Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tip Tuesday: Last Big Summer Cookout

Patti from Organized Chaos Online shares tips for making foil meals to be cooked over the grill or in the oven and since this weekend is Labor Day, what better way is there to end the summer?!

"You basically just rip off a piece of heavy duty foil, dump your ingredients in the middle of it and package it up. You can cook them in the oven or throw them on a grill. With little prep, minimal tending, and zero clean up, everybody’s got a customized meal that can be dumped on a paper plate and eaten with plastic silverware."

For more ideas on foil meals, visit: Organized Chaos Online!


Monday, August 25, 2014

How Did I Get Here?

Realizing When You've Strayed Off God's Path

I closed my eyes as our pastor began to prompt us to repent for getting off track, off the path and plan God had for each of us. Oh, my gosh! I have strayed off that path! But when did that happen and why didn't I realize it sooner?!
It's true. I know that my calling is to influence woman and encourage, empower and edify them as wives, mothers and homeschoolers. I thought I had done pretty well by keeping up with my daily blog posts. But the reality is (as many of you already know!), I wasn't doing as well as I thought or as I tried to pretend to be. I have gotten behind over the past several months because my focus shifted to something else.
I made a crockpot of homemade vegetable soup the other day. But soon, events of the day took us away from home and the soup sat, simmering on low for the rest of the evening. The next morning I awoke and knew I needed to put the soup in the freezer for another night. But again, the events of that day became hurried and the soup was left yet another day in the crockpot, now set to warm. By the afternoon of the third day, it had turned rancid from neglect and I had to dump it out. A wonderful meal wasted by my own neglect. And that is what happens with our lives sometimes.

Satan likes to take those moments when we are so busy, so overwhelmed to blind us to what is really going on. He tells us lies that make it seem okay to continue even though each time we give more face time to that other thing, we're really pulling ourselves from the one thing God wants us to be doing.
It's alright to stop and re-evaluate where you're at!

  • Are you still on the right path? 
  • Has something else taken more of your attention, something not part of God's plan for your life right now? 
  • Have you stirred and paid more attention to one pot while another sits and sits and gets stale and rancid?
Take the opportunity right now to repent and ask God to forgive you for neglecting the call on your life. As moms and wives, our calling might be to school our children and take care of the home. It's not too late to set yourself back on the path God planned for you in the first place. Get back today!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tip Tuesday: Controlling the Chaos

Tawsha and Patti over at Organized Chaos Online have come up with 5 steps to help you get control of the chaos in your home!

  1. Make a list
  2. Organize a small space
  3. Write a schedule
  4. Complete a chore
  5. Spruce up your home
(C) Organized Chaos Online

For more on getting control of your chaos, visit: Organized Chaos Online!!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Defeat is NOT An Option

I really enjoy writing. I've written three books, one that has been published, and plan to write more. I am an independently published author which simply means that I publish my own books. I know I was created to write. It's what is in me to do! A talent that I know is a gift of God and I will write even if I never catch the eye of an agent or publisher. Defeat, not succeeding, failure is not an option.
What is your heart to do? Maybe it's writing. Maybe it's creating a group for young mothers. Maybe it's a mentoring organization for youth. What's stopping you from achieving that goal? Are you listening to the lies Satan is spewing at you? The lies that say, "Who are YOU to think you could do this?" "That idea won't get off the ground. Why are you even bothering?" "No one in your family ever amounted to a hill of beans and you won't either!"
Are you going to continue listening to those things and let them bring you down and take the focus off your goals? NO! So fight back...with the Word of God. What does God say about your idea or goal?

I'm not going to show you the Scripture references for these, but I want you to look them up! You find them, say them, get them in your spirit and don't let Satan into your life to lie to you anymore!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday 'Fess Up

My 'Fess up begins with an apology. I MISSED Friday 'Fess Up last week! I'm sorry, but it happens occasionally that I get overwhelmed with our busyness and simply get too tired to write posts.
But today, TODAY I remembered!
My 'Fess Up doesn't end with confessing that life gets in the way. I must confess that I often get fed up with the attitudes of others, especially when they increase stress in my life and add to the chaotic busyness that consumes my days and weeks.
But rather than fighting them or getting an attitude myself, I pray for those who persecute me. That's difficult to make time to do. I wrestle with my flesh-man and want to spout out snarky words. But in my spirit, God speaks to me about what the right thing to do really is:


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Asking Permission: Thoughts on Our Quest to Homeschool Perfectly

