12.30.2011

Grateful!

God is good, all the time!

I'm still in awe how He worked out a particular situation earlier this evening.  It was tough, and after feeling beat up at the end of the day because of that and other so-called tests of faith I proclaimed the truth: I am not subject to this world system.  I am subject to the Kingdom of God.  I am in this world, but not of it.  

Here's my grateful journal here.

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles..." 1 Chronicles 16:8-12

New Year’s Prayer


"Heavenly Father, for this coming year
Just one request I bring.

I do not pray for happiness or any earthly thing.
I do not ask to understand the way you lead me;
But this I ask—teach me to do the thing that pleases You.
I want to know Your guiding voice,
To walk with you each day.

Heavenly Father,
Make me swift to hear and ready to obey;
And thus the year I now begin
A happy year will be,

If I am seeking just to do
The thing that pleases You."

- Anonymous

12.23.2011

Celebrate The Season

I implore, challenge, and encourage you to take time out for God this Christmas, who is truly the reason why we celebrate, and sit at His feet. Have a Mary heart in a Martha world!

Praying for us all, that we experience less stress and more joy this Christmas.

At the Home of Martha and Mary

12.22.2011

How Great Thou Art



When Christ shall come,
With shouts of acclamation,
And take me home,
What joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow
In humble adoration
And there proclaim,
"My God, how great Thou art!"

12.21.2011

Layaway Angels

Layaway Angels or Secret Santas are spreading the spirit of Christmas wrapped in hope to anonymous recipients at Kmart and Walmart Stores. Note: Not all the donors are wealthy.

Mystery donors paying off layaway accounts for needy

'Layaway Angels' Pay Off Shoppers' Bills

Amazing Grace

In more than one instance these past couple of weeks I see God working "all things together for my good," and in the here and now.

"And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!" Isaiah 30:18 Amplified

I know that I know that I'm standing in His amazing grace. Alleluia!

Chris Tomlin - Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)



Amazing Grace [the movie] was released in 2007 to mark the 200th Anniversary of the passing of the bill, which abolished slave trade in the British Empire. This film is much more than a history lesson it shares the journey of ordinary men who by the power of Christ through conversion, changed the world. Furthermore, it brings to light the atrocities of bondage for the sake of gaining wealth and the stripping of God's ownership over His creation.

12.20.2011

Virtual Gingerbread Cookie Decorator

My daughter was asking to make gingerbread cookies, which is fine—but not right before bed. Using my motherly instincts I went immediately to the web to search for a quick solution. Voilà! In a matter of minutes we sent virtual gingerbread decorated cookies to family and friends with a personal post card greeting.

Enjoy this fun and free source on the web with your family this Christmas!

Have you sent your child a specialized video message from Santa yet? Check it out here!

12.19.2011

Leftovers!

It's Christmas time, and the year end bills are sure to show up soon, so leftovers were our choice for meals this past Sunday.

Yep, sometimes Today's Specials are yesterday's leftovers!

Saturday evening I took a quick inventory and disposed of some expired foods from the week before. No meats thank goodness, but things like a cut up tomato in a baggie and a small container of Greek yogurt with caramel along with a few others were tossed.

My inventory was a short list of "Eat Leftovers" for Sunday which included:

egg noodles
cheddar cheese sauce
yams
orzo
chicken tenders
homemade bean soup
baked potato

Glad to announce that all were gobbled up!

I have never had leftover fears because as a child dinner was usually the next days dinner, and sometimes stretched even further. Bonus for us was that most foods are tastier the second-time around. Leftover Lover here!

12.18.2011

It Is Well With My Soul

“It is in the quiet crucible of your personal private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you’ve been through.”- Wintley Phipps

Dear Sisters and Brothers, God has not forgotten you or overlooked your situation. Give Him praise now for working behind the scenes, and making a way out of no way. He is faithful to see you through to victory in spite of your present circumstances, for "weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

"It Is Well With My Soul" By Wintley Phipps

12.13.2011

Filled Christmas Gift Bags for Teachers

It's that time of year to thank those teachers that care for our child(ren)!

This year my daughter is at a larger school and so our circle of thankfulness has grown. However, I vowed to keep the budget at a reasonable limit for our short list of 5.

For my daughter's primary teacher the gift bag included one of each:

Advil $3.48 Walmart
Mr. Sketch Scented Watercolor Marker $1.29 at OfficeMax
Composition Book Pad $0.77 Walmart
Neutrogena Hand Cream (Fragrance Free) $3.57 Walmart
Altoids Smalls $1.00 Walgreens

Two other teachers got the same less the bottle of Advil.

