March 30, 2012

Our Miscellaneous Week!

It's been a busy week here at our house! For some unknown reason, I assumed that I would be able to paint a bedroom in only one day. Hmmmm.....five days later, and I'm barely halfway done. I have five little reasons to blame....:) Mostly the newbie this time. Poor little guy has terrible eczema, and I am discovering that the worse his eczema is, the fussier he is, and the more tummy troubles he has. I'm fairly certain it's related to something I am eating, but I have not been able to find the culprit(s) yet. He has been miserable the last couple of days, though. Our church has also had special services this week, and so we have been leaving home each evening around 5:30 and not returning until around 10:00 at night! Long nights, but wonderful messages and well worth the time!

Well, to add to all that, we also need to throw in the Mr.'s birthday! Thankfully, the Mr. hates birthdays, and so our lack of celebration did not bother him at all! :) His birthday was on Wednesday, and except for church service, I don't think we saw the man! We made up for it Thursday night, though, and spent the evening resting up at home. I made his favorite...homemade spaghetti! He's not a huge cake fan, and so I went against all tradition and made raspberry cobbler. The Mr. loved it. The kids are still asking, "Where's the cake?"

I just have to pause here and say that I love the man God gave me with all my heart. I'm so thankful that I had parents who encouraged me to wait for the right man that God wanted me to have. I'm thankful that we were not raised with the boyfriend/girlfriend philosophy. That's not to say I didn't have a few crushes growing up, but I never gave my heart to anyone until I met my Mr.! If there is one thing I want my daughters to know it's that they don't need to worry about impressing guys or even finding the right guy. Their most important priority needs to be their relationship with their Savior. If that is right, all is well, and they can trust that God will provide everything they need (including a man) at just the time they need it. One of my new favorite quotes:

A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek him just to find her.
~Max Lucado

That can apply to us married women too, but this is definitely one that my little ladies are going to hear a lot!

Well, today we are heading off to our big town around here for some serious Easter shopping! This is always a huge event for us girls! The boys are still trying to talk the Mr. into letting them go to work with him for the day. We shall see... :)

I hope this post makes a wee bit of sense. I'm writing it at 4:45 am. TOOOOOO much Mountain Dew yesterday! :) (Serious sign of old age!!!) Hope you all have a fantabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend ahead! Enjoy every moment you have and find a reason to celebrate today! :)

More of God's undeserved graces to me:
41. Birthday celebrations
42. Preachers who preach the Word
43. God's faithful working in my heart despite all of my unfaithfulness to Him
44. Conversations with my little 5 year old man...they always bring a smile!
45. A team of people who came into our church and fed our children's spiritual appetites - such Godly truths they were being taught this week!
46. A fresh coat of paint on a wall...despite the work and interruptions
47. My kiddos love of reading
48. God working in the lives of two of our friends. Pray for them if God lays it on your heart. They were so close to coming to our services. We're going to tackle them for Easter now! :)
49. The rain that leaves the air so clean!
50. Spring time!

March 27, 2012

Blueberry Jello Salad

I fixed this recipe for my family last week, and it was declared "amazing!" Give it a try and let me know what your family thinks of it! :) Happy Tuesday, All!

Blueberry Jello Salad

3 small boxes black raspberry jello
2 cups boiling water
1 can blueberries, drained
1 lg. can crushed pineapple, drained
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 lg. container of Cool Whip
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Make Jello with water and juice from blueberries and pineapple; set aside 2 cups. Do not refrigerate. Add blueberries and pineapple to rest of Jello and pour into oblong pan. Refrigerate to set.

Topping: Mix soft cream cheese and cool whip together. Add the 2 cups of Jello mixture and stir in the nuts. Pour on top of the set Jello and refrigerate until ready to serve.

March 26, 2012

More Ideas for Easter

It's hard to believe how quickly Easter is approaching! There is not much time left at all, and I have a lot to do....make that, EVERYTHING left to do. Hopefully, we will be doing our Easter shopping on Friday! The girls and I love Easter shopping day! The boys...not so much! We love doing special things for and with our family for each holiday. We want to build wonderful and fun memories for our children, but we also want to make sure the emphasis is placed on the true meaning of these special days. Here are a few more ideas that you might consider adding to your Easter this year.

