Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Thank you to Money Saving Mom from a Very Blessed Mom

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I recently read Say Good-Bye to Survival Mode By: Crystal Paine. (Blogger for the famous Moneysavingmom.com).  I enoyed her book so much that I sent her a letter thanking her for her book and for inspiring me to faithfully care for my family and my home.  I wanted to share my note to her with you all because it gives you a taste of what God is doing in my life.  Although she does not share scripture and biblical application in her book (which is my main criticism), her intention is to be very practical and easy for anyone to apply.  She does make it very evident though that she is a Christian and that God is her ultimate priority.  I do recommend this book and highly encourage you to read it!

Also, I am going to be doing a conference call MONDAY MARCH 10th @  10PM EST on Understanding Time Management and having an organized planning system.  Anyone is welcome to join. Feel free to invite friends! I will share for about 45 min and then we will have 10-15 min of questions and comments. To access the handouts please post your email below and I will add you to the google drive docs. (You will need to print them yourselves)

The details for the conference call are listed below my letter…..here’s the letter:

Crystal, (or whomever is helping her to filter through emails 🙂

Thank you for your book, your time and your energy put into blessing women with your love for God, family, and living a life that is joyfully rich. Right now my husband and I (and our 3 children) currently live in Louisville, KY while he attends Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am in a seminary wive’s class with Mary Mohler (wife of President R. Albert Mohler (acclaimed radio host, author and conference speaker)) about REDEEMING THE TIME! It’s a 6 week class that basically expands on almost everything in your book! In fact, Mary’s co-leader Jodi Ware (wife of seminary professor, author and speaker Bruce Ware) laughed as she handed me your book to borrow because she was so pleased and humored by how much of your book matches up with exactly what they are teaching! God’s timing has been perfect for me to renew my commitment to redeeming the time in my relationship with God, with my husband, children and my priorities/goals. Especially at this season of life, raising children and being away from home, it’s been a blessing to me to really take the time to think through how I want to live my life! And, because (Lord willing) I am going to be a Pastor’s wife, I want to not only learn and implement the truths and practices you have shared in your book BUT I really feel called to share, inspire and encourage other women to follow along with me as we strive to redeem our time and say Good-bye to survival mode. Since I’ve started class and reading your book (which is on their recommended reading list!) I have been SO encouraged….to make a day-planner (which is amazing and no iPhone app could ever replace writing things down!!!), build routine into my day (especially for the sake of the joy of my time with my kids), and ACTUALLY finally do the things I WANT to do instead of just the dot to dot, mundane day to day muddle! And when I say things I want to do I don’t mean the lazy, sit-around and wish I could take a nap and ignore my chores, time-wasters (like watching pointless tv all night after the kids go to bed) that actually don’t make me happy (and STEAL joy and energy) BUT the real things I truly want…the best things…time with God, blessing and helping my husband, caring for my children’s bodies, minds, and souls, creatively and excitedly caring for my home-our haven, and pursuing hospitality…Which ironically truly makes me me happy and joyful and fulfilled. (Unlike the lies of those ridiculous time-wasters!)

Let me give you a little history on why this is all so exciting for me and why I am grinning from ear to ear and doing an internal happy dance just thinking about God’s work in my life right now…

