2.18.2010

Grandmother's Homegoing

Due to the Homegoing on Blessed Mama's Grandmother, there will not be any new posts to Living Large on Less for the next week, at least. Thank you for your understanding and support. There are lots of living large ideas to come. So don't forget to visit us after this break. Thank you!

Getting wax out of the pot

There are several ways to get the wax out of the candle jar. The method you choose will depend on the amount of wax in your container. If there is a fairly large bit of wax left at the bottom of the jar, put the jar in the freezer for a bit and then gently (very gently) pry the chunk out with a butter knife or other object. Once the main portion of wax has been removed and the residue is all that is left, allow the jar to come to room temperature. Once the jar is at room temperature, it can be placed in boiling water until the wax softens enough to be wiped out. The container can also be filled with the hottest tap water and wiped clean with a rag. Sticking the container in the dishwasher with a heavy duty wash or pots and pans setting usually works really well also. Small amounts of wax residue come off really well in hot, soapy dishwater.

2.17.2010

Waste Not Wednesday!

Waste Not Wednesday is all about finding new ways to reuse or "recycle." Recycling is more than just separating the glass, plastic, metal, and paper. It is reusing items for a different use. Today's idea is for reusing glass candle holders. A lot of candles come in jars or other glass containers that are just too good to throw away. Do you have anything that you have been wanting to organize, but still want it to look nice? Here is your chance. You can put almost any little item in a candle holder giving the appearance that the holder was made specifically for that purpose. Several containers of varying sizes and shapes arranged in a group look nice as well. In a bathroom, cotton balls, Q-tips, toothbrush and toothpaste, razors, and bath salts can also be placed in different containers. Placing the containers together in a grouping provide an attractive arrangement.
There are many, many items that could be used, rubber bands, batteries, paper clips, push pins, the list goes on. Be creative and think of new ways to use everything around you.

2.16.2010

For God so loved....He gave

Why did God give His one and only begotten Son?  Love.  Because He loved the world, He gave.  Such love is beyond comprehension.  The more I think on it, the more the greatness of this Love is to me.  Knowing that I've done absolutely nothing to deserve such kindness, mercy, and grace overwhelms me even more.  The question that I inevitably end up pondering is this...why?  Why would the God of the universe, the Creator minutely care, let alone love enough to give His Son.  I don't know why.  I haven't the foggiest idea, but am I ever glad He does. 

Every moment of every day the richness of God's grace is abundantly evident in my life, even when the children are speaking and behaving completely "in the flesh".  It's so amazing that the children can be involved in a squabble while I'm completely immersed in the peace that passes all understanding.  I often wonder how they can possibly quibble amongst themselves when the presence of Almighty God is so very near and sweet.  Can't they sense it too?  It would appear not.  Though I have noticed that at such times, one glance at my face is all that is required for them to alter their behavior and speech.  Maybe it's more noticable than I originally thought. 

God's love, His grace, His mercy, such abundance...and all of it given to me in abundance.  In the light of such loving extravagance, I am abundantly blessed. 

Menu Planning

Good Afternoon!

