Just Popping in for a Bit!

Okay. The afternoon is slipping away faster than I had hoped it would. So I'll be brief. I hope. Ordinarily I would save all of this for a future post, but somehow, it seems necessary this afternoon. I'm even waiting to turn the tea kettle on for this. That ought to say something.

First off. Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse posted the Fall Tour of her lovely home. If you love sweet homey decor and sentiment, the tour will be right up your alley.

Next. With school once again in full swing menu planning can be a lifesaver, not to mention save some money in the grocery budget. Mel at Mel's Kitchen has provided a super helpful tool on her website here. Now don't be fooled into thinking only those with school kiddos need this tool. Read through the entire post. There are helpful tools for all who need to get meals on the table. You might come to love these. I might come to love them too.

And lastly, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins this evening at sundown. This is seen as the holiest day of the year by Jews and is a time of fasting and repentance. It is sometimes referred to as "The Shabbat of Shabbats". There are some fantastic online resources sharing more information and details about this holy day that would be a huge blessing to anyone wishing to search them out. The research the school children and I did yesterday uncovered facts and details that have greatly enriched my study of keeping the Sabbath holy.

One of these days I am going to start sharing what I have learned about Sabbath, but until that time, a personal study would be well worth your while. There are a number of books devoted to the topic. Shelly Miller's book on Sabbath is on my wish list for Christmas. Details can be found at her website.

If ever believers in Jesus needed to learn about the purpose of God establishing the Sabbath, now would be one such time. Just remember, man is not for the Sabbath; the Sabbath is for men (Mark 2:27) Also, for those who might come from a background with little to no knowledge of Judaism or the Hebrew language, Sabbath is the same as Shabbat. Just a little tidbit that might save you some wondering.

May your fast and Shabbat be exactly what God desires it to be,
Abundantly Blessed


Wholeness Can Be Practical

Not every part of our journey towards wholeness will seem monumental. Each step will strengthen our spirit or soul. Some steps will be purely practical ones while others will find us on our faces before God. This week I have been discovering ways practical little things make a HUGE difference in the future of my family. While sorting through totes of memories, two things stick out most. ONE: Seven children create a LOT of paper memories. TWO: Writing names on children's paper memories will make sorting at a later date MUCH easier. With those two things shared, let's move on to the other things I learned while sorting.

Please be advised: if you are a mother who diligently organizes her children's memories in "proper" organizational containers, this post will have absolutely no relevance for you what so ever. However, if you are, or have been, a very busy mother who feels like supermom because she managed to keep the memories at all and better still actually got them stored in a container of any kind rather than remaining in a crazy stack on the floor or stuffed in drawers around the house, then read on.

  • When deciding whether or not to hold on to a child's art or school work, DO NOT listen to your child. Make the decision FOR YOURSELF. Children will be grateful you did this when they get older. Maybe. Some of your children might anyway. When children are approx. between the ages of 12 and 25 it is common for them to show disdain for anything from their childhood. They are confident they will never want to look at drawings or other memories from when they were little. They may even attempt to sneak their school papers away from you into the trash. Persevere dear mama and dig that writing journal out of the garbage can. Hide it if necessary. If you enjoy reading it, your child will too someday. If they don't, oh well, you still will. Their grandmothers will sympathize with you in this. Grandfathers may not. Yes, it does appear to have something to do with gender. Not judging, just stating my observations.
  • Don't forget to save little notes they have written. These are my favorite pieces of memories from my children's childhood. They wrote me such sweetly funny little notes. I laugh and/or cry with delight just as much now as I did when they wrote them 10-18 years ago. I want to keep memories from all parts of their lives not just school and holidays.
  • If your child's teacher does not keep a portfolio of their work and pictures from the school year, consider creating one yourself. Portfolios enable paperwork, art, and mementos to be kept and stored easily without being fussy or labor intensive for the parent. Inexpensive plastic binders are excellent for this purpose. Page protectors can be used for small items. Another option would be to have a hanging file folder box for each child and place items from each year in a separate file folder. The outside of the folder could be labeled with the date and a picture of the child from that year. 
  • Label and date every piece you choose to keep. This is an absolute must if you will be sorting through items at a later date. Trust me on this. You WILL NOT remember which child had which handwriting in 5, 7, or 10 years. 

