Showing posts from September, 2009

A Contract With God

Everything that we put into our bodies shows the Lord exactly what we think of the temple He's provided us. The choices we make about food, drink, supplements and medication are all reflective of the respect we have for our God-given bodies. Food is a wonderful, enjoyable thing that God has allowed us to nourish ourselves with. When we are physically satisfied, we are better equipped to serve Him to our fullest. We get into trouble, though, when we forget that all-important word: moderation. Or as we call it in our house: portion control. Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. Proverbs 25:16 You can see how easy it is to get carried away - with food, with drink, with exercise, with anything, Good is good so more must be better, right? God knew from the beginning of time and the creation of the deadly sin of gluttony that we would dream up the all-you-can-eat buffet - it was no surprise to Him! We go beyond that is

One Smile For Good Measure

Something very interesting happened to me the other day - something that hasn't ever happened to me before. I was going on post to shop at the commissary and stopped at the gate to have my ID checked. The gate guard took my card, looked at me, looked at my card, looked back at me and said: "You have a beautiful smile." Now, if this had not been a man old enough to be my grandfather, I might have been concerned. I just continued to smile and said: "Thank's the only one I have." He continued. "No, thank you for sharing it - not many people do when they drive through here." And then he sent me on my way, shocked, amazed and blessed all in one. Psalm 42:11 says: Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. When our heart attitude is right, it shows on our faces. When I am right in my end of my relationship with God, appar

Walking Within Your House

I was sitting in the home of one of my Titus older women several months ago, and commented on how beautiful she kept everything. There were no piles on the floor (as there were at my house at the time), the knick-knacks were neatly displayed in a glass case (as mine were not), and there were pictures of family and friends arranged everywhere (that I did not have). She is well up in age and while she handles it gracefully, I just had to know how she kept her house so lovely all the time. Her answer astounded me - "Because I tidy up every morning before I do anything else." This beautiful Christian woman will clean her home first thing every day, freshen up each room and make it presentable for those who may drop in. She makes her house a peaceful refuge for anyone who walks through her door. Her love for the Lord tugs on her heart to work as unto Him, and that includes the simple household chores of the day. I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come u

Do You Know Your Limitations?

There are certain things in this life that I cannot do. I don't have the strength of a bull rider. I doubt I will ever be able to solve quadratic equations or decipher chemical formulas. I will never have the speed to outrun a train. Sometimes I feel this same way when I try to tackle other things in my life. There are days when I don't think I'll ever be able to get the house clean enough or well organized the way I'd like. Sometimes it seems like there are bills to pay and not enough money to spread over all of them. Other times I feel like I'm not a good enough letter/e-mail writer, a good enough wife/daughter/niece/friend, or a good enough witness in my daily life. Those are the times when certain Scripture pop into my head and set me straight. For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: h

The Cure For Puppy Boredom

I came across a website recently that offered puppy toys that were guaranteed to eliminate your dog's boredom. They ranged in price from $20 to $70! Do dogs really like expensive, plastic toys better than a rubber chew toy filled with treats and peanut butter? I think not. So, what can we do to make life exciting and fun for our furry companions...and keep them from destroying the house? * Walk them every morning. A tired dog is a happy dog, and it doesn't cost a thing to walk around the block. Plus, you'll get a great, quick workout. * Hide treats for a game of hide-and-seek. I've said this before, but this is a favorite in our house. Not only is it a great time-consuming game, but the girls have had to work to get their treats. (And they work them off running from room to room looking for more!) * Don't put out all their toys at once. This may sound silly, but how often do we rearrange the furniture or change decorations for the seasons? Don't we get bored

What God Says About Your Money

The way people talk about the economy and finances, you'd think money problems were something new. God has been answering financial prayers since the beginning of history. There are so many references in the Bible to how we are to be good stewards of the substance the Lord gives us. There are also many people, both good and poor spenders, in Bible times to learn from. So what are some of the money mistakes Christian women make? It's not about investing or shopping... 1. Forgetting that all financial blessings come from God. Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, and that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon the earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth forever. Psalm 112:1-3 The fear of the Lord is that reverence of God that turns us away from evil. When our focus is on following God's commandments and trusting in Him, there's no t

