Monday, October 3, 2011

Messages for Mamas

I posted this on my Facebook status, but wanted to elaborate here.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

I think we all (including myself) occasionally need this reminder. When I am serving my family, I'm serving the Lord and I need to walk through every task throughout every day, not as if it's a burden, but as if it is a privilege to serve my Lord through serving my family. When I first learned this lesson as a young Mom, there would be days that I would repeat to myself over and over (usually while doing the much dreaded task of laundry) that "When I'm serving my family, I'm serving the Lord." I think that often the attitude in which we serve our family is very indicative of the attitude we also have while serving the Lord. Especially when He asks of us things that we don't necessarily want to do.

"Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless." Philippians 2:14-16

Some translations use the word grumbling in place of complaining. I think it's easy to get frustrated with changing diapers, washing clothes, cleaning a room for the 2nd and 3rd time in a day, taking care of meals, paying bills....the list could go on and on. It's a LOT of work to be a Mama. What we have to remember, though, is that just like any other ministries (and maybe even more important than others), the ministry of motherhood, is one that He has called us to. Being a Mama and wife is a calling. When we walk through life grumbling and complaining about the tasks that are involved as a wife and mother, we are complaining about the very thing that God has called us to.

"As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right." 1 Samuel 12:23

While the previous verse is speaking about praying, it also serves as a reminder that when we sin against others it's as if we are directly sinning against God. That means that when you've snapped at your children or your husband, you've snapped (yelled, etc.) at the Lord.

By the same token, Matthew 25:40 says, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" Which also means that all of the good things we do for our family, we do unto the Lord. When we serve our family with gladness, we serve the Lord with gladness. I heard a definition several years ago that really stuck with me. It was that Obedience is doing what you're told, when you're told with a right heart attitude. I believe I read that in relation to parenting, but I've learned over the years that often I need the very lessons that I'm trying to teach to my children. If I raise my children with a rotten attitude, have I truly been obedient to the Lord. Is that really what He was asking of me?

The Word of God also tells us to "Choose you this day, whom you will serve..." Joshua 24:15

We must die to our flesh (our selfish selves) daily and with our attitudes we make a choice who we will serve each day. Who will you serve today?

P.S. If you ever get a lesson that proves to you that you're doing things wrong, handling things in the wrong way, it is soooooo important to remember that Conviction comes from the Lord to lovingly teach us to walk in His ways. Grab those lessons and learn from them. However, if those lessons make you feel guilty, like you're not good enough or make you feel like a failure, remember that guilt is not from the Lord and it can often be bondage that keeps you from being able to move forward. Take on the lesson, learn from it, ask the Lord to forgive you and work your way to walking out what you've learned. Remember that we don't learn everything overnight. We don't expect our children just to hop up and walk one day, it takes practice and little by little you will get there.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

We Need Each Other

I learned a long time ago how much we Moms need each other. We need each other to be honest about how hard this job is. We need each other to bounce ideas off of and to hear what has and hasn't worked for you. We need to sharpen each other (Proverbs 27:17). We need to hear what everyone is cooking. How you're saving money. We need to know that we're not alone. 7 years ago the Lord showed me that my primary ministry would be to other women. He's provided small ways here and there for me to walk that out. Within the last year I have longed to walk in the purpose in a more tangible way. A friend and I sort of resurrected a group within our homeschool covering to minister to and gather with other homeschool Moms of elementary aged (and below) children. Yet I have still longed for a deeper way to fulfill that call within my own church body. I'm so thankful that God has asked us to serve Him and our church as the directors over the early childhood department (K5 and below) at our church. We love working with the children, working alongside each other and very often he opens doors for me to encourage another Mom or to introduce them to a new friend, etc. We have enjoyed this season so much and have been so blessed by the opportunity to serve. I am so excited to share with you, that the door has opened for me to step further into ministering to women, especially Moms. Our church will be starting a Mom's Group. Our official kickoff will be in November. We'll meet once in November and once in December and then pray about whether or not we will expand it to be more often after the first of the year. I will more or less be there to facilitate and plan. We may have a devotion or discuss a certain topic or have a guest speaker, but our plan biggest goal is to provide an atmosphere that will allow the Moms of our church to get a little break while getting to know other Moms. Just wanted to share with you all how excited I am about this next step and also ask you to commit it to prayer. I don't want to walk through anything that He's not right in the middle of. (Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.. Psalm 127:1) So, please pray that I will walk out His will and that He will send the women that need this and that they will be blessed and strengthened by it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Doing Some Scheduling

I've been revamping our schedule a bit. I do this at the beginning of every new school year. I don't quite have a full schedule in place, but I do have a new chore system in place and a new laundry schedule. The chore schedule is going to take a longer post, but I wanted to go ahead and share how we're changing our laundry system.

We have a good sized laundry room and we've always just taken all of the clothes there, sorted them and washed when we washed. Some system, huh... Well, we are soon to be remodeling that laundry room and moving all of my sewing and embroidery down there. This is what necessitated the change, along with the fact that the aforementioned lack of a system was not working. From now on everyone will have a hamper in there rooms and there will also be one in the bathroom. So, here's the schedule:

Monday - Kelsi and Keeli
Tuesday - Mom and Dad
Wednesday - Bathroom Hamper (Mainly towels and washcloths from the bathroom and kitchen)
Thursday - Mason
Friday - bedding

We've also been using Carbona Color-Catchers (we use Shout color-catchers sometimes, too, but prefer Carbona). They work great and are enabling us to sort less. We still bleach our whites and won't put a dark or red new item in with lighter ones. If it's my laundry day it's my responsibility to complete all of my laundry from start to finish (Wash, dry, fold and put away). Mason is 9 and for the most part is able to do his laundry alone. I will occasionally supervise, but for the most part he's on his own. Everyone will wash their own bedding on bedding days and on hamper day the girls will put the clothes in the washer, then move to the dryer. Mason will take them out of the dryer. I will fold and we'll all put away. I feel certain this is going to work beautifully. I have no idea why I didn't think of it before! What's your laundry system?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Homeschool Curriculum 2011-2012

It's late, so this will be a fairly quick post. First I'd like to just tell you a brief philosophy of our homeschool. I desire for my children to be prepared for whatever God calls them to do, so it is important to me that they get a good education, but I homeschool, primarily, for Spiritual reasons. I desire to spend as much time as I can using life lessons to teach my children to walk with the Lord. That being said we are not and probably will never be a family that "schools" all day long. I look for curriculum that has a lot of good information that can be used in a short amount of time. There is one primary exception to that this year and I'll explain that as I go.

