Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February Printables for your Manager of the Home Notebook

The new month is almost here!  I love February....probably because it hosts the holiday for celebrating LOVE.  And that is the theme for the whole month- LOVE.  So if you return to visit LOV, that's what you'll get, some more love.

The February printables are ready for your Manager's of the Home notebook.  No, there is not an "official" MH notebook, except for the wide three-ring binder that I use to hold all of my printables together.  Did you get yourself one?  Can't wait for you to see the darling images for this month- lots of fun.  If you would like to read a brief explanation about why and how I use these printables, read this  first.

After much duress, I have the link to my printables figured out.  Well, maybe duress is exaggerating a bit, but not having you be able to find the printables was as frustrating for me, as it was to you! Soooo- hopefully these links will be smooth as my favorite peanut butter pie.  Each print-out has its own link.  The idea is  make copies for the "Week-a-Glance," "Weekly Planner," and the sheets for "Today."

Please give me your thoughts about having used them, including any changes that may help.  I want them to be adaptable enough that each of you can use them for your unique schedules, but I would make additions, etc., if that would help most of you.

Can I pray for you? 

"Father, I pray according to the riches of Your glory
that You may grant this dear sister to be strengthened with power
through Your Holy Spirit in her inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in her heart through faith
-that she, being rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Chirst that surpasses knowledge,
that she may be filled with all the fullness of God.  In Jesus's name, Amen." 
-Ephesians 3: 16-19

I consider it an honor and pleasure to bring you on the other end of this screen things that will lift you up and encourage you in this walk.

Have a blessed day.

Once again as a "thank you" for these free printables could you click "Like" on the Ladies Of Virtue FaceBook page if you have not already?  Thank you.

Click here for~

Today Sheets for February- I have three different sheets
(merely for variety). 
One of them is by hours, which I especially like;
though you schedule is probably different that mine.


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Eternal Encouragement Newsletter

How often do you need a word of encouragement?  I need a steady infuse of words that pick me up and direct me to the Truth.  It was such day when I grabbed a CD on my way out the door.  I was headed to a far destination; the trip offered plenty of alone time.  I took the chance to fill up my soul.

The CD that I had grabbed featured Lorrie Flem.  I had gotten it many years before at a homeschool
convention, I think.  The Holy Spirit had directed my steps that day as the words that Lorrie shared were just drink that my thirsty soul needed.

I was so moved that I searched Lorrie on the internet and discovered that she has an entire web-site housing her resources.  The magazine that she edited had its titles changed  to Eternal Encouragement.   Isn't that phrase in itself, refreshing?  I wrote an email to her, sharing my gratitude for her words.  Soon after, I received a reply asking if I would consider being a Gabby Mama.   I accepted the role,  which means that once a month I receive a product through Eternal Encouragement, and as a "thank you," I get to share my thoughts about it with you all.

This month I want to share with you the e-letter that Lorrie sends out twice a month.  I so enjoy visiting a blog and receiving words of encouragement (and hopefully you do too, which is why you are here!), but  I also like to have a printed copy sometimes.  (It satisfies that tactile need in me, I guess.)  The newsletters sent from Eternal Encouragement can be read online as well as be printed out.  (And what you are reading here, at LOV, can be printed out as well- look for the Print Button at the end of every post.)

I encourage you to sign-up.  The newsletters are filled with encouragement for wives and mothers wanting to live a pleasing life to the Lord.  Lorrie shares heart-warming stories, always filled with wisdom and her own humorous personality.  You will be led  back to the cross again and again all on a journey of grace.

And the news-letter is FREE!  You can sign up through following this link- EternalEncouragment.com

Have a blessed beginning of the week.  Please visit Tuesday and Wednesday as I will be posting February's printables for your Manager of the Home notebook and writing about February's theme.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Poem for Bonnie

I wanted to write about an experience that I had the other day.  Today's writing prompt from the Gypsy Mama is VIVID.  We have a world around us that lives with us simultaneously.  What is vivid to me?  just my own sphere?

To Bonnie
I see you there
Drawing comfort from a chair
your thoughts seem far
as you sigh with care.

I ask if you are
soaking in some comfort
from a work break,
a needed pause,
you opted to take.

You need it you say,
after yesterday,
two girls left you hanging
in the middle of the work day.

As you rise from there,
to return to the bar
I see you bent over
with the heaviness of care.

"Are you alright," I ask
Hoping not to see a mask.
I have "MS," you reply.
"that is aggravated by stress," you sigh.

"For ten years it was in remission,
But in December returned this condition.
Died my husband, my sister, my brother, and my dog."
Her life a dark fog.

Her body could not take the weight
of such a fate.

"Oh, dear," I reply
taking in all that she suffers
"I will pray for you"
hoping that my small words give her comfort.

She returns to the barista
to fix lattes with gusto
and I realize that in December
I had ordered soup or coffee
when world was turned asunder.

Yet not on her face
was despair or heartache.
She had handed me a mocha
fully aware of her place.
But, oh, how those days
her insides must have quaked.

I walk my way
saying heartfelt prayers for her that day
That she might come to know
His grace,
that so sweetly He does place,
comfort in the heart
of all that is hard.