Here is what I wish I had done throughout my children's school years:

  • I wish I had stored each child's memories separately. Even if I had stored them in separate plastic bins to sift through later, having each child's things separated from the others would have streamlined the process immensely.
  • I wish I had realized that future convenience would be more important in the long run than being frugal was at that moment. Placing my children's memories in hanging file folders, binders, or actual storage boxes instead of the way I did store them would have saved me hours at a future date. I excused my lack of organizing by looking at the future with the confident swagger of a twenty-something mama who hasn't yet learned how much she does not yet know. When my oldest four children were young, and I began storing memories of their lives, I envisioned the time following their high school graduations as a time when I would have an empty home and my days once filled with children would now contain endless hours tailored made for sorting through memories. Not only would I have endless hours to fill however I liked, but I would finally be able to get out all of the unused scrapbooks and supplies and put them to use. Oh how glorious and perfect those future scrapbooks appeared in my visions of the future. AND, because I would be facing the horrors of an empty nest after years of child-rearing, all of the sorting and organizing would be therapeutic for me. I could look at all of the memories, read their sweet little notes, and cry without anyone around to laugh at me, or join in. HA! Reality looks much different. With two elementary aged children, one preschooler, and their four older siblings at home, I now fervently wish I had spent the money for organizational boxes and done it up right. Lesson learned? Don't make the mistake of thinking I know what the future will look like or hold. I don't.
  • I wish I had dated everything I stored. Seriously, I do. I did not think I would wonder, but I do. I thought I would be so caught up in the sweetness of remembering I wouldn't care how old they were when they drew or wrote that card or note, but now, looking back, I wonder how old they were when they did and said that. 
  • I wish I had thought of my children's convenience instead of my own when considering how to store  memories. When I began storing memories it was for me as their mama. Now that I am older and have seen my parents, aunts, and uncles left with decisions regarding my grandparents' belongings I view the keeping of things from a much different perspective. Yes, I want to be able to enjoy sweet memories from my children's growing up years, and I definitely look forward to receiving cards and notes from grandchildren someday. However, I also realize whatever I keep is something I am leaving behind for someone else to deal with in the future. I want to make those future moments as painless as possible. 
  • I wish I had asked God how to store my memories. He is the only One who knew what I would need in the future. Looking back I can see He tried to lead me in the right direction, and I didn't recognize it as Him. Consequently, I reasoned His still, small voice away. 

This brings us to the questions section. As I consider how to organize and store memories perhaps I can help myself by answering the following questions. Feel free to join me in answering the questions in your own journal/notebook.
  1. Who am I keeping this memory for? Is this for me to look back on with fondness or is it to pass on to a future generation? 
  2. Why am I keeping this? Is it connected with a pleasant memory, Does it need to stay in the family line? Why?
  3. Do I care what happens to this item after I pass on? If so, I need to provide written instructions for the convenience of those who will be taking care of it. 
  4. How can I store my memories for the fullest enjoyment possible? Would this be more enjoyable if kept in a scrapbook or storage box? Is there another way to enjoy this memory? Could this be turned into artwork by combining with a photograph? 
  5. Will this be a future blessing or burden for my children?
  6. Is this a burden or a blessing for me?
  7. Are there any other areas of my life I need to ask God for His wisdom? Are there any other areas of my life I am using my own reasoning? Is there a nagging feeling when I think about certain area(s)? That could be an indication God's wisdom is needed.
Scripture to ponder: Habakkuk 2:2, James 1:5, Colossians 3:23, Proverbs 19:21, Isaiah 55:8-9


A New Time

"For decades, God has been renewing His people's understanding of how important it is to confess His Word out loud. By this point, mature Believers should be well-versed in the power of speaking God's Word. In 5778, it is time to move from simple understanding to very purposeful action in this area." - Jamie Rohrbaugh

These words from the prophetic word on The Elijah List this morning resonated strongly within me. Here is the link to the entire word: http://elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=18829.



