Tuesday, December 16, 2008

~Bringing Christmas to the Least of These ~

I know it's hard to see these images.

I'm not trying to put a damper on your Christmas spirit

I'm just asking for you to remember what's going on elsewhere in the world.

We can enjoy decorating our homes, baking with our children and wrapping gifts for loved ones.

But lets remember...

Lets pray for the hurting,

the starving, and the dying.

Lets pray for those that have had to grow up far too fast.

Pray for those who can't help themselves.

But more than that, pray for what YOU can do to help.

If you are currently not sponsoring a child through an organization like World Vision or Compassion. Or if you are currently only sponsoring one child could you, would you, consider reaching a little farther into your pockets for an extra $35 a month to help another?

It's not too late to bless a family or a community through World Visions Christmas catalogue.

The options are endless! There are animals, trees, clothing, and medical supplies you name it. Even a small donation will help incredibly.
Have your children choose with you and make this a family event. Print off a picture of what you have chosen, wrap it up and place it under the Christmas tree for Christmas morning.
This will be a most special present! It will give you a chance to take the time to reflect amongst the hustle and bustle of gift giving that morning. You can stop right there and pray as a family for your donation and the family that it will bless!
Make this a yearly tradition, one that your family will treasure and bless not only you but the ones that need it the most.
Mat 25:40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

Saturday, December 13, 2008

~ A Mother's Beattitudes ~

Blessed is the mother who understands her child,
for she shall inherit a kingdom of memories.

Blessed is the mother who knows how to comfort,
for she shall possess a child's devotion.

Blessed is the mother who guides by the path of righteousness,
for she shall be proud of her children.

Blessed is the mother who is never shocked,
for she shall receive and know confidence and security.

Blessed is the mother who teaches respect,
for she shall be respected.

Blessed is the mother who emphasizes the good and minimizes the bad,
for her children shall follow her example.

Blessed is the mother who answers questions honestly,
for she shall always be trusted.

Blessed is the mother who treats her children
as she would like to be treated,
for her home shall always be filled with happiness.

By Anonymous

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

~ Idolatry ~

That is not a word we come across too often as Christian mamas in our day to day lives. When you hear the word idolatry the first things that might come to mind are golden calves, and fake gods.
Is it possible that there are other idols that we might be missing?

We bought our 3 yr. old a DVD for his birthday done by "Life on the pond" The story was about a frog and his new job. He had become so obsessed with his occupation that it began to rule his every thought and his entire life. The whole moral of the tale was being aware of idolatry.

I started thinking about idols in my own life. Things that have the ability to sway me from where my primary focus should be. What do I think about the most? Where are my thoughts continuously being drawn too? Is HE always first?

There are so many things that can capture our hearts as women...work, a business, perfect children, a hobby, an immaculate house, the desire to be THE proverbs.31 woman, homeschooling, a cause, our ministry. None of these things are wrong but we need to ask ourselves these questions~
Is God leading in it?
Is He in the middle of it or not?
Are our thoughts continually drawn to Him?
Is He really FIRST?

As Godly women we can't just talk the talk.
Matthew 15:8~ "These people honor me with their lips, but their HEART IS FAR FROM ME."
We should love the Lord our God with all our HEART with all our MIND and with all our SOUL!

In the past when my 3 oldest were little and my house seemed to always be a mess I struggled with wanting to have the perfect looking house always clean and beautiful. (Idol) I would tell God when that happens THEN I will practice hospitality. I wanted to have the time and money to make fancy meals and serve it on nice fancy dishware and entertain like Martha Stewart. (Idol)

God showed me that it didn't matter what my house looked like, it mattered what my heart held.
I needed to step out of my self focus and look at HIM. We started to invite people over and not care that none of my dishes matched that my home was less than stellar. People would drop by and shove the clean laundry piled on the couch over so they could sit down, we would sit among the school books, playdough and toys . None of that mattered because encouraging one another became more important.

When I look back I have been guilty of making my children idols, my marriage an idol.
In becoming so obsessed with the process of raising great children I missed the mark. I forgot Gods heart.
I have put so much pressure on my husband in the past to fill all of my needs completely forgetting that there is only ONE who can truly be our everything.

We should all be passionate about our God given gifts, our marriages, our children, and our homes, but ABOVE ALL be passionate about your Saviour!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

~ A Birthday Photo Shoot ~

It was two of my children's birthdays recently.
I thought it would be neat to start taking pictures of the kids on their birthdays with them holding their age up on a little chalkboard. I am far too unorganized to actually label pictures, place them in albums or scrapbook them into masterpieces like other more normal mothers.
No siree, mine sit in countless shoeboxes until one of my children find them and pull them all out and then for the next 4 months I find them under couches, under beds, in drawers, in toy containers and generally anywhere a child might have been.