It's time for Tuesday's Thrifty Task!  Today's task, if done regularly, will save both time and money. Advance menu-planning is this week's thrifty Tuesday task. Many homemakers have found that an afternoon/evening spent planning either a week or month's menus in advance saves them in a number of ways. 
 Monthly menu sheets are available on many different websites for printing out free of charge.  Some of the forms can be typed in and printed out; while others are designed to be printed out and filled in by hand.  Sheets with scripture, plain, fancy, cutsie, elegant, those with all three meals, some with breakfast and dinner, and still others with space for the dinner meal only are out there to view.  Some of the forms even have spaces for the user to list the cooking and shopping tasks needed to make the meals planned happen.  Google Free menu planning template in search and just see the abundance of choices offered online. 
After finding the menu-planning method of your choice, it will be time to fill in the blanks.  I would recommend using your most tried and true recipes for the first month's planning.  Adapting something new into the monthly routine can be enough of an adjustment.  Attempting to add new recipes as well may turn a potentially time saving treasure into an overwhelming disaster.  So, at least for the first month, stick to the basics.  
Some homemakers find having a nightly theme works best for their meal planning.  Mexican on Monday, Soup and sandwiches on Tuesday,  Pasta Wednesday, etc.  Still others use an even simpler approach with each night of the week being the same, each week.  For example, Monday night would be spaghetti, Tuesday evening beans and rice, Wednesday might be grilled cheese and tomato soup, Thursday pizza, Friday hamburgers, and so on.  If you are wanting to save some money in the grocery dept. of your budget, the last approach would work wonderfully.  Especially if you use the next menu planning tip... 
Plan your menus from the stores' sale fliers and coupons. Remember to use coupons not only from the newspaper, sale fliers, and online, but also look around the store for in-store offers as you shop.  (We'll have more coupon shopping tips in Thursday's post)  Using the fliers and coupons, you will be able to see what ingredients are on sale.  By taking advantage of your grocery's sales, all of the ingredients used in that month's menus can be purchased for the best available price.  Receiving the best price for ingredients will take a few weeks or months of careful observation, but the savings will most definitely be worth the extra effort. 
I would like to also quickly mention the savings in the area of time.  As homemakers our days are filled to overflowing with tasks and responsibilities.  One after the other these "jobs" flood our days often tumbling on top of each other.  Having a month's worth of menus planned in advance has the potential to free up literally hours each month.  Who couldn't use a few extra hours?  Advance planning does require a commitment of a few hours, possibly an afternoon.  However, this thrifty task requires less time each month.  Even though I am still in the "implementation" process myself, the savings of both time and money have been significant.  I eagerly anticiplate the time when not only is every meal for the month planned, but most of the month's meals are already prepared and in the freezer waiting for me to pull them out and pop them in the oven or crockpot.  However that is a thrifty task for another Tuesday.  Advance menu planning, try it, you will like it.

2.15.2010

Munchie Monday!

Crusty French Bread
This following recipe is for a rustic, artisan bread. The dough can be shaped however you like, round loaves, oblong loaves, individual buns, anyway you like. We have stirred it up and used it immediately for fry bread with great success as well. It may be made using all-purpose flour or a combination of whole-wheat and all-purpose. We haven't tried the recipe using only whole-wheat, but it may work with that also. Don't let the multiple raising times prevent you from making this bread in your own home. Really, it is just too easy to make. It is the perfect accompaniment to soups and makes perfect garlic bread to go alongside a number of Italian dishes. This bread is also amazing as breakfast toast. Just remember that due to the absence of sugar, it won't brown up as much as traditional bread does. Those on a restricted diet will also appreciate the absence of sugar and oil in this recipe.

8 C. flour
1 T. salt
3 t. SAF yeast (2 pkg. of active dry)
3 C. hot water (110-115 degrees)
1 egg white

Stir flour, salt, and yeast together. Stir in flour until completely mixed. You will most likely need to finish working the flour in by hand on a well-floured pastry cloth or directly on the counter. If using the counter, make certain that it is well-floured. Knead just enough flour, one Tablespoon at a time, just until the dough doesn't stick to your fingers. Place into a well-greased crock/glass bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place 90 minutes. Punch down into a quarter circle and let rest 30 minutes. Shape into loaves or buns, gently press top and bottom into cornmeal, place on cookie sheet, and allow to raise another 45-60 minutes. Brush each loaf/bun with egg white. Using an extremely sharp knife, slash the tops of the loaves/buns---don't cut too deeply. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes - turn down to 375 and bake another 25 minutes or until it sounds hollow when thumped.

Must confess, this bread is really enjoyable slathered with butter when it is fresh from the oven. We ate an entire loaf as soon as it came out of the oven the first time we made this recipe. However, if you take an afternoon and make several batches, it will store in the freezer very well too. (Good luck getting it there) We are doing that very thing this afternoon at our house. Made into buns, it is perfect for sandwiches. This bread is best served within a 24 hour period, unless it has been stored in the freezer. To thaw, remove from freezer at least four hours prior to serving and thaw on counter. You can warm it in the oven just before serving if desired.  

sandwiches made with Crusty French Bread

Other ideas for this bread that we are wanting to try are: sliced thick for French Toast, shaping into breadsticks, hollowing round loaf out to use as a serving "bowl" for nacho cheese dip.

