Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
It is these post that encourage me that only "He that began a good work in me will carry it out until completion," that "in this (we) greatly rejoice, though for a little while (we) may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that (our) faith - of greater worth that gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." It reminds me that we are all sinners struggling to live for God's glory and failing in some way most every day.
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort - we get a full measure of that, too. When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
BK (before kids) I was an extreme cleaner. I loved to put on some Kenny G (don't laugh this was a relaxing thing for me:)) and I spent the day cleaning my house. It usually took 4 solid hours. Oh how I loved those days. Then I would get a shower sit down and read a magazine and enjoy my clean house. I did this at least every other week but if time allowed weekly. Since kids I have had to gradually shuck it down to the bare essentials so that it gets done quickly but it gets done! I do the same thing every week (if I miss a day for whatever reason it doesn't get done until the next week and oh well - except when I miss underwear laundry day - then I hear it from John :)) So here it is:
Laundry: 1 kids load & Our darks
Chores: Living room/Dining Room - pick up, dust, vacuum, remove smudgeprints,
Empty Dishwasher & spruce up kitchen
Laundry: Our Lights
Chores: Iron John's Clothes for week, Empty Dishwasher & spruce up kitchen
Chores: Kids Rooms - pick up, dust, vacuum, remove smudgeprints,
Empty Dishwasher & spruce up kitchen
Laundry: 1 kids load, our undies/socks
Chores: Master Bedroom - pick up, dust, vacuum, remove smudgeprints,
Empty Dishwasher & spruce up kitchen
Laundry: Linens (bedding) & cleaning rags
Chores:Change Sheets on all beds, clean bathrooms,
Empty Dishwasher & spruce up kitchen
1. We try to do bedtime routine here which consist simply of the boys (John 2 if he is home) make a run through house (5-10 min tops) and pick up toys and then get pjs on and teeth brushed. While they do that I clean up kitchen from dinner and load dishwasher.
2. I usually do my chores first thing in the mornings. Our kids are usually up at 6-6:30. I give them a piece of fruit and milk as a "snack" and they watch noggin for about 1 to 1.5 hour (by the end they are up playing with each other) while I do laundry and my chores. Then we have breakfast and start our day. If for some reason it doesn't happen that morning it just doesn't happen but I try to be consistent with it because once we start our day I don't have to work in house stuff around it.
3. Usually about every 6 weeks I take a day and give the house a good cleaning - you know the hard core stuff .
it is basic but I hope this helps anyone intrested. Let me know what you think...
Monday, April 21, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Friday before we left I met with a friend who is a little farther along in her mothering journey. I told her what was going on and just how I didn't even want to be around my kids. All I seem to be doing was putting them in front of the TV to keep from engaging with them because I had nothing to give. Then of course comes the awful guilt that you are failing your childing ..yata yata yata. She of course affirmed me that all moms go through this, it is very normal at this stage of my life to feel like this for a season which is very encouraging to know you are not the only one. Then she gave me the biggest AHH ever!! She said Amy the most important job you have regarding your children is to shepard their hearts. If you can't do ANYTHING else DO THIS. They will recover from extra time in front of the tv or extra room time, etc. Just take time to shepard their hearts. For me this takes the pressure off of all the other things that I want to do as a parent and most of the time love doing. It gives me one thing to focus on with my children for this season of recovery in my life. Please pray for me that God will renew me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
In case you were wondering, the verses we are teaching Jake for the most part come from the Wise Words for Moms Put on/Put off List. It has really helped when we discipline him that he already knows the verse. http://www.amazon.com/Wise-Words-Moms-Ginger-Plowman/dp/0966378660
We use the book : The Children's Shorter Catechism. Our church gave it to us but you can also find them on the web.
you will need:
-index cards in various colors - each person gets their own color
-1 - 2 pieces of white card stock (or just 8 white index cards)
-8 page divider tabs (see pic below)
-index file box (we use the 3x5 cards and box)
put it together:
1. Take you 8 tabs and label each of them with a day of the week (7) and one labeled New
2. Attach these to the white index cards. If you have a piece of cardstock, first cut it into 8-3x5 pieces to use for your divider page. Then attach the tabs to them. Make sure that you stagger their placement just like the tabs are when you put them on pages.
