1.31.2010

Variety In Enjoyment

It's Sunday evening, and I've found another new website to use. The link is listed above. I'll mention it again just to make sure www.easyhomeorganizing.com. The site is full of organizing tips, techniques, and product recommendations to assist in making our homes as efficient as possible. I've only visited the Kitchen/Pantry section. I'm looking forward to using a number of ideas presented for storing some of those "what do I do with these" items such as chip bags. I never even thought of using a plastic planter. It's long and narrow and would be absolutely perfect for these types of bags. The article on making the most of kitchen cabinet storage was helpful as well. The list of things to keep me organized is growing by leaps and bounds. Whether you are aiming at a general, all-purpose sort of organization throughout your home or perhaps you have one spot that troubles you, I think that visiting this website will provide you with some sort of help.

Me getting organized is rather an odd thing. Not only have I never really been organized, the fact that I wasn't didn't really bother me all that much. After all, you know how we artsy types are. Besides, unless someone opened my cupboards or peeked into my closets the extent of the chaos in my home was virtually undetectable. It's an "out of sight, out of mind" thing. If I can't see it, I forget about it. The past several years however have brought about a gradual change in my thinking. Thanks in part to many wise women who have written about this topic in their newsletters and various other publications, I now see things completely different. To tell the truth, often I can't believe it's me when I ruthlessly purge those unneccesary piles of "stuff" that kept me bound. A thought that crossed my mind during prayer once was this "Your home is a reflection of your life. The manner in which you care for those things the Lord has entrusted you to be a steward of is a physical manifestation of how you care for your heart, the home of Christ." Talk about putting things in perspective! The way I viewed not only my home, but other areas in my life began to change immediately. Change started small, but start it did. Surprisingly, as I followed the Lord's guidance and direction in what seemed to be a momentous task, areas that I thought most definitely needed "fixed" the Lord said not to worry about; while other areas that seemed like no big deal to me, He dealt with quickly and thoroughly.

What has surprised me the most is how little of this process has been about organizing. Most of it has been about me changing. Outlooks, opinions, beliefs, so much has been altered just in the task of organization. Priorities have been adjusted. Interestingly enough, the lesson God has brought me back to time and again has been that if He isn't pleased, He will let me know. I don't have to change the way I do things just because I receive a magazine in the mail that says there is a "new" way of doing this or that. The fact that "all the other homeschool moms do it" does not make it a command from God to me. Neither does "all the other women in church do". More than once my loving, Heavenly Father has answered my frustrated cries with a "So?...or And?...that has WHAT to do with you?" or "That's OK. All the other moms and women aren't called to walk in the destiny I've planned for you. So it's ok if you don't do it like everyone else. As a matter of fact, it works better that way. Just do it how I lead you to." Having God be the facilitator of my adventure in organization has been amazing. The release that comes to be who He made me to be is truly indescribable. If I want to use scrapbook paper and make tags to label jars in my pantry, that's not stupid or wasteful. He provided the paper, He made me to like pretty things, and He intends me to enjoy every moment of the life He has given me. If having pretty tags on my lentils and popcorn, even though no one sees them in my pantry, blesses me and makes me smile, then God's ok with that. It makes Him smile too. Not only that, being surrounded with beauty helps develop an appreciation for it in my children. As they observe their Mama using twine to attach "beautiful" labels onto recycled jars whose lids have been spray painted to cover up the evidence of their former use, they will not only learn that even common things can be beautiful. They will also find out that an attractive kitchen/home doesn't require large amounts of money. On top of that, it's fun. Something about taking "trash" and turning it into "treasure" or at least useful, is really fun to me and God gives me richly all things that I might enjoy(I Timothy 6:17)--even little "homemade" cannisters.

In case you are curious as what I did to make these storage "cannisters", I'll briefly tell.
*Saved jars of useful size and washed them really well
*Scraped any remaining glue/label off with razor blade
*Spray painted lid solid color-I used black, but any color could be used.
*Filled jar with dried beans, rice, popcorn, beverage mix, etc.
*Using tags printed on cardstock that were leftover from another project, I labeled each jar. On beverage labels, I included the mixing instructions and the bean-water ratio along with cooking instructions and time for the beans.
*Tied tags on with plain, old jute twine

Babyfood jars were recycled to hold homemade spice mixes. We painted the lids on these jars as well. However, we printed labels out on the computer rather than using tags. I must be a little bit "tag happy" because I also tagged coffee flavorings and vinegar that I keep in cruets on the counter. I love the contrast between the pretty glass cruets and the twine.

