Monday, February 28, 2011


A couple of years ago, I read the short book, Climbing: Memories of a Missionary's Wife, by Rosalind Goforth. Rosalind and her husband, Jonathan Goforth, were missionaries to China in the early 19th century. The introduction was written by Ruth Bell Graham, and I think she summarizes the book so well when she writes, "'[This book] gave me fresh insights into that intrepid band of missionaries who, braving long separations from home, interminable sea voyages, difficult languages, bandits, and hostility and suspicion on all sides, still went.'"

Rosalind is extremely transparent in relating personal details of her own struggle with an impatient spirit and a sharp temper. She even shares the story of when she overheard, quite by accident, two Chinese women talking about her. She heard them criticize her for those very things, and then add,"'If only she would live more as she preaches.'" That insight into how the people she came to serve thought of her at first angered and hurt her, but as she realized it was all too true, she was able to seek God's help in overcoming these un-Christlike traits.

Five of their eleven children died before reaching adulthood, and yet there is no evidence that Rosalind ever became bitter against God for allowing this. Instead she seemed to simply believe that God was still in control and able to work even these tragedies for her good. What a testimony! Rosalind surely must have learned what it is to trust God completely.

This book changed my life in so many ways, but primarily in how I look at the ministry I am in. It seems like all to often I have an attitude of, I'll serve God, as long as the cost is not too great. Rosalind learned to count the cost and still be willing to surrender to whatever the Lord wanted her to do. I highly recommend this book to any Christian lady, but especially those in ministry. It is a short book and very easy reading - you won't want to put it down!

How do you live your dash?

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years. (l900-l970)

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth...
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
The cars...the house...the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard...
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile...
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy's being read
With your life's actions to rehash...
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
- Author Unknown

I love the idea behind this poem. One life is all we are given - how will we spend it? Will it be a life spent in complete surrender and faithful service to God, or a life spent selfishly and wastefully serving ourselves?

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Who's first on your list?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1

Sometimes the simplest truths in Scripture are so easily overlooked. When things are spinning out of control, or something gets you discouraged, is venting to a friend the very first thing you do?  Isn't it usually our first reaction when something goes wrong? Some people turn to food for comfort, or simply internalize their problems to work out a solution themselves. Then, when all else fails, we cry out to God to help us out of the mess we are in. But what if God was our first response, instead of our last resort? What if He was the first One we went to with a problem, and we asked Him for guidance and wisdom on how to react to the problem? Seems like I am continually learning this lesson. Some problems seem easy to turn to God first, and other problems don't seem very significant, and so I think I can handle them on my own, only to realize I can't. The goal is to put God - our Refuge, our Strength - first in every circumstance that comes our way.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Exercise, blech!

I've never been a huge fan of exercise, but this does put some perspective on it!
Yeah, I avoid my elliptical like the plague. Sigh!

Discovery's Final Launch

Yesterday we went out to Merritt Island to watch the final launch of the shuttle Discovery. It was a beautifully clear afternoon, and the shuttle took off a little before 5:00 p.m. EST. I have always been fascinated with NASA and space. It absolutely boggles my mind how many stars are estimated to be in our solar system, not to mention the BILLIONS of galaxies there are out there. And God knows every star by name! It is even more mind-blowing that someone can look at all those stars and planets and NOT believe in the Creator. How could someone think that it is just chance that caused all of that? The heavens truly show the glory and handiwork of the Almighty God, the Creator, Who SPOKE everything into existence in six literal days. Amazing!

Foto Friday

Favorite flower

Place I would love to visit - or live there :)

Farthest place from home I've been

Ivory Coast, West Africa

Instrument I like to play


My phone
Samsung Exclaim

First car I ever owned
Chevy Cavalier - it was even this color, too!

