Friday, March 29, 2013

You Have to go Through Friday to get to Sunday

When my husband was in a seminary, a professor of his, said these simple words to some of us "You have to go through Friday to get to Sunday".   Seems obvious, right?  We learn to order of the days of the week even as young as preschool age...  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.   Richard Carlson, that professor, imparted to me that day a truth that would have a profound affect on my life and be something I would cling to as I worked through some dark days.  The words were spoken as we talked about conflict management and how we need to get to the "stuff", the "issues", the "sin" in us and address it or it would come out in other ways.  Jesus, had to go through Good Friday and his crucifixion, in order to rise again and give us life on Easter Sunday and beyond.

In our lives, we face issues due to our own sin, the sin others have done to us, and the brokenness of this world.  Only facing the truth of this and letting Christ take these issues upon Himself would heal this.  I have been a Christian since I was a youth and knew this in my head.  What I didn't know deep in my soul is this - I would have to let Christ in completely to every layer of my being.  There were things that were too painful, to scary, or two ugly to look at in the light.  See, that is how sin is - yours and mine.   Slowly, it eats away at life.   That is until it is exposed to the light.   At first, it hurts.   It is similar to the way your eyes sting upon encountering the bright sun after leaving a dark building.  They sting and tear up, and eventually adjust and open fully to the beauty of the day before you.

Once sin is brought to the light and handed over to the only One who can make you whole - life is never the same.  And, so it was for me... things I clung to somewhere deep inside needed to be handed over and given up.  At first, the process was so painful - like digging dirt out of a wound.  Painful, but necessary.  Some things feel too much to bear - too hard to handle.  The brokenness of our soul is hard to carry alone.  The story, however, doesn't end there.  Ever so slowly at times, we adjust to this letting go and just like our eyes can eventually open and see the beauty around us, so do our souls.

This is what Good Friday is all about.  Jesus, had to face terrible, unimaginable suffering and torture.  He did this as a completely free gift for you and for me.  He took all of the ugliness and sin upon Himself for us.  Then He did what no one else could do.  He rose triumphantly early on Easter morning to give us life.  We are free and forgiven.  What we should have paid for was taken care of by Jesus.  His love is unfathomable.  And, while it seems to us at times that He is not here in our darkest hour;  He surprises us as we surrender and gives us beautiful life just like He did on Easter Sunday.

Yes, we do have to go through Friday to get to Sunday.  And, it is so worth it. 

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Clearing out the Clutter - One Bag at a Time

Back in January, I took part in a 31 day challenge to rid my home of clutter.  The theme was 31 bags for 31 days.  Each day, participants were challenged to work on an area of their homes and get rid of one bag of clutter.  I rose to the challenge and attacked my home with vigor; I was on fire.  No clutter was safe from me.  Bags and boxes were taken to thrift stores.  Trash was discarded.  Paper piles were recycled.  It felt good.

But here's the thing... six years of living in this house with my sweet family has allowed for stuff to pile up... more than I could take care of in just one month.  The problem with clutter is that it comes in one bag at a time.  By itself, each bag seems innoucous; when added all up, the sum is imposing.  Not only does its large mass encroach upon my space; it drains my emotions and my energy.  Clutter is a theif dressed in pretty packaging.  It steals my time, my peace, my space.  It clouds my vision... I no longer see and appreciate all I have and the beauty before me.  And, I will admit this, getting rid of the clutter sets off an irrational fear in me.  Questions pop into my mind like this:  "What about the money I spent on this item?", "What if I need it someday?", "What if I don't have enough?".  Umm... that is not life-giving but life-draining.  

Here is the reality of getting rid of clutter in my house.  As the clutter goes, I am much more content.  Funny, the things I thought would make me happy sometimes give me the most satisfaction when they are gone.  My charming cottage bungalow no longer feels small and tight but rather cozy and peaceful (well, as peaceful as it gets with a husband, three children, a cat, a dog... and me).   I have space to move and create.  Time is freed up to spend with those I cherish the most and to do the things I love.  And you know what?  I don't miss any of those things I got rid of back in January nor have I needed any of them. 

