2.26.2013

It's What I Said

Mighty Man of God is nailing the flaps of a cardboard box to the sides with a hammer and nail. I told him he could. What? OK, I didn't exactly say he could, but I understand why he thought I did. Ever had that happen? Said something and then realized that what you said could have been saying something else to those who were listening?

He wanted to build something for Giggle. He wanted to use wood, but I didn't want him opening the door in a snowstorm to get wood from the woodpile. Last time he did that, a fair portion of the pile ended up falling over. Older brother wasn't a happy camper about that. So, I told him he could use the cardboard boxes by the back door, the ones the groceries came home in. So, he did. He got the box and proceeded to "build" a garage for Giggle's barbie dolls. However, those side flaps were really in the way so he had to get them down. Solution? Nail those puppies to the sides.

Cute, precious, amusing, totally manlike, but probably not what Mama would have chosen as a solution. When I suggested tape instead he informed me that he couldn't as he didn't have any tape. Hmmm, he didn't technically have any hammer and nails either. Those are mine from my drawer. Guess I didn't have duct tape or any other tape stronger than transparent in my drawer. Mama needs to listen to what she is saying before she says it. She also needs to be aware that what she says might not be what others hear. Just because I know what I'm talking about doesn't mean anyone else does. Just something for me to think on while I go find something stronger than transparent tape and less dangerous than nails.

2.25.2013

Grow Some Aloe or Something Else

I have been waiting to post about our aloe vera plant. However I wanted to make certain that I didn't accidentally kill it first. Well, other than the fact that due to my paranoia of overwatering, I almost sent it to an early demise by underwatering, it is thriving. Not only thriving, but producing lil' aloe babies for us to repot with great regularity. As a matter of fact, between Not of This World's aloe vera and my own two, we now have 26 plants between us. Yes, twenty-six. That isn't counting the two or three we have given away as gifts.

What are we going to do with all of these aloe plants is our famous question to ask each other. With this many plants surely one of them can be used in homemade hair, skin, and body care products. Unlike last spring when I wouldn't even donate one leaf of my new plant for Colonel Redeemed's sunburn. Well, not until one of the leaves fell off from being accidentally bumped. Sad but true. If nothing else, at least we now know we won't kill them. Point of this post? If you need an all purpose, beneficial, hard-to-kill plant, give aloe vera a go. If the leaves start shriveling and turning reddish brown, it needs water. 

Houseplants can be beneficial in many ways. They are an inexpensive way to add a fresh look to any space. Those tiny little Norfolk Island Pines found in discount centers every Christmas will grow to become nice, large houseplants. Purchasing them at Christmastime makes it possible to have an exotic-looking plant tree in about four years. Ask me how I know. I also have two smaller plants, one an ivy and the other a dieffenbachia, that began as teeny tiny $2.95 cent specials at a greenhouse two springs ago. Some day, the dieffenbachia could become a giant. For now though it is a pretty splash of variegated green with white centers brightening the top of a bookcase. Maybe by the time it is large, I will have a space figured out to put it.

As plants grow, slips from them can be rooted and repotted to make new plants for gifts or other rooms in the house. Some plants will eventually need to be divided into smaller, more manageable ones. At last count, a Parlor Palm given to us five or six years ago has now become five or six fair-sized Parlor Palms. That count is after several repottings passed the great divide of houseplants too. Not even Parlor Palms can survive the helpful hands of a toddler sometimes. Be advised: if your little one watches you repot your plants, he or she will most likely try and do the same - with the same plants you just repotted - repeatedly. He or she may also help water said plants, too much. Neither practice will extend the life of your plants. If your Parlor Palm gets too large or gangly for your taste, it can be trimmed down to a few inches above the soil line. It will come back and allow you to start over again; it is a very hardy plant.

Using houseplants is very similar to changing an outfit of clothing by wearing it with different accessories. Accessories extend a wardrobe; plants provide new looks for a home. Both save financial resources. I love summertime when I can put a palm on either side of the open screen in the bedroom, and I almost can't wait to put them in my future bathroom someday. There is something so, I don't know, something I just enjoy about that look. Even if the palms don't particularly love the strong breezes, they recover well with a little TLC aka moving them back from the door. Besides, they didn't cost me anything other than a bit of time and there are more growing. When the porch has a roof on it, I hope to have enough philedendreums ready to hang from it each summer. It is a fun and almost free way to play with my home's decor.

