Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Honoring Your Husbands

You see it all over the internet.
Women complaining about their husbands.
Talking about their misgivings.
Making remark after remark about how their husband's never do anything around the house, or don't help with the children, or go have a beer after work or leave their laundry on the floor ... and much more.
This happens on twitter, facebook, blogger, in forums, and in person.
And it's a constant that many women do without even thinking about it.

The bible tells us over and again that wives are to "submit" to our husbands and to "revere" them. Honoring our husbands is biblical truth.

When I have a Christian friend complain to me about her husband or her marriage, my first question to her is always, "Have you submitted to your husband?" More often than not, they balk at that idea. "Submission" is not a modern ideal for women. But if your Christian marriage isn't working, perhaps that is the problem.

When we speak ill of our husbands, especially in public, it is not only disrespectful but it is not biblical. In doing so, you are neither honoring nor submitting to your husband. This is something that I have had on my heart for some time, so today I'm going to talk to you about ways that you can get over it, submit and honor your husband.

1) Ask his opinion on major life decisions. Should you buy that house? What about that car? What does he think about you quitting your day job and being a stay at home mom? Where does he stand on your desire to homeschool?

2) LISTEN and RESPECT his thoughts on things. Don't just say "mmm-hmm" then go back to what you were doing and do whatever you want anyway. Actively listen. Ask questions about why he feels the way he does. If you don't agree with each other, what compromise can you come to? And if it's something he is strongly convicted too ...

3) Be prepared to let him have the final say. That's right. You might have to relinquish control over something.

4) Compromise. Yes. That means you just might have to make a sacrifice. But so will he. You both will be giving something up, but you will also both be gaining something. It's a win-win.

5) Communicate. Contrary to popular belief, men are not mind readers. I love my husband, but when it comes to my thoughts he's pretty clueless. That means that if I'm upset or irritated about something, if I don't tell him he won't know! If I hate that ratty t-shirt and I don't say anything about it, there is no way he's going to know. If he said something hurtful and I don't tell him about it, it won't fix the situation at all! That being said ...

6) Sometimes it's best to let things go. Constantly being mad at your husband over something little and insignificant is not conducive to a happy Christian marriage. So he leaves something on the floor? Either ask him to pick it up or do it yourself. Either way, it gets done.

7) Don't say mean things to or about him in public. Publicly chastising your husband only accomplishes one thing - it makes him feel like crap (pardon the expression).

8) Do nice things, just because EVEN WHEN HE DOESN'T. Because, believe me, eventually HE WILL. Yes. I am speaking from experience.

9) Pray with him and for him. Every day. Invest in a couple's bible study. Lift each other up spiritually.

10) And this is a biggie and may be one of the hardest: FORGIVE HIM. When he does something stupid, when he hurts you, when he leaves his whiskers in the sink or his socks on the floor. When he yells at the kids or forgets to pay a bill. When he doesn't take out the trash ... FORGIVE HIM.

11) Spend time getting to know him. Talk to him. Sit with him and enjoy a tv show - even if it's one you don't like. Renew that spark that got you interested in the first place.

12) Remember why you married him in the first place. There was a reason you agreed to walk down the aisle with your husband. What was it? What attracted you to him in the start? What made you want to spend the rest of your life with him? Think about it - is that reason still there?

Marriage is hard. It's not supposed to be easy. If it were, then everyone would be doing it and the divorce rate would be at a zero (ironically after reading this to my husband, his response was "Marriage isn't hard! At least, not for me!" Ah ... My work here is done ...). But the bottom line is this, we, as wives, have a certain responsibility to our husbands. In some cases, we are the ones carrying our marriages for years. But if we press on and remember that GOD should always come first, then things will, over time, improve.

Please note though that if your husband is abusive to you or your children, is continually unfaithful to you, or is involved in illegal activity, it is biblically sound to not stay in that relationship . If you are in a situation like this, please call and get help from someone.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Home Organization 101: A 14 Week Challenge At Bowl Full of Lemons

As you all know, I struggle with organization.
Fly Lady is awesome, but I really think I'm beyond her help at this point.
Then a friend on facebook posted something from a blog called Bowlful of Lemons.
She is having a 14 week challenge in getting your home completely organized top to bottom ...
It was a total God-thing to me, and exactly what I needed.
So, this Saturday I joined the challenge!
Each Monday I will update you on how things have gone for the week, my ups downs, successes and failures. I am excited at what will happen on this journey!

This week we're in the kitchen!
The object is to empty everything out of every cabinet and drawer, get rid of what you don't use/need and organize what you DO.
This has been fairly simple for me, so far, because I actually started this process last week, before I even knew about this challenge, so I started ahead of the game, already half-done!

I also will be cleaning off the fridge, inside and out, and organizing under the sink as well.
I leave for St. Louis (I'm going to see Joyce Meyer!!!) on Wednesday, so I have three days to get it all done ... So here's hoping I can do it AND keep up with the kids schoolwork AND keep up with everything else I'm doing to attempt to keep the house clean, LOL!

If you're interested in joining the challenge, visit Bowlful of Lemons and go for it! Let me know how you're doing, too! Inquiring minds want to know! ;-)

This week I'm linking up with my friend Nan over at Mom's The Word for her Making Your Home Sing weekly link up! Go show her some love!! :-)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Mom's Perspective of Miley Cyrus and the VMA's ...

As a rule, I don't watch the MTV Music Awards. They just aren't the same since MTV became more about the TV and less about the M. So I didn't think anything about it last night. Didn't even know it was on until I began seeing post after post talking about Miley Cyrus' embarrassing performance with Robin Thicke.
If you haven't yet seen the video, take a look:

Be sure to watch in its entirety, and yes that's important, because I am about to dissect this performance a bit ...