Today, I am building back into my routine the practice of purging my home regularly.  When those irrational questions come, I am replacing them with this questions:  "Could someone else use this?, "What is the worst thing that could happen if I let this go?", "Do I really want to spend my time taking care of this?", "How much will I gain by letting this thing go?".

Armed with this:

I am going to tackle that clutter and rid my house of it... one bag at a time.  If you have clutter in your house, won't you join me?  Don't let the task daunt you... take it one bag at a time!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday and a Proverb to Clothe Yourself in

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7

True beauty lies inside of us.  Starting this week I am adding a proverb each Wednesday to clothe our souls in. 

That being said, I really believe how your look affects how you feel.  When you put a little extra effort into what you wear, you feel better.   I am linking up each week with The Pleated Poppy - What I wore Wednesday.

I love trying new combinations with the clothes I already have - fun for me and good for my wallet:) 

So friends, take a few minutes to find something to wear that makes you feel good.   If you are seaching for ideas about what to wear, take a peek at some of the ladies linking up with The Pleated Poppy.  You will find plenty of inspiration there.

Here are some of my outfits for the week:

 orange and turquoise are one of my favorite color combinations. 
My sweet dog Sadie jumped in the picture with me

I have had this cardi and the shirt for years - bought on sale
This is a new combo for me with the mustard yellow posy from The Pleated Poppy
and the necklace and earrings I made. 
 I am so longing for Spring - so even if the weather won't cooperate, I can wear some pops of Spring

This shirt makes me happy... I love the colors and the pattern.
Don't you just love the "deer in the headlights" look on my face:)
wearing purple for Epilepsy Day... in memory of Mallorie Lindo,
a sweet young lady who lost her battle with a rare form of Epilepsy
called LaFora's Disease last week. 

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tortoise Tuesday - Making Peace With My Inner Lucy

I Love Lucy is one of my all-time favorite shows.  Lucy tickles my funny bone.  I love how she comes up with all of these great plans; plans that seem like good ideas at the time.  They are well thought out and she attacks them with gusto.  If you have ever watched the show, you know how the story goes... Lucy's plans start out smoothly and then, little by little, things go awry.  One mishap adds to another until mayham ensues. 

Sometimes I feel a little like Lucy... sometimes I feel a lot like Lucy.  See, there is a lot of Lucy inside of me.  I have all of these ideas inside of me bursting to get out.  In my mind, things go alot more effortlessly than in my real life.   Far more often than I would like, I start out gracefully like Audrey Hepburn, only to quickly end up more like Lucy.  I fumble, I fall. 

But here's the thing... I have finally made peace with this Lucy part of me and now embrace her.  And, here is what I have found...

~ Like Lucy, I laugh... a lot
~ I love with a passion
~ I may fail at times. but I jump right back in again
~ I live with gusto, much more so than if I tried to contain this part of me
~ My life is colorful and vibrant and never dull
~ Accepting the imperfections in myself, has let me appreciate the imperfections in others... perfectionism is highly over-rated and stressful
~ I am so much more comfortable in my own skin now
~ It is not the end of the world to stumble and fall... we all do
~ It is a lot more work trying to be someone who I am not
~ I am just who God intended me to be

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Money-Stretching Monday - Take it Down a Notch

For the last two weeks, my Sunday newspaper has been inundated with sales flyers for Easter.  I expect that from the world of adverstising; It's a good marketing strategy.  Easter is a time of celebration and joy and we love our children.  So, let's show them our love by buying them stuff.  Now. let me preface my thoughts on this by saying -  I love Easter!  As, a Christian, it is the most important day of the year; it is the basis of my faith.  And, I love to celebrate.  Even as my children are getting older,  I still love filling their Easter baskets with candy... including a solid chocolate bunny - no hollow bunnies here.  And, I think you are never too old for an Easter egg hunt!   Here is where I think we need to take it down a notch.   When I was growing up, we had Easter baskets filled with candy and maybe a new outfit to wear for Easter Sunday.   Now however, advertisers and society tell us that we need to give our children toys, expensive purses, electronics, bikes, cell phones... the list goes on and on. 
I believe it is time we take it down a notch.  Let's take a step back and see what is really important.   We live in a time where people are over-scheduled, information overloaded, and homes are overstuffed.  People are drowning in debt and the economy is still in a tough state.  I really believe we have the power to make a big change for our families by stopping the madness of overindulgence.  It is not good for us and it is not good for our families.  Be counter cultural.  Celebrate the real meaning of Easter with your family.  Spend time with them.  Make the day special by having a nice meal.  Go ahead and fill those Easter baskets with some candy.  Have an Easter egg hunt if you want.  This is what really matters to your family.  And don't be surprised if your day is more joyful and less stressed.  That is good for your budget, good for your family, and good for your soul.
Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Faith-Filled Friday.... Lessons Learned in Lent