2.13.2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him might not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God for God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:7-12 KJV and NIV

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day! My favorite day of the year. Why? Because it is all about Love, and God is Love. There are so many scripture verses about love. Nothing I have to write could possibly say it any better. So, I'm going to let the Word of God speak for me today. Thank you God, for Your Word. It is life and breath to me. It is living, active, powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword. It pierces clear down to the motives and intents of my heart. It never returns empty. It will accomplish every thing that You have sent it forth to accomplish. Thank You Father. How I love Your Word.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." Now in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

As our family awaits the homegoing of my grandmother, I am being made aware of the blessing of family. The rich wealth of my treasure in my husband and children has always been very real to me. Yet somehow, the love that My Beloved, the children, and I share has become even sweeter lately. The Lord is making a rough place smooth. In His indescribable goodness, He assigned a godly doctor who sits down and sings to Grandma. Only God could have done that. How much He loves my Grandma. He knows how much she loves singing, and He is surrounding her with it. Even the doctor sings to her! All around there is tension and concern over the economy, the state of our nation, the future. Yet, wonder of wonders, here I am knowing that my Grandma will be going Home soon, enfolded in the warmth of God's love and peace. God is so good. The words of a song are running through my mind. I'll end today's post with them.

That God should love a sinner such as I
Should yearn to change my sorrow into bliss
Nor rest til He had planned to bring me nigh
How wonderful is love like this

Such love, Such wondrous love
Such love, Such wondrous love
That God should love a sinner such as I
How wonderful is love like this

2.12.2010

Fabulous Friday!!!

Good Afternoon, and welcome to Fabulous Friday! Friday is the day we share "fabulous" tips for decorating, dressing, and living large "on the cheap". A person can't visit Living Large on Less very long before they discover a common theme running throughout every tip, make your choice according to what works best for your own, personal situation. We at Living Large have more than our fair share of individualism and independence. It is this independent individualism that enables us to jump in head first when trying out new ideas. Many "inspirations" have resulted in amazing results. So, please don't despair if the desire to decorate your home beautifully seems impossible because resources are low or nonexistent. Look around you. What's in your house? Look over the glass recycle box. Do any of the jars have potential for vases? Would they make a fresh decorative statement if filled with pebbles or dried leaves and berries? How would jar that once held your candle look used as a cannister in the kitchen filled with various colors of dried beans? How perfect would just the right reused glass container look filled with coffee beans? It would be even more perfect if it was accented with a brown craft paper tag tied around the neck with twine. Trust me. It's Rustic Elegance at its best. No brown craft paper? No prob. A brown paper grocery bag works just as well. Even better as the paper from the bag will be sturdier. When the grocer asks "paper or plastic" say "paper". Brown paper bags can be reused for multitudes of purposes. They won't go to waste or fill up the landfill. Better yet, go for a little stroll around the yard and see what's outside. Are there any grasses with interesting textures, colors, or shapes that might look nice in an arrangement? Are there any pinecones or nuts free for the taking? What about berries that have dried? Any of those? Look at the outdoors with a new eye. View everything around you as if it were showcased in a store, and you are a shopper looking for just the right item. Maybe there are some rocks with interesting patterns and colors to gather. All of these items from the great outdoors can provide a beautiful, new, FREE touch to your home's decor. When walking, take along bags or sacks to place the treasures you will gather in. Don't forget to bring along some scissors, not your favorite ones, or a utility knife to cut grasses and/or branches. Making certain that any gathering you are doing isn't causing harm to the plants and that you have been granted permission from the yard owner, begin your "shopping". Several varieties of tall grasses grouped together in a dry vase look like a fashion accessory straight from the showroom. Branches of various heights spray painted in the color of your choice plopped in the container of your choosing give the impression that you just might have called a designer. Best of all, by using containers already on hand and spray paint leftover from other projects, your new decorating was absolutely free of expense. That's not all...pinecones are a winter decorator's best friend. They are my personal favorite. Pinecones are also an excellent fire starter too. Anyway...gather up all the pinecones you want, and then gather some more. Have the little ones help you. They will love the exercise and the fresh air will clear out the cobwebs from everyone's outlook. If you wish to use the pinecones for any length of time, you will want to preserve them by cooking them in a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes on a foil-lined cookie sheet. This will get rid of any little buggies hiding in them. It will also cause the sap to run out and coat the cones leaving them with a nice shiny finish. You could spray them with a shellac or varnish after they cooled if you wanted, but it really isn't necessary. Now that the pinecones are preserved, place them in a basket, on a fancy platter, in a bucket, in a lead crystal salad bowl, anywhere you want. They look fabulous wherever they're put, and best of all...you guessed it...they're free! No matter whether you gather items from inside or outside of the home, it is possible to create a place of beauty for our families with minimal expense. By learning how to practice these simple suggestions, beauty is never farther away than what your eyes can see. Here is a brief recap for you. Don't despair at low funds. Look around with a new eye. What's in the house? What's in the yard? Could it be used somewhere else for something else? Could the item be used for a new purpose? Because we have lived in such an extravagant society for so long, we tend to view our lives from the viewpoint of disposability and excess. As a society, we have become so used to much, that many times we miss the simplicity in less. Adding beauty to our homes by looking at what is already in our possession and perhaps using those items in a new way, frees us to grace our homes with a timeless beauty that won't ever go out of vogue. Listen to the voice of your heart. Your eyes will see new and fresh ways to decorate not only your home, but your front door and porch as well. God provides all the needs of His children. Look around, see what is there, and use what He's placed there for you. It will be FABULOUS!