Idea number 1: This is my newest found idea, and our family is going to make this tomorrow:

Plant an Easter Garden! Using potting soil, a tiny buried flower pot for the tomb, shade grass seed, & crosses made from twigs. Sprinkle grass seed generously on top of dirt, keep moistened using a spray water bottle. Spritz it several times a day. Set it in a warm sunny location. Sprouts in 7-10 days so plan ahead. What a beautiful idea and a wonderful way for younger kids to visualize the empty tomb!

Idea number 2: Our family is reading the book Amon's Adventure: A Family Story for Easter by Arnold Ytreeide. It is a chapter book and definitely written for the interest of elementary age children. My oldest two are completely enthralled with it, and my younger two listen while coloring or quietly playing with blocks. We haven't finished it yet, and so I cannot give a complete review, but so far, it is a wonderful story of a little boy who lives in the days of Jesus and becomes entangled in the trial and death of Jesus. It tells the story of Jesus' last week here on earth from Amon's perspective. It gives a detailed picture of Jesus' death and resurrection and makes the details more real to the children as they read from another child's perspective. If you have elementary children, I would highly recommend reading this each Easter.

Idea number 3: The resurrection eggs...another great visual reminder of all that Jesus did for us. You can visit this website for more details of how the resurrection eggs work. This year, instead of using eggs, I am hanging each symbol on an Easter tree. We will do one symbol each day during our morning reading of Proverbs. You can do one each day as a short devotional type, or you can sit down and do all of them at once during a longer Bible time. FYI: For the "empty" on the last day, I will use an empty Easter egg to hang on the tree.

Idea number 4: I am also using the book So Much Bigger Than the Bunny by Tasha J. Via. In it, she gives one family activity to do during the "Holy Week" (the week before Easter). A couple of examples are explaining the Lord's Supper and making unleavened bread, making Easter baskets for your neighbors and giving them an invitation to your church's Easter Sunday service when you deliver it, choosing something to give up on the Saturday before Easter (the day of waiting). These are all wonderful ways to help your children realize that all that Jesus did for us was REAL, and it helps involve them in preparing to CELEBRATE how wonderful Easter is!

Idea number 5: I accidentally discovered a great devotional in the form of a downloadable e-book to use with younger children the week before Easter. You can find it here. It doesn't give a sample, and so I bought it praying it would be useful, and it was! It is only $6.95, and I do think it was worth the money. Each day discusses things that took place during Jesus' last week on earth and is written out in a devotional style so that you can just sit and read it to your kiddos. It gives great discussion questions to ask your elementary age children, and it closes with a family activity or game that helps solidify the devotional. If you're looking for something short and simple to do together as a family, this would be a great choice!

I know there are a lot of ideas here, and some of them take some planning ahead. Please don't feel as though you need to use all of them. After all, we don't want to become busy and stressed with even the best of intentions. That takes away from the remembering and celebrating. Do what works for you and your family. Start small and grow! Have fun, but most of all, spend time in prayer asking God how He would like your family to remember and celebrate the sacrifice He made!

March 22, 2012

Proverbs and the Kiddos

Just thought I'd pass along a new idea that we've been trying in our house for the last month. The Mr. and I both believe that the book of Proverbs is an extremely important book for our children to become very familiar with, but we also realized that we needed to become more familiar with it as well so that we can teach them to our children. Last month, we began reading a chapter of Proverbs each day...well, with five kiddos at the breakfast table (because the newbie also thinks he needs to join us even though he doesn't eat "big food" yet), that goal lasted for an entire half of a chapter! We quickly found out that there is too much information in Proverbs to truly be able to digest an entire chapter in a day. And so, we read 10 verses from a chapter each day. For example, today is March 22, we read Proverbs 22:1-10. On April 22, we will read Proverbs 22:11-20 (or the end of the chapter if it is less than 20 verses). At the end of each reading, the mr. and I choose a verse to focus on, and I write it on our kitchen window with Crayola's awesome Window Crayons or Markers! The kids LOVE this part, and I really believe this is the reason we have been so consistent. They think it is SOOOO cool that we get to write on the window! I also catch my 8 year reading the verse almost every time she walks through the kitchen! We try...although we haven't been as consistent at this as we say the verse together at each meal, and I also try to bring it to their attention as it applies to situations in our every day life. Anyway, just thought I'd share another way to put Scripture continuously in front of your family. How do you bring Scripture into your family's every day life? I'd love to hear! Now, the kiddos and I are heading off to the park to enjoy an absolutely gorgeous spring day! I'm looking forward to counting all the little blessings God has given me while I soak up some sun!
Yes, I realize this isn't my kitchen window, but the view is much better out this window....and there's no crack in it! :)

March 21, 2012

A Blessing That Made Me Cry and a Book Review

Why are we so amazed and surprised when God gives us something? Why are we so shocked when He sends encouragement our way? Why do we ask for so little with so little faith? Psalm 145:16 says that Thou (God) openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. All throughout Scripture, God tells us of how he longs to bless us and fulfill our hearts' desires and give us life abundant. And yet, I found myself in tears this morning when I discovered that God had (in a round about and very God-like way) given me one of the desires of my heart.