Kelsi and Keeli's 8th grade curriculum
Teaching Textbooks Math (This is our exception. It takes my girls anywhere from 1-2 hours to do one lesson. However, it's a VERY thorough curriculum, takes all of the guesswork out of it and my girls really like it.)

Notgrass American History (We will be using this for Literature, History and Bible. However, we are pairing this with a presidential study and will be taking two years to go through this with that study.)

Apologia General Science


Easy Grammar Ultimate


Keeli is also still working through AVKO Sequential Spelling. She LOVES it and we have seen an AMAZING improvement in her spelling ability since we started. If you have a struggling speller, I highly recommend trying this.

The girls are taking a break from ballet this year. They LOVE ballet and are very sad to have to take a break, but the karate studio that housed their homeschool dance classes was flooded during the April 27th tornadoes. This caused the teacher to have to move her classes to a farther away town and move it to a day and time that was just impossible for us. We are hoping she will be able to move back next year. However, it's enabling us to spend some time doing things the girls have been wanting to do. They are going to be learning to cook more and bake more as well as do more sewing and crafting, so we're very excited for the extra time.

Mason's 4th Grade Curriculum

If you didn't already know, I'll be transparent for a moment, ALL of my children read late. I read a book in my early years of homeschooling entitled "Better Late than Early" and boy am I thankful I did. I tried to teach them to read at the "normal" time and it just seemed that I hit brick wall after brick wall, but then there would be a random light bulb moment and suddenly they would be interested and everything would just click. For Kelsi it was the middle of 2nd grade, for Keeli it was much later, due to her dyslexia and auditory processing issues and thank you Jesus, Mason has FINALLY decided that it's time. He's having major revelation every single day! Just wanted you to understand why he has some of the curriculum that he has.

Explode the Code workbooks (Last year we did the online version and he enjoyed it, but it advances you based on what it considers the students readiness. That decision is based on accuracy and speed. Mason was very accurate, but slow and could not get past book 2, so this year we are back to the workbooks and he's flying through them.)

Spectrum Sight Word Workbooks

A Reason For Hanwriting

Modern Curriculum Press Math

Modern Curriculum Press Plaid Phonics

MCP Spelling Workout

He will be joining the girls for History and will be doing Unit Studies for Science.

I don't have our schedule finished yet, but I'm thinking this schedule should take Mason 2-3 hours per day and the girls 3-4 hours.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lack Of Posting

My life has been busy, busy, busy and of course I've been posting more of it on Facebook than here. I'll try to do better. Look for a post about my newest adventure and our homeschool year very soon!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Newly Tested Designs

I recently had the priviledge of testing a few designs for . They turned out really cute. She's making a small adjustment and they will be offered on her site very soon. Excuse the quality of my pictures. I took them right as the sun was setting, so they have a sunset glow....LOL

Monday, April 11, 2011

Blog Design

I have spent waaaayyyy too much time this morning trying to change the background on my blog. I really like this one, but I cannot figure out how to get the hazy foreground to go away! The background should be black and hot pink, but looks gray. I would appreciate any input on how I might fix this. Thanks so much! UPDATE : I FINALLY got it figured out. What a pain! I'm still not sure I completey love it, but I'll live with it for a while and see. I've been being super crafty lately. Doing lots of sewing and embroidery and wanted to start sharing more about that on my blog, so I was trying to make my blog reflect that just a bit more, but boy, oh boy....I had no idea what an undertaking that would be today. Why does blogger keep changing things?!?!?!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Couponing Sites

We also shared some basic how-tos and the benefits of couponing. Here is some info we shared on helpful Couponing Websites. Getting Started Section – Teaches the ins and outs of couponing as well as how to coupon at the drug stores. Store deals including Wal-Mart Directs you to printable coupons FAQ section Forum Basics of Couponing Lots of other info! Has a list for Kroger, Publix, Target, CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens. Section on Learning to Coupon Section to direct you to printable coupons Others section includes online bargains and deals at Wal-Mart Store deals include Dollar General Restaurant Deals Section on Freebies and Samples Other couponing sites:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lowering Your Grocery Budget

