Friday, April 27, 2012

Test 2-Please disregard


Lesson learned. Don't mess with html unless you know for sure what you are doing!!!And always backup your template if you need a do-over



Testing-Please disregard


Please disregard this post. In installing and then uninstalling a new plug in I've managed to mess up the comments section on the blog. I'm testing to see if I fixed the problem now with a new post.

Thanks!











Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Being In a Rut


Photo Source
Jer 29:13,14 " You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you."
Have you ever been in a rut? A spiritual one? A quiet time one?

Do you find it hard to stay in the Bible when not in a Bible Study?  Bible studies keep me in the word and give me direction . When I'm left to my own devices, I seem to wander aimlessly looking for something that will jump out at me.

Sometimes I pray beforehand and something really will jump out at me, and I know that verse was just for me. Just what I needed to get through the day or help me understand something a little better.

Other times I feel like a dried up well. Going through the motions.

I read something earlier that a relationship needs creativity, spontaneity, flexibility. Whispering the same prayers everyday starts feeling monotonous. I need change.

It's hard to get in that 'place' when I feel like I'm boring God to death, because I'm boring myself.

I think I need a new understanding of prayer, in order to grow in my prayer life.
The disciples saw Jesus pray and they craved the kind of prayer life that he had. To quote something I read earlier on GodSpace, " I imagine prayer as a new way of looking and listening and interacting with the world so that we are constantly uncovering the presence of God which shines through every moment and enlivens every creature."



Yes!! That's what I want. To get up in the morning and be excited for another day to live out life and please my Father. To come to Him in the morning {because this is the time that I've decided works best for my life}, with excitement, awe, and reverence for how He is working things out in my life, and to give Him thanks for it all.  In all times, good and bad.

I was once in an Anne Graham Lotz Bible Study where she addressed this very thing, that sometimes it is hard to just sit and read the Bible. A lot of times we need a study to help guide us through.

Her solution for this is to dissect the verses. Choose a book to read through and start at verse one. Break it into 3 columns. What the Bible says, What this verse says to you{how you interpret it}, and finally how this can be applied to your life.

Now this is a lot of writing! But it does help when you are not in a Bible study and need to stay in the Bible.

When I get into a rut, kinda like now. I'm  feeling repetitious.  Kinda Blah.  Does God really want to hear me pray about this, again??

There is no real crisis that is keeping me on my knees at this moment in time. Life is good, and isn't in these moments that we tend to pull back. We think proudly, life is good, I've got this. I'll call on God when I really need Him.

But friends, isn't that when trouble starts?  God knows when we are in need, He knows it keeps us dependent on Him. In times of prosperity however, we start pulling back and think we don't need Him. We may not even realize it, until our attitudes start reflecting the slide.

I'm going to challenge myself this week to try Mrs. Lotz technique. Just do it! I'm going to boss my feelings around, get up in the morning when I'm tempted to sleep in, open my Bible, and read. I don't want to start the backsliding that is inevitable to occur if I don't.

Now that I've put it in writing for all to read, I really have to do it now :)

Are there any ways you find helpful to staying connected to God and that keep you in the word? Tips?Advice? What do you do that keeps you from getting into a quiet time funk?






Linking up today with:: Encourage One Another, HomeMaking Wed, Living Well Wed, Winsome Wed, Imperfect Prose God Bumps and God Incidences,

**I'm having some comment issues with this post, sorry. Hopefully I will get it up and working soon. Thanks for stopping by and reading!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Four Of The Last Six!!


Casting Crowns and Matthew West came to town and it. Was. Good!



The best of the best performing, worshiping, preaching, all of it was too much.

I knew I wanted to go as soon as I heard and started dropping hints, subtle ones mind you . Then when I didn't think I was getting heard, more direct hints like " Sweetie, Casting Crowns are coming and I really want to go."

Then it turned kinda ugly and the direct hints shamefully sounded like "I pity you if they come to town and we don't go, you may not want to come that night"  I know, childish, but I REALLY wanted to go!!!

Then the day came, still no tickets, it really wasn't going to happen, we weren't going. I resolved not to get mad, there were more important things in life then not going to a concert EVEN if it was a Casting Crowns concert.

