Monday, March 31, 2014

Ecclesiastes Week Six

Today, I am excited about the verse we are focusing on for this week. There are important messages and things to ponder in this verse:

I don't know about you, but when I see "gain and lose," I usually think of weight. I but the fact remains, sometimes gaining weight is actually good for when you are pregnant! Expanding on that (Ouch! Sorry for the pun!), we gain friends, we gain confidence, we gain knowledge understanding. What things have you gained in the perfect timing of God?
If you read this group of verses, you will notice there are always opposites--good and bad, positive and negative, etc. Now, we move on to the opposite of gaining--losing. There is a time to lose friends, loved ones, sleep, and many, many more loses than I can name. Sometimes the Lord allows the loss to protect us or prevent further harm. Sometimes it is simply a season we are in such as when we wake in the wee hours with a baby who wants to nurse. And sometimes it is because we are focusing on that thing that keeps our eyes off of God and sets Him on the back burner. 
Moving through the verse, we meet with a time to keep and a time to throw away. If you have ever seen the show Hoarders, you know that keeping everything is not necessarily a good idea or even a healthy one. We keep things we want to pass on to our children and maybe grandchildren. We keep sentimental things. We keep things that we can recycle or reuse. We keep important papers. We keep books, trinkets, collections, children's schoolwork, art projects, supplies, clothes, sheets, towels and more! 
However, in excess, there is a time to toss out the clutter! Believe me, as a parent I wanted to keep all my children's wonderful little creations, samples of school work, and the cutie little notes they wrote to my husband and I. But we don't have to keep everything, especially if we have it stashed away in a trunk or chest where it is never seen. Save minimal amounts of your children's crafts and consider donating old books to a library or selling them to a used book store. Take photos of sentimental items before giving them to children and grandchildren. Think simple and minimal. What is the least amount of pens, papers, scissors, tape, labels and other office supplies that you can keep without causing clutter? Perhaps it is time to throw away old thoughts, feelings and habits in favor of those things the allow Jesus to shine through you.

What are your thoughts on this verse? 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Nothing too difficult

God Sees Things Differently Than Us

This week our church embarked on the start of the biggest event we have ever held.  In the beginning,  the task was exciting! Then we learned of the complexities involved. We will need to reach how many families?! At that moment I could have allowed doubt that the teams in our church could complete the event. But I didn't. I stood on the Word instead. Then came communications issues with the contact number people would use to register to particioate in the event. Our pray team jumped into action and a solution was quickly created. 

See, everyday our lives are faced with the choice to either allow doubt and unbelief to control our reactions or to stand on the Word. What are you facing today, right now? Have you looked through the Scriptures to find verses that will extend your faith? Even if you are ready to give up, just surrender whatever that thing is that is too difficult to get through and figure out! God is there just waiting to act on our behalf; we just have to let Him!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

The Fight to Finish the Book

The end of the year is coming up very quickly. Can you believe it's Spring Break already?! If you use textbooks and workbooks, you might be looking at them and wondering how on Earth you will get to the end of the books by the end of the school year. But let me encourage you when it comes to finishing those books.

Textbooks are designed so that the final unit is typically the first unit studied in the next school year. So, homeschooling mom, relax if you don't get quite to the end of the textbook or workbook. You'll make that up in the beginning of the next year!
And if you're like my family, we only take off the months of June and December from our homeschooling days. We do take off some additional time here and there, but only a few days or a week at a time. So we can continue with our work until we finish the textbook if necessary, but we aren't completely tied down to finishing the book either.

Do you always finish the textbook or workbook? What are your tips for getting everything finished on time?


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TIP TUESDAY: Chalkboard Paint Gifts

I love fun and easy gifts. When I came across these silver tray gifts on Pinterest, I had to share them with you!


As you can see from the pictures, they are quite simple and anyone can make them. You can give them as a baby shower gift, a sick child gift, for weddings, graduations, housewarming or nearly any party you can think of!

Just buy a silver tray (I found some inexpensive ones at Dollar Tree!), a bottle or can of chalkboard paint, and some chalk. That's it!!
Try some other things to use the chalkboard paint on like decorative plates, picture frames (paint on the glass!), or even old cookie sheets and skillets!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ecclesiastes Week Five

This week, we continue our study of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. I am eager to hear your thoughts on this particular verse, too! There is such richness in the words of this Scripture, so let's take a look at this week's passage:

Stones have many representations in the Scripture. They can be the foundation of a building, temples and altars in particular, and can be the means by which others are judged. In the first part of this verse, we see that there is a time to cast away stones. In Strong's Concordance, stones refers to weight. There is a time to cast off those things that are weighing us down. Broken relationships, living in lack, guilt, the weight of sin and so on need to be tossed off. Don't let Satan keep that weight on you! 
There is also a time to gather stones. No, not the ones that weigh on us and become burdens, but those stones that build a strong foundation in the Word and in knowing God's will for our lives!
The next part had me questioning just what the author was trying to say. A time to hug (if we consider an embrace a hug) and a time not to hug? Well, just what does that mean? I again turned to the concordance for an idea as to what was meant. Get meaning is truly to hug, embrace. Another meaning is to fold one's hands in idleness. In other words, there is a time to sit still and a time to get up and do something! Isn't that exciting?! 