A couple of months ago, I was introduced to an author named Sally Clarkson. I had never heard of her before, but after I read three pages of her book The Ministry of Motherhood, I felt as though we were kindred spirits. I have read A LOT of books on motherhood, and I always learn so much, but for me, Sally's books have had extra special meaning. She is a mother of four who homeschooled all of her children, and they are proof that what she has done and is teaching others to do works! If you are a mom, you MUST read The Ministry of Motherhood.

In the book, Sally covers each of the five LifeGifts that she and her husband passed down to her children. They are the gifts of Grace, Inspiration, Faith, Training and Service. Clay's and Sally's entire philosophy of parenting their children was based on discipleship - teaching, training and nurturing their children the same way Jesus did with his disciples. She breaks each gift down into short devotional style chapters that include excellent examples and practical ways to use each gift in your family. Each gift also begins with a story of how Jesus demonstrated it to his disciples. If the desire of your heart is to see your children grow in grace and wisdom and then to pass that on to others in their lives, then this book is for you!

Sally also writes a blog and hosts several conferences each year for moms. This brings me to the blessing that made me cry. Because I just found out about Sally, I did not know she hosted conferences for moms until they were almost here. I was seriously looking to buy a plane ticket to Texas three days before the conference there (which was the last one she had scheduled for this year). I couldn't find a ticket even close to reasonable, and so I decided I would just have to begin making plans for next year. However, Sally announced on her blog today, that they are going to make available for purchase all of her seminars that she has done - not only this year, but for the last FIFTEEN YEARS since she first began this ministry! Can I just say I have my listening material covered for a good little while! I looked quickly at the website, and it looks like you can purchase most of the sessions for $2.99 each, and I guarantee you will walk away with a lot of inspiration for being a better mom!

I am so thankful for the older moms in my life who have taken the time to encourage and mentor me. I think of my own mom who was a wonderful example of all a mother should be and of the encouragement she offers me. I think of my pastor's wife who never has anything negative to say about my parenting despite all the antics she sees my children pulling! And I am so thankful for the many, many others who encourage and pray and continue to exemplify godliness in their mothering. So, if you're a mommy who's struggling with the "everydayness of mommyhood," (I just totally spazzed out the spell check), go get some inspiration at the links below.

Sally's blog link:
Sally's facebook page:
The link to purchase the audio recording (the ones I purchased were downloadable):

March 20, 2012

Three Beans and Sausage

It's been rather quiet here in this little place the last week. Our family was hit by the "Flu of Death" (as my friend Rachel called it)! High fevers, headaches, tummy aches, body aches....I thought my eye balls were literally going to have to be taken out if they did not stop hurting! I was down as well as all four older kiddos, and of course, Mommy is very necessary to the newbie right now. So, I felt a little over needed last week! :) We all seem to be doing great now except for that cough that just wants to hang on. We were able to get back to the school routine this week, and it has gone really well! You are all invited to drop by the house and check out our cool solar system hanging in the living room. We made it yesterday for science. That project also included knocking over and completely ruining the aloe vera plant. Five kids....trying to hang balloons from the ceiling....need I say more? :) Nothing is ever simple around here! We were able to go swimming at an indoor pool with some friends today, and that was a blast as well!
I have so much on my heart that I've been wanting to share, but I must needs go start some bread dough so that it has time to rise before dinner tonight. I thought I'd just share a quick recipe for our Tummy Tempting Tuesday, and hopefully, I can post more tomorrow! I hope you all are having a great week!

Three Beans and Sausage

1 1/2 lbs. smoked sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 1/2 oz.) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup water
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
2/3 cup chopped celery
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dried oregano (optional)
1/4 tsp. dried thyme (optional)
Hot cooked rice

In a 5 qt. slow cooker, combine the first 12 ingredients. Sprinkle with oregano and thyme if desired. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 4 1/2 hours or until heated through. Discard bay leaf. Serve with rice.