But I was still sending up quiet requests to God, just in case.

Trey called at 4 pm, the concert started at 7pm. He had driven to the box office just in case there were some seats that opened up. AND THERE WERE!! 6. Six opened up, and we were able to get 4 of them!! How crazy is that?!

Happy dance time!!

I knew my man would come through, :) never doubted him for one minute!

 He was a little relieved too, I could tell.

                              Look at how close we were!! The man did good for last minute!!


This made for a great picture taking session


Sold out!


Look! He's smiling! But Keeli, not so much


We were introduced to some new Christian singers we had not heard of before. Like this one Lindsay McCaul. Keeli loves girl singers, and if they sing uplifting safe{ie... no sexual references} songs, then I love them too! I bought the CD for Keeli and stood in line with her so that she could get it autographed by her new favorite singer. That's always a cool experience.  And Lindsay was so sweet and generous with her time with everyone she met. What a great role model!!



Another new group we had never heard of is Royal Tailor. They added a little hip hop, pop flair to the concert. There was even a little rap involved... and it was good. We were impressed.



And then finally Matthew West. He was funny and charming. Once while I was taking his picture it looked like he posed for me! Jackson said "Mom he smiled for you!" Actually I was videoing, so it was not a still shot, but just the same, still cool.





And like father like son, Trey refuses to just smile for a picture. 
                              Always the goof, who loves his wife so much he went out his way to get concert tickets                   that she really really wanted. Love this man!

The cool thing about Casting Crowns is that they just don't stand up there performing for you, they interact the entire time with the audience. You feel like you are at church worshiping together. They are a very humble group, that's just doing their thang. Using their God given talents to serve and glorify God.


But wait, there's more!
While walking around during intermission, we signed up for a drawing to get 2 free passes to the next concert Call to Love coming to town. Well, I got a call at 7:30 the next morning from the local Christian radio station, telling me that I won!!  I had just woken up and was pretty incoherent, and speechless, I never win anything. You know when you enter in a raffle with thousands of other people you never expect to have your name drawn. You do it just in case.

They played my reaction on the radio, and I sounded like a big ol` dork. But I was too excited to care, I won!!!

So many good things, I'm overwhelmed. I can only say Thank-You, to the One from whom all good gifts come from.
He knew this small request to go to a concert would lift my spirits and let me know that He sees me...but not only that, He cares. No request is too small or insignificant for our God. I knew that, but sometimes need to be reminded.

We serve a big and mighty God, what good are you praying for in your life? Whatever it is, keep praying and believe that He hears every whisper. He cares about you no matter how big or insignificant you think the request is.

James 1:17 "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." {NIV version}

Blessings,




Linking up for the first time with :: The Better Mom, A Handful of Heart Monday LinkupMotivation Monday, Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, April 20, 2012

Upcycling-Big Man to Little Man's Shirt


I'm new to upcycling but the idea intrigues me. Take something old and make it into something new!
Like this shirt:: All you need is a shirt you want to cut down into a smaller size. A shirt that's already the size you want. Scissors, measuring tape, pen, sewing maching, and needles



One Man's wrinkley XL Pull-Over Shirt

Here are the step by step instructions for how I made my husbands XL shirt to fit my seven year old son.

First:: Lay your little shirt onto your big shirt. Lining up the waistlines. Turn both of them inside out.





Now Measure out from you little shirt a Half Inch all the way around. This will be the line you sew on {seam allowance}
 I mark mine with a marker so that I can see where I need to cut, otherwise I will be cutting all over the place. I can't cut straight to save my life!




This is your shirt all cut out
This is where I messed up, I didn't make the scoop of the neck dip enough, so as you will see on down, the collar is little like a mock turtle neck {ooops}


Cut out the collar about half inch from the seams



The cut out collar
Cut it at the seams on each end. So that you have the front and back. You need to measure your childs collar on his shirt so that you will know how big to make your new one. You may want to make it a little bigger just for safe measure.

Match up your sleeves. I had to cut width and length to make a new one to fit. Measure out half an inch for width and length to get your new sleeve. Sew and you have a new sleeve. 