Something I don't EVER want to do
Rock climbing

Worst vegetable on the planet
Asparagus, at least in my opinion :)

Favorite dessert

Something fun
Roller coasters

A food that I never grew to like, even as an adult
Coffee - no amount of cream and sugar helps either

Favorite family vacation when I was a kid
Yellowstone National Park

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chicken, Bean, and Broccoli Burritos

This is a quick, easy, healthy recipe. I came up with it last year when I was doing Weight Watchers. My husband and I love Mexican food, but usually for us, that meant tacos and nachos loaded with lots of meat, cheese, and sour cream. Not very Weight Watcher "friendly." This recipe "feels" like mexican food, but with less fat, and not so many calories.

Here's what you do. Start with one package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Trim the fat off, and cut into pieces. Drizzle olive oil in a frying pan and place chicken pieces in the hot oil.
As the chicken cooks, I usually cut the pieces up into more bite-sized pieces. I also add the following - salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic salt. Season according to your taste. My husband likes food VERY flavorful, so I tend to put in alot of spices. Cook the chicken thoroughly. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients. I used one bag of broccoli florets, and cooked the bag in the microwave. Do not over-cook the broccoli, since it will cook for a little bit with the chicken later.
Next, you need a can of dark red kidney beans. I drain the kidney beans and rinse them a little.
Then I chopped up some fresh cilantro. I just love using fresh cilantro in mexican-type foods. It has such a nice flavor. I didn't really use enough cilantro this time, so I would add a little more if you really want to taste the flavor. If you don't like cilantro, you could just as easily leave it out.
Once the chicken is completely cooked all the way through, add the broccoli, beans, and cilantro. Cook a few minutes, just until heated through.
I like to serve this on top of Flatout Flatbread.
And of course, top everything with cheese. I got in the habit of using mozzarella cheese, since it had fewer WW points than cheddar cheese, but really, use whatever you like. You could add sour cream and/or salsa as well.
And it's that easy!
photos by me


A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold.

Angry, he rose his voice to his father and said, "With all your money, you give me a Bible?" and stormed out of the house.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things. When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still gift-wrapped Bible, just as he had left it years ago.

With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt.7:11, "And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?" As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words "PAID IN FULL".

How many times do we miss God's blessings because we can't see past our own desires?

 - Author Unknown
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Giving thanks when it's easy, and when it's not

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!

"Thanks to God," words by August L. Storm.
August L. Storm, a worker for the Salvation Army, was a young man in his 20's when he wrote this hymn.
He decided to thank God not only for the good things, but also for the difficult things. Several years later, Storm was stricken with a condition that left him a cripple, but he continued to have a thankful heart in spite of his disability.
Taken from Hymn History
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Meeting the Need of Your Spouse

On Sunday, we heard an excellent lesson on meeting the need of your spouse during the Sunday School hour from an evangelist friend that was speaking in our church. This post is taken from notes of that lesson.

Ephesians 5:31-33
1. Understand the primary need of your spouse. (v. 33)
* The wife's primary need is for the husband to love her as his own body - to feel loved and cherished by her husband (v. 29, 33).
* The husband's primary need is for the wife to respect him as her head (v. 22, 33).

2. Understand that your spouse communicates love and respect differently than you do. (I Peter 3:7; Titus 2:4).

3. Understand your reactions to your unfulfilled need begins the Conflict Cycle.

Conflict Cycle
The wife's problem - she feels unloved
The wife's reaction - she criticizes her husband
The husband's interpretation - he feels contempt for his wife (contempt = disrespected or disgraced)
The husband's problem - he thinks he is disrespted
The husband's reaction - he often becomes silent (walks away and refuses to deal with the situation)
The wife's interpretation - she thinks her husband is uncaring

So, she feels unloved, which causes her to criticize her husband, which causes him to feel contempt towards his wife, which causes him to think he is disrespected, which causes him to become silent, which causes the wife to think her husband is uncaring, which causes her to feel unloved........Do you see the cycle? Around and around it goes.

So how to do you break the cycle?
1. Decide that your spouse does not intend to be unloving nor disrespectful (Proverbs 31:11-12).
*When the wife reacts with criticism her intent is to resolve the problem.
* When the husband reacts with silence his intent is to maintain respect for both.