I thought this picture was cute and then I noticed he had no pants on. He has a habit of not putting his pants back on after he uses the bathroom. He is like his mother and gets sidetracked easily when he is supposed to be finishing something.
It's amazing I actually have my pants on most days, I said MOST days. Hey, we can't all be perfect!

Getting a normal smile out of him after this became somewhat of a challenge.

Yes, he was totally hamming it up.

I had just said "Be normal buddy" and apparently normal is uncomfortable for him.
Gee, not sure where he gets that from.

Yeah, at last! A cute birthday picture of my little ham, I mean boy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

" A Crazy Morning and a Decorating Splurge "

So tradesman and I decided to brave the Black Friday shopping this year. We have never done this before and thought we would give it a whirl. As Canadians, we had NO idea what we were in for!
We had perused the flyers online Thursday night and we wrote down what we had hoped to pick up. The buys seemed really great, apparently too great.
We set our alarm for 3:45am and rolled out of bed full of anticipation.
Here's tradesman ready to go. I took a picture of him in front of the microwave so you could see what time it was when we left. Unfortunately, the crazy time is blurred. (4:15)

How this man can so look so incredibly cute at such an ungodly hour...I'll never know.

Getting across the border was painless, a 30 min. wait was about all we had. By the time we crossed at about 5:15am the line ups behind us were huge and stretched out as far as we could see over the bridge.
As we drove by some of the stores, I was completely stunned! Crowds of people were lined up outside in the parking lots... what is wrong with these people? It was freezing outside!
We headed to Walmart first and were not at all prepared for what we found. I have never seen anything like it in my life. People were lined up with FULL carts all the way to the back of the store! The sale had only started at 5:00am!
What we hadn't known was that Walmart had opened at midnight and people had been there since then shopping and waiting to cash out at 5:00.
You could not even maneuver through the store with a cart let alone find anything. We did manage to get a couple of good deals and we saved ourselves hours of waiting in line by getting in line at the jewelry counter. Best $10 I spent all day that watch was!

We decided to just avoid all the other stores as they would all be the same song and dance Walmart was. We did however head to HobbyLobby. Now THAT was really exciting!!
They had ALL their Christmas decorations 50% off. This is unheard of in Canada! No where would anyone put decorations on for 50% off BEFORE Christmas! It would be completely absurd!
We made a beeline for those aisles. It didn't take me long to find a few items that I loved. Tradesman just kept on insisting (casually mentioned) that I should buy them and I tried to argue (not really) that maybe I didn't really NEED them. He can just be so convincing or was that me...details, details.

Anyhow, if you know me well you know I love a good deal AND I absolutely LOVE to decorate for Christmas.
These 3 adorable decorations were $14 in total! Stuff like this cost a small fortune in Canada. So yes I splurged and my girls were just as thrilled as I was when they saw my purchases.

This coming weekend is when we will pull out all our decorations and put a tree up. We are looking forward to making our home cozy, inviting and beautiful for the many friends and family we will have visiting this coming season.

Since I'm sure many of you are doing the same... Happy Decorating!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

~ If ...~

If I had my child
to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first
and the house later.
I'd fingerpaint more
and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting
and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch,
and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes
and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious--
and seriously play.
I would run through more fields
and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging
and less tugging.

--Diane Loomans

Thursday, November 20, 2008

~ My List of "To Do's" ~

Why is it that I can never get to the many pressing projects around here?
I find myself easily distracted.

By what you ask.


This little lump of cuteness.

I know I have school books to organize, summer clothes to sort and store away, winter clothes to size and place in closets, more junk drawers than I care to admit too...
So much to do and yet I keep staring at this.

Oh my, she is delicious!

I guess the "to do's" will have to wait, I have more important things to accomplish...

Coaxing smiles out of my little luscious lump is at the top of my list!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

~ Time in the Word ~

We are so busy as mamas aren't we?

We feel enough guilt and pressure in so many areas of our life don't we? Being told we need to take more time from our already busy schedules to dig into Gods word can seem like an overwhelming feat. Our days can just fly when we are homeschooling our
little broods, sometimes it just feels like a race against the clock.

The thing is...we need our Fathers words, we need nourishment for our souls.
If we are going to instruct our children daily and pour into them the values and morals of God, we need to really know our bibles.
I have enjoyed devotions in the past with books written specifically for women, I have done various small group Bible studies, I'm the queen of the "open your bible and wherever if falls read a chapter" method. As a homeschooling mother, I've used the excuse that I'm in my Bible everyday with the kids doing their studies, so that's enough.