2.11.2010

Have You Ever Been There?

We've been brainstorming and setting up a new blog at our house.  A Mother's Rewards will remain active.  There were just so many tips and ideas on economical living coming our way.  That we decided the best way to share them would be to just begin a completely  new blog.  Doing this will enable A Mother's Rewards to remain focused on its purpose while providing an opportunity for the rest of the family to contribute as well.  We have been having a lot of fun setting it up and sharing our ideas with each other.  There has also been a lot of opportunity for me as a mother to sit back and observe my children operate in their individual giftings.  What a wondrous blessing that has been.

As much fun as getting Living Large on Less online has been, it has also provided me with numerous opportunities to observe some not so blessed yucks in myself.  One of these "yucks" is that I really don't share very well.  I have been suspicioning this for some time.  Unfortunately, I had to face the ugly reality of truth in this matter.  Being of the fix-it sort of mentality, once the truth sank in, I immediately set about eradicating this sin from my life.  Guess what?  Sin is rarely present in only one area of our life.  I don't fail to share well only in teamwork situations, I fail to share well all of the time.  Yuck O Yuck!  No wonder my children find sharing so difficult to do.  I don't provide them with a Godly example.  Needless to say, I share better now than I did several days ago, but there is still much room for growth.  I imagine that there are attitudes to root out and eliminate from my heart before the fruit of selfishness is completely gone.  This revelation wouldn't have been such a humbling thing if I hadn't just been reading a book by Ted Tripp titled Shepherding A Child's Heart.  In this book, the author was addressing the discipline of addressing the heart issue behind a child's behavior.  For example, if a child refuses to share his/her toys, the issue isn't not sharing.  It is that the child is failing to prefer another as the Bible teaches.  Ouch!  As I kneel down to confess my sin before my Heavenly Father, I have to ask: Have You Ever Been There?  Have you ever had an ugly truth about yourself laid bare?  Have you ever realized that even though you've been walking with the Lord and seeking His face, there are still ugly places in your heart and life?  If you haven't been there, then you aren't growing.  For the Father disciplines those that He loves.  Hebrews 12:6  Praise the Lord, He loves me, and He loves you as well. 

On a different note, my grandmother is very close to going Home now.  Thank you for your prayers for my family and myself.  I am so thankful for the blessed, happy memories and final time with Grandma during the holidays.  The wonderful memories of her smile and joy of the children will help to tide us over beautifully until we are all together again AT HOME. 

The Seasons of a Grandma's Love

A Grandma's Love it knows no bounds
It goes and goes and goes
Through storms and trials
The ups and downs
Her love, it overflows

When I was small
She blew on my neck
Sweet or Sugar is what she'd say
I never knew it was coming
But I always knew what she would say

The roses and iris the other flowers too
They knew her love as well
For her they would grow
Their blossoms they'd spread
In a beautiful multi-hued swell

From a little girl's ways
Through a teenager's views
To adulthood and marriage
The years of my life sped on by
How they flew

My children arrived, they lit up her eye
Their cheeks and necks she did kiss
Now to Home she must go
We're trying hard not to cry
For a Grandmother's love we will miss

Yet this truth I know
Without any doubt
No matter how long life may be
Nothing shall ever get in the way
Of my Grandmother's love to me

Noone can steal the memories made
They cannot be broken
Nothing can cause them to fade
They only grow sweeter and then sweeter still
Each time they're brought out to share

A Grandma's love it goes and it goes
Though storm clouds come and they go
Through good and the bad
The happy and sad
It floods the heart til it overflows