First off, I want to say that this performance was not shocking in the least. At least, not for me (okay, well, admittedly the giant foam finger was a bit much ...). Let's not forget performances of past VMA's involvoing Madonna, P!nk, Fergie, Lady Gaga, and others. People watch the VMA's to be shocked - at least that's why we all did in the 80's and 90's, and if we weren't, we were disappointed: "That was the most boring VMA's ever!" we would exclaim on the bus or at our lockers the next day. One particular favorite moment was Madonna and Britney locking lips. Or Madonna's performance of Like a Virgin. Or Madonna's bringing out the Drag Queen Brigade for Ray of Light. Or Madonna grabbing herself during Express Yourself, or Madonna's Marie Antoinette's rendition of Vogue, or Madonna's  ... Well, you get the picture ... The point is, for people to say how "shocking" Miley's performance is really inaccurate. It wasn't shocking. Not in the least.

Miley Cyrus came onto the scene in 2006 when Hannah Montana premiered on the Disney Channel. While her fun and quirky acting style was immediately obvious, it was her voice that made people stand up and take notice. Billy Ray's little girl could SING. But even so, she was still "Billy Ray's Little Girl". In fact, for the entirety of the show's run, and well after, she was "Billy Ray's Little Girl". Not once was she ever just "Miley" on her own terms. Not only that, but because she was "Billy Ray's Little Girl" and a "Disney Kid" she was expected to maintain a squeaky-clean image. So much so that she couldn't even sneeze sideways without a frenzy of media hate. You put those expectations on a kid while they're trying to live up to daddy's shadow and things happen ...

First was the "salvia incident". First off, for a kid to be experimenting with ANY drug is on the parents. Yep. I blame Billy Ray for that one. Know your kids, know their friends ... And don't give them a reason to WANT to try drugs.

Next came the "Can't Be Tamed" video. It was an image of a little girl struggling to grow up on her own terms.

Miley was in and out of the news after that for a string of media moments, including a DUI and speculation of drug use, but nothing major until now.

When you watch the video, the image of a little girl lost comes to mind. In some ways, it's saddening. In others, empowering.

It's empowering on the level that she is finally making a name for herself on her terms, not her father's. She's coming into her own. She is trying to break the image of "Billy Ray's Little Girl" and morph into her own image.

It's saddening because the image she's trying to morph into still isn't her own. Not really. I didn't see Miley Cyrus. Instead, I saw a compilation of P!nk, Madonna, Lady Gaga ... It was although she was trying to get as many shocking performers as she could and fit them all into one persona.

But taking the image of a 14 year old Miley Cyrus out of the picture, and watching the performance for the performance itself, it was nothing like the frenzy suggests.

In fact, as far as VMA performances go, it was one of the better ones. The fact is, no matter how you look at it, they were having fun up there. Even though people said that her vocals were "all over the place," I have to disagree. As a performer myself, I know how hard it is to be moving around up there and REALLY sing. Yes. She was REALLY SINGING. NOT lipsynching like 99.9% of singers and musicians do now days. Let's see how spot-on your vocals are after 50 jumping jacks ...

Everyone is so quick to judge Miley. Why is that? She did nothing different than many performers of MTV's past. She's going through a "wild phase" that so many young people go through at that age. In fact, some of those same young people are now amazing adult performers. So why make a big deal of it? Just turn your heads and get over it.

P.S. While the media frenzy over Miley was happening here, this was going on in Wisconsin, this was happening in Japan, and this was going on in Syria. Now, which do you think we should be more worried about?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pinterest Fails!

I have found a new website that is my new-found addiction.
It's called Pinterest Fail. I'll give you a second while you go take a look ...



Yeah, that second turned into HOURS, didn't it?
It did for me too.
This site is so funny and TRUE to life!!
If you've ever been on Pinterest you know the way it can just suck you in for hours at a time
And, really, who does some of these things?
Well, Pinterest Fail shows you who - and what happens when they do!
Some of these are disturbing, some just sad, but most of them are funny because you know that's exactly what would happen to you if you tried said activity.

In honor of this great website, once a month I will be featuring my own Pinterest Fail - and who knows it might end up on the web site!

So keep watching - and while your at it, go ahead and comment about your own Pinterest Fails - and even successes if you have a few!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tasty Tuesday!! Chicken Not-Pie Skillet!

Happy Tuesday everyone!!!

So I'm learning slowly but surely that CARBS ARE NOT MY FRIEND.
It's kinda a bummer, but it is what it is.
So, I'm having to re-invent the wheel, so to speak

I don't like substitutions much - you can use spaghetti squash or cauliflower or whatever, but seriously, it's just not the same. So rather than substitute, I'm figuring out ways to make it so that the starch is not even missed!

The following recipe is what I call a "morpher" - that means that it can start out one way, then you can change or add ingredients at will to make it a completely different meal. It's great, especially in WLS patient families because we can use the leftovers the next night to make a completely new meal.

Also, please note that these ingredients are NOT set in stone! Don't like chicken? Use pork! Hate onions? Skip 'em! Use ingredients that YOU love and make it your own!

The one on the left is my serving, the one on the right is for my hubby.
Serving sizes are: WLS Patient Serving 1/2 C
                     Regular Serving 1 C

Chicken Not-Pie Skillet

2 T Olive Oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium onion (any color) chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 can low-sodium green beans (Or fresh, if you prefer), drained

1 can cream of chicken soup (low-sodium)
1 T Heavy cream
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed high sided skillet over medium heat until it begins to glisten. Add onions and zucchini and saute until tender. Add chicken and continue to saute until chicken is no longer pink. Add green beans and sauce ingredients and stir to combine. Continue to cook, stirring often, until heated through and bubbly. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes, covered. This allows the chicken to finish cooking through and the sauce to thicken.


Add Ins:
CHEESE!!! Make a version of chicken spaghetti without the spaghetti!! Trust me, this is so good you won't miss the pasta.