I am NOT the quintessential home-making machine. I wasn’t “born-that-way”. I don’t have the “clean-gene”. I wasn’t raised in an organized home. I don’t love cleaning. In fact, my idea of enjoying life had nothing to do with anything in the home or about the home….So, when I left home and got married my life was full of procrastination, undone lists, ignoring my work and problems, piles of laundry, stacks of papers, restaurant receipts, last minute meals, dishes across the counter, living room and bedrooms. My remedy for all this chaos? Ignore it. leave it. go somewhere so I didn’t have to see it! I thought I had a good excuse for why it was against my “personality”. This summed up my life for the first 3 years of our marriage, and I assumed would sum of the rest of my life because I was “born” that way…always late, double-booking, and constantly walking around with a mental load on my shoulders feeling guilty for what I wasn’t doing but not willing to do anything about it. THEN, I got to the point where I was ready to DO. SOMETHING. ABOUT. IT. The only problem is that I started making lofty and ridiculous goals! (NOT S.M.A.R.T. goals -Specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and time-orriented) I would decide that I needed to get my house clean so I’d sit for an hour making this extremely complicated chore chart and then I would only survive one day of it and then my chore chart would fall behind the fridge into eternal dust-land never to be seen again. I continued on this path of making “goals” that had no specificity and really weren’t 100% in line with my main priorities…and again and again I would set up 10 foot walls for myself and then watch my self jump and skid down the side with my fingers aimlessly trying to grip the slippery slope of “my plan s”. It was depressing, more depressing in fact than ignoring my home. Well, thank GOD for godly older women and faithful teaching…because He used some wise women to instill some godly basics in my haphazard life- not judging me, but coming along-side me with the most practical wisdom I have every received! Things like: start by making your bed every day (which was actually pretty monumental for me!), pick 2 days a week that you will carve out for staying home, embrace your season of life (don’t wish for the next and there by missing out and ignoring where God has me!), make a menu and shopping list before you go to the store, DO FIRST THINGS FIRST!!! And as Elizabeth Elliot so wisely put it, “Do the next thing.” I went from being the fun, disorganized, leaving my house every day for any reason, unhappy woman who couldn’t have people over or make a place for my family to feel at ease– to a wife and mom that wanted to finally do what I was called to do! Prioritize my Savior a nd love my home! I went from ignoring jobs to getting them done first and still having time for things I enjoy (and with joy now because now I’m not out doing something else or sitting on Facebook feeling guilty about my life.) It’s been a trail of ups and downs since my home has taken a turn for the good…we’ve moved once a year over the last 10 years (once out of state), so each time I’ve gotten my home organized we’ve picked up and moved again!! But, God is faithful and I’ve learned it’s not about me and I do need to give myself some grace for transitional times!! I also need to remember to not give up. This class I’m in right now and your book have given me a wonderful ZAP to renew my commitments to my ultimate desires, priorities and goals. And I am SO GRATEFUL! It’s been a joy to see God working in my heart to desire to be faithful with what He has given me and where He has me. Right now, I am not called to the next big thing, to be a conference speaker or perfectly execute every second of my day…BUT I am called to be faithful…and I want to be. Thank you for loving me (even though you don’t know me personally!) and investing in my life. Your investment in my heart and the hearts of millions of other women has been a divine appointment with fruitful eternal consequences. Thank you!

To my surprise Crystal herself responded to my email 🙂

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AND here’s the conference call info I told you about 500 sentences ago….

Conference call #1: Monday March 10th 10pm/9c Topic: Understanding Time Management and having an organized planning system

Here’s how to join: please promptly join 3 minutes before the start so we start right at 10/9c

Dial–in Number: (712) 432-1212
Meeting ID: 232-633-541
PIN: 4451
Press *6 to mute yourself during the first part of the call and again to un-mute for questions/comments

If you need to miss this call but would like to listen to a recording please let me know and I will give you the number and ID for that after the call.

***reminder: this call is at 10pm for EST and 9pm Central***

 

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

MP900386288

 

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)

 

 

Preparing your home for hospitality

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Biblical Hospitality

       One of the things I love MOST about being a homemaker is HOSPITALITY…just the thought of it makes me grin from ear to ear.  By God’s grace our home has been a place for much love, laughter, food and getting to know many friends and family over the years! Hospitality, like most things in my life has been a learning process for me.  From the basics of cooking, cleaning and how to host I have learned so much the last 5 years or so.  Realizing the difference between hospitality and entertaining has been important for me too.   Also, learning to invest in others rather than caring so much about what people think of me or my home has been key! (if you care too much about what people think to the extent that you don’t have anyone over- it’s pride!  Set aside your pride and invite people into your life)

Almost a year ago a sweet friend and mentor of mine spoke on the topic of hospitality from a very practical sense.  On top of there being many great and beneficial scriptures on biblical hospitality there is much wisdom that can be learned from women who’ve been there and done that for 20+ years.  I found this friend’s teaching on “how to prepare your home for hospitality” so encouraging and helpful and wanted to share with all of you the insights and ideas she has.  She gave me the liberty to tweak and pull out whatever I wanted SO without too many changes here it is….

 

PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR GUESTS

1. Preparation is key to your enjoyment of the event. There may be some people you can have over for a meal without much planning, such as your family or very close friends, but if you want to begin to open your home to anyone outside of that small comfort circle, you must prepare ahead. In fact, perhaps it is this very idea that you CAN prepare ahead that will give you courage to practice hospitality. You can be ready!   You can be free to enjoy conversation!  You can relax!