Someday I'll too have a grandchild to love
A baby to kiss and call Sugar
The roses and iris in my garden will bloom
And the dresses of frills I will give her
At this time my love will be what flows

When that time comes
And those little hands
The ones that as yet are not born
I'll tell of the love that my Grandmother gave
And then I will sing them a song

THURSDAY'S THRIFTY TIP

We at Living Large on Less DO NOT recommend jumping into the thrifty lifestyle all at once, unless you have no other alternative. We've been there too. However, if at all possible, enter the living large on less way of life one baby step at a time. That's what today's thrifty tip is: Choose one area of your life to practice thrift in. Some examples might be to make your own flour tortillas, cook your own refried beans, or make your own laundry soap. Perhaps you need to start somewhere even more basic. Maybe you need to practice turning off the lights when you leave the room or unplugging unneccesary appliances. Remember, the electric coffee pot doesn't need to be plugged in 24/7; neither does the toaster. Whatever you choose, stick with it, even if you forget. It will take some time before practicing thrift becomes natural.

2.10.2010

Waste Not Wednesday! Love Jars

Welcome to WASTE NOT WEDNESDAY! Since this first Waste Not Wednesday happens to be the Wednesday right before Valentine's Day , I thought I would share some ideas on how to waste not on Valentines. Valentine's Day is all about the love, so why not give a jar full of it? Here's how. All you need is a used jar that's been washed clean with a lid. Make sure that the jar you choose has a wide mouth so that the receiver can get their love out. You will also want to gather some paper. Leftover scraps from other projects would be perfect. Other little decorative items such as buttons, scrapbooking charms, or anything you wish to use in decorating the jar. Decorating the outside of the jar is the perfect opportunity to personalize the gift. We used a little bird's nest with eggs in it on the top of a jar for someone who loved birds. The jar's label needs to be completely removed before decorating begins. The lid of the jar can then be painted or covered in paper or fabric. If a person wanted to, they could etch the outside of the jar. Using a tag or piece of paper, attach the label. Feel free to exert your own creativity in this. We went with simple and did "so and so's Love Jar" Now you can begin filling the jar with love! Using one slip of paper for each sentiment, write everything you love about this person on colored paper of your choice. The number of loving thoughts you write depends on the amount of time you want your love jar to cover. You can write one for every day, every week, or even one for every month. It's completely up to you. To save time, we typed our sentiments into the computer, printed out our sheets, and cut each thought into individual strips. Feel free to write out your love thoughts by hand. Once your love thoughts are all complete, curl each slip of paper by wrapping it around a pen or pencil. Stuff that love jar full with these little curls of love. You now have a Love Jar.

2.09.2010

What Is Economical?

Hi There!  In the first post on Living Large on Less we are going to discuss what being economical really means.  Being economical, cooking economically, the term economical is throw about frequently these days.  The question we are going to address today is what that means.  The answer is simple, it means something different for each individual family.  A good buy for a family of four will not necessarily be a good buy for one of eight people.  Likewise, a recipe that is budget friendly for a family of eight may very well be downright extravagant and/or wasteful to a smaller family of only two or three individuals.

This brings us to the main point of today's post.  Research and find out what is truly the best "buy" or most economical choice for your own, personal family.  Advice on budget-friendly ideas and cooking strategies are helpful, but only if they actually benefit your personal situation.  For instance, we recently added a breakfast casserole recipe to our lineup of budget-friendly meals.  For our family of eight, this recipe is perfect, and we use approximately half of the groceries that a traditional eggs, toast and bacon breakfast would use.  However, this same casserole would NOT be an economical or budget-friendly choice for a smaller family.  A family of four wouldn't be able to consume an entire 9x13 baking dish of breakfast casserole.  Not only would this recipe require more groceries , but the amount made would be more than what a smaller family consumes. The extra portions would be wasted since the casserole would not heat up well for a second go round.  This same breakfast casserole WOULD be a superb choice to serve when company comes to visit.  As we've already said, make sure that the choices you make for your family  actually work in your situation.

