Thursday, December 22, 2011

Moment with the Master Week 4

I pray you are not growing weary in daily spending time with the Lord through these devotions.  If you keep it up, it will become a habit to read your Bible and pray everyday, then it will become a delight!  So, let us press on together sisterJ
1.    Read Psalm 63:4  How does David praise the Lord and how should we?

I have been saved since I was 13 years old and have been going to church at least three times a week or more every week of my life.  That is a lot of opportunities to offer praise to the Lord, but I wasted a lot of those opportunities.  When I was at a youth camp it was easy to raise my hand to worship because other people were.  However, when I got back to my regular church I quit raising my hands to worship for two reasons.  One reason was no one else was raising their hands to worship.  The second reason was the devil was telling me that because I wasn’t perfect and had not prayed enough or been with Him that day that I would be a hypocrite to raise my hand and worship.  Finally, one day a few years ago the Lord taught me that He wanted me to praise Him with my hand raised in church (and at home) no matter how I felt or what I had done wrong that day.  He is always worthy of our praise!

Read Psalm 100:1-5.  Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise.”  How can you apply this verse in your life?

One way is to come before the Lord by telling Him thank you when you start your prayer.  I am in the habit of starting most of my prayers by saying, “Lord thank you for today and everything you’ve done for us and given us…”  My kids have heard me start my prayers like that and now that’s how Benjamin starts his prayer!

2.    Read Psalm 63:5  “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness”  Marrow is the soft tissue that fills the cavities of most bones.  Fatness is defined as “well filled out, abundant, and richly rewarding”  So, this verse means my soul is satisfied to the core with Jesus and He fills every crack, crevice and emptiness in my heart with His love.  It means Jesus has made me full, content, abundant and richly rewards me for being satisfied in Him.  John Piper once said, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”  Think about that.  Is your soul satisfied in Jesus today?  What will it take to satisfy you?

3.    Wherever you are right now put into practice verse 5 by opening your mouth and praising the Lord joyfully.  Oh, come on, be a good sport and do itJ  It is contagious!  One example of how I do this is by singing godly songs or making up songs to the Lord.  I sing while I clean the house, do the dishes and feed the kids.  Before I know it I look up and my 3 and 5 year old are singing too!  One day I got onto Benjamin for yelling and then I continued to sing loud and he said, “You are being loud too!”  I told him that is was ok to sing loud to Jesus!  What is one way you can add praising the Lord to your daily routine?

4.    A lot of times I begin to find satisfaction in Jesus by praising Him, worshipping Him, singing to Him and being in His presence.  Try this and see if you find the same satisfaction!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Moment with the Master Week 3

Moment With the Master          Week 3

1.    Read Psalm 63:1-2  Why did David seek God early according to Psalm 63:2?
2.   During church services I have seen the power of God and felt the presence of God.  David had seen God’s power and glory in the sanctuary and it was so wonderful that He longed to see it again.  I love to go to church to worship God and sing to Him with other believers.  The Bible says “Where two or more are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst”…  Why do you come to church?
3.   When we go to church as much as we can, experience the presence of God through worshipping Him, and hear the word of God preached we will grow as a Christian.  However, God desires that we seek HIM and spend time with Him daily.  Everyday you need to be reading your Bible and praying a little so you will grow in your relationship with God.  How would you feel if your husband or friend only talked to you and listened to you one day a week when you were in public and ignored you the rest of the week?  Let us not do that to Jesus and only talk with Him Sunday.  He has a lot to tell you the rest of the week!  He has many promises to share with you and many prayers He wants to answer if you will pray them.  How exciting!
4.   Read Psalm 63:3  Why does David praise the Lord according to this verse?
5.   Why do you think His lovingkindness is better than life?
6.   If it were not for His lovingkindness we would be in Hell!
7.   Jesus had sympathy and compassion on us and He died for our sins.  We are alive today because of His lovingkindness.  
8.   Application:  Make an effort  everyday to read a verse out of your Bible in Proverbs and to say a little prayer asking God to fill you with the Holy Spirit each day.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Moment with the Master Week 2

1.    Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and give you understanding.
2.    Read Psalm 63
3.    This is a Psalm that David wrote when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
4.    Most Psalms are songs of praise or worship to the Lord, or heartfelt prayers to God.  Let’s let Psalm 63 become our prayer.
5.    Read Psalm 63:1a.  Can you say with the psalmist, “O God, thou art my God”?  Was there a time in your life when you realized you were a lost sinner and needed Jesus to save you?  Did you choose to make the one true God your God?  Having a relationship with Jesus is a personal thing that you have to decide on your own.  Once you are saved you can have an ongoing, intimate, and personal relationship with God.  If you are unsure of your salvation please talk to Pastor John or me (Brandi).
6.    Read Psalm 63:1b  Do you seek the Lord early?  I have a hard time with this one.  I do sit down and read my Bible and pray in the mid-morning, but it is not super early.  However, when I make the effort to get up early for the purpose of seeking the Lord, my day is always better.
7.    Does your soul thirst for God like the psalmist says?  The Webster dictionary defines “soul” as “the spiritual principle embodied in human beings or the moral and emotional nature of human beings”.  Thirst is defined as “an ardent desire or craving”.  What do you crave?  On most days, I crave my caffeinated herbal tea and chocolate more than I crave God!  When you crave or thirst for something you tend to want it ASAP.  We should be this way toward Jesus.  We should wake up in the morning “craving” to spend time with our Savior, Lord, Master and Lover; our King and Father who gave His own Son for us.  When I think about WHO GOD IS it makes me want Him.
8.    List some characteristics or attributes of God.
9.    Now list some things He has done for you and think about it…
10. Does that make your “flesh long for Him” a little more?
11. The end of Psalm 63:1 says, “in a dry and thirsty land where no water is..”  Like the woman at the well in our last bible study, she only had temporary water to temporarily satisfy.  Jesus is our living water and He forever satisfies.  We live in a world which tries to lie to us and tell us that if we only had a bigger house, nicer cars, nicer clothes, more money, a different body, a different husband, etc that THEN we would be happy and satisfied.  But, we are not made for just this world and nothing in this world will satisfy us, ever, except Jesus.
12. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 73:25-26.  Read these verses please.  I can’t wait to see Jesus when I get to Heaven.  Down here on earth my flesh and my heart fail everyday.  I mess up, I get mad, I complain or have a bad attitude and have to say “Lord, forgive me again!”  But He is my strength. 
13. What do you think it means that God is your portion?
I think of a dinner table with plates around it and a lot of food in the middle in big pots.  You grab your plate and put a portion of food from each pot until your plate is full.  You eat it and you are satisfied.  You had your portion, which was enough…be satisfied with Jesus as your portion today!