3. I put one verse on an index card and 5 catechism q&a on a page. These go in the NEW file to be reviewed every day. For Jake - age 4 - we do 1 verse and 1 question/ week (unless really easy) but everyday we review all the questions we have gotten to on the catechism page. Brady- age 2.1 - we just started with him and he will do Catechism 1-3 and Eph 6:1 for an entire month before moving on.
4. After the verse has been memorized (what ever the time frame is) we move it to one of the days of the week for weekly review. After the Catechism page has been memorized (which for jake takes about 4-5 weeks) it also goes to a day of the week for review.
So here would be what we would do at breakfast on say a Monday:
Jake - Practice New - 1 Thes 5:16-18, Catechism # 16-18
- Review Old in Monday file - Catechism #1-5, Phil 2:14, Ps 53:3
Brady - Practice New Only
John and I aren't doing catechism so we just practice new and review old.
Hope this makes sense. I tried to be extremely thorough so it would make sense. Let me know what you think and if you have ?'s
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I really love this gift that God has given me and I want to share it with you if you are interested. Of course I may not be able to be there in person but I will walk you through some of my thoughts on the process of organizing, how to organize specific rooms, how I plan meals, my weekly schedule, cleaning schedule, and so on. I am excited!!! More to come soon.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
On November 11, 1998 I wrote this prayer in the front cover of my Bible. I was reading Elisabeth Elliot's book Let Me Be A Woman. I had been a Christian a little over 1 year. I was single (though John and I were dating) and in college (little responsibilities). I clearly remember the day I wrote this in my Bible. I remember sincerely asking God to make this true in my life. Over the years I have glanced at it and been encouraged by it but I don't think I have read it since having children, until this week. Tuesday night I sat on the couch waiting for John to get home for me to leave for Bible Study. I was frustrated because he had planned to come home at 4 and it was 6:15. (work is tough right now with many long days). The kids were tired and whiny and hungry (he had told me to not cook - Mcdees and park time for the boys and daddy) and so was I. I had my Bible in my hand and I opened it just killing time and this prayer is what I saw first.
Since then it hasn't left my mind for the most part. I have really had some hard conversations with God this week about this prayer. The realities of this prayer for my life today seem 200 times harder than they did in 1998. Sometimes I feel myself screaming for just an inkling of my plans, my desires, my hopes.
But God is answering my prayer from almost 10 years ago...He is making this true in my life even on the days that I battle Him with every ounce. "The one who called you is faithful and he will do it" In the past few years I have made several attempts to put my "marketable skills" (so called by a dear friend) to work. I set out in my mind to make it work. I organized in my head how I could squeeze in time here and there. In my mind it would work plus it would help us pay off such a large amount of student loans - it was a good thing with good motives. But God said no, every time God said no. Not one time could my heart be settled. Sometimes I made it farther along in the process than others (even spent $10 for a business license once). At some point before I actually began he said NOT NOW.
But God you gave me these skills - let me use them for your glory...not now.
I can always tell when the itch is coming. Usually after I go through these battles with the Lord, I put my skills aside, even in my home (unless things need organizing cause I can't handle that :)) I have three empty picture frames on my living room wall that have been there for about 11/2 year. It is not pouting but I just don't even want to be creative, don't want to look at the magazines because it makes me discontent.
Well for about the last 3 weeks I have had the itch again. A couple of friends have ask for help organizing and so I have been thinking about the idea of being a professional organizer on the side and making money for it. (not you friends :)) On Tuesday, when I read this prayer I knew the Lord was again saying not now.
I really long for God's will in my life because I firmly believe that it is only there that I will enjoy life abundantly. But sometimes it is hard to wrap my head around this season of life being abundant life. All of me goes to others and even when my sweet husband gives me a break I find myself using it to research stuff about kids, parenting, saving money, serving my husband. Then I get all mad because I didn't just take me time. But even as I sit and write this I realize that I love doing those things. Apparently being "Just a wife and mom" is God's plan for my life. I am completely ok with being a wife and mom and I don't desire to "work" away from my home. My wanting to "market my skills" has nothing to do with me not being a stay at home mom. God has just given me skills that in our culture I could use to make money from home and pay off debt and have a constant creative outlet that I so long for.
I have once again stopped wrestling with God over this. He know absolutely what is best for me and one day He may make this desire of my heart His desire but for now it gets packed away for someday.
"Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips. Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. `Psalms 16
Just a little FYI - Betty Scott Stam wrote the prayer at the top. Years after putting it in my Bible I learned more about her: She and her husband were China Inland Mission Workers and they both were led to their death through the streets of China. They were executed by decapitation while their young baby lay behind in it's crib.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
It is a bad pic but I can give you a run down:
-3 Pantene Pro-V Shampoo/Con
-3 Sunsilk Shampoo/Con
-4 Degree Deo (plus I found ones with travel samples in them...look for these, they are great for gym bags)
-Bottle 24 ct Excedrine (made a buck on this one with the coupon and bucks back)
-Febreze Plug in
Here is how I did it:
I started out with 24.95 ECB's and I bought everything but the febreze products on the first check out. With my bucks and coupons I spent $2.37 and got back 10 more ECB. On the second check out I bought the 3 febreeze products and used my 10 bucks, coupons and spent $2.50 and got back 5 more ECB's to use on my next visit.
The febreze product are definantly splurges but I made bucks on them and had good coupons for them. Plus who doesn't love their house to smell good???
This month is their semi annual beauty sale so a lot of their higher end products are on sale with good bucks so now is a time to spend your up front money so that you can start your savings. It is a lot of fun and you are saving your family money in the process. Love to hear about your deals.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Principles for Relating to my Husband:
- 1. He deserves my utmost respect at all times, not because he earns it but because the Lord commands it: Don't relate/respond to him based on the way he relates/responds to me!
- Do whatever necessary to protect his name, ego and reputation at all cost in all circumstances: Be extremely selective and discreet in discussing matters that concern him with others.
- Give to him in all ways at all times and entrust my well-being (physically, emotionally) to the Lord
- Clearly communicate my needs to him and help him to be successful at meeting those needs.
- Know that he will fail me and choose to forgive him today for all that he will do from this day forward - Christ did this for me!! : Keep short accounts
- Don't be naive in my thinking - my feelings will be hurt, my needs won't be met and he will let me down. It is my responsibility to seek quick reconciliation despite who is the victim
- He is my sweetest gift from God on this earth. Delight in him and cherish him.
- Take him at his word and make him be a man of his word
Friday, April 4, 2008
I really want to be a good steward of my money and do the best I can to save money on our grocery budget but I also feel like I have to be a good steward of my time. Well about a week ago I learned about CVS and it is great. I will use what I have done to tell you how it works:
If you get a CVS card there are certain items that you get Exra Care Bucks back for purchasing that product. So this week the nivea men's line was on sale and John likes that face wash. The deal with it was that for every $15 you spent on nivea products you get $5 bucks. The bucks are essentially like a gift card for the store. They print out on your reciept and you give them the reciept to redeem the bucks at the next purchase. So I bought the face wash and a few other things and ended up with 15 bucks. Well every week they usually have 1 or 2 items that you get the whole amount back in bucks so it is essentially free. There are 2 places you can find the deals - 1. the weekly sales flyer 2. a monthly flyer they put in the store. The deals are different in each of them. One is good for the week and the other you can get for the whole month. The April free product is CVS brand Tylenol. You pay 3.99 and get 3.99 back. So I went in and bought the limit (5) and it cost me 19.95. I applied my 15 previous bucks and only paid $5 for 5 bottles of Tylenol BUT I got 19.95 bucks back. I did 2 seperate check-outs so I could use those bucks for my next stuff. The item in the weekly ad that was "free" was the Softsoap body wash. They cost 4.99 and you get 4.99 in bucks back. There was a limit of 5 per househould/card. So that was 24.95. I used my 19.95 previous bucks and only paid $5 for 5 bottles of bodywash. BUT I got 24.95 bucks back to use on my next visit. So I got all of this for $10:
The key to getting the best deal is using your bucks to buy things that will replinish the bucks you use. You can also use coupons and then you end up making more money. I also read that after you use your card for like 4 weeks in a row CVS coupons start printing off with your reciept and you can use store coupons plus manufacture coupons to get an even better deal. The first week or so you will have to spend money - and CVS does cost more than Wal-mart but once you start "working the system" you don't have to really spend much more money. I spent 10 on my trip today but I have 25 bucks to use on my next visit. Isn't that amazing!!!!! THIS IS A GOOD THING!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
She begin by saying that our starting point for loving our husbands was a correct fear of God. Funny how God has brought this up twice in one week for me. From my proverbs post you saw that I learned that in Duet this means to live by stipulations in a grateful response to God's redemptive grace. I really love that because if I take time to think about what God has done for my undeserving self, I am completely grateful but if I don't remind myself daily of it I forget and begin to live for my fleshly desires. Charles Hodges says that "His wrath is so bitter, and his love so sweet: that hence springs an earnest desire to please him..." She used an amazing quote by John Piper that will probably be hanging over my sink or somewhere for me to see daily. He said " a woman who fears the Lord will not run away from God to satisfy her longings and relieve her anxieties. She will wait for the Lord. She will hope in God. She will stay close to the heart of God and trust in his promises. The prospect of departing into the way of sin will be too fearful to pursue; and the benefits of abiding in the shadow of the Almighty too glorious to forsake."
