Quote 2 Live By

“To laugh often and much,

to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children,

to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends,

to appreciate beauty,

to find the best in others,

to leave the world a bit better,

whether by a healthy child or a garden patch…

to know that even one life breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Baby drinking water from a hose                     Field of cosmoses flowers                   Woman with large straw hat working in garden

Got Balance?

 

The picture above was from last winter’s snow when we were sledding. It shows how we can go flying off our “saucers” while we are sledding. It so vividly displays what is on my mind today.

As women and especially as moms, it is easy to find ourselves out of balance in one area of our life or another; that is, if you are at all like me. What does balance mean? The definition of balance is “keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall”. Does steady describe most of your life? Finding balance in life is an important and attainable goal. When life feels out of control it is often because we are not  aligned with God’s priorities for our lives.

Balance brings harmony to ourselves and those around us. How do we accomplish balance?

1. Discover what your priorities are. Are they God-centered? Spend time in prayer and ask Him what He desires you to have as your priorities. Each person’s list will look somewhat different. If something does not align with your priorities, you will know it is time to say “no”.

2. Organize! Have a schedule. Children find much security in a scheduled life knowing what they can expect at a given time in a given day. Plan time for God and yourself in your daily schedule. Don’t allow someone else’s poor planning to become your emergency or priority.

3. Flexibility. With young children, this one is especially vital! Accept that unplanned and necessary things will pop up in your day. Relax your standards. Things don’t have to be perfect!

4. Daily, Weekly, Monthly Routines. Make sure this includes taking care of your emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical health. This not only includes yourself but those you are responsible for. If you have a spouse and family talk this over with your family and come up with your plan of action.

5. Support networks. Having friends is vital to having balance in one’s life. Friends that will keep you accountable. Friends that have common priorities. Friends that love you even when life gets difficult.

6. Simplicity. Simplify your furnishings in your house. Simplify your schedule. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. Cut things out of your life that you find draining, if possible. Realize that your worth is not found in how many things you do or how busy you are but in how rich and meaningful your life is.

I’d love to hear from you; my readers! How do you achieve balance in your life?

Fanta Orange Soda Fraud

Four different colored bottled beverages

Yesterday I had the delightful opportunity to get stuck with a needle. I was getting tested for gestational diabetes so at the lab they give you this fantastic orange flavored drink that tastes as though it was a can of Fanta orange soda that had been open for a number of hours past its prime. Well, you swallow this stuff and then the phlebotomist sticks you. This orange drink looks relatively real. In fact, it just tastes like really stale soda. And when you happen to be thirsty and like the bubble of authentic soda this orange “stand in”  hardly fits the bill!

Life is full of counterfeit “orange sodas” except they aren’t called orange soda. In fact the Bible calls out many warnings about imposters.

Matt.6:24 “Take heed that no man deceive you…”

Eph.5:6 “Let no man deceive you…”

2Thes.2:3″Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first…”

These are only three verses about being on guard and deception. It’s very sobering all the counterfeits that we are offered on a daily basis. We need to be in connection with God and familiar with Scripture or otherwise we will become lunch for the devil.

What are the imitations Satan especially offers women? Consider these: money, popularity, food, surface relationships,  counterfeit affections(sex, drugs, alcohol,), food, possessions, and even pseudo religions. I have yet to find that chocolate or money has met the longings of my soul. In fact, afterwards a realization hits that I’ve gotten burnt again. I’ve got the calories or the accessories now along with the guilt.

Get familiar with Scripture! Things can sound ever so right but be totally wrong. This is why deception can happen so easily. It’s also vital to be connected to a Biblical body of believers. It’s when we aren’t connected that we burn out and evil can set in.

In our hearts there is a deep, deep longing for Father God. I’ve often found myself describing it as a “Grand Canyon” size ache that refuses to be filled by anything here on earth. Trust me, I’ve tried filling it and it doesn’t work! The ache for heaven and the ache for relationship with God will never be filled by anything but God! Seeking after God’s heart is the best decision anyone can make!