I've been privileged to introduce some new homeschoolers to a wonderful world of learning and engaging their children on a completely different level than in traditional school. One of the themes I often hear is, "Is it okay to do this or that?" To which I almost always reply, "Well, why not?" I'm not sure why or when those requests for permission to do something began to bug me, but I have meditating on that for the past few days.
When I began homeschooling, I sort of felt like I had a very basic idea of the homeschool laws in our state. I used curricula suggested by friends or just handed down to me for free. I went to training sessions to learn how exactly to count certain classes or activities as school, and I found myself bound by so many rules...at least that is what it felt like to me.
At some point in my homeschooling journey, I started learning more and more about unschooling. One of my sons had been tested and the evaluator spouted phrases that began, "This child does know how to..." My poor second oldest was devastated! He knew the things the evaluator was saying he didn't, and worst of all, she was a direct cause of his academic confidence nearly completely tanking. I knew we needed to change how our children learned, so we slowly explored the idea of unschooling...for some classes.
If you are new to homeschooling and you are not sure what you are allowed to do under your state's laws, research them. Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a great resource for understanding the laws in laymen's terms. The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy:

Just as there is no right version of the Bible that everyone should be reading, there isn't one curriculum that all homeschoolers should use. I encourage you to read, investigate, and just trust the Lord for the path of your homeschooling journey. As HIS permission for what you can and should teach your children, and then be faithful in that teaching.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Homeschooling Hump Day Encouragement

If you are like many homeschooling families, you are starting school this month. Congratulations! Whether this is your first year homeschooling or fifth or even tenth or 15th year, it is important to know that each year is a time for reflection and evaluation.

  • Is the curriculum you are using keeping your child engaged?
  • Is your child being challenged academically?
  • Is there a subject your child seems to excel in?
  • Does your child enjoy the curriculum you are using?
  • Do you like the curriculum?

You see, as you begin homeschooling each year, you are in control of the content and focus of the education your child is receiving. If you don't like something or a particular curriculum isn't working, change it. You have that freedom in homeschooling to change what isn't working and to learn new ways to engage your child that will make him or her want to learn more and more.
I remember an old story I heard in church once...

A young woman was getting married and so on her wedding day, her grandmother passed along her famous recipe for pot roast. The young woman read through the recipe and made plans to recreate everything in it. The grandmother passed away before the new bride could make the meal for her husband, but when she did, oh, did he really like it!
So she made it every month for him knowing she was carrying on the tradition of her grandmother. But one day, the young bride's mother came to visit while the woman was preparing the roast. She carefully took out the meat, cut it into two pieces and placed each half into its own pot. The bride's mother was a bit confused by this and stopped her daughter during the preparation.
"Why did you cut the roast and put it into two separate pots, dear," the mother asked.
"That's what Gram's recipe said to do. I always thought it was strange, but Gram was a wonderful cook, so I knew there was a reason," the young bride said with a smile.
Her mother began to chuckle, and the daughter was confused. "What's so funny, mother?"
"Oh, sweetheart. There was indeed a reason Gram cut the roast into two pieces and cooked it in two separate pots...she didn't have a pot big enough for the full sized roast!" The two enjoyed a laugh and from then on, the bride used her big pot to cook her grandmother's recipe.

The moral here is, just because someone has been doing something a certain way, doesn't mean you have to do it that way. Investigate, explore, and see what works best for you and your family rather than trying what worked for others. This school year make it a point to assess your curriculum and seek out recommendations from other homeschoolers.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

TIP TUESDAY: Back-to-School DIY Spa Day

With school starting again, it's time to slow down, moms, and treat yourself to your own Do-It-Yourself Spa Day!
Patti and Tawsha from Organized Chaos Online have these tips for creating your own ambiance for a relaxing day.

Included in the DIY Spa basket:
  • Hand Scrub
  • Lotion
  • Face Peel
  • Celebrity and women's mags
  • Scoops
  • Loofah
  • Face Towel
Read the full article here!

DIY spa basket gift for Mother’s Day or any other occassion!
(C) CherylStyle.com


Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review: Rock Bottom is a Beautiful Place: Testimonies of Triumph by Diane Cunningham

I love to read books. In the past, I stayed more within the fiction genre, but the last two years the Lord has opened doors for me to be able to work with a variety of publishers and writers to review their books. 
diane nacwesign About NACWE
This book was a free one by a friend and amazing role model to me. Diane Cunningham is the owner of National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs, a group that encourages women as business owners as they live out the lives God has planned for them. 
In her book, Diane talks about her own fall to rock bottom and her climb to the Rock of Salvation, Jesus. She also realized that she wasn't the only one who had secrets and had hit rock bottom. And so this book was birthed.
There are stories of family secrets and struggles with addictions. Of being raised in the church, being believers, yet having to fight to overcome Satan and the hold he can have on the most precious areas in the life of Christians. It's a daily fight we must stay in and conquer through our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
The stories are necessarily "feel good" stories, but they will encourage and inspire you that where you are right now isn't where you have to stay! 

