3.30.2011

Abundance: Waste Not Wednesday: Making the Most of Time Toget...

Couldn't resist sharing this post from Abundance, formerly Living Large on Less. Pray it blesses you greatly. Please click on the following link to view the entire post.


Abundance: Waste Not Wednesday: Making the Most of Time Toget...: "Time spent with the one we love often seems to be the first, or one of the first, things cut from the fun list when finance levels dip low.&..."

3.28.2011

Romance: What Is It To You?

Photo courtesy As I See It Photography


Ahhhhhhh, Spring, that glorious time of the year when it seems as if all of nature gets “twitter pated” (reference Bambi, movie). Birds are fussing over territory and mates with chests puffed out, plumage displayed, and colors bright. I can’t help but notice all of the effort, time, and trouble these creatures take to secure and/or protect their mate. At a moment’s notice, the gander on the pond will lower his neck and chase away any threat, real or imagined, to his “wife” seated on the nest. The red-winged black birds are performing strange little “routines” in an attempt to attract a female’s notice. Pheasants are fussing over territory before gathering their yearly harem. Tom turkeys are strutting around with feathers puffed and spread their blue necks contrasting sharply with their bright red waddles.




The question scratching the inside of my brain today is “Why should the romance of Spring be only for the birds?” Winter seemed to last much longer than normal this year and even today the snow still falls a bit. I’m ready for something new, something fun, something warm...no HOT! A few days have been warm. The pond is no longer covered in ice, and the faucets no longer runs at night to prevent frozen pipes. Garden seeds are being planted inside to grow plants for a new garden. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for each of us to shake off the numbing doldrums cold weather often creates and stir up some fresh, new romance with Our Beloveds? Come on, you know you want to, and if you really, truly don’t, then you probably need to. Why should the birds have all the fun? If you, like me, are wondering where to start, check out this link http://tftmagazine.com/?p=130 at Time For Tea Magazine. Cindy Rushton is a true woman of God. The ideas she and her husband share in their Romance Cheat Sheet are not only doable but fun--no tacky, whacked out, chick-only ideas here.



After reading through them, use the ideas shared by the Rushtons as a springboard for your own, unique ideas, ones that are perfect for you and your beloved. Let’s all get going, shake the dust off our brains, do some mental stretches, and show those birds how it’s done. Creatures from the animal world instinctively know attracting and keeping a mate require effort and personal sacrifice. Unlike our animal friends, we humans tend to get lazy or so busy that romancing our beloved gets shoved to the back burner. (If it makes it to the stove at all) I assure you that when the yearly pre-mating season gets going, all of those pheasants, geese, turkeys, grouse, blackbirds, and prairie chickens don’t care a fig how they appear to the rest of the world. One thing and one thing only becomes their focus---get the girl. I know that I needed reminding of this.



Now, let’s remember not to leave all of the romancing on the shoulders of our beloveds. Romance is a two way street. Let’s give as good, or better, than we get. Also, let’s make sure that we don’t conveniently arrange for our beloveds to “find” the above Romance Cheat Sheet so that they can romance us. No, no, no. Each one of us are going to shake off winter’s dullness, fluff our feathers, brighten our colors, and romance our beloveds first. Then if they want to join in the twitterpation of Spring, so much the better. Go ahead, take a deep breath, spring is here, and romance shouldn’t be only for the birds.

3.25.2011

We've Been Made New - Literally

Welcome to the first post of Abundance, formerly Living Large on Less.  The authors of Living Large began to be uncomfortable with the "less" part of our name.  God's provision through Jesus is beyond abundant.  God extravagantly saturates the lives of His children with good and perfect gifts from above (James 1:17) not less.  2011 has been a year of intense examination and deep-cleaning of our souls.  The desires of our hearts is that God be glorified in every thing we do and say.  Abundance springs from these spiritual decluttering sessions. 

Readers of Abundance will continue to receive the same kind of tips and ideas Living Large has always provided plus new posts from the occasional guest author.  We invite you to stick around and join us in our continued journey of Living Large in God's Abundance.


Blessed Mama & Not of This World

Who Wants Mediocre Art?

If you only have a few minutes online today, spend a few seconds over here ready Emily Freeman's post on mediocre art.  Amazing how just a few lines can prompt so much thought. 
 
