Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Eat of God's Bread Daily


The exhortaion for today, the spiritual application of yesterday's practical one is to eat of God's Bread- daily.  Eat of it till the Word becomes a part of you, till it makes up the fibers of your sinew and muscles of your heart.

"Man shall not live by bread alone
but by every word that comes from the Father in heaven." 
-Matthew 4:4


Surround yourself with it.

Memorize it.

In a practical sense place index cards above your kitchen sink and bathroom mirror.  Have your bible handy by your favorite chair.  Read the Word together after dinner while everyone surrounds the table.

And dear blogger-reader- read it for yourself.  Do not depend on receiving your daily spiritual manna from what you read on blogs.  Grab the Book and read it to yourself.

Meditate on it.  Pray the Holy Spirit to reveal new, fresh revelation of it.

Jesus said that we are kept alive by its daily consumption.  Are you full or hungry?





Joining with other Word seekers at



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Homemaking Tips, Part 5- "Organizing- Freezing for the Future"


"She laughs at the time to come..."
The Homemaking Tip for this week is to "freeze for the future".

I love this tip because it has given me the gift of time
 by cutting the time needed for regular dinner preparation.

                                            

Do you freeze or can?  If not here is a good tip to get you started without being too overwhelming.  When you are at your local produce market notice what they have on sale.  This time of year there is an abundance of garden vegetables and fruits.  Yesterday I purchased an assortment of brightly colored green and red peppers.  I will wash and dry them, then both dice and cut into strips.  They will go into a ziploc bag that is labeled (remember to do that as their appearance can be disguised after freezing).   Voile!  You have frozen-fresh tasting peppers for a future meal.   I have the conveneience when I cook chili, a Mexican dinner,  hot sausage sandwiches, meatloaf, or anything I want to siply take them out of the freezer. Vegetables with the nutrients sealed in and a fraction of the cost.  If you are feel bold (and you have enough freezer space) try freezing a year's worth.  The grocer may give you another discount if you purchase a box or more.

Another super tip that my Mother raves about is freezing tomatoes whole.  So much sipler than even canning them!  Wash and dry your tomatoes, cut out its "belly button" (you know, that spot where it is connected to the stem.  Does that have a name?  It's not a core?....) and place the WHOLE tomatoe into a freezer bag.  When you want to use them just rinse the tomatoes in warm running water and the skin will easily peel away!  It will be ready for any soup or stewed tomatoes recipe.

Today I am heading to my local store to purchase enough apples to make several dishes of Apple Crisp. Yum!  I prefer Macintosh; I like the added tartness and their soft consistency when baked.  I will wash, peel, core, and slice the apples then place enough in a gallon size freezer bag to save for another day.  Of course making a dish for tonight's dinner as well. *Another note- the "Crisp" part of the recipe can be made in large quantities and saved as  well.  Just omit the butter.   

It is not hard to have home-made, delicious food stuffs handy; it just takes a little planning.  Enjoy!

          "She is like the merchant ships; she brings her food from afar." ~Proverbs 31:14

Linking today with other Homemakers at

            

Friday, August 26, 2011

Getting OLDER

Painting verbal pictures today with The Gypsy Mama- for five minutes- five minutes only for some writing.

Today's prompt is OLDER.

Go.Older is a word that I have been thinking about all year.  I have completed four decades of my life and am entering the fifth.  Wow.  That sounds old to me!

If by strenngth I would live until I am 80, then that makes me completely, perfectly middle-aged right now. 

Funny, if you have already reached this halmark you understand exactly- that age is relative.  When I was a teen and my parents were in their 40's I thought that was OLD.  Today I see healthy people in their 60's living full, satisfying lives and I think "that's NOT so old!"  Or vivacious seniors in their 70's that add new meaning to "elderly".  I see mothers with toddlers and am surprised at how young they look themselves.

It has been a deep year for me in which I have been pondering about the things of life.  What I have done and where do I want to go?  What else would I like to do in this so very grand adventure?

It has been a turning of chapters for me.  That is a good thing for I love to grab hold of a new book.  But I have to admit sometimes it is hard to put that novel that so touched me back on the book shelf after eading the last page.  Someties I want to take myself and just hang out and live in its world.  I did though, put it on the bookshelf, knowing that I can always take a visit again. 

I pick up the new book and see there are no words in it yet; I have to write them every day.