2. Decide to forgive as God has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

3. Decide that you will meet the need of your spouse unconditionally just as Christ would. This will begin the Christ Life Cycle (Ephesians 5:18, 21).
*Stop focusing on your needs instead of your spouse's needs.
*Start submitting yourselves to each other in the fear of God (v. 21).
*The KEY to the Christ Life Cycle is to be filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 18).

Christ Life Cycle
The wife's needs are met, so she feels loved
The wife's response is that she will be encouraged to respect her husband
The wife's decision is to respect her husband unconditionally
The husband's need of respect is met, so he thinks he is respected
The husband's response is that he will be encouraged to love his wife
The husband's decision is to love his wife unconditionally

So, because her husband loves her unconditionally, the wife's needs are met, so she feels loved, so she will respond by being encouraged to respect, so she makes the decision to respect her husband unconditionally, so the husband's needs are met, so he thinks he is respected, so he responds by being encouraged to love his wife, so he makes the decision to love her unconditionally, so her needs are met.......Do you see the cycle?

Don't wait for your spouse to "get their act together" before YOU are willing to break the Conflict Cycle and start the Christ Life Cycle. YOU be the first to do what's right! 

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Friday, February 18, 2011

A Mother's Prayer

Dear Lord, it's such a hectic day,
With little time to stop and pray,
For Life's been anything but calm,
Since You called me to be a mom -
Running errands, matching socks,
Building dreams with matching blocks,
Cooking, cleaning and finding shoes,
And other stuff that children lose,
Fitting lids on bottled bugs,
Wiping tears and giving hugs,
A stack of last week's mail to read -
So where's the quiet time I need?
Yet, when I steal a moment, Lord,
Just at the sink or ironing board,
To ask the blessings of Your grace,
I see then, in my small one's face,
That You have blessed me all the while-
And I stoop to kiss... That precious smile.

- Source Unknown

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John Harper - Hero on the Titanic

John Harper was born to a pair of solid Christian parents on May 29th, 1872. It was on the last Sunday of March 1886, when he was thirteen years old that he received Jesus as the Lord of his life. He never knew what it was to "sow his wild oats." He began to preach about four years later at the ripe old age of 17 years old by going down to the streets of his village and pouring out his soul in earnest entreaty for men to be reconciled to God.

As John Harper's life unfolded, one thing was apparent...he was consumed by the word of God. When asked by various ministers what his doctrine consisted of, he was known to reply "The Word of God!" After five or six years of toiling on street corners preaching the gospel and working in the mill during the day, Harper was taken in by Rev. E. A. Carter of Baptist Pioneer Mission in London, England. This set Harper free to devote his whole time of energy to the work so dear to his heart. Soon, John Harper started his own church in September of 1896. (Now known as the Harper Memorial Church.) This church which John Harper had started with just 25 members, had grown to over 500 members when he left 13 years later. During this time he had gotten married, but was shortly thereafter widowed. However brief the marriage, God did bless John Harper with a beautiful little girl named Nana.

Ironically, John Harper almost drowned several times during his life. When he was two and a half years of age, he almost drowned when he fell into a well but was resuscitated by his mother. At the age of twenty-six, he was swept out to sea by a reverse current and barely survived, and at thirty-two he faced death on a leaking ship in the Mediterranean. Perhaps, God used these experiences to prepare this servant for what he faced next...

It was the night of April 14, 1912. The RMS Titanic sailed swiftly on the bitterly cold ocean waters heading unknowingly into the pages of history. On board this luxurious ocean liner were many rich and famous people. At the time of the ship's launch, it was the world's largest man-made moveable object. At 11:40 p.m. on that fateful night, an iceberg scraped the ship's starboard side, showering the decks with ice and ripping open six watertight compartments. The sea poured in.

On board the ship that night was John Harper and his much-beloved six-year-old daughter Nana. According to documented reports, as soon as it was apparent that the ship was going to sink, John Harper immediately took his daughter to a lifeboat. It is reasonable to assume that this widowed preacher could have easily gotten on board this boat to safety; however, it never seems to have crossed his mind. He bent down and kissed his precious little girl; looking into her eyes he told her that she would see him again someday. The flares going off in the dark sky above reflected the tears on his face as he turned and headed towards the crowd of desperate humanity on the sinking ocean liner.

