle the needed training. I later go to bed feeling discouraged that 'once again' I've blown it. How many years will I struggle? Will I ever "get it?"

Tuesday, bread day, cleaning day and piano day~ enough said :-) My mood is not the best, bread is flopping, children are not doing everything the way "I" want it done. The littles are under foot instead of sitting quietly three hours. (wink,wink, as if they should) By 9:30 am I am in tears, have a knot in my stomach and a migraine looming.

I did yell a little, but was able to stop myself, not so much self-control, but the tears welling up and the knot stopped me:-) I called my husband for prayer. He prayed, I cried, hard.

I went out with a quivering upper lip. My 5 year old wanted to play a game, there was grace to say yes, we played for 15 minute and I laughed so hard.

My 8 year old drew a picture with a leafless tree, dark sky and no flowers on one side that said, "don't be sad, and on the other side, a tree with green leaves, blue sky and flowers that said, "be happy." She also presented me with a paper that said, "Worlds Best Mommy." I cried and cried saying, "Mommy doesn't feel like the best Mommy."

Here's the lesson ladies.

God spoke to my heart. "It doesn't matter how you feel or what kind of Mama you think you are, just like your daughter, I see your heart and am well pleased"
(my husband has been telling me this for years.:-)

My heart longs to be gentle, patient, and tender hearted and that is what makes me "the best Mommy in the world." I'll never, ever "get it" perfectly this side of heaven! By His grace I will grow and change and become more and more like Him, but never perfect, and that is okay. He sees my heart and is well pleased.

To further show His mercy and love towards me when I was cutting tomatoes for my lunch this is I saw.

Sweet little hearts in my tomatoes! A reminder that it is about the heart. Once again my eyes were flooded with tears as I felt the warm embrace of my Father.

Ladies, do you struggle to be the "Mama of your dreams?"

Do you feel like you fail miserably just about everyday?

Do you wonder if you will ever "get it?"

Can you get with the Lord and ask Him how He sees your heart? There are times for correction, certainly. But there are also times to trust where you are, accept the struggles as part of His disciplining (training), and rest in His everlasting arms.

" For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Monday, March 16, 2009

What if being a mama is enough?

I have often heard it said "I am looking forward to the day when I can really minister or follow my dreams" or "this ‘mothering’ is just for a season..."

It is one thing to be willing to lay down all your hopes and desires for being a mama, believing that the Lord will bring them about someday. It is quite another, I am finding, to fully embrace being a mama.

Laying down your little box of desires to hopefully pick them up again certainly is a worthy and admirable thing, and definitely a great step. But what about not just packing them away in a pretty little box, pining away for what could have been and might yet be?

What if you actually totally let them go and completely and fully embrace your calling of being a mama?

What if you actually get to the place where you are no longer with one hand embracing being a mama and with the other holding your box of dreams?

What if you grab hold of being a mama with both hands because you now realize that being a mama is exactly what you were created to be?
What if the very thing you were willing to do until your real dreams come true is actually your true box of dreams?!

What if you get to the place where being a mama is all your dreams come true?

No more divided heart. Nothing, not even all those hopes, dreams and aspirations in that pretty little box could fulfill your hearts desires, because now you are doing and being exactly what you were created for.

What if this is true? I know this sounds a bit bizarre in this day and age. Even pretty out there for the church.

Oh for the revelation to all mamas of the unbelievable and undeniable beauty and wisdom in God's plan for them. What if we get to the place where we finally get that this, this calling of mamahood is more than we could have ever hoped or dreamed for?
Then our hearts will have great peace and great joy and complete fulfillment.

Where do you find your heart?
  • Not at all realizing the beauty of being a mama?
  • Holding tightly to your pretty little box of dreams?
  • Frustrated because you feel you are not using your gifts?
  • Unable to really minister because you are stuck at home? Looking forward to the day when you can finally really serve? Finally get to do all the things you want to do?
  • Is your heart divided between being a mama and real fulfillment?
  • Are you longing to feel joy, peace and contentment?
  • Or, are you fully reveling in the beauty and wisdom of God in being a mama?