ENCHILADA SAUCE!!! For that craving we ALL get - try topping with some Monterey jack and sour cream for that ULTIMATE feast!

HERBS!! The sky is the limit here - rosemary, thyme, basil, sage - whatever your mood! The fresher the better!!

MORE VEGGIES!!! Put in as many veggies as you can stand! Trust me - they're ALL good like this!

Got it? Now, go try it!!
And if you make it, leave a comment and tell me how it worked out for you!
God Bless!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Organization Update! Boxes, Boxes, and more Boxes . . .

Happy Monday everyone! I'm linking up today with my sweet friend Nan over at Mom's the Word for her weekly link up Making Your Home Sing Monday! Head over there and check her out and send her some love!!

So, if you recall last week's post, I'm having issues with organization.
Yeah ... I guess that's kind of an understatement.
But last week, I decided to finally get it under control!
And, little by little, it's happening.

So, what did I accomplish last week?

I decluttered two drawers, four boxes, the piano, and a bookshelf.
I got the kitchen, dining room, and living room floors picked up and rid of all the trash collecting in them, well, until the dogs dragged more out, but that's taken care of too!
I had our couch cleaned off - then the kids and the hubbs piled stuff on it again...
It's weird, because just saying "I decluttered the living room" sounds like it wasn't a whole lot, but it was an ORDEAL. It took two days in itself.

I am learning that it is a process. I have to make habits daily, and stick with them even when I don't want to.
So, I've formed a "battle plan" of things that MUST be done daily without question and without whining about it:

Two loads of laundry - wash, fold, put away
Picking up around house (that's almost hourly)
Cleaning the kitchen
Straightening the bathroom
And decluttering for a few minutes at a time.

Now, the issue is the boxes of decluttered stuff I know have around my house, but that's okay because I think the boxes are better than the clutter . . . Well, to an extent. Plus those will be gone soon too. Although I may have to rethink my packing strategy - books in a large plastic container aren't easy to move . . .

So, my battle plan for this week is to continue doing what I've been doing! I'm going to finish getting the living room ready, make a delivery to the local Hospice thrift store, get my laundry room organized and finish cleaning the bathroom. If I have time this week, I'll start on getting the kitchen reorganized, but I'm not going to push it.

Yesterday I was feeling very overwhelmed and had a friend pray with me at church. After, I felt rejuvenated. I know I can do this - and I know that God can help me through!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Conjuring: A Christian's Persepective

I admit it.
I'm a sucker for a good ghost story.
The old classics: Haunting of Hill House, The House on Haunted Hill, even movies like The Amityville Horror and Poltergeist give me a thrill.
Yes, I love a good ghost story.
I am also a huge fan of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
I have known about the Warren family and followed their cases since I was a young teenager.
They are (well, were - Ed has since passed) devout Christians and strong believers in the power of God's word and of His message.
They have ministered and witnessed to thousands, and have helped many of that number with hauntings. As a result, Ed and Lorraine Warren have turned many people to Christ.
I think that's what I admire most about them.
There are a lot that the Warrens were and are into that I don't necessarily believe in, but I believe in what they stood for first and foremost - God and His Salvation through His son Christ.

I have studied several of Ed and Lorraine's cases - including the Lutz case, the Annabel doll case, and many others. Some of them I believe have been over-analyzed and, of course, dramatized. But a few I know beyond a shadow of a doubt are real. The Perron case is one of these.

For those that don't know the story, the Perron family moved into a farmhouse in Rhode Island in the 1970's. From the get-go, unexplained events started, eventually getting so bad that they sought help from the Warren family. After initial investigation, the Warrens discovered a demonic presence in the house, and went through the process to be approved for an exorcism of the location through the Catholic church (they are Catholics themselves). Without giving too much of the film away, I will leave it at that, although my own research into the story has shown that what the Perron family experienced was, indeed, terrifying beyond anything that most of us can imagine. To the point which some of the children (now grown) refuse to even speak of their experiences.

When I first started seeing trailers for The Conjuring, I was intrigued, but worried. I didn't want this to be "just another horror movie". I am a devout Christian, and I was hopeful (albeit a little doubtful) that they would include that part of Ed and Lorraine as it was such a prominent part of their lives and their work. I am pleased to say that they not only included that aspect, but it was a central theme in the film. At one point in time, Ed looks at the Perron father and says "Are you in church? It might not be a bad idea ..." He continued to witness to this family throughout the film (as he did in reality) about the reality of demons and Satan - and how the only power strong enough to fight them is God.

Another aspect I was hopeful for, was to see a bit of Ed and Lorraine as a partnership in life. Again, I was not disappointed. Lorraine Warren is quoted as say that her husband Ed was her, "first and only. There was no one before, and there is no one after." Their love for one another was so strong and sure - and they both attributed that to their strength in Faith.  They believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that God brought them together for a purpose - they were doing God's work. Again, I was not disappointed and this was again brought about as a central theme of the movie.

The final thing that I was hopeful for was that the filmmakers would be respectful of the true story and not add too much Hollywood garbage into things. While there were a few dramatizations (as you would expect), the film pretty well stuck to what really happened. I knew that Lorraine Warren herself had consulted on the film, but what I didn't know was that Ed actually got the ball rolling on it about twenty years ago, prior to his death in 2006. Additionally, the Perron family themselves also consulted on the film. This resulted in a film that was both true-to-life and respectful of both the family involved and the story itself.

The only aspect of the film that I did not like and would have taken out was a doll named Annabelle. This doll was from a completely different case and had nothing to do with the Perron family or their story. You can read about Annabelle's story here. Why Hollywood decided to include it is beyond me. Some of the trailers actually include this doll (which, by the way is a Raggedy Ann doll, not a creepy-looking porcelain doll) which leaves one to mistakenly believe the story is around Annabelle, when it is, in fact, not.

