Category Archives: Christian Woman

no tv summer

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TV-Babysitter

NO TV SUMMER-

HOW IT LOOKED FOR US

This Summer we decided to remove tv and video games from our daily life.  I thought it was an awesome idea and my kids thought a nuclear bomb was going off on their social life!  The plan was to completely remove the Wii, which happened and has not re-appeared…yet.  The next step was to remove the television….well, I had nowhere to store the tv so I decided to use self-control instead.  Here’s my what/why/when of how this came about…

WHO:  MY KIDS AND ME.  I realized my kids were watching too much television and the responsibility fell square on my shoulders!  For me it was becoming an easy fix for not needing to think, plan, or interact with my kids (SO sad but true!).  So this summer plan was just as much for my heart as it was for my kids.

WHAT: NO TV, NO VIDEO GAMES….with the exception that on very few occasions I would let them watch one show in the morning (initiated by me and not them) or we would have a movie night about once a week.  It has become more like the cherry on top instead of the whole cake and frosting to our week.

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WHEN:  THE WHOLE SUMMER…and honestly this plan may be slightly adjusted and adopted into our lives permanently!  The results don’t lie.  We are only half-way through the summer and based on how it’s gone so far I don’t want to ever go back to the way it was.  In the fall I will probably allow a little more tv, but school, play and art will take up more of their time.

WHY:  There were things happening in my kids and I that I realized were detrimental to our interactions with one another and more so affecting the spiritual tone and love in our home.  There was a lot of fighting, toys were collecting dust, and I was leaning heavily on the tv-crutch.  My creativity switch was turned off (except when it was turned on for very rare occasions) and my interactions with my children didn’t venture much outside the realm of discipline, outings, bedtime stories and meal times.  And my kids were not playing “pretend” except for when friends were over.

There are 4 things that have happened since the beginning of summer.

1. My kids have been enjoying themselves immensely!  Right now, as I am typing, they are playing “Rockets to space” with a box and a pile of random toys that are slowly taking over the living room. (which is a good thing!)

2.  It’s harder on me than it is on them.  Parenting your kids in a way that is consistent and engaging is harder than plopping your kids down in front of an electronic babysitter.  I’ve found myself more tempted to turn the tv on than my kids!  But, it has gotten easier over time and I’ve also learned that the goal is not perfection…but a desire to keep trying.  And I remind myself that hard work is a good thing…just working hard at keeping my house clean isn’t good enough- more importantly my work should include quality time with my kids!

3.  Creativity and summer activities have abounded much!  I am enjoying my kids more and thinking outside the box.  Here are a few things we’ve done because our brains weren’t turned off:

a. went to the park, splash pad, and zoo many times

b. went for slushies and walks

c. I joined my kids playing in a massive puddle

d. we’ve had family craft time and played Yahtzee all together

e. reading lots of books and enjoying the reading program at the library

f. playing squirt guns on the patio and digging for worms

g. writing encouragement notes and making little gifts for our friends

4. We’ve had more time for the Lord!  The kids and I are memorizing the ABC’s of the bible.  (bible verses-one each that starts with each of the letters of the alphabet)  We’ve been singing more together and talking more about God in the milieu of life.  I find myself more in tune to discipline opportunities too, which means more time for talking about the gospel.

Because we don’t want to be push-overs and seen as just our kid’s best friend OR we don’t want to be the parent who disciplines inconsistently OR the mom who doesn’t get her stuff done; we throw the baby out with the bathwater (figuratively)!

There should be time for slushies that run all over our faces, laying on the floor and building the gigantuist tower ever, jumping through a massive puddle that’s going to soak our clothes…building smiling faces out of our lunches, reading books that have “too many words”, doing activities that are a lot of work for us- but so enjoyable for the kids…

I don’t want to be my kids’ best friend. I don’t want to be the cool mom who lets them get away with whatever they want.  BUT- I want to be the engaged mom who pays attention, interacts, listens, plays, helps, and encourages creativity and learning.  I want to show mercy, grace and treat them the way I want to be treated (within the bounds of biblical parent/child relations).  I want to give my kids a home where they will grow, flourish and see Jesus Christ…and for us right now that means less tv and more togetherness.