2. Check your calendar. Choose a date to have guests when you have time to prepare, preferably a few hours the day before for cleaning and early food preparation and a few hours on the day itself. If you don’t think you have this kind of time or if you find yourself not protecting the time you set aside to prepare, then you and your husband need to consider how to make hospitality a higher priority in your lives.

Can you have guests without giving so much time to preparation? Yes, clean the bathroom sink, clear the kitchen table, order pizza, get out leftovers or make pancakes!  But generally, if you are preparing a meal and you want your house to be reasonably clean and you want the hearts of your family to be ready to receive and minister to your guests, you need to set aside some time to prepare.

3. Decide who to invite.  Among believers: who has God given you? Who ministers to you or to whom you minister? Who has been put in your life because you serve with them or are in small group together or Sunday school?  Who helps you move forward in your walk with Christ or who would you like to help?  Don’t think you need to be best friends with everyone at church!  Among unbelievers: neighbors, co-workers, share common interests like coaching your kids’ soccer or exercise class. Who has God put in front of you? Call them 1-2 weeks before and then confirm the day before. (Sarah side note: Invite the singles in your church!  Especially those who live alone…adopt one and have them over once a week or on a regular basis if your schedule allows)

4. Do whatever cleaning is necessary ahead of the day, except for last minute cleaning such as the bathroom sink and putting away the clutter from the day.

5. Plan and prepare the food and beverages.   You should be in the habit of already making weekly menus for your family.  Then, when you know a family is coming over that week it’ll be easy to add that meal into your menu and you’ll be sure to have enough of what you need.  Writing out all of the things you will need will help you to be prepared at the grocery store and to avoid last minute stress before your guests arrive.

6. Prepare table and seating so there is enough room for everyone. Set up extra tables or get extra chairs if needed. Set up or ask your guests to bring equipment for children. (Sarah side note: I am always put at such ease when I arrive somewhere and they have a chair set up for the baby, kid plates, sippy cups and silverware or ask me to bring them with me) Decide where each person is going to sit so that parents are by children or that conversation is distributed about the table. Avoid all the women at one end of the table and all the men at the other. To avoid being questioned about where you want people to sit you could make simple place cards from folded index cards or let your children make them from colored paper and stickers. Choose a tablecloth or place-mats and add flowers or candles ahead of time if you are going to use them.  These little creative additions aren’t necessary but could make your preparing more fun and your guests enjoyment more warm!

7. Set the table.  This isn’t always necessary for informal events but if you’d like to and aren’t sure how to set the table  properly, ask a mentor or look it up online.  Put dishes, drinking glasses, and flatware on the table or ready nearby. Get out necessary cups or bowls for children. Think about what is needed to serve the food: large spoons, trivets for hot dishes, baskets for bread, salt and pepper, butter, jam, condiments, ice. Have ready everything that is needed for dessert such as additional forks, dishes or bowls. Be ready to make tea or coffee.  This will cut down on the temptation for stress or anxiety during the visit.

8. Review names of guests and their children. Discuss possible conversation topics and questions you can ask them with your husband and/or family. What would you like to know about your guests? Suggestions: their family background, employment, hobbies and interests, how a couple met, how they came to know Christ, what has helped them to grow in their faith, prayer requests.  Thinking ahead like this can help eliminate unnecessary awkward silence and can bless your conversations with Christ-centered discussions!

9. Think about the needs of your guests. Discuss with your husband what you will do when your guests arrive to make them feel welcome and to help them settle in. Is there room for their coats in the closet? What about shoes? What room will you invite them into? Will you offer beverages? How soon will dinner be served? If children are coming, think about age-appropriate toys and have them ready. (Sarah side note: I can’t explain how special it has been for us to go to someone’s house that didn’t have small children and see age appropriate toys and  room for my kids to play!)

10. Think about your goals for the evening. Discuss with your husband how you want to spend the time after dinner. Do you want to suggest a game or move the conversation to more comfortable chairs? Will you let your guests help with the clean up or save it until after they leave? Will your husband offer to pray before they leave?