Wow! Have I blabbed on or what? Hope you enjoy the website. Talk to you tomorrow! (I hope)

1.29.2010

Grammie's Top Five Reads

Yea!!! The first answers to our top five reads is in! Thank you Grammie.

"Bible-----Daily Reading

The Believer's Authority by Andrew Wommack

When Pigs Move In........by Don Dickerman

Dr, Colbert's I Can Do This Diet

Stories Behind The Best Loved.Songs Of Christmas.....By Ace Collins"

What are your top five reads? Here are some of mine:
Bible*White Chocolate Moments by Lori Wick*Fire by Night by Lynn Austin*The Waters Roar by Lynn Austin*three of the books from the I think God Likes My Kitchen Best series*

How am I to choose only five? Anyone who wants to send in their own top five go ahead. There's still a few days left in January.

1.28.2010

The Best Laid Plans of Mice & Men

OK, today is my oldest daughter's 18th birthday. For the past several days my mind has been filled with visions of the "perfect" birthday celebration for an 18-year-old. This special day's festivities included a delicious, scrumptious, and yes, beautiful chocolate cake. It would be a simple, round, two-layer cake with dark and glossy frosting swirled in luscious swirls over it's surface.

In order to guarantee today's success, I typed out assignment sheets and arranged schedules yesterday afternoon. Floors were swept, rooms tidied, and a breakfast casserole was fixed in advance. (That's a momentuous thing around here) Well, right away this morning we were off schedule. No problem, I am going to remain calm. Don't want to ruin my baby's big day. Schedules were modified. On to the cake--a deliciously beautiful chocolate cake with dark, glossy swirls. A recipe was chosen, Grandma's Chocolate Cake. The batter was prepared and the frosting was made while the cake baked. I did wonder about the instructions that the frosting should be applied while the cake was warm, but hey, I can ignore those warning nudges as well as anyone. It was going to be delicious, remember? OK, time to check the cake. "Uh, mom, is the cake supposed to look like this?" inquired my 13-year-old helper. "No, it's not. Something made it fall." Another nudge ignored.

I'll cut to the chase. Turns out the recipe was a recipe for "Grandma's Chocolate Sheet Cake". Isn't it amazing how much difference one little word makes? Finally, I admitted defeat. The cake was NOT coming out of the baking pans. I frosted it warm--in the pans and modified schedules again to allow for the making of the birthday cake with dark, glossy swirls this afternoon instead. Everything was fine, no worries. However, the cake was a topic of conversation at the lunch table as we devoured it's chocolate goodness. Once more, I explained the problem. My 16-year-old son mentioned that it wasn't too bad except for the nuts. After being informed that the cake did not contain any nuts, same son incredulously asked "What?! What were those crunchy things then?" "It's the frosting" I replied.

A large eruption of laughter ensued, and even as I type, (which I immediately ran to the computer to do) we are still laughing about the "crunchy things" and I am wondering...do I really want to try and make that delicious, chocolate cake with the dark, glossy swirls? Maybe some cupcakes would be a more elegant approach. They are after all the "latest" trend going. Yeah, I know. I'll try the cake again. Well...if I can get that "wonderfully moist" first attempt out of my baking pans that is.

"Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand." Proverbs 19:21

1.25.2010

By His Stripes We Are Healed

"But He was wonded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole." Isaiah 53:5

"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 in iquities, 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

"My son attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart, for they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh." Proverbs 4:20-22

"He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree [as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24

Healing.  Has there ever been a time when healing was needed more than now?  Healing of the mind, of the heart, of the emotions, of the spirit, and yes, of the body.  Everywhere a person looks or listens someone, somewhere needs their health restored.