For other 'blurps" on OLDER visit

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Make Room for Unexpected Happenings


Is your life so jammed that you have no room for unexpected happenings?
Yesterday you were exhorted to clean out your cupboards and pantry.  Throw away the spoiled, organize the food stuff still waiting to be eaten, and plan for its use.

Purposeful living is just like that too.  Periodically we need to throw away those things that jam up the flow of good, simple living.  Maybe it is your schedule that is jammed.   Maybe it is unrealistic expectations.   Maybe it is your attitude.

Today I want you to be aware of having margin in your life.  Do you remember the lined notebook paper that you used in school?  There was a red line at the left side and a blue one at the right that showed you where to begin and end your writing sentences so that you would have margin around your paper.  We need that same margin in our lives.  Think of a bumper zone where that little bit of cushion prevents bang-ups.

Now I know that with school beginning most of our lives at this time of year get so busy we feel in a whirl wind.  School lessons, chauferring, piano lessons, soccer games.  Some of us have needy toddlers and babies, constant dirty dishes, doctor's appointments, and a multitude of other activities beckoning our presence. 

Try- just try- to schedule if you can some time when you and your family does not have anything to do.  You will be most pleasantly surprised how that time will get filled up, and it certainly will.  Maybe with a spontaneous stroll with your husband or child that you do not usually get one on one time with.


I also need to remind myself about my expectations.  Having expectations so high for myself and others does not allow room for mess-ups and even failures.  We are all human and bound to disappoint one another many times this side of heaven.  Allow some room for falls to be done gracefully so that they (or you) can get back up.  Nothing stifles and smothers like judgement.
 
And lastly for today allow some room in your attitude that there is always more to learn and more wisdom to be gained.  No one likes a know-it-all.  Keep the humble attitude that there is always more room to grow.  Like Paul who professed, "Not that I have already obtained...or been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus as took old of me....I press on....all of us who are mature should take such a view of things."  -Philippians 3:12-15 (in part) NIV
 
Dear sister make room in your life for unexpected happenings and see what good things await you.
 
 
Linking today with

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homemaking Tips, Part 4- "Organizing- clean out your cupboards..."


Mother Hubbard had cupboards.... and I bet you do too.  Ones that are full.
The homemaking suggestion for this week is to clean out your refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards. 

 The tip for this week is really a great one to get an inventory of your food stuffs!  After you throw away outdated, stale, and spoiled food (I just through away a vegetable that was unrecognizable.) you will have an assessment of what you have left.  Then the next plan is to make menus using what you already have in your kitchen and pantry.

  Do you only purchase what you actually cook that week or month?  Or are you like me and tend to leave a turkey breast forgotten in the back of my freezer?  About once every season I like to go through my pantry and freezer and take stock....I then plan our meals to use everything up. 
 It is such a great feeling that the perishables are being consumed.  

I have a girlfriend that especially loves empty cupboards that she fills weekly.  Her frugality prompts her to only buy what she will use that week.  I am of the sort that if I see something on sale I grab a couple for future use.  Having two refrigerators/freezers plus a full size freezer lots of goods can get stored away.  However, I do try every season to go through my stuffs as I am suggesting to make sure everything gets rotated and consumed.  This week I found that I had five bottles of Chili sauce!  There is one particular chicken recipe that my family enjoys in which the chili sauce is crucial.  When I see that item in the grocery store I pick one bottle up so that I have it on hand if needed.  But I don't need five at once!  
(I also found 6 cans of mandarin oranges, three bottles of A1 sauce.  It is fine to stock up on items but it would take a while for our family to go through these.)   

So grab a notebook and pen and head to your kitchen.  Make a list of  what frozen meats that you have.  Then go to your cupboards and make a list of canned and dry goods that you use to make meals and desserts.  Use this list to plan your future meals. 
You will be so happy that your food stuffs are getting eaten! 

Linking today with

Friday, August 19, 2011

Newness

Fridays I am having fun taking 5 minutes to "finger paint with words" as The Gypsy Mama so creatively says. The prompt for today-

NEW.
GO.

I do not think that life would be the same without NEW.

To me there is something so grand about NEW. 

I love the smell of a new car.  (Though I have never bougt a brand new, I have gotten some that had that smell.  They must have just sprayed it in during detailing.)  It's the smell of "drive me on great excursions and unbelievable adventures."

