May 30, 2013

Do I Have Enough Compassion?

There have been several difficult situations that people around me have had to experience and walk through lately.  This morning, as I was preparing for the day, I was convicted by my lack of sympathy and compassion for some of them.  It is easy to feel sympathy and take action with compassion on good people who are thrust into the middle of bad situations such as a horrible car accident or the devastation of a tornado.  But what about people who put themselves into their own situations because of poor choices?  Do they deserve our compassion?  

Well, at first, I want to shout NO.  They are getting what they deserve!  But, then, I recall to my mind how God looked down on me a sinner and had compassion.  Compassion is not just a feeling of sympathy, but it is a feeling that turns into an action.  You go beyond the way you feel, and you find something to do about it!  God saw the condition of my willful and disobedient heart, and it moved Him to send His Son to take my punishment.  That is an amazing example of compassion!  

As I have gone through the day today, I have been asking God to give me more compassion for people - to not only let me feel "sorry" for them, but to find a way to take action and help them...even if it may only be through a firm commitment to pray for them daily.   I don't know what people or situations God may be placing in your life right now, but I do know that if we Christians are not compassionate, the world will never see the light of our Jesus!  I pray God will burden my heart and show me how I can grow in compassion for those that around me.

But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. ~Psalm 86:15

But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? ~I John 3:17
 Wishing you a day full of blessings,


May 29, 2013

Butter Cake Bars

I had every intention of posting a recipe yesterday, but somehow the day got away before it actually happened.  It may be a day late, but I'm sure it will still taste just as good!  This is a recipe I prepared for my family this weekend.  Warning - this is a very rich dessert which equals delicious yumminess!  I cooked this for a little more than 45 minutes until it turned a nice golden brown on top.  However, I don't think the middle was quite done enough.  It is supposed to have a creamy middle, but mine was a little too creamy.  It may take a little trial and error to find the correct baking time for your oven, but I assure you, the taste was still amazing!  Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients for bottom layer:
1 box of yellow cake mix (1 pound)
4 ounces of butter, melted
1 egg
Ingredients for ooey gooey layer:
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 pound (16 ounces) of powdered sugar
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper.
2. Make the base first: mix together cake mix, butter and 1 egg.
3. Pat into pan, create an even layer.
4. Make the ooey gooey layer: Cream together the cream cheese, 2 eggs, sugar and vanilla.
5. Pour gooey layer over cake layer, spread to edges.
6. Bake for 45 minutes or until edges are golden brown, center should be a creamy yet solid consistency like cheesecake or heaven.
7. Cool completely in pan before cutting into 1-inch sqaures with a clean, dry knife. For best square results, pop into freezer and chill before slicing.

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

May 27, 2013

Joyful Mom Monday - Teach Them

Counting God's Little Blessings
It's Memorial Day!  Today is a day that I plan to celebrate and make memories with my family.  We have all kinds of great food lined up for the day, and I'm hoping it will be nice enough to sit out in the lawn chairs this afternoon with a glass of Strawberry Lemonade.  It has become important to me that I make memories with my kiddos.  I want them to remember special days and special times that God has given us as a family.  However, today is not just a day to celebrate family.  Today is an opportunity for me to remind our children of the great cost some people have made so that we can enjoy a day like today.  Today will not be just a day to have Grandpa's super yummy BBQ chicken or Mom's famous potato salad.  Today will be a time of remembering that over 1,300,000 AMERICANS paid the ultimate cost for my freedom. I need to teach this to my children.  I cannot rely on the schools or my church and certainly not the government to teach my children the honest facts about the cost of our freedom.  It is not their responsibility.  It is my God-given one.  Our children need to be taught the true meanings of the holidays that surround us - whether we celebrate them or not.  These are part of our history - our heritage, and it is our privilege to not only celebrate as a family but to also remember the past as a family.  We cannot live in the past, but we certainly cannot forget the past.  It is the past that teaches us and prepares us for the future.  So, today as you celebrate, remember to take a few minutes to teach your children why we have this day and to pray for the families who are missing someone at their celebration today because they have chosen to stand for our country's freedoms.

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

May 22, 2013

Fun Memorial Day Dessert!

I missed posting a recipe yesterday.  We were busy preparing for a fun baby shower!  I found a cute dessert on pinterest that the fam and I are going to try out on Memorial Day.  I know of a couple of little girls who will love making these...and how can the taste go wrong with Jell-O?  Follow the link below to find the recipe!

We are getting ready to venture out into the 40 mph winds!  We woke up to an unpleasantly cold morning, and I am determined not to start a fire in the wood stove for one day.  And so, I think we are going to leave for town early today because I am freezing! LOL!  At least it is supposed to warm back up quickly, and we are looking forward to a wonderfully warm and sunny weekend!  Have a great Wednesday, everyone!


Wishing you a day full of blessings,

May 20, 2013

Joyful Mom Monday - Enlist Your Helpers!

Counting God's Little Blessings
For me, one of the daily and most overwhelming parts of being a mom is keeping up the house.  Our home is a little different than the average in that a) we are all home all day long, and b) 7 people share a little over 1100 sqare feet of space.  I have had to become quite creative in making storage space and keeping the clutter at a minimum.  No matter how hard I try, though, I usually at some point during every day look around me and wonder, "How did it get like this in just an hour?"  