As the rear of the huge ship began to lurch upwards, it was reported that Harper was seen making his way up the deck yelling, "Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!" It was only minutes later that the Titanic began to rumble deep within. Most people thought it was an explosion; actually the gargantuan ship was literally breaking in half. At this point, many people jumped off the decks and into the icy, dark waters below. John Harper was one of these people.

That night 1528 people went into the frigid waters. John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal. Mr. Harper swam up to one young man who had climbed up on a piece of debris. Rev. Harper asked him between breaths, "Are you saved?" The young man replied that he was not.

Harper then tried to lead him to Christ only to have the young man who was near shock, reply no. John Harper then took off his life jacket and threw it to the man and said, "Here then, you need this more than I do..." and swam away to other people. A few minutes later Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to salvation. Of the 1528 people that went into the water that night, six were rescued by the lifeboats. One of them was this young man on the debris.

Four years later, at a survivors meeting, this young man stood up and in tears recounted how that after John Harper had led him to Christ. Mr. Harper had tried to swim back to help other people,yet because of the intense cold, had grown too weak to swim. His last words before going under in the frigid waters were, "Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved." Does Hollywood remember this man? No. Oh well, no matter. This servant of God did what he had to do. While other people were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats and selfishly trying to save their own lives, John Harper gave up his life so that others could be saved. John Harper was truly the hero of the Titanic!

Author Unknown. Sources for this article: "The Titanic's Last Hero" by Moody Press 1997," John Climie, George Harper, & Bill Guthrie from "Jesus Our Jubilee Ministries" in Dallas, Oregon

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All Your Anxiety
Is there a heart o'er bound by sorrow?
Is there a life weighed down by care?
Come to the cross- each burden bearing,
All your anxiety - leave it there.

No other friend so keen to help you,
No other friend so quick to hear;
No other place to leave your burden,
No other one to hear your prayer.

Come then at once - delay no longer!
Heed His entreaty kind and sweet;
You need not fear a disappointment -
You shall find peace at the mercy seat.

All your anxiety, all your care,
Bring to the mercy seat - leave it there;
Never a burden He cannot bear,
Never a friend like Jesus!
 - Words and music by Edward H. Joy

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Thursday, February 17, 2011


In the previous post about my mother, I mentioned that we were homeschooled. I wanted to add some things about homeschooling that I learned from my experience. I attended a small Christian school for kindergarten through second grade. For third grade, my parents decided to start homeschooling us. I believe the reason for this was because my father worked for the railroad and was out of town working a couple times a week. When he was home, we were often in school. When he was out of town, we were at home. My parents wanted us to be able to spend more time as a family. Since we were doing our school at home, my dad would be able to be with us more on his days off.

Over the years, the reason changed to other things. We moved several times, and sometimes we just didn't have the money to attend a Christian school. And public school was never an option, because of my parents' convictions. Sometimes, there simply wasn't a good Christian school in the area that we could attend, even if we could have afforded it. But my mom, when she first started homeschooling us, decided to homeschool us in such a way that if we ever DID go back to a Christian school, we would be able to fit right in.

For that reason, she set up a large room in our basement. She had a teacher's desk, and each of us kids had a school desk of our own. My dad hung up a chalkboard and a whiteboard on the walls for my mom to teach from. The American flag and the Christian flag were hung up, and we said the pledges every morning. We had maps, charts, and a globe. My siblings and I had school clothes that we wore during school hours. My mother firmly believed that coming to school in pajamas was ridiculous, just like you wouldn't wear pajamas to a regular school. We had friends that told us that they got up early in the morning, sat in bed with their pajamas on, and did school work by themselves for an hour and a half.......and they called that a school day. We were not so lucky. :) My mom insisted on school starting around the same time a normal school would. We also ended the school day around 3:00 or 3:30, just like a normal school would. We got a lunch break, and also a recess time, when we were in the elementary years.