One front office administrator along with a library/lunch aid were also included in the 5 on our school Christmas list. Bags of Sunsweet PlumSweets (bite size pieces of dried plum, coated in rich, dark chocolate) were the prefect choice! Price: $2.27 at Walmart

Green ribbon from our wrapping gift stash were tied on the handles of our purchased gift bags to keep closed. I had my daughter participate with writing the "To" and "From" on a color copy drawing she made of Santa's Elf. Color copies were .39 each at The UPS Store. I got more than I needed so she could write letters to relatives too!

Whatever your budget you can say, "Thanks, I appreciate you!"

12.12.2011

Out With The Old #1

Last week I went through my daughter's toy collection wanting to de-clutter before this year's Christmas arrivals.

A gift for my daughter's very first Christmas, a double easel for creative play. A versatile piece that brought hours of fun to my now 7-year-old using dry erase markers, chalk, and paint.

We traded in her easel and Magna Doodle for credit at our favorite resale shop. Then with a recommendation from a mom with an older child, I purchased a 17" x 23" Magnetic Dry-Erase board for only $6.84 at Walmart. Thinking it through, instead of fixing it permanently to our kitchen painted walls I chose to use Command Strips for damage-free hanging up to 18" x 24" frames (2 packages at $2.94 each).

It's a hit! My daughter has been excited to use it for studying spelling words as well as playing teacher with her stuffed friends.

12.11.2011

If You Look For Me


"Where's the Line to See Jesus? Santa Claus brought me presents, but Christ gave His life for me."

12.10.2011

Simplify!

My daughter has had two meltdowns this week. My mommy alarm went off and I realized it's too much. The school pressure, heavy homework load, church obligations, and one too many Holiday concerts with the theater community are stressing her out.

Like any mother, we reassess the big picture and make adjustments.

After sharing with her that she won't be going to today's show last night, what I thought would be disappointment turned into a sigh of relief, a hug, and "Thank you!"

Sometimes what we want is not always what we need.

Thankfully, my family is flowing in peace and harmony as the need to put blank space on today's calendar won!

In simplifying our life we rediscover family, connect with them on a deeper level, and creativity has an opportunity to flourish in each of us.

Let's take a break, practice the Sabbath, be quiet and still, and welcome peace into your life and homes.

I stumbled upon this interesting video though I am not familiar with the speaker or his credentials. Take away what is truth for you and your family, and make a change.

Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!

Helpful Book: 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life by Joyce Meyer

11.29.2011

Shop At Your Local Library

Are you looking for a good find for a great price! Check out your local library, most have shops or shelves you can browse and pay 50 cents up to a dollar for gently used books, magazines, or media.

Need a gift idea for that upcoming office party grab bag or your group's white elephant gift exchange. How about stocking up your gift closet for children's birthday parties? Sometimes you'll find a like new book and no one will be the wiser.

The other side to this equation is donating your gently used books.

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.” - Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

11.28.2011

Deals!

I can resist a deal, but when I find a smokin' deal on something I need, it's time to celebrate.

Christmas cards here. Purchased Sunday night (Black Friday Deal) at 70% discount with no shipping costs. Cyber Monday Sale .49 cents each!

"Shop 'til your mouse breaks!"

Discounts without leaving your house.

11.26.2011

Treasures


"Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being." Matthew 6:19-21 The Message

I am finding that this holiday season is stirring up a heartfelt prayer for my daughter for spiritual treasures.

In my faith journey thus far, I have realized the importance of God's blessing, favor, and anointing in our lives—especially in these last days.

I often reflect on the riches of heaven that I am blessed to experience and witness. What is equally rich about my life is that I am undeserving, yet He continues to give grace even when I fail and fall.

There is no greater treasure more precious than divine grace for this sinner!

Divine grace is God-given, Salvation through Jesus Christ, a free gift, reconciliation, and peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

11.25.2011

Solomon's Wisdom

When God is teaching me, He finds more than one way to get to the point.

Earlier today, a couple of chapters from a book regarding the Sabbath were a welcomed respite brimming with goodness for my soul. Then this evening nearing the end of Solomon the movie, scriptures read earlier reverberate in my mind.