She talked about how we are called to love our husbands. She described the difference between Agape and Phileo love and said that in Titus 2:4 "train the younger women to love their husbands that it used the Phileo form or love which she described as including warm feeling and expressions of love. She said it refers to a banquet or the Chief Meal of the Day...the best I have to offer. How convicting.
And then later on she ask the question: "Do identify myself more as a wife or a mother?
By 5 o'clock the chief meal of my day has been completely gobbled up with out even a scrap left over and by far I id myself as a mother more than a wife. I know in the back of my head that John is to be my first priority and we do make a few decisions to protect our time together but for the most part we get the scraps if their are any left. I don't think that I am much different from anyone at this stage of life. But I think I have excused it as just a season. God really showed me today that thinking like that is not biblical. It is just a season and it does and will continue to look different but it is more about my thoughts, motives and intent. I have let my conscious coast on the pities of the world for this season in my life. I strongly believe that there is no harder job in the world than being a mom but I also know that God promised in his word that he would never give me more than i could handle. He also has set up in his word that my husband should be the chief meal of my day (it's a funny saying). He didn't tell me to do this after the kids are grown and gone but for today. He also said he has give me all that I need for life and godliness today.So as I put all of this together (just today) I see that in this season of life my intentions, thoughts, planning and motives should be aimed toward making John the chief meal of my day.
So during the q and a I really was thinking "ok how do I practically make this happen in my life now? I want to mull over this some more but so far I have 2 practical thoughts.
1. Create a tight community in my life. I am sure this sounds weird but I think that so many of us moms are bearing a burden God didn't intend for us to bear alone. Why is it that we are so afraid to ask for help or to offer to help others. For me it is fear of rejection and selfishness. I am choosing to fear man above God. We all know if we are honest that the days are much sweeter when you have another mom to keep you company and share the load. When I spend a day with a friend and all of our kids it is wild and crazy but it is easier and encouraging. I come home and feel refreshed and have much more to offer. I have learned just this week that I have several sweet friends that have offered to help me with a specific need and that offer itself refreshes me. It is community in the making. I really believe a village is necessary to raise a child and nourish the family as a whole. We don't understand community anymore - it seems to be becoming obsolete but it is so needed. God never intended for me to do this alone. If I am a hand, I need eyes, a foot and so on to help me walk with God, to help me raise my kids and to help me love my husband.
2. I need to release myself from that guilty feeling that I am not doing enough for my kids. Our society today has become a child driven society and as it increases so do the divorce rates. And for me it is not even the out of the house activities - it is the guilt i feel when I am at home and need to do other things besides play with my kids. Don't get me wrong there is a balance here but most of the time I don't fall off on the side of neglect and ignoring but the opposite. I was thinking today about the prov 31 woman. It goes on and on about how productive she was in her home and yet her children still rise up and call her blessed... Today our society says that if you don't nurture your kids they will rise up and cause you shame. So we nurture and nurture and nurture and they still go their own way. What did she do that was different. This I need to think on more but I know that in order for me to glorify God in my roles I have to be diligent with my time and to do that I have to have time to think and plan and pray and I can't sacrifice my time - little time with my husband. So how do I learn to balance these things during the day and not feel guilty about it? I do it now but when I do I have a knot in my stomach that I am harming my children because I am leaving them to entertain themselves or I let them watch noggin for a little while. I mean the prov 31 woman didn't have a dishwasher or a single modern convieience and so I know she spent many hours doing her chores around the home and God allowed this in Scripture as a model for me to follow. I must find the balance so that at the end of the day John can be the Chief meal of my day. I welcome your thoughts.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
It really was a delight to my heart to see that he got it. He even ask me to take a picture...quite amusing.
Of course 10 minutes later Jake was sent to his room because he got mad and pushed Brady down. But this is the nature of the beast. Thank the Lord for His grace and that He came and set our imperfect record straight.