The story surrounding this film is one that can, literally, happen to anyone. Demons are real. There is no way to get around that. They are real, and they don't want us close to God, so they will do what they can to pull us from Him when we allow it. People do get plagued by them - every day. Some just plague us in little ways - telling us lies to make us feel bad or sorry for ourselves or to interfere with work we may be doing in God's honor. But others can affect us in bigger ways - wrecking havoc on our very lives and, in some cases, putting our very souls in jeopardy.

So how does one protect themselves from such diabolical attacks?
It's simple, don't bring it into your lives.
Don't get involved with anything occult in nature.
Don't do anything that would open you up to demonic attack.
Pray often - forge a strong relationship with Christ, not just in religion, but in spirit as well.
Accept him into your heart as your personal savior, if you haven't already.
Read the bible, and immerse yourself in God's word.
If you haven't been baptized, do so - it truly helps strengthen your relationship with Christ.
Get into a good church that you love.
If you do feel that something is going on in your life, speak with your pastor or priest - they will pray with you and, if you need further help, will guide you on the biblical principals that will help you get through your situation.

As a Christian, I feel that it is important to focus solely on God and His Higher Purpose for your life. I truly feel that this is how Ed and Lorraine Warren were - they loved God and they loved People. And when Ed walked into heaven, I feel that God looked at him and said, "well done, good and faithful servant." The Warrens do something that few paranormal investigators do, and that is acknowledge the fact that there is a Higher Power and that He is the one to call on. They took the time to witness to and often pray with those they were helping. They believed that God put them on this earth to help people, and that's what they did every day. In fact, it is what Lorraine still does, every day.

So, was The Conjuring "just another horror movie"? For most that go to see it, it is. But for me, it was so much more than that. It was a story about love, faith, and the power of God.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Learning To Lean On God

I'm linking up with my friend Nan at Mom's The Word for her weekly Making Your Home Sing Monday link-up. Please go over there and show her some love!!

It is really hard to admit that you can't do something on your own.
It is heartbreaking to admit that you need help.
And it's embarrassing to say that you are not strong enough to take something on.
But there comes a time in your life where you have to say "enough is enough" "I just can't do this."
And that's when it's time to let go.
That's when it's time to call on someone to help.
Because what WE cannot handle in the natural,
HE can handle in the supernatural.
What we cannot do,
HE can.
What we cannot handle,
HE will take on for us.
It just takes a little prayer. 

It was hard for me to admit that I couldn't handle this problem on my own.
It was very hard for me to admit that I even had a problem.
"i am a hoarder"
I whispered to myself as I looked at the piles upon piles of books, papers, and clothes.
"i am a hoarder"
I whispered again for good measure.
"i am a hoarder, and i can't handle this problem on my own"
Boy, that stung.
A lot.
"i am a hoarder, and i can't handle this problem on my own. Lord, please help me."
I stared at every pile, every full counter top and prayed.
And prayed.
And prayed.
Then I walked over to one of the junk drawers and cleaned it out.
I threw away trash, stickers, items that I haven't seen or used in a year or more.
It was liberating.
I moved on to a basket and did the same.
Then the dining room table.
I left it at that for that day.
I just didn't want to burn myself out.
And I knew I would do more the next. And the next.
Because I finally understood that I could not do this without God's help and divine favor.
I am finally learning to lean on God.

God bless you. Have a good week.

Friday, June 7, 2013

TMI Friday: A Baby Story

Welcome to another edition of TMI Friday!!
It's been a while since I had a good one to share, but this week's was too, too good . . .

This week we visited an area that I never thought I'd visit.
At least ... Not until my children were 21. 
Or 47 or something.

So my nine-year-old daughter has a new TV obsession:
TLC's "A Baby Story"
This actually comes as no surprise because I watched it ALL the time when I was pregnant with her.
And I'm really okay with it - it's educational, after all. 
But the other day, something dawned on me:
"I wonder if she actually comprehends what's going on here?"

So, I started the typical "mommy cross-examination routine"
The conversation went something like this:

Me: So, E - do you know what's going on here?
Miss E: Yep. That woman is in the first stage of labor. She's only dilated to a two, though.
Me: Do you know what that means?
Miss E: Yeah, the little hole in her cervix is getting bigger to let the baby through.
Me: !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Um... you know what the cervix is?
Miss E: (with a "duh" sound to her voice) Uh, yeah.
Me: Do you know where the baby comes out?
Miss E: Yes, mom. It comes out her vagina.
Me: you know about the . . . wait, did you just call me "mom"??
Miss E: (Gives me "the look")
Me: Well . . .  do you know how the baby GOT there?
Miss E: DUH, Mama - GOD put the baby there. Sheesh.
Me: (breathing a slight sigh of relief that she still doesn't know about THAT part yet ...) Oh, yeah... Right. God put it there. 

So what's YOUR TMI moment for the week? Go on, share in the comments!
Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 13, 2013

FLYing High - Week One Update!

So how did my first week being "back on the wagon" with the FlyLady go?

Something like this:

Day One (Monday)
Baby Step One - DONE . . . Until everyone started putting their dirty dishes in the sink. And I had no place to put them because the dishwasher was full.
Flylady challenge of the day - DONE And the counters I scrubbed even got cleared . . .

Day Two (Tuesday)
Baby Step Two - DONE . . . Dressed to tennis shoes and did my hair. Even washed my face and put on lip gloss!
Flylady challenge of the day - This one did NOT get done. Frankly because I didn't have any storage containers that I needed to toss. Also, I ended up going out of town on a doctor's appointment that day.

Day Three (Wednesday)
Baby Step Three - DONE . . . It's easy to do the same thing over again!
Flylady challenge of the day - DONE - This one actually inspired me to organize my coffee area!

Day Four (Thursday)
Baby Step Four - DONE . . . Sticky notes are cheap. Why not utilize them?
Flylady challenge of the day - DONE - Already done when I shined my sink on Day one!