I would be remiss however if I didn't warn about the potential for an addiction to growing things developing. I would also be negligent if I didn't let you know that many plants grown for outside use in the summer will require a home inside for the cold season, if you live where there is a cold season. Because of the potential addiction to growing things, the house can get a bit of a jungle feel if there are too many plants hanging out. Though the plants do add much needed moisture to the air, too much moisture if there are too many of them congregated in one space. Please don't ask my family about this. Just letting you know that a person might wish to consider these things before jumping in. It would be ever so sad to have an entire summer's worth of effort die due to winter's lack of space and/or light. It also most unpleasant to face the results of excess moisture in the home.

With those notices out of the way, let's end our chat with a hearty encouragement from me to you to give some sort of houseplant a try. The boost of freshness will liven the dreariest wintry day by reminding of the promise of spring soon to come. Spring. Oh! If you want to grow grass for Easter, the time to get it started is coming up soon! I think that two weeks from now will be time enough to get it going. Almost makes me squeal just thinking about it. I am definitely smiling. I love, love, love growing grass in the house! It is just so new, fresh, and clean looking! Yeah, let's go grow something. Let's do it right now, ok?


2.22.2013

Sometimes

Sometimes...sometimes we just need to get away, away with the One who made and loves us. Sometimes when we are facing something, we need Him more than anything or anyone else, more than the air we breathe, more than food, more, we just. need. Him. more.

When children no longer want us in their lives, when cancer and disease wreak havoc in our bodies, when there are no friends, when the dark presses in and confusion screams loud, we need Him. There simply isn't any other who will do. Sometimes we need those quiet streams and green pastures promised in Psalm 23, but sometimes, we just need Him. Sometimes, even green pastures and still waters aren't enough, only He can still the crazy wildness inside, only He.

If today is one of those "sometimes" for you, please know that He loves you. He has a good plan for you. He longs to comfort and protect you. Come to Him, share your heart, tell Him your cares. He will take your life and make something beautiful of it, if you will offer it to Him. He, Jesus, He, is the answer to Sometimes.

* Occasionally a pressing need to share will enter the day, even when another posting is already scheduled. While two posts in one day can be an inconvenience that results in extra emails, I know there is a reason the need comes. Thank you for your gracious understanding when extra emails arrive in your inbox. It is my sincerest prayer that someone is blessed and ministered to by God's love for them, His love that stirs the pressing need in me and also provides the words to write. It is He who loves us. It is He who leads and guides, even in the words.

Ph Balanced Shampoo & Update on Laundry Sauce

Ever considered creating your own shampoo? Here is a quick and easy recipe for one that has a correct ph balance, a very important thing. I haven't made this yet as I don't have coconut milk or coconut to make it myself, yet. Will report results as soon as I have some to report. Must admit that I am very excited to try this as finding a shampoo that works for both my hair and scalp is beyond rare. Really hope it is as good as it was reported to be.

SHAMPOO:

1/4 C. coconut milk (can purchase or make own using recipe below)
3 heaping Tablespoons of aloe vera gel (from plant or purchased - use only 100% aloe vera if purchased)

Mix and use. Store in refrigerator. Could provide one week's worth of shampoo, depending on number of people using.

Recommended to put directly on scalp, massage in, allow to remain in during shower and rinse at end. Reported to do magical things for hair when used in this manner.

COCONUT MILK:

4 c. water
1 1/2 to 2 C. shredded coconut, unsweetened

Bring water to boil. Add coconut and water to blender. Blend until mixed. strain through cheesecloth to remove bits of coconut. Store in refrigerator. Edible.

Note on concentrated laundry sauce from earlier post: Made laundry sauce, but didn't follow instructions correctly as I accidentally switched the last two steps. Ended up whipping before turning upside down to separate. Seemed to be fine. Still sitting upside down looking very pretty and white. I used three smaller bars of castille soap in place of the Fels Naptha so the end color was white instead of cream. Felt very light and smooth. Hoping for nice, clean results. Know will work in spite of my mistake. Will test it out on our grimiest - and that is grimy! I am certain that there is something it will clean around this house. If nothing else, it would make a great scrubbing cream for the sink or bathroom. I will probably use white vinegar in the rinse cycle as a softener/clarifier just to get in the habit for diapers soon to come.