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Since we’ve moved

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I can’t believe it’s been 8 months since we moved for my husband to attend Seminary.  Since we’ve moved so many things have happened…

-we’ve joined an amazing church full of some of the most loving, caring, hugging, smiling, inspiring, genuine Christian people

-my husband is able to attend seminary, work and intern for Sovereign Grace AND be a great husband and father at the same time (and has now officially signed up to be a full-time student for August!)

-I am learning and growing through the teaching at the Seminary Wives Institute

-Hannah was diagnosed with tethered spinal cord and just had surgery 2 weeks ago.  God provided peace, finances, physical help and meals.

-we have a lovely little home that is meeting our needs as well as providing us a place for hospitality

-many opportunities have allowed us to go home to visit almost every month

-we have had many visitors from home including my mom who was a great help with our move and transition

-I learned how to get to the grocery store, church, and the seminary without using my GPS!

-the seminary has a free place (like a thrift store) where we’ve been able to go and get clothes, shoes and other items for free which has been a great help.

-relationships with our friends from church are starting to blossom and grow- including movie nights, packer games, crafting, meals, sitting up late to chat, discipleship and MUCH laughter~

-my husband was able to attend a song-writing retreat and has co-written a song that will be on the next Sov Grace CD

-we’ve been able to plan and attend many wonderful events: Christmas and New Years parties, birthday bashes, weekly Packer game parties, park dates, library story times, bridal shower, ladies gatherings, easter egg hunt and more!

-we’ve enjoyed much great weather which has included weekly trips to the zoo

I share all these not as a brag list, but as a testimony of God’s kindness, love and grace!  Even our trials have shown a testimony of God’s perfect timing and as Romans 8:28 says- that all things have worked together for our good and God’s glory!  I pray that as you read this your heart would be drawn to God.

I also have  a few prayer requests.  If you can, please pray for these specific things…

-our parenting (amongst a lot of school work and changing schedules) that we would stay consistent and our desire would stay on proclaiming the gospel to our children through what we say, teach and how we act towards them- especially at home.

-for opportunities to disciple, serve in our local church and share the gospel where God has planted us.

-for humility in heart and mind to see where God wants us to grow and change and to see areas in our hearts and lives that need correction and pray for godly men and women to come along side us to show us those areas.

-for school for Jon.  We do not qualify for any loans which I am sure is a true blessing because we will incur no debt while in school.  Pray that we can be good stewards of the financial support God has and will provide for us to continue through and finish school.  Pray for endurance and perseverance for Jon with his studies.

-our housing.  Right now we are living somewhere that does not fit our budget well (although it was good for the time we had it and we’re thankful it was available when we wanted to move) and we are praying for God to lead us to somewhere that can help us invest more into Jon’s schooling.  Apartments here require 2 people per bedroom and most 3 bedrooms where we are range from $750-$1,200/month. (and the $750 ones are hard to come by) BUT we know that God has it all taken care of, we just need to trust in Him with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-8)

GOD IS GOD. HE IS FAITHFUL. HE HAS MADE A WAY FOR SINNERS TO BE RECONCILED UNTO HIMSELF.  HE LOVES US. HE IS A PERSONAL GOD.  HE HAS GIVEN US GRACE WHEN WE DESERVED ETERNAL PUNISHMENT. GOD IS GOOD.  GOD WILL PROVIDE FOR HIS PEOPLE.

8 Must see tutorials on youtube

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8 Must see tutorials on youtube

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Youtube can be great and it can also be a time waster when you either get caught up in funny videos or can’t find just what you are looking for.  I want to help by giving you some links to tutorials I find helpful!  If you are anything like me, watching someone do it is much better than just reading instructions!  Please feel free to share any good ones you have found and I will add them to my list.

1.  How to put fondant on a cake

2. How to make a hair-bow

3. DIY cleaning products (glass cleaner, stain remover, disinfectant, degreaser/soap scum remover, all-purpose cleaner)

4. How to tie a tie (double windsor)

5. Day time eye makeup for brown eyes

Day time eye makeup for blue eyes

6. A few quick organizational tips for a small kitchen

7. good buys and bad buys at the dollar store (best items-storage items and party supplies)

8. How to decorate a focal table for a party (cheap diy)

 

 

31 days to organize your home

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DAY 1

OK LADIES- IT’S DAY 1 of 31 Days to Organize Your Home

Join me in doing these three things today:

1. choose 1-2 things on your counter that COULD be stored in cupboard to clear counter space. Now, move em!