What do you think this verse is saying? I would like to hear your thoughts!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Review: Awakening by Ralph Reed

In his book Awakening, Ralph Reed addresses whether or not it is too late to save America and what it might take to become the great country America once was. He tells about his first meeting with young Senator Barack Obama and Obama's decietful charm as a leader.

Reed concludes each chapter with "Action Points" in which to study further in the Word and ways to pray for our government and for a new Great Awakening for America. The book is steeped with our duty as Christians to be voices in government and to engage in politics and make sure their political parties' platforms align with the teachings of Christ and the Scriptures.
Reed finishes his call to awaken by giving six guidelines for being an effective Christian citizen and activist, citing that Christians should: pray, be informed and educated, become involved in a political party, build relationships with elected officials, join a public policy organization and persuade not preach. His final chapter sums up the overall goal of the Christian if there is to be hope for America: The Awakening Must Begin With Us!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

This month it seems all the schools in our area are taking Spring Break or already have had that week off of school. As homeschoolers, we can get so focused on our students completing their academic assignments that we forget that they need a break in schooling, too. One of the perks of educating our students at home is that we have that freedom to decide when to take a break, and, more importantly, what to do on that break.

Homeschooling momma, you are the best one to determine when your kids and you need a break. Take the next few weeks to decide if you want to take a break. Maybe this is a good time for a family trip. Maybe it is the best week for going to visit relatives. And maybe this is a good time to simply explore your local area and get away from the school books for a while. Learning does not have to stop when taking an official break from textbooks. Take time to walk around the park, a local lake, visit someone in the hospital or nursing home and know you are teaching some great character traits to your children. Teaching them to be bold, compassionate, caring, and thoughtful are traits that will carry them far in life.
Whatever you do, know that you are doing what is best for your family and your school environment right now. And know that no one else can say what is best for you and your children except you!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I am a list maker! I love lists and I like to make them for myself and for my kids. I even make them for my blog posts, outside calls, and new cadets in Civil Air Patrol. But lists can also get out of hand...quickly! So how can you make lists that are organized and controlled?
There are three neat tricks to keeping lists organized:

  • Clipboards
  • Notebooks
  • File folders

I use notebooks! I have one for my blog, one for Civil Air Patrol, one for Women's Ministry, and one for other church things. My notebook s are spiral bound, but you can use three-ring binders, too. The sprial notebooks will become filled and may need to be replaced, but you can also put the dates and topics on the front of them so you can easily see what the content is inside each one.

Are you a list maker? How do you keep your lists organized?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ecclesiastes Week Four

As you know fro mour previous studies of Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time for everything. This week we are looking at Ecclesiastes 3:4:

Have you noticed that after a good cry, things seem a little better? Your mood has perhaps even brightened a bit! That's because certain hormones and enzymes are released in our bodies when we cry. Crying also doesn't just mean the negative. Sometimes we cry tears of joy, too! Weeping clears the way for laughter and joy and happiness.
And there IS a time to laugh! With your friends, your husband, your children and yes, even your parents. The Scripture says that "He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy (Job 8:21, NIV). Psalm 126 tells us "our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, 'the Lord has done great things for them'" (Psalm 126:2, NIV).
A couple of weeks ago we learned that there is a time for each of us to die. There is also a time to mourn. Mourn the loss of loved ones, but also of relationships that need healing and reconciliation and mourning the lost who still are in need of a Savior.
Finally, there is a time to dance. Now some may have their own beliefs about dancing, but here God specifically tells us that there is a time for that! He has turned our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11), Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes (Psalm 150:4), Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances (Exodus 15:20).
So when you feel like crying, go ahead! And if you feel like laughing, that's fine, too. Let the Lord turn your mourning into dancing and praise Him even in the storms of life.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Are You Really Willing?

Rising Up to the Challenge of the Call 

Recently I volunteered to head up a team to generate leads for an upcoming event to bring food and personal supplies to families affected by the floods in our community last September. We had a team leaders' meeting and the leader for the team who will eventually be going out and approaching these people challenged me with locating as much information as I could about the folks displaced or still hurting from the floods. At first, my eyes bugged out! Are you kidding me? I can't possibly do that! Then the Lord reminded me that He didn't call me to do this because I was particularly equipped to do it well on my own. But rather that He will equip me to succeed because I put my trust in Him that He called me to work on this team for such a time as this. I've been training to overcome lions in preparation for giants, and so have you!