Our homeschool group has a newly resurrected group for Mom's of elementary aged children and younger. A friend of mine and I head it up. We have a Mom's meeting every month and a field trip each month. This months meeting is about Lowering Your Grocery Budget. These are the tips that I put together for our meeting. Hope you find them helpful. Menu Planning – Planning your menu greatly cuts down on waste and impulse buys. Our paychecks are bi-weekly. My budget works best when I do one big trip with every paycheck (I do usually have to go back for milk and sometimes bread.) It also is a big help when I plan very specifically all the way down to snacks. For my family I have used a weekly breakfast/lunch/snack menu and a bi-weekly supper menu. Low Cost Staples – Rice and Dried beans are a big help in a budget menu. I buy my rice in bulk at Sam’s and keep it in a 5 gallon bucket. We’ve been using the same bag for at least a year. In the past I allowed the time commitment to keep me from using these things. I often bought canned beans and minute rice. I have since learned to cook the rice in the microwave while I’m preparing the rest of the meal and I’ve learned to cook dry beans in the Crockpot. Microwave Cooking Directions for White Rice Ratio: 1part rice to 2 parts water Place Rice and water in a covered casserole dish. Cook on high for 5 minutes. Then cook on Medium for 15 minutes. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. You may need to adjust the times slightly for your microwave. These are a general guideline (I think we do 6 minutes on high). You can also do an internet search for cooking brown rice in the microwave. No-Fail Crock-pot Beans (Starting w with one pound of beans) 1. Sort dry beans, removing any small rocks or dirt pieces. Put the beans into a strainer/colander. Rinse well with cold water. 2. In a large pot, heat 6 cups of water and 1 tsp. salt to boiling. 3. Add beans; simmer for 10 minutes on the stovetop. 4. 4. Pour beans and hot liquid into crock-pot and cook on low setting overnight (8 to 12 hours) You can now use these beans in a recipe or freeze (2 cups would be equivalent to a 15.5 ounce can of beans). Shop at the Bread Store – Bread stores don’t just sell “day old bread”. They often sell the same bread that you find on the shelf in your local grocery store at a much discounted price. Deep Freeze – Owning a Deep Freeze really enables you to buy in bulk when things are on sale. You can pre-cook many things to help eliminate convenience foods and store them in the freezer. We bought ours for $150 5 or 6 years ago at a used appliance store and I’m certain it has helped us save much more than that. I suggest an upright freezer, as it takes up less space than a larger chest freezer and it’s much easier to know what you have in the freezer, which helps eliminate waste. Frozen Vegetables – Frozen vegetables are generally cheaper than canned veggies and are more nutritious as they typically do not have additives. Buy Whole Chickens – Buying whole e chickens is much less expensive than buying them pre-cut. I can often get them at Sam’s for $.87 per pound. I do not butcher them and use them that way, but they roast very well for a meal and the leftovers are great for using to top salads or make chicken salad, etc. I also boil them whole, shred them and freeze them in meal sized portions and freeze the broth. This makes meal prep easier and saves money. A great way to do this with very little time investment is to cook the chicken overnight in the Crockpot. Cutting the Meat – I have over time realized that when I use half the ground beef a recipe calls for we don’t miss it. We’ve also completely cut out the meat in things like stir-fry. When we are eating things like chili and it doesn’t have as much meat, you really don’t have to worry about the protein factor. This has saved us a lot of money. We still have meat almost every night for supper, but occasionally I omit it and I often use less than called for. Cut out Convenience Foods – Breakfast - Make things from scratch. It takes very little time to make pancakes from scratch and they freeze well. Make up a big batch this week, then use the freezer leftovers next week. Make your own biscuits. You can freeze the cut out biscuits and pop them in the oven just like the store bought ones. Make your own instant oatmeal: Snacks – Try things like muffins that you premake and keep in the fridge or freezer. It’s a much heartier snack and saves money. Try peanut butter crackers or cheese crackers the old-fashioned way. Make them yourself. Whole wheat cinnamon toast is a great snack or cheese toast. Don’t buy gimmicky snacks that aren’t filling (fruit gummies, roll-ups, etc.) The heartier the snack the less your children will snack. Lunch – Make up homemade soups, etc. and freeze in lunch sized portions. Also, try new things. One of my kid’s favorites is tortilla pizza. This is very inexpensive and very quick. They use one tortilla, pizza sauce and cheese. If we don’t have pepperoni we will sprinkle Italian seasoning on top for added flavor. Stop Buying Paper Towels – Some time ago we ran out of paper towels and I decided to try not buying them anymore. I cut up a couple of old t-shirts for window cleaning and dusting. I also cut up some old towels for cleaning spills. We barely missed them. I do intend to make some cloth napkins soon. The only time that we have “needed” paper towels was the rare occasion that we cooked something greasy and would have liked to have them to absorb the grease. Make your Own Cleaners and Detergents – Laundry Detergent - I have found most of the ingredients for this at Publix. I think I spent around $8.00 for my ingredients and have made many gallons of detergent from them. I do use this in my front-load washing machine. Cleaners - has many money saving hints and tips.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


~We are finally beginning another fix-it-up project around here. Our house is 113 years old and we bought it as a major fixer-upper. When we first moved in we did a LOT of work. It seemed like there as no surface that we didn't paint and we had a MAJOR amount of yard/exterior work that had to be done. Then about 4 1/2 years ago we had a kitchen fire that resulted in a completely gutted/remodeled kitchen and new flooring. This go around we are working on the laundry room and a little bit of the kitchen. The floor under the kitchen is not supported well, so we will be adding some floor jacks under the kitchen. The laundry room has BIG foundation problems. It seems like the whole house shakes when the washer spins. We'll be fixing the foundation in there, putting down new sub-floor and flooring. My laundry room is HUGE by laundry room standards. It's 12x13. It currently has a full wall of cabinets and a sink in it. My husband is going to remove the sink and lower cabinet. Then he's going to install a counter that has electrical outlets all along the back (he picked it up when they did some remodeling at work. That counter will be supported by legs, so it'll function like a bar. When he's done with that I'll have all of the upper cabinets for storage and the counter will be the permanent hang out for my sewing/embroidery machines. I'm SEW excited...LOL Those are the definites. There is also a possibility that we will be adding a hallway and pantry. Currently you have to go into the laundry room to get to what will be the den/office and we don't have a pantry (one of the things I miss about our smaller house). When you walk into the laundry room you look straight at a floor to ceiling cabinet. We will pull that out and build a pantry there. This will free up some cabinet space and enable me to bring my 5 gallon buckets of wheat, rice, etc. into the house (it's currently stored in the outside storage room). The door to the den is on the left, so we will add a wall to the right with a pocket door to get into the laundry/sewing room. That'll take that room down to about a 9x12, but I still think that is a generously sized room and our washer and dryer are stackable. We haven't been able to stack them because of the floor, but once that problem is fixed we'll be able to free up some floor space that way. Probably even enough to be able to leave the iron and ironing board set up, which will be super convenient for my sewing projects. I'm not excited about all the work and how disruptive it's going to be, but I'm EXTREMELY excited about the end result! ~Also, this process is going to necessitate a change in our laundry habits. This is probably ridiculous, but we have always taken all of our laundry to the laundry room, sorted it and kept it piled up there until it got caught up. If you have a family, you know how often all of the laundry actually gets caught up. This little system that we had mean that there were always baskets of dirty clothes in there. My Pastor and his wife have 12 children (10 still living at home). There 16 year old daughter recently volunteered to take on the laundry. Her mom told me that she had come up with a system that was really working well, so I asked her about it. It's such a simple idea, but I never thought of it. She has each person keep their dirty clothes in a hamper in their room. When she is ready to do laundry, she has one person bring their clothes and she finishes with all of those before she starts anyone else's. I was also told by another friend how much having color catchers had saved her time doing laundry. Carbona has a reusable one and Shout has disposable ones. She said she had stopped sorting clothes and just using the color catcher. I'm going to be doing a combination of those things. We separated all of the dirty clothes into which room they belonged in and sent them back there today. Obviously all the people will have their laundry in their rooms. The bathroom hamper will house towels and washcloths from the kitchen and bath and there will be one hamper in the laundry room for whites. I think this is going to work really well. I'm also thinking I'm going to have the kids be responsible for their own laundry. The already help, but only with my prompting. The girls will be responsible for theirs from start to finish and Mason will help me with mine and I'll help him with his. I'm very excited to have a new system and really think it's going to help tremendously. What about all of you (my 2 or 3 readers, anyway...LOL). Do any of you have big changes happening in your homes?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Houston....We have lift off!