The purpose of Ecclesiastes: "To spare future generations the bitterness of learning through their own experience that life is meaningless apart from God." - Life Application Study Bible

Summary of Ecclesiastes (in part): "All of his (Solomon) remarks relating to the futility of life are there for a purpose-to lead people to seek true happiness in God alone. He was not trying to destroy all hope, but to direct our hopes to the only One who can truly fulfill them. Solomon affirms the value of knowledge relationships, work, and pleasure, but only in their proper place. All of these temporal things in life must be seen in light of the eternal." - Life Application Study Bible

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all." Ecclesiastes 12:13

"The book of Ecclesiastes cannot be interpreted correctly without reading these final verses.  No matter what the mysteries and apparent contractions of life are we must work toward the single purpose of knowing God." - Life Application Study Bible

Solomon was a man of great wisdom, but he was also a king who fell hard.  I am so grateful for biblical character studies that are relatable to our messy lives.  It shows their weaknesses of the flesh, their courage through faith in trials, as well as the favor, and judgment of God.

When we walk with God we have success of various types and forms, but when we aren't we fail and fall.     

11.24.2011

Thankful For The Trials

I remember being thankful for stuff, but now I think stuff is very overrated. I’m most thankful today for my family, health, deep sleep, and peace of mind.

Once the thrill of house hunting, eating out, and shopping was a kind of happiness for me. I wasn’t materialistic and grateful for all I had. Nonetheless, caught up in the gotta-have-the-best-now viewpoint.

In this economy of struggling with big decisions with few options a peek at prime real estate in a magazine had me saying aloud this evening, “I don’t even care about this stuff anymore.” I casually threw the magazine on top of strewn newspapers on the coffee table.

Quickly a deep under layered emotion came rising up, which then had me tearing up. Those unexpected deep reflections definitely needed, but so untimely. The NFL game was on and finally relaxed after dinner I let myself feel the emotions attached to expecting a miracle, a plan, anything to assist in these hard-pressed times.

Waiting on God and in His promises isn’t easy. It’s where "patience has its perfect work." Amen! Growing strong through trials has me digging deeper, and the more I dig, the more thankful I am.

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." James 1:12

Trials and Temptations

11.23.2011

Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town

Santa Claus is comin' to town in 31 days!


This morning is extra special because I was able to share the Magic of Santa with my daughter in a specialized video message that is specific to her personally using uploaded pictures, improvements this year, and a challenge for next year—and all from the lips of Santa Claus.

Hello!

How many times have parents used the "Santa Card," sure it seems unfair at first, but it works.

Here's a news flash to all the naysayers and experts who say, "No!" to this tactic: I'm not perfect, I'm a parent.

Parents have a variety of parental perks like:

"Because I'm the mother."
"Because I said so."

But I digress.

The magic of Santa Claus is a wonderful way to start the Holiday with our children.

11.19.2011

An Encouraging Word: Surrender and Seek God

Some of us are going through while others are just coming out, and a few of us are holding tight for what's ahead. Amen! Still, whatever our current circumstance GOD is on the throne, and the Holy Spirit is our Helper!

Read Surrender and Seek God for your daily dose of spiritual nourishment. 

Keep on keepin' on!

11.14.2011

Quickie Meal: Smothered Noodles with Brown Gravy, Mushrooms, and Onions

Quickie Meals that I make on the regular because Steak prices are ridiculous!

No Yolks Noodles are the favorite in this dish. These are smooth in texture and compliment the rich brown gravy with sautéed mushrooms and onions.

What you need:
- 1 Pkg of No Yolks Noodles (Broad)
- 1 Pkg of McCormick 30% Less Sodium Brown Gravy Mix (Maybe 2 if you LOVE gravy!)
- 1 or 2 Packages of Fresh Sliced Mushrooms
- Sliced Raw Onions (Cooks Preference)

How to do it:
Cook the noodles in a pot (12 min until done) and sauté mushrooms and onions in separate pan with lots of butter. When the sauté is near the end, start your gravy in a smaller separate pan. Add ingredients to an individual serving bowl, mix, and serve!


Comfort food at its best! This tasty dish is a great alternative to the richness of steak. Nonetheless, I'm not trying to convince you it's anything other than what it is, but these flavors keep that desire at bay, for a bit.

It does for me!

11.13.2011

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

It was said today during a campaign announcement that she (announcer) tells her sales staff team, "I reserve the right to get smarter."

I just stumbled upon a better version of homemade laundry detergent. For months I've made the liquid version, but Crystal at The Thrifty Mama shares a better way with a powered recipe.

No more dissolving the grated bar of soap on the stove! No more measuring of water! No more 5 gallon bucket taking up precious real estate in my cramped laundry room!

Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe

Ingredients:

* 1 cup Washing Soda
* 1 cup Borax
* 1 bar Fels Naptha Soap (grated)

Directions:
Mix dry ingredients and store in an air-tight container. Add 2-3 Tablespoons to a load.