Day Five (Friday)
Baby Step Five - DONE! In fact, I did this twice - once on paper and once in my head!
Flylady Challenge of the day -I didn't do this one - I was out of town with my mom on a surprise outing!

Day Six (Saturday)
Baby Step Six - Done! I found several "hot spots". I didn't put them all out, because honestly, we have way too many! But I did take stock of where they are and why they're hot spots!
Flylady Challenge of the day - There was none.

Day Seven (Sunday)
Baby Step Seven - DONE! Actually, I did this on Saturday night too! Picking out what I'm wearing the next day sure helps things in the morning.
Flylady Challenge of the day - There wasn't one.

Other things I accomplished:
I got back on my morning routine.
I got caught up on laundry (this was no easy feat!!!)
I got my kitchen clean!

This week I am linking up with my friend Nan at Mom's The Word for her weekly link up Making Your Home Sing Monday! Want to join the fun? Hop over there and find out how!

Monday, May 6, 2013

FLYing High!

Have you heard of the Fly Lady?
Her REAL name is Marla Cilley and she runs this amazing website.
Why is she so cool?
Well . . . Remember this post a few days ago?
She's going to help me get over it.

Once upon a time I was a "Fly Baby" - I shined my sink, did the challenges daily, the whole works.
Where did I go wrong?

So many places.
First of all I never finished all of her Beginner Baby Steps.
Second, I didn't wear shoes every day (does this REALLY matter? I don't know, but it MIGHT!)
Third, I never got around to doing a household binder.
Finally . . . I just never kept my motivation going.

So I'm starting over. From Baby Step 1 (yes, my sink is SHINY!)
I invite you to join me! Each week I will update how I did the week before - what days I had problems and why.
Today I shined my sink.
Who knows what tomorrow may bring!

Linking up today with my friend Nan over at Mom's The Word for her weekly link up "Making Your Home Sing Monday"! Go check her out!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cleaning Rant

So, it's no secret that I'm not exactly the most organized person on the planet.
Maybe "really messy" would be a better way to describe me.
Sadly, it's not just me.
It's my whole family.
And that's not a joke.
So what's a mom to do?
I mean, seriously, what AM I to do?
I'd like to make my home inviting, but it's next to impossible when I have everyone's stuff lying around all over the place. Or I have 50,000 things that need a home, but don't have one. Or the dog rips up someone's stuff, and said person doesn't want to clean it up.
I would LOVE to be the world's most organized person, and if I had the money and about a week without my kids, it could be done!
But, I don't. And that will never happen.
So . . . There you have it.
So that's our home.
Lots of mess, and no one that wants to clean up after themselves.
It is extremely frustrating.
I've tried everything:
Throwing stuff away doesn't work. Because "what if we need it someday?"
Selling things or giving them away doesn't work because they never seem to make it out of the house.
And when I DO get a room clean, it's messy again in no time.
So, this is a plea to all my readers out there.
Seriously, any advice?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sadness, The Nation Throughout

This week has been filled with so much heartache, sadness, fear, and loss.

There are many things that have happened that will never hit the news.
Like the death of two people caused by a drunk driver. These two were friends and bandmates of one of my personal favorite bands, Tartanic - who I try to go see every time I hit a renaissance festival.

Some things graced the news for only a few moments, then were forgotten and overshadowed by more prominent events.
Like the murder of a pregnant woman by the hands of her boyfriend in Dallas which was shortly overshadowed by a much larger tragedy:

The Bombing in Boston
Which caused much confusion and speculation across the nation.

And then there was the explosion in West, Texas.
This one especially hit home with me, as West is a destination my husband and I take every year. On our way to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, Tx, we stop in West for Kolaches - on the way there and back. I love this town and everything that it stands for. At one time, Qeelin and I pondered over the idea of moving that direction.

They say that these things happen in three's - both locally and nationally. It makes me wonder which of these was number three and which was starting over with a new count.

It also makes me think of our Nation as a whole. I have witnessesed the power of community through these tragedies. Throughout history we have proven time and again to overcome any adversity that comes our way. We survived the Revolution. We survived the Civil War. We survived Pearl Harbor and two world wars. We survived Mt. Rushmore, the earthquake in San Francisco, space shuttle deaths, and numerous hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes. We survived Oklahoma City and Timothy McVey. We survived Waco and the Branch Davidians. We survived 9/11, the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and many, many more terrorist attacks. We survived every single president ever elected including two Bushes, a Clinton and a Nixon. Chances are good that we will not only survive, we will overcome.

The United States, as a Nation, is a fighter. We may go down a few times, but we come back swinging. We ALWAYS come back. And in reality, it doesn't even matter who's sitting in the Oval Office. The president does nothing to help us overcome - he never has. We have done that on our own.

Together we stand. Together we fall.
This week has been a tough one for our country, and there will probably be more.
But we will overcome.
We will come back swinging.
Because we are AMERICANS. And that's how we roll.

God bless America.
God bless us, EveryOne.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Conservative for Marriage Equality

I am conservative.
I believe in small government.
I believe that abortion is murder.
I believe that God is real, and that Christians have every right to express themselves.
But I also believe in marriage equality.

Many of my Christian friends balk at this. In their minds, marriage is between a man and a woman, period.
I respectfully disagree with this. Because Facebook is a terrible place to get in an argument, and people tend to not fully read or understand what's being said, I felt that a blog post was the best place to explain my stance and my viewpoint.

The main debate about marriage equality surrounds the biblical definition on marriage. The term "marriage" is never actually defined in the bible. Anywhere. It talks about husbands and wives, it describes weddings, and it goes into "sexual immorality", but it doesn't ever talk about the word "marriage".