Just 4 Fun~”Gunk”

view details

This is a delightful experiment to do with your kids. Not only is it simple, it’s a thrill to play with. Make sure the children are under constant supervision while its being made as you don’t want anyone ingesting borax.

“Gunk”

2 c. Elmer’s Glue

1 & 1/2 c. water

5-8 drops food coloring

2 tsp. borax

1 c. water

Mix first three ingredients together. Mix last two. Slowly add borax mixture into glue mix. Enjoy!

Uncover Bargains!

Emoticon with sale sign I absolutely love a good bargain! Yesterday I had the privilege of going shopping with my mom. There was stuff we needed but I so wanted to spend God’s money responsibly and honor my husband; as well as providing for our little brood. I was thrilled to find that on one of my transactions I had a savings of 80%! That is truly exciting when you actually need what you’re getting while you are at it! There were many stores that had their winter items with hefty markdowns. After searching through many racks and shelves I felt like I hit the jackpot today although I was very weary from it. After all shopping is hard work, right?

God’s Word is just like going shopping and finding great treasures! Some of those treasures have to be dug for and meditated upon. Seeking and searching daily in God’s Word is powerful. It’s not for nought that Scripture tells us to think on those things which are above. What your soul feeds on, is exactly what you become. I don’t think I want to become my internet or my books or Facebook or gossip or…and the list goes on.

Yes, we have all those seemingly legitimate excuses but alas, if we don’t spend time with Him now how do we expect to spend time with Him in heaven? Recently I’ve been really convicted on this. If God spent as much time with me as I do with Him and called me His friend, I would be like “Whoa, you aren’t my friend. I hardly know you. We never spend time together.”  I don’t think our excuses are good enough. One of people’s famous excuses for not having a daily walk with God is the excuse that they do not have time. Everyone finds time for what is important to them! This is sobering. What are we valuing?

Today my challenge for us is to spend time digging into God’s Word. Keep looking until you come away with at least one treasure. One thing that you can take with you through out the day.

 

Letters to Dad

view detailsHere are two letters to two fathers written from the perspective of two little girls. Which kind of father have you had? What kind of father does your daughter have?

Dear Dad,

I am your daughter but I know so little about you. I see you at dinner and perhaps sometimes at breakfast or lunch but otherwise you are so busy with your life. You are  busy making money so that I can have nice clothes, food, and even elite private schooling. In the evening you are so tired you don’t have energy to play with me. Did you know that between 3 and 5 years old are the most important in my life? I wish that you would spend time with me playing Candy Land or play dough. I long for hugs and kisses and pats on the shoulders! When I don’t get these I wonder what is wrong with me. Don’t you like me? Did I do something bad? You are a very quiet man. I don’t know what you are thinking. Did I do my job right? I like that sometimes you help me with the dishes that tells me you must like me at least a little. Although we have family devotions, they are boring and long. You don’t seem that interested in it either. Did you know that I’m forming my opinions of God and of all men by watching  you? I love you Dad! You won’t ever know how very important you are to me! I want you!

                                                                                   ~from your, daughter

fishes,fishing,fishing lines,sports,black and white<br /><br />

Dear Dad,

I am your daughter. I am thrilled to have you for my daddy. I like that you include me in your activities like when you go fishing. I know that you discipline me sometimes  but it’s never ugly. Sometimes you make mistakes and talk to me in a rough way and then you say you are sorry. This helps me know that it is okay for a person to make mistakes and that true men apologize for the wrongs they commit. I find a lot of my security in you. Because you are not afraid of me, I know what a healthy relationship is with words of affirmation, proper touch, and even gifts. When you gave me that box of chocolates, I knew I was your little princess. Thank you for giving me a picture of what God is like and teaching me what Godly men are like. I know these things because of you. I love you!

                                                                           ~from your daughter

God’s Love Language~Time

Do you know what your love language? How about your spouse, friends, or children, what are their love languages? I also find it quite fascinating to sit in a ladies Sunday School class or small group and try to figure out what their love language is. Here’s a dare: try it sometime and see how close you are. The five love languages are:

~acts of service

~time

~gifts

~physical touch

~words of affirmation

Being the complicated individual I am, I’ve got more than one. My two favorites probably are time and words of affirmation. Everyone has a love language, fascinating beings that God has created. God also has love languages and one of His is time which is the one I want to focus on today.