We will look more at Psalm 63 next time.

A Moment with the Master Week 1

Join me for a devotional I am writing called, A Moment with the Master.  I know we are all busy but as children of God we must spend time with Him each day, even if only for a moment in His Word and prayer.  My goal is to help you dig in the Word with some questions and thoughts for your time with God  through the week.  Here is Week 1...

1.Read John 4:1-8 and list the two people in this passage.

2. Where does this story take place?

3. Read John 4:9-14  What did Jesus mean by saying, "Whosever drinketh of  the water that I shall give him shall never thirst?"

4. Read John 4:15-19   Describe this woman's past.  Describe your past before you met Jesus as your Savior.

5. This woman said, "Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw" John 4:15  She was saying, 'I want what you have Jesus.  I want to be satisfied by you and not temporarily satisfied by the 'water' of this world'.  Describe the time in your life when you chose to cry out to Jesus to save you and give you eternal life and living water.

6. Read John 4:20-24  Once a person is saved, they can truly worship God.  According to this passage how do true worshippers worship God?

What do you think it means to worship God in spirit and in truth?

7. Read John 4 :25-30 What was the first thing the woman did after she met Jesus?

Pray for an opportunity this week to share your testimony with someone.  (Your testimony is the story of your life before you met Christ, how you met the Lord as Saviour and how your new life is after Christ has changed you.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baby John's Finger Accident

On October 27th we had a big accident at our house.  We had been at the church earlier that day and were talking about how great it was to be starting a church, etc.  The devil saw how excited we were and thought he would throw a trial our way that day.

We were cleaning the house and getting ready for a missionary to stay with us and preach at our church that night.  Our three year old son said, "Daddy, look I peed in the trashcan!"  My husband put our almost 1 year old son down in the hallway and went into the bathroom, slowly shutting the door behind him. He did not realize the baby had quickly crawled toward the door and put his right ring finger at the hinges and the door shut all the way on his finger.

I heard the baby screaming and ran to see what happened.  I saw two big drops of blood on the floor and my husband was holding the baby's hand and hiding it from me.  He calmly said, "Brandi hand me a washcloth.  We need to go to the hospital."  I started to panic.  What had happened to my baby?  How bad was it?  My husband is always so calm and brave and tough.  He told me not to panic and to get the kids in the car.  I ran around the house all scatter brained not able to think of what I should take.  It was cold and we weren't dressed warm enough.  I almost left the older two kids at the house while we got in the car.  My husband handed me the baby, who was screaming in pain with a bloody washcloth on his hand.  I sat in the car and began to nurse him to calm him down.  The washcloth was falling off and my husband needed me to look at his finger to see if it was cut all the way off or not.  I took a few deep breaths and prayed and looked at it for the first time.  I will not easily forget what my poor baby's finger looked like.  It was cut off under the first knuckle and barely hanging on by a thread.  I thought he was going to lose it.  I panicked again and cried out to the Lord.  All I could pray was "Lord, save his finger!"

That was the longest 12 minute ride to the ER.  Once we parked at the ER I remained calm the rest of the time by the grace of God.  No one was at the counter when we arrived but they got us back there quick and gave him some awful shots for infection.  They sent us two hours away to the hand surgeon specialist.  A friend came to take the older boys to church while my husband drove me and the now sleeping baby to the big city.  The baby woke up and we finally found where to park in the parking deck.  This was all a test of patience and trust in the Lord.  We walked as fast as we could to the ER with only a gauze over his dangling finger.  They got us back pretty quickly, but then it was torture.  Several different doctors came in at different times to unwrap the stuck on gauze, look at it, and rewrap it.  Every time the baby screamed in pain.  We did not question or demand or yell at the doctors though. They took x-rays twice because it was not done right the first time.  The Dr. did a dopler test and said it was amazing but there was a pulse and blood flow to the tip of his finger.  I knew it was the Lord!  After much waiting, the doctors said we could either sedate the baby or numb his finger and sew it back on.  We chose to numb the finger and I modestly nursed the baby to keep him still while they performed surgery on his finger with my husband's help!  That was a first for us and the surgeons. 
After surgery the Dr. said it had a 50-50 chance of living.  It turned back pink quickly so they were hopeful.  We had everyone praying for his finger to live.  He also fractured the bone so they put his finger in a stint and wrapped it in tons of gauze like a cast.  It looked like a boxing glove and was so thick.  He used it to hit his brothers on the head!  Baby John celebrated his first birthday with the cast on.  He was in the cast for two weeks and then the hand surgeon took it off and said to let it heal out in the open.  This worried me because him and his brothers are rough.  It got infected a few days later and we had to make another trip to the ER and got an antibiotic for infection.  A few days after that (which is today) the stitches and scab was coming off.  Part of it came off and was real tender.  While we were at the church my three year old son stepped on his tender finger and it bled and oozed and scared us all over again.  I thought we would have to make another trip to the ER.  Instead, we called the surgeon and he coached us through what to look for and that it should be fine. It scared me again when the rest of the scab fell off and I thought it was the tip of his finger falling off!  Ugh! Doc said that most fingers have to get amputated when they are like that but his seems to be living and reattached itself well.  It looks a bit funny but it is attached.  I give all praise to the Lord for saving that finger!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book for the Minister's Wife

As a young Pastor's wife I love to ask older Pastor's wives for their advice.  One older lady told me to simply guard my tongue.
A different lady told me to simply love Jesus with all my heart.
Another lady told me to support and follow my husband.

