The Guiding Light graphic from art.com
John 12:35Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
I will admit that last year I started writing this list of goals that I wanted to accomplish for 2008. I don't believe in resolutions but goals, so I prayed over them and wrote and re-wrote and added and subtracted all of these feeble goals that (I) wanted to accomplish. In all this I was thinking that this is what God wanted for me, this is what me and my husband discussed- WRONG!!!!
As I sat in watch service on Monday night, I felt so renewed that 2008 was going to be better because of all these goals I had made, but then the anointing of God came upon one of the brothers of the church who so simply put it all in perspective, directly from God by letting us all know that the only goal we should have for 2008 is to STAY SAVED! Nothing else matters, and by obeying God, everything else will fall into perspective. For me the scriptures Proverbs 3:5 -6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths and, Psalm 139:2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off, lets me know that God knows what I need to do in my life that will glorifyHim and as long as I obey Him and keep His commandments and walk in His light at the sound of His voice HE will direct me to accomplish daily what He sets out for me to do. When I am not walking to the sound of His voice then I am not in His will, and I am leaning to my own understanding and the end result is I still won't accomplish any goal that I set out for myself.
Let us remember to stay in a position where we can walk in God's voice, keeping our heart and our lives pure and free from the sin that cuts us off from the ears and voice of our Heavenly Father. Our main goal for this yearshould be to continue to serve HIM and allow HIM to direct our paths and I have a hard time believing that HIS path won't turn out to be better to any goal that we can come up with!
Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged! smfg
Welcome To My Refuge Spot
Friday, December 21, 2007
The Guiding Light graphic from art.com
Hello everyone and Happy New Year!! I am so glad to be back in the blogosphere. I took some very well deserved and much needed time off to spend with my precious babies and I didn't have Internet access and figured that well, my life would not end if I couldn't access the Internet. I almost forgot how I used to function before technology.
I am happy in my soul, and in my mind, and in my spirit. The Lord and I really had some really nice downtime this holiday. I can't wait to share all the thoughts I jotted down. I did have fun with my girls... I needed this time to show me just how out of touch I have been with my children. I will always be grateful to God for waking me up to that! I just wanted to check in this year and I will return later today with another post. Happy New Year again!
In case I don't get to post again or you don't get to visit my blog before the Holiday, I wanted to take a moment to first thank you for your contributions to my ramblings, musings, and thoughts. I wish each and every reader a Blessed Holiday Season for which ever holiday you celebrate. It has been a wonderful couple of months blogging and I am excited about the year to come. Lord willing I hope to hear from you all throughout the holiday season and even more in the new year. Even if it is just to say I am still alive! I plan to continue blogging during the holiday if time permits as I am on vacation through the first of the year and my time is promised to my precious babies and my family! Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged! Remember that Jesus is the reason for this season!smfg
graphic from art.com
Earlier this week I challenged parents to take the time out and pat yourself on the back for being such a wonderful parent. I also challenged for you to take time out and write down a list of parenting skills that God has blessed you to to be successful with. I finally took my 15 minutes to thank God for what I feel are my parental strengths. As promised I would like to share them with you along with the goals that through his grace I seek to accomplish.
1. First I thank God for allowing me and keeping me in salvation! I believe that raising my daughters in his fear and obedience resulted in their everyday success's.
2. I raise my girls believing in the power of prayer. Times have been hard lately but I show my daughters that we can pray for that ram in the thicket and I am sure to let them see me give God all the praise.
3. Well rounded-ness I thank him for giving me wisdom and desire to show my daughters other doors and avenues to the world outside of our four corners.
4. My protectiveness- I thank God for giving me the strength to be a protective parent. There are things that my girls want to do that I see would have a long term negative or be unpleasing to him, and as much as it hurts their feelings, I hold to the standards that God has given me.
5.I am content being single. While I do have a desire for my family to be whole and complete traditionally, God has blessed me to be content during this chapter of my life. I have no desire to date and parade men around my daughters. I believe that as they get older they will remember this example and I trust that it will leave positive thoughts in their minds about dating.
6.I stay active in their lives. I support whatever new adventure they want to try. I believe that if you take something worldly away from your children, then you must find a wholesome alternative to keep their minds busy- an idle mind is the devil's workshop.
7. Plain old TLC! Although I fuss and lecture, I shower them with TLC!
I am asking the Lord to help me in these areas ( you can pray for me if you like:))
1. To slow down and embrace the little moments. They are getting older and my busy life sometimes keeps me from enjoying the little moments as much as I would like, time is flying by so fast!
2. To become a better listener, coach, and encourager.
3. To be more consistent in keeping a Haven of Refuge in my home
4. Organization, I need to be more consistent in following through and teaching their organization skills. ( no more of that I can do it faster stuff!)
5. More Kitchen time this year!
7. More hugs and kisses and all that stuff in between. I want to be more in touch with my silly side!
Keep praying for the SMFG family and I will keep praying for yours as we continue this journey of encouragement and edification in the Lord.
children love the world graphic from art.com
I absolutely love being a mom this time of year! Even though the enemy tries to make it frustrating and commercial, just being around your children, seeing and embracing their innocence is refreshing. Yesterday my little one was sick and I really missed her so I went to the school to get a quick hug and to check on her. As I stood outside of the door peeping in I could see that she was looking a little puny and still lethargic and being unusually still and quiet but when I knocked on the door and she saw it was me, I got the biggest most excited smile and hug and it was genuine, and pure, and full of love. I then went to the other side of the school to surprise my 3rd grader and she was just as excited, she almost knocked me down jumping into my arms and this in front of her class! With all of the holiday chaos and materialism that surrounds us, the handmade crafts they made for me in art class Iwere the best Christmas presents ever! We also had fun baking gifts for the teachers and trying to find practical gifts of items that I have accumulated through the year from great deals that I save for times like these. It made me feel like a proud momma to be able to teach frugality to my daughters and to see them get excited about it!
Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged!smfg
from the mind of A Marriage After His Heart at 12:49 PM
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Those who know me know that when I have something to say, then I can't hold it in and my blog will probably be no different. While I am expecting a lot o backlash to today's post I am confident that there are other mothers who understand what I am about to say.
Earlier this month I posted a piece entitled Pop Culture Idolization and Our Daughters and I really had the burden to send a message that we have to be careful what we expose our children to. Imagine my surprise when I read the news and there are articles about a young 16year old actress who is pregnant. Not only that, she is the star of a hit teenage/young children's program on a huge children's network and to add insult to injury her older sister is constantly in the news about her parenting skills or lack thereof! Now I am not taking personal shots at the young actress, my heart goes out for her because she is certainly probably really confused right now, she is in an adult predicament, with adults looking at her to judge, all the while she was given adult responsibility and she is just a child. I can't help but to wonder how a mother could turn her children loose in Hollywood. Not that I am pointing blame, I am not, but we can't always be our children's friend. Especially our daughters. There is a standard that we have to hold them to! Sixteen is not an age that a girl is ready to make responsible decisions about love, life, career and definitely not lifestyle. We have to be responsible for them. The only response the mother could say that she was shocked because her sixteen year old has always been the more responsible child- my response: is that an excuse to stop parenting? My 8 yr old is very responsible for her age, do I now just let her start making her own decisions? ( trust me it won't happen in my house!)
Statistically there are more young women getting pregnant now than ever, and what will happen now when they see this young star being glamorized in the media. We have parents who work full time, single -parent homes, families who really struggle with the family/ work balance so how is it that you have no worries because of the success of your children, no job to go to each day, you have nothing but quality time to spend with your children? I don't understand? It sends a confusing message. Dating is not cute, its not fun, its not a starting ground for womanhood. Our children have more distractions in this age, more pulls from the enemy, more temptation for their young flesh. It burdens me when I see girls as young as 8 starting to experiment with make-up, or 4yr old's with halter tops even the little karaoke sing a long/ video toys in where the children emulate their favorite star. It really, really burdens me when I see young girls thrown into the world of modeling, and acting especially when we have years of proof from other generations of child stars that talk about the wiles of the industry. Its almost as if I were to tell you that if you allow your child to play with my dog it will bite; and you gamble and say its such a pretty dog maybe just maybe it will like my child. Why do mother's feel the need to gamble with their daughters by not holding them to a standard, or at the very least just plain old fashioned values?
I did not mean to sound so politically challenged, it just makes me wonder what is this world coming to when a sixteen year old star gets major media coverage for being pregnant and the network that she works for supports her and parents feed that nonsense to their children. We have to take a stand against the act, not the person, but the very spirit behind the image. We have to be careful what we expose our children to. We have to teach them that all that glitters is not gold- for broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: ( Matt 7:13) just because everyone else is doing it does not mean that it is right! This is a point we must drive home to our daughters- they can not be like the world, or thier friends, your parenting responsiblities will differ because you parent according to the scripture and the leadership of God. I was led astray but you see I knew the road home, I knew the life my mom and dad lived, I knew the leadership and fear of God that was in their life and yes it does make a big difference for your children. When you are not there they will feel your spritiual presence!
Be blessed and stay encouraged! smfg
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Daily Bread- graphic from art.com
Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. Isaiah 7:15
Lately I have been out and about in the blogosphere and just about every blog I read has some sort of reference to healthy eating, healthy recipes, and healthy alternative lifestyles. The more I read the more the thought came to me, you are what you eat both naturally and spiritually. Just as eating non-healthy foods can rob your body of essential nutrients and drain you of energy so can eating non-healthy spiritual food. Eating food that is not going to produce those godly fruits of the spirit will be non-producing and eventually purged and cast into the fire ( Matt: 7:19) So what are you eating? What fruit is produced from the nutrients flowing through your veins. What are you feeding your soul? How are you fertilizing the fruits of your soul, and most importantly just as seeds from a fruit can produce another tree or plant, what seeds are you planting for your child/ren's fruit! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree is more than just a literal saying it is a wake-up call for us all to think about what we are putting into our spiritual and natural bodies.
Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged!smfg
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
I read another one of my good friend Lylah's wonderful posts on mothering and this one really impressed me. Being I have daughters I find myself drawn more and more to blogs and posts that center around raising positive daughters. Her post entitled How God Built Girls is a beautiful sentiment and reminder of how important the roles that fathers play in their daughters lives. I personally am a daddy's girl! I thank God daily for my dad and for the fact that he allowed me to be raised by a true man of God. My dad has also stepped in and accepted the role of father/pa-pa to my daughters and I am eternally grateful that he treats them as princesses and gives them that much needed fatherly attention. I realize that while I am blessed, there may be other mothers out there who unfortunately have no positive male role models for their daughters. Guess what, you do! I live almost 100 miles from my mom and dad so my daughters are not around them daily anymore, but I make sure to show them Godly men in the bible, and I allow them and encourage them to look to God for provision of all their needs. They are little now(8/6) but God has given me his peace and confidence in that as long as I serve him and raise my children in his fear and obedience he will bless me to raise beautiful, pure, productive, and blessed children. As single parents we must cling to that hope, we can not be moved by the fear of the enemy in the statistics and reports of failed single parent homes. Below is an excerpt from Lylah's post.
How God Built Girls.