2.21.2013

What She Said

This is my heart's desire as well, to lead to Jesus. May He lead us all. In Him, Blessed Mama

Money-Saving Websites


Just a quick "hey!" to let you know about a couple of money-saving sites. These sites are filled with ideas, recipes, and lots of money-saving possibilities. Enjoy!

The first link takes you to a site that saves on groceries by providing weekly menu ideas. Each week has a menu for approx. $50 for a family of four, maybe more.
http://www.grocerybudget101.com/content.php/8-menus

This next site is filled with budget saving ideas in all areas. The link takes you directly to a gag gift page that has some really fun ideas. It's got me thinking Christmas already! Better get the ideas written down before I forget them.
http://www.budget101.com/frugal/gag-gifts-137/

2.19.2013

Laundry Reality

I've always been a sucker for a cute illustration! The following picture is no exception. There really isn't anything to post along with this other than the reality of the difference soon-coming Victorious Man of God is going to make in the laundry department of our house. This dose of reality struck as I looked at some of the blankets, diapers, and sleepers hanging on the line after going through the laundry. Wow! is our clothesline going to look different for a while. Sweetly different, but a change is a comin' nonetheless.

Also, just a quick heads up, if anyone is going to be looking for or sewing new clothing for Spring celebrations, Easter is in March this year. That is only a little over one month away. We're scouting through our stash of mismatched sheets this afternoon to see what we can find to stitch up into play tops and bottoms for Giggle. The sewing machine is still out from putting together some cloths and wipes for the baby so figured we'd use it while it's out.

Hope you enjoy the sweet picture below. I just couldn't resist putting it in.

Mouse Laundry

2.18.2013

Homemade Laundry Sauce

Laundry




Here is another homemade laundry detergent recipe to try. There were a lot of happy reviewers in the comments section at the link below. There were also a lot of helpful experiences to learn from listed as well. Though Fels Naptha has more chemicals than I have cared to use before, it would still be less toxic than a traditional laundry detergent. Some reviewers also used half of another type of soap and half of the recommended Fels Naptha to tone it down a bit. Fast food restaurant workers and farmers have all used it with great success. I may go ahead and give it a go even though I like our powdered version really well. We’ll just have to see.

Click here for recipe!!!. There are detailed instructions and photos to guide in the making.




Clothes on Clothesline

2.15.2013

For Women Only

Seriously. The following post is for women only. Men, you have been warned. If you continue reading, just know, you. have. been. warned.

Ok, ladies. Let's get down to the business side of this post. Abundance is a merge of A Mother's Rewards and Living Large on Less, two former blogs from our home. After blog contributors narrowed down to one, the blogs joined forces. As a result, we publish a wide variety of posts. Our former, frugal-living, money-saving, thrifty-nifty blog, Living Large on Less, was devoted to living large while using less of our financial resources. Today's post is in that exact money-saving, health-promoting vein.

Please, please, please, do not click out of here in disgust when you read today's money-saving, better health topic. Do, however, be forewarned that it is not your average, run of the mill conversation we will be having. This is a "delicate" topic for some. Others may find it something not to be discussed among strangers. I feel that for the sake of our health and our pocketbooks, it is worthy of at least a casual mention.

Cloth diapering, not the topic, is in the middle of a revival among those with little ones. Yes, I am joining in with the crowd and saving money while protecting my soon-to-come wee one from nasty chemicals. Mostly though, I'm saving approx. $1,500 of my husband's hard-earned income. Honesty. It's about honesty. Anyone who has visited any websites to read more on the subject of cloth diapering has most likely noticed another product that has women leaving behind still more disposable products filled with nasty chemicals. I am talking about the cloth menstrual pad, sometimes referred to as a mama pad.

Here is the part you stay with me and don't leave with a disgusted grunt. Five years ago when my youngest child was born, I read some articles concerning cloth menstrual pads. I clicked out with a yuckiedy, yuck, yuck, that is just too out there gross for me. This time around I couldn't help but notice that there is a lot more information available and that more women than ever are switching to them. What's up with this? Once more curiosity got the better of me; I was looking up and reading more. After all, I had to know why women would even consider this. I mean, really?