We had to raise our hands to ask questions, even if it was just to go to the bathroom or get a drink. These were all things that I had been used to when I was in a Christian school, so although it seemed a little silly at the time - since we were at home in our basement - I really think it was important that it seemed as much like school as possible. And it did! My mom taught us all of our classes in our elementary and middle school years. We didn't self-teach, we had actual classes where she taught the material. She listened to our reading in the evenings, and we had to do pretty much all of the homework that the curriculum called for.

We used the Abeka curriculm, based out of Pensacola Christian College and Academy. The Christian school I had previously gone to had also used Abeka, so I was used to it. My mom loved the layout of the curriculum. It had lots of teacher aids and was so user-friendly. But I think the biggest advantage of the Abeka curriculum is the fact that they incorporate Biblical principals right along with education. Every subject was from a Biblical perspective. And Abeka is tough! It demands hard work, dilligence, and self-control. We worked! And my mom worked even harder to know the material and be able to teach us.

Once we got into the highschool grades, my mom felt like she was not able to teach us herself. At that point, my parents purchased the Abeka video program for us to watch. The videos are recorded during actual classes at Pensacola Christian Academy. I loved the video classes, especially the two years of Spanish I took. By the time I was in highschool, we were living in Maryland. Maryland, at least at the time, required homeschoolers to be under an "umbrella" school. So, we did just that. The umbrella school we were under offered highschool classes on Thursdays which were taught be certified teachers. My mom drove us to Thursday classes, and worked on schoolwork in the car with my younger siblings while I was in classes all day. This umbrella school allowed me to take classes I otherwise would not have been able to take. These classes included drama, choir, debate, and science lab. I was able to be in a major dramatic production, The Fiddler on the Roof. We put on three performances of it at a local community college. In science lab, I dissected all kinds of animals, including a baby pig. I'm so glad I got to participate in these extra credit classes, since these were the types of classes homeschoolers often miss out on.

My mom also made sure we had P.E. class. She figured out how much activity we should be doing in order to be considered a class, and for us, that meant jogging each morning for a mile and a half. I had to roll out of bed very early in order to go out jogging and still get ready for school on time, including doing a few basic chores and Bible reading. This was the class that I disliked the most. I am not a jogger. Period. I am definitely not into jogging at 6:30 in the morning on a cold, icy Maryland morning. And to add insult to injury, I had to jog with my very athletic brother, who made sure to point out all the things I was doing wrong. Who knew there was so many incorrect ways to jog? I can laugh about it now, and my brother and I still tease each other about how much we didn't like jogging with each other. But, even though my mom made us jog every morning, I am so thankful she did. Because it really was great exercise, and I learned to push myself more than I thought I could. Well, maybe it was just my brother pushing me. I don't know exactly. :)

I can't tell you the number of times someone looked at us weird when we told them we were homeschooled. It didn't seem to be too popular, and to be honest, we kids often felt embarrassed around our peers because we were homeschooled. I don't feel that way now, as I look back, because of how much like a real school my mom ran things. Alot of people thought homeschoolers weren't getting a good education if they were doing school at home. Some people even thought of homeschoolers as very awkward and socially handicapped. Well, my parents made sure that we had plenty of social interaction with other kids. We attended church activities and spent most of our childhood outside playing with neighbor kids. When I went to college at age 17, I had no problems making friends and adjusting to being on my own for the first time in my life. I'm not saying I was super popular and a big-wig on campus. But I just mean that I felt very prepared for college. I didn't sit in my room and cry because I was homesick. I got out, I met people, I participated in fun activities at college. And because my mom had made sure to run our "home school" like a regular school, I knew exactly how to behave in class. The education I received in elementary and highschool very much prepared me for college, because Abeka is very thorough and in-depth. I highly recommend the Abeka curriculum to anyone looking to homeschool. In my opinion, it is the best out there. But that is just my opinion. :)

I know that it was so much work for my parents to homeschool us, especially my mom. Her days, evenings, and weekends were spent working on school work, either helping us or planning for the next week. She never once complained about having to spend so much time doing those things. I'm so thankful for the sacrifice my parents made to give me a good education.