Family Systems and Dad's Building Blocks God built girls to be loved, nurtured, doted on, cared for and kissed and cuddled a lot. He built little girls to need hugs and tender mom touches. He built little girls to need to hear words like, “I love you my precious, darling princess and I’m so proud of you.”He built little girls to be held on laps, taken for walks, and hear talks about God and how good He is. He built little girls to be protected and provided for (food, shelter, clothes, education). He built little girls to feel cared for and to be spoken gently too. He built little girls to LOVE being a girl!Good Mothering Good mothering gives little girls a needed foundation to love being a girl. God wants moms to provide the secure, nurturing place for her little daughter so she can grow up and feel secure and know that it’s wonderful being FEMALE. You'll know if it's happened because of the sparkle in the eye. (This is my 3rd granddaughter.)Culture tries to make it not so wonderful—but God says it is. Culture has distorted the beautiful image of being a woman. Fashion magazines, TV and things like that give an “impression” that is damaging.If you have daughters, what impression are you giving them? If you have sons how are you modeling being a Biblical woman? In what ways are you modeling respect?-LylahL, The Lylah Blog
You can read the rest of her post here
Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged-smfg
Friday, December 14, 2007
Nahum 1:3The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
I just wanted to Thank the Lord for all that he has done for me this week. I thank him for his protection from the fiery darts of the enemy. I thank him for his keeping power. I thank him for being faithful to his word. I thank him for VICTORY! I took this picture( and a ton of other cloud pics) on a flight this summer after being grounded for 12hrs due to a severe thunderstorm. Once we were able to we had to fly through storm . As much as I love to fly this time it was scary and turbulent but once we flew above the storm the view was breath taking. I sat in awe thinking WOW I am flying through the dust of God's feet! He is walking above me! How humbling, how awesome, how spiritually refreshing! As I thought about storms that I went through this week, I thought of this picture, and how just as I was able to fly through storm clouds naturally, he guided me through them spiritually and both times I was able to be experience the awesome power of flying through dust of his feet.
Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged! smfg
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I was out today mailing a package to my eBay buyer and the post office was swamped with others who are also busy trying to get things shipped by Christmas. The Holy Spirit brought back this post that I wrote about The Bondage of Materialism to my remembrance as I started to focus on how I have not been Christmas shopping for my girls. I felt led to re post it. I will only insert a piece and you can link and read the rest of the post here or click on the title.
The Bondage of Materialism and The Safety of Our Children
In light of all the recent news about the massive toy recalls and the dangerous chemicals and unsafe products being used to make them I had to ponder on the thought of are we as parents helping enable our children to a spirit of materialism? Are we as mothers, who have an animalistic instinct to protect our children, letting our guard of protection down by spoiling them with toys and "things" that are harming them not only physically, but mentally and most important spiritually??As I sit and shudder of the thought of what type of bondage this time of year brings upon parents, and any other adult seeking to soothe the materialistic desire of a child by going into debt, not showing Christian stewardship to the less fortunate, greed, envy, covetousness and many other ungodly abominations, I wonder if God allows things like this to happen to shake our attention back to the reason for this season? Is he trying to let this country, (which was founded on spiritual principals and a need to worship God without reprove) know that he is not at all pleased with how we are creating generation after generation of materialistic children who covet everything they see?
Let us remember to shop in love, peace, and frugality for we will be judged on how we are stewards of our blessings!!! SMFG
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
AnnaS over at Domestic Felicity wrote a post about the importance of Quality Time and it's slow demise within our modern culture. I agree. I posted an excerpt and I will comment after it. You can read more of her post here.
"Quality time" is something we hear so often; it seems as though we're under the illusion that it doesn't really matter how much time we spend together, as long as it's "quality time". And more specifically – it doesn't matter how much time we spend at home, as long as "our heart is at home". How little time is enough, then? If we come late in the evening to a home that has been empty all day long, can we say, "Now we can relax and spend time together?" Not really. Not unless you have a maid and a cook, anyway. If dishes pile up in the sink, the mountain of dirty laundry is overshadowing the poor washing machine, the refrigerator is empty and the floors are dirty, this hardly provides a healthy, nourishing, relaxing atmosphere. It's almost impossible to properly rest and relax until basic things are taken care of. " AnnaS-Domestic Felicity
There has been much controversy over whether or not women can have it all, the career, a nice happy home, and the apple cheek family. My answer to that question is yes, you can have it all, but you will pay a significant price for it. You see my question lies in what is considered " all". I can have a bushel of apples, and have them all, but they can all be rotten, or overripe, or full of worms. Therefore in my eyes "all" is not a significant measure. You must give up something in order to have all. What will you give up? It could be your peace of mind, your quality time with your family, your integrity and yes you can give this up very easily sometimes unintentionally, your spiritual safety as you will have more fiery darts coming your way from the working world, and there will be times that some have to make a choice between their family and their job.
I will give you a prime example, yesterday at work I was cursed by another manager. I work in a highly professional field of work, and because I am saved I maintained a Godly demeanor and handled it as a woman of God first, and secondly because I am professional and have high work ethics I handled it professionally. But you know what, it still did not take away the fact that it upset me and that I had to cast down ungodly thoughts, and evil imaginations. Basically it was a battle and while I thank God I can claim victory, it was sitll a battle nonetheless that I probably would not have had to fight, if I were at home focusing on my family's day. I was even still upset about the events surrounding it when I got home. I had to call on God and make myself stop thinking about it and focus on my family. This is what you give up when you work. You have unnecessary battles and issues that you say you will leave at work, but you have to fight to do so and this will subtly rob you of the positive energy you need for your family. I applaud the keepers of the home, I applaud all those women out there who made a decision to focus on the quality of the home life versus the quality and quantity of having it all. "All" comes with a price. I do feel that I could be a better mother to my children if all my focus could be only on my family and their quality of life but in the meantime I will have to focus on my task at hand which is remaining in God's will and providing for my family. Leaning on him to give the measure of grace I need to make it victoriously in this chapter of my life. I write this post urging those of us who work not to be so quick to judge those women who have taken a God given stand to stay at home and take care of their family and for those who stay at home to not be so judgmental of those who do work because we battle with the sacrifice that we make by doing so.
Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged!!
Do you remember when your baby/ies, started walking and how you were their biggest cheerleader? I was reading this book - The Encouraging Parent and I got to this sub chapter entitled "Remember Your Child's First Step", as I read it I started laughing out loud because of the analogy the author used to point out how encouraging we were during this time. I am going to include it and then make a comment.
