Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just submit and let yourself rest...

On any given day you can find our Pugly trying to hide from the ever-present Emma Rae who wants to just cuddle him. He will hide behind the couch, run off to another room, or even try to dig his way under a blanket to escape her love.

Last week, as I set beside this chair sewing, I glanced over to find Emma holding tight to her Pugly. She was in a deep sleep, and he was too busy fighting the uncomfortable spot of being in her grasp to give into slumber.
Finally, he started to settle in and just as he closed his eyes, Greg pulled in from a day at work and it was all over. Pug took a flying leap over Emma and the peaceful rest was over.

Sometimes I feel like I'm Pugly, Emma is God, and life's unexpected turns is Greg pulling in. I dodge giving into the rest God wants to bless me with, and just as I begin to submit and enjoy, someone rubs me the wrong way, or I decide that "Mouth" should make an appearance in a conversation with "Gregaroni", and I take a flying leap out of God's embrace.

Here's to staying cozy when I'm tempted to leap out of God's arms.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What good are quotes if you can't relate to 'em?

First of all, thanks gina for the potting soil, seeds, and pot!

The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet. Lord Chesterfield

If you study to remember, you will forget, but, if you study to understand, you will remember. Unknown

The essence of intelligence is skill in extracting meaning from everyday experience. Unknown

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. W.B. Yeats

More is caught than taught. Unknown

Choosing to keep our children home with us is one of the greatest decisions my husband ever made. Although challenging, I'm rewarded daily with getting to teach them much more than academics. May God bless our efforts as we seek His will in training up our children.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

self help vs spiritual growth

It is possible that I am allowing this subject to take up to much of my thinking these days.

Do we get determined to end a certain habit, or motivated to begin a new habit, and that in turn creates our behavior?

Or is Christ's work being performed in us the reason for all of our good days?

I am leaning towards thinking it could be both.

I have all too often decided it was time time to make a change only to end up feeling as though I've failed when I don't stick with it.

I have felt conviction over areas in my life that needed turned over to God and then almost miraculously found that I was able to conquer them with little of my own effort.

I have also read God's word and seen the truth in it that spread light on very dark areas of my flesh that I've still yet to crucify, and somehow I tried to turn off that light to keep them shadowed for a bit longer.
What I think I am learning is that grace is at work in my life. Whether I succeed or fail, in my eyes, for the day, grace is there. With lots of discussion on parenting these last few weeks, I am constantly reminded we can train up our children with true passion and conviction for God's truth, and it is still by His grace that they will walk in that truth. We can also be parents who lack drive, or even knowledge, as to how to parent, and the Lord could use our children for the building of His kingdom. How? Through works of grace.
During church tonight, our pastor was speaking on the prayer of Jabez. He was instructing us to pray for ourselves. To pray for God's blessings on our lives in such a way that we could be more for His glory. I was jotting down notes as I listened.

One line I wrote down was, it takes prayer.

Well, what takes prayer?

A relationship with our Father takes prayer.

Well, if something takes something, then someone must give something.

I jotted down this, it takes discipline.

Well, what takes discipline?

A daily prayer life to build a relationship with our Father.

As I've said, if it takes that, then something must be given. Are you with me?

We have heard, and probably advised, in conversation, "Oh, it takes drive, it takes will-power, it takes commitment, it takes submission".

So, then, WHO is giving these things?

Some of us are maybe giving some devotion time through the day. Some of us may not even be there yet. Some of us are giving our service to a local place of worship, and some of us may be struggling with feeling worthy of serving.

My point would be this, our spiritual growth takes time with God, in prayer, in service, in brokenness, in victory, in maturity, in immaturity, in praise, and in doubt. But if we are only giving when it is on our terms, and trying to do the rest on our own, we're focusing on self help that will ultimately fail us.

I believe that God's word will grow us, the Holy Spirit will lead us, and our Father can use us, but first we must choose to give Him the time to do so.

I pray that tomorrow, with it being a fresh new Monday, you and I will choose to spend time with Him. I guarantee we'll not be disappointed.

Slightly Bad Girls #4 questions 7,8

7. According to her tersely presented prosecution, Sarai wanted Abram to rectify the situation. Describe the "wrong" she was suffering (Genesis 16:5). Once again, Sarai did not turn to the Lord for help. What reason would you offer? This chapter of Sarai's life ended on a distressing note. Have you lost respect for her, or are you willing to give her another chance? Explain why.

8. What's the most important lesson you learned from Sarai, a princess bride who ran out of patience?

This time I will just give you gals a couple days and we'll move onto Chapter 2 to talk about Hagar.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

a quiet evening...after the pool hall was shut down...

So the last 2 weeks left us skipping our structured schooling and choosing to only dabble in reading here and there. There was testing, co-op, then makeup gym days, and co-op...well, let's just say that I know myself, and my children, too well to think that I will be a decent teacher, or that they will learn a drop of anything, when we've ran all day long.