    I have to admit after twenty-one years of being a mama I think I am just now entering into the revelation of the awesomeness of this calling. I still teeter back and forth at times, but I think I might actually be getting it. I praise God for His patience and long suffering towards my willful and rebellious heart. I praise and thank Him for this work that He, and He alone, has brought about. If there is any fruit, and beauty, it is because of Him.

Don't let this discourage you or condemn you. We are all somewhere on this spectrum, and wherever we are is by God's perfect will. Rest in that and know He will bring you to that place where you find complete fulfillment, complete joy, and peace in His perfect will for your life.

He loves you with an everlasting love. He has called you and He will gently lead you. He truly does give you the desires of your heart.

So, what if you lay down your pretty little box and embrace being a mama with both hands?

Maybe you have already, praise God. Then shout if from the rooftops. Encourage another mama in a world that says there is very little value in being a mama.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Frugal, Healthy, Simple . . . Toothpaste

Toothpaste was another thing that needed to be addressed as we are searching for the healthiest alternatives in all areas. We long ago stopped fluoride treatments after learning how toxic it is. For some reason I never thought to address our fluoride toothpaste. Once I did, the cost of natural toothpaste prohibited me.

Several months ago I came across this recipe. I've modified it and we love it. I encourage you to search this out. There are many, many recipes out there. This is just the one we liked.

I suspected I might have some resistance from the children and even me. I admit I love that minty clean taste I get from regular toothpaste. Like the homemade laundry soap, I was the toughest sell.

When I make it up I have the littles help, they love to be included and were excited to try it. I would ask them to taste it and ask what they thought we should add. Well, it worked. They loved it! They each have their own little jar and love to use it.

I pretty much wing it and make it according to taste. The last batch wasn't quite right so I hauled it out and added baking soda, Stevia and peppermint oil~perfect!

We spend so much time and effort making sure what we put into our bodies is the best we can do, shouldn't we also be concerned about what we put on our bodies? Do you know that our skin is our largest organ?!

Laundry Soap~done!
Deodorant~ done, but not posted yet.
Shampoo/Conditioner~still in testing stage.
Hand/Body Soap~still in testing stage. (and needs to go through finance committee, I love Dr. Bronner's, but it is not cheap for a large family!

This post is part of Frugal Friday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Home Schooling With Littles

A sweet sister of littles asked me for advice on how to keep a two year old happy while Mama does school with an older sibling.

I forget how blessed I am to have older children who help so much. It has been awhile since I have only had young ones, but though I could give it a shot and throw out some ideas in general.

  • If at all possible, have an older sibling play with the younger one. This does take some serious training for both parties involved, but it is well worth it! The 'older' sibling can be trained to be "Mama's Helper" or "Preschool Teacher". I think this works with the 'older' child even as young as 4 or 5 years old, and the 'younger' child 1 or 2 years old.

  • Train the younger one to play alone for upwards of twenty minutes. Some moms use playpens or blanket time. We use a bath towel and train them to stay on the towel playing quietly for a set amount of time. You almost always have to start small and work your way up to longer times. It helps to have special toys reserved only for this time. Use a timer! Do the training at a separate time from teaching school unless you have the patience of a saint!

  • Figure out what your priorities are and rearrange your schedule. If doing school is a big priority and it is not happening, something else needs to go. You might need to give up something of 'yours' to make school happen in this season. Seek the Lord and your husbands input on your most important things (MITs, more on this in another post)and purpose to only do those things.

  • Keep school sessions as short as possible and break them up. Fifteen to twenty minutes should be more than enough for a phonics, reading or math lesson at any one time. Three or four short lessons spread throughout the day are much easier to fit in.

  • Skip the extras! History, Science, health, typing, gym, field trips, art, ect. I personally believe in the early years, unless you have tons of free time, these 'subjects' are simply not the best use of time. Stick to the basics. I know curriculum companies sell all kinds of extras, but save yourself the time, money and energy and teach the three R's in these early years. Read to them, play with them, play Play-doh, paint, include them in on everything you do, and your first or third grader will be miles ahead of their public school counterparts.

  • Use nap time, highchair time, even bath time. You could certainly get a math lesson in while your babe eats cubed cheese and fruit. You could do a phonics lesson on the bathroom floor while the baby takes a bath, a long bath. ;-) I'm sure it goes without saying~don't leave the baby alone in the tub unattended, right?