2. pick one cupboard to clean out- today it’s the glasses/cups. Get rid of some mugs, glasses or old well-worn kid’s cups. How many of these do we actually need? Not 20 mugs! Not a kid’s cup with a hole in the plastic! Not those wine glasses with dust on them!

3. Find at least three things in your pantry you don’t use and throw them out or put them in a bag and hang them on your back door to give away.

THERE! That was easy! Join me tomorrow for day two! Off to my kitchen I go….

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
(Colossians 3:23-24 ESV)

Day 2

Today we are going to piggy-back on yesterday a little and give ourselves some liberty to tackle those areas that are unique to our kitchen.  And honestly, don’t be AFRAID to get rid of something because you think you’ll need it back.  Make sure your organizational pendulum isn’t swinging too far to the KEEP SIDE and also not too far to the GET RID OF EVERYTHING SIDE.  If you need to, now is a good time to get some accountability from a close friend! Oh kay- here we go:

1. Hows the counter top looking? Still dissatisfied?  Maybe by clearing out another cupboard you can store a few more of those “eye-sore-counter-top-clutter-bugs”.  If you haven’t pulled everything off your counter and given it a good clean in a while, today is the day! Crumb buddies like to collect behind toasters and coffee pots for regular meetings- they can have their next one in the garbage!!

2.  Tackle the un-reachable cupboards today.  Where’s the dust? Is keeping these unreachable things a must? Let that stuff go! Grab your Good-will box and turn on your good will!  Don’t just get rid of junk, get excited to get rid of really nice things that you just don’t need!!!!

3.  Where else are you storing pantry items, snack foods around your kitchen- try to organize in a way that condenses everything to the same area.  Too many cans, bags and boxes?  You are either shopping too much or not taking a stock of what you have before going to the store…hmmmm…just a little food for thought 🙂

Day 3

you can join me in doing these three things today:

1. choose 2-3 drawers or cupboards that over filled and re-arrange and use some tough love and get rid of a few things to open up some space! We don’t need overflowing containers of forks, spoons, knives, kid utensils…Which cool gadgets are sitting in your drawer that are never used… avocado peeler….etc.

2. Head to the pantry and tackle another shelf or two. Make sure to take the ripped bags and either throw them out or move the contents to container.  There’s no excuse for chaos! A trip to the dollar store for containers can be just what’s needed!

3. Take 5 minutes to shift some stuff around in your fridge, throw out the stuff from the back of the fridge and do a quick wipe down.  If it needs more than that plan a time to pull everything out and do a deep clean either today or tomorrow.  It’ll feel OOOHHH so good!

THERE! That was easy! Join me tomorrow for day 4! Off to my kitchen I go…

Day 4

Let’s head together to the dining room!
Here’s 3 things for us to do:

1. If you have a buffet table, storage bins, or shelves in the dining room: clean off the top of them and organize the inside including throwing out as much as you can! It can be painful but every crevice of our houses do not need to be stuffed or overflowing. Pick out a few things you can put in the Good-will box.  This box should be overflowing by the end of the week!

2. Head to the closet/drawer where your table cloths, napkins, and place-mats are stored. Let’s get rid of what we don’t use or don’t want!  Just because it’s nice or not broken doesn’t mean it should be kept!

3. Look around at the walls, lighting etc. Grab the Good-will bin and see if there’s anything else you can get rid of. Take a damp cloth and wipe spots and dust off the light.

DONE!

Day 5

Let’s take a stroll today into the living room.  Here is where most of your day culminates!  Therefore, here is where stuff collects!  A clean living room is not only one that looks clean, but one an x-ray machine would reveal is also organized!

1. Send the toys where they belong- in the kid’s bedroom! If you don’t have any toys in your living room than survey your knick knacks and see if you can send some to your Good-will box.

2. Pull out the cushions and clean out the toys, change, garbage that has collected there. Now, vacuum or sweep under your couches.

3. (my favorite thing to do) Re-arrange your furniture to better fit what the room is most used for. Maybe you need to take out a table or chair to make it roomier!

DONE!

our journey continues…

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8 years ago a young man realized his desire to go into full-time ministry. Since then he has grown in knowledge and love for the Lord and is the godly man that I have been so blessed to be married to for over 7 1/2 years! (I used to think 5 years was a long time to be married) As I reflect on those 8 years I am humbled by how God has worked in our lives….through working in youth ministry, building a family, moving 8 times, being a part of a Bethel church plant, missions trips, moving to Louisville and so many other learning experiences!