Raiding the Pantry

It's time to plan dinner, but you're short on time and resources. What's a woman to do? Let's raid the cupboards and use what you already have! Chances are you have tons of meals sitting in your kitchen right now, so why run out and buy more or call for take-out? With just a few staples we probably all have in the refrigerator and on the shelf, we can have a great meal ready in no time, and no one will ever know it wasn't planned. * Breakfast for supper. One of our all time favorites, breakfast foods like eggs, pancakes, frozen waffles and fruit can be pulled out and mixed together for wonderful meals. Throw the vegetables you probably have leftover into omelets. There might be some biscuit mix in the pantry and waffles in the freezer, so top them with fruit and whipped cream. Tasty, fun and super-quick. * Create your own casserole. Mix a meat, vegetables, pasta or potatoes, a can of soup and some great spices all together and bake. All of these may be leftover from

A Magnetizing Makeover

Take a moment to check the front cover of your telephone book. Does it have one of those square magnets advertising one of your local businesses on it? If so, you've got a great new craft project in your hand! These magnets are perfect for covering in scrapbooking paper scraps- you can use up all those little remnants from other projects. Just cover the front of the magnet with double stick tape and lay a piece of paper over the top. Trim around the edges to clean it up, and then ink them with a coordinating color of stamping ink (as desired, of course). Because they're square, you can use your favorite scrapbook page layouts as the background for your magnets. Make several with matching paper and do a variety of styles of layout. Then add borders, stickers, Scripture, pictures...whatever your heart desires. Using 3D, metal, acrylic and other stand-out embellishments creates a charming, finished look to your magnet. Make a set of unique magnets in Christmas themes to give as gi

My Body, God's Way

God only gave us our bodies for the short while that we're here on earth, and as temporary as it is, it's still His creation. From that first breath of life in Genesis 2:7, God has used these human vessels as transportation for His creation. Even as we wear out and break down, our body is a glorious gift. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 The Lord Himself says that my body is a temple, a place of worship. And think about how your behavior should be in the House of God - a little more reverent, a little less distracted. Imagine being that way with your body - being more aware of the things you eat, how much you eat, how much sleep you get, how much time you spend on the couch, the way you medicate - simply because your body is a temple, a gift from God. Doe

The Library: Land of Opportunity

It started out as a simple enough task - return a library book. One simple little paperback book had to be returned. The errand should have taken 20 minutes, because there were no other stops to make - just drive, give the nice lady the book and drive home. An hour later I arrived home with six more books and four magazines. I never met a library I didn't like. This sounds like a contradiction to what I said yesterday about what we allow our eyes to give our brains, but it's not. Yes, too much information and any of the wrong kind of information is harmful to mind and spirit. Making poor decisions about what you let seep into your life can have lasting repercussions. On the other hand, Proverbs 4:5-7 says: Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. We can m

Going On An Information Diet

What are your eyes sending to your brain every day? What are you putting in front of them and allowing them to send? We live in a society that is addicted to information - newspapers, television, magazines, books, the Internet - and it creates an overload to our system. It's like our brains are stalled in rush hour traffic all the time because there is so much going on around and inside of them. What do you remember most from all the information you've absorbed this week? Can you name all the new legislation from Washington? Are you caught up on all the family news? Have you memorized the sports scores? Did you do lots of great puzzles and games? Or can you remember the Scripture you read during your morning devotions? Whatever we spend the most careful time to soak up sticks in our minds for future use. And the information we take in first thing in the morning sets the scene for the rest of the day. By choosing God's Word first, before we've read the paper or checked t

Home Safe Home

Is your home this safe and comfortable? When we first bring our pets home we're so careful to puppy- and kitty-proof the house just like we would for a new baby. There are no cords hanging loose, tiny objects are picked up off the floor and nothing is left open on the counter. But how about now, months or years after they're become part of the family? Are we as protective and concerned about our dogs' and cats' safety as we were when they were little? I think now is a great time to review what our pets should be protected from at all times. The Kitchen: * Coffee grounds, grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions, tea, macadamia buts, any type of alcohol, fatty foods, avocado, garlic, gum, candy, breath mints * Cleaning products * Human medications The Bathroom: * Soap, cleansers and other personal hygiene toiletries The Garage: * Insecticides, pesticides, herbicides * Gasoline and antifreeze * Paints and solvents The Bedroom: * Mothballs * Potpourri, liquid or dry The garden:

Dining Out On A Budget

As a couple of foodies, our favorite thing to do when we're out and about is find a great place to eat. The only problem with a hobby like this is the expense - how often can we truly afford to spend so much money on a meal. With prices skyrocketing, we've been eating in more and more...but sometimes you just need the atmosphere (and wait service) of a restaurant. In 1 Timothy 6:17, Paul writes: "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." We are to rejoice in the blessings God has bestowed, which include money and food, but we are to also be stewards of those gifts. So let's look at some ways to make eating out both pleasurable and cost-effective. Lunchtime is always cheaper than dinner. Plus you get smaller portions. Plan your day around a mid-day meal and you might even have some leftovers to save for supper. Portion control! The temptatio

Four Ingredients or Less!