In fact, marriage is never given a clear definition until Karl Marx defined it in his manifesto. Yes. I said Karl Marx. You know, the communist? His definition is what has been used since the 1800's. I don't know about my other conservative friends, but I sort of shy away from ANYTHING that has a communistic history. And THAT is what the United States has used to define marriage. Not the Bible. Not the Constitution. The Communist Manifesto. Scary, isn't it?

My second reason for supporting marriage equality is this: marriage in the United States is a legally binding contract between two adults. A contract. Two people of the same gender can enter into business contracts, property ownership contracts, and can adopt children together. How is a marriage licence any different, legally speaking?

My next reason is this: we don't want government involvement in our religion, we don't like it in our education (which is why so many are turning to homeschooling), and we don't like it in other very important aspects of our lives. Why are we allowing it to regulate marriage? If we allow the government to regulate who we can marry, what's stopping them from regulating where and how we can worship, where and how we can educate our children, and what we can and can't do for a living?

My final thoughts: Marriage equality is not, and should not be, a religious issues. Religion has nothing to do with a legal contract and should not. That's one of the points of our founding fathers when they created the constitution - separation of church and state. I am not going to go into how I feel about homosexuality in and of itself - that's another issue all together and really has no bearing on the marriage issue in my mind. The two are completely separate for me.

Yes. I am a conservative.
Yes. I am for marriage equality.
And yes, I hope I just made you think.
God bless us, everyone.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Great Giveaway You Don't Want To Miss!

Do you homeschool? Do you like science? Are you a big nerd? Then this is the giveaway for you!!
My good friend Jennifer over at Shoe Nation: The Fashion Hungry Mommy is giving away three - THREE - science kits!! I don't know about you, but I am JUMPING on this one!!

Run over there and check out this AMAZING GIVEAWAY!
Trust me, you DON'T want to miss out!!
Go! NOW!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Homeschooling: Teaching Spelling: Is It THAT Important?

There is a raging debate among homeschoolers. Weather or not to formally teach your kids spelling.
There are to sides to this debate, and both sides have very logical reasonable stats to back up their claims.
As a new homeschooler who's child absolutely hates spelling, this topic has been a very important one for me. What are the pros of formal spelling? What are the cons? So I did my research (as I always recommend you do!). Here's what I found (Please remember that my personal beliefs do not necessarily coincide with some of the beliefs here.):

Why Formal Spelling Isn't Important:
Aside from the fact that we now have technological advances such as spell check and auto correct, there are other reasons why formal instruction in spelling is not as important as you might think.
First of all, if your child is an avid reader, they will learn words through repetition. If your child loves to write, going over words that they misspelled in their writing and showing them the correct spelling of it is usually sufficient.

Why Formal Spelling IS Important
While we have special technologies now to assist us with spelling, we have to be able to be close enough to a word for spell-check to catch it. Some words are so "out there" on their spellings, that autocorrect and spell check can (and do, sometimes) turn it into an entirely different word altogether. Additionally, the time will come someday - weather it's in our lifetime or not - that technology will be obsolete. When that time comes, there will be no more spell check or autocorrect. In order to be able to get their message across clearly, people will have to know how to spell.

Here are my thoughts
Some children need formal spelling, some don't. The entire point of homeschooling our children is to step away from the cookie-cutter views society has for education. Like the TV theme song states: "What right be right for you, might not be right for some . . ." For some children, spelling comes naturally. They just "get it" without ever having to be taught how to do it. For others, no amount of training will ever get their spelling "on par". There's a t-shirt we like that says "bad spellers UNTIE!" (yes, it's supposed to say that.) It just goes to show you that sometimes, it just doesn't work.

I am an amazing speller. I can spell like no other. I can spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious without blinking an eye. My husband, on the other hand, is not an awesome speller. Here's the ironic thing - I passed very few spelling tests in my life. What does THAT tell you?

The point I'm trying to make here is this:
If YOU feel that teaching your child spelling is right for them and for your family, then you should do it!
If YOU feel that it's just "not that important" and that they will learn spelling in other ways, then you should NOT do it!
Am I taking a wishy-washy stance on this? Not at all. I am vehemently AGAINST formal spelling instruction for my children for many reasons. But I admit that I am not the majority.

For more thoughts on spelling instruction and homeschooling check out these links:


Thursday, January 31, 2013

To My 10 Year Old Self . . . (A Writing Prompt from Mama Kat)

Mama’s Losin’ It
This week I am participating in Mama Kat's Writing Workshop. If you've never heard of her or her really fantastic blog Mama's Losin' It you should go check it out - she's absolutely hilarious and brilliant at the same time! Go here for more information on getting involved in her writing workshop.

This week's prompt was kind of difficult for me, because my childhood was kind of rough.
This is a letter to my ten year old self:
Little Jenni:

Right now things look so tough, I know. And I know that it is so hard to deal with the hurts in your heart right now. But just know that life is going to get so much better than you could ever know.

Those kids that make fun of you every day? They will one day grow up to be really good people. That thing that happens at home that you wish would just stop? It does. You think you will be alone for the rest of your life? You're not. One day you will get a wonderful husband that adores you and you will have beautiful children together. And you're a really, REALLY good mom. Your daughter is just like you and your son is amazing and funny and sweet.

Remember to keep fighting day by day. Be yourself. Keep faith in God. And remember that every moment, every mean thing that people say, every hard thing you ever go through - those are all very important things that have to happen in your life. Let them happen. Learn from them. And move on.

Remember to listen to Mommy. I know it doesn't seem like it now, but she really does know what she's talking about.  Most of the time.

Keep singing. Keep writing. These things will keep you going.

And always remember: You are FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made. You WILL mess up. You WILL make mistakes. That's just life. But you are always loved and you are always forgiven. 

Jesus love you, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Much love from your future self.

