One Thousand Gifts...We're On Our Way

It's Monday already.  Can you believe it's here again, so soon?  Me either.  As I am learning to live in the wondrous moment of now I find that blog posts are getting farther apart with few in between.  If it were for any other reason I would be tempted to apologize.  As it is...well, I won't.  Why?  Because I'm not sorry.  Yes, I miss the time spent with dear ones and friends online, but I don't regret learning to live life fully right now, every day.  The posts will come.  Visits at A Mother's Rewards will be sweeter because they will have come when God the Holy Spirit whispers in my ear and says "Now.Go visit at the blog.Now."  and we all know how much better it is when it comes to us straight from the throne of grace.

After reading One Thousand Gifts and really digging through the scripture this past Saturday afternoon, a few minor changes are being made here at the blog.  Because these adjustments are so tiny, they might go unnoticed.  If the changes are noticed, don't be concerned.  All is well.  Blessed Mama justs keeps making little tweaks here and there.   If you haven't visited A Holy Experience and found out about Ann Voskamp's new book One Thousand Gifts, please don't hesitate a moment longer.   http://www.aholyexperience.com/.   Even if you don't purchase the book, you will be changed by the visit. 

Gifts I'm grateful for #52-78
  1. salty popcorn that crunches
  2. the warmth of a tea mug seeping into my fingers
  3. four-year-old chatter
  4. sweetness of an eleven-year-old's smile
  5. young men's strength
  6. 14-year-old practicality
  7. floors needing swept
  8. wind that pumps the water
  9. snow that covers the dirt
  10. larks outside my window
  11. cats curled up on the woodpile
  12. old dog soaking up the fire's warmth
  13. two-year-old going potty like a "big boy"
  14. gummy worms for "big boy" treats
  15. canned meat
  16. warm socks
  17. surprise birthday visits for Not of This World
  18. grandparents' love
  19. dictionaries and concordances to study the Word
  20. voices of loved ones on the telephone
  21. internet resources--for free
  22. wisdom from those who've traveled this road before
  23. a house full of noise
  24. ears to hear my children's voices
  25. the still small voice of God whispering His love to me anew
  26. a new routine for little ones with earlier bedtimes
  27. the blessed quietness at end of day



Today is your favorite blog administrator's birthday!  Not of This World is entering another year of God's grace and love.  The rest of us at Living Large on Less are asking everyone to join in the celebration by flooding her inbox with birthday love.  Birthday blessings can be sent to her at youcanlivelargeonless@gmail.com.  Have A Blessed Weekend! Blessed Mama


A New Read

Good Morning!
I don't have time to sit down for a nice, long visit.  We have a birthday to celebrate today, but I just HAD to drop in and let you know that the book, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp of The Holy Experience is available for purchase!  Don't mean to be bossy, but you need this book; I needed this book; we ALL need this book.  Other than the Bible I can't recall ever being affected by a book as I have been by this one.  A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are One Thousand Gifts will not only change your life, it has the potential of changing the lives of others around you.  After reading it, you may find yourself following the path of many others and purchasing more and more for gifts.  Yes, One Thousand Gifts is THAT good. 
If you would like to check it out before buying, read the intro at Amazon.  Even that will bless you.  This is one of those "if you only purchase one book this year..." books.  Please look into this.  You will be SO glad you did. 
See you sometime next week! Have a Great Weekend!  Abundantly Blessed


The Little Things | Above Rubies Women's Email Devotional

So much was on my heart to share today.  I sat in the bathtub aka prayer closet and inquired of the Lord what He would have me write today.  The answer?  Blessed quietness.  Well, that wasn't what I was hoping to hear.  OK, I'll just sit here and thank Him some more.  Maybe there will be an answer in a little bit.  "Lord, I thank You so much for this....for this....and for this...."  I offered up truly sincere thankfulness from the depths of my heart.  I wonder if there will be an answer yet. 

Another inquiry is made.  The Father's response?  Even more blessed quietness.  Can you hear the spoiled little girl in me grumbling inside?  Even though I know the Lord is faithful to lead in all the details of my life, I wanted to grumble because He hadn't led me *stomp of the right foot* right now when I wanted Him to. 

After all, this is the only time I have to be quiet before Him, and I've already stayed in here until the water is almost cold.  I can't stay much longer.  If I wait much longer, the door will fly open and I'll be bombarded by two small children.  How am I supposed to follow leading when there isn't any leading? 