When I don't get an opportunity to talk to an older godly lady I like to be discipled by them through reading their books.
I came across a wonderful book for minister's wives that has really been a help to me.  I have tried to read some of these books before and I didn't get very far before I quit reading.  However, this book has really impressed me so far.  It has a cheesy name and a cheesy cover, but don't judge a book by it's cover.  The title of the book is 10 Things Every Minister's Wife Needs to Know by Jeana Floyd  It is only a couple of years old and it is very relevant.

To give you a quick overview, here are a few of the "10 things" in a nut shell.

1. The "Secret" to Survival is finding a secret place with God daily (Psalm 91)
2. Remember who you are--have an identity in Christ, not in "pastor's wife"
3. Love the man you married--spend time with him and serve him
4. Let it go (criticism, conflict, unforgiveness)
5. Learn from the past, live in the present, trust God for the future

Friday, October 28, 2011

Best Ever Pumpkin Muffins (Dairy Free alternative)

I just made our favorite food to eat this time of year...pumpkin muffins.  We eat them for snack, dessert, breakfast and everything in between!  The original recipe was found by my sister-in-law on cooks.com, but I tweaked it to make it healthy and dairy free and they are still the bomb!

You have got to try this recipe...your kids will love it and the pumpkin is good for them:)

Make them 1-2 days ahead for best flavor.  Ours are gone before then so I make a double batch and refrigerate the batter.

Makes 12 regular or 48 mini muffins.

1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour   (I use freshly ground)
2/3 cup sugar or sucanat (if brown sugar, add to wet)
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice*
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs (I use powder egg replacer and water)
1 15oz can pumpkin
1/2 cup or 1 stick melted butter (I use earth balance)
1 cup (6oz) chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk if mix is too dry (almond milk)

Mix dry ingredients and in another bowl whisk wet ingredients.  Stir in choc. chips.  Pour wet over dry and fold until moistened.  Bake 20-25 min. 350 degrees.

*Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (I use fresh grated)
1/8 tsp ground allspice
Yields 1 tsp

TIP to get High Dome Muffins
Fill up muffin tins full with thick batter, not pourable.
Put in a hot oven set to 425 degrees for 6 min. then lower to 350 degrees for the remainder of the time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Life is a Vapour

Oneday I was talking to my Grandmother about life and how fast time goes by.  She is what some people would consider "old".  She has great grandchildren and has lived a long life.  Nana said that as she thought back over her whole life and how fast it went that it was like a vapour.

I'm sure you have heard the saying that "life is a vapour".  It is a true saying, not because I think so but because the Word of God says so.  The Bible says in James 4:14, "...for what is your life?"  Then it answers the question for you by saying "it is even a vapour".  My husband preached a message on this thought and I want to share it with you. 

1. A Vapour is Passing...our life appears for a little while and then we are gone...so make sure you know where you are going when you die...Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man cometh to the Father but by Jesus! John 14:6

2. A Vapour is Pivital ...it is a state between a solid and a liquid...it can become a liquid just as easily as it can become a solid depending on temperature change and pressure....our life is suspended between Heaven and Hell and we all have to make that one pivital decision to trust Jesus for salvation or not

3. A Vapour is Purposeful...water vapour produces clouds, which produce rain, which produce crops, which give food and life to people!!  Every life is created for a purpose (Ephesians 2:10 We are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works...)

4. A Vapour is Powerful...when steam is channeled and directed properly it had the power to create the industrial revolution...Therefore your life when directed by the Holy Spirit has the power to impact the world for Christ!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Semi-Homemade Apple Cider

Here is an easy recipe that everyone will enjoy during this time of year.  It is easy and tastes good.  My kids love it and its not bad for you!  All you have to do is buy a gallon of apple cider and add the seasonings to it!
 
                                Semi-Homemade Apple Cider
                           1/2 gallon cider or juice  (I use cider)
                                    2 cinnamon sticks
                                          2 cloves
                                       whole nutmeg
                          1/2 orange peel cut into strips
                          1/2 lemon peel cut into strips
              Put all of the seasonings in cheesecloth and add to the cider.
                    Put in crockpot on low for 2 hours, then strain and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Joys of Prayer

Do you pray specifically?  If not, you are missing out on some exciting stuff!  I LOVE to pray very detailed about things.  When you pray things that only you and the Lord know, it builds your faith when He answers.

God desires that we pray at all times, for all things.  I pray for BIG things and small things.  I pray for spiritual things and material things.  For example, I pray for people by name who are lost and in need of Jesus.  But there was a time when I prayed for a pedicure one time when I could not afford it and I won a free certificate for a pedicure that week!  Jesus cared about my silly toes because I am His daughter, His child!

I keep a list of prayer requests in my Bible that I pray for everyday.  I read a Proverb everyday so I keep my lists there.  I pray certain things for my family daily.  Daily requests: wisdom (James 1), confess and repent of sins, to protect our marriage, the prayer of Jabez, to restore the joy of our salvation, to be a godly help meet and mother, etc.....I also have a long list I pray over our children daily that includes things like salvation, purity, future spouse, heeding correction, protection from evil, etc.  The list is what Susanna Wesley prayed over her children.

There are a number of people that I pray for daily as well.  Extended family, people in our church, people I discipled, lost people, friends, and specific churches.  Pastors need our prayer everyday because they are on the front lines in the battle field!