March 13, 2012

A Hot Drink for A Dreary Day

I don't know what the weather is like in the rest of the states, but here where we are, it is DREARY and breezy. The perfect weather for hot tea! Our family is also struggling with coughs and fever right now, and this tea is perfect for making you feel warm all the way through! I'm off to make me some right now! :)

Spiced Tea Mix
3/4 cup instant tea
1/2 pkg. Kool-Aid Lemonade
1 9 oz. jar of Tang
1/2 - 1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups sugar

Mix all the ingredients together and store in a container. When ready to drink, mix 1 cup of hot water with 3-5 tsp. of spiced tea mix. Savor and enjoy!

March 10, 2012

For the Love of Music I'm blogging at 10:30 at night...make that, 11:30 because the time will change, but I'm waiting for a load of laundry to finish, and I also enjoy putting my thoughts down. The last two days have been busy, but a good busy! It has been full of music - which I love! I was able to judge all the vocalists at a music competition yesterday. I enjoy seeing how each student improves from year to year, and I also love hearing new songs that I've never heard before.

Today was a big day for my 8 year old, Miss E. She had her Piano Festival today! Miss E. tends toward the dramatic side. (I really have no idea where she got that from!) She was stressing a little this week over getting ready for this competition. The piano was watered with many tears! On Wednesday morning, after she finished practicing, she let out a huge sigh and said, "Well, Mom, there IS hope!" We were able to have quite a few talks about character and not quitting, and she and I were also able to pray together several times this week about this huge mountain she was facing. I am happy (and a little proud) to say that today she received a Superior score for her pieces. She scored 47 out of 50 points! But seeing her beaming face as she read her score was not nearly as thrilling as hearing her pray at lunch, "Thank You, God, for helping me in my competition, and thank You for giving me a Superior." Now THAT was a thrilling moment.

You know, so many times in this thing called life, it feels like we are getting nowhere - whether it be your own spiritual growth, making a marriage work, conquering a bad habit, child training. There are so many times when it seems like everything we do over and over is useless. I am finding, though, that being consistent and not giving up will pay off. I am so thankful for those moments of encouragement that God gives to me. He allows me to see that He is working in my little girl's heart, and that all this work is not in vain. Don't give up! Don't quit! Nothing good ever comes easy!

I'm going to leave you tonight with a song. This was my favorite new song that I heard yesterday. I have already ordered the music and cannot wait to sing it soon! I hope you are blessed by the beautiful and comforting message that it has.

March 8, 2012

Preparing for Easter

Don't panic! Easter isn't until April 8th! You have an entire month left to buy all those new outfits, get all the candy bought, and Easter eggs dyed. Easter is a wonderful time of year - one of my favorites, and our family does each and every one of the things I just mentioned, but last year, I was convicted about how I prepare myself and my family for Easter. It is a celebration of the greatest event in Christianity - the resurrection of our Savior! And yet, most of us spend more time choosing an outfit and buying candy and getting Easter baskets and eggs ready than we do preparing our hearts for the most wonderful day of worship we have!

I began to do more heart preparation for me and my family last year, but this year, I wasn't caught off guard, and our family has already begun focusing on the wonder of Easter! After all, we put up our Christmas tree light and have an advent calendar and focus on Jesus' birth for an entire month! Why not do the same for His death and resurrection?

This year, we have begun by focusing on short Bible stories from the Old Testament that paint a picture of sin and its consequences. We are also focusing on the lamb sacrifices made and on seeing how God had our salvation planned all along the path of human history! Some of the stories we have read or will read are Adam and Eve, Abraham's obedience in being willing to offer Isaac, and the Passover. We will also read of the major events in Jesus' life on earth beginning with His birth and culminating with his death on Good Friday. Our family is memorizing Isaiah 53:1-7 together, and we are hoping to be able to say it completely from memory by Good Friday. Resurrection Morning will be such much more real and exciting to our children if they understand all that had to take place before we could be able to celebrate! As we study these stories and memorize the Scripture passage, we are trying to find ways to show our children how sinful we are. The only way we will really appreciate salvation is if we realize how undeserving we are of it. We are also trying to show our children how good and merciful God is and how great the sacrifice was that He made for us.