  • If you can handle the noise, the pots and pans cupboard can provide a good twenty minutes.

  • Night School. Do school when your husband is home. This is hard for me;I wanted to do school during the day! But, for a season it might bring lots of peace and free you up to play and work together during the day.

  • Flex and Flow. My husband always threw this one at me, gently of course. I hated it for the longest time. I like schedule and routine! But the ability to flex and flow is something well worth learning...earlier rather than later, trust me on this one!

This season is probably the hardest season to home school through. Pray for wisdom! God will give you unique ideas that will work specifically for you and your family. Constantly re-evaluate what God expects you to do. You probably are going to have to let your expectations go. Learn quickly to be so sensitive to the Holy Spirit and let Him guide you through your day. This is easy, unless of course you have your own will, ideas and expectations. ;-)

If you commit your way to Him, trust also in Him, He will bring it to pass. But, here's the rub, you need to trust Him with what gets done! If you have followed Him and leaned on Him you can rest peacefully at night regardless of how many pages in the math book you got done! Let your expectations go, let what the 'teacher's guide' says go, Trust Him to guide you.

Below are all the ideas I have collected over the years. They are what I call "Preschool Ideas". Each year I revise and print this list up to keep in my Home School Notebook for quick reference. Some of the lists I have no idea where they came from, probably from a desperate search of the Internet some year long ago. Please feel free to print them up, save them to your computer and adapt the list. Whatever you find to be the most helpful. Preschool Ideas

Also, I just did a brief search for 'activities for preschooler" or 'ziploc activity bags' and came up with a ton of ideas.

Please feel free to ask any questions to clarify what I have posted or share any and all ideas you might have.

This post is part of Works for Me Wednesday.

Do I Realize. . . . . . ?

Making the headlines today. . . . .

the shooting of a pastor in a church . . . . . . . .

The surveys says. . . . . .

the number of Christians in this country are dropping . . . . . .

countless other stories of bad news and evil in this generation.

My first thought is 'how many Christians are choosing to limit the amount of children they have?' Certainly people are walking away from their faith, but how many less children are born to God fearing, bible believing families because Christians have bought into the world's view of children? How many Christians have no vision for the raising of the next generation? How many do not even know that the reason God made them 'one' is because He was seeking Godly seed? (Mal. 2:15)

I think of the unfaithful kings of Israel or Judah 'who did evil in the sight of the Lord' and the resulting calamities to the future generations.

I am reminded of a hymn my son shared with me yesterday called,

"Have I Done My Best for Jesus?"

I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice at Calv'ry!
I know my Lord expects the best from me.

How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I've helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?

The hours that I have wasted are so many,
The hours I've spent for Christ so few;
Because of all my lack of love for Jesus,
I wonder if His heart is breaking too.

Am I giving my all to my purpose here on earth?

Do I really realize the magnitude of what I am doing?

Do I realize that by giving my life to raise up a generation of children who follow the faith of their father is what is going to shape this world?

Do I realize that each child I willingly accept from the Lord has the potential to turn the tide of the 'declining number' of Christians in our country? In the world, for that matter?

Do I realize that what I choose to do with my time each day and every moment impacts eternity?

The following verses float into my mind:

Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),

Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.

Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. (Eph. 5:15-17)

Sorry to be so heavy, I am just sharing what was on my heart and mind today. This is in no way an attempt to pass judgement on those who have no children, a few children or many children! Please don't let that trip you up. We all have a calling on our lives, we all need to be reminded of the brevity and gravity of our roles! I was encouraged this morning as I pondered all of these thoughts and have had my resolve strengthened and my hope renewed. I cry out to the Lord asking, 'teach me to number my days, O Lord'. Give me great wisdom and teach me to make the most of EVERY opportunity, to live purposefully!

God Bless you. Mamas, may He give you strength and wisdom to fulfill His grand purpose for your life and your children's and your children's children. . .to a thousand generations!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Post Party Updates

The Mini Give-Away winner from Friday is:
She will be receiving 3 beautiful handmade notecards!
Please email me with your address.

Thank you for all your kind comments and suggestions!

The party was a great success! I wanted to give praise to God for just a few of the wonderful things He did last week. These are only a few of the things that I even know about, I am sure there are countless more!
  • He put together a 'new' missionary mom with a more 'seasoned' missionary mom.