If this overwhelms you, just add one new person or thing to your prayer list today.  Make it a habit to pray everyday about something specific and watch with anticipation as God answers!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bake your own Bread

Homemade bread is so yummy!  It is so special to sit down to eat and know you made the bread to feed your family. It is another way to show them that you love them. 

But why bake your own bread when you can conveniently buy it at the store?  There are many reasons.  First of all, it is way healthier than the bread you buy in the average grocery store.  White flour shoots your blood sugar up, makes you gain weight, does not satisfy your hunger, can slowly make you sick over time, does not give you nutrients, and is addictive.  People eat white bread because it is convenient and it tastes good.  However, if we knew all the facts about it (which I don't have time to mention here) then we would make every effort to eat fresh whole grain flour.  I challenge you to go on a search for why white flour is so bad...but be ready to change your diet!  

My family and I started grinding our own flour (with the NutriMill) about 5 years ago.  We wanted to get all the nutrients from it and help our stomach digest correctly.  My little boys LOVE the wheat bread but it took my husband awhile to get used to the taste.  It truly does satisfy you!  We bake bread, muffins, waffles and cookies with the whole grain flour and have never looked back! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Are You Discouraged?

I have talked to many people recently who are solid Christians but they are discouraged.  I have heard from people in numerous states and numerous churches that are discouraged.  Discouragement can be caused from so many different things.  When you are discouraged it is easy to quit reading your Bible and praying...the very things that help one come out of discouragement.  It is easy to have a pity party about whatever it is that has caused it.  I have found that it hinders when we look around at our circumstances and even at other people.  I have also found that it helps when we keep our eyes on Jesus.  "Look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame..."  Hebrews 12:2 (paraphrase from memory)  Because we are living in the last days where discouragement is rampant and people are quiting right and left it is so important to keep your eyes on Jesus!

Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you.  People will.
Jesus is not a man that he should lie.  People will.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  People change.
Jesus brings peace.  People bring turmoil.
Jesus brings joy.  People bring momentary happiness.
Jesus gives selflessly and sacrificially.  People are selfish.
Jesus is longsuffering and patient.  People are pushy.
Jesus is your All in All...for every need...every heart ache...He is always there.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.."

Remember, we are only passing through this world...life is but a vapor...give your all to Jesus.  Finish your race to receive the prize in Heaven!  It will be worth it and "we will understand it better by and by." 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Be Your Hubby's Cheerleader

An older godly lady reminded me of the importance of encouraging my husband.  Most men need words of affirmation.  A lot of men receive accolades at work from their boss or other employees.  Some men might never receive the encouragement they need to become a better man.  We have a grave responsibility and an awesome opportunity to do something for our husbands that is so simple, yet so important: be his cheerleader and number 1 fan!

I don't want my husband to receive his support and encouragement from a female employee or secretary.  I want him to receive it from me, his wife:)  It is easy to think of the negative things about our spouses and the things in them that we would like to change.  However, if I always focus on my husband's negative qualities (which aren't many-I got a good man!) then they will continually be in my mind and heart and will eventually come out of my mouth in the form of discouragement.  When we discourage our husbands it sets them way behind and they might even resent us for our nagging and become bitter with us.  (I say this from experience!)  The Bible speaks of husbands not becoming bitter toward their wives...so lets not give them anything to be bitter about!  We can only do this through the help of the Holy Spirit and the instruction of the Bible, God's Holy Word (still relevant to today's marriage)!


Ephesians 4:29 talks about only speaking words that are encouraging and uplifting.  I have talked about this in dealing with our children, but it is paramount with our husbands.  Our husbands will measure up to the man that we speak about with our words!  "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..."  "As a man thinketh, so is he..."  If you say:

"My husband is not a spiritual leader in our home"
"My husband is lazy"
"He never helps around the house"
"He never plays with the kids"
"He works too much"

Then he will live up to what you say.  Change your thoughts and make them positive and began saying out loud so your husband can overhear you say:

"I love my husband"
"He's great with the kids"
"He works so hard to provide for our family"
"I appreciate him"

Keep this up and you will be amazed at the difference in your attitude and his!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Children Need

Children are precious gifts from God that we should not take for granted.  Sometimes I have to remind myself of that when they are running around the house, breaking things (accidentaly) and being a handful!  I must think about the fact that God chose me to be their mother for a reason.  If you are a parent it did not catch God by surprise!  He knows what He is doing.  His Word (the Bible) gives us some instructions on how to parent and what to teach our children.

Children come into this world with a mind that we get the privelege of filling!  We can allow them to sit in front of the television all day and it will quickly get filled with all sorts of junk...or we can choose to teach them Scripture at the earliest possible age and put God's Holy Word in their mind.

Garbage in, garbage out.  What our children (or you and I) watch on tv or read in books or hear from school or friends is going into our heads and hearts and will eventually make its way out of our mouths (or through our behavior).  This is kinda scary.  Kids are so easily influenced.  We must be intentional in training them in the Lord.

Deuteronomy 11:18-20 says, "Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul (the Bible must be in you before you pass it to your children), and bind them for a sign upon your hand (is it obvious to others that God's Word is important in your life?), that they may be as frontlets between your eyes (Every decision should be made through viewing Scripture). 
And ye shall teach them your children, speaking (you must say it out loud, don't assume they will 'catch it') of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  (We must talk to our kids about the Bible when we sit to eat, ride in the car, at bedtime and when they wake up)
And thou shalt write them (Have Scripture verses written in your home: We have them engraved on wood above the doors) upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:"

We must be diligent in teaching our kids over and over so it can be engrained in them.  We have a grave responsibilty to do this.  Some books to help teach Scripture are 100 Ways to Know God Loves Me by Stephen Elkins (We use this for family devotion).  Also, Those Kids in Proverbsville by Elizabeth Rice Handford. (Read to teach character lessons from Proverbs)   

Along with teaching them Scripture there are other things they need as well. I came across this list online somewhere and I love it.