" Close your eyes and remember the first time you got on your knees and extendedThe author was so right in his assessment of how quickly we as parents can change our encouragement as our children grow older if we are not careful and as single parents we more vulnerable to this type of behavior just because our lives can seem and be so overwhelming. I felt very convicted after reading this. I am not as bad as his example but I can do so much better. As single parents we have to make an effort to work harder to encourage our children, just as we did when we were teaching them to walk, and to say Ma-Ma. Its easy to forget those days, especially when we see how quickly they learn and pick up on things that drive us crazy and borderline off the wall, we still have to remember they don't always pick other things up as easily as we would like, especially if we think it's something they should know, or if at that moment our minds can't possibly empathize with the level of importance that it is to them. When they don't know, we have to encourage. When they make us want to pull our hair out, and then turn around and write their numbers or letters backwards, or mess up on what we think is simple multiplication tables, or draw the most confusing picture -we still have to encourage them. We have to encourage them when the comforter on the bed is upside down and hanging to one side more than the other, and when their idea of clean is no where near ours or when they think they have done a big kid thing and its all wrong and backwards- We still have to encourage. The more I think about it, how would I feel if I called my mom and she said, I raised you, you should know that, now get off the phone, I would probably think that she didn't empathize with my situation, or was lacking compassion and my poor feelings would be hurt and I am 32 not 6 or 8! I will admit, I am not perfected in this area, but as I read I thought, what if God stopped encouraging me. What if he simply said, you know what the bible says, you know what you heard in church, now go away and stop asking me for help! I personally would be lost. So just as he encourages us with things I am pretty sure he knows we should know, we have to do the same for our children!
your arms and encouraged your child to walk, You talked baby talk and made all kinds of strange but heart warming sounds, when your child took two little steps
and fell what did you do? Did you lecture her? Get up off the floor! How
many times to I have to tell you we don't walk like that in this family!, You
make me sick! You can't walk anyway! Crawl off to your room and get out of my
face! Of course not. What you did was pick up your baby and hug her, and kiss
her and tell her its going to be okay, you'll do better next time" - The Encouraging Parent Rod Wallace Kennedy, PhD
Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged while Encouraging!!!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
A reader of mine Lylah sent me the link to an article that she wrote on her blog entitled: My thoughts on the Bride who is waiting that she thought I would enjoy and boy did I ever!!! Actually I couldn't link the post that she sent because it was part II of a series and I wanted to read that first , so I went to the original post of her series entitled Trusting God with Your Life to Be a Wife and I loved it even more!
The scary part about all of this is that on my blog I have never posted on my thoughts or feelings concerning if I have a desire to be married, she just sent it to me out of the blue! Well being that I have never been married I would be lying if I said that I don't have a desire, but my desire to become the woman that God created for whomever he has in store for me is my motivation. See, I know that he didn't intend for me to be single forever, and that he has someone for me, but that someone that he has for me has asked him for specific traits and desires so I am just allowing God to mold me into who he needs me to be specifically. The one thing I have learned in my life experience is that I don't want to repeat the messes I made, so I have no problem waiting for the perfection of God.
The fact of the matter is that just because we are single mothers doesn't remove the desire for a complete family. Some of us have just accepted the place that we are in our lives and are comfortable waiting on God, but there are some of us out there who may not know where to begin. Who may not understand that God requires a different way of doing things than the world. I believe that this article is a wonderful beginning point for many who may have questions. I posted and excerpt, please read both articles by clicking on the links- I promise you will leave fulfilled. Thanks Lylah for reminding women what our duties are as we wait on God.
(from Trusting God With Your Life To Be A Wife)
What's a Girl to Do? Just Wait Here?
"So, what does a single woman do? How does she live in a state of contentment until God opens the eyes of the man that He has for her? How does she wait in peace and trust until HE sees her and pursues her? How does she not initiate, but wait?
Perhaps you’ve been a wife, but through life’s fallen-ness, your marriage failed. And, now there’s this unmet longing, again…to come alongside a man and be his love.
My encouragement to the woman in a season of singleness is to settle down into the Woman’s Place and stop trying to find your husband, because if you find him and pursue him, he’ll probably be a weak leader.
The Woman's Place
Finding and staying in The Woman’s Place is key to waiting in peace. The Woman's Place is a place of getting to really know God and really know yourself in light of who He is. The Woman’s Place is also that place of waiting, trusting, praying and allowing God to prepare you as a Bride – just like He did Esther.
If you’re not in this Woman’s Place, then I’m assuming your level of peace and contentment is just about nil. And, to be honest, what man is drawn to a discontented, anxious woman anyway? I'll tell you what kind. . . the kind that is looking for easy prey who will sell themselves short for a quick night of sex."
Read the rest of the article here and the second post here! Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged, Stay Prayerful, and Stay in The Woman's Place!!!
from the mind of A Marriage After His Heart at 4:35 PM
Monday, December 10, 2007
Crystal at Biblicalwomanhood has really inspired me to continue to challenge myself to not only create a haven of refuge in my home for my family but to endeavor to keep it that way with her Making Your Home a Haven Challenge. Its Day 6 of the challenge and I am trying to catch up. I did not really take before pictures because I would be too embarrassed to put those out there but I did take pictures of the after. Since I work, it is harder for me to come home and do full fledged housekeeping along with trying to spend time with the girls. I have to do spot work continually because I live in an apartment and clutter can build fast and look worse than it actually is.
My To Do List For Day 6-
Spent 30 minutes ( via timer) picking up and spot cleaning from the weekend to make sure that the rooms stay the way they are and add finishing touches to what we did not finish on Sat.
Private Mediation/ Bed by 9:45
So here are my proud pictures of my Haven of Refuge and boy nothing beats the feeling of coming home after a hard day's work to a clean home, and it feels even better waking up to one!
Living Room Before- Shameful!!
Living Rm After
Dining Rm/Laundry/Kit After
Homemade chicken poppers, tropical fruit salad,
mexi-corn, and cheesy garlic bread w/marinara sauce- yummy!