For those who are greener try Soap Nuts. What a great gift idea!

11.11.2011

Reward Points & More

Using a credit card is certainly a convenience, but it's also very hazardous. I know this well. This morning after packing my OCC Gift Box for one special little girl, I decided to order my daughter's special one gift this year. The surprise was using accumulated reward points towards my order total reducing it by 60%.

It's a Lalaloopsy doll! These dolls are the craze with young girls. My daughter was first hooked when she bought Meet the Lalaloopsy Girls at the school book fair last month. These dolls encourage lots of pretend play with their own story and personality. Genius marketing!

What makes getting new stuff better is my rule of Something In Something Out (SISO). After little coaxing (yes, she was ready!) my daughter agreed that her whole collection of princess figurines/toys would be traded in for credit even before our first purchase. Cleaned and bagged we added $10.00 a couple of weeks ago to our growing credit at one particular resale store.

What's great is teaching my daughter the value of things and money. If we take care of our property, it can then be sold or given away. It's a 2-for-1 lesson!

When the desire to get a Lalaloopsy doll was overwhelming, the idea of using her own saved money from grandma for a mini version with accessories was a perfect solution while waiting for the larger treasure on Christmas morning.

I am definitely getting into the Christmas spirit already!

Related Post: Change It Up: Buy Used

11.10.2011

Follow Your Box!

"OCC will collect millions of shoe box gifts – filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items – for the neediest children around the world!"

National Collection Week November 14 - 21

Operation Christmas Child is a favorite tradition of mine. I haven't done it every year, but this year it's a go! Today after seeing a few empty red and green boxes stacked at Chick-fil-A, I was even more excited.


Store bought items such as a small doll along with a girly toothbrush and more filled our special shoe box for one blessed little girl.

Bonus: On November 12th (Saturday) drop off a "filled" shoe box and receive a coupon for a free Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich.

I'm also excited that OCC has incorporated Follow Your Box.

"Make your shoe box donation online and learn about the country where your gift is going. Receive a special shoe box label included in your e-mail receipt."

For those pressed for time and still want to participate check out Build-A-Box where you can select items online and add a personal greeting with your photo.

What hasn't this ministry thought of?!

It's such an honor to share love with a child in a practical way far from here that has less, and wants less this Christmas than my child, but in need of much more. How can my heart and hands ignore this. I can't. I won't.

OCC Shoe Box Blitz

11.08.2011

Ditching The Paper Towels

I have been asking myself why I'm frugal with most things and have made many adjustments to our family lifestyle, but paper towels seem to always be on the grocery list.

Like most, I had a roll in the kitchen near the sink, but also decided that one in each bathroom would work as well.

After a bout with sickness, and my daughter grabbing too many towels at one time I changed it up. Buying cheaper brands and select-a-sheet towels as a last ditch effort (pun intended!). Sadly, we were going through rolls within days. Ridiculous! The expense in keeping a germfree home was obviously counterproductive to a more conscious effort to be thrifty.

Then, I had an aha moment -- removing my paper towel dispensers from the kitchen and bathrooms. They are now collecting dust on a shelf in my laundry room with only one dressed in a white paper roll for messy messes. Five (5) rolls remain on the same shelf from an 8-pack purchased recently.

Time and messes will tell if I've truly converted!

Paper Towel Alternatives:

*Cotton Hand Towels (owned)
*Cotton Dishcloths (Package of 9 Sale $3.00 Wal-Mart)
*Handi Wipes (6 Reusable/Washable $1.98 Wal-Mart)
*Mr. Clean Reusable Wipes (6 Antimicrobial/Washable $1.00 at BigLots)
*Microfiber Cleaning Towels (8 Pieces $5.00 Wal-Mart)

Microfiber Cleaning Towels can be found in the automotive section of the store. They are used in car detailing and windows, leaving no streaks. Highly recommended for glass and bathroom mirrors.

Thrifty is an adventure whereby we learn some new habits and dispose of the antiquated ones, and for most of us it's just getting back to basics -- like grandma used to do.

Careful at throwing your money at consumables! Be wise. Be prudent. Be a good steward.

Updates:
Change of Habit
I Did It!

11.07.2011

Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats

The air is turning crisp and cool, which means a change in the weather here. Still, I look forward to the changes this season brings for various reasons, but hearty comfort foods are certainly one of them. I know I'm not alone in getting excited about recipes and 4-hour crock pot meals.

In my blog posts labeled "favorites" you'll find an array of my personal recommendations.