What Your Children Want You To Do:

1. Tuck me in bed, sing to me and tell me a story of when you were growing up.
2. Hug me and kiss me and talk with me privately.
3. Spend quality time with just me without my siblings.
4. Feed me nutrituous food to make me healthy.
5. At the dinner table talk about what we can do together on the weekends.
6. At night talk to me about anything; love, school, family.
7. Let me play outside a lot.
8. Cuddle with me under a blanket to watch our favorite movie.
9. Discipline me to show me you care.
10. Leave me a special note in my desk or lunchbox.


All of this says to your child, "I love you!"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Food Inc

My husband and I watched the movie Food Inc awhile back and want to ask you all to watch it as well.  It tells you where about 80% of the meat we eat in America comes from, how it is processed, how the workers and animals are treated, what harmful and disgusting ingredients are put in it, etc.

This movie made me mad, sad, and disgusted.  My husband and I try to buy organic food and support farmers through going to farmer's markets when we can, but this made me want to even more so.  I was outraged at what is happening!  After the movie all I could do was to pray and to begin to change the way we buy food.  Genetically Modified foods are wreaking havoc on our health.  They are causing all kinds of health issues even including miscarriages.  Get educated now about the food you are eating, pray over your food, and ask God to lead and guide you in how to keep your family healthy.  Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chiropracter

The other day our whole family went to the Chiropracter because I got a gift certificate to go...and I love to go!  Dr. Bryan Hooper in Watkinsville is a great one and he is a Christian as well.  Going to get adjusted and then doing the daily stretches to keep you in line can really help you stay healthy.

A trick to keep babies from having tummy troubles is to hold the baby facing away from you and put your head on their back until their legs hang down.  Then, you know they are relaxed!

The Chiropracter can help with headaches and many other issues!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Life Management

I am currently reading Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George.  She is one of my favorite Authors because she can take the Bible and make it easy to apply to your life through simple steps. 

The first step in this book that is key to managing a busy life is to read the Bible first thing in the morning.  It sounds too simple to change anything, but it makes a world of difference!  My flesh is tempted to hit the ground running every morning doing my daily chores and numerous duties of a wife, mother, and homemaker.  Although, when I put off my Bible reading til later it sometimes never fits in the schedule like the Devil desires. 

Here is what I have realistically been doing:
I wake up at a somewhat different time each morning depending on how late I stayed up or if the baby kept me up at night.
I wash my face, and brush my teeth.
I put on my skirt and shirt for the day, throw my hair up and put earrings in.  (This helps me feel better about myself and look decent!)
I throw a load of laundry in the wash on my way to the kitchen.
We eat breakfast, (with tea and coffee) and have our family devotion led by my husband.
NOW I READ MY BIBLE

That is what I consider "first" reading my Bible even though I do all those other things first....because if I actually rolled out of bed and into my Bible I would not be awake enough to focus and would be distracted and hungry!  God sees that I am trying to make HIM my first priority by doing this before the rest of my day hits me.  Every time that I put God first by doing this my day goes SO SMOOTH and I get SOOOOOO much DONE!!!!  It always surprises me how much I get done at the end of my day with time to spare sometimes!  God honors it and multiplies your time!  You have got to try this at home:)  When I do not do this I never get done the things I wanted to that day.

Here is what I got done yesterday because I "put God first":
Daily Bible reading, prayer, family devotion.
Daily laundry.
Went to Publix and Post Office and chiropracter.
Unloaded what I bought.
Watered plants, did dishes, cleaned kitchen.
Fed and nursed baby and 2 boys 3x plus snacks.
Ate leftovers.
Homeschooled Benjamin.
Addressed some shower invitations.
Dropped boys at grandparents to play.
Got ready and went to revival an hour away.
Dated my hubby at Subway on the way home.

Also, I use cloth diapers which requires time to wash, etc and I bake bread (with the help of a bread machine) and bake from scratch.  All this to say that I NEED God to help me manage all the things I like to do to have a healthy and happy home!

When I put God first I have a better attitude throughout the whole day and I enjoy serving my family.  There is true JOY, J-O-Y when you put JESUS first, then OTHERS and YOURSELF last!   Try it!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reusable Wipes and Cloth Diapers

I have only been using my reusable wipes now for a week or so but I absolutely LOVE them!  I gave my mother in law (who likes to sew and has more time to do that now than I do) my cute baby receiving blankets that my 6 month old has grown out of.  She took the cute blankets, cut them in little squares of various sizes and surged the ends.  I then placed them in a plastic wipe container and put some water and liquid natural soap in it.  One time I put water and Burts Bees Baby Shampoo in it.  You can also put essential oils in it like tea tree oil (antifungal) or any oil that smells good.  I have read that you should not use lavendar oil on little boys because of adverse effects....anyone have any info on that?? 
These wipes are SO EASY to make and use.  They are a little damp and work great on bottoms and faces and sticky hands.  After I use it I put it in the dirty cloth diaper and put them both in a big bucket by the toilet with a lid.  Every other day I wash my cloth diapers and wipes and save tons of money!
We use Fuzzibuns cloth diapers and Kushies cloth diapers. Fuzzibuns have snaps on them and a removable liner (which can be aggravating taking in and out every time you wash it).  I like the Kushies diapers better because they velcro (which is quicker) and they wash all in one piece with nothing to remove and insert (which is quicker and easier).  I am all about quick and easy with 3 boys, homeschooling and baking bread!