Right Sides Together, Pin and Sew the Collar Down on Your newly cut out shirt. Sew right on top of the seams already there. Now sew all the way around, letting it feed through naturally{without you pulling on it}
                           
Make sure you cut it your neck big enough or else it won't fit right when your done. There is a saying "Measure twice and cut once" this is soooo true!


Collar done. This is it flipped up and turned around. Now it needs to be Ironed and Top Stitched
                            


Top Stitch the collar down, this makes it look purdy. About 1/8 down from the finished seam, on the right side of the fabric.




Sew the Shoulders. Starting at the top of the collar. Sew down and to the end of the shoulder


Iron, Iron and Iron. This is such an essential step to sewing.


Sew up the side seams
                                       
                        

                      Once again Iron and Trim the seams all around. This makes them look more professional!



Now for the Sleeves
::
Turning the sleeve Right Side Out. Put it inside your Wrong Side Out shirt. Pin it to the hole opening, making sure you match up the armpit seam and the shoulder seam, and sew into place.


                    Now do the same for the other, and then Trim and Press and YOUR DONE!!
Turn it Right Side Out, and Press with the iron one more time. You don't need to do anything with the hem


                                    So sweet, yet such a little devil too. He would NOT let me take his picture!




Crazy boy!



See that collar, I goofed.  I didn't cut it down enough when I was cutting it out in the first step, so therefore it bunched up, ooops. Don't do that!!

This was my first try upcycling, even though the collar came out whack, it's still not to shabby. Everything else looked great.  I can't wait to do some more the possibilities are endless!





Have a great weekend!!



Linking up with Studio JRUMake It Yourself Monday



Mother's Day Special- 30% off Select Items Use coupon code  MD30off. Just in time for Mother's Day!! Have you seen the Redeemed Collection?



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Talk, Lord Help Me




Psalm 139:14 "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful!"


Well, I did it. I didn't want to, everything in me wanted to ignore the obvious, put my head in the sand and pretend it's not really happening...my daughter is growing up. And it was time to have "The Talk." oh, shoot me now!

I honestly think I have been dreading this day from the moment she was born.  I knew it would be an uncomfortable but necessary talk, I just didn't want to have to do it.  I was scared. The birds and the bees, staying pure till marriage, modesty. How much should I share? How much is too much? What if she asked questions that I wasn't ready to answer, What if she asked questions about me? I took all of this to God before I got started, this 'talk' wasn't going to go well if I didn't.

So, with lots of praying under my belt and clammy hands and a shaky voice, I began. Once she saw the direction  I was going in, she wanted to run too, and she did!! :)

I coaxed her back and we started over. Lord, was I just as nervous as her!!

I started with the fact that she would be starting her period soon and with that lots of changes would be coming.  I had to reinforce the fact that this entry into womanhood is to be celebrated. I had to do my own attitude check on the matter. I know she hears me moan and groan and that probably inadvertently made her fear what was coming, so I had to do some backpedaling.

Then, I moved into how babies really come into this world. {If I could have stopped and taken a picture, I would have, it was priceless the look on her face}. And staying pure until marriage and the consequences of not doing so.

I want her to stay true to her God-given self and not spend her whole life conforming to what she thinks others want her to be. The need to conform is so great and the battle for our girls is strong. The world  cheapens sex and makes it out like it's no big deal but it doesn't show them the damage it does to their hearts when it's done outside the safe confines of marriage.

I ended with touching on modesty. More and more girls her age are wearing really revealing clothing, and I felt it was important to stress that our bodies are precious and should not be used to get attention with in that kind of way. That's not the kind of attention I want for her.

There is a mountain of resources online. Such sites like Focus On The Family, and my personal favorite Secret Keeper Girl, I even read "Six Ways to Keep The Little In Your Girl" by Dannah Gresh, who also runs Secret Keeper Girl website. She is devoted to helping moms connect with their tween to instill the importance of modesty and purity in them at a young age. I LOVED this book!! It helped so much in making the conversation with Keeli go more smoothly.

A positive that came out that I wasn't expecting was my reasons for banning certain TV shows,songs, and clothes became more clear to her now{now that the word 'sex' isn't taboo}. I think she was getting rebellious in these areas mainly because she didn't understand why.  She thought I was just being an 'uncool' mom. She may still not fully understand how much the media affects her, but she knows now that it does. And thankfully, for now anyways, my opinion matters more.