  • An unsaved husband has now been prayed for by Godly women all over the world.

  • Two ladies who are going through very difficult situations are being prayed for by their sisters in Christ.

  • Women were encouraged, inspired and put back on their feet, ready to fulfill the call on their lives.

  • God and His Word were exalted over and over again through testimonies and women sharing their hearts.

  • Young moms 'met' older moms

  • Older women felt that maybe they do have something to offer in this season of their lives.

All this, just to name a few!

NOT TO us, O Lord, not to us but to Your name give glory, for Your mercy and loving-kindness and for the sake of Your truth and faithfulness!

All that said, I believe it is time to put down the party hats and live out what we have learned and what we profess to be, Titus 2 women! Please read the Turning My Heart Back Toward Home to me regarding this.

Thank you again to all of you who participated, I am so blessed to have 'met' you all!

Turning My Heart Back Towards Home

My heart was already struggling to stay at home before last week's busyness. I have been recognizing my need to re-focus, turn my heart towards home and children. This can be such a struggle for me. It can be so easy to just keep going with the flow of busyness and distractions. I sense the emptiness and the heaviness in my heart each night when I realize, once again, I have done what I wanted to do instead of what He wants me to do.

It's not that I don't get to do what I want or enjoy, it is where my heart is that matters. When my heart is in the right place, it's funny, I usually get to do all those "things" too!

As I cry out to Him saying, "O Lord, turn my heart back towards these children." I hear Him whisper,

"Where your treasure is there your heart will be also"

I am reminded once again that what I make my treasure, there my heart will be! If I make my treasure the things such as my plans, to-do lists, blogging, 'ministering', ect., that is where my heart always goes.
(It bugs me how quickly it just goes, too! Come on, have some backbone! ;-)

"The heart follows the treasure...the sunflower follows the sun. Where the treasure is there the value and esteem are, there the love and affection are...our joys and delights will be and there our thoughts." (Matthew Henry Commentary)

So how am I going to make "home" and my children my treasure?
  • Purpose to focus on them

  • Cut out the distractions that pull my heart away (like computer, my to-do list, my natural ability to go with the flow of busyness)

  • Choose! Make a choice of the will to physically turn my heart, my eyes, myself towards them

  • Stop! Stop the continuing on as normal and focus on being a Mama

  • Don't ignore the opportunities to do my job! Train, love, disciple, tie heart strings, ect.

  • Stop running! Be the grown-up here, show some self-discipline!

  • Speak my "Mama Truths" (please feel free to copy these until you can make your own)

"You could easily fill your day with frivolous or selfish pursuits. Guard your time and energy...determine in your heart to respond immediately to every prompting of the Holy Spirit!" ( Frances Roberts)

Let's be that Titus 2 woman who is sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and who loves her husband and her children, and be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers. . . that the word of God may not be blasphemed or discredited. (Titus 2:4-5)

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me! (Phil. 4:13)

Friday, March 6, 2009

And The Winner Is. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thank you so much for being a part of the Official Titus 2 Blog Party!!

Thursday's Mini Give-away winner is:

Mrs. B

You win a prize generously donated by

Kathy from Teaching Good Things
a DVD of either Basic Cake Decorating or Learn How to Crochet.
(Please email me for details)

The party was a huge success. Beyond my wildest imagination. Being my first attempt at this, I was praying for at least two women so I could officially have a drawing. I was hoping to encourage a few ladies, provide a vehicle for like minded women to hook up, get a few newer blogs noticed and break up the winter blahs. BUT GOD. . .! He had much, much bigger plans than this puny mind could have imagined.

I am in awe and humbled to have hosted this party. I am encouraged by all the 'on fire' women of God out there. I am blessed by all your resolve, dedication and passion. It inspires hope for the future as I see you all so dedicated to becoming true Titus 2 women!

Thank you again so much for sharing your lives this week. I hope you all found a kindred spirit here and there throughout the week. I would love to hear some stories about what God brought about. Maybe I could include them in my follow up party post on Monday. Please email me or leave me a comment telling me your story of just what God arranged.

I am praying about the Official Titus 2 Blog Party becoming an annual or even semi-annual event. Please be praying and let me know what you think.