We plan on taking the last week of Jesus' life and studying it in detail the week before Easter. I will be sharing more of those ideas as we finish planning them out. We want our children to never take their salvation for granted but to always be mindful of the great sacrifice God made to save such sinful people! The Mr. and I are also specifically praying for our oldest son this month that God would continue to work in his heart and that maybe this would be his time for salvation. We would love it if you would join us in praying as well as the Lord brings him to your mind.

I encourage to take some time this week to ask yourself how you and your family can prepare for Easter. I'd love to hear any ideas that you have or ones that you already implement in your family. And, as I said earlier, I will try to share more as Easter draws closer. For now, our family has enjoyed the time of Bible story and study, and it has opened the door for many wonderful discussions. I pray that Easter will mean so much more than just a new outfit and an Easter basket. The sacrifice was way too great to trivialize it in that way.

March 7, 2012

Family Scripture Memory

This is a post that I wrote last year, but it's always a good thing to remember great habits! Our Family Scripture Memory was not very consistent during my pregnancy, but we are getting back into the habit of it again, and it's amazing how much it changes the entire atmosphere of our home. Check out the link at the bottom for a great tool that will help form your Scripture memory habits.

Yesterday, I told you of my search for a Scripture verse that I can pray over each of my children. Today, I thought I'd pass on a link to a method of Scripture memory that we are trying to incorporate into our family. It is amazing (once you make it a habit) how much Scripture your entire family can memorize using this method. We try to review our Scriptures every night at supper. It doesn't always work, but it is way better than nothing at all. Usually within a week, our Mr. G who is three can even say the verse, and Miss M. (2) can say most of it. We don't have a whole lot of verses to review yet, but we have a TON in the NEW category.
I truly believe that something that would greatly change even our good Christian families is memorizing more Scripture together. It not only allows the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts, but it also opens up some wonderful conversations. We are working on John 14:2-3 (which also happens to be a verse Miss E. is memorizing for a church group :) ). Last night, Mr. G wanted to keep saying it over and over. Finally, he sighed and said, "I really like that verse!" He didn't know why, but I told him it's because Jesus loves him so much, and Jesus is helping Mr. G to love Him back! Isn't that a wonderful way to end supper time?
Just as a side note: make sure you are not just memorizing Scripture but that you also explain it to your kiddos and show them where they can use it in their every day life. Then, use it yourself! :) If you have little, little ones, start now! They are never too little! Like I said, our 2 year old can say most of the verses with us!
Here is a link so that you can check out the Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory Method yourself!

March 6, 2012

A Little Lasagna with Your Cheese?

Here is a wonderfully delicious lasagna recipe that I was very much looking forward to cooking this week, but alas, I am trying to take out all dairy from my diet to see if it will help my little newbie's rash. So, eat an extra piece for me, will ya? I love this recipe because it has an unhealthy amount of cheese, I'm sure! :)

1 lb. ground beef
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) Italian stewed tomatoes, cut up
(For those of you who can tomatoes, I use a qt. jar and just spice them up with a bit of Italian seasoning.)
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups small-curd cottage cheese (I use the full 16 oz. pkg.)
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (again, I use the full 16 oz. pkg.)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
6 lasagna noodles
(You can use already cooked noodles, or I just buy the oven ready noodles and use those without cooking them first.)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley and garlic; remove from the heat. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cheeses, salt and pepper. Layer three noodles in a greased 13 in. X 9 in baking dish. Top with half of the cottage cheese mixture, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and half of the meat sauce. Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 25-30 minutes longer or until edges are bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Yields 12-15 servings.

This is also a great freezer dish. Just prepare the lasagna as directed, but instead of cooking it, cover it well and place in the freezer!

God's Graces to Me:

31. I can home school my heatherns! :)
32. Hot chocolate on windy days
33. The Holy Spirit who works in my heart
34. That God is working in my children's heart
35. My family is coming to see me in May!
36. Because my family is coming to see me in May, I get to do some updating to the house!
37. Godly grandparents and parents
38. How God's Word is always fresh no matter how many times I read a passage.
39. Encouragement from friends
40. Exercise equipment (even though I don't use it as much as I should)

March 5, 2012

What Price Are You Willing to Pay?

Over the last week, I've been burdened about the reality of spiritual warfare. I think we all are guilty of becoming so submerged in the world and its thinking that we forget that we are engaged in a battle against Satan and sin. There seem to be so few Christians who are actively fighting in the spiritual battle. Many do not even realize there is a battle to be fought. Because of this, Christians seem to be losing the battles. I understand that, ultimately, we win because God is on our side. But how many casualties will there be before that happens? How many families will be split apart? How many sons and daughters will rebel and leave their Christian faith? How many churches will become so worldly that there really is no distinction between the two?