Oh, the blank journal- I love that!  Sometimes I do not even finish the one I am using because I love the newness of the empty one beckoning me to transpose my deepest thoughts and crazy ponderings.

A new wallet.  Some of you may be using the same wallet that you have been for the last 10 years.  But I like me a new wallet every now and then.  No scuff marks, no pen marks.  New pockets and zippers all waiting to be filled with life's receipts and the green stuff.

A new book.  Love it.   A story awaiting for me to unfold and wrap my thoughts and feelings around.

A new baby.  Well, that just surpassed them all, doesn't it?  The newness of life- bringing hope, joy, expectancy, and wonder.

I love new.  It's the new beginnings of life yet to be lived and the surprises that await.

Photobucket


Linking today with other 5 minutes wonders at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Catch the Little Foxes


What clutter is is your life? stealing away precious time?  Causing havoc because of disorganiziation?

What little foxes come in and steal your peace and joy?  worry? fear? discontent?

Yesterday's homemaking tip was to sort through your food storage containers.  It does not take much brain but it does take encouragement as a catalyst sometimes because chores like that never seem to get done until they MUST be dealt with.

But isn't life itself like that?  Are not our hearts like that?  We have little stressors in our lives that we allow to eat away at our peace bite by bite and we do nothing about it.  We have small issues in our hearts that put just a little fog on an otherwise sunny demeanor.

I am not speaking of the things that are out of our control, like the rain preventing a planned picnic or the missing hot dogs that you bought yesterday for today's lunch and now they are gone.  With inspection you discover that your teen age son had a hot dog binge at midnight.  Well, maybe THAT one could have been in your control with better  "tell-me-when-you-plan-on-eating-the-hot-dogs" parental discipline.  Most everything is really out of our control.  However, most of what we allow into our schedules and hearts is within our realm of supervision and submission.

It is the little things that grow into big things that we are exhorted to guard and get rid of.

"Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom." -Song of Solomon 2:15



And it is the little things that trip us up is it not? 

You are too tired to host the bible study at your house, but you are the one who invited everyone.

Your friend just bought the pair of pumps that you have been wanting and could not afford.

Your niece just got a scolarship to Yale while you are struggling to get your teen to remember multiplication.

Your kids are driving you to Google "trips to Mars" but you are the one who wanted so many- kids that is.  (Or so my husband has reminded me.)

These are some temporary causes of irritation- if we let it.  The longer I live the more I am realizing that PERSPECTIVE is everything.  EVERYTHING.  Perspective can take my mind and heart to a place of anger or depression before I know how it got there.   But perspective can also be the weapon that kills those little foxes eating all of my good grapes.  Perspective can be the salt that preserves my fruit.

I only have space to address few issues that spoil your fruit.  I have brought up scheduling and the HEART which is a huge area all unto itself.  But simply, as for scheduling- manage it.  Do what you have to do, plan for what you want to do (some of the time), and allow space to fill in your schedule when life's "didn't expect that" times arrive.

As for your heart.  Well, we have been given the entire bible to instruct us on what to do about it.  Guard your heart and keep your perspective His.  That is enough water and sunshine to keep the fruit growing.  And have no mercy on the little foxes.  They grow up and when they do they eat more.  And they meet other foxes and have baby foxes and then you are dealing with a whole lot of them.

What little foxes will you be hunting down today?



Linking today with other hunters from



by John Rae 1918 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Homemaking Tips- Organizing, Part 3, "Sort through your food storage items"


I am posting a series on "Home Making Tips- Orgainizing".  Today is Part 3. 

Now a homemaker's work is exactly practical and also deeply spiritual.  You as a homemaker are living out God's will for your life.  Read Titus Chapter 2 if you have not done so before.  Though some of the mundane tasks that must occupy some of your time are just that (by definition) m-u-n-d-a-n-e, belonging to the world, (and included for our definition here) routine and boring, these same tasks bring order, sanity, and higher functioning to your dwelling place.  So, dear sister, gird yourself.
No, if you thought that we would be discussing cleaning your toilets, hang on, something not quite as fun and fanastic.  This week make time to sort out your food storage cupboard.  This task is so dry to me that I had to give it (and my mind) a little flair with that introduction.  Because setting all of those plastic containers "just right" in their place is so "blaahhh" to me I only do it about twice a year.  I know the tie has arrived when I tire of opening the cupboard, which happens to be placed above y height, and have plastic lids and containers fall on top of my head.  I

It was just such a day.  I opened the door to put a little plastic cube in its happy spot and "Tham!" (Is that a word?  "Whack!" was not right.) down on my head topple it  bringing three others along.  I let out a noise of frustration and anger (not angry at the plastic, it cannot help being placed precariously on top of others, but at myself for not taking more time to do it "properly".) Shove!  I now shove the four containers into place, not "their" place but any open space in which they may stay. 

