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Thankful Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, what better time to write a Thankful Post.  Every day you wake up, is another day to be thankful.  We take so many things for granted each, and every day.  Let’s all try to slow down and focus on what’s truly important to us.

A friend of mine posted an article about being Grateful and also have a 5-day Gratitude Challenge if you are interested in diving deeper.

https://messytiredlove.com/2017/11/13/messy-tired-love-mom-talk-grateful-momma/

Take a moment of think of your TOP 10 Reasons to be Thankful/Grateful.

Here is my list.
  1. My God who loves me unconditionally, and forgives me as many times as it takes.
  2. My husband, who is truly my best friend and I wouldn’t want to do this life without.
  3. Each of my children.  Together they bring so much joy and life to our little family.
  4. Parents, who support and encourage me in all walks of life.
  5. Our church, which is more than a building.  Its a place we go and can be ourselves, share our good and bad times and know that the people there truly love and care for us.  We are all there to help one another and would do anything to show God’s love.
  6. Our ‘heart’ parents, who may not be blood, but are very much part of our family.  Without their love, support, and constant Godly encouragement, we would not be where we are today.  It helps that “Papa John” is one of our Pastors.  😀
  7. A home that we do not deserve, but God has blessed.
  8. The girl’s school.  They attend a Top-rated Charter School.  It is a lottery school and near impossible to get into.  After much prayer and the slim chance of getting in, we applied and Allyssa was accepted.  Since she got in Kindergarten year, both other kids are automatically in.  This was a HUGE blessing.  The kids get great education, the school is very volunteer/family oriented and each year we are so pleased with the teachers and staff.
  9. Coffee!  How can I possibly leave that one out?  I mean, I am seriously made up of half coffee.  I drink it all day every day and survive on it.  😀
  10. My Goats!  Yes, I mean it, they bring so much happiness to this lady.  So much easier than dogs.  Always happy to see me, they bounce and frolic and just make me happy.

So as you can see, very few things made my TOP 10 list that are materialistic.  Why do so many people strive for “things” yet if you ask most people, what truly matters and makes them happy, its the people in their lives that mean the most?  Maybe instead of focusing so much on what we don’t have, we would be much happier focusing on what we do have. 

While writing this post, I decided to take a survey and see what other peoples answers would be.  Kinda to see if I was on point or maybe totally wrong in my thinking.  I spoke to several people but decided to only include one for the purposes of this post.

Mark Mathos wrote:

1 Jesus died for me
2 I have 6 wonderful children
3 I have a beautiful wife that loves me
4 I have a church family that loves me
5 My grandchildren
6 I have pretty good health
7 FOOD and a roof over my head.
8 I have some good friends
9 I have a job
10 I am going to school to better myself

Pretty much EVERYONE I spoke to said the same things.  Very few variations.  No one, said they were thankful for their Big screen TV, new furniture, new car, new jewelry, etc etc.  See its really not about having all the newest, fanciest, most expensive THINGS.  It’s about caring for, loving on, and spending more time with those we care about most.

When you die, it's not the THINGS you had that matter, it's the PEOPLE you touched. Click To Tweet

So, this Thanksgiving I want to encourage you to sit down, make your own list.  Change your focus from wanting/needing, and in turn being ungrateful, and instead focus on being truly Thankful.  Then think of 3 things you can DO for someone who may be having a tough time. 

I am one of those people that I tend to cook for others.  If someone is having a procedure, a new baby, sick, or maybe just going through a difficult situation, I make them a meal.  If I don’t have time to make a meal, maybe I’ll bake some muffins or cookies and deliver a card.  It doesn’t require a lot but shows that I am truly thinking/praying for them and they are important.

No time/money to cook a meal?  That’s okay.  Take out a piece of paper, it can even be a sticky note and send a note.  You would be surprised how much a handwritten note can brighten someone’s day.  It doesn’t even have to say much.  “Thinking and praying for you today.”  Is simply good enough.

Above is something I did for the girl’s teachers.  It was simple, yet meaningful.

You can even be anonymous if you’d like.  Afterall, giving isn’t about getting attention or acclamation, it’s about caring enough for someone else to do something/anything special for them. Just like Paul said, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

There is such a difference between someone who is a generous giver because they have the heart for it and someone who does it out of obligations and grudgingly.

Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.”  Deuteronomy 15:10

If we could all stop focusing on our problems, give those to GOD, and do for others.  There are ALWAYS people going through so much worse things we are.  Each and every one of us has so much to be THANKFUL for.  

I pray that this Thanksgiving will be one you remember to focus on TIME with those you love.  Turn off the phones.  Sit and actually enjoy the company of those around you.  Play games, tell funny stories, encourage one another, and of course overindulge in all the food for ONE day.  Be HAPPY!  This life could be gone tomorrow.

What are your plans this Thanksgiving?

Would love for you to share.

Teaching our kids the gift of Giving this Christmas!

As we approach the Holiday Season, I really want to focus on JOY this year.  I want to make the most of Christmas.  One of our little traditions is riding around neighborhoods looking at lights.  Its fun, everyone points, pick their favorites, we laugh and just enjoy the time together.

Kids will be kids and get caught up in the wanting/wishing/hoping for all these cool toys and things they do not NEED but everywhere they look is trying to brainwash them into greedy little boogers.  This Christmas I want to focus on teaching them the REAL meaning of Christmas and giving back.