My heart is especially burdened for the family because that is the first institution God created, and it is the heart of everything. The condition of the family will become the condition of the church, the government, and society in general. Anyone can clearly see that the family is suffering in a horribly real way, and now our churches, our government and our society are all taking a plunge! My sister and I were talking about how difficult it has become for sincere Christian parents (by sincere I mean parents who have a personal, real and intimate relationship with Jesus) to capture the hearts of their children and train them to follow after and pursue righteousness with their whole heart. We have fallen into generational sins of selfishness and laziness - and this includes the Christians!

Now that I have totally put you into a state of depression, I ask you: Are you fighting your spiritual battles? Do you even recognize that there is a spiritual realm that truly exists, and there is a constant battle in that realm between good and evil? Are you teaching your children how to fight that battle?

God's Word tells us exactly how to fight these battles, and it also tells us that we have been promised the victory. Now, we Christians need to step up and fight!!! Ephesians 6:10-17 is a well-known passage that gives us all we need to be able to fight and win these raging battles against sin. Here are some ways that you can stand firm against Satan and sin and win the battles that are looming in front of you.

*Be girded with truth. In other words, be truthful and sincere. Do not be a hypocrite. As John MacArthur's study Bible states: "The idea is of sincere commitment to fight and win without hypocrisy. Everything that hinders is tucked away."

*Wear the breastplate of righteousness. BE HOLY!!! Where has the holiness of Christians gone? Where is separation? God has called us to be different - set apart - from the world. The world is searching for something that is different. Why not be the one to help them find what they are looking for? When we Christians are not pursuing holiness and Christ-likeness, we leave ourselves completely vulnerable to attacks from Satan.

*Be shod with Gospel of Peace. If anyone in this world should be able to stand confidently and firmly resting in the knowledge that God is in control and remaining confident in His strength, it should be the Christians. Where are the confident Christians who are at peace with God? I dare say, there are few Christians who can truly say they are at peace with God because they know, in their heart of hearts, that they are not living a holy, set apart life that God has called them to.

*Take up the Shield of Faith. We Christians need to constantly be reminding ourselves of the goodness of our God, of all the promises He has given to us, and of all the promises He has fulfilled. Once again from John MacArthur's Study Bible: "All sin comes when the victim falls to Satan's lies and promises of pleasure, rejecting the better choice of obedience and blessing." Do not listen to Satan's lies! If you have not yet noticed, even good Christian churches are full of good intentioned people who do not realize that Satan has filled their mind full of lies and untruth from the world. I find myself everyday battling Satan's lies because they have so infiltrated every part of our lives.

*Wear the Helmet of Salvation. Obviously, this passage is already speaking to Christians, so what does this mean? I believe Paul is telling the Ephesians not to listen to the doubts Satan throws their way concerning their salvation. Stand firm knowing that God has delivered you from your past - no matter how bad it may have been. Stand confident knowing that you are God's child forever. I will add, however, that one is who is not pursuing holiness is usually the one who doubts his salvation.

*Use the Sword of the Spirit. All of the other pieces listed above are pieces used to defend ourselves against Satan and his attacks. The Sword of the Spirit is the only weapon we are given to attack with, and it is the only weapon we need to win! The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Memorize it and then use it. Psalm 119:11 says, "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee." God's Word is everything we need to win the battles, and yet sadly, many Christians do not even pick up God's Word until it is time to make their weekly appearance at church.

This is a hard post containing a lot of conviction. I'm talking to myself as I write this. I assure you, I am writing this with a heart full of love, but a heart so heavy because I see so much falling apart around me. I don't want my children to grow up in the society they are growing up in. I don't want my children to struggle to find godliness and holiness in their own churches. I ask you again...What price are you willing to pay? What does the cost need to be before we Christians wake up and start fighting against Satan and all of his ugliness and sin? Tears are streaming down my face as I write this because I pray the cost is not my family, not my children, not my church! I am going to stand and fight! Will anyone fight with me?

March 3, 2012

God Has a Plan!