I really just wanted to share this 53 second clip of my six year old at her piano recital. At first I was hesitant to even add pictures or share any thing other than thoughts about my children since this is cyber world, but I have to put my faith in God and trust my gut on this one. This was such an enormous victory for her ( and for momma!) expecially with bosting her self confidence and her fear of performing in front of others.... She is very proud of herself and wanted me to share with the world!! This was the sweetest 53 seconds I have had in a long, long time!!! Enjoy!!!
Crystal at Biblicalwomanhood ran a post last week entitled Making our Homes a Haven: The Challenge . (You can read about it and follow the updates here). Basically for the past 6 days she has been encouraging us to do little things to make our home a haven of refuge for our families. This coupled with a very encouraging "Young Mother's " meeting at my church hosted by my Pastor's wife for the young mothers in my congregation motivated me to take a more earnest approach and effort to promote a environment of refuge for my family. So I will do this in a two part post. In my first post I will update my position in the Making Our Homes a Haven Challenge. Since I am a working momma, I had to condense my challenge to one day- which for me was Saturday! In case you don't have time to link back to Crystal's Blog I will list the daily challenges we are supposed to do in order: 1. Refresh My Spirit, 2. Do your morning routine, 3. Take time to plan, and 4. Do Something!
1. Refresh My Spirit- I woke up this Saturday morning and brewed myself a cup of honey/lemon/peppermint tea and devoted close to two hours of uninterrupted devotion and meditation time. My encouragement came from reading Ecclesiastes Chapters 3-5. I also read some in Psalms, Proverbs, and Isaiah. I skipped around to the last couple of chapters of St. John into the first couple of Chapters of Acts.. I especially wanted to study Paul's spiritual growth during this time.
2. My Morning Routine: I woke the girls up, had our daily thanksgiving, and went over my plans for the day. I gave them detail things to do and explained to them how important it was for them to finish their portion so that we could all take advantage of our free time with activities I planned for them after their recital that afternoon. Made breakfast.
3. Take Time To Plan: I kinda did this one in between the first two. I knew the girls had a piano recital at 1:30 and I wanted to leave the house and be at there by 12:30 no later than 12:45. I knew I had 3.5 hours to do everything that I wanted to do after my devotion, so I pulled out the timers, and gave each room 30 minutes. I gave the laundry 45 minutes and vacuuming 15 minutes. This was excluding the bedrooms but we did finish it all, and we successfully achieved our goal!
4. Do something- Well I put on my favorite uplifting gospel CD and went to work! I finished my laundry, living room, kitchen, dusting, refrigerator, and vacuumed. The girls got a little sidetracked but when the timers stopped so did we. By doing so we were able to accomplish our goal of leaving the house on time and getting to the recital relaxed and I got a great seat!
My challenge for Today
I read Deuteronomy 5:28-33, Prov 1: 1-9, Prov 2: 1-9 about the importance of instilling the fear of God and being obedient to his commandments. I read this to my children this morning. I also prayed over them before they woke up so that they would wake up happy and thankful. ( it worked!)
Whats for Dinner- homemade chicken poppers, salad, mexi-corn, and garlic cheese sticks w/marinara sauce!
Evening Routine- Homework and Devotion maybe some baking if time permits !
Friday, December 7, 2007
I wanted to end my week and begin my weekend by posting the daily miracles and blessings I thanked God for each day this week. The thought came to me yesterday as the weirdest most frustrating thing happened. Thur morning, I was all excited because I got up early and washed a couple loads , started my dinner for the day, and started cooking breakfast for the girls. My girls were having a showdown over bathroom time so I sent my oldest to my bathroom....
A few moments later it was "mommy, the toilet is flooding" By this time it was 7 am and we have to be out of the house before 7:30, long story short I walk in to my bedroom only to hear the sound of flowing water, that's right, my bathroom floor was completely flooded( thank God it was clean toilet water!!!) I guess something got stuck or backed up when the water was refilling in the bowl, so anyway I grab this really expensive plunger that is supposed to be real heavy duty ( great for a single woman was what the sales guy told me) and it wasn't working. Finally I just prayed, God you know I have to go to work, the kids can't be late for school, my house is not clean enough for me to call maintenance ( yes I am very ticky about this!) and I just need you to work. Like clock work the next time I tried the plunger I heard that famous gurgling sound of water swirling down the drain. I immediately started to praise God! Now what's funny is this is the second time in a year I have had to do this- pray for God to fix my toilet, but those are the little things I need my girls to see. I need them to see me calling on my Almighty Fixer- Upper, my husband. They need to see that God can fix any and everything, no matter how silly, or innate it may sound. So with further ado I will list the other things that my Heavenly Husband did for me this week.
Monday-He laid it on my friends/ church member's heart to call and offer to pick my children up from daycare, and he blessed me with left overs from my jobs luncheon so that I could offer dinner as a way of saying thanks!
Tuesday- He gave my 6year old the confidence she needed to go on stage and practice for her piano recital and be excited about it!, He also provided a financial blessing unexpectedly right on time, the correct amount to the dollar! That night my check engine light came on in my car!
Wednesday- He woke me up automatically as I forgot to set my alarm clock and he provided me food for my soul as we had a guest minister from a out of state congregation to give the word at bible study- That night my check engine light went off mysteriously and hasn't been back on since!
Thursday- Well you read the whole story! Did I mention that no one was late that day!!! Ha Ha, take that devil!!!
Friday- I went to bed with a mind battle, and he woke me up at 3 am with scripture that comforted my soul, I went back to sleep and slept like a baby until 6:30 and still left in plenty of time!
All week- Traffic was not heavy and ran very smoothly!