Below, are several ways that you can give back.

Meaning of Christmas:

We celebrate Christmas to remember that Jesus Christ came to this world, to fulfill a promise, and ultimately gave his life to save us.  We celebrate Jesus’s birth.  My kids can tell you this story inside and out.  A dear friend gave us a book that is great and I recommend to everyone.  You might look at the library or if not, it’s totally worth the buy.

Samaritans Christmas Child-Shoeboxes

Most people are well aware of this organization and what they do.  If you live in the South just about every church participates.  Basically, you pack shoe-boxes full of goodies for Children around the world that otherwise may not get anything.  The people delivering the boxes witness, share the gospel and help encourage those children.  It is an incredible operation.  This year the price is $9 for shipping per box.  For more information see below.

https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

My kids always enjoy doing this.  We get a box for each child.  Then I go to the dollar store, get items to pack and let the kids divide them up and packing however they see fit.  We just did this and the kids had the best time.  We talked about who might get these, and how it could affect their lives by showing these kids that someone thousands of miles away was thinking about them and put love into making this box just for them.

Shoeboxes Samaritans Purse

Care Baskets for Hospice Patients/Family

My mother is a hospice nurse, so I have connections.  She works at a Hospice Home now instead of visiting individual homes.  The families that come in to a Hospice Home usually do not have much longer.  Their families are grieving, trying to enjoy what they know will be the last days or weeks with their loved ones.  What better thing to do, than to bring some cheer to these families even if for just a moment.

These Baskets will likely be more for the families.  I asked my mom and she said things to help keep the family busy are good options.  Here is a list of items you could do: Word Search books, Card Games such as Uno, Snacks, Baked goods, Blanket, Chocolate, Fruits, chapstick, lotion, anything to help make them more comfortable.

While I’m an advocate of creating these on your own if you are short on time or creativity you can purchase pre-made baskets for all occasions on Amazon.

Retirement Homes

Along the same lines as above.  The people here usually want your TIME more than gifts.  They get lonely and just enjoy the company.  Most especially love seeing your children.  I plan to take my girls this year.  We will go with baked goods in tote, 3 happy little girls each with their favorite books, and maybe some fingernail polish.  Old ladies really enjoy having their fingernails painted by kids.  Don’t ask me why, but it makes their days and it takes the nerves out of the kids.  You can even coordinate and have your kids go and help with Bingo Night.

Hospitals

Pediatric Wards, Cancer Centers etc are a good way to show your children that there are people in so much worse situations than anything they are dealing with.  Bringing a smile to their face by giving them a small goody bag/basket is a great way to teach kids and also encourage those sick.

Again, Amazon has premade care kits.

Food Banks

Pick up some extra items next time you are at the grocery store and take to a local food bank.  There is always an increased need in the winter when people are cold and hungry.  It shows that we are trying to help those less fortunate.

Teachers

One of the most underpaid, unappreciated professions.  Make goody bags/baskets to take to teachers at your kid’s school.  It doesn’t have to just be your individual child’s teacher.  The office staff, janitorial, and all the specials get forgotten about.  You could always find out what if anything the PTSA is putting together and offer to help if you do not have the means to do this on your own.  There are tons of cute ideas on Pinterest.

Preachers/Law Enforcement/Fireman

Any public service personnel would love you to stop by.  Bake some cookies and go by just to say hello and offer them a treat.  It will help your children interact with these people in non emergency situations and be a little more comfortable with them.

Spouse’s Work

My husband is military but even if yours is not, have the kids help prepare something and go pass out to your spouse’s colleagues.  It shows them support but also your kids would love going to daddies workplace.

Send Care Packages/ Cards to Soldiers Deployed

Okay, so this one hits close to my heart.  Holidays are some of the hardest times for Soldiers deployed.  They want to be home with their families and can’t be.  Often times they have seen and endured unimaginable things and are halfway around the world thinking no one is missing them or thinking about them.  If you do not do any of the above, PLEASE take the time to send some cards overseas.  Let them know they are NOT alone.

If you do not know where to find this information you can go to a local USO and I’m sure they can help.

Blessing Bags

I started a year or two ago, putting together some blessing bags, and keeping in each vehicle.  When we come up to homeless people at intersections or what have you, we hand out these bags.  I know a lot of people have mixed emotions about giving to these people.  We hear so many stories of people standing at street corners than at the end of the day driving off in expensive cars and totally taking advantage of people.  That is why this is a good alternative.  Jesus says over and over in the Bible to LOVE.  We are not to judge, to question, to worry about whether we are being taken advantage of or not.  I’d rather get to Heaven and Jesus have an account of all the people who took advantage of my kindness and generosity than to see me as a Scrooge.

Items for Blessing Bags: Travel toothpaste./toothbrush, soap, tissue, hand warmers or gloves, snacks/food items, a gift card to McDonald’s or a food place so if they are truly hungry they can get something to eat.)  I also always a card or something with some scripture and encouragement in it.  I have recently added a sheet with local charities and places they can go for additional help.