After reading more testimonials than I really had time to read, I have discovered that not only are women more comfortable, there are numerous health benefits being experienced by a LOT of women. Noticable, life-changing results. Lighter, pain-free monthly cycles are literally changing the lifes of hundreds of women, for the better. The only thing they have done is switch from using disposable protection each month to using cloth. That is it!

For some women, the switch is all about the financial savings. Just like using cloth diapers is for me. Yet for hundreds, if not more, it is about being able to function all month long every month. This is something many haven't been able to do since their teenage years when their cycles first began. We're not talking about women with slight cramps here. These are women who were previously disabled for days each month, in bed, writhing in pain. Women who, like I, had doubts about using a product so far outside of the popular box. Wanting to be certain it was truly something as simple as the use of a cloth menstrual pad, a number of these women switched back to disposable just to see what happened. Almost immediately, they were once again in tremendous pain, unable to sleep. As soon as the disposable pad was replaced with cloth, the pain was gone and their flow once more lightened.

Cleanliness is a huge concern for most, if not all, users. Not a problem at all. In fact, it was testified to be very similar to caring for cloth diapers. As with diapers, the specifics vary from user to user, but all say they were pleasantly surprised at how non-gross using and caring for cloth pads is. I'll let everyone who is interested look more fully into further details of use and care for themselves. An internet search will turn up a wide variety of sources, patterns, and information from an even wider variety of sources. Hopefully, this information will be a source of encouragement and enlightenment for women, like me, who needed to know that there is an alternative. By the way, there are more alternatives to disposable products than cloth menstrual pads available. An internet search will assist in researching these alternatives as well.

Whether the purpose is saving money or improving health, every women needs to be aware that no one must be bound to what every other woman is doing. Each of us possesses the freedom to explore all of our options and choose the one best suited to our personal lifestyle. Every woman has the freedom to make changes to improve her health and/or spend her financial resources as she chooses. Oh yes, before I forget, cloth menstrual pads can be purchased or easily made one's self. To use or not to use, that is a question to be decided individually. May each of our decisions be well-informed, intentional ones.

Note: This post is strictly informative in nature. It is not meant to influence or sway readers one way or the other. Personal decisions are just that, personal. Abundance blog respects the individual freedom of its readers to make individual choices and in no way desires to interfere with that freedom.

Everyone is Fighting Something

Hey There! As I have gone through the past few days, ok, years, I have come to possess a basic understanding of the reality that everyone, everywhere is fighting something. None of us are immune to challenges, struggles, or problems. While not everyone's challenges are as traumatic as everyone else's, everyone is facing something hard. Hard is simply a relative term that can mean horrid or just a bit rough.

Not only is everyone facing some kind of hard, but each hard varies from season to season. Also, not every single day or season is filled with constant hard. There are spots of sunshine and comforting relief dotting the road of life's journey too. When smack dab in the middle of the roughest of the rough, however, those spots of sunshine are often a vague memory that seems way too far away to be relevant to the current fight.

No matter where each of us finds ourselves today, whether in sunshine or storm, I'm pretty sure someone we know is in the middle of a tough go. It may be the toughest, fiercest battle they have ever fought. Today, let's remember each other in loving prayer. Let's join hand to heart and lift our hearts up in petition to the Lover of Our Souls, the One who took all of our sorrows and griefs upon Himself, the One who fought the fight for us that we might live victorious and free. Jesus, the One who has known sorrow and overcome.

Perhaps today is the day to get our Bibles and pray the scriptures. Praying scripture verses such as Isaiah 41:10,14 - Lord I pray for (fill in name of loved one or friend) that they will fear not for You are with them; that they will not look around them in terror or be dismayed, for You are their God. You will strengthen and harden them to difficulties, yes, You will help them; You will hold them up and retain them with Your victorious right hand of rightness and justice. You hold their right hand; You are the Lord their God. Lord, I ask that You would say to them, fear not; You will help them!

This is only an example of one of the many, many scriptures we can pray. Maybe it isn't a loved one or friend fighting the fight. Maybe it's a personal battle raging loud and long. We can pray and declare His Word over ourselves. Using the above verse as a continued example, "Lord I thank you that You are with me. I will not look around in terror or be dismayed, for You are my God. You will strengthen me and harden me to difficulties, yes, You will help me; You will hold me up and retain me with Your victorious right hand of rightness and justice. You hold my right hand; You are the Lord my God Lord, You say to me, Fear not; for You will help me! Therefore, I fear not. Thank you for holding my right hand. Thank you for ... then I might continue on to Psalm 91  and other verses  that tell of His protection and care for me.