Monday, January 28, 2013

10 Reasons Why I Hate Housework

I hate housework.
Anyone I know can tell you that my house is, nine times out of ten, a mess.
I don't know why this is - I don't actually LIKE living in a mess, but that seems to be the way it is for me.
Oh, I've tried different tactics. I've done flylady, I've done the note card system, made lists . . . none of it works for me.
I guess you have to have a certain mentality for it that I just don't have.

Here are 10 reasons why I hate it:

1) I have better things to do. Like crocheting. Or making Tutu's for my business. Or playing video games with my husband and kids. Or working on my books. Or washing my hair. You get the idea.

2) I get REALLY overwhelmed REALLY fast. I am the only one who does 99% of the cleaning around here. No matter what I do, I can't get my kids to clean up after themselves. Again, I've tried every tactic. Not even threats of spanking and throwing their stuff away works. These kids are stone.

3) You have to do it EVERY DAY. Really?? I have things to do, places to go, people to visit, and kids to homeschool? Housecleaning every day? Ain't nobody got time for that!

4) Folding laundry stinks. Why do we have to fold it if it's just going to get wrinkled on our bodies anyway?

5) Washing dishes stinks. Why do we have to wash them if they're just going to get dirty anyway?

6) Vacuuming stinks. I have a great Pyrenees that sheds considerably. We have to empty our canister vacuum 1/4 the way through each room! Besides, why do we have to vacuum if the carpet's just going to get dirty again anyway?

7) Organization is overrated. Seriously. I put something where it "goes" then I completely forget where I put it! At least when it's OUT I can SEE IT!

8) Clutter is underrated. Right now on my computer desk is my camera, my calculator, my daughter's bible, my devotion books, Velcro tape, a wall outlet, a headband, a pad of paper, a spool of ribbon and a red pin. I know where each of these things is right now.

9) It's impossible for a house filled with three kids and two dogs to be clean all the time. It really is. Try it sometime.

10) Christmas decorations rock in January and February. Really. They do. Try it sometime.

This week I am linking up with my good friend Nan over at her blog Mom's The Word for her weekly Make Your Home Sing Monday meme! Go run over there and give her a visit - she's really nice and I promise she doesn't bite . . . hard. :-)

Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Proverbs 31 Study: Verses 4-7

Welcome to the second installment of my proverbs 31 study. While most studies focus on only the Wife of Noble Character (Proverbs 10-20) I am choosing to focus on the entirety of the chapter. Go here to see my first post in the series.

Rather than going verse by verse on this next part, I have chosen instead to encompass the entirety of the next section. I have done this because they all tie in together and you really cannot read one without the rest, in my opinion. The next verses read:

"(4) It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
(5) Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.
(6) Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to those who are bitter of heart.
(7) Let him drink and forget his poverty,
And remember his misery no more."
(Proverbs 4-7, NKJV)

This section strongly speaks against alcohol indulgence  Here, the author suggests that drunkenness will take away from the wisdom of a good ruler (verse 5) and should be left to those that are not as fortunate (verses 6-7) so as to "forget his poverty" and "remember his misery no more". In other words, drunkenness and alcoholism are not for those that want to be good leaders, but for those that want to forget how terrible their lives are.

How does this apply to Solomon? Throughout the old testament  drunkenness has hindered the thoughts and decision making of kings. For example, Belshazzar held a feast, got everyone drunk then started worshiping idols. His drunkenness (and gluttony, idol-worship, and sheer stupidity in some cases) led to his ultimate demise, when he was murdered in his sleep, allowing Darius to take over the kingdom. And lets not forget the trouble that Noah got himself into when he got drunk and allowed his sons to see him naked. And it led to Lot's incestual relations with his daughters. So, clearly alcohol has led to some pretty poor decisions. For Solomon, simply staying away from it and not being tempted would make him a better leader.

How does this apply to our daily lives? Clearly drunkenness leads to bad decisions. Anyone that has ever been drunk in their lives can tell you that. Those bad decisions can end up ruining some people's lives - especially if those moments end up in public media such as Facebook or Instagram. And alcoholism itself doesn't just affect the alcoholic - it effects everyone around them. Now this does not mean that alcohol itself is bad or evil. A glass of wine or beer once in a while is okay as long as you are not drinking it with the intent of getting drunk. In fact, research has proven time and again that a glass of wine (4-6oz) a night is actually healthful for your heart. But don't overdo it. And if you are one that is in a leadership position, think before you drink. Churches, kingdoms, and companies have fallen because of one's drunken antics. Be wise about it.

Our next installment will cover verses 8 and 9 - thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Simplest Beans EVER.

I love beans.
A lot.
Any way I can get them!
My favorite are butter beans (especially made with some ham - YUMMM)
But I recently re-discovered black beans.
This recipe is about the easiest way I've ever learned to make beans.
In fact, it's so easy it's almost idiot proof
(Just don't forget to plug in and turn on your crock pot. Like I have. Multiple times.)

Simplest Beans Ever

1 lb dried beans (any kind will work, I've done this with pintos, blacks, butters, limas, navys . . . They all work!)
1/2 lb ham (can be diced, sliced, or whole, doesn't really matter!)
1 onion, cut in 1/2 and peeled (I did this so my daughter who is emphatically anti-onion didn't have to eat it! You can dice/slice/mince/chop it if you like, it'll still work. Seriously. You can't mess this up!)
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled (just toss 'em in! Alternatively you can use 2 T jarred minced garlic)
2 qts water
2 T salt (yes, even with the ham you still need salt!)
2 T black pepper
Dash or two of worchestershire sauce (optional)

Now comes the hard part. Put everything into the crock pot. Stir it a bit. Pop the lid on. Then make sure your crock pot is plugged in and turn it on. That's it. Then leave it for about 10 hours (even better after 12!) I like to start it at night right before bed time then let it go all day on low (adding water if needed). Best beans ever, I'm tellin' ya'!

Happy Cooking!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Why Homeschooling?

Today I am linking up with my friend Nan over at her blog Mom's The Word for her Making Your Home Sing Monday link up! Go visit her right now and show her some love!