Just as I let go, "Tham!"  Down upon my head now comes more lids and containers.  "Grrrr!"  The noise coming from my belly is now sounding animal like and ready for warfare.  I repeat this process two more times before I cave in.  "OKAY!!!!"

I take out every piece of plastic inhabiting that cupboard.  I have my guns ready and plan to execute. Not one of those containers gets returned to a comfy new home unless it has a lid to go with it!!  I pair them up and am left with quite a few extra, not married, containers.  Now, I know the frugal in you is coming up with plans for those singles...containers to hold water when your kids paint, a lap bowl for you dog at a picnic, whatever.  I say that they do not have a lid, which disqualifies them to be in my now completely neat-because-every-container-has-a-lid-and-I-will-not-have-them-toppling-on-my-head-cubboard.   
Yes, I DID get rid of a lot of normally perfect plastic but look at the happy pairs that I left.  Each one is content and ready for service.  I know that with their lids on they take up much more room, but I did not need that many anyway.  That grew the problem; I had too many I did not even use. 

And now I am a happier Homemaker! 

Are you still getting your head toppled?









           

Friday, August 12, 2011

You are BEAUTIFUL

Today's prompt for 5-Minute Friday is BEAUTY.  It put me in mind of something that I recently posted on the subject so I took 5 minutes (or more) and edited it for you today.

YOU are Beautiful! ~make the most of yourself

Yesterday (August the 2nd) I was very practical and began a series of posts on Homemaking, and yes, practical homemaking is a very spiritual experience. The subject currently in this series is "Organizing" and I began by encouraging the ladies to sort through their make up. Get rid of the old and replace it with something fresh and lovely.

So as I walk with Him today I am thinking that writing a parallel post applying these practical subjects to spiritual principles would be fun. Well, fun because I already know the subject for today! I can foresee some weeks' posts being more convicting. But for TODAY-

I want you to see yourself as beautiful. I want you to see yourself how God sees you.


Do you consider yourself beautiful? The Lover of your soul states,

"You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you."

~Song of Solomon 4:7


Oh! that just gives me waves of delight!  Dear Sister, He thinks that you are perfect. My heart goes out to you who will not believe it. I cannot convince you with my own words but I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak sweet nothings in your ear. God has made you a beautiful woman inside and out. He has replaced the ugliness of your sin with beauty.

"OK" you may be thinking but what about this physical body of mine? Yes, as you consider your muffin top, or pimples, or dark circles under your eyes (my bother point), or plain-Jane face, He considers you lovely.


But with this truth there is something to be said about trying to look your best- for the rest of us. LOL.  I hope that you saw the humor with which I am coming from in that statement! Now let me speak plainly- the rest of us can tell whether you take any time at all on your appearance. While having a preoccupation with our looks is out of balance, so is having no concern whatsoever.


By dressing with care, doing our hair, and applying make up thoughtfully, we can snip preoccupation in the bud. Let me explain an example- there have been a few times when I did not apply concealer under my eyes and when I was conversing with someone all I could think of was, "Oh! she is just staring at my big black circles under my eyes! I look like a raccoon!" not even being able to concentrate on what she was saying! Pathetic I know. Maybe it is just me.

But I have found that when I dress appropriately for the circumstance that I am then being thoughtful towards the others I am with and honoring them. If your pastor should invite you into his home for dinner will you show up in the paint clothes you wore that day? or shower, dress, and make an attempt to be fresh? We all should do this at all times. (Another example, I do not know a man who wants to be greeted continuously by a woman wearing sweats and undone hair; it connotes a feeling of disorder and stress. Dress thoughtfully, apply some perfume and lipstick, and most importantly a warm smile, and he will know that you care about him.)

"I never saw an ugly thing in my life:
for let the form of an object be what it may,

-light, shade, perspective will always make it beautiful."

-John Constable


. Dear sister there is always a way to make the most out of what you have.