Also, I am having one more Mini Give-Away!

(I am having so much fun with these ;-)

Today's question is:

For those of you who are blessed and/or are encouraged by She Looketh Well, I would love to hear from you regarding what specific posts
 you might like to see concerning Spiritual Encouragement, Being a Godly Wife, Motherhood, and Keeping the Home. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section and I will enter your name in the drawing.


I am opening the door for you to ask me anything you have wondered about or wanted to ask me, but didn't know if you should.

(You have all weekend to comment,
I will announce the winner Monday
in the follow up party post, so check back!)

Drum roll please. . . . . . .

The Grand Prize Winner

of the

Official Titus 2
 Blog Party is:

she has won a beautiful
Soy Bath and Body Basket

Handmade Note Cards

Soy Candle

The Christian's Secret to a Happy Life

Gladys Alward (Christian Heroes Then and Now)

George Washington Carver (Heroes of Faith)

Congratulations to Wendy and thank you for being a part of the party!
(please email me for details)

One more


All the Ladies who linked up in Mr. Linky will be receiving
from Kathy of Teaching Good Things, an ebook called

"What to Do When Your Daughter Hates Being in the Kitchen"

available at this link until March 11

Thank you Kathy for your generosity!

One more thing. I have become aware of two prayer needs from our little party.

Valencia at Buildeth Her Home posted about a very serious issue that has arisen. Please follow the link and offer your prayers.

Also, CristyLynn from Random Thoughts shared a special time of sorrow she is going through right now. Please follow the link to encourage her with your prayers.

Thank you again, Ladies! You are so awesome and I am honored to have been a part of this with you!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Official Welcome and Kick-Off of the Titus 2 Blog Party!

Welcome to the official Titus 2 Blog Party!

I am thrilled you are here! I pray your visit here as well as the other blogs you visit would be an encouragement and a blessing to you. I pray that you find friendship, support and hope in the lives of other women who are on similar journeys and who truly just love Jesus and seek to exalt Him in all they do.

Below you will see Mr. Linky where you can link your blog for the party.

Here are some brief and easy instructions for using Mr. Linky.

Please quickly read them before you link up.

Everyone who links up by midnight Thursday is eligible for the Grand Prize Give-away that I am having on Friday morning. I will draw a name at random. (sorry, USA only)

So join in! The sooner you do, the more ladies you will have visit your blog!

If you are wondering what on earth I am talking about here are the links to all the

This is the link to my Intro/Party post where you will read a few things about me and about the heart behind She Looketh Well.

I will be publishing a special party post Monday through Thursday and will put the link here to make it easier to find. Each day will be a different topic with a question to be answered. All who answer the question will be eligible for my daily mini-give away to be chosen from a random drawing. Don't forget to comment!





Please feel free to ask any questions. Join in and start partying!

Thursday's Blog Party Post....Keeping the Home

Welcome to the Titus 2 Blog Party

Thank you to all of you who participated in

Wednesday's Mini Give-Away Question

Congratulations to
Busy Mom of 10!

Who won a copy of

Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

and a very generous gift from my good blog friend Kelly from Generation Cedar

(please email me, which can be found in my profile)

Each day this week we are having a mini give-away!

All you have to do is leave a comment answering that day's question.

I will have a random drawing the next morning.

Today's Topic.........................Keeping the Home

I love this topic too. It has become a joy and great area of fulfillment for me. I had to learn most everything pertaining to keeping the home from the ground up. I must add though, I am still learning and hope to never stop!

I think I have just enough strengths to keep me going and plenty of weaknesses to keep me desperately needing His wisdom.

Keeping the Home entails so many areas. It is so broad and is constantly changing. We live in a very modest home which poses its own set of challenges, especially because we have a slightly larger than average family. ;-) While there are times I am completely overwhelmed by the sometimes daunting tasks, over all it is a great source of joy to be the keeper of our home.

We have a choice ladies. Our homes and all that is involved in keeping them can be a burden, a drain, and dull. We can receive this gift of keeping the home and take pride and joy in it, by realizing it is for the Lord that we labor so. We need to recognize that He has given each of us gifts and talents to use specifically for our homes. It is for His glory!