Praying and declaring the Word of God over others and ourselves is how we put the Sword of the Spirit (Galatians 6:17) to use, for the Sword the Spirit wields is the Word of God. God says that His Word will not return without accomplishing what He sent it forth to accomplish. (Isaiah 55:11) He also tells us that His Word is alive and active. (Hebrews 4:12)

As we obey God's command to love our neighbor as ourself and lift those around us in prayer, why not put the armor He has given us to use? Praise the Lord! We don't have to fight the fight by ourselves, for He is with us. Even if there isn't any other friend or loved one on earth lifting us up, we can still pick up the sword and fight in the strength and might He provides knowing He is always with us and that He never leaves us or forsakes us. We are not alone. Yes, there will be trials and tribulations, but we are of good cheer for He has overcome the world! (John 16:33)

Remembering someone else in prayer is a priceless gift of love. Prayer is a gift that comes straight from the heart, a genuinely authentic act of love. When taken from the greatest love letter of all time, the Holy Bible, something wondrous takes place inside the deepest part of our hearts. Love give deep and free makes every day a celebration of God, who is Love. Wondrous Grace of it all.

2.14.2013

Something Going On

Something Going On is a post written over a month ago. Somehow, it missed getting posted, until now. I was going to delete it, but felt impressed to go ahead and publish, even though it is old. God's blessings to all who come.


Something is going on. Something has gotten way past the stirring inside point and is now at the threatening to spill out and over stage. But the question remains, what is it? What is this that was stirring and now threatens to spill forth past the hidden boundaries of quiet secrets? When it bursts forth from the cocoon of newness will I recognize it? Will I know what it is that God has birthed through me? Will I know what to do with it, when He brings it forth?

So many questions tumble around. It is tempting to demand answers, but demanding answers from Almighty God seems quite wrong. I want to know but am willing to wait for His perfect time. I want much but am satisfied with nothing as long as He has ordained the not knowing. I feel empty but know that unless I am emptied, I cannot be filled with Him. Therefore I sit, I wonder, and I commit all to Him in absolute trust. Is this what resting in Him is? Being content with everything or nothing, as long as He is in it? I pray it is. How I pray it is.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I Love You
 
 
My Beloved!!!
 
 
Happy Valentine's Day!
 
 
Love, Blessed Mama


2.13.2013

Valentine's Treats, Homemade Doughnuts

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and we have begun celebrating early by making homemade doughnuts. Yum, yum, yum. I say "we" because Not of This World stayed up last night helping me fry this large recipe up.This is my Valentine's Day gift to My Beloved. Because they are for an extra special, once in a while occasion, I am not concerning myself with their nutritional value. Eating well the majority of the time allows our bodies to handle once in a while occasions without getting bogged down.

We'll begin with the doughnut recipe itself and proceed onward to the glaze and cream filling. Because My Beloved prefers a white cream filling this is not a pudding type filling recipe. Those who prefer a pudding or Bavarian filling can find recipes via an internet search. The doughnuts are a version of potato doughnuts. As with most homemade dough recipes, these are at their very, very best immediately after cooking. They are however still quite moist and tasty the next morning too. Oh before I forget, it is a large recipe. Unless you are sharing with others or making for a large gathering, you may want to consider halving the recipe. Also, notice the 12 C. of flour. Most home mixers can't handle this large amount of dough resulting in the recipe being mixed by hand. You will get a true workout for your arms by the time the dough is kneaded. Your legs too if you are short enough to require standing on tiptoe to really get into the kneading. Oh wait, maybe I just needed to do that because there is a baby bump in front of me that requires some adjustments in order to reach what I need to. Most readers probably won't need to make such adjustments.

Doughnuts
  • 4 C. milk
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 C. shortening
  • 1 tsp. baking soad
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbl. vanilla
  • 2 pkg. yeast
  • 1 C. warm potato water
  • 1 C. mashed potatoes
Mix the above ingredients and let set 30 minutes or until foamy. Then add:

  • 4 well beaten eggs
  • 1 Tbl. salt
  • 12 C. flour
Knead. Let rise until doubled in size. Roll out to approx. 3/4 " thickness. Cut out into whatever size and/or shape you prefer. Let rise until doubled in size. Cook in hot oil flipping when one side is golden. While still hot dip in glaze.