Time is one of Father God’s love languages. I find for myself that spending time with God is a lot like an exercise program. The “fun” stage quickly wears off and it requires discipline to maintain. But those who stick at it through the tough times find that it pays off. It eventually becomes fun and easy and rewarding.

One thing that my husband has developed and I anticipate it each morning is, that before he goes to work he spends time reading the Bible and then he writes out a prayer and inspirational thoughts that he has gleaned through studying. He then lets it at the breakfast table that I can be nurtured through it as well. This is an excellent way of spending time with the God. And when we right down that nugget of truth for the day, it stays with us longer.

Another valuable tip of time with the Father, is sharing what God is teaching us. This could be through an accountability person or sharing a testimony with a complete stranger. Whatever it is, this is very basic at growing our Christianity because when we are quiet we become discouraged and bored.

Why is spending time with God important? Spending time with God is vital to one’s walk and fellowship with Him. When we become negligent in our time in the Bible, our potential to be deceived is phenomenal! We begin embracing things that sound correct with out filtering what we are hearing through the lens of Scripture. Thus when we don’t spend time in God’s Word and with God’s people our eternal destiny can even be impacted.

God wants to be our Father-our Daddy God. Imagine if you had a child and they wanted absolutely nothing to do with you or at the least, very little.  Maybe when they wanted something then they could give you the time of the day but otherwise you weren’t worth their attention. The God of the universe has deeper and greater longings than we have or ever will have for us, His created image.

I’d like to hear from you, my readers. How do you nurture your relationship with God? How do you make quiet time happen?

For more information and fascinating quizzes, etc on the different love languages, check out the following website.

www.5lovelanguages.com/

Fun Hygiene Teaching Activities 4 Kids

Here is a fun eye-opening activity to teach children how germs spread. First of all pretend to sneeze. Then dip both hands in washable paint. Walk around the room touching different items. Have the children notice how everything that was touched has been painted. This is how it is when one’s hand has germs on it. Every time you touch an item these germs are passed from one thing to another. Have the children find each spot, counting and cleaning it up explaining to them how when we wash our hands properly this prevents the things around us from becoming “painted” by harmful germs that can cause sickness.

Alone~Remembering Those in Affliction

My husband just got back after being gone five days on a ministry trip. Those were a very long five days. And oh the things that you miss when your loved one isn’t there! We had restless nights, tears, and fears. Daddy is a protection for my kids and since he is very much involved in their lives they missed him extra much!

My mind went to all the widows and widowers and even the single moms that surround us in our churches and our neighborhoods. How do they cope? What does it mean for them knowing that their loved one isn’t coming back? Or when they do come back they bring so much pain? Even though I had friends that hung out with me, I felt alone, as though I had absolutely nothing to give. Then a dear friend who is a widow reminded me that God is giving her special grace that I don’t need or have right then.

The Bible says in James 1:27 that “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” How do we keep this verse? Here are some things to remember:

~Evenings and nights can become very long and achingly empty especially when nightfall comes early.

~If there are young children involved, the parent is eager for adult conversations.

~At times of decision, the adult will need a listening ear to bounce things off.

~Financially; many individuals who find themselves alone for one reason or another with a family find some of the basic responsibilities such as mortgage/rent, auto repair/transportation bills, and medical/insurance bills difficult or almost impossible to pay.

~Compassion, honesty, courage, and respect are basic needs of every individual and especially those who are alone.

Ask the Lord, how you can reach out to the hurting alone parents and those who find themselves widows or widowers. Here are some ideas to get you kick-started.

~Bring in pizza and play games some evening

~Dairy Queen and ice cream cones go hand in hand

~Picnics at the park

~Pay a bill that you know they have

~A listening, compassionate ear is priceless

~Visit the grave and lay flowers in memory of that person’s loved one

~Fundraisers

~Provide free child-care

~Time and more time

~Prayer, lots of intercessory prayer on behalf of them

God has called each of us to reach out to the lonely and widows and single parents around us of which there are so many. May God bless you richly as you do this!