I roughly estimated that in 1 1/2-2 years you will spend about $3,000 in disposable diapers!  Using cloth diapers saves money, is good for the planet, and good for the baby's bottom.  You can find good deals on diapers online at diapers.com, and even at yard sales!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cheerleading and Scripture Memory

What do cheerleading and scripture memory have in common?  I just found out today!  When I was in Middle and Highschool I was a cheerleader and I loved the Lord.  (He has since convicted me of wearing such short skirts though:)  Now as a mother of three sometimes I wonder why I spent so much time cheerleading...does it help me any today?  Now I can say "Yes!" 

I have been trying to think of creative ways to teach my children how to memorize scripture.  A lot of people put them to songs with catchy tunes but I'm not the best singer
I decided I would put hand motions to the scripture (like a cheer). :)
If you know me well then you might know that I put my hands on my hips when I get mad-which causes my husband to laugh!  Now my two year old puts his hands on his hips when he is ill!  LOL

Well, now I am putting my cheerleading skills to use again and having fun watching my boys learn the Bible in a new way!  Remember we are to "hide God's Word in our heart so that we might not sin against Him."  Psalm 119:11

Does anyone have a comment on how you learn or teach Scripture?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jesus...an Audience of One

We have been in Kentucky this week because my husband is preaching a revival.  When we are away from home like this sometimes I have more time to spend on the internet or reading because I don't have a house to clean or daily laundry to do.  Yesterday I wanted a nap with the rest of the family but the baby did not, so I stayed up with him and looked up a few new blogs and sights I had been meaning to visit.  I was hoping to find some encouragement in the Lord (as a supplement to my prayer time and Bible reading). 

NOTHING can take the place of talking to Jesus and reading His Word...and nothing should:)  

Anyway, I found myself looking at this woman's blog who I did not know and coveting and envying what she had, etc.  I thought, "She is so pretty and her family is beautiful and the renovations they have done on their house are gorgeous..."  I did NOT measure up to this Christian family who seemed to have it all and do it all!  Instead of encouragement I found discouragement.  (Now this could just be my own insecurity and jealousy because there was nothing wrong with what she had posted!) 

I compared (which is easy for women to do) her awesome blog to my plain blog.  Then I sat there wondering what awesome thing could I blog about that would draw people?  The Lord spoke to my heart and said "Me".  Jesus.  He was the initial reason I started a blog, to reach out and encourage people from my home. 

Last night at church my husband preached on worship and having an audience of One: Jesus.  He said that we need to wear blinders to the crowd, the critics, and the crown (our reputation).  King David danced before the Lord and was unashamed.  I want to be like that and serve an audience of only One; my Jesus who died and bled for me.  In recent days I have not had on blinders to the crowd.  I didn't want to embarass myself.  When a 78 year old woman and a teenage boy got saved on Tuesday I wanted to jump and shout "Hallelujah!"  but instead I let out a sheepish "Praise God" because I didn't want to be embarrassed.  But, after being in the prescence of Jesus and being reminded of what He did for me I do not want to be ashamed anymore.  God has been soooooo good to my family and I.  He has answered so many prayers and been so faithful and true.  He is always ALWAYS worthy of our worship.  I tell my kids a lot that if we don't worship Him the rocks will cry out!  And then we commence to sing to Jesus!

I challenge you, like my husband challenged me, when was the last time you really worshiped Jesus not caring what anyone else would think? 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Words

Words are powerful.  A lot of times I speak without thinking and my words hurt the person I was speaking to.  Sometimes my words make people angry and sometimes my words encourage people.  The words we choose to say have the power to build up or tear down other people!  Wow.  What an opportunity. 

Yesterday morning I woke up and walked into the living room where my husband was sitting and without thinking I said three things that either bossed him around or were negative!  He pointed it out and said,  "Why didn't you just say 'Good Morning Honey!'"  Haha!  I wake up on the run and want to get the laundry started and breakfast started and the morning chores out of the way before I sit down with tea.  I woke up with my to do list on my mind and blurted it out to my hubby and it made him ill.  If I would have chosen different words, sweet words, happy words then it would have made my hubby happy!

Another problem I have with words is that I say too much!  Can anyone relate?  I accidently share too much information or I (unaccidently) gossip.  Ouch.  I know, it's horrible isn't it!?  I have been praying that God will set a guard over my mouth.  I used to pray that everyday and He did because I did not struggle with my mouth like I have been lately.  Prayer does work!

This morning I read Proverbs 21:23 "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles."  This is very true.  If I kept my mouth shut I
 would not 'ensnare myself with words'.  Let us instead practice Ephesians 4:29
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."

This includes how we talk to our spouses and children.  They need our encouraging words.  You will reap what you sow, so sow some encouragement!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kombucha Tea

I love things that are healthy and cheap and Kombucha is just that!  What is it?  It is a fizzy tea that you drink cold.  It is refreshing and hydrating.  It is fermented so it puts all that good bacteria in your gut which is the center of your health.  (Yes, your gut!)

A few days after drinking it my intestines hurt and it cleaned and detoxed my body easily.  After that I felt SSSSSOOOOOO GOOD!  I had bursts of energy and just wanted to jump up and exercise (which is unusual these days!)  I felt like I was on the verge of another sinus infection but drinking kombucha kept it away.  It is like a probiotic drink.  When you take antibiotics it kills ALL the bacteria, even the good.  We must have good bacteria in us to fight off sickness and be healthy.

How do you make it?
Either buy (for under $5 some places) a mushroom (sounds weird but you don't drink the shroom) or use on from a friend who makes kombucha.

Then all you need is apple cider vinegar, sugar and 8 green tea bags.
You can carefully follow the directions that come with your mushroom.  Basically all you do is brew the tea and add 1 1/2 cups of white sugar.  Then once it has cooled you add the vinegar and the mushroom to a glass gallon jar and let it sit and ferment for 7-10 days.  In the meantime it has grown a new mushroom to make your second batch of tea. 