Yesterday we awoke to a wonder world of worms outside our front door! So breakfast was quick and the school books were put off for some well-deserved worm catchin' time. I wonder what the neighbors, and their professional landscapers, thought when they saw my kids outside at 9am filling their pails with "hundreds of 'em mom"! The afternoon gave way to errands, and by the time we came home, well, the dining room table staring at worksheets just wasn't where we needed to be.

However, I knew today would be the day we would get back into our workbox groove, and hopefully, we'll school somewhat routinely until the end of May.

I knew that we would have our share of challenges today trying to get back into our routine. So at 8:30 when I was sitting at the table wondering why it was taking them so long, I was hardly surprised. However, if I'm angry mad woman, they turn into angry mad children. So I curbed my desire to spew, and got them started on their boxes. I purposely planned the first few boxes with independent work so that I could finish sewing a project. We all worked hard, had lunch, and then got back in the grind until around 2:30. I am guessing the meds I am taking for my sinus infection were the culprit for my eyes becoming too heavy to hold open, so when they both were beckoning for my attention for the next to last boxes, I totally declared it time for a movie. They watched Dinosaur, I slept. It was grand.

I awoke just in time to fix a not-s0-healthy dinner that left us full, and happy. I made homemade corndogs with fried potatoes, followed up with homemade brownies. Note to self: must make it to gym soon.

Just as I was cleaning up from dinner, Ethan and Emma began their evening ritual with a post-dinner pool game. This has been going on for about a week and half now. A few moments into it, Ethan came in covering one eye and Emma was spewing apologies. Then just a few moments later, Emma was holding her head and Ethan was stuttering excuses. "'Nuf is 'Nuf", said our patriarch, and I agreed. He gave a good talk and sent them to bed at 7pm.

This left the full pan of brownies to just me and him.

We talked, without interruption or questions, we watched some TV, he massaged my shoulder which has been aching since last Friday's volleyball game, and he slept while I caught up on some blogs.

Now it 'tis time to call it a night.

And what's that I hear?

Emma asking daddy if she can sleep with us.

Think I'll just eat another brownie.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Food continued...

When I was at April's last week, and I saw her cool recipe book, a photo album with her recipes in there, I thought maybe it was time to add some more recipes to mine. Like I said in the first post, I am kinda basic when it comes to meals. Makes for easy shopping, easy planning, and well, just makes it easy for me!
However, I did have quite a few magazines with some recipes in them, and I have a ton I've printed out online that were just in this binder. Therefore, I decided it was time to get a little more organized so I will want to use them.
I really did like the photo album that April had, but the truth is, I already had this binder, I found these tab folders in my school stuff that have been used for about 3 different things already, and so I just put it together. Now, looking at that pitcher of Spiced Iced Tea makes me want to serve it right on up! Hows about you?

Now that I am trying to keep better tabs on my spending, I'm tucking my receipts away in this binder as I plan. That way I can really see how much meals are costing me and better choose when I can afford to go all out, and when I should just do some biscuits and gravy! The Kitchenaid Mixer I bought, which is fantabulastic, has some great recipes in it. Exciting. Then this free book the kids got at Chick-fil-A, well, we've gotten a ton of great ideas out of it!

Alright, so once I got the tabs and recipes together, I labeled them as follows: Drinks, Holidays, Bread, Beef, Chicken, Sides, and Dessert.

To keep better tabs on spending, I'm keeping this log for the next few weeks. I want to tally up what I'm spending on personal items, cleaning, and household items. Eating more natural, cleaning more natural, and trying to just live more natural can be simplifying once you get in the groove, but getting there is, well, sometimes not simple at all. If anything becomes an idol in your life, it just isn't healthy, and bottom line is it is sin. So I really am trying to be honest with myself about my motivation to make the changes we have made over the last 3 years. A big part of being a better help meet is to keep a better log of what I'm spending when I order my tea tree oil, my vitamins, and my cleaning supplies.

I have by no means "arrived" to where I want to be as a wife and mother, however, I am enjoying my journey getting there. Addictive personalities can be tough if you don't have a support system that keeps you grounded. I'm blessed to have great sisters, grounded parents, true friends that actually like me, and a husband who supports me better than any other man could on this planet! With my children getting more and more independent, I'm enjoying finding time to educate myself on different ways to enjoy this life God has blessed me with. I hope when you get inspired, you are surrounded with peeps as good as mine.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Meal planning, recipes, and grocery shopping - inspired by April

Okay, so it seems as though when you yap about your take on food, the way you prepare it, the way you get it, the way you store it, even the way you eat it, that people are going to have questions for you.

One of my closest friends read an article that I gave her out of a bi-monthly newsletter I subscribe to and after reading it, she decided to make some changes.

I spent some time with her last week going over her menus and explaining where I get all of my food. She is able to shop on a pretty tight budget, and although I am fairly frugal, I couldn't exactly tell you what I spend on groceries.
So, let me give you a run down of how my grocery shopping worked last week, and well, we'll just start there.