You may be wondering why I'm doing a post on homeschooling, when my husband and I are invovled in a Christian school ministry. Well, there are still alot of people out there homeschooling, and I feel very passionate about sharing the experience I had growing up. I know there are alot of homeschooling families out there who are not sure how to be successful, and I love sharing what worked for my mom. We are, however, currently serving the Lord in our church's Christian school. I am 100% sold on our Christian school, and I plan to do a post on that very soon. We are in a position to send our children to our Christian school, and we believe that is what God would have us do at this time in our life. For some people, Christian school is simply not an option right now. Maybe they cannot afford it, or there is not a good school in their area. Or perhaps there are those families who feel that the Lord has led them to homeschool. Whatever the reason, homeschooling has become quite popular, and I feel that there are definitely benefits to homeschooling as long as it is done in a correct manner.

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Thoughtful Thursday

My mother was (and continues to be) a wonderful example of a godly housewife and mother. My mother never worked outside the home once she had children. She raised five children, kept a beautifully clean and neat home, and homeschooled all five of us. She made most of our meals from scratch, because we rarely had the money to eat out or get takeout. She got up early, worked hard all day, and often stayed up late, making sure we were all taken care of. When my parents decided to homeschool us when I was in third grade, she set up a school room in our basement. We each had a desk, and we had to say our pledge of allegiance every morning. We had to raise our hand to ask a question, and we had to wear school clothes to school, not pajamas. My mom insisted on regular school hours, usually from 8:30 - 3:30. After school, we changed into playclothes and got to play outside until it was time for homework and helping her with dinner. She drove me and my brother to piano lessons every week, and sat out in the car during our lessons, helping my younger siblings with their spelling words or listening to them read. She got us up early each morning so that we could get ready for school, read our Bibles, and do some basic chores all before school started. We didn't have a dishwasher for most of the time I was growing up, but my dad liked to joke that he actually had five dishwashers (each one of us kids). We kids, however, were not amused by that joke. :) I don't remember the house ever being messy or dirty. She had us pick up after ourselves and help with the cleaning.

I don't remember her even hardly sitting down during the day. When she wasn't teaching, she was cleaning or cooking. Her Sunday afternoons were spent doing hours worth of lesson plans for the upcoming week. Even with how busy she was, I don't remember her complaining. My dad worked for the railroad in Kansas when I was very young, and he was gone overnight quite often. When I was ten, my dad moved our family to Missouri to attend Bible college to train to be a pastor. My dad juggled family, classes, and work for the next 7 years (induding getting his masters), and my mom never complained, that I know of, that my dad had to be busy. I think she accepted it that this is what God had called her to do, just as He had called my dad to train for the ministry. Was it hard? Oh, I'm sure it was, and I'm sure she was exhausted most of the time.

Finances became extremely tight, and we often shopped at a food pantry for cheaper groceries. There was one time when all we had for dinner was potatoes and eggs. That was literally all we had in the house, with no money to buy anything else. It was probably one of the best-tasting meals we ever had, because my parents taught us to be thankful that we at least had that. We certainly didn't go hungry that night. Another time, there was no food in the house, and no money to even buy dinner. It was about 4:30 p.m., and my parents had no idea where dinner was going to come from. The doorbell rang, and it was the pizza man. I don't even remember what pizza place it was from, but I remember very clearly what happened. The man stood there with two pizza boxes. My dad said, "I'm sorry, but we didn't order any pizza." The man explained that the pizzas were ordered and PAID FOR by someone else, and that they were all ours. We were so excited to see God provide at just the right time! I remember my mom telling my dad that she was willing to get a job to help out when things were so tight. She didn't do this because she wanted a job, but because she wanted to help my dad. My dad always told her no, that God would provide for our needs. And He always did! We didn't dress in name-brand clothes, but we certainly had enough clothes and we never had to miss a meal.