Many factors can affect whether or not something is economical.  The size of the family has already been mentioned.  Another factor can be the area where the family lives.  Urban dwellers will be able to take advantage of the special sales and coupon deals available at stores like CVS, Aldi, and Walgreens.  Their rural counterparts, however, will need to scrounge around a bit more for bargains.  Thanks to the resurgence of farmer's markets, fresh produce is now readily available to all.  Fresh eggs, cream, and milk may be items that those in rural locations will have greater access to.  Sit back, look around, and take stock of what is available in the area you call home.  The saying "where there's a will, there's a way" holds true in many areas, but especially in the area of living economically.

Another aspect to consider in the quest towards living economically is  whether the purchase you are contemplating should be based on cost or quality. Some purchases should be made on quality rather than  price.  Cheaper is not always the most economical choice.  Nor is it always the healthiest, especially in the area of foodstuff.  I once heard someone say "You can pay the grocer now or the doctor later".  Purchasing groceries that are poor quality or bad for your health just because they are the cheapest is not wise economy.  Budget-friendly foods that are good for you may require a bit of looking, but they are out there.  Clothing is another area where quality rather than price may show the best economy.  However, often, quality clothing can be obtained at extremely reduced prices if not completely free. 

No matter what area of family life a person is desiring to make more economical, a new way of viewing life is essential.  Often when a change in financial status takes place, a "freakout" period sets in.  This need not be.  Surprisingly, there is a level of freedom that accompanies the practice of Living Large on Less.  We have found that the more we do without or make ourselves, the greater the sense of freedom we experience.  Unbeknownst to us, we had been bound by our reliance on prefab products and resources.  As we have simplied our choices by making our own products and food, not only has our health increased, but stresses have subsided as well.   There is an immense satisfaction in washing clothes with laundry detergent you made yourself, seeing that laundry drying in the sunshine on a clothesline while you work in the garden to produce healthy, wholesome food to feed your family.   It is much like the contentment that is felt when watching your loved ones enjoy fresh-baked bread that you made for them with your own, two hands.  Imagine how amazing it would be if the bread was slathered with butter made by you from cream obtained from the family milkcow. 

Such a lifestyle could seem a little too "out there" for some.  Perhaps you are thinking I have definitely gotten on the wrong blog.  Maybe not.  Hang in there.  Don't quit reading yet.  Living Large on Less is the blog for everyone who desires a richer lifestyle while maintaining a smaller budget.  In the days to come there will be tips, hints, and recipes for all types of individuals from all walks of life.  Whether you are an urban lover of everything metro, an adorer of the country life, or somewhere in between, you too could find yourself Living Large on Less.  So, join us each day to see what economical treasure is to be found.  If you find yourself in a place where your resources have been unexpectedly cut and you are closer to the "freakout" stage than the place of "freedom", don't despair.  "I've never seen the righteous forsaken or their seed begging bread." Psalm 37:25  Ten years ago I would never have dreamed that I would be able to survive, let alone thrive living the lifestyle of less.  Here I am!  Not only am I living it, I learned what living large truly means.  See you tomorrow for Waste Not Wednesday's Recycling Ideas.

The Fulfilling of a Purpose

"The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever---do not abandon the works of your hands."NIV

"The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, endure forever--forsake not the works of Your own hands." AMPLIFIED
Psalm 138:8

What a lot to think on! The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me and He will perfect that which concerns me. I can't help but notice that it doesn't say He can or that He might. It says He will. Such reassurance this verse contains. As I read on in Psalm 139:1, it just gets better and better. "O LORD, You have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. You know my downsitting and my uprising; You understand my thought afar off. You sift and search out my path and my lying odwn, and You are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue [still unuttered], but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have beset me and shut me in--behind and before, and You have laid Your hand upon me." Psalm 139:1-5

I am so glad that the Lord understands my thoughts. For I surely don't most days. Knowing that I can rely on Him and His understanding causes tension to fall off of me in waves as the truth of the Word is revealed. Just imagine, the Lord knows what I am going to say before I say it...and He still loves me! Verse eight of chapter 138 is certainly true when it says that His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever. As I go through this week I pray with the Psalmist as he writes "forsake not the works of Your own hands". Thank You, Lord for shutting me in behind and before and for laying Your hand upon me. You are good to me.

2.06.2010

Continuous Provision

The direction of my thoughts is rather difficult to follow and impossible to guess sometimes. This morning is one of those times. I received word yesterday evening that my grandmother's body is shutting down. She fell and broke her hip over a week ago. The doctor had informed the family of this possibility, but the actual arrival of it has set my mind to remembering.