Of course, I wasn't actually saying any of these thoughts out loud.  Nor did I actually stomp my foot.  As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I was aware of their existence until considering my prayer closet vigil in retrospect.  After...I read the following devotional from Nancy Campbell at  Above RubiesAfter...I realized the reason my Heavenly Father answered with blessed quietness was because He knew the words for today's post were waiting in my inbox.  After...it dawned on me that it wasn't that I hadn't been led.  It was that there was no need for leading.  The answer had been sent before my question had been asked.  Oh my, will I ever learn? 

Thank  You Lord for Your loving kindness and patient guidance.   Thank You also that while I still don't trust You as I should, I trust You more than I used to.  Thank You for progress.  Even if it is only a little. 

I pray that the words in the following devotional encourage, inspire, and bless every one of you as much, or even more, than they have me.  We'll get together for another visit soon.  In Christ's Love, Blessed Mama


"Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has
been faithful over a few things, I will make thee rule over
many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord"
Matthew 25:21.

Doing little things can often seem so insignificant, can't
they? Especially menial things. Tedious things. The
things that you have to do over and over again like
making beds, doing laundry, doing dishes and preparing
meals. Can I remind you that no little thing is insignificant?
Little things accumulate and add up to big things. And
more important of all, God notices. He is interested in
the little things as much as the big things.

When God, who is watching over the walls of your
home, sees you faithfully and joyfully embracing your
daily tasks, it pleases His heart. He takes notice of it.
God takes as  much pleasure in the little things as He
does the big things. He created the huge mountains,
but put even more intricate design to each tiny
snowflake which you can only see under a magnifying
glass. He created the giant redwoods (you may have
driven your car through one of the trunks of these trees
in California, as we have), but He created the beauty
of the little violet and forget-me-not flowers.

God poured beauty and intricate design into the tiniest of
His creations, some that can't even be seen by the eyes of
men. You also are being transformed into the character of
God when you make beauty and joy out of your little and
menial tasks, tasks that you think are boring. Nothing is
boring when God is in it! Seek ways to do your little tasks
faster, better and more creatively. Sing while you do
them. Thank God that He is with you as you do them.

I am always challenged by Frank Bunker Gilbert in
Cheaper by the Dozen who sought to do every
household task more efficiently and quickly. He timed
his children doing each task to see if they could do it
more quickly the next time. That's why we have so
many wonderful  inventions in the world today
because people seek ways to do things quicker and
better than before! The little can lead to the amazing!

This can happen in your home every day as you bring
God into every task! It changes the boring to the
interesting; the mundane to the creative and the little to
make the way for the great.

I feel very blessed to have the privilege of encouraging
the mothers of the world and printing 160,000
magazines each time we print a new Above Rubies.
Did I start with this number? No. when I printed the
first issue over 33 years ago I printed only 1500 copies!
But it started even before I was married. I was teaching
and gave my vacation time to ministering at girls'
camps. These young girls came in from all over the
country, many from non-Christian homes. It was a joy
to lead many of them to the Lord, but I knew they
would go home to receive no encouragement in their
faith. I began writing to them and  ended up writing
regularly to over 100 girls. Looking back, I believe
that because I was faithful in that small task, God
chose me to do a bigger task and to reach thousands
and thousands of families across the world.

Many women send in poems and writings to me for
inclusion in Above Rubies. Sadly, I can't use them all. I
cannot find space for all the poems. But can I encourage
you? Don't wait to be published. Write your poem or
prose out beautifully on a lovely card and give it to
someone in need. Write poems for your husband,
children or grandchildren. Write rhymes for Name
Places at the dinner table. Write encouraging letters to
those who need uplifting. Use your writing talent for
your family and the people God puts on your heart.
As you share your writings with those around you to
bless and uplift them, God will open bigger doors.
He gives rulership to those who are faithful in the

Do you feel you have a message to speak to thousands?
You may wait forever for that opportunity. Start where
you are. Bless your family with your inspirations.
Speak to everyone you meet. As you are faithful to do
this, God may open up remunerative opportunities.

Are you an artist? Paint the walls of your home. Paint
beautiful pictures to give to friends. Draw a picture
for an older person living on their own.* Decorate
cards and give them to those who need encouraging.
Use your gift to bless those around you and God
will open bigger opportunities.

Zechariah 4:10 says, "Who has despised the day of
small things?"