As Holy Week fast approaches, I wanted to reflect on lessons the season of Lent teaches me.  For the past few years, I have given up something for Lent.  It is not always the same thing; but, it is always something that is hard for me to give up.  This has been a way for me to be more aware of Christ's sacrifice for me.  I know what it means to be saved by Jesus and I want to show Him, in some small way, how much His grace means to me.  What I didn't realize was that in the giving up I would gain space to see things more clearly.  It doesn't matter what I give up, rather, it is the act of giving up and setting aside that has opened up a place in my life for me to gain a more eternal perpective.

Here is what I have learned through the season of Lent each year...

There are many times when I crowd Jesus out of my life.  I want Him to be first; that is my intention and desire.  But, I don't always put Him first.  I become distracted by the minutia and busyness of life and at times put Christ aside. 

There are many times when I don't ask Jesus for His provision; instead I fall back on my self-reliance.  In my humanness, I forget who my Provider is.  I forget whose will needs to have control of my life.

I don't see the whole picture clearly.  The Lord is sovereign and omnipotent and I am not. How many times have I wanted something desperately only to find out it wasn't what was best for me?  Jesus knows what is better for me than I do.

I need to be pruned regularly.   There are seasons when I feel like things are being stripped away while I am stretched and challenged.  I feel out of sorts and uncomfortable when I am being pruned.  Old ways and habits that are so familiar need to be clipped and discarded for new growth to happen.  Eventually that growth turns into something much more beautiful than those dead branches ever could.

I am a work in progress and always will be until I am home with Jesus.  This side of Heaven, I will fall and He will pick me back up every time... molding and making me along the way. 

I am loved by a Saviour who is relentless in pursuing me.   Jesus never gives up on me and loves me just as I am - sinful, broken, and unworthy.  No matter how many times I fail, no matter what I do, and no matter how far I wander, His love is pure and unconditional there for the taking. 

Whatever I give up for Lent is nothing compared to what Jesus has sacrificed for me.  What I give up is insignificant when I see that Christ suffered unthinkable pain and gave up His very life for me.

And, this what I have want to keep impressed upon my heart...

For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 
 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
 and all these things will be given to you as well.
 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
 Each day has enough trouble of its own.
 Matthew 6:32-34

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What Mallorie and Her Family Have Taught Me About True Joy

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn"

Romans 12:15

Sweet Mallorie with her beautiful smile! 

Today, my heart is hurting for a friend.  Her sweet 17 year old daughter, Mallorie, lost her battle with Lafora's Disease last night.  You can read more about Mallorie's story at these two websites-  Mallorie's Joy and Chelsea's Hope - Mallorie's Story

This is what I learned from Mallorie and her mom Jen... True joy isn't about the things you have, where you live, what job you hold, or all of the stuff that daily distracts us from what is truly important.   No, true joy is facing each day with love for your family, time with each other, and celebrating each and every blessing - no matter how big or how small.  In the face of a devastating illness, joy abounded.  And, that joy was beautiful... And contagious.

I pray that you all see that joy in your life... Not what you are missing but what you have... Right here, right now.  