I can't seem to think of my grandmother without memories of my grandfather flooding in as well. Even though it's been 18 years since he went Home to Heaven, as quick as it takes a memory to surface, I'm a little girl with my Granddad again. I'm tagging along as he goes here and there. We are getting ice cream at a restaurant whose name I no longer recall. The bald-headed tooth fairy is visiting me. A $20 bill is being slipped to me on my wedding day. I'm driving his Dodge Rampage. I'm listening to his voice say "Well la-de-da!" I can see him rinsing out his coffee cup and setting it by the sink for later. A game of concentration is being played on our kitchen table during coffee after school. He's asking me if I want some "chirry" pie. (That's a little girl's version of cherry pie) I'm standing in his wood shop watching his fingers work the wood. Those fingers, I loved watching his fingers. Something about them captured my attention. I find myself talking about Granddad to my Angel girl. She is such a good listener. She laughs when it's funny, is quietly loving when it's bittersweet. All of a sudden I realize that I've reminisced long enough. Sweet girl, she doesn't need to sit and listen to me go on and on, though she will have more memories to store up because of it.

With that thought, I've come full circle. The rich treasure of memories is what began my verbal memory walk. Yet today, the memories flew more freely. Perhaps it is the looming closeness of my Grandmother's Homegoing or maybe it was the sweetness of the listener, whatever the reason, a new depth was reached as I traveled my journey of memories. For the first time, without completely breaking down, I'm able to say that my Granddad was my hero. He was one of the "dads" that my loving Heavenly Father provided during a time when my own father was working so very hard to provide for my mom, brother, and me. God knew that every girl possesses needs that can only be met by a man who loves her. He also knew that because my dad loved us so much, he was working many hours to provide us with life's necessities. That's what my Granddad did for his family too. He worked very, very hard, just like my dad did to provide for his wife and children.

It's amazing to me that God would bother with me at all let alone take such abundantly good care of me. He truly does meet all my needs. (Philippians 4:19) He made sure that Granddad, or someone, was there to meet the spot only a dad can fill until my own father was able to fill it himself. Yes, my Granddad was my hero. He always will be the hero of my childhood and youth. However, he is no longer the only hero I have. My own, dear father is as well. I hope and pray that my children are able to remember my dad, their Granddad, with love and laughter years from now.

Thankfully, there is room in a woman's life for more than one hero because I can't leave out my dearest beloved, my precious husband. I am a blessed woman. The treasures in my life far surpass mere earthly wealth. Even when I can't see the beginning from the end, the greatest hero of all, my Heavenly Father, knows my rising and my sitting, my coming and my going. He knows the plans He has for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) Life will be hard, sometimes very hard. He told me that in His Word too. Yet, in spite of the difficulties, He provides for all my needs--with the abundant extravagance of love that only He can provide.

Worldy economies will rise and fall as the seasons of life enter and fade. There will be eras of extravagance and periods of less. No matter what my earthly lot appears to be, this one thing I know, I am loved by God, and He cares for me. His love is unfathomable, never-ending, and His provision is immeasurable. He has supplied ALL my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus continually. Never have I been without. Rarely have I been in want. He will never remove someone from my life before it's time. Even though it may seem as if that is what has happened. He loves me completely and thoroughly. His care for me is beyond my wildest dreams and imaginings. He is not limited to what I can see. Nor is He bound to operate within my limited understanding. I am glad. I am glad that He is God and that there is none else besides Him. I am glad He is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega. I am glad that He is God. He is in charge. He knows all, sees all, is in all, and is all. I am glad, so glad. His provision is continuous, and yes, for that I am glad.

Thank You God for Heroes

The ones who let us follow while they lead
They slow their steps when we are tired
Yet sometimes they make us run
They know that if the children set the pace
The race will not be won

Little ones need a loving guide
One whose eyes are clear
Whose handshake is good and firm
Whose words can bring us cheer

Silly times, funny times
Serious times too
All are needed in our lives
So that we our work will do

A firm word and hand
He sometimes will extend
If those that follow in his steps
Get wild or out of hand

The leader who loves
Is the hero who gives
His orders come from Above
The life that He lives
Is the joy that He gives
It is the life of Love

Dear Lord I thank you most this day
For Heroes, those men you did provide
Their steps I often followed
Sometimes I walked beside
Heroes still on this earth
And those waiting on the other side