I challenge you to sit down and write down a miracle or blessing God provided each day this week, I promise you you will have a page full. Just know that when you do this, your adversary the devil as a roaring lion will be seeking you out to destroy you! So stay prayed up, Be blessed and Stay encouraged!
from the mind of A Marriage After His Heart at 1:54 PM
Thursday, December 6, 2007
I read this really sad article today about a 7 year old little girl from Detroit who was shot 6 times by her mothers estranged boyfriend as she jumped in front of her mom to shield her from the bullets. What a courageous act of unconditional love! Thank God the child survived and is still fighting for her life( you can read more about it here). It is said that a mother's love is always unconditional, but so is a child's as is evident by this little girl's concern for her mother's life and lack of concern or fear for her's. Again, no wonder Christ tells us to be as little children...
After wanting to cry like a baby for this child, I thank the Lord for his blessings of safety on me and my family, I thank him for my salvation and my desire to live for him and let him be the head of my life, and I thank him for deliverance. I have also been in a situation like this and was blessed not to experience the worst case scenario. There are some people who will never understand the bondage of unhealthy relationships. They will never understand how Satan can bring you to the point that you don't see what isn't good for you and your babies. We need to pray for this momma. I can imagine that she is feeling a lot of guilt and hurt and her self worth may be at it's lowest.
We also need to remind ourselves why we are confident in living single for God. When the enemy tries to make us feel bad for our situation, let this be a reminder of why we are waiting on God. Why we dedicate our lives to him and why we allow him to be our husbands. I could never see myself dating again in this world. Every time the enemy tries to discourage me with loneliness, I will think of the safety that rests with being married to the Lord.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Okay, I have always heard the term if it seems too good to be true it probably is, well my post yesterday is almost too good to be true. I did receive a good deal on my item purchased. Noticed I said item because yesterday afternoon when i checked my email I had a nice little message that Google.com cancelled my order. The only reason I can think of is because later in their checks and balances they must have seen my name twice as a new user. So my apologies for saying that Google.com tracks only by email not by name. I feel slightly responsible only because my order went through and I received a receipt and all... But I still came out on top with a very nice deal, so no complaints here!!!
from the mind of A Marriage After His Heart at 1:32 PM
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
This weekend I was able to spend some much needed girl time with my daughters! We had a fun day Saturday just piddling around going from store to store and just people watching. The only downside was they were able to see the chaos and hysteria of the Christmas shopping experience up close and very personal. "Why are people so rude? Its Christmas mommy, they should be happy!" My six year old pointed out... Out of the minds and mouths of babes!
It was also an experience for me too as Saturday was the Hannah Montana concert here and there many mother/daughter combos out in mass. I was extremely disappointed in the state of immodesty, worldliness and idolization with these young girls and the promotion of it from the mothers. I mean it was if miniature Hannah Montana's had invaded the city. Now I am not all personally attacking the artist, I have seen her show and cannot say anything negative about it. However, the commercialization of her art outside of her television show/album and the extremes I saw it displayed was heartbreaking. It seems that whoever the hottest little teenie-bopper group is at the time, the young girls emulate at levels that are sometimes beyond innocent and borderline adult with help from their mom's. It is the nature of a child to want to be like their favorite idol, but what happens when parents contribute even to the seemingly innocent idolization goes awry... It's not cute, its not innocent, its a potentially devastating thing. Look at all the little girls who equate their self worth, through the eyes of some star they idolize and when they don't feel like the person they want to be, they can sometimes go to extreme measures to achieve what will and can never be perfection. It is a principal that can start out seemingly innocent and over time become a full-fledged battle.
It breaks my heart to see this because I wonder how many of them put forth the same effort to promote the worshiping of God that they do to the worshipping of pop culture idols. When we teach our children the commandments, we need to really break the surface on idolization and how it is not only praying to graven images but worshipping anything other than God. When they start to become attached to a favorite character or group would be the best time to show them that its okay to like something a lot, and for it to be your favorite, but they can not like that thing more than God. It may sound silly, but I wish I had done it earlier than I did.
So will always continue to show my daughters more biblical and Christian role-models. I mean I would rather my children want to be more like a woman of the bible, or a strong upstanding Christian role model than what they have to choose from with today's pop culture and entertainment's faux- glamorized idols. To put it even more personal, I would rather my daughters want to be like me as I follow Christ than someone else's mother, daughter, or sister. It may seem selfish, but I believe in my heart that is why the Lord blesses us to be mothers. Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged!
I saw this piece on GMA ( Good Morning America) this morning, and thought it was quite interesting. It is a study that was done on the perception of women in executive level management. I found it startling but true. I used to want to be the women executive, but over the past few months God has really been dealing with me on the feminist movement. I am starting to see that the balance of power that comes with breaking the glass ceiling and being a TRUE Godly woman, wife, and or mother can never be equal. I know the challenges that I have with balancing my career and my family life and I am seeing that my desire to climb the career ladder is dwindling... I think of the Virtuous Woman and how the time she spent taking care of her family and being the woman God called her to be could never fit with the demands of Corporate America. I used to be one of those women who looked down on other women who made the decision to be stay at home mothers and keepers of the home, but the more I work and have to put my job before my family the more I desire a safe retreat from the wiles of the working world. Just my thoughts! You can read the article and watch the segment here.
I found this really cool deal over at MoneySavingMom last week. I now actually wish that I had taken the time out last week to take advantage of the free shipping at Buy.com but the deals I got today were a tremendous blessing to my very frugal budget. I was able to purchase a gift for both of my daughters for about $15 total!!
So here is how this works. Click on this link here to Buy.com $10 retail bin, choose a item and put it in your cart. When you are ready to proceed to check out, click on the Google check out icon and register as a new user. By doing this, you are then eligible for the 10$ off your order promotion for new users. So in essence you will only be paying for shipping and handling. Note that last week the shipping was free for all so that is why the link may say free shipping, but to buy a gift that is already marked down to 10$ and then only pay a minimal amount for shipping is worth it to a bargain hound like myself. Plus it keeps me from having to wrestle with the shopping chaos that occurs during this time a year.