The entire Mint Julep Monograms, Julep Kids line has officially launched! This is the line that I will be sewing for. I'll be making the Going Gingham~red shorst and the Seersucker Punch shorts. I'd love for you to check it out at .

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Machine Embroidery Design Sites

I have spent a lot of time since I got my embroidery machine looking for sites to buy designs from. I"ve found many, but recently found many more. I thought I'd share them hear and maybe as others are looking they'll find my list helpful. I typically look for freebies, samples, retired sets, or penny designs first, then I check for sales or designs I may be looking for. Some of these sites do GREAT sales and coupon codes, so be on the lookout for those. Etsy Shops ~ (These are not links, just shop names. At the top of the page near the search bar choose Shops from the drop down menu, then type the name of the shop in the search bar. I will try to update this with actual links later.) barbhope2 trendystitches BigDreamsEmbroidery glitzystitches embroiderquilt applicakes Lelesdesigns heathersue digidolls embroiderydesignsavi DigitizedCreations ACEmbroidery kayelee poshlittlethings I also find a TON of freebies at under Free Embroidery Designs. You do have to register first.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Picture Post

You can click on the pictures to view them larger.

I was given permission to share pictures with you from the new Mint Julep Monograms, Julep Kids line. These pics show the shorts that I made for the photo shoot and will be sewing for the line as orders come in. All of the shirts are by Mint Julep Monograms ( )and these shorts will be sold exclusively through her store. I'll let you know when the line has officially been launched and items can be purchased. Pictures were taken by Melissa Tash Studios (

Clothing Line Pics

If you want to see pics of the clothing line that I am a part of (I'm making red and white mini-gingham and striped mini-seersucker, board shorts for boys and ruffled shorts for girls). You can "Like" Mint Julep Monograms on Facebook and the pics are posted. The line has not officially launched yet, but I'll let you know as soon as it does. I'm SEW excited!!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Fun New Venture

I sort of happened upon a new little venture...or more happened upon me. I began sewing and embroidering for a friend of a friend (who has become my friend) a couple of years ago. I love making things for her because she challenges me. She'll often ask if I can do things that I've never tried before and I don't like to turn down a challenge so I usually figure out how to do it. A few days ago she sent me a text and asked if I'd be interested in making shorts for a home-based monogramming business owned by a friend of hers. I let her know that I'd never made shorts, but felt like it was something I could probably do. So she shared my name and number with her friend, who immediately called me. The owner of the business was in a bind. She was launching a clothing line, had contracted out some of the sewing and had gotten some items back that were NOT up to par. That was Friday, I spoke with her Saturday and she needed the shorts for a photo-shoot today. My weekend was already crazy busy, but I decided to see if I could make it work. Well, I had the CRAZIEST day yesterday and I cut patterns, sewed, ironed, etc. like a mad woman and delivered them just before midnight last night. She was still up working on the appliqued and monogrammed shirts to go with some of the shorts, so thankfully I didn't keep her waiting (She has two other people sewing for this line and one of the others had still not delivered when I left). I made two pairs of blue and white striped mini-seersucker and two pairs of red and white mini-gingham boutique board shorts for her boys to model. I also made a pair of red and white mini-gingham boutique ruffled shorts for her daughter to wear for the photos. Those (and pink and white mini-seersucker ruffles) will be the shorts that I will continue to make once the line launches. She will also have madras plaid, green and white gingham, and some cute/funky designer fabric combos. There will be more shorts, a-line dresses and ruffled skirts. All of the shorts/skirts will be/can be? paired with appliqued/monogrammed shirts. I can't wait for you all to see the pictures. Go like Mint Julep Monograms on Facebook (!/mintjulepmonograms ) and check out her website ( ) and be watching for her Julep Kids clothing line.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Keeping It Real

I've had a lot of things on my mind lately. Things that I've seen in others that have really been getting to me. I usually don't post about such things, but I'm going to and at the end of this post I'll explain why.

~I'm frustrated by those that speak their opionions with frankness and don't consider how what they are saying might make others feel.

~It's bothering me that some people speak harshly of others, but then turn around and still choose to be friends and spend lots of time with those same people. Makes me wonder if they talk about me the same way.