I have had many women say to me that they do not have the money to dress well, the skill to apply makeup nicely, or the means to get their hair doneBe creative and ask for help where you need it.

I think that deep down every woman wants to be beautiful.  But know today to the very important One you already are. Celebrate your beautiful femininity as a tribute to His glory. This will be encased differently in each one of us. Align your attitude about yourself with His and make the most of what you have physically. Say aloud, "God has made me beautiful inside and out" and believe it. And if donning a new color of nail polish makes you feel prettier then go for it! It is your attitude that will showcase your beauty most of all.




Linking with
 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Choking Thorns

If you read yesterday's post, you were encouraged to sort through those mounds of paper in your home, specifically mail catalogues, bills, advertising flyers, notes, "to do" lists, your children's drawings, magazines...all of that paper stuff.  All of us have been overwhelmed at times from these mounds as they leave their piles of disarray across our counters, desks, or floors.  Left untamed they turn into what I call the "Paper Beast" continuing to grow in size causing distractions both visually and mentally.

Today I want to  talk with you about those cares of life that choke out the good within.  Jesus tells us in the parable about the sower of the seed (or His word) that, "The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.  But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." -Luke 8:14 

Is God's word and work is your life producing fruit or is it being choked out by life's worries?


In our homes, thorns like Paper Beasts, can hide the order and beauty of our space.  In our hearts, life's concerns can hide the beauty of the fruit of the Spirit.  Not only hide, Jesus says, but choke it out.  We must be vigilant in our homes and vigilant in our hearts.

How does scripture exhort us to not worry? Simply- DO NOT DO IT.  (See Psalm 37:1)  Whatever your concern today- unpaid bills, the sickness of a child, a conflict with your spouse, the never-ending "to do" list- give it all to Him for He cares for you. (1Peter 5:7)

Jesus reveals to us as well qthat not only worries but riches and pleasures can choke out the word in us.  As I write this I am getting ready to embark on a trip of pleasure; we are heading out the door on our way to the beach.  I cannot wait; I love the beach!  But as I type, I am reminded not to get so distracted with the pleasures that He gives me, that I forget the Giver.  I think that is the remedy to choke out the thorns themselves. 

In  Deuteronomy 8 the Lord speaks to His people, "Do not forget the Lord thy God by not keeping His precepts...Lest when you have eaten (I cannot wait to eat Maryland crab cakes, yum!) and are full (I will be very full.), and have built goodly houses to live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied, then your minds and hearts be lifted up and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the house of bondage...and beware lest you say in your heart and mind , 'my power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth  But you shall earnestly remember the Lord you God..." (See Deut. 8:11-18)

Wealth and pleasures are not sin; but forgetting who bestowed them upon us is.

Be vigilant today, so that through perseverance the fruit in your heart will grow to glorify Him.  And as you read this I will be taking in the splendor of the ocean and thanking my Father who made it.



Today I am linking with






Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Homemaking Tips- "Organizing- Tame the Paper Beast"


Our God is the God of order.
So, we, in creating our homes, should employ order in all we do. That may seem like a monumental task.  Perhaps one that you may have given up on!  Well, let us break it down in small steps...

 I am posting a series "Homemaking Tips-Organization".  This week's tip is Tame the Paper Beast.

This means that we will be going through ALL paper piles that have accumulated in your home!  Does this seem like a monumental task?  Select one area (such as your bill file or magazine rack) and do that one area.  Every day pick another one until the Paper Beast has been reduced to a docile, manageable pet.

I have found that the best way to keep the Paper Beast at bay is to open my mail beside the garbage can! That way I immediately pitch any unwanted catalogues and solicitations.  I DO enjoy buying from catalogues. But the marketing companies try to take advantage and put me on their mailing lists.  In one day I have received 12 catalogues!  Do you realize the space that takes up (including garbage space)?  So when I am standing by my garbage I pitch the ones that I do not want or do not want to be tempted by.  The others are saved for later perusal.

File your bills immediately instead of laying them on the kitchen counter.  I keep a decorative wooden box on the side table in my kitchen (near the garbage) where I also work to pay the bills.  This wooden box (with a lid so that I cannot see the papers; I like to "hide" stuff like that.) contains folders in which sorted mail can immediately be filed.  Each folder is titled something such as "Bills for Home", "Caleb's school info", "Hannah's dance info", "Important Papers", also files for our other businesses.  After the bills are paid the receipts are put into another filing system in a filing cabinet.  This has been a great way to keep these papers organized; as long as I do it! 