John 10:10 tells us that the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  The evidence of that is all too obvious.  All that is required to witness this destructions is to watch or listen to the news.  Media blares the testimony of destruction and death.  Yet, the darkness and destruction of the enemy is not the main point of this verse in John chapter 10.  The greatest truth of John 10:10 is when Jesus says "I have come that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."  Yes, the enemy steals.  Yes, he kills.  Yes, he destroys, but Christ has come that we may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)!!!  Jesus hasn't just come to give us life, but life in abundance--to the full, till it overflows.  Praise God!  That is good news!  More evidence on the extravagance of our Savior's love.  He doesn't do anything half way.  When Christ comes, life overflows. 

How often does the abundance of life get missed as a result of misplaced focus?  When people gather together does the vein of conversation testify to the abundance of life in Christ or of sickness, death, loss of job, and the works of the enemy?  What do the words I speak testify to? Ouch!  There is no denying that there is a real enemy.  Neither can his working go unnoticed.  It does not, however, have to be the topic of choice.  Nor am I required to dwell exclusively on his workings.  Especially when much of what he accomplishes is made possible by my own choice of word and deed.  Yes, there is evil and darkness in the world.  Many trials and unpleasant things come my way.  Let me not forget that no matter how dark it seems the enemy IS NOT LORD.  He does NOT have control over me.  He has NO authority over me whatsoever---unless I give it to him.  Let me repeat myself, SATAN IS NOT LORD! 

Too often I offer up praises to the enemy by telling of all he has been up to in my life when all of abundance of my Savior goes untold.  Even if the only thing salvation through Christ provided was salvation from eternal damnation, it would still be more abundant and praiseworthy than the earthly trials the enemy shoots at me.  Yet, the salvation Jesus purchased for me provides complete abundance.  There isn't any area of my life that it doesn't touch.  Jesus bore my griefs, sicknesses, weaknesses an distresses.  He carried my sorrows and pains of punishment.  He was wounded for my transgressions and bruised for my guilt and iniquities.  The chastisement needful to obtain peace and well-being was on Him.  I was healed with the stripes that wounded Him.  That is a complete salvation.  My entire being, spirit, soul(mind, will, emotions) and body are covered in Christ's work at Calvary.  In light of such abundance, why do I continue to give praise to the enemy by testifying of his destruction?

In Isaiah 59:19 we find "So [as the result of the Messiah's intervention] they shall [reverently] fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun.  When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him and put him to flight [for He will come like a rushing stream which the breath of the Lord drives].  He shall come as a Redeemer to Zion and to those in Jacob (Israel) who turn from transgressions, says the Lord."  More abundance.  In most translations of this scripture there is an incorrect placement of a comma.  Most translations will read like this "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him..."  The comma was put in the wrong spot.  In order for the translation to be correct, it would read as follows "When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord..."  What a difference a comma makes!  Like a flood the Lord will lift up a standard against him and put him to flight!  Hallelujah! 

Do I need the enemy put to flight in my life?  I do.  Does anyone in my house need the healing Jesus paid for by His stripes manifested in their bodies?  More than one someone does.  Am I a believer of Jesus Christ?  Yes, I am.  Then according to Mark 16:18, I will lay my hands on the sick, and they will get well.  Also, Luke 10:19, I am given authority over all the power of the enemy. 

Healing.  It's bought and paid for.  It has already been provided.  Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  God is God and He changes not.  (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8)  I've got some abundance to testify of and some sick to lay hands on.  Praise the Lord!  They are doing better now than they were earlier this morning. 

*SIDE NOTE*  January is Good Book Month on A Mother's Reward.  Send in your top five reads for an opportunity to win a Wintry Delight that will accompany those books perfectly.  

1.19.2010

It's Been Too Long

Good morning! It's been too long since I've visited here. I don't have time for much right now, it's time to concentrate on getting lunch ready. There are a few thoughts to share, just in case I don't make it back later on this afternoon.