Jon and I used to joke that with not owning a home and how many times we’ve moved that God could be preparing us to just up go at any moment. Little did we know that on September the 8th, 2012 all that would come true! I am so humbled and blessed to think of all the ways God has used His word and His people to encourage us, help us, and carry us to where we are today!

I really hope this post doesn’t make you think that I am trying to say, “Don’t you wish you were us!” But, rather to share God’s amazing GRACE and LOVE and MERCY in a way that will encourage and inspire and do whatever else God wants to do with our testimony:)

As I am writing this and filtering through all God has done up until this point, I am reminded of how He has worked in Jon’s life over the years. In 2003 when Jon and his brother started coming to Bethel I believe Jon’s desire was to go unnoticed…well, that was far from what God had in store for him. When a friend heard that he could sing and play guitar she STRONGLY encouraged him to join a worship team. I have to recount for you the scene of the first few times Jon played on a team… Picture a row of 4-5 singers standing up in front of the sanctuary and Jon nowhere in sight! If you looked close enough you would see THREE music stands at waist level lined up behind the singers and behind that sat Jon! The sweetest and funniest part was that he played his guitar so softly that it wasn’t even heard with the singing and piano! After some time he found his way into playing guitar and singing for youth ministry. This is the context where we got to know each other better. I watched as God grew him in his confidence, abilities and desire to play and sing passionately for God’s glory! As his nervousness wore away and confidence in God grew it was amazing to see the transformation. In all my years as a Christian, my husband’s life is the greatest testimony I have ever seen of the change that comes with the transforming work of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit!

A couple years ago, we had the privilege of being a part of a wonderful church plant team. I saw Jon’s excitement for church planting, sharing the gospel and desire to lead gospel-centered worship grow exponentially. Through some books he read on worship and godly manhood I could see him implementing the leadership he had always longed to have. Over the last 3 years he has blown me away with the songs he’s written and ideas he has come up for both leading in our home and in the church.

Most recently, we’ve gone through a quiet time in ministry over the last year. In the spring of 2011 we stepped down from youth ministry. This was a little hard for me because I had been doing it since I graduated high school and I loved and cherished the young women I had in my small group. I cheerfully resigned along with Jon because he said that he needed to step back so that he could see the direction God would want to take him in musically. It was a great time for me to step down also because I had my third child on the way and was coming to a point where I really want to give complete attention to my husband, children and home! Since stepping down from youth ministry, Jon and I have had more time for each other and for sharing the ministry of our home with others through hospitality. It think that hospitality is one of the most amazing gifts God has given women! I would’ve never realized when I left youth ministry that God would bless our home so much!

Back to the journey…

So, over the last year we started praying about Jon going into full-time ministry, attending school or taking classes online. After much prayer, seeking and affirmation the Lord led us to moving to Louisville! Everything fell right into place by how we were provided for financially, a job for Jon and a wonderful centrally located home. There were some moments of anxiety and questions that went unanswered at different times, but God kept leading us faithfully and steadily in this direction. My favorite bible verses (Proverbs 3:5-8) reminded me to trust in the Lord and to not lean on my own understanding…even when I doubted how things could possible work out!

Over the last few weeks we have had help from so many friends and family that it’s hard to even recollect all that went on! I am so thankful for the box packers, cleaners, meal bringers, truck loaders, and babysitters! For every need there was help to fulfill it! I even hurt my back and had to lay flat for 2 days and had a friend take time off to watch my kids, another 9 month pregnant friend bring over lunch and help with my kids and my mom and husband did SO much to make my recovery quick. On the last day before we moved I watched in awe as unplanned shifts of people came through out the day to accomplish all the last minute cleaning and packing that needed to be finished. I had ladies pulling out windows and cleaning under places I didn’t even know existed. We had a couple men that came early in the day and packed up our truck like pros…After MANY tear-filled good-byes that night (and in the weeks previous too!) we drove away from a clean and empty house. A house we never deserved and one we couldn’t even afford to live in on our own. All 1,600 sq ft of it used by children playing, guitar lessons, meals made and eaten, cook-outs, sleepovers, play-dates and so much more. It was a bittersweet parting, but we left with excitement in our hearts for the next chapter in our life.