I did my shopping on Friday. I started at Wal-Mart for pasta, an onion, a small bag of green onions, all-natural Tom's toothpaste and deodorant, Cajun seasoning, Sargento Mexican shredded cheese, Alfredo sauce, and a new rug for the bathroom. Sams for Welch's grape juice, (which I found was cheaper at Wal-Mart :( darn), brown sugar, regular sugar, bananas, tomatoes (thanks to gina who told me they were pretty good), green peppers, milk, all-natural Classico spaghetti sauce, all-natural chicken, Ricotta cheese, shredded Parmesan cheese, shredded Mozzarella cheese, and grapes. Beckley produce for eggs. Amish Barn for honey, which I am still trying to decide on where the best place is going to be to buy it, and sliced turkey. And then at Trio Consignment I found 2 pairs of shoes for Emma, and for me, a skirt, a shirt, and 3 pairs of capris....that didn't really matter, but I had to tell you that! by the way, had a credit and got it all for $8!
After talking with my friend, I realized that I cook very low maintenance meals for the most part. Greg loves them, I love them, and the kids love them, however, why is it I refrain from using some extras to spice things up? hmmmm....I don't know.....so I decided to live on the edge a bit and I bought some of the Cajun seasoning she had shown me at her house. Well, the seasoning she was asking me if I approved of...ha

Friday night I made spaghetti, and normally I just brown the meat, add my sauce, boil my noodles, and bam, that's it. I decided to chop up a tomato, a green pepper, and some onion to flavor the meat a bit. Then I added the sauce to simmer, and stirred in a cup of shredded mozzarella. The kids and Greg noticed the new sauce and loved it! Thanks for the inspiration to not be so boring April :)
Saturday for lunch, it was Mexican, and then that night, it was leftovers from Mexican. That's right, we do eat out, on rare occasions...We budget to have a meal out, as a family, once a week. Greg always picks Mexican, and the only one I love is the one at Beckley Crossing...their taco salad with chicken vs beef is soooo good! However, we all have learned to opt for water vs soda (which is hard for us pop lovers) and we no longer order the cheese for our chips, just too pricey.
Sunday was lunch at mawmaw's, which is always as far from healthy, organic, or anything of that matter as you can get, and as always, it was to die for yummo! Finished it off with a Reeses peanut butter cup and washed it down with a Mt. Dew. Now, are all of you people who have me on a pedestal feeling better? ha

Monday I decided to get a little off track again, and pulled out the Cajun seasoning I bought. I heated up 2 tblspoons of olive oil in my Wolfgang Puck pot ( love it ), and diced up 2 chicken breasts. While that was just starting to brown, I chopped up some green onion and a green pepper and threw it in, then lots of Cajun seasoning and some cracked pepper. While my whole grain pasta was boiling, I poured in my Alfredo sauce and then added 1/2 a jar of water. Drained pasta, stirred it in, got out Ethan and Emma's servings and then finished it off with some more Cajun seasoning for me and Greg. Again, yummo!
While I was cooking dinner last night, I went ahead and baked 2 chicken breasts, sliced into long pieces @ 350 for about 45 minutes in a dish on aluminum foil with just a tad bit of butter on top of it. I let it cool and cut 1/2 of it up for chicken salad.
I love chicken salad. However, I had never tried to make my own. Well, let me mention my friend April again here, she had some a few weeks ago that I thought was so good, so I just figured I'd give it a try. I tried to think about things I knew were in different types of it that I liked, and I just put it all together.
Well, it was so good, especially on my homemade bread, that I had an extremely hard time stopping myself from taste testing! Greg was leery, because he said he never likes chicken salad, and yet he was thrilled with it, too.

I didn't really measure out anything, I just kinda did a bit of this and a bit of that. It started with dicing up the chicken, probably about 2 cups of diced chicken. Then I cut up some green onions, and some red. Chopped up some grapes and 1/2 of an apple, poured in about a cup of the cheese and added 3 large whopping tablespoons of mayo.
More on this chicken salad, how April also inspired me to organize my recipes and to get a grip on my spending in the next blog...this one was too long as is :) imagine that...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Slightly Bad Girls #3 questions 5 & 6

5. In Genesis 15, God told Abram he would father a son from his own seed but did not mention the mother's name. How might the story have unfolded differently if God had said, " And Sarai will bear this son"? Since we know "his way is perfect," why do you think God withheld this vital fact? Ten years passed before Sarai took steps to secure an heir for Abram. What do you suppose finally prompted her to act?

6. When Sarai gave Hagar to her husband, how had she "opened the door to spiritual catastrophe"? In what ways did Hagar's quick conception make matters worse for Sarai? In your own life, when have you taken your future into your own impatient hands without seeking God's guidance? And what was the outcome?

The last questions gave us an insight as to how Sarai may have even thought about herself, or even carried herself in an area she would have had security, her looks. These are asking us to think about her insecurity, her barrenness.

Oh my, yaw think my answers are long now, wait til I have to answer if I've ever taken matters into my own hands....oh wow...I must say I've been blessed to grow quite a bit these last 3 or 4 years...but man, before then! ha, The question would have to be, when didn't I take matters into my own hands?