Trader Joe's Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats on the stove and ready to eat in 8 minutes!

Scoop a healthy dollop of brown sugar and you're good to go for breakfast or a late night snack.

$2.49
24 oz.

Ingredients: 100% whole grain oats.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1/4 cup uncooked
Servings Per Container about 17
Amount per Serving
Calories 150 Calories from Fat 25

11.02.2011

Surrender and Seek God

Surrendering to God's will when we cannot see too far ahead can seem scary at first. Yet, through faith we put one foot in front of the other and believe that He is walking beside us even on those days when we feel very much alone in the world.

Living in a desert landscape there is much I can draw from nature in my prayer time, as I am thirsty and hungry for more of Him. I realize that He must be my primary source while I walk out this journey. I need my daily dose of Heavenly manna. I need a covering by day and warmth from His fire (the Holy Spirit) at night, because anything less would be insufficient. Jesus must be my end all be all! Otherwise, I am deficient -- lacking in power, wisdom, understanding, and all the rest that He freely gives.

I've been on my own, before my commitment to Christ, and dare I say afterwards for a season. The busyness of life being a stay-at-home mother had become my priority. I strayed a bit not realizing what grave danger I had put myself in by not being grounded in the Word of God daily. I had no idea how weak and vulnerable I was until one ordinary day when my world turned upside down. Fortunately, God brought the right people to me, who helped in getting my world right side up again. Nevertheless, it took time and a lot of work letting go and letting God be God. I had to relearn about taking a healthy stand in some instances, while in others surrendering fully to God's Word and believing as it is written:

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:10-11

I encourage you my brother or sister whatever your trial or circumstance, know that God is able to do the impossible. Trust Him with your whole heart. Rededicate your heart and life to Him. Prove Him right as you walk this side of Heaven with humility and grace for others. Let love be your language. Forgive and forget. I promise that He will turn the tide. You'll sing again! He will turn your mourning into dancing. Believe that "with God all things are possible."


"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near." Isaiah 55:6

Isaiah 55

10.29.2011

Get Your Spiritual House In Order!

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)? When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. - Email Forward (Rick Warren)

I haven't confirmed or denied the authorship of this email forward, but frankly I'm more interested in the truth of the message, which is on-time for today's troubles.

Trials and tribulations, better known to Believers as the testing of our faith, can be exhausting. Nevertheless, these various and often continuous trials are for our maturing, and bring about holiness within each of us.

God is returning for a bride that is "without spot or wrinkle."

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." Ephesians 5:25-27

Believers, in this season, time we spend with Him is most precious and is a direct result of our inward spiritual strength. It is crucial that we be washed in the Word daily. Keeping us in right standing with God, and also to be used as our compass for decisions and plans. This isn't a time to be lax or lazy. We must be ready and prepared for His return!

Getting Your House In Order (Scripture References)

10.19.2011

Less Talk

The Holy Bible, the God-breathed Word, Holy Spirit inspired, Proverbs of Solomon -- who asked for wisdom above all, wrote these passages:

Proverbs 21:9 "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife."

Proverbs 27:15-16 "A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand."


You had better believe that nothing was left out of the Holy Scriptures to instruct, including a woman's propensity to run off at the mouth.

Ouch!

I felt that.

God is teaching me currently that "less talk and serving more" makes a good marriage great.

10.14.2011

Tough Love

God will sometimes use or allow the unconventional to wake us or shake us up. For some it may be the consequences of our own doing (outside of God's authority) or perhaps troubles of various kinds. It matters not though. What's dynamic about the process is that we hopefully end up changed and transformed.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

I am certain that God was the first to initiate tough love -- discipline that's motivated by love.

God Disciplines His Sons

Albeit a painful process of cleansing and purging, remember that we are called to be vessels of honor, holy, and useful to God.

"In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work." 2 Timothy 2:20-21

10.12.2011

Change It Up: Site To Store Service

Change It Up is a series of posts where I share changes I've made.

Before school started this year I needed to purchase a new Booster Car Seat for my daughter. After a little bit of research I decided for the first time to use a Site to Store service. I ordered online and picked it up at the store with no shipping or handling costs. It was a win-win!

The bonus is that sometimes what I prefer may only be available online.


I found the correspondence from the store to be exceptional with good instructions on the process, as well as keeping me informed straight through to pickup confirmation.

Side bar: I did get a credit for my daughter's gently used harnessed car seat at the resale shop. Ka-ching!

10.11.2011

Movie for Free

Look for the link to watch One Night with the King for FREE on yesterday's blog post.  Enjoy!