"I thank you, dear Father, that you are interested in the
little things as well as the big things. Help me to know
that you are with me in every small task I accomplish in
my home. I thank you that even the mundane things
are wonderful when you are in them. Amen."


I am making every little task into an amazing one!


* I am always looking for illustrations and beautiful
decorative borders to include in the Above Rubies
magazine. Contact me if you are interested. Nancy

Many women like to save these devotions. They print
them out and keep them in a folder to read over and
over again. Some print them out and pin them on the
fridge with a magnet to read through the week. If you
are printing this devotion and need it to be smaller,
highlight and change to a smaller font.

If you know others who would be blessed by these
devotions, you are welcome to forward them or let
them know they can subscribe by sending a blank
email to subscribers-on@aboverubies.org



Gratitude a Thousand Times

While regular Monday posts expressing the journey towards a thousand thanks haven't been posted, it is our sincerest prayer that each one of us has continued practicing this new habit.  Speaking of new habits, this week's verses to memorize in Colossians are Colossians 1:7-8.  It is my prayer that just as the author of Colossians had been informed of the love in the [Holy] Spirit of the church at Colosse(vs.8), so my love in the Holy Spirit of God may be known to others. 
Feel free to share your lists of thankfulness in a comment or by sending to amothersrewards@gmail.com.  We are almost through the first month of a new year.  We are 24 days closer to meeting our yearly goals and 24 days closer to having established godly habits in thought and deed.  This is the year I am going to become more of a doer of the Word and less of a hearer. (James 1:22)   One way for me to see this goal through is to continue giving thanks.  I am thankful for.............#21-#50.
  1.  the end of a school day
  2. homemade pretzel bread baking in the oven
  3. BBQ ready to heat up for supper and crisp lettuce for a salad
  4. whispered plans for birthday surprises waiting for a soon to be 19 year old
  5. 19 years of loving a sweet baby girl (yes, she will always be mama's baby. always)
  6. The soothing comfort of God's Word as it cuts through the clutter and clamor of a busy house
  7. Beautiful snowfalls that look like something on a movie (this one is left over from Wednesday)
  8. rugs that catch the wet and muddy prints from snow-covered boots
  9. warm hats and mittens for those who go out to play in the cold
  10. hills for children to ride their toboggan down
  11. warm drinks that warm from the inside out
  12. freedom to live 
  13. a vehicle that runs
  14. doodle pads for two and four year olds to write on
  15. a four-year-old's excitement at learning
  16. the way a two-year-old counts "eight, nine, ten, four..."
  17. that when you are two and four, mama's loving arms and whispered endearments still make everything better
  18. that disassembled flashlights will go back together and still work - sometimes
  19. ornery, little twinkles in the eyes of my sons
  20. prayers prayed over me by those who love me most
  21. smiles, laughter, and love freely given and generously returned
  22. sunshine that brightens not only the house but our spirits and hearts
  23. seed catalogs reminding me that spring is just ahead
  24. special occasions & holidays giving us reason to celebrate
  25. time spent together as a family
  26. emails chats with a friend who honestly, truly "gets it"
  27. for the way a 17-year-old young man is grown and mature one moment yet complete little boy the next
  28. children that keep me out of a mothering rut - there's always something new
  29. new hair cuts making everything seem fresh
  30. creative ideas that will eventually become items of beauty
Have a blessed day in Jesus!


Pictures of Re-using Plastic Bottle Caps

We are sorry the pictures from the previous post are not visible.
However we were able to locate a couple of the pictures to show you.
Here they are!