My dad always made sure we children understood the sacrifice my mom made for us growing up. My mom gave up everything to make sure we had a comfortable homelife and an excellent education. She had almost no free time for herself. She did without for herself, time and time again to put us kids and my dad first. And like I said, she never complained. We saw her doing all of this with a cheerful, willing heart, not grudgingly. To me, she was a wonderful example of a godly wife, mother, teacher, and homemaker. There were times when people ridiculed our family for the sacrifices my parents made. Homeschooling was not extremely popular back then, and neither was being a stay-at-home mom with no outside-the-home-career. In fact, it still is unpopular, for a wife and mom to be a homemaker. Society often dictates that a woman will feel more fulfilled if she holds down a successful career in the workplace. As a result, fewer women are interested in the true work and sacrifice of being a homemaker. But being a homemaker is a God-given calling, and in that, there is great fulfillment as a woman, as a wife, and as a mother.

photo by me

So True


Friday, February 11, 2011

Too Blessed to Be Stressed

I'm too blessed to be stressed and
too anointed to be disappointed!

I refuse to be discouraged,
To be sad or to cry.
I refuse to be downhearted
And here's the reason why.

I have a God Who is Almighty;
Who is Sovereign and Supreme;
I have a God Who loves me,
And I am on His team.

He is all wise and powerful;
Jesus is His Name;
Though everything else is changeable,
My God remains the same.

I refuse to be defeated.
My eyes are on my GOD.
He has promised to be with me,
As through this life I trod.

I am looking past my circumstances,
To heaven's throne above.
My prayers have reached the heart of God.
I am resting in His love.

I give thanks to Him in everything.
My eyes are on His face.
The battle is His; the victory is mine;
He will help me win the race.

I repeat, I'm Too Blessed to Be Stressed!

~Author Unknown

Ever Have a Day Like This?

Dear Lord,
So far today, I am doing all right.
I have not gossiped, lost my temper
been greedy, grumpy, nasty,
selfish or self-indulgent.
I have not whined, complained, cursed,
or eaten any chocolate. I have charged nothing on my credit card.
But I will be getting out of bed in a minute, and
I think that I will really need Your help then.
~Author Unknown

Who's the Fairest?

Mirror, mirror on the wall...
Who's the fairest of them all?
Not the girl with hateful heart,
Poison tongue like stinging dart.
Fairest she, who sheds forth love,
Gentle thoughts from God above.
Beauty blossoms in the face
When the heart is filled with grace.

Mirror, mirror on the wall...
Who's the fairest of them all?
Not the girl with sullen eye,
Pouting lips that fret, defy.
Fairest she, whose moods are bright,
Happy rainbows of delight.
Faces wreathed in joy declare
God's own beauty dwelling there.

Mirror, mirror on the wall...
Who's the fairest of them all?
Not the unchaste, brazen maid,
Flaunting, flippant, unafraid.
Fairest she, whose heart is pure,
Manner modest, glance demure.
Virtue crowns this girl a queen
For her life shines true and clean.

Mirror, mirror, tell me who
Can my countenance renew?
Jesus Christ, God's righteous Son,
Altogether Lovely One!
Fairest of Ten Thousand! Yes,
He can give you loveliness!

~ Author Unknown

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to get rid of Complaining

I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. ~ Psalms 34:1

It's so easy to be thankful and praise the Lord during good times. It's not always easy to do that during difficult times. Complaining is nothing more than unbelief. It is saying to God, I do not believe You are going to work this problem for my good. It doesn't matter if it's a small thing like the weather, or a big thing like an illness or losing your job. I'm really having to learn this lesson alot lately. I don't always feel thankful when something I don't like happens, but just saying thank you to God and starting to praise Him for Who He is and what He has done for me gets rid of that complaining attitude.

photo by me - Key West, Florida

Encouragement in the Lord

David is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. There is a story in I Samuel 30 that records the events that occured after the Amalekites raided and burned Ziklag, David's home. David and his men had been living in the Philistine camp for a time, but were now returning home, only to find their wives and families had been taken captive. David became distressed, for his own men, who blamed David for this trajedy, wanted to stone him to death.