I'd rather get to Heaven and Jesus have an account of all the people who took advantage of my kindness and generosity than to see me as a Scrooge. Click To Tweet

Let’s Change the Focus

Hopefully, this has given you some ideas of ways to teach your children about GIVING this Christmas instead of focusing nonstop of getting.  Not only will it help your children see that there is more to Christmas than presents, but it is a way we can spread Gods love during this Holiday season.  There are so many people who just want to know they are thought of and loved.

Trust in the Lord- How will you fully rely on God?

Trust in the Lord

Yesterday was Pastor Appreciation Sunday at our church.  I am the head of the fellowship team so usually, that means I would have already gone to the church and had everything set up and prepared.  However, I was really sick over the weekend.  Went to the sick clinic Saturday morning, came home and took a nap (I NEVER DO that) and felt a little better.  Was put on antibiotics so hopefully, it will knock this crud out of my system for good.

Our church is small but we have two lead pastors.   However, one of those Pastors has been filling in temporarily for another church who lost their Pastor, for a few months.  In the meantime, some of our Deacons and other members with experience have stepped in to help with the preaching schedule.  This has been a blessing in a lot of ways as it gives the opportunity to “train up” leaders of the church.  My husband has been afforded that opportunity several times this year to preach.  Today, was one of his scheduled preaching times.

I am always proud of him, but I must say watching him stand in front of our congregation and speak Gods word with confidence and love, makes me extra proud.  Sick or not, I would not miss it for the world.  It’s important to me to be there, to show him my love and support.

He has been preparing for this for weeks.  Then, all the sudden, on Thursday evening, he came home and said he needed to re-write his sermon.  Whatever, the Holy Spirit leads my dear.  He spent hours working on it and was up until after midnight tweaking his sermon notes and preparing his slide show presentation Saturday.  There is a lot of work that goes into a sermon.  It’s not nearly as easy as it looks, let me tell you.

Yesterday, he left early to head to church.  He plays the drums and they practice before church on Sunday mornings, so this was nothing new.  I made the kids biscuits and ham.  Started my casserole for the potluck, got all 3 kids dressed, hair done, and ready to get out of the door.  Then I had to get myself dressed, and ready and clean the kitchen before we could leave.  As I mentioned earlier, I had not gone early and decorated and prepared the fellowship hall for the potluck so I had all intentions of getting to church by 9 am.  It was more like 9:30 when I got there.  Thankful some of the ladies stepped up and had already decorated and done the tea and other preparations for me.

Jeremy did a wonderful job on his sermon.  He doesn’t let me read it beforehand, so it was new to me also.  He started out with a story to relate back to his message.  His sermon was on how God can use ALL things for his purpose.  Even those times when we screw up, make a mess and are the most ashamed of. 

He also talked about a specific time when we really prayed and took a leap of faith by turning down a possible promotion.  Come to find out, there had been a mistake and he wasn’t supposed to have been offered it.  He was put back on the Board and promoted within the same office, where we didn’t have to move.  PRAISE THE LORD!

See sometimes, God wants us to step outside our comfort zone to fully rely on HIM and HIS will for our life.  If we follow his prompting, he will do incredible things, that we can’t even comprehend possible at the time.

So, how will YOU step out of your comfort zone and fully rely on God?

If I can get him to agree, I’ll upload his sermon at the bottom of this post later.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Prov 3.5-6 Click To Tweet

Eden Advent Calendars

Teen Valley Ranch Weekend

For the first time in my life, I went away for the weekend without my parents or husband, and took the kids to Teen Valley Ranch.  To some that may sound lame.  However, I should also re-iterate that I got married at 19.  I went from living with my parents to living with my husband.

This was a HUGE deal to me.  Silly as it may sound.  I tried everything to convince someone, anyone, into going with no success.  When we booked the weekend, I made sure it was one that Jeremy wouldn’t have drill.  However, when he got his new position and transferred units, his new drill schedule of course had him working this weekend.  So, while our circumstances were less than ideal, when I commit to something I follow through.

Now, that brings us to our weekend.  I completely stressed over this trip for a month leading up to it.  The thought of driving 4 hours, just the 3 kids and me absolutely petrified me.  I woke up Friday morning, broken out in a rash, horrible stress headache, and my nerves torn to pieces.

I took the big 2 kids to school, then Isabelle and I came home to finish loading the car, taking care of the animals, and doing all the last-minute items.  About 11:15 we headed out, stopped and grabbed some lunch and went to pick the girls up from school at noon.  From there, we headed to my husband work on the way out, to tell him bye.  Of course, it started raining just to make my stress level higher.

He could tell I was nervous, and he told me I didn’t have to do this and I could still head home.  I told him, NO, I wasn’t turning back now.  I knew once I made it there we would be okay.  I was just nervous about driving there, stopping with 3 girls, and terrified I would get lost.  Two GPS’s running and a print out, and I can still get turned around.  There is really no help for me.  😀

We said a prayer together, he wiped my tears, and we headed out.  Of course, I got turned around leaving his work, it was raining, I needed gas, and my head was killing me.  I finally made it to the major highway and was rolling good.  However, when we got about 45 minutes down the interstate, they had a HUGE area of road construction.  Took us about an hour to go maybe 5 miles.  I pulled off and got gas, and once we got past that area we were fine.