Transition...more of the new

A new year, new plans, new trains of thought,  new ways seem to be flooding over me everywhere I turn.  Some of the new ways are simple, little changes that require virtually no effort from me.  As a matter of fact, if you asked me to tell you what they are, I probably couldn't even remember; they are that minor.  However...I am enjoying the results of these minute changes immensely. 
Other new ways require a tad more thought.  For instance, choosing to get up a half hour earlier takes a decision of my will.  Yet having the extra time to get myself collected before facing anyone each day is well worth the sacrifice of sleep.  
Changes involving issues of personal discipline...ooh, those are painful.  Yes, lesson plans for next year need to be roughly scheduled so that resources can be located.  I know that I'm going to have a new kindergartener next semester and that I will need every spare moment I can find to give to her as she enters the world of reading.  All of the correct answers are already in my head.  It's just that there is the whiny voice of a self-centered and impatient child in my heart calmy, yet stubbornly stating "I don't want to."  "I know exactly what I'm supposed to do, but I DON'T WANT TO DO IT."  Oh my, the transition that takes me from my will to God's perfect will in this matter is proving to be less than beautiful.  
Hmmmm.........there is a booklet saved to my computer.  It is waiting to be printed out.  I believe it is a scripture memory booklet, one for the book of Colossians.  Where is it?  Oh!  There it is!  Yes, that's the change I forgot to begin.  That's the one that prepares me for the "ooooh, it hurts.  I don't want to!"  moments.  Isn't it amazing how The Father gently reminds me that He's already provided the answer and is waiting for me to receive it? 
"Such love.  Such wondrous.  That God should love a sinner such as I, how wonderful is love like this!"  (line from a hymn)
The weekend is here.  Many blessings to you and yours as you face all of the "new" that 2011 brings.  Please excuse me.  I have a booklet to print out.                                                                                                                        


Sharing a Post

After reading this post from Jasmine at Far Above Rubies, I had to pass her words on. I pray that we are adorning ourselves in the love of the Heavenly Father today and every day throughout the coming year. Blessed Mama

Far Above Rubies: Inward Appearance: "I've been thinking a lot about the inward appearance of a woman. Often times we get caught up in legalism and performance, and forget ..."


Words to Ponder for a New Year

"Never allow yourselves to despise those who do not follow your rules of life, but force your hearts to love and pray for them.  Let humility be always whispering into your ears that you yourselves would fall from those rules tomorrow if God should leave you to your own strength and wisdom."  William Law's book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
Such wise words for us to ponder this morning.  The first week of the new year has already passed.  In one week I have already been encouraged to draw near to God in an even deeper way, to live in the now moment, and now these words are drawing me to still more depths of thought to ponder.  If the first week is any indication, 2011 will be a year of blissfully intense learning and leaning on the Heavenly Father God. 
On a different note, has anyone else been bit by the eliminate clutter, clean up, and refresh the home bug?  The declutter and renew the home bug often accompanies a new year.  This year is no exception.  If you find you have been bitten by this energetic little thing then here are some websites and blogs to help get rid of the clear it out and fix it up itch: iheartorganizing, this author is absolutely addicted to organizing and beautifying.  She also welcomes questions from readers and is very good about answering them.  organized home  has been mentioned before.  This site is still a great place for organization tips, ideas, and printable forms to help anyone get on the organization track for a new year.  For decorating inspiration, there is still none better than the nester.  However, if after visiting you find it really isn't your style, go ahead and click on some of the links listed on her blog.  You will be in for a visual treat of decorating abundance.  I guarantee that no matter what your personal home style, there is a link to a site or blog you will enjoy.  If after visiting the above sites you still haven't found what you're looking for, do a google search and take a trip around the world wide web.  Just make sure and allow plenty of time for visiting; you may need to pack a lunch:)
Let's head out and enjoy every moment of right now in our weekend.  At our house, the next to last of the "unpack and put away" projects at our house is being tackled, and I AM EXCITED!!!  Today we are going to finish putting away the craft supplies (that is a lot).  After today, only one area of the house will be left to unpack and put away---YEAH!!!!  Those who haven't ever moved or lived with things in boxes and/or storage probably wonder what the big deal is.  Anyone who has ever moved fairly often or lived in smaller spaces will understand perfectly.  No more digging through boxes for that one little rubber stamp needed or that specific color of marker that escaped the box.  The song of Where is that Piece of Fabric? will never waft through the air of our home again. (I can always hope)  "A place for everything and everything in its place." is A Mother's Rewards new theme.  I love emptying cardboard boxes!!!  Really, I do.  Even though I do find it particularly difficult to throw a "perfectly good box" away.  After all, good boxes are hard to find.  You may have moved more than five times when...
Anyway..........hear we go.  A little girls is tugging on my arm to come see the pheasants in our front yard.  That sounds like a now moment to me.  Be Blessed in Jesus! Blessed Mama