10.10.2011

One Night with the King

Looking for a movie brimming with romance, drama, and mystery. Watch One Night with the King, a Biblical account of how a young Jewish girl became Queen Esther.

The life experience of Esther's faith brought her favor of a divine kind to save not only herself, but her people.

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

Can we talk?! I know well about overwhelming trials that seem impossible. In a tight spot. Desperate, and in need of courage and confidence.

Believer be encouraged that in God's plan you win, no matter the difficulties you face today. Let Him lead you to victory, while He gets all the glory. Remember, God is on our side!

Life Application Study Bible
Like Esther:
(1) calculate the cost
(2) set priorities
(3) prepare
(4) determine a course of action and move ahead boldly

“The will of God won’t ever lead you where the grace of God can’t keep you.”

God's Sovereignty - He who has supreme power and universal authority. No one or no thing can deter, stop, or force Him.

Gen. 18:14
Psalm 103:19
Psalm 115:3
Psalm 135:5-6
Isaiah 46:10
Jer. 32:27
Dan. 4:35
Matt. 19:26
Luke 1:37

10.07.2011

I Would Like To Buy $3 Worth of God

Imagine that you grew up with Christian beliefs. Jesus is your friend and teacher.  You’re familiar with Christian tradition and Holidays. The Holy Bible is not an obscure volume of books. Yet, you admit that you’ve only gotten a sprinkling of the revelation of God's redemptive plan to Salvation through Christ's death and resurrection. You’re not fully immersed in Him, and you’re unsure whether it will work out or not. So undecided to surrender and run after Him, you settle for "$3.00 worth of God."

I would like to buy three dollars worth of God, please.

Not enough to explode my soul and disturb my sleep.
Not enough to take control of my life.
I want just enough to equal a cup of warm milk.
Just enough to ease some of the pain from my guilt.

I would like to buy three dollars worth of God, please.

I would like to find a love that is pocket-sized.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant.
Not enough to change my heart.
I can only stand just enough to take to church when I have time.
Just enough to equal a snooze in the sunshine.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want the warmth of the womb, but not a new birth.

I would like to purchase a pound of the eternal in a paper sack.
If it doesn’t work, I would like to get my money back.

I would like to buy three dollars worth of God, please.

I would like to hide some for a rainy day.
Not enough for people to see a change in me.
Not enough to impose any responsibility.
Just enough to make folks think I am ok.

Could I just get three dollars worth of God, please?

-Wilbur E. Rees

10.06.2011

If You Were Accused...

Question: If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

The Lukewarm Church of Laodicea (The Message)

Revelation 3:14-19

Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God's Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God's creation, says: "I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You're not cold, you're not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You're stale. You're stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, 'I'm rich, I've got it made, I need nothing from anyone,' oblivious that in fact you're a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless. "Here's what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that's been through the refiner's fire. Then you'll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You've gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see. "The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they'll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!

Life Application Study Bible: Believers that had "become hardened and self-satisfied." A "halfhearted , in-name-only Christian who is self-sufficient."

10.05.2011

The Change



The Change - Steven Curtis Chapman
What about the change
What about the difference
What about the grace
What about forgiveness
What about a life that's showing
I'm undergoing the change

10.04.2011

Being Transformed

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2

The Message Romans 12

In times of battle, I draw closer to God through study, praise, and in my quiet time. It seems I'm more purposeful of how I spend my time as well, wanting to be fed directly by God who is my source. He uses many to feed my hungry and desperate soul, and I graciously thank Him with each satisfying meal that builds me up and makes me stronger for the long journey ahead.

A Believer's life has many hills and valleys. Though we'd like to remain on the mountaintop with Jesus for another season, it's not where we change and grow. It's not where we are most effective.

When our faith is shaken and the earth seems to tremble beneath our feet of clay that's when God has our full attention. He can strip us of some tainted thinking, pride, and whatever else would hinder our calling to be manifested fully.

When we say, "Yes, Lord," get ready for a shake down or two, while in the process of transformation.

"And we, who with unveiled* faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Life Application Study Bible: "Christ removes the veil (3:16), giving eternal life and freedom from trying to be saved by keeping laws. And without the veil, we can be like mirrors reflecting God's glory."

9.29.2011

I Am A Kept Woman

A message filled with hope that has the potential to light up our darkest hour. Be encouraged, God is keeping you, and directing your destiny. He is faithful to complete His handiwork—that's you!