Sooo.....the love of my life has left me for a long weekend at a Men's Retreat! I am so glad he gets to do this, but it does rather make for a little extra craziness when the Mr. doesn't come home in the evenings! I wasn't expecting to hear from him at all on this trip because he is out of cell phone range, but on Thursday evening, he was able to find "some bars" and made a quick call ask a favor! I'm not quite sure what are considered to be "normal" favors for husbands to ask of their wives, but I've come to the conclusion, that I don't think my husband ever asks a "normal" favor. For instance, this time he sweetly asked if I would go feed the goats because he forgot to. This doesn't seem like a huge deal, but really people, it takes all I can muster to feed my five children! The Mr. keeps the goats on the other side of our property, and I really don't even remember that they exist. Therefore, I know nothing of feeding the goats. So...over the phone at 10 PM, the sweet Mr. is explaining to me where the food is, how much to give them, and when, etc. Well...the wind was howling 30 mph (no exaggeration), it was dark out, and the newbie was screaming at the top of his lungs. So, the Mr. sweetly allowed me to wait until morning to feed them. :)

Friday morning, I go out to feed the goats. The Mr. keeps the wheat in a huge plywood box, and of course, the feed is getting low, and so, guess who had to pull the lid off the box and JUMP INTO THE BOX to get the feed out? Apparently, my arms are much shorter than the Mr.'s! I kid you not when I say that as I am trying to crawl out of the box the mail lady pulls into our driveway to deliver a package! She's honking her horn for us to come get the package, and I am stuck in the box of wheat! I finally crawl out of the box (with my shoes now full of wheat) , have a nice chit chat with the mail lady and then proceed to walk to the other side of the property through the still blowing 30 mph wind. Some of my children were following me. I think they realized this would be a once in a lifetime experience - watching Momma feed the goats!

We arrived at the spot where the goats are chained, and I began searching for the pans to put the food in. In the 30 mph hour wind and through the little bit of snow left on the ground, I walked 'round and 'round and could NOT find those pans anywhere! patience was quickly leaving. After shouting through the wind three different times at Mr. A (who apparently cannot hear in 30 mph winds) to see if he knew where his "father" put the pans (you know I'm upset when I refer to the Mr. as "father"), I finally gave up on receiving his help and continued to walk aimlessly around looking for the pans. I got tangled up in one of the goat's chains and almost landed on my backside in the snow! But, it was at that moment of trying to catch my balance that I finally found the pans! By this time, I was more than just a little irritated, and I was freezing cold! I fed the goats and stomped back home.

By the way, did I mention yet that while I was feeding the goats, the kiddos were getting themselves into the car so that we could leave for town? I jumped into the car, looked in the rear view mirror and scared myself with the new "do" the wind had given me! We were running late now, though, and so I had no time to go inside and repair the damage. Off we went, with one crazy hair momma fuming as we drove down the road.

As I was fuming all the way down our little dirt road, I began to think that many times we as Christians say that God KNOWS everything that is happening in our lives, but suddenly, it occurred to me that God also PLANS everything that is happening in our lives...even down to the smallest, silliest things! Yes, God knew that my Mr. would need me to feed the goats, and He knew that it would turn into an irritating event, but He also had it PLANNED! He had a reason for me feeding those goats...I'm not really quite sure what it was, and I really don't need to over analyze and try to figure out the reason for His plan in every little thing...but just knowing and resting in the fact that God is sovereign, not just in the big things in life but also in the small things, should help me approach every situation in my life with a different perspective! What can I learn from this situation? Why did God put this in my path right now at this moment? What does God have in mind for me? God has a reason for every little thing that comes our direction...whether it is a lesson we need to learn or an opportunity to see Him work...He has a reason and a plan for everything - big AND small - all the way from the death of a loved one to another glass of spilled milk on a freshly mopped floor! So, the next time a frustrating moment comes your way, rest in the knowledge that God planned this moment just for you. You may never know why, but have faith that God is using this moment to do something special in your life. Will you waste it or use it?

More of God's Graces to Me:

21. Lunch with a wonderful friend
22. Safety for my friends and family during the storms
23. Testimonies of wonderful Christians who are enduring great sorrow but staying faithful to God
24. So many resources to get fun and helpful ideas for homeschooling
25. God's sovereignty in every detail of my life
26. Trips to the library with my kiddos
27. The loads of laundry sitting on my couch ready to be folded - it's proof that I have loads of people to love me!
28. Cameras-so that I can keep memories of many wonderful things
29. Hearing Miss E. practice the piano
30. The beautiful snowfall we had this week