While it can be indispensable to glean from one another, we must not compare or lust after another's gifts, circumstances, ect. God created you and your own unique set of gifts and talents perfectly suited to manage your home! Comparing only leads to discouragement! So Don't! Okay?

Recommended Resources:

There are obviously numerous topics within 'keeping the home' that make providing a comprehensive list of resources almost impossible, especially for this tired mama! Not to mention, I have to admit, that I can't even remember them at this time. So rather than struggle to come up with a list, I'll just encourage you to read my section on Keeping the Home ,and stay tuned for future posts as I have a gazillion buzzing around in my head.

Which brings me to the question of the day and opportunity to win a mini give-away:

List one or two resources pertaining to keeping the home that you have found helpful.

Suggested areas frugality, organization, nutrition, cleaning, scheduling, decorating, cooking, baking, gardening, health, ect.

Remember to answer by midnight tonight.

Also, don't forget the GRAND PRIZE DRAWING to be announced on Friday Morning.

Wednesday's Blog Party Post. . . . .Motherhood!

Welcome ladies to the Titus 2 Blog Party

Thank you to all the ladies who participated in
Tuesday's Mini Give-Away question!

Congratulations to

Kathy Brodock
of TeachingGoodThings.com
Kathy is the winner of 4 beautifully handcrafted notecards
with a masculine flair
so she can send them to her husband to encourage him!
(Please email me at
with your name and address.)

Each day this week you will have an opportunity to win a mini-give-away! All you have to do is leave a comment answering that day's question and I will enter your name in the random drawing announced the following morning.

Today's Topic is Motherhood
This is probably my favorite subject to write about. It is also probably my greatest area of struggle.
All mothers love their children, but not all mothers love motherhood!
"This is the secret for liberating us into the fulfillment of motherhood. It is only when we receive the revelation that God has created us for this task and that this is our destiny that we will walk in the power and anointing of motherhood. It is only when we embrace motherhood with all our hearts that we will truly enjoy it. Even though we devotedly love our children, if we do not wholeheartedly accept the role of mothering, we will never experience the true glory of motherhood. . .God wants us to not only love our children, but to totally love and embrace the high calling of motherhood which He has given us as a divine charge."
(Taken from the Power of Motherhood by Nancy Campbell)
This quote changed my whole perspective on motherhood and totally altered my mothering. It took this revelation from God for me to really embracing this calling. I finally understood that this wasn't something I do or am, it is exactly what I was created for! When you get a grasp of something that big, it reforms you to the core! I was actually created for this purpose!
My heart had changed, but there is still the struggle to go my own way, to get distracted, and to lose sight of this grand vision. As I embrace this divine calling I need to renew my mind and change my attitude. I started thanking God for the privilege of being a mother everyday. I began to speak out loud to my children "I love being your mama". "I am a joyful mama" I recently wrote about a little journal I have with what I call my "Mama Truths"
I see so many women taking this role for granted, (as I did) even despising it. They hurt and are confused because they love their children yet don't really love motherhood. My heart aches for them. Most were not raised with the mindset of cherishing and loving this precious gift.
My passion is to encourage all Mamas this "being a Mama" is what they were created for. It is the highest and most honorable thing they could do. It is not second rate or a ball and chain keeping you from doing something more important. It is the greatest career in the world. Motherhood affects eternity!
Recommended Resources
**Power of Motherhood by Nancy Campbell**
Child Training Tips by Reb Bradley
Hints on Child Training by H. Clay Trumbull
**Raising Godly Tomatoes by L. Elizabeth Krueger**
(you may purchase this book
or read on line at Raising Godly Tomatoes)
**I wish more than anything I had read these before I even had children, or at least when they were little. Both of them are amazing!
Today's question and opportunity to win a mini give-away is:
How many children do you have?
(or if are single or w/o children, how many does your heart desire?)
What do you love most about being a mom?
Must answer by midnight tonight.
Look for the winner in Thursday's Post

Tuesday's Blog Party Post......Being a Godly Wife

Welcome ladies to the Titus 2 Blog Party

Thank you to all the ladies who participated in 
Monday's Mini Give-Away question!

Congratulations to 

Kelly of "Josh and Kelly" 

who won a hardback copy of 
The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life
(Please email me at 
with your name and address.)