Magazines are another wonderful commodity of information, encouragement and entertainment but can metamorphose into a lively Paper Beast overflowing baskets, racks, or wherever you place your magazines. Monthly or seasonally I sort through my magazines keeping only the ones that especially of value to me.  A note here: I have kept magazines in the past because there was ONE recipe or web-site that I wanted to use as a resource later.  The mishap is that I would forget that that resource was in that particular magazine and it would never get accessed.  So now when I read through a magazine I clip recipes and write any web-sites or companies that I want to research in a notebook.

I imagine that you may have some Paper Beasts of your own made up of bills, junk mail, catalogues, and magazines.  Besides these you may also find that your sentimental articles such as your children's drawings, cards, notes, your daughter's dance recital program, the Funeral Service Memorial of  a loved one can also be WANTED paper articles in which you are at a loss of where to place them.  An idea is to purchase those pretty decorative paper/cardboard boxes at your local craft store and use them solely for these sentimental treasures.  Another idea is to have a "Scrapbook" folder in your wooden box in which everything gets placed until your are able to place them in an album or scrapbook journal.

Be brave!  Taming the Paper Beast takes consistent effort.  But the pay back is amazing.  You will be able to think more clearly and FEEL more at ease knowing that piles of unsorted papers are not beckoning your attention!

What areas of your home do you work to tame the Paper Beast?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Whole New Look for LOV!

I was already planning on linking with The Gypsy Mama today for 5 Minute Fridays and I was hoping that her prompt would fit in with what I wanted to tell you today.  Any other Friday is a stream writing exercise, but for today there is something special that I want you to see- well, you already have!

The prompt is WHOLE.

And I am pleasantly tickled to share with you the WHOLE new look for the Ladies Of Virtue! Isn't it just the prettiest thing you ever did see?

I had been wanting a more professional as well as pretty persona for the blog.  I contacted fellow blogger Traci Little from http://www.ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com/ and she got to work. 

Hard work that she probably did not know that she was getting into because I am obsessive-compulsive about visual lay-out and color.  She created graphics which I would have her "tweek" about five times before I felt it was just right.  Did I tell you that she is FULL of patience and sweetness?  Putting up with my mania and delivering the results with complete personal panache.

Thank you so much Traci!!!!  And did I mention her rates are soooo reasonable!  And that she is a gifted visionary bringing out the EXTRA in the every day ordinary through her writing and photography?  and that she did this project for me while she was 35 weeks pregnant and giving her service at VBS?  Who says that a woman cannot capitalize and use her talents and giftings right from her home space?  

So I hope you enjoy taking-in the WHOLE new look for Ladies OF Virtue!!! Please make use of the cute "Connect" buttons and grab the LOV button for your own if you so desire.  AND please come back next week to read the continuing series on "HomeMaking Tips" and maybe the "new" pages will be full!   God bless you and have a great weekend.


Linking with

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

YOU are Beautiful! ~make the most of yourself


Today is Wednesday when I walk with Him.  What a privilege! 
Yesterday I was very practical and began a series of posts on Homemaking, and yes, practical homemaking is a very spiritual experience.  The subject currently in this series is "Organizing" and I began by encouraging the ladies to sort through their make up.  Get rid of the old and replace it with something fresh and lovely.  Scroll below if you would like to read that post before this one.

So as I walk with Him today I am thinking that writing a parallel post applying these practical subjects to spiritual principles would be fun.  Well, fun because I already know the subject for today!  I can foresee some weeks' posts being more convicting.  But for TODAY- 
I want you to see yourself as beautiful.  I want you to see yourself how God sees you.

Do you consider yourself beautiful?  The Lover of your soul states,

"You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you."
~Song of Solomon 4:7

Oh! that just gives me waves of delight!  Dear Sister, He thinks that you are perfect.  My heart goes out to you who will not believe it.  I cannot convince you with my own words but I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak sweet nothings in your ear.  God has made you a beautiful woman inside and out.  He has replaced the ugliness of your sin with beauty.

"OK" you may be thinking but what about this physical body of mine?  Yes, as you consider your muffin top, or pimples, or dark circles under yor eyes (my bother point), or plain-Jane face, He considers you lovely.