You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind, but GOD kept me sane. (Isa. 26:3)

There were times when I thought I could go no longer, but the LORD kept me moving. (Gen 28:15)

At times, I've wanted to lash out at those whom I felt had done me wrong, but the LORD kept my mouth shut. (Psa. 13)

Sometimes, I think the money just isn't enough, but GOD has helped me to keep the lights on, the water on, the car paid, the house paid, etc.., (Matt. 6:25 -34)

When I thought I would fall, HE kept me up.
When I thought I was weak, HE kept me strong! (I Pet. 5:7, Matt. 11:28-30)

I could go on and on and on, but I'm sure you hear me!
I'm blessed to be "kept."

Are you...or do you know a "kept" woman?
If so pass it on to her to let her know she is "kept."

-Via email

9.26.2011

Wisdom Wins!

A friendly mature woman at the Target checkout was excited about showing me the new gourmet coffee shop, which was part of a remodel. She motioned her hands across like a television reveal. I answered, “Thanks,” but shrugged it off mentally. The conversation quickly moved forward with input that she used to treat herself to gourmet coffee on occasion to make herself feel good.

An open door for me, and I walked right through with truth.

“Yeah, but you don’t need coffee to do that. You can say a prayer.”

I left the store with a spring in my step thinking about that comment and my follow up statement, “All we need to do is make one right decision at a time.” I felt as if something of value was exchanged. Afterwards I pondered more on the subject and searched for clues.

How many years have we bought into the idea that luxuries could give us an impartation that satisfies our soul? Believe me, gourmet coffee, pedicures, and new accessories aren’t all bad for us, but let’s not be in denial about feel-good purchases, which are most fittingly temporary pleasures.

Remember that giving in today to our impulses with unnecessary purchases could very well steal from our tomorrows. On the other hand, wisdom wins! It is an essential part of strength, and it pays to attain it.

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4

9.23.2011

An Everlasting Love

Our reality can sound and look like this:

We pour out our miseries...
The honest cries of breaking hearts...




Yet, the Father's Heart responds: 

Beloved, I am here, and closer than you think. Be not afraid for I am with you. Never will I abandon you. You are my child and I love you with an everlasting love.

9.22.2011

1 John 4:16


1 John 4:16 
Amplified Bible (AMP)
 

"And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him."

9.21.2011

Convinced of His Love for Me!

Did you know that God actively loves you and me? Yes, He does!

Recently a secular song welled up in my spirit that I haven't heard or sung in ages. Yet, it was brought to my remembrance, and I sang it joyfully. I was assured and shared with others that it was concerning His love for me. Later on, the very same day, a challenge arose. I believe that it was a gift from God to hold on to while I walked out this temporary trial.

Since I've entered in to rest to trust Him, the same message keeps coming through that He loves me, and that I'm blessed, at peace, and secure.

Was that a coincidence? I think not! As Believers, we need to be more faithful and less fearful. Let not unfortunate circumstances or temporary trails steal our joy, peace or the revelation of God’s love for us!

Romans 8:38-38 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

9.18.2011

Rest

Have you ever prayed or had a prayer request that didn't seem rehearsed, and came out more like a surprise to you? It's happened to me.

Recently I was asked and answered, "Oh, that I would continue to rest in God."

In these changing times with troubles of abundance do I crave even more the secret place -- an intimate setting where My Lord and I meet and with open arms I receive His fullness in great measure. (Ephesians 3:19) I need it. I need it like "the deer thirsts for water." (Psalm 42)

It's not uncommon for me to reassess and take a stand to "be" rather than "being busy." To be or to live in the moment, is rest, which I heard referred to as a "Holy Spirit-Directed Activity." Anything including rest that is Holy Spirit led I know will be beneficial for me. When in Rest Mode I slow down to a snails pace to take in the blessings in my own backyard while preparing for my next season.

Gifts of God come in many forms to include missions and ministry, but don't overlook the one that looks smaller in size with generic wrapping.

9.17.2011

It's a God Push!

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

More than once God uses unfortunate happenings to push me in the direction He wants. Like any child, I can be stubborn and whiny. I have even been known to pout while tapping my foot. It’s typical 2-year old stuff, but nonetheless that’s what it must look like to Him.

Meanwhile, looking in the review mirror He’s given me plenty of time to do it on my own while sending countless finger-pointing people, but to no avail, I decide to stay put. Whatever the justification.

Still, whether God is gently nudging me or giving me a good push in the right direction, I am content knowing He is present and I need it.

9.12.2011

What's the Truth?!