This is what I purchased for my oldest daughter and you see what I paid for it, and this is what I paid for my youngest daughter, her gift was a little more pricey because it wasn't 10$, but combined with the 10$ off I received, it still wasn't a bad price. You can still go straight to Buy.com and purchase other items that are over 10$, they have a sidebar with items sorted by price range, so still you can receive a really great deal on a purchase with the $10 off your order promotion listed above.
There is a trick to Google check out. You can only receive the promotion once as a new user, but you can register more than once if you have multiple email addresses. Yep that's right! Google check out only keeps track of the email addresses associated with the account and not the account holders name. If you have more than one email address it can't hurt to try. It may sound tedious, but as a frugal momma with an even more frugal budget I don't mind working for a deal. Just click on the hyperlinks throughout this post and you should be fine. If not then just email me, and I will help walk you through. Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged
from the mind of A Marriage After His Heart at 1:04 PM
Friday, November 30, 2007
The devil is a lie and the father of ALL lies. We know this, we have read this, and again we know this. He is also the master of illusion which too is a lie, a trickery of the mind and eyes. He will have us believing something is when it isn't and, that something isn't when it really is.
Yesterday I posted about a thicker skin and thorns and today I wanted to follow up by adding that sometimes the devil will make us think we have a thorn when really and truly its not anything or it is of little significance. He will place thoughts in our minds to take our focus off of God and sometimes what we think is a fiery test is really and truly a figment of an illusion that we have allowed the devil to present to us. This is why we have to press to cast down every imagination, every thought, every thing that is not of God.
It is a MUST that we stay before God, seeking his wisdom and hearing his voice on everything that we are faced with. Just as Paul besought the Lord thrice, God was faithful to answer him and let him know that he was in a test, and that he would give him the grace to go through it he is faithful to do the same for us.
But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.Jeremiah 7:23
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Many times when we think of being tempted or temptations, we think of a big obvious pulling for us to do wrong, but I am starting to see that it is not always the big things that tempt us, but the little subtle temptations to not die out to our will that ends up being a big battle. For me lately I have had to stay before God and ask him to give me the grace to continue to remain in his will in dealing with someone who I feel is a thorn in my side. A very hurtful thorn that is just scratching away at my skin, which I now know is not as tough as it needs to be.
We know that as saved Christians we are supposed to show love to everyone at all times, even our enemies. Scripture tells us to heap coals of fire on their head and to love our enemies. If we know what we read, how then does it become a test not to and to do our will and retreat to our turtle shell of protection? Flesh by far does not like to be hurt, not even a slight nick or scratch, but our tests are only to make us stronger. If that is the case, we should be seeking for a total strength of our mind, body, soul, even skin. Just as the skin on your body is an outer layer of protection, so is your spiritual skin. If it is too thin, then it will tear and little infectious things will start to penetrate through and work on deteriorating your heart, and mind, and eventually your soul. If your skin is thick, then it will protect you from tears, and things will not be able to penetrate it as easily.
I was reading an article about temptation and how just as Jesus had only the word to use on the enemy, we too must use the word and the word only. We have to find those skin thickening scriptures and say them out loud at times in order to fight the hurt from those thorns that Satan uses to buffet us. Some thorns God may not remove, but I truly believe that as our skin thickens, the thorns buffet us less until eventually we will not even know they are there.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9
7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
There is a song that I have on my favorite CD entitled " I Still Have Joy". I wanted to share the lyrics of the chorus as it is what is encouraging me and taking me through the day.
I still have joy down in my soul.
He promised that He wouldn’t leave me
He promised that He’ll take care of me
through it all, all of my ups and downs
I still have joy.
We have to keep our joy, no matter what because the joy of the Lord is our strength!
Be blessed and stay encouraged!
I thank God for how he works in mysterious ways. Shortly afterI wrote my earlier post today, the Lord revealed something very mysterious to me in only a way that he could. I thank him for that even though the revealed something that I did not want to see that was hurtful and potentially detrimental. But I know that God is faithful in revealing the traps that the devil sets for me so that I would not be caught off guard, and I will forever praise him for that!!!! I want to share a scripture that I will be using to fight the devil with, because sometimes the best way to fight him is to fight him openly and to let him know that no matter what, my faith in God will not be moved! Proverbs 21:1The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
Pray for me that I stay encouraged and committed to remain in the Lord's will at all times albeit good, or bad.
Thank you for your support, stay blessed and encouraged.
from the mind of A Marriage After His Heart at 5:25 PM
I was talking to a friend yesterday about how the Lord works in mysterious ways, and during this conversation we were expressing our specific knowledge of his mysteriousness. Later I decided to look up the word mysterious, or its root word mystery because those who know me know how my thought process works, and once I have a thought, I have to dig deeper until I have my epiphany- So here goes, Webster has plenty of definitions for mystery, but the very first one is what jumped out at me: a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand.
Wow! Only by revelation!!! That really got my brain juices flowing! See, I am an avid mystery novel reader, I have loved sleuthing since I read my first Nancy Drew book, and normally I would figure out the "who done it" before I finished reading the book. However I have never and will never be able to figure out the Lord and his mysterious ways- why?? Well I am not supposed to, I couldn't even on my most genius day figure out the easiest mystery of the Lord. Isaiah 55:8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. He doesn't want me to know.If I knew then I wouldn't need to have faith in him.
The second definition of mysterious according to Webster is exciting wonder, curiosity, or surprise while baffling efforts to comprehend or identify. Which is exactly how the Lord wants us to be when he blesses us, or when we see the work of his mysterious ways. I mean think about it, how much glory would people give him if we could figure him out every his every angle, every move? It wouldn't be much fun to receive the mystery of his blessings!
Monday, November 26, 2007
I wrote an essay a few months ago that I wanted to share on my blog in parts. Its entitled Young, Gifted and Trapped. I wrote this under a strong burden for those who are trapped or heading towards a trap that is blinding by denial. I will post in parts because as mentioned it was an essay and is pretty lengthy. Thanks so much for your reading and support.