I began thinking, am I approaching life thinking about only those things I know I can do and do well? Or am I unsure of my abilities, yet willing to be used by God because He called me for this job at this point in time? How often have I missed an opportunity because I only looked at what I could do in my own power and strength? This challenge is meant to train me and encourage me and test my faithfulness, I know. And I will rise to the challenge because I know that His plans for me and my life are far better than anything I could ever hope, think or imagine!

  • What have you tried to do in your own abilities?
  • What have you left fall by the wayside because you knew you couldn't do it and so you just didn't?
  • How willing are you to trust the Lord to equip you FULLY for the job, assignment or call He has placed on your life?
Say YES to the challenge today! This is preparation for the bigger giants you will face!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

Many of us are schooling children in multiple grade levels and sometimes we wonder, "How can I teach all these children what they need to learn?" The answer can be a simple one. 
First, step back and think about what you want your school to look like. Do you want each student in his or her own desk? Are you trying to teach each one something different or are there similar topics? Have you considered teaching a concept to all the children at the same time even if it's over the heads of the younger ones? 
I believe that in casual learning, students retain more information than formal training when there is pressure to remember events, dates and formulas. That has been my experience in learning myself and in the ways my children learn, too.

Condense teaching when possible. Call all the children together to discuss the respiratory system or when explaining the effects of World War II on people and communities or when laying in the grass at the park looking at clouds. Focus on the teachable moments and watch your children flood you with their creativity and knowledge!


Book Review: Balanced by Tricia Goyer

Do you find yourself running here and there? Dropping one child off for this event, and heading to another venue to drop another off there? Are you a work-at-home mom who is homeschooling and trying to figure out a good balance between work and home life? Then this is the book you need to read!

Balanced: Finding Center As a Work at Home Mom by Tricia Goyer brings a revelation for all of us trying to balance our lives and work as we stay home to raise our children. I really enjoyed the Pause and Reflect sections as well as the Tips from the Trenches. In these glimpses into her own life experiences, Tricia shows other homeschooling work at home mothers like me that we are not abnormal! She's been where I was...feeling guility about choosing to write and follow the call the Lord put on my life. And she's found balance through prioritizing and identifying themes for her family, something I plan to implement in my own family before my younger children grow up!
Where Tricia brings us to is reality is that it's not just about the work we are doing at home to add to our family income and perhaps follwoing our dreams. But rather it is finding what the Lord would have us do for our families in this calling He has given us that will create balance in our work-at-home lives.

You can find Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom On Amazon and Barnes and Noble!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TIP TUESDAY: Which Organization Website Should I Follow?

How to Choose Effective Methods of Cleaning & Organizing

Several years ago, I began following FlyLady. FLY stands for "Finally Loving Yourself." It was a wonderful concept. I would be emailed daily reminders of what section in my house to clean, what the main focus was for that week and the things I needed to do every day. The trouble was, I was running around quite a bit and wasn't home to do the things the emails said I should. I felt as though I was getting behind, so I quit. There were a few things that stuck like getting dressed to the shoes and making my bed everyday, but for the most part, I began to feel like a failure. That was NOT the intention of FlyLady! It was and still is very much the opposite!
I also began following A Slob Comes Clean. Now this was a gal I could relate to with cleaning my home! Everyday on her blog she discusses ways to simplify and declutter, but my big takeaway with her was to make sure to load and run the dishwasher everyday and do at least one load of laundry.
(C) Organized Chaos Online

Finally, one of the best Websites I have found for getting our homes organized and breaking free of the chaos has been our friends Patti and Tawsha over at Organized Chaos Online! Now these gals know how to simplify and make organizing fun, easy, and practical. Their site is currently being decluttered (they decided to take their own advice and clean things up a bit there!), but when you can, make sure you visit their page for ideas for those empty ketchup bottles, ways to decorate your home very inexpensively, and getting organized in the midst of the chaos that is often our lives.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ecclesiastes Week Three