When we pulled in at our new apartment we were greeted by a sweet landlady and some dear saints from the new church! The pastor and three young sons worked tirelessly as well as another guy who just arrived from Maryland. A mom and daughter came to help with the children and another sweet gal brought a meal for us to enjoy our first night in our new home. After only a couple short hours everything was in and we were enjoying a delicious meal! The next morning Jon drove our truck driver to the airport (I think he worked harder than anyone else on packing up the truck too!) and along with my mom we went to our first service at the Sovereign Grace Church Plant. We were greeted by kindness, love, and hugs! It was such a blessing to hear that they had been praying for us and were just as excited to see us as we them.

I do not know what the future holds, but I do know Who holds the future…so, as we venture forth into new territory please pray that we will grow in faith, love and passion for sharing the gospel. Pray that we would be knit together strongly as a family and that God would use us to bless others for His glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.

I am an undeserving child of the Almighty God….blessed beyond reason; lavished with grace.

Treasuring my home,

Sarah

if you have any other stories or things to share about that go along with how God’s worked in our lives that I didn’t talk about please share them below in the comments! I am sure there are many things I forgot 🙂

 

Little Blessings

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It’s those little unexpected blessings that make me look up and say,” THANK YOU LORD!”

I notice a lot of little ways in which God blesses me and my family and I want to share them as they come up so that I can continually remember to have a thankful heart, even in the small stuff.  So, as these odd but neat blessings come my way I am going to share them here…it’s more for myself to look back on over time- but you are welcome to read them and maybe be blessed too 🙂

1. VBS apron

I just said at our vbs leaders meeting a week ago that I thought it would be really cool if we could get aprons (like waitresses wear) to use for our Amusement Park themed VBS.  My room is going to be decorated like a carnival so the idea for the aprons was most applicable to me.  After leaving the meeting, I was not all that enthused about how I was going to fulfill all my crazy ideas for my room, but on I went day-dreaming.  I stopped by Goodwill a few days ago (on my husband’s and my 7th wedding anniversary date night to be exact.haha) and lo and behold, as I was looking for curtains, sheets, and pillowcases to re-purpose…WHAT DID I STUMBLE UPON?!?!  A brand spankin new red apron! It was exactly what I was picturing in my mind….AND that’s not all!  It was green-tag 1/2 off week.  What color was the tag? GREEN!!  That never happens to me when I find something I really want.  So, needless to say I was jumping around the store all excited over a red apron.  Like I said, it’s those little unexpected blessings that make me look up and say, “THANK YOU LORD!”

2. Unexpected Dinner

We hosted bible study at our house a couple nights ago…in preparation I was doing a little “extra” cleaning because the house was already picked up, but was in desperate need of a grocery run.  You know, when there’s no bread AND no milk.  Yeah.  Well, it was getting to be 4pm and unlike my usual meal-planning-self I had no plan and no food…I decided to HURRY over to the grocery because friends would be arriving in 2 short hours.  Did I mention I still needed to make a dessert for the evening too?  Well, the Lord had my tiny little situation in His perfect care- just as I was telling my husband about my plight and need for a rushed trip to the store the phone rang.  It was a close friend calling to ask if it would be okay if they could come early for bible study AND bring dinner with them.  WOW! I was blown away…I almost had to pinch myself to see if it was really happening.  I thanked them 20 times over and mentioned that if I wasn’t home when they got to our house just to go ahead and start eating with my husband and kids because I needed to run to the grocery store.  My friend then proceeded to offer me her gallon of milk and full loaf of bread she had just bought! So, needless to say, I didn’t need to run to the store AND I didn’t have to cook dinner!  Like I said, it’s those little unexpected blessings that make me look up and say,” THANK YOU LORD!”

(and I did a happy dance around my house after I got off the phone with my friend!)

Ginger Plowman – Preparing The Way Ministries

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I just started the book ‘Don’t Make Me Count to Three‘ By Ginger Plowman today.  I am looking forward to seeing how I can be a better parent through reading it.  Please join me on my journey as I share tid-bits of what I am learning on my blog.  Feel free to comment and share your thoughts and stories about parenting.

I challenge you to pick up the book and start reading too!  We can read together and have a book discussion!

 

Check out Ginger’s website below to learn more about her book:

Ginger Plowman – Preparing The Way Ministries.