The girls did great.  Isabelle finally fell asleep after the construction area and slept most the rest of the way.  I decided to stop at a rest area when we go up into the mountains.  It was beautiful, cool, and much-needed pit stop to stretch and get out for a few minutes.  From there it was easy travel because I remembered where I was and we made it to the camp with no trouble.

Finally There…..

Once we got to the camp we got signed in, and settled into our camp room.  This camp is largely used for summer kids camp so rooms include 6 bunk bed, with prison mattresses, a bathroom and sink.  If you are going, I’d recommend doubling up the mattress pads.  Worked like a charm and I slept fine doing that.  They do have some cabins but the other group had reserved them all this time around.

Dinner was at 6:30.  The kids were starving and they had burritos, chips, cheese dip etc.  It was really great.  Then we had our first session.  How the session works is you come in, do some icebreaker games, then they sent the kids to various places.  Toddlers went upstairs to play, elementary went to the gym for games, songs, and a lesson.  Middle and High schoolers went to Walt Bobs Cafe.  This allowed the adults to be able to have time to calm down and focus on what we came for.

They start out with prayer, music as a time of worship, and then Mr. Greg comes in and does the speaking time.  Mr. Greg is funny, down to earth, well spoken, and really easy to listen to.  He ties stories into the lesson and really drills home the point with scripture.  I should inform you, if you have never been and about to go take a sweater or blanket.  Right before he comes in, he cuts the air down, and its freezing in there.  We went back in March also, and it actually snowed overnight, he still cut the air on.  Not joking!

Our session finished up around 9:15.  They have several things you can do in the evenings, however with it already past the kids bedtime, I let them do the hayride and then we went back to the room.  Luckily, everyone was tired and I didn’t have too much trouble getting them to go to bed.  In case you are interested they have hayride, campfire with smores, the cafe is open, the gym is open, putt putt, etc.

Leave it to my kids to wake up around 6:15 on Saturday morning.  I tried to keep them quiet and laying in bed.  You can image how well that worked.  Finally we got up, I got everyone dressed, and we went ahead and walked down to the cafeteria area.  They really do have the best breakfast.  You can choose from Biscuits and Gravy, Bacon, Grits, Eggs, Cereal, Yogart, and milk or juice.

After breakfast they do quiet time.  They give you a print out to use as a general idea.  This was probably one of the most frustrating times of the weekend for me.  You are supposed to break off into different areas, and have this serious, quiet time.  Isabelle just turned 4 and has NO attention just like her older sister.  Trying to keep the kids focused, engaged, and getting anything out of it was near impossible.  Great idea, and was an awesome time when we went in the spring and I had Jeremy there to help, just didn’t work out so well this time.  It is supposed to encourage you to have family quiet time daily in everyday life which is a great concept.

Here are a few photos following our quiet time.

After that you go back and have another session.  They do the morning session different.  They have a thing called “Word of God, Speak.”  This is a time where the adults come together and worship through music and scripture reading.  It is really cool and an awesome experience.  I would love to implement that occasionally in our church setting.

Then there was an hour of down time before lunch.  The kids played a little putt putt, ran around, and we just hung out for a few minutes.  After lunch you have all afternoon to do things around the camp.  They have amazing activities more than you can possibly do.  We however, took the opportunity to my kids disapproval, to take a nap.  My head was still hurting and Isabelle really needed a nap.  Turns out, Kaylee, Isabelle and I all took a nap.  Allyssa read her book for her upcoming book report during this time.

We got up about 3pm which worked out perfectly because that is what time they open certain activities.  We went and did horseback riding first.  The rock-wall was also a BIG hit.  It was too cold last time we went to much of anything outdoors so this time we took full advantage.  Allyssa climbed to the top of the rock wall twice.  Kaylee got not quite half way up and they even helped Isabelle do it.  Really great time.

The two big kids then went and changed into bathing suits and did the zip line into the pond.  Mommy and Isabelle sat back and watched.  They were not so impressed with this.  Apparently it hurt landing in the water. They needed baths after this so I headed back to the room to get them cleaned up and thankfully Mr. Randy played with Isabelle for a few minutes.

By the time we had done all that it was time for the kickball tournament.  Isabelle and I kinda walked around and did our own thing while the other two played kickball.  Then it was dinner and another session.  We did another hayride and headed to bed.  The great thing is on Saturday Night they do live music in the cafe and its a really great time to relax, listen to music, and just fellowship.  I didn’t get to do that this time but our rooms were above the cafe so I was able to enjoy the music from our room.  That was probably Jeremy’s favorite thing about last time we went.

Sunday we woke up, had breakfast, packed our things and loaded the van, had quiet time, another session, lunch and headed out.

The kids really had a nice time and besides Isabelle running off and keeping me busy, it was fun.  Not very relaxing without Jeremy there but fun.  I was the only one without a spouse I believe, and I was sure missing Jeremy.  BUT….We did it!  I made it work and tried to make the most of it.  Not really much time to sit around and talk and relax like last time.  I look forward to going again next year, with my husband, and having a great family time.  Don’t think I’d do it again without him.

So….if you have been debating going…I say DO IT.  IF, I can go and take 3 kids 10 and under by myself you can do it.  It really is a good time for the whole family.  There are a ton of activities you can do in free time.  WiFi and cellphones don’t work well there so its time to unplug and focus on family and God.  It’s not super preachy or overly dramatized which I appreciate.  Everyone there is very kind, helpful, and relaxed.  Kids can be let free to a certain degree.  It really is family centered.