~I'm bothered by the idea that going to others boldly (about their sin, relationship with the Lord, or lack thereof) is translated to many as speaking harshly. Jesus treated even the vilest of sinners with more love and grace than anyone else could understand.

~It's irritating when people say they want to grow in their relationship with the Lord and become more like Jesus, but when someone speaks the truth in love about an issue, they are offended or unwilling to examine whether or not there is truth to what's been said.

~I see many people looking at the lives of other Christians and judging how they are living, what kind of friend they are being, etc.

~Too many people are overlooking the people that are in their lives that could sharpen them and help them grow closer to the Lord and are instead spending their time with whoever is the most fun to be around.

~I've noticed LOTS of ungratefulness....someone goes out of their way to do something nice for you and the response is a quick "thanks" that seems given more out of duty than true gratefulness.

I think my list could continue on for a while....

The reason that I'm posting this though, is not because of what I see in others....It's because what I see in others ought to make me look at myself.

~Am I cautious about sharing my opinion and do I make sure that I do so in a way that is not hurtful, but constructive and will be well received?

~Do I expose the weaknesses of the ones that I love to others or do I allow my love for them to "cover an offense"?

~Do I go to others out of love and concern for them and speak the truth in love about their sin, salvation or relationship with the Lord? Or do I turn them off to a loving Heavenly Father by seeming anything, but loving?

~Am I teachable? Am I willing to hear the truth from those that love me and have my best interest at heart, even when it's a hard truth to hear? Am I willing to examine myself to see if it is truth and then seek the Lord to find the answers to resolving that issue? Or do I just allow myself to be offended and defensive?

~Am I spending too much time looking at the "speck in my brother's eye, instead of the log in my own"? Am I choosing to see the good in people and love them in spite of their faults and forgive them when necessary?

~Am I seeing the value of those that God has placed in my life? Am I choosing to make time for relationships that will sharpen me and that He is the center of?

~Do I make sure that those in my life feel valued by me and realize how thankful I am to have them in my life and how grateful I am for all that they do?

The bottom line is I need to realize when I see issues in others that it's a reminder for me to examine myself to see if I am guilty of those same issues. I cannot change other people, but I can change myself and if my focus is on others, then I will not have the focus necessary to change my own life to become more like Jesus. I truly want to be more like Him and must not allow the enemy to gain a foothold in my life because I'm more focused on other people than I am my relationship with the Lord. Gotta keep my flesh in check, ya know....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

100 Things About Me


1. I became a Christian when I was 13 years old.
2. It wasn't until I was 24 years old that I began to understand that walking out the Christian life was about a relationship and not rules.
3. I suffered for years with severe anxiety, insecurity and occasional depression.
4. When I was 28 years old a friend began to counsel me and help me to understand the bondage of unforgiveness and how God feels about me.
5. Through that counseling, God gave me victory over anxiety, insecurity and depression.
6. It's amazing to walk in the freedom that only comes from knowing the Lord.
7. I had a very difficult childhood, but am thankful that I serve a Redeemer that uses all things for good and for His glory.
8. My husband is 11 years older than I am.
9. We have been married for 15 years.
10. I have a 24 year old step-son.
11. My step-son recently married and we are so thankful to now have an AMAZING daughter-in-law.
12. My step-son is in training for Army Special Forces
13. I have twin daughters.
14. They were born at 27 weeks and spent 8 weeks in the NICU.
15. My girls are the reason I became a stay at home Mom. I had planned to return to work, but their being born early necessitated that I stay home.
16. One of my daughters has a mild learning disability and that is why we began homeschooling.
17. I'm so thankful that God closed doors that enabled me to be a stay at home, homeschooling Mom.
18. When I married I refused to be submissive. The examples of submission that I had seen were more like opression.
19. God used some sweet godly women to teach me what true submission is and it has completely changed my marriage.
20. I've been living as a submissive wife for 6 years and I LOVE it!
21. I am not a very good housekeeper, but have really been improving over the last few years.
22. I didn't have a very good example of how to keep a clean home, so I am working very hard to teach my children how to before they leave our home.
23. I have lived in one state my entire life in only 2 counties.
24. We have lived in our current home for 6 years.
25. We bought it as a fixer-upper and we're stillllllll fixing....
26. Our home is 113 years old.
27. We love living outside the city.
28. We hope to one day have some land with room for a few animals (goats, chickens, possibly a milking cow) and a big garden.
29. We began attending a Non-Denominational church almost 5 years ago and it has been life changing for our family.
30. My husband and I serve as Directors of the early-childhood department at our church.
31. We went to Dave Ramsey Financial Peace classes and hope to be debt free (except for the mortgage) within a year or so.)
32. I love to sew
33. There are 4 sewing machines at my house.
34. I have one sewing machine that is old and was given to me.
35. My girls have a sewing machine.
36. I have another machine that I purchased several years ago that is the one I primarily use.
37. I also have an embroidery machine that I love.
38. I REALLY want a serger.
39. I do not like to sew with patterns made by the big pattern companies. Their directions are so confusing.
40. I love to buy PDF patterns from Etsy.
41. I also like to sew things that I find on online tutorials.
42. I also crochet, but have not learned how to read a crochet pattern. That's something I'm trying to remedy.
43. I tried to learn to knit, but DID NOT like it!
44. I recently began to learn to quilt.
45. I also REALLY want a Silhouette Craft Cutter.
46. In case you couldn't tell.....I LOVE crafting!
47. I'm crafty, but not creative. I can replicate things that I see, but rarely come up with creative ideas on my own.
48. I spend too much time on the computer (I'm working to remedy this as well.)
49. I feel called to women's ministry and have loved seeing God begin to materialize that in my life.
50. I used to get very bored with my hair and change it's color and cut often.
51. I recently changed the color and like it.
52. I also recently changed the cut and DO NOT like it. (Lord, please make it grow fast!)
53. I love tortilla chips and almost any kind of dip that's good with them.
54. I do not care for potato chips (The only exceptions are Munchos and Pringles)
55. I love to be outdoors with my family.
56. We hope to one day own a pop-up or lightweight camper.
57. I LOVE to sing and miss having the time to do that at my church.
58. I read almost none of the classics growing up.
57. I'm now reading, listening to, or watching many of them with my girls.
58. When my girls were 12 I took them away for a "Passport to Purity" weekend and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made!
59. I also have a 8 year old son.
60. He is so fun, energetic and silly and brings such joy to our home (He's also LOUD! LOL)
61. I really enjoy street ministry.
62. I enjoy baking and am thankful that my hubby takes care of the cleanup for me.
63. I cook and my hubby washes dishes.
64. We made that deal when we married and it's worked wonderfully for us.
65. He's also begun to enjoy helping me with meal prep.
66. I have a wheat grinder and love to make homemade whole wheat bread, but do not do it nearly as often as I should.
67. I talk too much.
68. I use to many examples to try to make people understand my point. My hubby says it makes his head spin....LOL (Working on that one too!)
69. I stress eat... :(
70. I've had surgery on both of my knees.
71. I went into pre-term labor with my son and spent 10 weeks on bedrest with home health before I had him.
72. I had to have a hysterectomy when I was 30.
73. Prior to the hysterectomy we had to make a tough decision. Between the pre-term labors and other issues we had to make the decision not to have anymore children. I'm still have moments of sadness about that and often dream that I'm pregnant.
74. I can still do the splits....LOL My girls were practicing them for ballet and asked me if I had ever been able to do them...Somehow that translated to me trying it and I still can!
75. I wanted to be a cosmetologist and still regret not having done so.
76. I love to read, but rarely do. It's too hard to stay focused with 3 kids and a hubby around...LOL
77. We have two inside dogs.
78. We had a cat that lived to be 13. We were very sad to lose him, but we won't be getting a new cat.
79. My hubby is NOT a cat person...LOL
80. I recently began to learn to decorate cakes
81. I made the groom's cake for my step-son's wedding.
82. I have 5 nieces.
83. I have 3 nephews.
84. I also have 2 more nieces/nephews on the way.
85. My Mom is the 9th of 10 children and she had some of the most amazing parents on the planet. I miss them terribly.
86. I don't mind exercise, but never seem to make time for it.
87. I love Kefir smoothies.
88. I don't let my food touch on my plate.
89. I eat one thing at a time, until I've cleaned my plate.
90. I have issues with food texture. I don't like anything mushy.
91. We have two HUGE pecan trees and I'm the only one at my house that eats them.
92. I really love baths and hope to one day install a jacuzzi tub. A good long hot bath is as good as a massage to me.
93. I LOVE Praise and Worship music.
94. If we're driving in our van, chances are we'll all be singing Praise and Worship music LOUDLY.
95. There is a good bit of Indian in my family, but I got the skin tone of the Irish that's in our family... (Can you say, sunburn?!?!)
96. I almost drowned while white water rafting.
97. I am afraid of heights.
98. I began blogging on homeschool blogger years ago, but Facebook has replaced a lot of my blogging time. (I'm trying to get better about that too.)
99. I have two brothers and always wished that I had a sister.
100. I am a work in progress and hope that I remember to extend as much grace to others as I desire to be extended to me.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dress~A~Girl Around the World Sew Along