My boys and I LOVE it.  It might taste bad or vinegary to you at first and you can add juice to your cup while drinking.  It can be an aquired taste but your body will LOVE it.  It is so easy.  It slows the process of aging as well...look younger for cheaper and make it in your home!  Go try kombucha:)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Books

I looooove to read.   My Mom loves to read.  She always has different books on the end table beside a comfy chair.  When I'm visiting I always catch myself in her books.  I find myself reading labels of things if there is no book in sight!  I am usually always reading several things at one time.  I only read books that help me in my walk with the Lord or teach me things like health, nutrition, parenting, etc.  Although sometimes if a fashion magazine is in my mailbox for some odd reason I may glance through it...but it usually is a waste of my time and makes me feel unattractive!  lol! 

I have found that reading godly, scriptural books along with the Bible help me to grow as a Christian woman.  I want to share some of my favorites with you so they can help you too.  Always compare what you read to the Bible to make sure it is correct teaching.  I bought most of these books online as they can be hard to find.  (Or you can get your bookstore to order them for you.)

1. Parenting from the Heart  by Marilyn Boyer
This book changed my whole perspective on parenting!  It will make you love and cherish and enjoy your children.  It also gives creative homeschooling activities.

2.  Beautiful in God's Eyes  by Elizabeth George  (all her books are good)
This book goes through Proverbs 31 and does a chapter on each verse explaining how to practically live out this passage of Scripture!  Wow!

3.  Passionate Housewives Desperate for God  by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald   This book does give you a "fresh vision for the hopeful homemaker" in a real and honest way.  These ladies have a lot of wisdom!

4.  Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel  (I haven't finished it yet)
It has great ideas for child training and discipline.

5.  The 4:8 Principle by Tommy Newberry  (I haven't finished it)
He takes Philippians 4:8 and shows you how to think biblically to change your life and your attitude.

6.  Created to be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl
This is challenging and convicting but it works!  If you do what this book says you will have a great marriage!


Those are just a few to get you started!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Cleaning

The pretty weather makes me want to stay out in the yard and clean the porch and everything else in sight that had been forgotten during the winter.  I LOVE Spring and everything that comes with it!  It is so refreshing to feel the sunshine after the snow.  God always knows what we need. 

Just like we spring clean our homes, we need to spring clean our hearts.  Normally, I would never let my porch stay that cluttered and messy for so long...BUT (fill in your blank here) I was sick or tired or lazy. 

Normally in my Christian life I would never watch that kind of movie...or gossip...or yell at my children...BUT I did!  It is time to spring clean my heart!  So, recently I have cleaned out a few things that were getting my life and heart dirty and sinful.  Is there something or some things in your life that you need to clean out?  Magazines?  Movies?  Books?  Gossip?  Complaining?  Stubborness?  Bitterness?  (Bitterness is like mold...it is HARD to clean and it can make you sick!)

I challenge you to take a look at your life through God's eyes and see what needs to be cleaned.  You will feel soooo much better!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A New Look on the Lord's Prayer

This was a great Sunday School lesson by Sean Thomas that gave me a new look on the Lord's Prayer and the Basics of Prayer.  I thought I already knew all about the Lord's prayer (haha) but God still convicts me and shows me new and wonderful things in His Word!  I always need to be challenged and reminded to pray more.  Lets look at Luke 11 for a minute...

I noticed in verse 1 that he prayed in a "certain place".  Do you have a certain place that you go to to pray everyday and meet the Lord?  I like to pray lying in the bed talking to God as a friend as I drift off to sleep.  I like to pray in the shower at the beginning of a new day.  I like to pray about circumstances while driving down the road in the car.  I like to pray for my family while I am doing the laundry and the dishes.  But, the times when I really want to get ahold of God I go to my room and get on my knees and pour out my whole heart to God so only He can hear me.  You can pray anywhere and everywhere but it is meaningful to have a certain place you go daily to meet with God.

Alright, now here is what Bro. Sean taught on prayer.

1. Aproach God with Tenderness  "Our Father"
    -Sometimes we forget that God is our Daddy, Abba, sweet Father.  If you do not have a loving earthly father, you DO have a loving Heavenly Father who loves you tenderly.

2. Aproach God with Reverence  "which art in Heaven"
    -Sometimes I pray irreverently and quickly over my food, etc. and I forget that I am talking to GOD in HEAVEN...WOW!!  We would treat someone in authority on earth with respect, we should definetely treat God with reverence!

3. Aproach God with Respect  "Hallowed be thy name"
    -God is Holy and awesome.  He is to be worshiped and adored.  Holy means set apart.  He is above all!

4. Aproach God with Devotion  "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done"
   -We should continually be surrendered and devoted to God's will and not OUR will.  Some seasons I am more willing to do His will than mine.  In order for me to continually be surrendered to His will I must stay in prayer!  Sean said, "Is there anything in your life that is hindering God's Kingdom?"  "My worldly desires dwindle when God's will is exercised."

5. Aproach God with Humility  "His-thy will be done"
   -Life is not all about me...man!  'His will is going to be accomplised, do you want to be a part of it?'  I want to!  I want to serve my King, my Creator, my Master and Father!  When I get to Heaven I want to hear "Well done my good and faithful servant."

Friday, March 25, 2011

What Can you Digest?

Sometimes our bodies need help digesting food because of various reasons.  Papaya mint tablets or chewables is something you can buy at a health food store ro help your food digest.  I bought these when I had eaten chili from Wendy's for a week straight while out of town and I got the worst indigestion and acid reflux at night!  No kidding!  You eat them with your meal and it is so easy!  Peppermint and chamomile also help digestion.