I’m sure I’m missing some but from what I can recall the various activities are: Putt Putt, Volleyball, Ping Pong, Basketball, Rock Wall, Hiking, Horseback Riding, River Rafting, Zipline, Board/Card Games, Coffee Shop, Kickball, Hay Rides, Campfire with Smores, Cornhole, Horseshoes, Tether Ball and the list goes on and on.

Enjoy the sideshows of photos.  It was so beautiful.  Weather was gorgeous, leaves were beautiful.

 

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5 Ways to decorate on a budget!

After living in this house for 10 years and having 3 babies who are no longer babies, I decided this year to do some re-decorating and really try to make our house look more homey and less baby run.  You know what I mean!  I wanted to decorate my living room and kitchen, and here is how I did it for a fraction of the price as designer stores.

Jeremy and I have a thing where we really try to pray and talk about spending money before we do it.  Not so much on little stuff, but any big decisions.  We know that it’s not OUR money but the Lords money.  He provides for us and we don’t want to waste.  However, in our studying of the Bible and listening to our peers who are so much wiser than we are, we also understand that God is okay with you getting things that make you happy, as long as you are not putting those THINGS as gods in your life. In other words, not worshiping or making them idols.  If something happened to it tomorrow, could you live without it?

I have REALLY wanted to update our house.  I just struggled with whether or not it was okay to spend money on THINGS.  However, I finally got a peace about it and truly felt the Lord was telling me it was okay.  I know that probably sounds completely petty to some, but I did not want to have buyers remorse/guilt.  By updating the house, I am much more willing to invite people over, serve them, fellowship with them, and enjoy the home the Lord has provided for us.

Here are 5 fairly inexpensive ideas to update a space without spending much money.
  1. Simple Accents (Candles, Lamps, Photos, Floral, etc)
  2. Paint- Not as cheap, but can really change a space and clean it up.
  3. Rugs- Oh how I longed for a nice rug and was NOT disappointed.  Best investment for my project hands down.
  4. Curtains/Valances- This adds dimension, and style for really affordable prices.
  5. Wall Decor/Mantel- Change up your main wall photos/decorations.  This can be done multiple times a year for the different seasons and to keep your room fresh.
Here is my journey to updating our space.
I bought a rug for the living room, which was by the far the best way to really improve and update the space.

This is a HIGH quality rug, beautiful colors which not only brightens the room but has soft tones which also warm it up.  I could not be more happy with the purchase.  All the other rugs I looked at were $300+.  I really feel I got this for a steal!  It is a HUGE rug, maybe even too big for my space, but I love it.

Happy Kids
Kids were super excited to have a rug.
Next, I looked into curtains.

After days, maybe even weeks of looking into the different options, I went with these.  I really wanted them here when I got the rug so I ordered through Amazon.  I did find some I like on Wayfair as well, but they were more expensive and took longer to get here.

I also wanted to have the kitchen and living room flow together.  I found these really cool, washable chair covers.  I found these on sale on Amazon which they are NOT now.  There are so many different options for chair covers.  I have two high back chairs at my counter top in between the living and kitchen so it was very important to me.  I got a set of 4 because I am constantly having to take off and wash so this way I have a pair on and a backup pair for washing.

I ordered a valance for my kitchen window.  That is no longer available on Amazon.

Next, I picked up rugs for in front of my doors and kitchen sink.  I bought those from Wal-Mart.

http://Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Did you know that you can now do Free 2 day shipping like Amazon, from Walmart.  No annual membership and thousands of products.  I have ordered so much from them since they went to this.  Beats waiting a week and they have much more to select from online.

Here is what it looks like now.  Finished Product!  I also LOVE the end table my hubby built me not long ago.

Hopefully, this helps inspire you.  I would LOVE to do something new and creative with my mantel but so far haven’t found the look I am searching for.  If you have ideas, please let me know.  I’m trying to go farmhouse/rustic.  HELP!

What are some ways you have updated your space on a budget?  Am I the only one that struggles with spending money on decorating?

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*This post contains affiliate links.  I get a small percentage anytime someone makes a purchase through a link to Amazon or Walmart.  This is in hopes of supporting my blog, which is not free.  I am required to have 3 purchases from links from my site to stay an active sponsor.  No extra costs to you  just helps me.  😀

 

Make Your Spouse Top Priority, While Balancing Life

When you get married, its easy to put each other first (after God of course).  However, after kids come along, they are tiny, needy, and it’s just as easy to get caught up in all things baby.  We as women, need to also make sure we are giving our husbands our time, respect, and affection.

The Bible talks a lot about the importance of marriage.  From the very beginning it states:

Genesis 1:27-28 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

1. Husbands are the head of the household

Ephesians 5:23,24,32 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

As wives, we need to be sure we keep our husband top priority.  They are the head of the household.  They deserve and need our attention.  They should lead the family, but we have an important role to be their helpmate.

Colossians 3:18-21: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

This scripture explains the family relationship perfectly.

2. Husbands need our affection.

Hebrews 13:4- Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but I love Mark Gungor’s marriage seminar.  He talks a lot about how men have a physical need to be fulfilled by their wives.  We as women have more of an emotional need to be filled.  Each can be done in the intimacy of our marriage.  You with hold in this area, and he will be more likely to look elsewhere, even if he doesn’t act on it.

