Welcome To My Refuge Spot

Welcome Friends to my blog about single motherhood and living for God. I hope that you find my thoughts and musings thought provoking and in alignment with God's word. Thank you for visiting and please feel free to share your comments and pass the word along to others who you feel could be blessed!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dust of His Feet

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

Frugal Friday- Homemade Placemats and Writing Boards From Your Child's Artwork

Welcome to my first Frugal Friday Tip!

If you are anything like me, you always are looking for things to with all those drawings that your little ones make for you. I hate to throw them away and I can only keep so many because I have very little space in my modest apartment. Well I found an idea courtesy of my daughters kindergarten teacher. For Christmas we are going to make homemade place mats and writing boards from her art work. Its very cheap. All you do is laminate the drawings! It could be free if you know anyone who may have access to a laminating machine or some places will charge you a few cents per yard. To make the writing board simply let them make games, tic tack toe, hang man, manuscript paper, bible verse/chapter matching, or whatever they like, take a piece of cardboard box, cut it a little bit larger than the paper drawing or game, glue the paper to the cardboard and have it laminated. Buy some erasable markers and your kids can use this in the car, waiting rooms, or take it from room to room or however they choose. Hopefully this will eliminate scraps of paper and paper being scattered from to and fro. I haven't tried it but I am this weekend and I will post pictures of the finished product. This can cost anywhere from free to a couple of dollars depending on if you have dry erase markers and how much you have to pay for laminating. You can also use those extra pictures to make a place mat collage for family members to use everyday or for birthday parties and so forth. If anyone else tries it, please drop in and let me know and show your work :) Be blessed and encouraged on this Frugal Friday.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Re- Post on Materialism and This Season

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

The Sacrifice of Having It All

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!!

Remember Your Child's First Steps??

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 extended
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
The 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!

Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged while Encouraging!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

What's A Girl To Do? Just Wait Here?

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!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Making Your Home a Haven Day 6- Update

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.
Cooked Dinner-Devotion
Family Time
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

Bar/Office- After

Dinner Before

Dinner After

Homemade chicken poppers, tropical fruit salad,
mexi-corn, and cheesy garlic bread w/marinara sauce- yummy!

Musical Victory

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!!!

Making Your Home a Haven Day 6

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 !