This week, Ecclesiastes gets a little bit deeper, in my opinion. Here's what the verse says:
When we read that first line, "a time to kill," what is the first thing that pops into your mind? For me, I think of killing the bad seed I've sown with my words and my actions. I need to kill those thoughts of doubt, lack of self-worth, and envy. I need to tear up the seeds of anger and really, kill my old self and my old, fleshly wants, needs and thoughts. The Lord said in His word that we must die to our old self. That is what I think of when I read that part.
The next line talks about a time for healing. I think the author of Ecclesiastes was speaking both literally and figureatively. There is a time for us to heal from the wounds of a supposed friend who gossiped and spread rumors, from the pain of separation or divorce, from the broken heart of a child not living for the Lord, and for the death of a loved one. I think it also means it is going to take us sometime to heal from the death of our old self. We have to leave our "stinkin' thinkin'" behind and put on the mind of Christ in all that we do.
This leads right into the part about there being a time to break down. What does this line say to you? Does it mean we can break down emotionally? Does it mean we need to break down friendships, especially if they are damaging or breaking us down? I've thought about this verse and those are the things that came to mind. You know when a contractor is buidling a house and something isn't quite right with the foundation, often, if it is possible, he will tear up and break down that foundation in favor of creating a correct and strong, solid one. Breaking down those mindsets we've collected over the years that have damaged our foundation in the Lord must be a priority if we are truly going to live set apart lives.
The final portion of this verse tells us there is a time to build up. I look at this in two ways: we are to build each other up in our faith and we are to add on to what we already have. The Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:26 to "let all things be done in edification (building up)." First Thessalonians 5:11 says "therefore comfort each other and edify (build up) one another, just as you are also doing."
This week, consider what needs to be killed in your life, your words, your actions. Look at the healing that is taking place in your life as the Lord breaks down that foundation that has begun to crack and shift and see the wonderful things He is building up in you!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Homeschool Hump Day Encouragement

I woke up out of a sound sleep in a panic! "Have I taught my kids all that I should be? What if there are learning gaps because of a subject area I've neglected?" Early on in my homeschooling journey, these thoughts plagued me and caused me many sleepless nights.

Mom, I want to encourage you today that you are doing such a wonderful and empowering thing for your children as you homeschool them! You have chosen to put them first and show your children that there are so many important things you want each of them to learn that you personally have taken on the challenge of teaching them. That is a huge step for many of us. We know homeschooling is the right thing to do for our families, but still there are those thoughts of "What if..."
Let me tell you, those are not of God. He said in His word, "Teach them to your children and talk about them when you sit at home and walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them down and tie them to your hands as a sign. Tie them on your forehead to remind you, and write them on your door posts and gates" Deuteronomy 6:7-9, New Century Version.
Teaching our children of course involves academics like math, language arts, science and history. But it is also so much more than those core subjects. As homeschoolers, we have committed to building certain character traits in our children, morals, values and beliefs and we have made a pledge that we will teach our children about the Lord, His goodness, salvation, hope and the love of Jesus.
So if you are lying awake at night wondering if you're teaching all that you should or could or if your children will be lacking in some area, remember that the eternals thing you are teaching your children are important, too.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014


When I had younger children, I found that we often had to wait for my doctor's appointments, the children's appointments, or for the nursery at church to open and the children became restless. I began carrying tote bags for the kids filled with things such as toy cars, coloring books, markers (we really like the Color Wonder products!), and other things to keep the little ones busy while we had to wait.

Moms, you can keep a busy bag for yourself, too! This might include a book, your Kindle or tablet, crocheting or a word search book. No one likes to wait for long periods of time, but being prepared to busy yourself will make the time go by faster!
                                     Photo credit: micheldf / Foter / CC BY-NC


Monday, March 3, 2014

Ecclesiastes: Week Two

A Time...

This week's verse is Ecclesiastes 3:2-

Do you know you were born just at the right time in the right decade on the right day that God had planned for you? He intended you to be born to follow through with a particular purpose He assigned you. And jeremiah 29:11 tells each of us, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you a hope, a future and an expected end." He knows when you are expected to perish from this earth.
The next part had me thinking about what the Lord was trying to get me to understand. A time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted...First, let's look at the time to plant. That might mean when you feeling the Holy Spirit urging you to go talk to or pray for someone. You plant the seeds of being hospitable.  We also plant seeds with our words and when we plant, we expect that what we say is what our seed will produce. We do that with the tithe, too. There's lots of planting to do in the Kingdom of God, isn't there?
What about a time to pluck what is planted, though? Well, often I find myself saying things I really don't mean. How often have I caught myself saying something like, "My foot is killing me," "I'll never have enough money," "I'm not good enough to get that job..." Do you find that is true for you, too? These are some of the things we need to pluck up! We can go right to the Father and say, "God, I made a mistake. I didn't mean what I said and I dig up that seed of disbelief and doubt in Jesus' name!" It's that simple. 
So this week remember that you were born for a purpose. You have a planned time that you will come to the end of your life. There are opportunities to plant and sow seed into your own life and the lives of others. And there are things we have said or done that we need to go back and figureatively dig up. Your destiny that God had for you when you were born is set! And His plans for you are for good and not evil and to prosper you! So plant seeds of prosperity over your life and dig up those seeds that say you can't, you don't have enough, or you're not enough. You ARE a child of the King!