LBG studio

Thanks to Cole's Corner and Creations I found out about a Sew~Along at Little Big Girl Studio. I'm very excited to participate in this one, because it is for an AMAZING cause! Go HERE to find out more about the Sew~Along and HERE to find out more about Dress a Girl Around the World.

I am very excited about my plans to carry this out. I plan to have my girls help me and even have a day set up with a friend for her and her daughter to make dresses too. The most exciting part is some of the fabric that I plan to use. My Mammaw had 10 children. They were poor sharecroppers, so she made a lot of her children's clothing, often using feed and grain sacks for her daughters dresses. When she passed away I was blessed to receive much of her fabric stash. I've wondered for quite some time what to do with some of it. I think this is a perfect way to use it! When I told my Mom my plans, she said immediately that my Mammaw would have love that I was using it for this purpose. She was a very sweet woman that made everyone around her feel loved and accepted. I hope and pray that is exactly how these sweet girls will feel when they wear these dresses!

Here's a video of some of the dresses being delivered:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Cute New Dress

A friend of mine asked me to replicate a favorite dress that her little girl had outgrown. I love that this particular friend asks me to do things that I've never done before. It makes me spread out and try new things. I looked around on Etsy for a pattern (many of the patterns on Etsy are PDF Patterns and I find them really easy to use). I gave her a few options and ultimately she chose The Tuesday Top and Dress Pattern from Googoo a Gogo. I wanted to make a test dress before I used the fabric my friend had bought. I recently won a couple of yards of fabric from The Bailey Girls via a giveaway at Cole's Corner and Creations. The bodice of the dress is Green Quite Contrary Beautiful and the ruffle and sleeves are a pink on pink polka dot seersucker that I found at Hobby Lobby. I made this one for my two year old niece.

Sorry for the poor picture quality. I took this with my cell phone....

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Heavy Heart

In the last few weeks I have watched several people that I know endure some of the most difficult moments of their lives. A friend from church (the leader of our Children's ministry) very unexpectedly lost his brother. This week my older brother and his wife finalized their divorce. A very sweet man at our church unexpectedly lost his brother. Another man at church lost his grandfather yesterday and now a sweet lady that I know ( has lost her grandson. I do not know or understand how those that do not know the Lord walk through times like this. I am so thankful that we have a loving Heavenly Father that comforts us in our time of need. Please join me in praying for these families.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

For Lack of a Catchy Title.....