Sometimes our spirit has a hard time digesting truth from God's Word, or a rebuke from a friend.
This is when we take a dose of humility and a cup of openess and honesty!  It is healthy to have a close friend of the same sex that you can share your struggles with and they can pray with you and for you...and sometimes set you straight!  The Bible says, "Better is open rebuke than hidden love."  You may have a friend that is a Christian but they are doing something that is not biblical.  Pray about if God would have you kindly share with them the good and right way.  In so doing, you are truly loving them so they do not go down a wrong and rugged path away from God.  This is hard to do and it requires you taking a dose of courage and boldness!
We are all on this journey together and the Lord desires us to spur each other on toward love and good works...and a deeper love for Him!  So, don't get your feelings hurt when someone rebukes you...be thankful instead.  And don't shy away from an opportunity to love someone by sharing the hard truth!  Let it sink it and get digested!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Check it Out

My husband has a website now that is still being updated, but you can check it out at http://www.johnsmithministries.com/.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Perfectionism

I am a perfectionist.  I used to brag about it and think that it was a good thing, but now I am starting to see how it can be a BAD thing.  I prided myself in a clean, organized, spotless house.  I used to judge other people's homes if they were messy. 
(Those were the days before three kids, who live at home!)  I used to not be able to sit down and talk to my husband unless every little toy was picked up and the whole kitchen was clean.  All he wanted to do was talk to me, but I chose to clean instead.  I was obsessive about it and it began to drive my husband and I crazy.  The perfectionist in me chose a neat house over relationships.   The Bible tells us to be hospitable and have people over to love them and feed them and fellowship with them.  It is much more fun to have people over and make a mess than to miss fellowship and sit looking at a neat kitchen!

One root of perfectionism is pride...and that is sin.
I was caring too much about what other people thought of me.  I wanted people to admire me, respect me, and look up to me because they thought I was perfect.  We all know that nobody is really perfect, but among women we want other women to think WE HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER!  That is being selfish and self focused instead of letting God get the glory for being my strength when I am weak and fall short (which is most of the time!)  Let me just tell you that I do NOT have it all together and I never will until Jesus comes.  I want to take off my mask and BE REAL with you.  We all need Jesus to be our All in All; our strength when we are weak, our mind when we've lost ours:), our joy, our peace, our hope, our security, and so many other things.
So I invite you to throw out perfectionism and quit trying to be Supermom so others will say "Wow, she's awesome, how does she do it all and look great!?"  Instead, try to be more like Jesus so others will say, "Wow, her walk with God makes me want to be closer to God." 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Wear Yourself Out

On the way to Kentucky last week for revival we were listening to a sermon in the van.  The preacher was talking about the people in history who literally wore themselves out in service to the Lord.  I remember my husband reading the book Praying Hyde and it said that he prayed so hard everyday and night that his heart shifted to the other side and caused major health issues!  Can you imagine!?  Jesus prayed so hard in such anguish that he sweat drops of blood in the garden.

Jesus gave HIS ALL, HIS LIFE for us...the least we can do is serve Him.  The preacher said,"Have you ever wore yourself out for the Lord?"  I got to thinking...it had been awhile since I wore myself out in service to God.  Well, after 11 days spent away from home going to church almost every night and Sunday twice a day with 3 boys and the baby waking me up at night and supporting my husband in prayer as he preaches and visiting with many people...I can now say that I wore myself out for God's glory!  It landed me in bed for several days with an awful cold and the devil tried to tell me I couldn't handle the lifestyle of evangelism...but I reminded him of the 2 souls saved, many hearts revived, and people encouraged in the Lord.  It was worth wearing myself out!
And Jesus brings rest and refreshment when we need it...He says to come to Him when we are weary and He will give us rest.  Praise God!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Natural Blonde Highlights

Getting highlights in your hair can be expensive and unhealthy because of the chemicals that are used.  Here is a natural "do it yourself" remedy for blonde highlights:

Boil water with chamomile flowers, strain.
Fill a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar and the water infused with chamomile.
Shampoo hair, then spray and rinse with the vinegar solution.
You may then use conditioner, but the cider vinegar gently conditions as well.
Repeat as often as you like until you see the highlights you like!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Baby Wonder

I posted earlier about Chamomile and how you can use it in tincture form for babies.  Some of my friends in Kentucky named it Baby Wonder   because they saw how quickly it calmed my baby down!  When my 3 1/2 month old cries during church (or anywhere for that matter) I dip his pacifier (a safe plastic one:) in the chamomile and glycerin tincture and put it in his mouth and he calms down immediately.  He likes the sweet taste of it now and it is perfectly safe.  It has a strong sweet taste you may not like at first but now my baby LOVES it!  Every Mom needs this!  I am about to make a big batch of it next week and mail some.  Leave a comment with your name, address and how much you need if you would like to get some from me. 
Adults can take a Tbsp or two to calm them down or get them relaxed for bedtime.   

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sugar

Many people made new years resolutions last month that revolve around weight loss, health, and nutrition.  Whether we are trying to lose weight or not we should ALL be concerned with our health.  I used to eat sooooo much white sugar and junk food.  I was not gaining weight because I exercised a lot so I kept eating it.  I did not realize the damage it was doing to my overall health until years later.

White sugar is in almost everything these days in some form or another.  High fructose corn syrup, the first ingredient in most processed food, is even worse than sugar.  It poisons your body and damages your health.  I know you are thinking, "How can I live without sugar or processed food!?"  I used to think that way.

It takes time to say bye bye to sugar.  It is hard at first, but your taste buds will slowly change.  Your sugar cravings will go away because it is actually the yeast buildup in your body that is craving more yeast from the sugar.  (Isn't that gross!) 

The safest alternatives to white sugar are sucanat (sugarcane natural), honey, and stevia (an herb).  You can even buy soft drinks sweetened with stevia now

I bake desserts at home with sucanat.  I sweeten my hot tea with raw honey...yummy!  Take a step to better health and slowly say bye bye to sugar!    Challenge:  There are over 140 different negative things sugar does to your body...can you find out what they are?