Glaze

  • 1/2 C. butter
  • Approx. 1/4 C. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Heat over medium heat until melted. Remove from heat and rapidly stir in:

  • 4 C. powdered sugar
  • 2 t. maple flavoring
* for chocolate glaze, add 4 oz. choc. to melting mix and decrease powdered sugar to 2 C. For traditional glaze, omit both maple flavoring and chocolate using 4 C. powdered sugar.

Cream Filling

  • 1 C. shortening
  • 1 C. butter
  • 4 C. confectioner's sugar
  • 4 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 C. marshmallow creme
Cream above ingredients together. Dissolve:
  •  1/4 tsp. salt in 2 tsp. very hot water.
Add to above mixture and beat until blended. Fill doughnuts as desired.

 
Please remember that love doesn't require a physical gift. True love is a gift in and of itself. Showing our love in a fun, new ways is always a treat, no matter how little or much these new ways cost. Have you ladies ever had your toenails painted by your beloved? Now that is romance no amount of diamonds or costly gifts can even begin to touch! What can we ladies do to speak our beloved's romance language? I'm sure there is something. Ask God, He will give us just the ideas we need, at just the right price too. Try Him and see if He won't. We will need to be willing to hear and do something that perhaps we didn't expect to hear though:)
 
Needing help getting in the groove of love this Valentine's? Try reading 1 Corinthians 13. Allow it to saturate your heart and mind. Married folks might benefit from going to Song of Solomon and soaking there awhile. 1 John 4:7, 8 tells us that God is love. Since He is love, it only makes sense that spending time with Him and His Word will aid us in filling up our love tanks. Once we are filled, we will be able to overflow our abundance onto those around us for love, true love, is about the giving rather than the getting.
 
Enjoy your doughnuts and have a Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow! 


Wellness, It's a Frugal Journey

Natural Living, Wellness, there are many different terms to describe a lifestyle of less is more. Less chemicals, less expense, less synthetic turns into more real, more natural, more quality. Recently, I discovered a website that is a literal goldmine of information and recipes for anyone in pursuit of more using less. Wellness Mama

If you go under the natural living tab at the top of the page, you will find many recipes for cleaners, skin care products, baby care, and on and on and on. Seriously, this is no joke, there is a recipe that would enable you to make your own products for virtually every use in the home. How wonderful would that be? Being able to know exactly what ingredients are being used to care for your home and body? Many of the products utilize common ingredients that are easy to find. Expense is kept to a minimum by purchasing items in bulk when possible.

Because these recipes are all in one convenient location, a person can implement as many or as few of them as they want into their life. There are even recipes for men's shaving cream and skin care. No one is left out. The author also includes tips for how she uses the cleaning products. I am especially interested in trying her cleaning recipes and tips in the bathroom area. Personally, I feel her opinion holds more weight as she actually has more than one male in the house. That does make bathroom cleanup different, especially when one of those males is little, trust me on this.

Wellness Mama will be a blessing of information for you and your family. It also provides gift giving options galore. I know it is a site I will be visiting often. Maybe I will see you there!

2.12.2013

Writing It Down



I recently read that there is a 98% chance for success when we write down our dreams, goals, plans. Wow! That is quite a percentage! Enough of a percentage in fact to find me writing down a lot more than I previously have been. Granted, it would probably have a greater opportunity to meet with success if I were writing it all down in the same place instead of scattered throughout two or three notebooks, but hey, I'm writing more down. It does help with eliminating mental clutter in my mind I think. So, that is today's quick tip for abundant living: write it down, all of it.

Whether the thoughts running through my mind are filled with recipes and meals to add to the monthly menu plan or ideas for school lessons matters not. What matters is that they find their way onto paper before they fly away never to be found again. Maybe it isn't a thought or idea at all. Maybe it is a sketch of a doodle that I'm seeing inside. Perhaps it is a random wonder I hope to study out further later. It could be a poem, a chore needing done, or nothing more than a "someday I want to..." sort of thing. Whatever it is, I am discovering what a wondrous thing it is to get it written down. I'm just about ready to keep a notebook continually open on the counter for this very purpose. Even if the only thing that finds its way into the notebook is a thought of thankfulness as it comes to me, the open book will be worth cleaning under and around.