3. Money is one of the main reasons for divorce according to studies.

Hebrews 13:5-7 states: “Keep our lives free from the love of money and be content with that you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; neither will I forsake you.”  So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?”  Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.  Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

For most men, they feel that they have to provide for the family.  They want to do everything possible to not only meet the families needs, but also give those things you want.  However, this can add a ton of stress.  It is a wife’s duty, to be careful with the finances, and to ease the husbands burden.  We were made to be his helper.  This is not to say the husband should be a dictator and the wife not allowed anything.  You are a team.  It should be discussed, openly, and realistic expectations set.

I know first hand, too many couples, who were great for each other in every other way.  However, spending habits and tendencies ruined them before they even started.  Another one of my personal pet peeves, is when you get married you should be ONE.  Not live two separate financial lives.  Where his money is his, and her money is hers.  You are brought together and should live as one.  Sit down, figure out goals, plans, and make concessions for when the unexpected happen.

1 Timothy 6:10 states: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

This verse is often mis-quoted.  It states the LOVE of money is evil, not money itself as evil.

4. LOVE each other in good and bad times.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

All marriages go through rough patches.  This doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel.  Work together.  Pray for each other.  Communicate!!!  Reminisce over the dating phase, wedding, or other good memories you have together.  Remind each other why you fell in love in the first place.  The word Divorce should never be even be uttered.  In heated argument it might be thought about, but refrain from saying at all costs.  Chances are, once you have calmed down, you will wish you hadn’t.

5. Pray for each other

I am a strong believer in prayer.  I know how it has personally helped me in every area of my life.  Prayer is something that comes easy to me, and I realize that is not the case for everyone.  However, it’s really hard to hate or stay mad at someone you are diligently, whole-heartily, praying for!  I also like the saying, those who pray together, stay together.  You must put God first in the relationship.  Take away the selfish desires, and focus on the ONE who you should be seeking to serve.

6.  DATE NIGHT

This is so incredibly important.  When we had our first child, my mom kept emphasizing how important date nights were.  Allyssa had colic, and honestly date nights were a way for us to get our sanity back.  My parents, and Jeremy’s mom kept Allyssa for us to go out almost every week for the first year she was born.  After that we still made a point to go out at least once a month.  When baby #2 came along, that all changed and it was a lot of harder to go out.  When baby #3 came along, we were so used to just taking the kids with us and having family night, instead of date night.

We rarely get date nights now, but I still feel very strongly about the importance.  Though, we do not get out as much, we make it a point to have time together after the kids go to bed at least once a week.  Rather that means, watching a movie together, sitting outside talking, or cuddling up on the couch and watching tv.   It is so important to still make undivided time for each other, no kids around.

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We did a marriage retreat through the National Guard years ago and then again at our church about two years ago by, Mark Gungor.  I highly recommend this to any married couples.  There are several things I learned from this marriage retreat. 

  1. Men have boxes, they can compartmentalized everything.  This blew my mind, I can’t turn off my brain if I try. (See full video insert below)
  2. Men respond to positive reinforcement way better than nagging.  Example…. If  I want my husband to help out more around the house.. I might send him a note in his lunch or put in his car, telling him how much I appreciate how hard he works, how he takes care of us, and how I know when he gets home he is tired so I’ll try harder not to nag him about helping do ________  fill in the blank.  This is likely going to encourage him, and give him more reason to want to do more.

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The same concept applies with fill their bucket, with love and encouragement.  If they feel loved, they will  be more likely to want to do more to make sure you feel loved too.  When you get a date night, another good activity is to tell each other 3 things you really appreciate/like that they are doing right and in exchange one thing that needs improvement

I have witnessed too many struggling families, where the wife doesn’t show love and appreciate for her husband.  I am not always the best at this, but I have made many improvements over the years, and really try to put work into making sure my husband knows how much I appreciate and respect him.  Do I always agree with everything?  No, of course not.  However, how we choose to respond, has the option to positively affect our marriage, or do the opposite.

*This post contains affiliated links.  I make a small commission if you purchase from the link.  It costs you nothing extra, just helps me out.

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Proud Momma Moment-Raising Jesus Girls

My friends and family know, but some reading will not.  Kaylee, our middle daughter, was held back and did Kindergarten twice.  This was a really hard thing for Jeremy and I to come to grips with.  However, it was by far the best decision for Kaylee.  She did fantastic with Kindergarten last year.  She built confidence with her reading, developed better math skills, and most importantly did not come home crying and struggling. 

The one area, that bothered me was that she did not make good friends.  She had a love/hate relationship with one girl in her class but no strong bond, with anyone.  As petty as it may sound here are the things I prayed non-stop about this summer for Kaylee.

  1. That she was be excited about school, and eager to learn.
  2. That she would make a good friend/friends this year, who would help her grow, encourage her, and be the kind of friend we want her to have.
  3. I prayed for her teacher, and God to put her in the right class for her.
  4. That no one would pick on her about her glasses.
  5. That she would show love/kindness to all in her class.

So, today it made my day, when she jumped in the car telling me about wearing her glasses, without being asked to.  Then went on to tell me she told ____________(a certain child, I wish not to name, that has mental/learning disability), good job, and encouraged him today. 