Have a Blessed Weekend in Jesus!
Blessed Mama

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3.23.2011

Stay At Home Daughter

Update: As of 2014, Not of This World remains a Stay at Home Daughter. She is faithfully serving the Lord, her family, and those He leads her to in excellence. Another little brother was added to the family in 2013, and Not of This World is one of his favorite people. If mama is busy, sister is sought out post haste. God is faithful to His children and rewards those who follow and obey Him. Not of This World is a reward from God, and we, her family, are the blessed recipients of this heavenly treasure. Thank You, Heavenly Father for the gift of this woman. Abundantly Blessed

Not of This World has done it.  A decision has been made. A title has finally been chosen by this sweet blessing.  {Drumroll please}She is a "stay at home daugther".  That is the decision for her future God has graced with peace of heart and mind.  Such a choice is rather remarkable considering none of us had even heard of such a thing a year ago.  I long for adequate words to explain such a holy choice and calling as that of a stay at home daughter or maiden in waiting.  How does one put words to choosing God's path instead of man's?  Especially when so often God's path defies human intellect.  There is a random thought to tell people to "Google it." 
 
People unfamiliar with this path may wonder what our lovely daughter will be doing as she stays at home.  A few years ago, I would have wondered this myself.  The answer then will be the same as now, ALOT.  Truthfully, Not of  This World hasn't been home much lately, and she already has more work days for others planned for the future.  *smile*  Are you catching the irony of the whole thing?  Not of This World invests her life helping others.  Younger siblings eagerly seek her out for yet another story or game.  Breakfast happens at A Mother's Rewards because of Not of This World's faithfulness to rise and care for her family.  Mt. Washmore visibly shrinks every day she is home.  She assists with the church youth group, works in the church nursery a few times each month, and pitches in wherever else help is needed.  There are upcoming classes in digital photography too.
 
This beautiful pillar in our home (Psalm 144:12) has in no way sacrificed her future or the opportunity of living her own life by choosing to remain at home for this season.  Quite the contrary.  Not of This World continues to develop her photography skills as well as create original jewelry designs.  As if that along with her working weren't enough to keep ten people busy, I've even heard rumors of a joint business venture and etsy shop flying around.  No matter what "title" Not of This World wears, one thing is certain, she will be busy doing something with her hands.  She is a creator extraordinaire.  Cooking up new recipes, soap, candles, sewing, rug braiding, crocheting, paintballing, hunting, working cattle, tagging calves, cardmaking this lady does it all.  I wish I had been half the blessing she is now when I was her age.  What  am I saying?  I wish I was half the blessing she is right now.  Not of This World's natural administrative ability in action has taught me a lot.  I have learned so much watching her work. 
 
Lest is seem as if my oldest reward is the walking embodiment of perfection, never fear.  She is a real, live, flesh and blood young woman.  She possesses her own little set of faults and quirks just like all of the rest of us.  Every decision in our lives requires payment of some sort of, and being a stay at home daughter is no exception.  There are days that yes, I get on her nerves.  And, yes, there are days she gets on mine.  We are, after all, two grown women with rather strong, intense personalities.  {minor understatement}  Is living with your parents and younger siblings always easy?  I doubt it.  Watching your mother attempt to run a household in her normal haphazard artsy way has to, at times, drive my ultra talented administrator to the point where she wishes she drank.  {It would have to, it almost does that to me!} 
 
No matter what, knowing that our daughter is walking with the Lord and has made the choice He led her to is a reward all its own.  Six children.  Four of them young adults 12 and over.  All four young adults along with four-year-old Giggle have received the gift of salvation offered to all through our Lord Jesus Christ. What a treasure it is to this mother's heart to know her children are walking with the Lord!  Yes, I am one Blessed Mama.   
 
  

3.22.2011

Just Needs Some Lovins'

A Mother's Rewards has one cat, just one, large purring bundle of pure spoiledness. This spoiled, rotten bundle of fur earns his keep by being an excellent hunter of mice.  He is also an OUTSIDE cat.   Being so abundantly loved, the feline member of our family regularly finds himself lugged inside by his human playmates.  This afternoon was one of those times.  As Giggle carried her very large friend like a baby around the house, I reminded her of the cat's place outdoors.  "He just needs his luvins' Mama" was the reason laid out as she brought her big baby to me so that I could meet the stated need.  Of course I obliged.  After all, there is a reason pets become spoiled family members around here, and it isn't only the kids either:)
 
"He just needs his luvins' " repeated itself after Giggle had left to return her precious bundle outside.  "Eveyone does." came the quiet words of the Father. How often do I allow myself to be cradled in the Father's arms and loved on?  How amazing it would feel to just lay back and let Someone lavish me with abundant loving affection!  Why do I keep myself in such a state of mental busyness?  The more I think on needing luvins, the more I realize that the Heavenly Father isn't the only one wanting to lavish "luvins" on me.  Remembrances of times My Beloved and my children stand by waiting for me to get done being busy.  Grief pierces my heart as I think of all the times the busyness lasted long and my heart loves slipped quietly away, "luvins" left undone. 
 