While there are dozens of printables for dozens of notebooks and journals available, I am thinking that a regular notebook or legal pad will work best for me. What about you? Are you already writing it all down? What works best for you? A smash book? An official journal? The back of envelopes? A calendar? A sketchpad? Do you crave colored ink? Black ink? Whatever writing utensil you find handy? Do you use stickers, special envelopes and other add ons? No matter how you do it, no matter what sort of journal/notebook you use, does it work? Is it doable for you and your situation?

Please, please, please leave a comment sharing your thoughts and tips on writing it all down with us. If you would rather, email is available at amothersrewards@gmail.com. Thank you for visiting with us. We love it when visitors come and share.



2.11.2013

Abundance in Learning

As winter rushes by, those of us at Abundance House are finding out that purposeful, intentional living has the ability to reveal itself in a variety of areas. Even school can be filled with abundance. Read aloud time in school has found us devouring a couple of books about pioneer children. What began with a book Giggle received for Christmas, has resulted in us now reading the adult version of the same pioneer child’s story. No Time on My Hands by Nellie Snyder Yost as told by Grace McCance Snyder, has started to fill quite a bit of our day.

Remembrances of herding cattle at age five and many other “older kids” chores have Giggle and Mighty Man of God thinking they really like their lives now with their much easier chores. As a mama I find myself wondering if I am allowing them to live below their talents and abilities. Giggle’s desire to quilt has definitely been fed by Grace Snyder’s stories. Even the older ones and Papa have been known to sneak a listen in as we read these true life accounts of pioneering Nebraska in the late 1880s.

When Grace McCance was a small girl pioneering in southern Nebraska with her family, my husband’s family was pioneering here on the ranch we now live. Dugouts, sod houses, and other experiences were lived by pioneer families the country over. Some day perhaps my great, great grandchildren will consider the stories of Giggle and the other children to be those of pioneers. For surely there is surprisingly much the same for my prairie children of today as of those way back then.

Of course this is Abundance House so naturally we aren’t reading only one book. The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess is also providing much knowledge about common birds. We are enjoying observing the birds we read about feeding at the feeder outside our living room window. There truly is no better way to learn than by personal observation. Being able to recognize individual birds by sight is almost like becoming acquainted with a new friend. Better still, it is fun. It is most especially fun when you are four and six years old and are able to “inform” your much older brother and sisters about all of the various birds and the traits of their families.

Learning is a cycle that can be never-ending, if we allow it. The more one learns, often the more he or she wants to know. On and on the learning goes until an entire lifestyle has been developed. So, in spite of the fact that none of our birds have eaten the extra special treat we made them out of a pinecone, peanut butter, and bird seed, they still come to the main feeder so that we can watch them and observe firsthand their personalities and tendencies. Observing my children observing the birds and watching them embrace the thrill of learning for themselves is a treasure to hold close and dear. If you notice that we’re not showing up for visits as often or that our visits are shorter, we’re probably snuggled in close reading about those pioneer children of long ago or gathered with breath held still watching our new feathered friends. We’re drinking in the abundance of us all together living, loving, and learning fully, wholly, completely, intentionally, right here, right now.

We would love to hear how you are living full, complete, on purpose at your house! We’ll be looking for your comment or email telling us all about it. Don’t think you are? Perhaps you are and don’t realize it. Email:
amothersrewards@gmail.com. or just click on the comment link right below.

 

2.08.2013

Freezer Cooking, Less Stress

Banana muffins, tortillas, noodles, meatloaf, lasagna, cookie dough, breakfast casserole, homemade runzas, and a host of other food items are finding their way into the freezer as Not of This World works at making the first few weeks after Victorious Man of God’s entry to our family as easy as possible. She has done it all by herself. Well, I did nibble a bit of muffin that fell onto the counter and offered recipe consultant services off and on. While I am not certain this stocking of the freezer is something we will continue indefinitely, it is comforting to know that meals for those first days of adjustment are almost complete and that they are waiting.