Dinnertime is one of my favorite moments of the day - right behind planning the meal itself. I made the decision a couple of months ago to try at least one new recipe every week, and so far I've stuck with it. (It really cuts down on the number of torn-out recipes I have tucked around.) Lately I've been on the look-out for recipes that use very few ingredients and have very few steps. Not only is our money precious right now, but so is my time and energy. This is one of those great finds: Ravioli Lasagna. Just three ingredients and a spice, plus you can fix it in just a couple of minutes and walk away for the hour that it's baking. If you want to play with the kind of cheese or different seasonings, let me know what worked best for you! 1 jar (26oz) pasta sauce 1 (13oz) bag frozen ravioli, thawed (meat or cheese) 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese Italian seasoning 1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9in square baking dish and a sheet of aluminum foil with nonstick c

A Fall Centerpiece

We had another beautiful, cool night last night, so now I'm in the mood for Fall! The trees in the neighborhood are starting to shed their leaves and the sound of the school bus echoes through the morning air. So in honor of the occasion, I've been changing out some of our home decorations. All of the candles have been switched to deep colors and sweet, earthy fragrances. And this great new centerpiece sets the mood as you walk into our dining room. The best part is, you can make this centerpiece yourself for just $5! I made a quick spin through the local dollar store and picked up six battery-operated tea lights, two floral picks and a bag of river rocks. I found this antique mini bundt pan at a garage sale several years ago, and I was finally able to put it to good use. Cut a small circle of cardboard just large enough to fit in the bottom of your bundt pan, muffin tin, whatever you decide to use. (Just make sure it's something you never want to bake in again.) Use a hot

Ruth: A Virtuous Woman

One of the characteristics of a woman who is leading a victorious Christian life is virtue. A virtuous woman is willing to conform to both moral and divine law, someone who glows with purity and goodness. Sounds like an overwhelming goal, doesn't it? Well, just like everything else in our lives, God has given us exactly what we need to triumph in the virtues He would have us attain. "And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman" (Ruth 3:11). Ruth was a poor widow, one who chose to leave her native Moab for her mother-in-law's home town of Bethlehem. She was given the choice to stay behind, but her relationship with Naomi was more important. Ruth was devoted to both her former family and the new family that would greet them (Ruth 4:15). While she was forced to work in the fields to supply the household's needs, Ruth worked with diligence and stamina. In the second c

An Organized Fall Cleaning

I know fall is almost upon us because we've slept with the windows open all week. This is my absolute favorite time of the year - the smells delight me, the colors entice me and the sounds envelop me. Everything is different when the temperatures start to drop and that brings joy to my heart. Did you do a good spring cleaning at your house? We moved in the spring, so we're not doing a spring cleaning...we're about to do a fall cleaning! Does that sound daunting? Well, it doesn't have to be. I'm going to show you how to do it in as little as a week, and then keep up a similar schedule all year round. (That will make the next major cleaning so much easier!) First and foremost, I am a list maker. I need to have everything in writing in front of me before I proceed anywhere. So, before I begin my cleaning I start a list...and not just any list but a Master List. "Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the

Can I Write This Blog Later?

I should have written this yesterday. I could have written it a week ago. I might have been able to do it before now, but I didn't. Why not? Because I have a tendency to procrastinate...there, I've said it! With all the hustle and bustle in the lives of today's woman, it's the easiest thing in the world to put something off until tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next week. Please tell me this sounds familiar. "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14). I have no idea what will happen in my life this afternoon, let alone tomorrow. Scripture reminds us that in the grand scheme of things, our time is very short. God treasures every moment of it with us, but He also expects us to treasure and use it wisely in a way that glorifies Him. So what projects do you have waiting for you today? Do you have the drive and energy to get them done? Are yo

Kitty? Puppy? Outboard Motor?