One thing that has helped is having my kiddos participate in keeping the house picked up and cleaned up.  There are several different methods we have used over the years.  I thought I would share a few ideas of ways you can enlist your children's help in keeping up with the house.  

*Everyone helps no matter the age.  Gavin will be 18 months old tomorrow (teardrop!), but he already helps the older kids by bringing things to them.  He hands Garrett the silverware from the dishwasher, and Garrett puts it into the drawers.  He throws his own diapers in the trash.  He helps pick up toys.  The best part is that we have all cheered him on so much as he is learning to do these things that now he enjoys doing them all by himself and even claps for himself!  Too cute!  By allowing even the littlest kiddos to help, they are learning that they are needed and a part of the family.  

*Assigned chores are helpful.  Sometimes, it is easier for some children to handle the "magnitude" of their tasks if they know what is expected each day.  We did a chore chart for a long time - assigning different chores to different kiddos each day.  The downfall that we experienced with this system was that as they grew older, they began to use the excuse, "That's not on my chart!"  Well, there are several solutions to that problem! 

*Show/train your children to meet your expectations.  Anytime, my children begin to learn to a new household duty, I show them several times first.  Then, they work as I watch, and once I am confident they know how to do the job well, they work on their own.  There need to be clear expectations set.  For bigger jobs such as cleaning the entire bathroom, I have even made a checklist so that they can remember all the little details.

*Check their work.  If you do not follow up and check the assigned chores, you will more than likely find yourself doing them over.  We must hold our children accountable to our expectations.  As they grow older, you will hopefully be able to back away a little more, but a surprise check every now and then still wouldn't hurt!  

*Remember your children are probably more capable than you think they are!  Kids need to be challenged.  One day a couple of years ago, I was sick and the Mr. was busy.  He told the 7 year old and 5 year old to make the kitchen spotless by the time he got back home.  I got up an hour later and except for not rinsing out leftover food in the sink from the dirty dishwater, my kitchen was spotless! The Mr. and I were both amazed!  Guess who has been cleaning the kitchen much more since that day?  :)  This is not to say that we make slaves of our children.  I make it a practice (for the most part) that anytime my children have been asked to work, I am working on something myself.  But, our children are very capable and even enjoy being given a new challenge to take on.  Don't be afraid to hand them something new and see how they do.  If they're not ready, help them finish it and make a mental note to try again in the future!

These are a few ways that I am learning to use the helpers God has given me.  It is an excellent way to prepare them for adulthood, to make them feel needed and a part of the family and to help Mommy feel more joyful and not quite so overwhelmed!  What are some ways that you have your kids help you around your home?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Wishing you a day full of blessings,

May 17, 2013

In Whatsoever State I Am...Even in the State of Chaos and Disorder!

I usually link upon Fridays to The Homeschool Journal, but because we had so much extra going on this week, and I have not been feeling the greatest, we took this week off.  We were supposed to take next week off anyway, and so we just switched the weeks.  We will begin our last 12 weeks of school next week!  I am enjoying homeschooling all year 'round so far.  I think it keeps us in a routine, and it gives me a little more wiggle room in the middle of the year because we really don't attend any more school days, we just spread it out.  

Our family has been busy spreading the news that we are expecting our sixth baby!  We're all very excited, but Mom is VERRRRYYYY tired.  :(  It has made for a couple of long, long weeks.  My first four pregnancies were normal feel the blah pregnancies, but with Gavin and now with this one, I am so indescribably exhausted, and I'm not doing much...believe me, check out my house!  I had several tests run with Gavin, and the only diagnosis that came back was, "You have four kids that you never take a break from because you've decided to teach them at home, and you are over 30.  What miracles do you expect from us?"  Seriously!  It is definitely a time when I have to remind myself this won't last forever, and I need to choose joyfulness even in the middle of all the mess.  To be honest, I haven't done that very well at all lately.  

To help inspire me, I began reading something by Sally Clarkson, and as I read, the Holy Spirit convicted me!  Here is just one of the many things I underlined as I read Sally's section on contentment.  
"What keeps me from being content is not what God is or isn't supplying; the real problem is that I refuse to adjust my expectations - I want more than can I have, ask for more than I need, strive for more than I can do, and expect more than God has promised!"  
W O W!!!  Did anyone else feel that smack between the eyes?  Right now, the only thing I really want is a pristinely clean house.  Unfortunately, it appears as though I am going to have to adjust my expectations somewhat.  Not that we're going to live like pigs - hopefully - but we're definitely not going to hit the pristine level anytime soon!  I need to readjust my expectations knowing that God has better things for me than a clean house!  

That has been my lesson for the week - one that I am still working on!  I hope this makes sense.  I am writing somewhat in a hurry, but I wanted to post this great quote today!  I pray that you are able to find deep contentment at whatever place you are right now in life.  Let's remember Paul's example in Philippians 4:11.  "I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content."  (Even if it happens to be a state of chaos and disorder!)
Wishing you a day full of blessings,