Mallorie and Jen, it has been a gift to me to see your love and joy!    May The Lord hold you both...
Each day, I pray I see the beauty and blessings in my life,   And, I am clinging to this promise:

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. 
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, 
for the old order of things has passed away.
Revelation 21:4

Praying you have many blessings and much joy - like Mallorie and her family have taught me!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

I don't know about you, but I feel better when I take a few minutes to put a little effort into what I wear. I also want to dress up a bit for my family.  It feels a little funny to have my picture taken most days, but it holds me accountable and helps me to mix what I wear up.   I am risking feeling awkward to encourage you to take a little time to experiment with your clothing and find some outfits that make you feel good.   It doesn't take a lot of money... just a bit of time.  I am linking up each week with What I Wore Wednesday - The Pleated Poppy  

The top was only $4 at Forever 21

My sweet Kim decided to jump in the picture:) -
My infinity scarf is from The Pleated Poppy

this dress (which is 13+ years old)  is super soft and the prettiest dark blue...
love it with these boots and purple tights

the flower pin makes me think Spring will be here soon... the mustard cardi is one of my favorites...
and I love these Ann Taylor Loft jeans (thrifted for under $4)

I like adding accessories like this scarf and bracelet ($1)

I hope you will try taking a few minutes to get yourself ready each day.  See if you don't feel just a little bit different... you are worth it!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tortoise Tuesday - Just Start Somewhere

I am a list maker.  I love lists and they can help me keep things straight.  The only problem is sometimes my lists overwhelm me.  This compels me to do one of two things:1- attack the list fast and furiously until I am overdone, or 2 - not attack the list at all because I am overwhelmed and paralyzed by all I have to do.  The thing is, I don't think I am alone in these feelings. I believe a lot of us feel this way in our fast-paced, information-overloaded day and age.  And, I don't think it is good for any of us. I am trying to work through this, making little changes along the way.

So in the interest of being more of the tortoise and less like the hare, each day I am going to start somewhere.  Each day, I am trying to pick one project, one area, or item on my list to just start.  I think starting is half the battle.

For me, that means I will start on a project that feels so overwhelming to me...

We need to paint most of the rooms in our house.  Today, I am going to start... just with the trim and wainscoting.... one little section at a time.   Its' a beginning.

Won't you join me?  Pick one thing to do.  Don't look at the whole mountain before you; instead, take a step and go. You don't need to get it all done today... just start somewhere!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Money-Stretching Monday - Laundry Detergent

Welcome to the first Money- Stretching Monday! I love making our money go as far as I can and learning new ways to do that.   Some things I have learned through sheer necessity and coming up with creative solutions.

Today I want to share one of my favorite money saving tips... making your own laundry detergent.  With three children, we have a lot of laundry.  Running several loads of laundry a week can add up to a lot of money spent on laundry detergent.  This homemade laundry detergent was shown to me by a dear friend with eight children.  It is so easy, saves so much money, and makes your house smell so good.  And, you can even use it in High Efficiency washers.

What you will need:

~a big bucket or container to hold 2 gallons  (we recycled a plastic pretzel container)

~Fels Naptha Soap  

~ 20 Mule Team Borax

~ a saucepan
~a grater

What you do:

1- fill saucepan 3/4 of the way full of water
2- cut 1/3 of  the bar of Fels Naptha and grate it over the saucepan
3- bring water to a boil and dissolve the soap
4- add 1/2 cup of Borax to pan
5- add 1/2 cup washing soda to pan
6- make sure mixture is completely dissolved
7- remove from heat
8- add mixture to your container
9- fill container to the 2 gallon mark with hot water
10- stir well


*as the mixture sets, it will become a gel-like substance
*use 1/2 cup of detergent per load of laundry

That is it.  Seriously, it is that easy.  The whole process takes very little time and effort.  You get a big bang for you buck and your house will smell so good in the process.   I only need to make a batch of the detergent about once a month.  If you have children, you can have them help you make it!

Here's to clean laundry and saving money!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Faith-Filled Friday - Black Sin, Beautiful Forgiveness

In school, we are in the midst of our unit on Science.  We do a lot of hands-on and visual exploring to teach the children.  There is one experiment that we do that can be a beautiful illustration of sin and forgiveness.  I wanted to share that will you.

This white filter paper represents what our lives were supposed to look like before sin entered in:

It was supposed to be pure, crisp, and clean.  Then sin came.

This black dot is sin.  My sin, your sin... sin we have done to others, sin others have done to us.    It doesn't matter who the sin belongs to; it is dark, black, heavy.  Sin, marks our lives with a permanent spot just like this maker dot on this filter paper.  We carry it and there it sits weighing us down.   We try to hid it, we try to ignore it, we try to cover it up, we try to remove it.  But the thing with sin, it always remains.