Find Rock Bottom is A Beautiful Place: Testimonies of Triumph at Amazon.com!


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

TIP TUESDAY: An Organized Refrigerator

As we head back to school, our friends at Organized Chaos Online, Patti and Tawsha, remind us that starting the school year off with an organized refrigerator will help when long, busy days end and your family is wondering that age-old question: "What's for dinner?"

(C) Organized Chaos Online

Here are 7 tips for organizing "the fridge"!

1. Empty
2. Clean
3. Sort
4. Survey
5. Line
6. Contain
7. Label

Read the full article on organizing your fridge at Organized Chaos Online!!


Monday, August 4, 2014

Understanding the Spiritual Battles in Your Life

Yesterday was a weird day. Chalk it up to the fact that my husband had worked almost 24 hours straight at his job and I had been up just as long waiting for him or delve deeper and realize what was really going on was a battle not of this world.

We had gone out to lunch after church as we always do, but this time my husband seemed to get easily irritated with me. He began to snap back at me over little things...at least it seemed like little things to me. After coming home, I had asked our boys to mow the lawn. This is one of their weekly chores, but our youngest son hadn't been trained on the ins & outs of mowing the backyard yet and had asked my husband for help. When my husband didn't reply, our son went downstairs to watch television. I the mean time, two of our other children wasted no time in mowing the front lawn, pulling weeds in the pansy bed and weed whacking along the front curb. Those devoted children were allowed to go on a bike ride.
The youngest son returned and wanted to play soccer out front, but I told him he couldn't since he hadn't mowed yet. He got an attitude, still didn't want to mow, and rather than stopping and taking the time to adjust him, I simply went out and mowed the backyard myself. My husband tried to get me to stop and let our young son to finish, but I informed him that no one would show our youngest how to navigate the backyard to mow it correctly. (There are branches and other "hidden treasures" in the backyard that must be avoided!).
When I was finished, my husband and I had some words. Not hateful, but the kind you know will be an intentional dig at the other person. Before I knew it, I was in my van and going. See, when I get upset, I clean, but when cleaning no longer satisfies my inner conflict, I go for a drive. As I was driving, I heard the Lord say, "This isn't about who would teach your son to mow, what your husband could have or should have done, or even about the words you said to each other. It's a spiritual battle. Satan is trying to divide you on the day before you celebrate a commitment to stay married no matter what." 
I drove home and my husband and I immediately made up, asking forgiveness and apologizing to each other for the words, actions and attitudes we each had. You see, this isn't an isolated incident in the life of a Christian. We daily battle things thrown at us by Satan. Sometimes it's little things that go by barely noticed, if at all. But sometimes, it takes a toll on the Christian warrior and we drop our swords not wanting to continue to fight the spiritual battle and taking on an unnecessary one in its place.
So next time you have an argument, or dare I say a fight with a loved one consider the real reason behind it. It's probably not you and the other person not loving each other but rather Satan ramping up the spiritual battle against you that is taking place.
If you keep God at the center of your relationships, you can fight any battle that comes your way, spiritual or otherwise!


Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday "Fess Up: Taking A Stand Takes Courage

This week, I shared a post on Facebook. It created a heated debate between me and a young, new Christian. In the end, she called me horrible names and not only unfriended me, but blocked me as well. I was so hurt because really it wasn't a big deal, and I thought that as a Christian she would and should see the truth.

What the Lord showed me instead was that it wasn't me she was upset and angry with; it was a battle with her flesh-man and her spirit. There were concepts and ideas that the world called normal that she still wanted to cling to, but that as a Christian we now know aren't part of God's plan for His children. I took a stand to continue sharing the truth, and in the end, lost a sweet friend who desperately needs mentoring and to be discipled in her walk with the Lord...but she also wants to have that accountability, too. I can't make her have a relationship with God, just as He couldn't make me choose Him as my Savior.
It takes courage and strength to be a Christian. You may lose some friends. You may gain friends. And you will definitely have plenty of opportunities to share Jesus with others. So don't be afraid to take a stand for Him!

What have you had to take a stand for recently?