I just don't have a catchy title in me today (or many days, for that matter). Both of my girls have the flu. We went back to the doctor yesterday and she decided she thinks they have a bacterial infection as well. They are now taking lots of meds and are super pitiful. I feel so badly for them. Some of the worst days have been those that no matter what I did or what medicine I have them, they just didn't get any relief. Thankfully last night brought a full nights sleep and my girls are both sleeping in this morning. That in itself is a huge relief as we haven't had a good nights rest since Thursday of last week. I seem to be having some allergy issues or something myself. I woke up with a bit of a cough yesterday and this morning I barely have a voice and I have a LOVELY headache.

As you can imagine we have gotten very little of anything done around here. The house is staying somewhat straight and yesterday was nice enough that I worked on the carport. I was organizing a pile of stuff that needs to be donated. I got it all ready and scheduled the pick up. I'll sure be glad to see that pile go. Sadly, it probably won't be long before we have another large pile. We really are trying to purge and organize this year. Our home is old and we need to do some MAJOR projects, so we need to get it cleaned and organized so we can focus on the bigger TO DO list.

Anyway, we're still hanging in here...Hopefully these girls will be well soon and life can return to normal....Whatever that is..LOL

Friday, January 21, 2011

One FLU into the Cuckoos Nest

Yep, you read that of my girls has the flu. You'd think with as much illness as we've had around here I would be feeling kind of cuckoo by now. Thankfully God has really been helping me to keep things in perspective and I've stayed mostly sane.... Don't get me wrong I'm tired of illness, but I almost feel like it's gotten to the point that I'm in battle mode. I'm so over being sick and having sick children. I am resolved that this year will be a year of healing and healthiness in my home. I am claiming that in the name of Jesus. I am praying it, I am standing against the devil and rebuking sickness and I am making physical changes (i.e. looking into better eating habits, adding supplements). Something has to give and I will believe Jesus for our healing. I know that the devil is trying to keep us from walking in God's will, he's trying to keep us from being effective in our ministry. I know that this is warfare and this Mama Bear is coming out swinging. I'm also trying hard to remember that we are made more like Christ in our suffering and the He expects us to rejoice in the midst of all of our struggles. I'm certainly not rejoicing that we are sick, but I am rejoicing that even when things are hard I still have a Heavenly Father that loves me, that cares about what I care about, that gave His Son for me and He is still worthy of all of my praise. I will not begin to tell you that it has been easy (for the record this is our 3rd illness this month), I am constantly having to remind myself where my attitude needs to be. I am constantly having to fight off the the thoughts that the enemy is trying to place in my mind. It's not easy, but God has brought me so far and I will work hard to follow Him and to trust Him. I would love if you would join me in praying for healing and healthiness over my family.

Be Blessed!

A Silhouette Giveaway

Silhouette Giveaway at The Shabby Chic Cottage.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lots and Lots and Lots....

of things have been going on here and I have lots on my mind.

~We had a HUGE snow. We got at least 6-8 inches and it stayed around an entire week. My hubby got to be home with us for a couple of days. It would have been glorious, but we only got to play in it for one day because we were passing around the stomach virus (of course I got the worst case...). I had also just gotten over bronchitis.

~So......We are claiming and declaring that 2011 is a year of healing and healthiness for our family. We have already begun to see God's hand in that as He has healed me of my bronchitis. I had been finished with a VERY strong antibiotic for a week or two and was still having symptoms. A visiting pastor prayed over myself and one of our worship leaders for healing from bronchitis and I have definitely seen the manifestation of that. Thank you Jesus!

~The latter part of last week held a ministry conference at my church (a conference that was held for people that are in the ministry), hence the visiting Pastor. We ended up spending the majority of our time dealing with childcare (We are the directors over the early childhood department at our church and for this conference we were responsible for all childcare for ages birth through 10). We had WAY more children then we expected and it took a lot of coordinating. At times it was very stressful. The awesome thing, though, is that even when we weren't in the services, God was showing up. He was making Himself known to us and growing us. The name of the conference was ReVision and we really feel like we walked away ReVision=ed. He renewed somethings in us that we had let fall to the wayside. He also planted some new things in us. I can always tell it's Him when I start feeling like I'm meant to do something that is WAY outside my comfort zone. It's so neat when my husband is feeling the same things. I LOVE walking in ministry by his side! We left the conference feeling more alive, hungrier for His word and excited to walk out this next year!

~Last night I went to a couponing class. I've delved a bit into couponing, but the time investment was offputting to me. I think I figured out that I'm gonna have to be the lady with the crazy coupon binder. So, I'll be spending the next week or two working on that and then I'll get started. I'm excited to save all that money. We're really looking forward to doing some debt busting this year (BIG possibility of paying everything off except the mortgage this year), so cutting the grocery budget will help HUGE! I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

5 soups in 1 day

As I prepare for winter weather I'm making up some homemade soup. I'm trying to be as cost and time efficient as possible. Here's my process:

1st ~ I have two pots of beans on the stove now. One smaller pot of Great Northern Beans for White Bean Chicken Chili and a large pot of Kidney Beans and Red Beans for chili and taco soup.
Those will continue to cook at a high boil while I'm shopping (Patrick will man them for me while I'm gone). This method requires that you pay attention and continually add water, but they will be done in just a few hours from start to finish . (REALLY makes me wish I had a pressure cooker.)

2nd ~ Put a whole chicken on to boil.

3rd ~ Brown ground venison.

4th ~ Cut up required veggies for all soups.

5th ~ Assemble two of the soups in crockpots (probably taco soup and chili and put all ingredients for vegetable soup in a pot on the stove. The vegetable soup will be finished first and can be set aside to cool.

6th ~ While veg soup is cooling and crockpot soups are cooking, shred chicken.

7th ~ Use shredded chicken and reserved broth to assemble white bean chicken chili and virus killing soup in pots on the stove.