The launch of 2013 marks a new chapter in our lives. We have decided that we are going to homeschool our youngest daughter, E starting this semester. The decision to homeschool was not an easy one: it took a lot of prayer and thought on our parts for sure, but we know this is the right choice for Emily and we are excited to start this new way of life.

Many families turn to homeschooling for different reasons. We decided to homeschool E for several reasons. First, we've had many health issues this year (see my posts on Constipation and Encopresis) and E has missed a lot of school With homeschooling, we can still do work even when she's sick, or we can make it up on a weekend. Another reason for homeschooling our daughter is her learning differences. E has been diagnosed with AD/HD, ODD, dysgraphia and a math learning disorder. Because of these challenges for E, school has been especially tough. There are time limits and deadlines that bring more stress onto an already stressful situation. Homeschooling is a little more relaxed, she can take her time learning and mastering something before having to move on to the next thing.

Our goals with E this year is to bring her up to where she needs to be (she is behind in spelling and math). In order to do this, I will have to go backwards in order to move forward.

Next, I am going to say something that may surprise you. E is the only one of our four children that I will be homeschooling.

Well, to be honest, because the other three don't necessarily need homeschooling. While it's true that many children benefit from homeschooling, not all children do. Homeschooling is not for every child or every family.
My five year old, for example, Mr. J, does quite well in school right now. He's in public Pre-K at the local Elementary school and doing wonderfully. He's learning a lot and loves his teachers and friends. We just see no reason, at this time, to homeschool him. This may change with the future, but until then he will remain in school
As for our older two, Miss C (15) and Mr. G (16), they will also continue to attend public school. Neither of them really have the desire to be homeschooled right now, and they're also doing fairly well in the public school system.

E may return to the public school system some time in the future, or she may not. It will depend a lot on how she does, and how I do. I am hoping to see my daughter excel and soar. I am hoping to open her eyes to a world of possibilities.

Do I have grandiose ideas about homeschooling my 9 year old daughter? Probably. But I welcome the journey, I welcome the struggles, and I welcome the challenges.

Do you homeschool? Feel free to comment and share your experiences!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday Scripture: Proverbs 31

There has been a lot of talk recently about the lessons learned in Proverbs 31. This final chapter of an epic book of advice and wisdom has resonated in the hearts and souls of thousands, if not millions, of women.

So what's so great about it? What exactly is it about Proverbs 31 that makes the Christian woman stand up and listen?

Proverbs 31 was advice that came from King Lemuel's mother. There is nothing mentioned through the bible about King Lemuel before or after these verses. While some believe that King Lemuel is possibly Solomon, there is no real evidence to back this up that I've seen in my research (Google King Lemuel and look him up in various Bible History books). So no one really knows for certain who this woman is, and why she ended up in Solomon's book of wisdom.

Regardless, her advice has been viewed as quite sound and women from all over the world and of every walk of life seek it out through biblical study.

This week I will start my own journey through this chapter of Proverbs, going slowly, one verse at a time. I will study these words in-depth and see how they apply to my own life. I will also delve a bit into the biblical history behind some of the verses and how they would have applied to Solomon's life as well.

Today, I will skip the first verse which says: "The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:" (Proverbs 31:1 NKJV). This is just an introduction telling who said it, and I've already discussed this in the above paragraphs.

So we go straight to verse 2: "What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows?" (Proverbs 31:2 NKJV)

This sounds to me like what I say to my son on a daily basis: "WHAT??" I wonder if she was frustrated with him, or if she really was that poetic? Since this doesn't seem to have any meat to it either, just a mother responding to her child, I think I'm going to go ahead and skip to the third verse.

Verse 3 is where we start getting into the advice portion. But it is not for a woman! Instead, she tells her son: "Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings" (Proverbs 31:3 NKJV)

There is a lot of room for interpretation in this piece of advice.

"Do not give your strength to women": this one is seemingly sexist, but lets look at the history here: Samson literally GAVE his strength to Delilah (remember the hair cutting indecent?), David also gave himself to a woman and it nearly cost him the kingdom. What I think his mother is saying here is that he should not forsake his own beliefs, what he knows is right, for a woman. If she is going against his Godly convictions, then she is not the woman for him. Rather, he should focus his attentions on a like-minded woman, someone with the same convictions and beliefs that will stand by him and support him fully, so that he can reign with wisdom.

"Nor your ways to that which destroys kings": Well, this is certainly self-explanatory, no? There are many things throughout the Old Testament that destroyed kings: greed, jealousy, lust, drunkenness . . . A king that steers away from these things and lives his life for God will be able to have a long and happy rule as a wise and good king. What mother wouldn't want that for her son?

How does this apply to Solomon? After all, he had enough wives and concubines to keep him busy for a while. But in the bible there is only one that is called by name: Naammah (See 1 Kings 14:21). It is thought that if Solomon wrote the Song of Songs (yes, apparently this is under debate by top biblical scholars) that Naammah may be the one he wrote it about. It is thought that she was the favorite, since she bore him a child. She is also spoken of in other  as being a Godly woman of good character in the Bava Kamma (38 B), a book on Jewish law. Perhaps Solomon, after reading or hearing this advice, found Naammah, who was exactly what he was looking for as someone to rule beside him.

How does this apply to our daily lives? One of our main jobs as wives is to focus on loving and supporting our husbands in their endeavors. Our husbands are the spiritual leaders of the home, and it is up to us to encourage that. A good spiritual foundation will help our husbands to be successful. And remember, success is not always a monetary thing, but more of a spiritual thing. Success is based on joy and fulfillment. We can have these things and still be "poor". We should pray for, and with, our husbands daily. Help them to steer away from things "which destroys kings" and lead them to things that will be a fulfillment in their lives.

Next week we'll delve into Verse 4. Thanks for reading!