1 Corinthians 4:14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
note: My articles may be shared in part or in its entirety with permission from the writer and so long as the article is linked on your blog or referenced to the author.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
1 Peter 2:9
Have you ever had days when you feel as if you fail at everything you attempt??? Doesn't those days take a big jab at your self confidence and self worth? Do you find yourself writing invitations to a full blown pity party in where you are the guest of honor. Well I almost had one of those days this weekend. I have to be honest and open with my short comings or I will never be able to grow from them and as I am writing my thoughts and deciding if I will post them or not, I feel silly for even accepting the thoughts of self doubt and pity. I mean, why would God allow poor and pitiful people into his kingdom of greatness? What is the point of being saved from misery if you are only going to remain miserable- it doesn't go together.
When the enemy tries to get us to feel sorry for ourselves, or start planning a pity party remember that we are married to a husband of greatness, and excellence whose kingdom I can't even think of an adjective to describe how wonderful it is. Why in the world would he want a poor, pitiful person who would only stand out like a sore thumb in his kingdom. We should not want to stand out in God's kingdom, but stand out in the world. The world is dreadful and pitiful, and we should stand out as being the opposite- hopeful, happy, and radiating joy! Also we should never want to bring anything into God's kingdom that resembles the darkness of the world. So when you are feeling bad and the devil starts picking you a part, remember your opposites and apply them to your surroundings!
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.1 Corinthians 15:57
I thank God for being the Wonderful, Almighty, On-Time God that he is. I thank him for never ever needing my help when it comes to taking care of my needs or fighting my battles. I thank him for knowing so much more than I can ever imagine to know. I thank Him for the undeserving benefits and blessings that he bestows on me daily. I thank God for his benefit of hope, faith and love. I thank him for allowing me to love him, I could not love him if he didn't find my love worthy! I thank him for VICTORY over the devil and his powers of darkness! He is everything to me. I thank God for being a Child of the King!!!! Take time out today to give thanks to The Almighty, for he is surely worthy to be praised!
Psalm 68:19Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.
Psalm 103:2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Psalm 116:12What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?
Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Sorry friends for posting so late today. I was pondering today about what to write about, I have so many thoughts and writings that I have started but I want my posts to be by God for God so after praying about what to write for his glory, he laid today's topic on my heart.
I have been following the news about the rapper Kayne West's mother who died from complications of her cosmetic surgery. My prayers are with him and his family. While I do not listen to his music, I am aware of who he is and the contributions that his mother made during her life here on this earth. She was a very highly esteemed, respected, successful and well educated single mom. I thought of her as a role model for how she never let her single mother status stop her from achieving her goals.
I hope that my thoughts surrounding this situation do not come across as uncaring, or disrespectful as I am not commenting on his mother but of what I feel is the trap behind cosmetic surgery and the need for women to feel pretty. With so many un-reported complications behind cosmetic surgery, eating disorders, depression, and other ugly things associated with the need for our girls to fit in a mold that is not always as pretty or beautiful as they think. What about the images that our boys are given. What they are taught to accept and embrace as beauty? This has been such a heavy weight on my heart and mind this week.
For instance, today I felt I was having a very un-pretty day. Translation, I just didn't feel that I looked my best. Something has created a break-out on my face, right around my eyes and so I felt as though I look horrid, as young as I am I seem to sprout grey hair by the hour, I feel as if I look so old. I can tell that I am gaining weight in the wrong place, but just don't have the time to committ to the strenuous excersise that is needed to manage it before it gets out of hand. All of my flaws and insercurites seem to be right in my face larger than life.
Well as soon as I accepted these thoughts, the enemy being the person that he is decided to try and get in a few punches- "Vanity, saved women aren't supposed to struggle with feeling pretty. It's vanity and pride." Well I cast that imagination down and decided to talk to my husband about how I was feeling. Why? Well first the way we think of ourselves is how we project ourselves, I believe and secondly and more imortantly I have two beautiful daughters, and they both have days when they tell me they just don't feel pretty.... I want and NEED to learn how do I deal with this? How do I teach them self acceptanace and how to embrace thier inner beauty, and most importantly how to accept how God sees them!
Is there Scripture supporting how we view ourselves? YES-And last but not least, how do I teach them that naturalness and modesty is beautiful ? Truly I know that the world is against the very thing that I stand for in regards to modesty, and I don't want this to be a battle for my daughters.
I also find it sad that the generation of women who taught us as young women to embrace our beauty, that it comes from the inside and not the outside are now turning to the knife to make them mainstream beautiful. What has happend when our grandmothers are now falling under the pressure of the sterotypes that the world had given us about beauty and self acceptance??
A few Scriptures came to mind as I meditated and prayed about this , the first being Psalm 149:4For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. I love this Scripture!! I remember the days when I wouldn't go to the corner store without a face full of make up! How sad was I to be bound in selfcentered vanity!!! I want my daughters to grow up knowing strongly that a meek and humble spirit given through salvation is the most beautiful gift ever recieved! I want my nephews to grow up knowing that true beauty comes from within, it is not what man teaches us, it is not what we see on the magazines, and televisions but it radiates from within. Beauty is a way of life, not a mask that can be brushed on and washed off, trimmed, or lengthend, or artificial in any way.
We must teach our little girls and boys from babies to adults how to love themselves, and to accept the person that God has made them. If there is anything that they don't like about themselves, we have to teach them to pray and ask God to help them love themselves as he created them, and to give them the measure of meekness that is needed to be beautiful and of great price in his eyes. 1 Peter 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not at all saying that we shouldn't want to look nice, or pretty, I am saying that we have to be careful and see the bond of vanity that can easily creep in and take away our appreciation for how God created us. If we or (our children) find ourselves comparing ourselves to what the world thinks is beautiful, we need to stop and pray for God to refocus us and shift our thoughts to the things that are beautiful in his eyesight. I have so many thoughts on this that I believe this could constitute a Part II!