Believers can sometimes interchange question marks and periods while they debate heavy issues. The wonder in it is that the Believer is seeking truth and asking questions. However, the surprise may be that though many of us start off with strong convictions concerning a biblical stance it can evolve closer to Bible truth depending on teaching and wise counsel, and through confirmation in God's word and the Holy Spirit.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." James 1:5

9.10.2011

Troubles

In June I posted Stronger to encourage in spite of life's mess and linked praise music. Nevertheless, today I wanted to share more with you about troubles as God has been expanding the lesson while I wait on the Lord standing and believing for many who I love that are weary and downtrodden.

Though it can be challenging, Believers must be filled and built up daily in His Word to protect us from the "troubles" of this world, which are inevitable. We know that worry can lead us down the path where we enter dangerous territory called "fear."

Caution! Fear and worry are our enemies. Fear and torment go together. Fear is a spiritual force that attacks are mind. Our body's reaction to fear can lead to unhealthy repercussions. Fear anticipates the worst, while faith seeks out the best. The Enemy operates through fear.

God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6

"You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3


9.05.2011

Change It Up: DIY Manicure & Pedicure

Change It Up is a series of posts where I share changes I've made after obliterating a few false beliefs like:

- Only that cleaner can do the job
- Foam is better
- Anti-bacterial is a must
- I can't do without disinfecting wipes
- Who has time for Homemade
- Expensive is the best choice

There is nothing like someone else pampering me with an added massage and friendly chat to escape life's stresses. However, with every passing year becoming increasingly draining to our family budget I had to once again reconsider, adjust, and adapt.

This was my second summer without spa pedicures, and it's going well. Products purchased at a beauty supply store the beginning of summer 2010 have since run out, and I have restocked.

What I use:
For Hands - Be Natural Cuticle Eliminator (removes cuticle growth in 45 seconds)
For Feet - Mr. Pumice Purple Pumi Bar (extra-course and antibacterial solution safe)
For Feet - Be Natural Callus Eliminator (professional product for at home use)

Mr. Pumice is the best! I use it every night in the shower with a couple of squirts of liquid soap. It cleans the day dirt from wearing flip-flops and keeps my heels smooth. Once a month during my DIY pedicure, I'll use the callus eliminator. I apply an ample amount to one foot at a time with household gloves while sitting on the edge of the bathtub. I wait the allotted time and then buff with the purple pumice.

Though I daydream about the pampering part of pedicures the cost ($25 plus tip) I don't miss at all.

It's not easy giving up amenities, but needs will always win over wants. Needs are things I have to have to survive like shelter, food and water, essentials for hygiene, and clothing. Wants are things that go beyond the needs list.

"Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship." - Benjamin Franklin

9.01.2011

Frugal Has Become Chic

I stumbled upon an upscale shop with recycled designer apparel to include a rack of cashmere sweaters and other garments with Chico's and St. John labels. Though most were still too costly for me I did take in a few minutes of people watching while waiting for my to-go lunch order next door.

I left spending nothing and a smile on my face!

"Money is 80% behavior, 20% head knowledge. It's what you do, not what you know." - Dave Ramsey

What’s your budgeting style? - Quiz
Are you a born saver who has the first dollar you ever made locked in a bank? Or are you like the majority of us who have been swiping the plastic and making tons of purchases? Click here to figure out your budgeting style!

8.30.2011

Spaghetti in a New Direction

Please pass the pasta!

Spaghetti the food staple of Italy is one versatile dish that can be paired with anything to add zing to your lame meal plan.

This week try a bowl of hot (cooked) spaghetti dressed with traditional basil pesto, cut grape tomatoes, and crumbled feta.

Tasty!


8.27.2011

Get Free!

Can you imagine how much freer we could be if we could walk around without the heaviness of regret and the baggage of bitterness? I'm not talking about a temporary release either, but a full-fledged deliverance. Another words, get out of that mess you’re in for good—no more repeat conversations in your head and no more revisiting that horrible dysfunction when you daydream.

How about doing yourself a favor and be committed to getting free and working on that, rather than rehashing the past.

Curious. Have you told the enemy lately that he's a liar? Have you declared audibly that Jesus is Lord!

Remember always forgiveness is a gift for both the receiver and the giver. What have you done for yourself lately? Forgive and move on, it's essential for your spiritual, physical, and mental health.

"Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends." Proverbs 17:9 NLT

"At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, 'Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?' Jesus replied, 'Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.'" Matthew 18:21-22 The Message

8.26.2011

John 14:27

Be brave Believer, and ask in faith. Remember always, that God is our source!

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."


Study the Book of John Chapter 14
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