Besides serving as taste tester and recipe consultant, I have also been jotting down meal plans for this month and next. These monthly meal plans have been adapted to our personal lifestyle by including Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper all three instead of only dinner as many menu plans do. Page numbers of new recipes have also been included with each meal along with the name of the cookbook used added at the top of the chart. Since a baby’s arrival is unpredictable at best, I have prepared a separate two week “after baby” meal plan without specific dates. This two week plan can be plugged into the monthly meal calendar whenever it is needed. The meals on the “after baby” plan are nursing friendly. We don’t want an upset tummy to be part of our adjustment time with Victorious Man of God.

I am truly blessed to be taken care of so thoroughly. However, I simply can’t do nothing while Not of This World does all of the work. So I have planned to put some dishes in the freezer myself during the next few days. A veggie beef soup will be making its way into the freezer. French bread, dinner rolls, and chicken broth are also on the list to be frozen. Not everything going into the freezer is a complete dish or meal. Some items will be individual components that can be used to throw together quick as a wink meals or snacks later. Examples of these are tortillas, cookie dough, and rolls. Meats and veggies are either already in the freezer or will be prepared in slow cookers as needed.

Have any of you done any freezer cooking? Was it in preparation of a future event? If you have, please feel free to share your experience and/or expertise with us at
amothersrewards@gmail.com or leave a comment sharing tips and advice. We look forward to hearing from you.

2.07.2013

Resting?

Something is going on. Something has gotten way past the stirring inside point and is now at the threatening to spill out and over stage. But the question remains, what is it? What is this that was stirring and now threatens to spill forth past the hidden boundaries of quiet secrets? When it bursts forth from the cocoon of newness will I recognize it? Will I know what it is that God has birthed through me? Will I know what to do with it, when He brings it forth?

So many questions tumble around. It is tempting to demand answers, but demanding answers from Almighty God seems quite wrong. I want to know but am willing to wait for His perfect time. I want much but am satisfied with nothing as long as He has ordained the not knowing. I feel empty but know that unless I am emptied, I cannot be filled with Him. Therefore I sit, I wonder, and I commit all to Him in absolute trust. Is this what resting in Him is? Being content with everything or nothing, as long as He is in it? I pray it is. How I pray it is.

2.06.2013

More Than A Man Child

Six weeks from yesterday. Six weeks until a man given date approximates what is due. There is a scurrying, a hurrying, a drive to prepare. Yet there is also a drawing, a desire to pull away and soak. Soak in Him. Nesting? Perhaps. Perhaps though God is using this nesting urge He placed within me to prepare to birth more than a man child. Perhaps He is using it to bring forth new in other areas of my life. With Him all things are possible ( Mark 10:27 ) Such a thing could be.

As I soak in His presence, I find myself pondering the possibility that perhaps I am almost in a now season. A new now season. That one of the passions that has been lying deep in my heart waiting to take root, grow, and bear fruit is possibly almost ready for harvest. While I have been going on about daily life knowing He and He alone will bring it forth at the right time, my heart has been preparing to give birth to more than the eye can see, more than arms can hold.

Ahhh, the delight of new life. It didn’t come with grand fanfare or exotic manifestation. This heart passion has slowly, gently, steadily grown until the time to bear fruit should come. I am sensing the time to begin is now. Now, in this season where the new life that has been growing in the inner secret place is also preparing to come forth. Birthing time is near, birthing of both the physical and the spiritual.

Truly I wouldn’t have chosen now. It wouldn’t have made sense to me to begin another new now, but I know that His ways are not my ways. That unlike mine, His ways are perfect, lacking nothing. That if He is truly leading as I seem to sense, everything I will need has already been provided. In Him I am confident. In my weakness, He is strong.

So here I go. I take the keyboard in hand and begin to type. Typing letter after letter until words, words from above, take shape and become life. There is a possibility no one will ever see these words, that they will never be seen by another’s eyes. Still I will type, and I will continue typing until the stream inside runs dry, until there are no more words left to share.

What about you? Are you too finding yourself in a season of the almost now, a time where you sense something new inside waiting to be born? How are you preparing? Will you join me in rejoicing and celebrating the new that is soon to come? Will you hunker in close to the One who loves you so and allow Him to fill you with Himself and Him alone? Smack dab in the middle of the hurrying and scurrying to get things in order before the birth will you steal away and spend time with the Lover of your soul knowing that only He can truly prepare us for this birthing of the new?