One of the worship songs from the Ladies' Winter Wonderland Retreat keeps running through my head. "Here in Your Presence, all things are new....Here in Your Presence, we are undone...Here in Your Presence Heaven and earth become one...Here in Your Presence..." This isn't the correct order of the words, but it's how they run through my head. I pray that I remain in the Lord's presence today and every day. That I live my life "Here in His Presence". Am I abiding in the presence of Almighty God? Have I allowed all things to become new? Do I spend at least part of my day telling my Lord and Savior that He is wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in every way? The Old Schoolhouse newsletter talked about not being a Martha in our homes and schools. That we ought to be like Mary and sit at His feet. That is where I long to be, at the feet of Jesus. As I look into His face, I long not only to listen as Mary did, but I also desire to tell Him that He is wonderful, beautiful, glorious, and matchless in every way. My heart desires for the lover of my soul to know that I love and adore Him. That He is truly the most important thing in my life. He IS my life. Apart from Him I can do nothing. John 15:5

Here in Your presence
by New Life Worship

Found in Your hands, fullness of joy
Every fear suddenly wiped away, here in Your presence
All of my gains, all fade away
Every crown no longer on display
Here in Your presence
Heaven is trembling in awe of Your wonders
Kings and their kingdoms are standing amazed

Here in Your presence, we are undone
Here in Your presence, Heaven and earth become one
Here in Your presence, all things are new
Here in Your presence, everything bows before You

Wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in every way
Wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in every way

1.12.2010

It's the New Year!

The Christmas decorations have been taken down. The weather is much warmer than a week ago. The annual Ladies' Winter Wonderland Retreat is coming up this weekend. I have been asked to help "do nails". OK, OK, those of you who know me can stop laughing now. I know, this is a really odd place for me to be asked to minister. Have you ever seen my nails? I didn't think so. Anyway, this is just one of many "new things" God is leading me into this year. How do I know? I can just feel it inside of me. I can't help but be reminded of the verse in Isaiah where God says He is doing a new thing. Here it is: "Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:18,19

2010 is going to be a year of revolution in my life. I'm not making resolutions. I'm preparing for a revolution. A revolution of love, joy, peace, patience, and whatever else I need to be more like Christ. Our home isn't going to be the same at the end of this year as it is now. It isn't like it was 12 days ago right now. God is moving in me and in those around me. I can't help but give Him praise and honor. He is good. His mercy endures forever.

I keep hearing the words of a well-known minister ringing in my heart "Get ready, get ready, get ready, get ready." God is doing a new thing. The new wine is being poured out upon His people. He is a doing a new thing. Do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? Happy New Year! Let's ring it in with the praises of the Most High God in our mouths and on our lips. Let's carry His love to those around us each and every day. His grace is truly sufficient for me, not only for me, but thee as well. Sing praise to God. To the world His praises tell. Sing praises to God. Only in Him will all be well.

1.06.2010

I Will Be Thankful

I will be thankful whatever may come
Whether the day be dreary or fun
I'll stand up and say in a voice loud and clear
I've made up my mind to be thankful this year

The storm winds are howling
The cold air is blowing
The roads they are nasty
So to loved ones I'm not going

But I will not pout, nor will I whine
For I make a choice, I've made up my mind
I'll face disappointment and say without fear
I've made a decision to be thankful this year

Some days will be cheery with sunshine and bliss
Some days will seem ugly with all things amiss
There will be trials and there will be joys
Smiles and laughter, yet some broken toys

No matter what comes my way in each day
I'll look to my Father as I firmly say
I've made a decision I'll now make it clear
I will not budge, for to me You are near
With You I'll abide and be thankful this year
Blessed Mama

It's a blizzard outside again. This is the second, or is it third?, time that an attempt to get together with family has to postponed. While I am disappointed, the peace of God is amazingly real.
It seems as if all I can do this morning is rhyme. Everytime I begin to write, lines just keep coming out one at a time. Sometimes this does happen. It's rather odd this I know. Maybe it has something to do with the snow. Whatever the reason, this strangeness simply won't stop. The only solution is for me to get off. So, I'll go now. it's true. And whatever I do as I travel this day, however great the noise my dear children raise, I'll lift up my heart and my hands like I should. I'll be thankful to God. For I love Him, and I know He is good.

"It is a good and delightful thing to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises [with musical accompaniment] to Your name, O Most High. to show forth Your loving-kindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night." Psalm 92:1,2