I love how the Bible says, "...David encouraged himself in the LORD his God." He didn't try to figure out the problem on his own, he didn't lean on his own feelings or wisdom, he didn't even turn to a friend for encouragement. David took his problem straight to God, and found peace in Him. And I think it is significant that he sought counsel from God first before he did anything else. He didn't make his own plans, and then expect God to approve his plans. He asked God for direction, and God gave him confirmation of what to do. Then, David simply believed God had already given him the victory over Amalek, and he went on to defeat them and recover his family and the families of his men.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The End of Myself is the Beginning of God

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. ~ Isaiah 40:28
Isn't it a comfort to know that God never gets overwhelmed? He never says, "I don't have time for you today, because too many other people need me right now." He is interested in all aspects of our lives, and is never too tired to care for us, guide us, teach us, protect us.

Ready Or Not

Ready Or Not - Preparing Today for a Young Woman's Tomorrow, by Sara Carlson, is an excellent book especially for pre-teen and teenage girls. It talks about seeking God's will for your life, and explains key principles from God's Word in order to be able to better understand and obey God's Word. Sara writes, "Have you...set an agenda; or are you acknowledging God's hand in your future? Are you seeking what you want in life, or are you determined to follow God's plan?" This book is extremely beneficial for adult women as well, because the principles of complete surrender of our lives to God is needful at any age. It would also be helpful for mothers of girls, regardless of their daughter's age, to read this book. For me, my daughter is only three, but the truths in this book have already challenged me to think about how I can raise her to be prepared to serve God in the future.

Sara is the wife of evangelist Troy Carlson, who is also the Director of West Branch of the Bill Rice Ranch in Arizona. For more information about the Bill Rice Ranch or to order the book Ready Or Not, you can visit their website here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Favorite Food Blog

Gina over at Skinny Taste posts some pretty awesome recipes! She has a good mix of "traditional" American food along with some more ethnic foods, too. And the pictures are fabulous as well. I tend to not try a new recipe unless I can see a picture of it beforehand. In other words, the picture is what usually sells me on making that recipe. A few of our favorites include Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken, Turkey Zucchini Burgers, Cilantro Lime Shrimp, and Skinny Strawberry Romanoff. The recipes are pretty healthy, and Gina does all the work to calculate out the Weight Watcher points - so win, win! (She has done the calculations for the old Weight Watcher points, as well as the new system, Points Plus!)

Note: She does post some recipes that use alcohol. I just skip over those since we do not drink or cook with alcohol.

Think on these things

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
~ Phillipians 4:8

All too often, we allow ourselves to think about the wrong things. We choose to dwell on some hurt that was done to us, or we worry about our finances, our family, our health. Our mind is filled with fears and doubts which rob us of our joy in the Lord and His peace that passes all understanding. Let go of bitterness and be forgiving. Let go of a doubting spirit, and trust the Lord to work that troubling thing to your good. Make the choice today to think on things that are true and lovely and of good report.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bible in Living Sound

One of the gifts we bought our children this year for Christmas was the first volume of the Bible in Living Sound CDs. It is a set of 10 CDs with 60 dramatized stories from the Bible, from Creation up to the Exodus of the Israelites. It's a great way for the children to learn the stories in the Bible! They offer stories from the Old and New Testament, and their prices are pretty reasonable (MP3 format is also available). They even have a great warranty for replacing the CDs after alot of use. Visit their website here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jeff's Happy Day

When I was growing up, one of my favorite books was Jeff's Happy Day. It starts out with a little boy named Jeff who is bored one day during the summer. He has plenty of toys to play with, but he just doesn't want to do any of the things he usually likes. His mother gently admonishes him to start looking for little blessings that are given by God each day. Jeff goes on with his day, wondering just what his mother meant. Throughout the course of the day, he learns to enjoy funny cloud shapes in the sky, a little bird taking care of its babies, some bees busily working among some beautiful flowers, and a visit with a neighbor who shares some vegetables from her garden, and lemonade and cookies for a snack. At the end of the day, Jeff realizes that all of these things were little gifts from God, and that God gives many blessings each and every day if we will just look for them and be thankful to Him. I love this story! Spending the day looking for and being thankful for God's abundant blessings in my life makes all the difference in my attitude. It completely turns the day around from discouragement and discontentment to joy and peace.