Really though, is it enough? I personally don't think so. I have found God speaks to me in the quiet. "Be still and know that I am God."
When we are busy instructing, teaching, and relaying Gods word to our children, we are not listening, we are not pondering, we are not meditating, we are not just sitting with the word of our Lord and letting it be.

I have found when I am pregnant, after my morning sickness is through is when my quiet time suffers the most. I love to be super organized, get lots done and squeeze every ounce out of everyday. Relishing in the word of God and sitting still is just not on the list of things to do!
However, after the little babe is born, life demands that I sit my butt down countless times a day to feed my little nursling. What a great time to get that Bible out, read for a chunk of time and steal moments with our Heavenly Father. Since this is where I am currently at, it's been on my heart to share.

Those of you mamas whose days are spent chasing around toddlers, cleaning up spills and crumbs, training preschoolers and hoping that little elves will come while you are sleeping to take care of the mountain of laundry you have...I've been there. I remember there were years that having an actual set aside quiet time was not feasible. I'm not going to be one of those women that will guilt you into that.
I used to find that just having my Bible sitting out by the sink, I could grab a few verses here and there all throughout the day. While I was doing food prep, washing dishes, or the countless other reasons I would be near the sink in the daytime allowed me to still read. So you may not have time to follow a devotional guide, you may not have time to do an intensive Bible study, but you still have time to get into His word...I promise!

You just need a plan. I have one for you. I came across a great idea recently for reading Gods word. It is by John MacArthur. His idea below is for reading and studying the New Testatment.

"Read one book at a time repetitiously for a month or more.
If you want to try this, begin with a short book, such as 1John, and read it through in one sitting every day for 30 days. At the end of that time, you will know what is in the book. Write on index cards the major theme of each chapter. By referring to the cards as you do your daily reading, you will begin to remember the content of each chapter. In fact, you will develop a visual perception of the book in your mind.
Divide longer books into short sections and read each section daily for 30 days. For example, the gospel of John contains 21 chapters. Divide it into 3 sections of 7 chapters. At the end of 90 days, you will finish John. For variety, alternate short and long books, and in less than 3 years you will have finished the entire New Testament - and you will really know it!"

I have started this plan and love it! I feel that I have a purpose for my reading each day. I am not just randomly picking and choosing. (not that there is anything wrong with that)
I like that my knowledge of the Word of God will increase. I will be able to retain what is in the New Testament and not always have to depend on a concordance to find things.
Think of how valuable this will be to those of us whom are homeschooling mamas. We will be much more knowledgeable for our children.

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."
~ Proverbs 31:26

And you mamas of preschoolers, this will still work. Keep that Bible lying out and about. Read a chapter or even a few verses at a time and follow the plan. Even if you only get half of the reading done one day and do the other half the next... so what. It means you read each section 15 days instead of 30. This will still allow you get deeper into Gods word. This will fill a place in your heart that may be lacking.

Our Father longs for us to know Him, he wants us to build a relationship of truth. This can only be done by knowing his precepts, and understanding His plan for us.

So come on ladies, join me and dig in!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

~Autumn Days ~

I love Autumn, I love cozy suppers by candlelight.

I love this view from our backyard...some days when the laundry was piled up and my kitchen was a disaster, baby Myahna and I would escape here to breathe in the serenity. Funny how even though the mess was awaiting me still inside, it didn't seem so bad anymore.

My 5 yr. old is remembering the "eye to the sky" rule while picking. Did you know that? I didn't.
The kids love our yearly tradition of candy apple making. How is it that I do not like apples and yet I could eat about 50 of these!

The tree tradesman started from seed a few years ago, we finally planted it this spring in the conservation area off our property.

My little guy really took a liking to this statue, he wanted to hold her hand, and he kissed her. In the future, I can totally handle it if he falls in love with cement... real girls... not so much.

Yes, I realize my son still has his PJ bottoms on, but we homeschool so I can get away with it. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

It's always good to get a little Kung Fu fighting in while leaf jumping.

We enjoy the conservation area by our house far more in the spring and especially in the fall. It's not only beautiful, but we also aren't running for our lives from the giant blood-sucking mosquitoes!

Look what I found in the grass~I decided to take her home and keep her.

Why is it that I'm always running behind my children?
Guys wait up, mama is cramping here...it's not easy running, well, more like cantering...okay speed walking. It's still really hard though!

Hope you and yours enjoyed the fall season!

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