Dear God, I confess the busy coldness of an unfocused heart and mind.  Too often I have practiced the ways of Martha when following Mary would have been best.  (Luke 10:38-42 AMP)  I pray that You will teach me Your way.  That from this day I will sit at Your feet and "get my luvins".  In Jesus' name, Amen
 
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3.18.2011

Free Plants & Dirt!

Enjoy gardening but nothing left in the budget for the yard this year?  Well, believe it, or not, there are sites where free plants and dirt can be obtained.  Here are the links http://tonsofdirt.com/ and http://www.freeplant.net/.  Please note that these sites have not been personally tried by A Mother's Rewards.  However, we have visited them and are considering some of the plants at freeplant.net
 


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3.15.2011

Post to Read

Good Morning!
 
The sun is shining, the wind isn't blowing - much, and children are quiet and happy.  It's a good moment!  As a matter of fact, it's the perfect moment to mention a wonderful read.  Emily Freeman of Chatting at the Sky blog shared such a freeing word yesterday that I had to share.  Here it is.  Let me share a small quote, just to whet your appetite.  "It is not okay to live a small story because of fear."  Wow!  It just gets better from there on.  You are definitely going to enjoy your visit at Chatting at the Sky. 
 
Yesterday a few minutes of spare time provided an opportunity for brainstorming possible blog ideas.  The longer the brainstorming lasted, the more ideas popped into view.  Before too much time had been spent a recent encounter with Giggle, my four-year-old, came to mind.  This unexpected conversation between Giggle and I caused me to realize how nice it is to be old-er, not old, old-er.  Please allow me to share the conversation before I explain.
 
"My mind is huge" Giggle says one afternoon. 
 
Surprised at such confidence,  I calmy reply "Oh, who told you that?"
 
"Myself." Giggle answered.
 
This baby has woman's logic down pat.  If the above weren't enough, an earlier conversation drives the point home.
 
While waiting for My Beloved after church one Sunday, Smack dab in the middle of a one-sided conversation with Giggle (most conversations with Giggle are one-sided) she calmly stated that she was the smartest four-year-old kid.  More than a little concerned about Giggle's elevated view of herself, I calmly inquired as to what made her think this.  The truth that Giggle really, truly believed herself to be the smartest 4 year-old kid was quickly realized.  Hmmm, Giggle wasn't being arrogant or superior, just very, very, veeerrrrrrrrrrrry confident.  Houston we have a problem.  How do I inform Giggle that while she has indeed been equipped by God to fulfill His every purpose for her life, she is not to think more highly of herself than she ought?  Older sister is as shocked as I.  This comment is "out there" even for Giggle.  Very carefully, calmly, and gently I began sharing with Giggle that God has blessed her and she is smart, but only God is smartest
 
 "And kids like me" came the reply from those 4 year-old lips.
 
"Giggle.  There is always someone smarter.  That's just the way it is.  There are four-year-olds who play the piano, speak other languages, and know many things you don't know yet." I continued ever so gently.
 
"I speak other languages and play the piano too--in my own way." came her response.
 
A smile is plastered on my mama face, but inside, there is a desperate cry winging it's way to Heaven "Help!  Divine guidance needed - church parking lot - rural America - NOW, please!"  OK, let's try another route.  SUBJECT CHANGE!  "Is that Papa coming?" [My Beloved always says that discretion is the better part of valor;)]
 
Later on, however, when relaying the conversation to Colonel Redeemed, this 17 year-old brother couldn't resist asking Giggle how she was able to be the smartest four-year-old.  "Because God gives me the strength to." was her immediate answer.
 
At that moment a miracle took place.  Colonel Redeemed was rendered speechless.  Chalk one up for Giggle
 
Here's where it is SO much better being old-er.  Several children and a number of years ago, I would have been horrified to hear one of my children utter such a statement.  Immediately I would have been in full blown fix-it mode.  The evil arrogance must be stopped!  I would have, really.  Ahhhh, what a blessed joy and relief to be old-er.  How freeing to have learned that four-year-olds make outlandish announcements and that these announcements signal one thing and one thing only, the child is a child in need of a loving Savior--just like every other child.
 
Knowing Giggle's thoughts is an extra special blessing.  Unknowingly my sweet baby girl has given me a glimpse into her heart.  Having been shown this snippet inside of her, I can better direct my prayers for her as well as the focus of future conversations.  Responding calmly rather than reacting in a passionate torrent tells Giggle that her mama listens to her.  I didn't agree with what she said, nor did I encourage the opinion.  However, remaining by remaining calm, Giggle was able to share, receive a corrective view from mama without being put down or being made to feel diminished or unimportant.  Something I wish I had been better at with her older siblings.  Keeping the focus on God and what He has done and provided helped both Giggle and I retain proper perspective. 
 