This cup represents Jesus

Jesus is the Living Water.  He is pure, clean, refreshing.  He holds forgiveness in His hands just waiting for us to ask Him for it.   

And, just like in the experiment we do at school; something amazing happens... at first it seems a little uncomfortable.

And, it looks a little messy... because we have to let Jesus really see and touch all of the parts of sin.

Oh, but it is so worth it. His love and forgiveness turns out sin into something very beautiful like this...

or this...

The heaviness, the guilt, the shame, the stain is made beautiful.   Sin loses its power on us and we are free yet not the same.  We are made beautiful by His love and forgiveness.  And, because we have been forgiven, we can forgive those who have sinned against us.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; 
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Forgiveness can feel scary and we can feel vulnerable.  But in the end, there is nothing like it.

Praying you have many blessings and much joy.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Think About it Thursday - It's A New Day

Yesterday was a hard day... one of those, "I want to crawl back and bed and pull the covers over my head" days.  Nothing earth-shattering happened.  It was just one of those hard days.  See, I am an imperfect person, living in an imperfect world, loving imperfect people.  Aren't we all?

Sometimes, we just don't get it right.  Things go awry, words come out wrong, we disappoint people, and people disappoint us.

I went to bed after praying about the day and trying to let the day go.  I woke up to this:

This sunrise was a beautiful reminder to me that today is a new day.  The Lord placed this on my heart:

 "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail. 

They are new every morning;

 great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23

So here's to a brand new day.  Wherever you are, whatever you are going through, remember His mercies are new every morning!  Now that is something to think about!  

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

Linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy for The Pleated Poppy - What I Wore Wednesday

I love the blog The Pleated Poppy.  Lindsey is so talented and has inspired me to take a couple extra minutes when I get dressed in the morning so I don't fall into a mama slump.  True beauty resides in our souls for sure.  But, I know when I take just a minute or two to think about what I am wearing, I feel better and I show my family that I care to dress up a bit for them and not just when I am out and about.
I do not think I am photogenic but I am going out on a limb and sharing with some pictures.   I hope you will be inspired to really see you are beautiful inside and out!  Take a little time to pick out an outfit that makes you feel special each day.  Be true to yourself and your style. You are a beautiful daughter of Christ!

 ~FYI - this does not cost a lot of money.  Most of my clothes are secondhand finds or deals that have cost very little!  Wear things you feel comfortable and make you feel special.

So here we go:

outfit for school

shirt - thrift store ($2.50)
skinny jeans (thrift store - got 4 pairs of really good for $15.50)
sweater - Bobs Stores - had $10 of $10 maybe paid $3 
boots - Walmart (on sale)
jewelry - by me (flower pendant Lia Sophia)

 Another School Outfit

mustard cardi - Old Navy (on sale - one of a couple staple items from this year)
tee shirt- second hand
skirt - by me... got the material from JoAnns and love it!

Running errands:

jeans - thrift store (from $15.50/4)
shirt - secondhand 
jewelry - necklace by me, earrings by my hubby and in-laws (more to follow in another post)

dress - clearance years ago - $8
boot socks - Target

Next week I am aiming to have higher quality pictures uploaded. I am a work in progress, as is this blog,  and I am learning to be good with that.   And, I have a challenge for you... each day take just a minute or two extra to put together your outfits.  Use what you have and what you love!  Try some new combinations from the clothes you already own.   

I want to leave you with this thought... you are a lovely daughter of the Most High and the truest beauty comes from deep within!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

The Pleated Poppy - What I Wore Wednesday

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sticker Charts - Not Just for Kids... and an update!