But with this truth there is something to be said about trying to look your best- for the rest of us.  LOL. I hope that you saw the humor with which I am coming from in that statement!  Now let me speak plainly- the rest of us can tell whether you take any time at all on your appearance.  While having a preooccupation with our looks is out of balance, so is having no concern whatsoever.  I think that deep down every woman wants to be beautiful.

"I never saw an ugly thing in my life:
for let the form of an object be what it may,
-light, shade, perspective will always make it beautiful."
-John Constable

By dressing with care, doing our hair, and applying make up thoughtfully, we can snip preoccupation in the bud.  Let me explain an example- there have been a few times when I did not apply concealer under my eyes and when I was conversing with someone all I could think of was, "Oh! she is just staring at  my big black circles under my eyes!  I look like a racoon!" not even being able to concentrate on what she was saying!  Pathetic I know.  Maybe it is just me. 

But I have found that when I dress appropriately for the circumstance that I am then being thoughtful towards the others I am with and hononring them.  If your pastor should invite you into his home for dinner will you show up in the paint clothes you wore that day?  or shower, dress, and make an attempt to be fresh?  We all should do this at all times.  (Another example, I do not know a man who wants to be greeted continuously by a woman wearing sweats and undone hair; it connotes a feeling of disorder and stress.  Dress thoughtfully, apply some perfume and lipstick, and most importantly a warm smile, and he will know that you care about him.) 

I have had many women say to me that they do not have the money to dress well, the skill to apply makeup nicely, or the means to get their hair done.  Dear sister there is always a way to make the most out of what you have.  Be creative and ask for help where you need it.

Celebrate your beautiful femininity as a tribute to His glory.  This will be encased differently in each one of us.  Align your attitude about yourself with His and make the most of what you have physically.  Say aloud, "God has made me beautiful inside and out" and believe it.  And if donning a new color of nail polish makes you feel prettier then go for it!  It is your attitude that will showcase your beauty most of all.


Linking today with WalkwithHimWednesdays, womenlivingwell.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Homemaking Tips- Organizing, Pt. 1


For these few weeks in August- Yes! I know that the month has just began but there will be no "lazy, hazy days of August" for us! We have a minivacation, birthdays, school lesson prep, and return to lessons!-  I thought I would post some Homemaking Tips in the area of "Organizing".  If you home educate your children (and have not already started lessons like some of my friends) and behave as I do then you are rushing around doing house projects that you are unable to complete all winter.

I actually started this "organizing" the beginning of the year working each Saturday, then had a long lull till these past few weeks.  "Going back to school" or as in the case of some of my children "going back to the dining table or couch with books" is a signal to "nest".  (Adding to this I will be going to school this year-college- if any of you are the slightest bit curious how I will still be pursuing homemaking as I enter the classroom with adults who could be my children, please let me know!!!  I am in a quandary about whether or not I will write about it.)  I try everything in my feminine skills to get the house in tip top shape: painting where chips have added to the artistic look of walls and doors, cleaning cob webs on ceiling fans, cleaning out the shed, garage, basement, attic, and everything between.  I have found that focusing on small steps- projects that I can accomplish in a few hours will bring great satisfaction instead of being overwhelmed as oft the case.

So today's tip is really fun and I hope that you try it for yourself!

This week sort through your make-up,
pitch out any old stuff.  There are various opinions as what constitutes "old".  These are the rules that I go by.  If it smells odd; pitch it.  If it is dry or flaky; pitch it.  If it is a color that you never wore, thinking that you might  (like the bright red lipstick saved for a special Valentine date with your dh) but never happened: give it away.

Now, some time this week go to a major department store that has cosmetic lines or a beauty store such as Ulta and have the sales consultant do your make-up for you.  These make-overs are free and you are not obligated to make a purchase.  You may just be pleasantly surprised by something they tried that made you look radiant.  Recently I purchased an eye product called "lemon-aid" from the Benefits line at Ulta.  I love it!  The creamy stuff is placed over your eye lid, brightening the eyes and makes them "pop"!

After your "make-over" you will be sure to leave feeling like a new, refreshed woman taking many new ideas and techniques with you.  It is really amazing how good you will feel with one small change, like a change of lip stick color.  
 
If you are "nesting" like me then you may not be able to take the time for a make-over.  At the very least try a new eye shadow or nail polish from where you shop.

Taking time for yourself in this way, you will feel the Happier Homemaker and your family will reap the benefits!
Linking today with

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