Getting old-er.  This might just be a good thing after all. 
 


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3.08.2011

Project: Simplify


Hey There!  The perfect project for Living Large on Less has just been found!  It is called "Project: Simplify"  Does your house have a hot spot?  You know, one of those spots where everything seems to end up collecting even though they don't actually belong there.  Maybe you are like me and have a number of these hot spots here and there.  Well, then Project: Simplify is for both of us.  Simplemom.net is hosting five weeks of organizing, simply.  Each week a different hot spot will be announced, we will all take before pictures, then use the book Organized Simplicity to assist us in decluttering, cleaning, and organizing.  Afterwards pictures will be taken and posted or sent along with the before shots.  At the end of the week we'll all get to join in rejoicing with all of the other Project:Simplify participants.  A happy, happy group we all will be after eliminating some of the hot spots in our homes.  So...ready to go?  This week's hotspot is the Master Closet.  There is a link on the website for purchasing information of the Organized Simplicity book by Tsh Oxenreider.  It will be fun!  Let's all join in right here !  Blessed Mama
 

3.05.2011

Gratefulness


While reading through an article at (in)courage recently, the words of Lara, The Farmer's Wife, seemed to leap off of the page at me.   With one sentence my attention was arrested.   The line "I cannot thank my Savior that I have enough and in the next breath mutter that I fear for what is to come." seemed to pop off the screen.
 
Oh me, somedays the gift does begin to feel like a burden, and I am like a child with too many gifts on Christmas day.  If you too find your gratitude being choked,  join with me in beginning anew counting the gifts God has given, especially those that are small, insignificant, and hard.  Together we can uproot ungratefulness and deprive it of it's destructive power. 
 
Each of us is so blessed.  It's never fails to stir up thankful amazement watching God orchestrate my life so perfectly.  The timing of the article is perfect.  It comes right on the heels of a week spent thinking about the goodness of God.  "God is good, all the time." is a popular saying from the 1990s and early 2000s that could be heard in countless churches across America, maybe the world.  However, as is the case with most popular phrases, it died out and was replaced with the latest and greatest new thing.  However, for whatever reason, I have found myself seriously contemplating God's goodness.  I have been examining my opinions and comparing them to the Word of God.  I've been feeling a need to make sure that what I believe and teach my children lines up with the Word.  It must be solid, Biblical truth, not just man's philosophy with a few scripture verses thrown in for good measure.  What did I find?  Questions.  Questions, questions, and still more questions.  These aren't tormenting questions based in fear and doubt.  The questions coming to mind are thoughtful and sincere.  Their desire is for clarity, understanding and truth.  
 
Jeremiah 29:11 returns over and over and over again "For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome."  Verses such as Isaiah 48: 16,17 are never far behind "Come near to me and listen to this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it happened, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent His Spirit in and with me.  Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way that you should go."  or how about Is. 49:15,16  [And the Lord answered] Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget you.  Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tatooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of my hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me."  "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness.  The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works [the entirety of things created]." Psalm 145:8,9.  The more I read, the more I find.  It is literally impossible to escape God's goodness.  The only way to miss it is to deliberately choose not to see it, to focus elsewhere. 
 
Gratefulness.  Choosing gratitude, choosing to be thankful in all things, at all times is a life-changing habit.  The chokehold of ingratitude is broken and the chains of despair fall powerless at our feet when we choose to be grateful, for it all.  That being said, here are #79-109 (I think, I lost count once or twice) of the thousand gifts I'm counting. 
  • teenage boys having fun
  • a little man (3 yrs. old) thinking he's as big as they are
  • inner growth in an 11 yr. old girl
  • truth from the lips of a 4 yr. old - plain spoken though it may be :)
  • pizza, pop, and brownies
  • lunch already waiting to be cooked
  • the aroma of coffee freshly ground
  • the popping sound of guns shooting trap
  • being changed by the Word
  • slippery ice and fluffy snow
  • the loving concern of a dog for his people
  • Christian cartoons that teach God's truth
  • the enveloping love of family
  • My Beloved's smile
  • unexpected company divinely sent
  • enough food to feed extra mouths
  • little ones growing big
  • clear skies full of stars
  • clean, cold air awakening the senses
  • boxes of books in the mailbox
  • the mailbox just down the road
  • neighbors with the same last name - family every one
  • scraps of satin that together make a whole
  • aprons waiting to be sewn
  • paper clean and crisp and white
  • the smell of ink coming from a new book
  • the sound of little feet coming down the stairs
  • stories old pictures tell
  • fighting that reveals the needs of young hearts
  • memories being made