Greetings on this Tuesday morning.  Now that I have a couple weeks of blogging under my belt, I am ready to take it a step further.  I want to be intentional about how I blog and what I blog about. Right now I am thinking about organizing my posts during the week something like this:

Mondays - Monday Saving Mondays
~ money saving tips and ideas

Tuesdays - Tortoise Tuesdays
~things and tips to motivate you to be the Tortoise not the Hare

Wednesdays - What I Wore Wednesday
~ I will be linking up with this amazing blog

Thursdays - Think About it Thursdays
~topics and things to get us thinking... and some posts about some pretty amazing people

Fridays - Faith-Filled Fridays
~ pondering about what it means to be a Christian and living with Jesus in my heart

Here is today's first post on Tortoise Tuesday

The name for the day of the week stems from the well-known tale of the Tortoise and the Hare.  The Tortoise is not know for his lighting -face speed but rather his slow pace; whereas, the Hare is know to be quick and light on his feet.  The two face off in a race with the Hare taking off like a cannonball - fast and furious.  The Tortoise on the other hand, is more like a slow trickle from a leaky sink.  All bets are on the Hare.  But you know what?  That Hare is a bright brilliant blooming show that fades out quickly.  And then there is that blessed Tortoise; he trickles and flows along - slow and steady.  And then he does the unthinkable - He blooms.  It is is not a flashy quick bloom.  No, his bloom is slow in coming, beautiful, and long lasting!   He wins out over the favored Hare!

So often, I start out like the Hare.  Racing around, trying to make a huge impact... quickly.  What I can often end up with is more fizzle.   But the older I get, the more I am learning to bloom like the Tortoise. Along the way, I am learning oh so much; more often than not, I am learning the hard way.

Today I want to share with you a little chart that has helped me ever so much.   By day, I am a preschool teacher.   I love finding helpful tools to use in school.  Sticker charts are one of those wonderful tools to help children work on a goal.  They are simple, effective, and fun to use with all those stickers.  Children love to watch those stickers fill up a page as they work towards a goal and a reward.  In my own life, I have been trying for the longest time to lose weight and keep it off after having three beautiful children.  So often, I have started in the Spring like the Hare.  I am motivated and lose the weight.  Ah, but as the Hare, I quickly tire and through the Winter, I gain it all back.  Until I implemented this:

My Sticker Chart

It is simple... a visual reminder of each time I exercise.  This little chart hangs on my fridge and inspires me when I feel like giving up.  This year I have finally achieved success!  No high priced equipment, gym, or shoes have done for me what this little baby has.  With Spring right around the corner, I realize I am still wearing the smaller size clothing I bought.   But more importantly, I am feeling better.  All because of this little chart, I am The Tortoise!

What goals do you have that could be helped by a simple sticker chart?  Hope you'll try it out!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I forget... a lot!

Sitting here with the beautiful sunshine warming my face, I am struck by the beauty of a new morning.  It is fresh and waiting for me to embrace it.  This morning, I am in a pondering sort of mood.  Pondering on the many ways I am blessed and the many times I forget that.  Many times I am like the Israelites wandering in the desert.  We learn in the Old Testament that the Israelites were an oppressed people.  Enslaved to the Egyptians, the Israelites were treated harshly.  Then the Lord sent them a way out.  The Lord God Almighty made a way for them to be free.  He sent miraculous signs and wonders and set His people free.  Rejoicing abounded... and then, they forgot.   Soon praises turned to grumbling.  Complaints multiplied about the food provided to feed their hunger and the length of time their leader Moses was away from them and up on the mountain.   Fear and rebellion set in.  The Israelites took their eyes of the wonders the Lord did for them and the things He provided for them.  Their sight was clouded by their selfishness, their fears, and their wills.  A big part of me judges them.  I think they were so short-sighted... so forgetful.  Then I am completely humbled and ashamed.  How often am I like the Israelites?  One moment I am praising the Lord for all He has done in my life and the next moment I am grumbling.  I complain about the way I want things, the things I want, and the things I don't want.  I forget how, even in the darkest and most challenging times, the Lord has always been faithful.  He has always provided.  He has always loved.  I am a forgetful Israelite.
Just like the Israelites, I need markers along the way and reminders.  Here is what I am doing to be more intentional... so I remember!

 This is my blessing book.  Writing down blessings in it helps me to reflect, record, and remember.  It is just a composition book that I embellished to make it extra special.  Truthfully, it doesn't matter what I write down my blessings in; it matters that I write them down.  Sometimes my list is long and deep... sometimes it is just full of little things.  I don't write in it often enough;  I am a work in progress.