Application questions:

1. Browse over these 10 things and think about one or two things you want to take action on.

2. Write out a hospitality goal for the next few months. Suggestions: talk to your husband about how you can make hospitality a higher priority, have one family from church per month over for dinner, invite unbelievers over for a meal or dessert, add a single person to our family dinner every other weekend, try having someone over after church on Sunday, invite couples over for dinner and games, try one company menu on my family and then make it for company, use Sunday evenings for hospitality.

3. Discuss your goal with your husband and agree together on it. Share your goal with an older woman or a friend who will take it seriously and help you to follow through on it.

Weren’t this dear saint’s ideas and applications helpful?  Please share your goal below!

My goal is to have a family or couple over once a week.  When we lived in Green Bay we tried different themes to help us think of who to invite:  Newly married couples…Singles…Church Elders and their families…families with a lot of children (they don’t get invited to people’s houses much if ever!).  Now that we are in a new city and new church I am excited for the possibilities here!

 

Whether your house is big, small, old or new

or your life is busy or slow.

There’s always time for a family or friend

or someone new to know.

It’s not about perfection, wittiness

or a flawless flashy meal.

It’s sharing your home and Christ

and loving kindness that is real.

With a dash of love

and a heart that’s prepared

Hospitality is a gift

we all must share!

Visual Theology

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Visual Theology

These pictorial diagrams ARE AMAZING…. They would be great resources for a bible study, homeschooling, and personal study.

I saw this blog post from Tim Challies today and just HAD to share what he posted…

Here are some awesome resources to use for learning or teaching theology! SIMPLE. EASY. UNDERSTANDABLE.  I hope you will enjoy them as much as I am. Click on each one for a full version and to read Tim’s commentary on each.

I beg of you to read all of them the whole way down…down give up half way through 🙂

The Order of Salvation

The Order of Salvation

The Attributes of God

The Attributes of God

Books of the Bible

Books of the Bible

Think on These Things

Think on These Things

Awaiting the Messiah- The Promise-fulfilling Genealogy of Jesus Christ

The Trinity

The Trinity

To the Glory of God

To the Glory of God

The Message of the Tabernacle

The Message of the Tabernacle

The Fruit of the Spirit

5 pillars of theology

5 pillars of theology

One Another

One Another

Penal Substitutionary Atonement- Christ took our punishment

Penal Substitutionary Atonement- Christ took our punishment

leftover popcorn

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It’s happened to just about all of us….we’ve popped a bag a popcorn and didn’t barely make a dent in it (doesn’t happen often here!) OR you’ve gone to the movies and gotten the big tub of popcorn and got a refill on your way out.  Either way you are sitting with uneaten popcorn staring at you from the counter.  I don’t know why I have a hard time throwing out popcorn, but today it bothered me enough to get me thinking….thinking of ways that we can salvage our uneaten popcorn…….monumental discussion I know with the election today 🙂

ANYWAY…here are some ideas for yummy or crafty things you can do with your leftover popcorn…or HEY you may be so inspired that you’ll go pop a new batch just to try out one of these ideas.

1. Make a popcorn craft!

Branches are blown paint.  Add trunk with brush.  Make popcorn while the paint dries.  Add glue dots to branches.  Glue leftover popcorn as blossoms.  C/O toddler approved (blog).

String popcorn for a decoration (Christmas or party)

Popcorn necklaces for kids

 

Popcorn ornament

1. Buy a clear glass Christmas globe 2. Paint unbuttered popcorn kernels green and red 3. Fill the globes half full with the painted kernels (after letting them dry) 4. Put them in the microwave for 30 seconds or so until filled with popped kernels (yes it's okay to put them in the microwave) 5. Tie a decorative string on the globe and you've got a homemade Christmas ornament :)

popcorn wreath

eco-friendly-craft-for-kids-popcorn-wreath

popcorn snowman

Popcorn Snowman Craft

2. Make something yummy!

pumpkin pie popcorn

Popcorn 1

caramel marshmallow popcorn

peanut butter popcorn

popcornballs

These 6 below (in order) are: Cinnamon Bun Popcorn, Pink Party Popcorn, Popcorn Brittle, Smores Popcorn, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Popcorn, Popcorn Trail Mix

Super sweet popcorn recipes - perfect for parties!

bunny bait

popcorncake5

popcorn salad

Popcorn Salad Recipe

other interesting ideas….

-feed it to the birds and critters

-use it in place of packing peanuts