When I was a little girl I collected anything with a cat on it. I wrote school reports about cats and I even have a letter I wrote listing all the reasons why I deserved to have my own cat. I had to wait until I was 30 for that dream to come true. In the meantime, I became a dog person. Our two black labs are the four-legged loves of my life. But we discussed getting a cat every now and then, just in passing. Then we learned that a precious little kitty was about to be up for adoption, so of course we said we'd take her. Sight unseen I picked her up and that was that. The very first day she was with us, Danny introduced this little ball of fluff to one of his favorites - hot sauce. I laughed that she would turn up her nose and high-tail it out of there, but to my shock she lapped it off his finger and looked around for more! That's how she earned her name, Cayenne Pepper. We had specifically gotten Cay to be a little sister for the girls. They needed some excitement in their li

A Little Thrift Shop 101

I was asked yesterday where I most often shop for clothing. I didn't have to think for very long - looking through my closet I realized that a good portion of my favorite clothes have come from thrift shops. Then I started looking around the rest of the house - there were many things that had come from thrift stores. Some of my favorite home decor, clothing, accessories and books have come from an expedition thrift shopping. What better way to be frugal with you money in the current economy than to check out some of the local thrift shops. Many ladies do this on a regular basis anyway, but if you haven't been for a while you may need a refresher course on getting some bang for your buck. 1. Take some donations with you when you go. Do some sorting ahead of time and be ready to drop them off when you go shopping. Not only will you be helping the shop stay in business, but you'll be making room at home for you new purchases. 2. Know the stores' schedules. Some stock the f

Cookie Cups = Chocolate Lover's Delight!

I have craved a lot of things in my life, and most of them were covered in chocolate. This sweet little cookie cup treat is perfect for a light snack or to put out at a gathering. Just remember to set some back for yourself - they go very quickly! All you need to make these cups are: 1 package of refrigerated chocolate chip cookie bar dough 1 cup chocolate chips When picking your dough, it's better not to use the kind with chunks because you're going to be putting each piece of dough in a mini muffin tin, so the chunks make it difficult to make your thumbprint (the cup part of the cookie cup). The creative part will come with pairing your dough and chips. I used white chocolate for this batch, but you can pick any of the variety of flavors available. Then: 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 24-count mini muffin pan. 2. Place one square of cookie dough in each of the muffin cups. Press the middle of each with your thumb to make a deep well. 3. Bake 9-11 minutes until t

CDs Take a New Spin

Mini-albums are my favorite paper craft projects ever. I really enjoy being able to combine scrapbooking and stamping techniques, while accessorizing with my favorite Bible passages. There is a verse on each of the 12 pages of this album, plus a spot for adding in your own pictures. This project is perfect for gift-giving - baby showers, wedding rehearsals, birthdays - the list goes on and on. You can easily customize it for a specific person or event. Either give it with pictures already in it, or let the recipient fill it up themselves. Or you may decide to make one to fill and keep for yourself. It makes a great conversation piece on the coffee table or shelf, and it's small enough to carry in your pocketbook. Making a CD Mini-Album: 1. Drill a hole in each of six CDs. You can use new ones (which gets expensive) or you can gather up the free ones we all get for free in the mail or in the entryway of the grocery store. I am blessed to have a loving husband who does all the drilli

Debilitating Disappontment

The things of this life tend to disappoint us. People aren't who we'd like them to be, events we'd hoped for never occur and things we'd expected to happen in a certain way never come to pass. I've tried relying on everything else in this life - relationships, career, better finances. When we look to mankind for answers or for hope, we will surely be disappointed. Our own misconceptions of life's circumstances leads us down a long, dreary path. What we plan and see inside our head doesn't always match what others see, or what may actually be reality. Looking into ourselves for "clarity" directs us straight to depression and failure. Have you ever heard yourself say, "I couldn't care less" and truly meant it? Having confidence in our own power to change our outlook means that we care more about the circumstances themselves rather than how to grow as Christian women. God is the only unchanging factor in our uncertain world. Focusing on

A House Becomes A Home

I have not always loved my home. Over the past 10 years I have moved six times for a variety of reasons. With so brief a time in each home, it's been difficult for me to develop any kind of attachment to a house. Oh, I have scrapbook pages filled with pictures of each place I've lived, but decorator paper and frilly sentiments do not a home make. It wasn't until I began to study about God's plans for a Christian woman's life did I realize how deeply I needed to care for my home. "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." (Titus 2:4-5) We are called by God to keep our home, not just take up residence there. Keeping means tending, caring for and making better. So often we see mundane, everyday tasks around the house as chores, not as an occasion for service and glorifying God. My person