Blessed 5778!

Rosh Hashanah begins this evening. There are two very imperfect loaves of challah bread cooling in the kitchen, and a brisket is sending out wafts of deliciousness as it cooks as well. A chai honey cake is sitting all pretty as it waits for dessert time. There was another honey cake, but it didn't come out of the pan well last night. Since it fell to pieces, it couldn't be served to company. Therefore, it became dessert for us last night after supper. It was delicious.

While Rosh Hashanah is about more than food, something about the preparation has captured my attention.  For the first time since beginning our family's observance of God's Seasons aka feasts, I did not stress even a little about everything being just so. I have thoroughly enjoyed preparing the cakes and bread for our feast even though neither turned out exactly perfect.

The challah loaves are beautiful, but I am fairly certain they are not technically supposed to be beautiful in such a "rustic" way. At least none of the pictures online have such a decidedly rustic beauty about them.
Not only are the bread loaves imperfect, but they were made with a method that uses a ziplock bag! Not one bowl was used in the making of those loaves. Not one. Guess what! The sky is still above us, and the ground is still firm beneath our feet. Not one thing or person was negatively affected because I tried something that seemed a little "iffy" to me, and I don't feel like a failure because I took a shortcut and my bread looks less than perfect. That in and of itself is amazing.

For those wondering, the plastic bag method was convenient, but I have another recipe tucked away to try next time. The new recipe uses a bowl. Besides desiring a well-oiled bowl for my dough to raise in, I also want to try several different ways of braiding the loaves. Not only that, but I want to try braiding the regular bread dough recipe we usually use for homemade bread too. I think I sense a bread braiding phase beginning. Do you? Can't you envision a Thanksgiving table with loaves of braided bread spreading their glossy beauty about? How charming would a basket of tiny loaves of braided bread be alongside a tureen of soup? Of course I want the bread to be delicious, but if it looks pretty too, so much the better.

Anyway...today is new, a new year, a new season, new. We are beginning this new tonight with a simple meal shared with family and friends celebrating God's goodness to His children. Some say gathering around the table is a sacred act. That when we gather together in the name of Jesus, something amazing takes place. I am not an expert, but I do know that most of my fondest memories involve the gathering of family and friends, and that when we were gathered, we shared a meal. I have also been learning about Sabbath rest for several months. Sometimes an actual stopping of work is unable to take place, but we can make an intentional stop in our hearts to make Christ the totality of our focus. This brings a Sabbath rest to my inner being.

Somehow, I sense that tonight as we gather around our table and place our focus completely on God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we will experience more of God's new along with a Sabbath rest. That something amazing will take place as we give thanks and break bread together. Something about what I am sensing imparts an inner peace that allows my shoulders to relax and my thoughts to be calm. It also prompts me to stand behind each chair at my table and with my hands resting on the back of each chair lovingly lavish each one with prayer for whoever will sit there this evening. These prayers may be the most important part of the evening's preparations. For what good will delicious bread and brisket be to my family without a loving peaceful place to sit and find rest?

The influence of a woman is immense. May the influence I have be always and ever to the glory of God. May my home literally be infused with His love, peace, and grace. May all who enter and all who depart experience the love of God made real. Some may doubt whether ordinary bread and meat can speak of the love of God. As for me, I have no doubt concerning the loving song ordinary things sing when touched by God. May the words from the book of Joshua, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" be lived out fully in our home tonight and every night.