Each day this week you will have an opportunity to win a mini-give-away! All you have to do is leave a comment answering that day's question and I will enter your name in the random drawing announced the following morning.

Today's topic is Being a Godly Wife

I have to admit that the Lord, thus far, has chosen not to use this area of my life to refine me.  He is very busy in other areas ;-)  My heart's desire is to be a submissive wife, but I am not sure I have been challenged in that area.   Whenever I have been called to lay down my will in something big, well, let's just say my true colors come out!  There is much work to be done!

I do know what the Word of God says about being a Godly submissive wife and I do strive to be that wife. There are many women out there that are far more experienced who have lived it and can really teach and help those struggling.  

A few pieces of advice/wisdom I can share are:

Know your man and love him for who God created him to be.  

Be thankful for him and let him know you appreciate him.

Find out his love language, and love him in that language.

Validate his concerns., What concerns him should concern you.

Support him in what he is doing or working on.

Become the best keeper of the home you can be.

Become a woman his heart can totally trust in, with home, children, finances, ect.

Be joyful.

Laugh with him.


Don't forget that your body does not just belong to you, but him also ;-)

Above all, remember it is supposed to be about him, not you! 
You were created for him, not him for you!

Recommended Resources:

Excellent Wife by Martha Peace (excellent)
Power of a Praying Wife (excellent)

Another resource I would recommend is Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl.  However, it is with great caution that I recommend this book.  I gleaned a lot from this book,  especially the part about the types of men;  steady, visionary, and command.  Also a chapter on joy and thanksgiving blessed me.  The book is a bit rough and harsh at times and probably off a little on doctrine from my perspective, but there was much good also.  If you are the type that can weed out the questionable, by all means it's worth it.  But, if you are tender at all, skip it!  There are other great resources.  I hope that makes sense?

Today's question and opportunity to win a mini give-away is:

List five things off the top of your head that you love about your husband (and tell him!)

Single ladies, five things you are looking for in a husband.

Must answer by midnight tonight.
Look for the winner in Wednesday's post!

Monday's Blog Party Post. . . . . . .Spiritual Encouragement

Welcome ladies to the Titus 2 Blog Party

Today's topic is Spiritual Encouragement

Each day this week you will have an opportunity to win a mini-give-away! All you have to do is leave a comment answering that day's question and I will enter your name in the random drawing announced the following morning.

If you have read my blog at all I hope it has been made clear that Jesus Christ is the center of my life. I love Him, serve Him, obey Him (as best I can ;-)) The most important thing in my life is my relationship with Him.

A daily quiet time is so important to me and I love to encourage others in their quiet time. When you have a chance, here are some of the posts about Quiet Times.

Recommended Resources:

  • A Bible you love! I absolutely love my Amplified Bible. (I love lots of words!) I am on my second one and I cherish it greatly!

  • Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman; edited by James Reimann

  • Springs in the Valley compiled by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

  • "My Utmost for His Highest" Oswald Chambers

  • All things Andrew Murray

  • Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts

  • Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

There are so many other books and devotionals that have spoken to me over the years, this is just a few.

The Streams in the Desert and Springs in the Valley probably would have meant little to me in my early years as a Christian. It took some serious heartaches and sufferings to really appreciate the comfort and message they provide. At least for me anyway...I was so arrogant and clueless in those early years!

It is nearly impossible for me to pick one favorite verse. I LOVE the Word of God! I probably would have to choose the very first verse I felt the Lord speak to me. You know, that thrilling time when you realize for the first time that the God of Universe is speaking to you?!

Isaiah 41:9-16

You whom I [the Lord] have taken from the ends of the earth and have called from the corners of it, and said to you, You are My servant--I have chosen you and not cast you off [even though you are exiled].
10Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.(
11Behold, all they who are enraged and inflamed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; they who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish.
12You shall seek those who contend with you but shall not find them; they who war against you shall be as nothing, as nothing at all.
13For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord, Who says to you, Fear not; I will help you!
14Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15Behold, I will make you to be a new, sharp, threshing instrument which has teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and beat them small, and shall make the hills like chaff.
16You shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest or whirlwind shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.

Your turn...the question of the day is...

What is your favorite or life verse?

Must be answered by midnight tonight.

Look for the winner's name in Tuesday's post!

Have a lovely day!