Simplify Your Week

The menus need to be planned. The dogs need to be bathed. The house needs a thorough cleaning. Appointments need to be scheduled and attended. The gardening needs to be tackled. The bills need to be paid. The laundry needs to be done. I'm frazzled already and it's only Sunday! What if there was a way to simplify a week's worth of planning and organizing so we could actually enjoy our days and not just try to get through them? In Psalm 31:15 David wrote: My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Our minutes, hours and days are not ours, but God's alone. The way we use them is to be glorifying to Him. Begin your planning in prayer. Seriously pray over what the Lord would have you accomplish and that you be shown which activities and obligations are most important. Only with God's input can we be truly effective in our service to Him, our families and our homes. Make sure you have all of your schedules on one c

It's a Dog's Life

These are our girls – Bailey and Sadie. They were each adopted from a shelter as puppies, and have lived the life of leisure ever since. The only thing that breaks my heart is when they lay at our feet with their heads on their paws, staring at us with a combination of love, wonder and complete boredom. If we get busy in “people activities,” they want to know why they’re not involved and how quickly we’ll be doing something they can help with. I think our pets fall into the “desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4) category. They love our companionship, and dogs especially can be taught the most wonderful games to entertain us both (although I have taught our cat to sit for a treat). What follows are just a few ideas for some exercises, tricks and games to spend some quality time with your favorite puppy. Hide and Seek: While your dog is somewhere she can't watch you, hide several treats around the room. Put some in plain sight and others behind, under, on top of and between thing

Saving Time, Energy and Money

One of my favorite times of the week is when I head to the grocery store. Some people find it tedious and time-consuming, but I love being able to scan the aisles and find new and interesting food choices. Wouldn't it be fabulous if we could not only save time and energy when we go to the supermarket, but save some money, too? Here's one way I've found that takes only a little pre-planning. The Bible says it is wise to be conscientious of your finances and take steps to be careful with all your earnings. "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?" (Proverbs 27:23-24). Any little changes we can make in how we use our money will be honoring in God's eyes. The next time you go to the grocery store, take a piece of paper with you. Using the signs above each aisle as a guide, write down where each of the items you typically purchase are located, in order

Leaving My Comfort Zone For Turkey Pasta

There will probably never be a cookbook published with my picture on the cover, and I will probably never open a restaurant featuring my own personal recipes. I have never been an adventurous cook, and I am more than willing to stay inside the comfort zone that is the written recipe. I guess I've been scared to ruin a dish or disappoint those seated at my table. It can generally be assumed that the creators of each recipe and cookbook have better knowledge of their trade than I do, so why venture beyond the security in those ingredients and measurements? Safe has always been good in this case for me. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. This recipe was my first expedition outside my culinary comfort zone and has quickly become a favorite at our house. It is very, very simple, but a different twist on something you may already make. Plus, there are lots of opportunities to adjust it and make it your own. Sweet and Sour Turkey Pasta: 1 box of whole grain pasta 1 package ground tu

Scrapping and Recycling

When my husband brought these two cans of treats home recently, I was touched - not just because I had some really great Starbucks snacks, but because he supplied me with two new containers to play with. Thank you Danny! It would have killed me to throw away such neat boxes to begin with, but being able to recycle them into gift jars blesses my heart and hopefully the heart of the recipient. Plus, we are called to be good stewards of what we have been given. Luke 16 speaks of being faithful to wisely use all God has given. In a small way, we can show our appreciation for all of the Lord's blessings by eliminating as much waste as we can. So, what do you have saved up around the house that you can reuse? It literally took me 10 minutes to put this box together, so don't be turned off by the time factor. You can create beautiful gifts and wrapping using just scrapbook supplies and objects you were going to throw out. Use your imagination! Box instructions: 1. Cut a strip of decor

Victory or Weariness?

I am committed to the notion that Christian women can be whole, happy, content and busy, all at the same time. There are times when we all feel overwhelmed by the burdens of everyday life, but our circumstances should never steal away the joy of our walk with God. We can live a victorious Christian life no matter what comes our way. Psalm 51:12 says: "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit." Often the reason we feel weary and depressed is because we're not relying on the Lord to feed us daily with the joy and strength that come only from Him. My greatest joys in the day are when I'm in Bible study, when I'm journaling and when I'm on my knees in prayer. The closer we are to God, the more we will feel His comfort and power while we go about the routine of the day. Today may be a tough day from the world's prospective, but in God's eyes it's just another opportunity to serve Him, to praise Him and to share His Go