Blessing Book

This is my blessings board.  It is a simple frame from a dollar store filled with some pretty fabric.  I use a dry erase marker and as I think of blessings I add them to the board.  My family is encouraged to write on it as well.  I love when the board is full so we can see all the Lord has blessed us with.  I love when the board is wiped clean and is a blank slate for me to fill up again.

Blessing Board

Today, my list includes:  my husband, my children, our pets, our home, love, and sunshine.  Every time I write down something, I am aware of how the Lord is with me each day.  My heart becomes grateful.  I am no longer wandering in the desert.

What are you blessed with today?  How do you remember these things?

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  His love endures forever."
Psalm 107:1

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bring on Spring!

Living in New England, you learn that if you don't like the weather, wait a minute and it will change. We have had a few warmer day recently. I have thoroughly enjoyed.  Now, however, we are in the midst of a late winter storm.

so white!

 I am feeling done with winter.  The thought of warmer days and colorful blooming flowers makes this girl giddy.  Since the weather outside is not cooperating with me, I thought I would share a fun Spring project with you!

I started out with this bright yellow watering can on our desk.  Love the watering can, but the fake flowers... well, not so much.

I love most thing orange but the flowers were somehow lacking in personality.  Since, no flowers are blooming around here, I thought I could make some that looked at lot better than what I had.  Rummaging around my fabric bins, I found some pretty silky orange material and cut really imperfect circles from it.  Note:  cotton does not work for this project and will only burn... silky materials or netting work well!

imperfect circles work well for this - use all different sizes

Then I melted the edges by holding each circle over a candle and turning them as I went along.
Just be careful not to get too close to the flame.  Trust me... I have personal experience with burning the material and and myself.

the candle melts the edges and adds a bit of ambiance:)

This is what I ended up with:

imperfect circles are looking better

I piled up three or four petals in different sizes like this:

petal pile

Then added a button to each bloom (I knew that jar of old buttons would come in handy someday).  I sewed the petals together along with a button to make each flower.  You could just as easily use a hot glue gun.  I say run with whatever works for you!

a pretty bouquet

My yard is full of sticks so I grabbed a few and used some wire to attached the blooms to them like this:

And here is the before and after:)



The colors are more vibrant than show up picture below and make me smile!

I even saved one aside and added a pin so I can wear it!

a pretty pin

So take that Winter, because in my house, Spring Has Sprung!!!

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What's Lurking Under Your Couch? ...Perhaps a New Perspective

The other day, I tackled the much neglected chore of cleaning under my couch.  Truth be told, I do not do this near often enough.  I started out with a great attitude that quickly changed to frustration when I found the following:

~ 6 + mismatched socks
~ 2 pairs of scissors
~ 1 earbud cover
~ 2 books
~ many orthodontic elastics
~ a hot glue stick
~ a Barbie shoe
~ 2 boots
~3 slippers
~ candy wrappers
~cough drop wrappers
~ hair accessories
~ 2 buttons
~ pens and pencils too numerous to count
~ more than a few dust bunnies

I was so aggravated!  Didn't I work hard enough?  Didn't I teach my kids to clean up after themselves?  Didn't I teach them where the trash can was?

Then I took a breath and thought...
What if instead of complaining about what I found amiss and looked at things with a new perspective?  What if my list looked more like this?

~ we have lots of socks to keep our feet warm
~ we have scissors to cut material and papers, and more
~we can listen to beautiful music
~we all can read and enjoy a good story
~my children are having orthodontic treatment to fix their dental issues
~we have lots of supplies to keep this crafty girl happy:)
~we have toys in our house
~we not only have boots to keep our feet warm and dry in the winter... but also to look cute too!
~ we have soft cozy slippers
~we have enough food to eat and some money to splurge on treats!
~ we are healthy and no longer need cough drops
~the girls in this family have long beautiful hair... some people are not fortunate to have hair
~ we have clothes with lots of buttons
~we have three very artistic children who spend a great deal of time sketching and creating
~ we have three children, a dog, and a cat - such a full house!

After looking at my new list, I am seeing things in a new way.  Instead of grumbling, I am counting my blessings and feeling a lot of joy!  Who knew all this could be found just by cleaning under my couch.  I have a grateful heart.

What's lurking under your couch?

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!