Using this method. I should have 5 very large pots of soup (probably at least a gallon per soup) finished in just a few hours. Most of these are good for at least a full supper for all of us and a leftover lunch for a few of us. I will probably use the leftover chili to make frito pie. All of this would be meals that we could heat in a pot on the coleman stove if we lost power. It's cheaper to make soup from scratch and tastes better too. Also, if we don't use them for winter weather, then I've just made meals easier for myself on busy days.

Edited to add : I didn't end up getting all of this done. I forgot that I needed to pay bills, so I didn't get to head to the grocery store early enough to beat the crowds. By the time I got there it was CRAZY!!!! Then I forgot the chicken. So I got all of the beef soups cooked and ready to go in the freezer and I got the white beans ready for the chicken chili. I'll take care of the chicken soups later today.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Panic or Preparation

I live in the south and we get very little snow here. We are currently gearing up for what could be the biggest snow/ice event in over a decade. It frustrates me how Northeners tend to have such attitude at our ineptness when we get winter weather. They make fun of our driving, but when you only have the chance to drive on ice/snow once every few years, you hardly have time to learn how to do it well. They make fun of our school and business closings, but when you rarely have winter weather events, it's hardly cost effective for your local governments to stock up on winter weather equipment. They make fun of us running to the store, but in the south (I can't speak for the North) our power often goes out when we have winter weather and often our pipes freeze (The transformer in front of our house has blown several times during storms. There are only 4 houses on it and we are hardly a priority if there are mass outages. Typically, we are one of the last to get our power restored). It's just different here and very hard to be prepared for something that rarely ever occurs. I hardly call what we do at my home panic, but would definitely call it preparation. I will buy necesseties that we may need over the next several days in case I can't get to the grocery store (I live in a rural area, so it's unlikely that any of our roads will be salted or sanded). My husband will make sure that the grill, coleman camp stove and kerosene heaters are all operational (we also have a propane heater, so we should stay warm without issue). I'll make sure that we have plenty of food that doesn't need to be cooked in the microwave or oven or with water. I plan to make a few pots of homemade soup today, to put in the freezer and I'll make sure to have ceral and sandwich fixings on hand. I'm not scared of the weather, I just want to be ready in case I need to be. So, we'll all be spending our day in preparation and prayer that we will keep power and water and for safety in our areas.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A New Do

For a while I had been considering making some drastic changes to my hair. If you look back at my hair history my trend is long, short, long, short, tends to stay long more than it does short. I also like to change the color around. I started highlighting my hair in high school and never looked back. I did start graying at 24, which resulted in a not-so-nice streak of gray in my bangs, and yes I've tried growing it out, and no it's not pretty, so I'll just keep on with the coloring. For the last 2 1/2 years it has been long with blonde highlights, the more you get highlights the blonder it gets, so it was mostly blonde. I recently got some bad highlights and needed to do something about it so I decided just to change it all up, get it cut and color over the highlights. I took the below pics to the hairstylist and said that I basically wanted a combination of the two. I wanted it short in the back (to the top of my collar) and longer in the front just below my collar bone or a little longer and I wanted choppy, piecy layers. I was sort of looking for an edgy look.

The stylist really struggled with the back. Beforehand I was unable to find any pics of what I wanted the back to look like and I thought it should kind of come up to a V in the back. She had such a hard time doing that that it just started getting shorter and shorter. The end result is not what I had envisioned. I later found the below pick and wish I had found it sooner, it's exactly what I was shooting for.Anyway, I did go buy the color and come home and put it on afterward, it did for the most part turn out how I expected. Because my hair was highlighted there are lighter and darker shades of red. I like the color pretty well as does the rest of my family. I'm still not thrilled with the cut, but think I can manage with it until it grows out enough for me to get it cut again into the original style that I was hoping for. For all who are curious, here's a picture of the newest do.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Weight Loss

I took my weight loss ticker down. The fact is I gained a good bit of my weight back. Most of which was gained during the holidays. I got sick again in November and had to have a steroid shot and now I'm sick again. That's poses a threefold problem. First, steroids always make me gain weight. Secondly, when I'm sick I eat....I don't know why, but I do. Lastly, when i feel bad I tend to sleep a lot and be a couch potato. I am still down by about 5 lbs. and frankly I'll take it. I started this year lighter than last year and that is definitely a step in the right direction. That's probably the first time that has ever happened. I do plan to get back on Weight Watchers online. It works well for me and my family enjoys the way that we eat when I'm on it. I won't be starting this month. We'll do a 21 day fast (for some reason I never lose weight as a result of those) in January and with the combination of Christmas and the wedding I may not have the money to start back until February or March. I will start, after the fast, to get back on a healthier menu around here, I just may not officially start with the online program for another month or two. I don't know that I have specific number goals this year. I just want a healthier lifestyle that gradually leads to lower weight.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Contemplating a New Year

One of the things that I love about the beginning of each New Year is that our church participates in a 21 day fast. Now don't get me wrong, fasting is not fun. However, it has caused us to be much more focused on the Lord at the start of each new year. We won't officially begin until the 10th, but we are as a family currently praying over what kind of fast we will do and what things we will fast. (If you are unfamiliar with fasting I highly recommend Jentezen Franklin's book entitled Fasting).

I'm contemplating many things for this new year, as I often do. How do I improve our homeschooling, how do I become more organized and run my home more smoothly, what types of projects need to take priority and be completed, what can I do to be healthier (thanks to a steroid shot and lack of holiday self-control, I gained more of my weight back. Thankfully I still started this year lighter than I started the last one), how can I add in excercise (and make it stick?), how can we be more structured in our ministry at church, etc.......While I think those are all important thoughts, they are all about doing......We'll see where we end up with each of them.

However, my primary goal for this season of Fasting is to seek His will for our year and His vision. After all without Him I am nothing and my efforts alone are futile. If I find His vision for all of these areas of our lives and seek to allow Him to live in and through me then there is no doubt that He will be pleased with the results. So above all else this year I seek to glorify Him in all of my efforts. He is good!