I have been loved and abundantly fed
From Your extravagant store of grace
You are the greatest Hero
To You I give my Praise

2.05.2010

New Blog Under Construction

Good Afternoon! Oops! It's almost evening.  A Mother's Reward has exciting news to announce!  There has been so much information for us to pass on and share that another blog is being created.  Living Large on Less will be found at http://wearelivinglargeonless.blogspot.com/.  None of the articles have been posted yet so all you will find right now is an empty page.  But get ready.  It's going to be fun!   Topics covered will be gardening, economical living, homemaking tips, and of course, recipes for your enjoyment will be included.  This will leave A Mother's Rewards to function more closely to it's original description.  We will send out a notice closer to startup time so that you don't miss anything.  Another note of interest regarding Living Large on Less is that unlike A Mother's Rewards, Living Large will be authored by other members of the family.  Not only will posts from both a male and female perspective be available, but posts will also contain a much greater variety of topics.  Ready or not....we're coming to a computer near you!

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

LIVING LARGE ON LESS IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION.  NO POSTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR READING YET.  THERE WILL, HOWEVER, BE ARTICLES COMING VERY, VERY SOON WHICH WILL HOPEFULLY BE A HUGE BLESSING TO YOU AND YOURS.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING

2.01.2010

For Love of a Book

Today is Feb. 1st. I'm a little slow on "top reads". right now our worship team is studying "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. My weigh in group is doing Joyce Meyer's Battlefield of the Mind, which goes along with today's blog. Of course, the Bible is at the top of the list. I picked up a Tracie Peterson book at Wal-Mart while I was in Hays sitting with my Mom. I haven't got into that one deep enough yet. I am also reading Emile Barnes "Everything I Know I Learned Over Tea". I have several going and enjoying them all. Love MOM

Thank you for the top five reads. I'm guessing that everyone thought up a top five list even if they didn't have time to send it in. Just remember that every month is a good month for reading. I think I might need to borrow some of the top reads from both Grammie and Mom :)

Speaking of books...for those who may be interested in having a book published, there are a couple of sites I found, Blurb.com and lulu.com. I haven't worked with either one, but they both offer an interesting service. Books which they would publish and print could include, but not limited to, cookbooks, photobooks, books of blog posts, basically the possibilities are limitless. Prices begin at $4.95 per book. That's a 40 page softcover. Definitely a possibility for Christmas gifts. If you have children's artwork, the pieces could be scanned in and made into a book for grandparents, aunts, uncles, anyone really. Family recipes would make lovely, meaningful cookbooks. There is a flat rate shipping charge of $6.95. All in all, this site combined with individual creativity could provide very economical gifts for any occasion. How about a book of love notes for your Valentine? What about turning family stories and photos into a treasured keepsake? Wanting to make scrapbooks for several people? How about making one scrapbook, scanning in the pages, and having the other books printed by one of these sites? Could be a saver a both time and resources. The sky is the limit. Don't fall into the "I'm not creative or talented enough for that" trap. If you can type a letter, take a picture, or follow a recipe, you can create a book on these sites. Also, you can work on the book as time allows and have it saved to be printed and published at a later date. Blurb.com also offers the option of having your book placed in their onsite bookstore for possible sale. You receive the profit from sales. Just something to get your thinker going this morning.

The book found on every top five list was The Bible. The Bible, God's Word, has endured for generations. We need the Word of the Lord in our lives every single day. It is what keeps us from sinning. (Psalm 119:11) "How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed and keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to it]." Psalm 119:9

While reading and meditating on Psalm 119, I followed a cross reference to Romans chapter 15. I have to share it with you this morning before I go. Since chapters and verses weren't originally in the scriptures but were added later to provide convenience of reading and study, I will begin with the last portion of the final verse of chapter 14. "For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin [whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful]. We who are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others] and not to please ourselves. Let us each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually]. For Christ did not please Himself [gave no thought to His own interests]; but, as it is written. The reproaches and abuses of those who reproached and abused you fell on me. For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hope. Now may the God Who gives the power of patient endurance (steadfastness) and Who supplies encouragement, grant you to live in such mutual harmony and such full sympathy with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus. That together you may [unanimously] with united hearts and one voice, praise and glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah). Romans 14:23b-15:6

So much to think on. God bless you richly as you study the greatest read of all time, His Word, the Bible. May you be filled to all measure of fulness through Christ Jesus.