I realized before and especially after our talk that this was going to be a rolling conversation that we were going to have to keep talking and being open with each other about. I don't want her to ever stop talking to me about things she hears, questions she has or situations her friends are in.

I pray that God will give me wisdom and the heart to listen to what my girl needs from me.

In the last couple of days I've seen an attitude shift. Almost as if a wall has been brought down. She isn't as moody, and she has been opening up more about her friends and things she is hearing at school. PTL!

Now I wish I would have done it sooner, she's 11, but already TV has been bombarding her with the words "sexy" or boyfriend- girlfriend kissy scenes, and these are on kid friendly stations, and lets not even get into Pop songs {Lady Gaga or Katy Perry anyone?}. The world stacks the cards against you fast, and my eyes are being opened to how ready I had better be for battle.

I could probably go on and on, there is so much to talk about when you are talking about purity and the battle for our girls hearts and attention.
I am praying my way through this stage and preparing for the teen years that are right around the corner. If you have any advice I'd love to hear it, I could use all I can get!!

This parenting thing is tough!


Linking up today with::  Deep Root at Home,Raising Homemakers,Women Living Well,Winsome Wed,Far Above Rubies,Time Warp Wife,A Pause On The Path,Rising With The Son,God Bumps and God Incidences,Word Filled Wed,We Are That Family, Imperfect Prose,Beautiful Thursdays,Thought Provoking Thursday,RaisingMightyArrows, Hearts 4 Homes Thursdays,Faith Filled Fridays,Heart Prints Hallelujah, Weekend Whatever

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Salty Snack and A Breakfast Treat

I love salty crunchy snacks. And this one satisfies both of these cravings.





First up is:: Kale Chips. Kale is a superfood, right up there with spinach. I've had it in pesto and sauteed, but this is the most tasty, in my opinion.

You Need::
One bunch of Kale
Salt
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350

First wash the Kale really good and then gently run your fingers down the spine of each leaf. This will pull off the leaves and you can discard the hard spiney part.
Dry the Kale. Lay it on a baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and then rub it in good with your fingers into each leaf. Lightly sprinkle with salt.
Put in a 350 oven for 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on it or will burn easy. Wen it looks dry and feels hard to the the touch, it's ready
Let it cool then crunch down!

You get the salty/crunch of a chip but the veggy benefits of Kale. Dig in guilt free!! Now that's my kind of snacking!


Next is this really great recipe that I got off one of my favorite whole food recipe sites.  Heavenly Homemakers.

Baked Oatmeal Cups or Birds Nest. You can find the recipe here .




My kids, to my surprise, LOVED these. I sprinkled them with chocolate chips on the top {I think that's why the kids took to them the way they did ;) }and it made them look like birds nests. I got to say, the chocolate chips were a huge hit, you really can't go wrong with chocolate first thing in the morning :) Can you?


I added apples into mine because I like fruit in my oatmeal, so next time I make them, I'll play around with different fruit and toppings.
I thought the chocolate chips looked like little bird droppings, but I kept that to myself, no sense in grossing out the kiddos :)

One thing I didn't do that I will definitely do differently next time is put it into a paper lined cup. I sprayed
the pan and thought it would be fine, but it was a bugger getting them out.

But oh so yummy, great start to your day!

I love how healthy both of these items were and delicious. I'm still on a weight loss journey and checking in with my sis each monday for a weigh in. Trey and I have been doing grueling workouts in the afternoons when he gets home from work. {This week is supposed to be a break week, but, yeah, not so much}

I can tell I'm losing inches all of my clothes are fitting better {YAY!!}
but the scale isn't moving much {actually not at all, BOO!!}and this is usually about the time I give up and say fughetaboutit, but not this time! No this time I am deteremined to see it through.  I'm not getting any younger and weight loss will only get harder, so I HAVE to get it under control now.

Besides I'm sleeping better, standing up straighter, sucking it in more, and the little dance I usually do to get my pants up is getting shorter!woohoo!
In the words of Lysa Terkeurst "I am made for more than this battle with food" amen.

p.s. sorry for the yucky pictures, I've got to stop taking pics with my phone, they just don't turn out as well as my real camera.