Fabric Printing

Happy New Year from Blessed Mama!  Ever taken an unplanned trip through blogland?  The kind of trip that happens when you spy an interesting looking link.  You click it.  While visiting that blog, what should you spy but another interesting link so you click that one too.  Before you know it 20 minutes of unplanned visiting have gone by.  This is exactly the kind of thing I am working dilligently to cut back on this year.   However...somehow I ended up traveling blogdom this morning, in spite of my best efforts.  Am I ever glad I did too!  
2011 has brought with it a pesky itch, the itch to pay some attention to the visual asethetics of our home.  My ears and eyes are "on the lookout" for any and every easy, yet inexpensive, home decorating project out there.  Well, any and every home decorating project that doesn't scream "HEY!  I AM CHEAP AND TACKY!"  After all, we are Living Large on Less not less on less.  Thanks to my unplanned venture out this morning, Fabulous Friday will be just that, FAB-U-LOUS!   Click here to visit The Shabby Chic Cottage and see what I found this morning.  The post is a guest instructional on fabric printing.  Limitless possibilities for art, clothing, crafting, and more abound with this technique, and yes, it costs very little too.  The Country Chic Cottage also has a post about printing on fabric.  The Country Chic Cottage has a couple of posts on transferring using fingernail polish removed with acetone too.  Awesome idea!  Love it!  Going to try it as soon as I possibly can!  Already thinking Christmas 2011.  
There you have it, printing (using a normal home printer) on fabric.  It's Fab-u-lous! 


I Am Both Humbled and Renewed

*A quick note:  parts of this post won't make sense unless the provided link embedded in the post is clicked and the accompanying post from A Holy Experience read through.  Please take the time to click the link and read the post.  You will be SO glad you did.  Blessed Mama
Today as I struggle with being in the moment, I scroll through emails wondering who has come to visit me today.  There it is an update from A Holy Experience and I wonder what God will speak to me through this blog today.  How is it that one writer can so challenge and refresh my thinking?  How can one individual draw me closer in to the depths of the Father?  Today was no exception.  As the music of a piano begins to wash over my cold-stuffed, weary head and heart, the words concerning The Word begin to seep through the outer crust of yuck forming on my heart and mind.  Once more the Father draws me close to Him.  He has made all things new. (2 Cor. 5:17) 
As a new year is begun, I find myself longing for more of Him.  As I read the story of the grandmother and her legacy of memorizing God's Word, my heart is overwhelmed and smitten with the realization that there is so much more to this life than what I am living.  How often do I encourage my children to "hide the Word in their hearts" as I fill my own heart with other, less worthy things.  The knees of my heart bow before the Great I AM longing to know Him in this way. 
 Lord, please forgive my cluttered mind and heart.  May I know You in the beauty of every moment of every day.  May my entire being long for You for with the intensity of a babe longing for its mother.  May I bring myself to the foot of the cross and stay there until all of me is filled with all of You.  As the days pass by may it be You teaching the children, loving My Beloved, reaching out with healing hands--through me.  When the dishes are being washed let me talk to You.  Let me hear Your Words.  When dirty little faces are being scrubbed help them see You loving them.  Let them feel You, God the Holy Spirit permeating these earthly dwellings.  Oh that Your Word will be planted deep in the soil of my spirit taking root so that a never-ending harvest of righteousness will come forth.  When my grandchildren look through what I leave behind may they find You woven through every part of whatever is left behind.  If I leave nothing else besides You, I have still left them everything.  For You, Lord are all in all, The Great I Am, The Rose of Sharon, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, My Healer, My Provider, The Way, The Truth, The Life, My Comfort, My Fortress, My Rock, My Shelter, My Lover, My Father,  everything, absolutely everything. 
Oh the marvelous opportunities a new year brings.  A new year to love instead of hate.  A new year to heal instead of hurt.  A year to listen instead of speak or speak instead of remaining silent.  A year to sing instead of cry.  A year to weep over wrong and rejoice over rightness.  A year to smile when I want to scream.  To mend instead of tear down and to create rather than destroy.  2011 is a brand new year waiting to be filled just like those little notebooks are waiting to be filled with a commitment to memorize God's Word.  An entire chapter in just one year?  Yes, this is the year.  This is the year some seeds sown in my life long years ago begin to sprout and produce seed.  It's the perfect year for such a goal. 
Sorry it has been so long since I have posted.
I will be trying to post more often this year though.
Speaking of posts, I did just put a new post on the wood stoves page.
So if you have a wood stove or know someone who does, you might want to check it out.
Be on the look out for new posts!
Here is a sneak peak at what some of those will be:
Onion skin dye
Puzzle and game storage
And of course something to do with food
-Not of This World