Later this evening, we went to a birthday dinner for my niece, and ran into her teacher.  Her teacher was telling me how great Kaylee was doing, and how proud she was of Kaylee, for encouraging this same child.  There is nothing, that makes this momma more happy, than to know my child is showing empathy, love, compassion, and putting the fruits of the spirit to work.

We all mess up, fall short, make mistakes daily.  However, my biggest job at this stage of life, is my children.  Raising them right, to love others and follow Christ.  That is a HARD job!  I fail them daily.  I do the best I can to make sure we are praying morning, noon, night, when someone gets hurt, when we hear a need, etc.  We take the kids to church, and our church is more an extended family to us. 

They are raised in church, around fellow believers, and we are active.  I head the fellowship team, my husband is on the worship team, a deacon, and we step in when needed to fill in for Sunday school, or anywhere else we see the need.  I go and decorate the church, and take the kids with me.  Jeremy goes and practices on the drums, and we take the kids.  I am usually cleaning or organizing around the church while he plays around, and the kids are there.  They don’t have a choice but to be saturated in the church.  The church is not the building, its the people.

Our church family is amazing.  When I had Isabelle, we had meals delivered almost daily for 3 weeks.  That was the absolute best blessing anyone has ever given me.  When Jeremy’s mom died, our church stepped up again, brought meals, helped with the funeral in any way we needed, and several came to the service 2 hours away.  When our water pump died on a weekend, we had 2 men from the church come and help pull the 300FT deep pump, and replace it.  The same two men, came and repaired a roof leak.  I could go on, and on.  We are a church of service.  We help each other out.  When there is a need you step in, and take care of people.  I believe whole-heartily, that is what Jesus wants. 

Circling back around, that is what we are trying to teach our children.  Show them how to live for Christ.  It’s not just on Sunday mornings.  We lived our lives that way for a long time.  I am so thankful we have come as far as we have.  I pray we continue to grow closer to Christ, and lead our children in the right direction.  We have a long ways to go, but each day is a step closer. 

I understand, some people do not understand this.  How we can put so much hope, and faith into the unknown.  Something so hard to understand.  I can tell you story after story, about how God is real, and how we have seen and experienced personal situations that can only be explained as God.  I do NOT throw the Bible upside everyone I come in contact with.  However, I do try to show love and respect to everyone.  I try to be a witness by the way I live my life. I try to make sure to instill in our children, that HATE is not acceptable.  We will not condone it, and they will get in big trouble if we find out they are behaving in that manner.  I want to raise Jesus Girls.

I love the quote:

Albert Camus

 

God teaches better than mommy-Always

As parents, we try to protect, and keep our kids safe.  Sometimes, we set rules, and boundaries that they may not understand.  Just this past week, my oldest daughter learned the hard way.  Mom, and dad, do indeed have her best interest at heart.

She is spunky, full of energy, strong-willed, and extremely determined (aka STUBBORN).  I pray that one day this trait will do her well.  It drives me crazy, and she and I clash way too often.  She is always 100 miles per hour.

Now, let me get to what happened.  Jeremy left for work, with all his girls sleeping.  Allyssa, apparently woke up, decided to go visit the goats.  This is not unusual, and I usually don’t make a big fuss about it.  Pick your battles, kind of thing.  However, the night before, we told her NOT to climb on and attempt to do the goat obstacle course.  We specifically told her, she WOULD get hurt.  There was no, maybe, possibly, might happen, it was a “YOU WILL GET HURT.”  Do you think she listened???

NOPE!  Sure, did not!  However, I have really used this to teach her many lessons.  She has been extremely sore, for days now.  We have prayed that God would heal her lip, and bruises.  She came to me last night, and said, “Mommy, I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you, now I know that you really were trying to look after me.”  Why yes, Allyssa, believe it or not, mommy loves you, and really does want whats best for you.

Today in church, the preacher said something(I can’t remember exactly what now), I looked at Allyssa, she gave me a “what” look.  I pointed to her face, she smiled, and knotted her head in agreement.  Yes, God does teach us lessons in hard ways at times.

So what has she learned from all this?

  1. Don’t jump on a round barrel, as fun as it looks, it’s not for little girls.
  2. Rules are sometimes there to protect her.
  3. Consequences to your actions, can take time to heal.
  4. Even when we do stupid things, God still forgives us, and parents too.
  5. Its embarrassing having to explain to everyone what happened and getting the look and sigh that says “you should have listened to your parents.”

Now, while I may come across extremely mean, and unsympathetic.  Let me also say, I did hold her, clean her up, pray with her, and give her medicine.  I also, have not constantly rubbed it in her face, like I have been tempted to.  She has actually brought it up more than we have.

What have I learned from this?

  1. God can teach her lessons way more effective than me. Duh, I know.
  2. God can work on mommy’s heart through my child getting hurt.  Not once did I get angry with her.  I was genuinely concerned, and caring.
  3. Mommy needs to make the goat obstacle not so fun looking to the kids.
  4. How to really use this situation as a time of learning, praying, and giving thanks to God for protecting her and nothing worse happening.

Below is today…almost a week after it happened.