Happy Rosh Hashanah 5778!
Abundantly Blessed


A Conversation Worth Sharing

Some conversations are worth sharing. The conversations on Sally Clarkson's blog and website are just such treasure. This post right here is filled with so much more than a loving reminder from a friend of the importance of the family table and feasting, though that is worth the visit there in and of itself. This visit from Sally Clarkson contains a podcast and the opportunity to win some lovely tea towels. You don't want to miss this opportunity! Truly,  you don't.

Love and hugs,
Abundantly Blessed


Don't Forget Rosh Hashanah!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins later this week! It is also known as the Feast of Trumpets. It is one of God's feasts listed in the Bible. It begins 10 days of Awe that lead up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. These high holy days are an excellent opportunity to take the time to examine our hearts. How thankful we are to Yeshua, Jesus, for making atonement once and for all for our sins!

Getting ready to blow our shofar, trumpet!
Abundantly Blessed


I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will

Isn't it interesting how the various areas of our lives intersect each other? Recently in school we have been learning a phrase from a former educator named Charlotte Mason. Miss Mason was, and still is, renown for her methods and techniques used in children's education. The saying we have been learning is "I Am, I Can, I Ought, I Will." Each line in this phrase is intended to be seen as a step on a ladder that leads to development of the will and maturity. It was shared on a website as the following:

  • I am a child of God. I'm very valuable because God made me.
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. God has made me able to do everything that I have to do.
  • I ought to do my job so that I will be obeying God, my parents, and everyone in authority over me.
  • I will resolve to keep watch over my thoughts and tongue, and choose what's right even if it's not what I want.

Obviously this is a tool to be used when instructing a child how to develop their will. Yet I quickly realized I need to learn the use of these steps as much or more than my children. One area I need to apply these steps is in the area of physical fitness.

I can't be a mother who is always ready for adventure and whatever fun her children and family come up with while sitting at my computer in a body stagnating from lack of use. It isn't the excess fat on my body that is keeping me from actively living life. It is my decision to engage in passive activities rather than physically active ones that allows excess fat to gather on my body. Age and hormones may make it easier for me to get fatter and more out-of-shape, but it is my willingness to remain fat and out-of-shape that keeps me this way. It is my refusal to make different choices for my physical well-being that determine my present state of body.

I am able to move. I am able to choose activities that require more motion. I am able to make choices in diet and exercise that balance hormones. I can make decisions to do so. I can live full and healthy. I can be active. I can make hard stops during the day for exercise and prayer. I can choose healthy. I ought to provide an example of a restfully active life for my children and others around me. I ought to show my gratitude for the abundant life God has blessed me with by choosing to live abundantly in every area of life.

What will I do? What will I choose to think? These are the questions being answered today. If you are considering walking more fully in total abundance, a journal or notebook might be useful for jotting down thoughts, prayers, and answers to questions asked along the journey. There will be questions and suggested journaling activities included at the bottom of each post for anyone who might want to dig a little deeper or go a bit further. Thank you to everyone who is walking along beside me in this. It is our first day in! Here we go!

Extra thoughts, questions, and journaling: 

  1. What area(s) of my life do I need to be honest with myself about? 
  2. In the above area(s), use the I am, I can, I ought, I will statements to document your honesty. Feel free to take another look at the paragraph in the post where the statements are used in regards to my physical fitness as an example.
  3.  Remaining in a brutally honest mode, prayerfully answer the questions of What will I do? and What will I choose to think? in regards to the chosen areas from number 1.
  4.  God is our truth authority. Go to the Bible and find scripture verses that correlate to the I am, I can, I ought, and I will statements shared in the post. For example, Psalm 139 could be used for I am a child of God....
  5. Remember that this is a journey. Learning what complete abundance in Christ is will be a process. We will be learning new ways of seeing, hearing, and thinking about ourselves and others. Let us follow the example of our Lord Jesus and show ourselves mercy and grace as we learn to be more like Him.
  6.  In a journal, list five things that cause gratitude to rise up within.
  7.  Tell, write, sing, draw, or express in another personal way that gratitude to God.

Living one step closer to God's Abundance,
Abundantly Blessed