Have a great weekend everyone!




Linking up today with:: Comfy in the Kitchen, Your Thriving Family, Studio JRU,Just For Fun Fridays

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Can We Agree To Disagree?




What I believe and what works for me and my family, may not be what you believe and may not work for your family.

I may be a stay at home, that is my family's choice, but I don't look down on you or think I am any more holy because you work a full time job and have kids to take care of. Actually I'm in awe, that you balance everything so well. I know I couldn't.

I may not home-school, in fact I  look forward to the time the kids are at school. There! I said it!
 I can get things done, focus on me a little and am ready to be the best mom I can be when they run through the door in the afternoon. I don't feel guilty for not homeschooling. And I don't think you are any better than me or holier if you choose to do so.

We don't send our kids to a Christian school. Right or wrong this is our choice. It's hard because sometimes I would love for them to be in that environment for school, but really, I feel it's my job to teach them things about the Lord. Not the schools and not the church's; even though it's nice that they can come along side us and reinforce what we are teaching at home. I know a lot of people that went through school in a Christian private school and they are not any closer to God than those that didn't.

It's all a matter of heart. What's in your heart? What is God telling you to do for your children, for your family?

Whatever it is trust that you are doing the right thing. As long as you are following God's leading you are doing the right thing!

"Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brothers way." Romans 14:13
Unless someone is going directly against God's word {like having an affair} maybe we need to keep our mouths shut.

"...Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves." Romans 14:22 {emphasis mine}
And just love each other. Regardless of our differences.
"Don't just pretend that you love other. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." Romans 12:9
When we get caught up in whose right and whose wrong this causes divisions. Can we agree to disagree?
Knowledge makes us feel important, it's Love that builds up the church.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." 1Cor 13:4-5
I recently read a blog post that I respectively disagreed {and kept this disagreement to myself, what purpose would it have served to get into a religious debate with her?} with the author on a decision she made regarding allowing a sponsor onto her blog. She has every right to make decisions about what's best for her blog especially if that something doesn't align with her beliefs. And it made me realize that what she believes to be right and what I believe to be right, while they maybe different, neither of us are wrong. We each believe according to what the Holy Spirit guides us in believing.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galations 5:1

Comparison trap is ugly, don't you think?  It's makes us feel less than.
Jesus came to give us life, so that we may live it fully!

I would love to hear what you think about this.

Love is the tie that binds us together. Let's build each other up instead of tearing each other down. If we can't live and be differently than the world, then how can we influence and love others to Jesus?




Linking up today with::  Deep Roots at Home,Raising Homemakers,Women Living Well,Winsome Wed,Imperfect Prose,Word Filled Wed,God Bumps & God Incidences. Thankful Thursdays,Hearts4Home,Proverbs31Thursdays,FaithFilled Fridays

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter At Our House



Easter. Jesus lives! 

Our Easter was filled with emotional church services. Good food. Easter baskets, Sunday morning. Dying Easter eggs. Hunting Easter eggs. Retelling the story of Him once more, so that we don't forget.

This was our first Easter in Iowa! The weather was beautiful and was perfect for hiding and hunting eggs.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, God has blessed us with wonderful weather this year, Thank You!!!


There was dying of eggs, the kids love this tradition










There was hunting of eggs, even the dog got into it :)


It was an intense race to find all the eggs


Jackson on the search for the "Golden" egg


MOM! Stop taking my picture! That's what my daughter was saying :)


Dogs really are like kids aren't they? Love that his tongue is sticking out, pure joy



Finally, a frontal shot. I had my camera ready she didn't see it coming! ha!



And of course, there was one egg that got stuck in it's hiding spot ;)
No worries though, Daddy will get it out {he finally cranked the car and it came shooting out! }
Made for a great laugh




We had a great Easter. I missed the family of course, but we made the best of it. The kids had four days off!! This is their first day back to school, and boy was it tough. Thankfully school is almost over seven weeks and counting.

Hope everyone else had a WONDERFUL Easter as well.



Blessings,


Linking up with:: Titus 2sdays, Domestically Divine, A Pause On The Path, Loving Our Children. Click over to any of these sites, I know they will be an encouragement to you as much as they are to me.

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