Belated Anniversary Dinner

Last night, we were fortunate enough, to be able to have a belated Anniversary dinner.  With 3 kids, getting out is near impossible.  At least, for us it seems to be.  We went to the Outback Steakhouse, then to Dunkin Donuts for some coffee.  It was so nice to be able to sit and talk and have each others undivided attention for a while. 

As we were about to pay and leave the Outback, it dawned on me, how amazing it was to be able to sit and enjoy a hot meal, without getting up 5 times to take the kids to the bathroom.  Am I the only one, that kids seem to think going to the bathroom is a must before, during, and after a meal??  It never fails!  So inevitably, I get a few bites, before the little one usually all the sudden has to potty BAD!

Anyhow, after dinner we went to Dunkin Donuts (I’m one of those boycotting Starbucks) for some coffee.  I am a huge coffee drinker, and we weren’t ready to end our date night, so we went and sat and enjoyed conversation together.  My hubby likes to be a funny boy.  The feature photo I have posted, is literally the best I could get.  The others he is being a complete clown, making funny faces, and determined not to let me take a picture of us.  It is rare to get a picture together.

After 13 years of marriage, I am so happy with where we are.  We started our lives together, young, and dumb.  We have struggled, and learned together.  We are finally financially sound, and more than being content, we are happy with the life we have.  We may not have all the fancy things, that most people are age are wanting, but we have so much to be thankful for.   Our kids, our home, our animals, and most importantly our faith, and family are what make us happy.  We reflected over all these things on our date last night. 

My husband makes me laugh, every single day.  He works so hard, giving his all to his military career, then comes home and gives his all to us.  I am very fortunate, and blessed, and not a day goes by that I don’t give thanks for the man God brought in my life.  I know without a doubt, God brought us together, and will keep us.  This has been an unusually hard year for our family, because of the unit hubby is currently with and upcoming deployment.  Jeremy has been gone weeks at a time non stop, and when he is home, he is stressed because of work.  I am so thankful for Jeremy, and thankful for our faith in God to take care of us when life seems uncertain. 

Church Baby Shower

I am so blessed to be part of an incredible church.  Our church is not like any others, that I know of.  We have two Pastor’s, neither take a salary.  They do it out of the goodness of their hearts and desire to follow Christ and lead His people in faith. 

Our church also follows the scriptures in how we set up our structure.  We have ministry teams that take on different roles, and responsibilities, and therefore utilize members spiritual gifts appropriately.  I have been the Fellowship Team leader for a long time now.  Probably 5-6 years, though I’m not certain exactly. 

Our team is responsible for coordinating events throughout the year that minister to bringing fellowship in the church.  I usually try to plan one event a month.  Today we hosted a potluck Bay Shower.  We have found this is a great way to get men and women to attend and have fun.  We are blessed with some very talented people in our church.  One special lady made this incredible baby shower Diaper Train.  It is the nicest one I think I have every seen.  Another lady, made these super cute cupcakes.  I just do the coordinating, decorating, and making sure we have all the supplies and get everything set up.

When I went to bed last-night, I prayed that God would help me be a super kind, loving mommy today.  Hubby woke me up with a text at 6:30, and I was able to talk with him back and forth for a while.  Then I got up, made the girls scrambled eggs, and sausage links for breakfast. 

After that, is when things started going down hill fast.  As I mentioned above, we had a potluck shower today.  Luckily me and another lady had already gone and decorated earlier in the week.  I went to make Alfredo for the kids, and didn’t have one of the main ingredients.  I said okay, no problem, I’ll make something else.  I started the BBQ meatballs in the crock pot, and decided to make some cornbread muffins.  I got them started, and by now its 10 till 10.  I went back to start getting ready, already knowing we are going to be late.  I couldn’t do anything with my hair, couldn’t get a comb through Kaylee’s hair, and by now the timer is going off.  I run back in the kitchen and find out that half the pan of cornbread muffins are burnt. 

I finish getting the kids ready for church, and go to put together the baby gift.  Mind you, I bought baby boy clothes MONTHS ago for this.  I can NOT find the clothes anywhere.  I go frantically searching through the house and can not find them.  I know, I should not have waited until last minute to put it together but its been the last thing on my mind with everything else going on.  I tell the kids to load up, by now its 10:30 and we are just leaving for church.  Luckily, I only live a few minutes from our church.  I rush in, and immediately am asked if I’m okay.  “SURE!” 

My poor husband was trying to console me from hundreds of miles away.  I had finally texted him at some point.  He kept telling me everything would work out, it would be okay.  By the time we got to church, I was done with the day and ready to just get everything finished setting up and go home.  Some wonderful ladies, had started the tea and were already on top of getting everything plugged in and prepped and helped me a ton.  When Sunday School let out, we finished setting up the fellowship hall and into the Sanctuary we go.  My 7-year-old, came over and wanted mommy to hold and cuddle her and that helped calm me down.  God has a way of working in funny ways. 

We stayed for the lunch and everything after that has been fine.  Isabelle did sneak a cupcake in the van.  When I got home this is what I opened the door and saw…. her daddy thought it was hilarious!

Came home, Isabelle took a nap, thank goodness.  I was able to get my kitchen cleaned up, sit down, and do some work for a while.  After nap, we played with the goats, road down to see my sister in law’s ducks, and ended up inviting ourselves to dinner at my parents.  😀  Thank you mommy!!!

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