I affirm that day
To take notice of place
for who else is in my path
is suffering from heartache
that I take no notice of
because I order my latte in haste.

So important it is
to share a word of routine
"Hello, how are you?"
Does not sound pristine
But it can be just those words
said with eyes that hear
That opens the doorway
to give comfort and cheer.


All His grace,
Nicol

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January's Theme- RENEWal


Each month I would like to write a post about my focus for that month.  A theme to go with the Manager of the Home" planners if you will.  I know that it is already into mid-January- how did that happen?  But I am still adjusting to the groove of a new year so you may be too!

When I sit with my monthly planner sheets before me, all blank waiting to be filled, I overview the entire month first.  More often than not, there is a holiday which beckons celebration.  The season of the year also offers its own frivolities and appeals.  Also, the time of year may require certain attention in that month.  Some examples would be Christmas in December is a holiday that directs the activities of most of the month.  The summer is fun for picnics and January's snow brings sled-riding parties (oh, but we do not have any snow- yet.)  When I look over the month awaiting to happen and consider all of these things, I get a feel for the month.  All of this gives me a theme.  No, I do not set this in stone and live by it perpetually.  But I have found that taking this time to ponder about the upcoming month, gives me a perspective that enables me to live with purpose, pursuing my priorities with passion.  (You will see this last idea a recurring one as it blends with a series I will be writing about who and what Ladies Of Virtue is.)
So with that introduction, I would like to share that January for me is about RENEWal.  I used to follow the masses and view this month after Christmas with disdain.  Yes, the days are shorter, colder -bleak even- routine.  However, I now actually look forward to these days of January.  Why?  Because the cold gives me reason to get cozy with a hot mug of hot chocolate.  The shortness of the days prompts me to crawl into my cozy bed with a good book.  The routine and lack of celebration gives me time to rest and enjoy the simple things some of which I just mentioned. 

We need calmness to balance out the chaos.  We need quiet to counter the noise.  January's schedule (compared with the rest of the year) offers that calmness and quiet, the is the perfect time for putting all of those "p" words into practice.  A whole year awaits us of things that have never been, ventures never explored.  In the calmness of January I can think.  It is a month of renewal. I can gain my bearings again.  Being the beginning of the new year, I can pause, ponder, pray, gain perspective, prioritize, and plan for the year ahead.  All of which allows my life to be lived with purpose and passion.  It is a month of new beginnings.

Do you need renewal this month?
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Friday, January 13, 2012

AWAKE to Stillness

Today is Friday.  Has it really been a week since I have said those words?
I AWAKE and go right to the writing prompt from the Gypsy Mama.  I write with other lovelies and the commonality that we all share on Friday is that we can only write for five minutes.  Gypsy Mama gives us the prompt.

Today's is AWAKE.

Go.
Nothing comes to mind this early morning, blanketed still with blackness.  I must still be sleeping.  My Golden is curled atop a sitting chair.  She knows not to do that.  But with night and darkness I assume she thinks she can get away with it  When I enter the room and sit to stare at my keyboard, she slowly opens her eyes just long enough to took me, then nonchalantly closes her eyes again.  I am not the Alpha dog here.  Small moments pass and I hear a low growl.  Who is she growling at?  I realize that she is dreaming.  The sound is so patterned I wonder if that is a dog snoring instead. (Our house is plagued by those.)  No; the little "wuff" at the end of the growl tells me she is working out some story in her doggy mind.

The beeper goes of  signaling that my coffee is ready. NOW I can wake!

I love this blackness, well more clearly the stillness. Just before a little girl wakes the other sleepers with her loud steppings on the hard wood steps and little songs sung from an extroverted thoughts.

In this stillness it is more easy to "Be still and know that He is God."  Everything is a pure moment right now. All is calm.  I know His love and holiness and might and power.  HE IS.

I hope that I remember to take this with me today when all is awake- and fast, full of interruptions and expectancies, and chitter-chatter, and overlapping thoughts, and worries wanting to take prison my mind.
It remains -"I AM."


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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Manager of the Home- January printables

Good Morning Ladies!  Today I have January's printables for your "Manager of the Home" notebook.

Yesterday, I shared with you a little about my learning experience as a home maker.  I have learned that the longer that I am married, adding children to our family, life gets more complex!  Imperative for me to foster any kind of order to our home is executing the essentials of  ponder, prayer, prioritize, and plan.  Please click to download a short bible study that I have written on "Managing the Home."   This study will direct you into gain a biblical perspective of your home life.  After all, being a Christian homemaker is more than changing diapers an cleaning toilets.

If you have never used a home planner, you may be a little overwhelmed at first.  But soon I think that you will find it quite comforting to have your "brain in a binder" as someone has called it!  Everything is there for you to see and plan for (even the margin of the empty space of free time for Life's many unexpected interruptions.)  There are six different sheets for you to download for January's use.  Print them out, punch holes in them, and place in a three-ring notebook.  (I have found that Wal-mart sells these binders at a much cheaper price than the office supply stores.  You may also want to get a three-hole puncher as well.)

The pages are:

January's cover                       
Monthly Calendar
Monthly Planner
Week-at-a-Glance
Weekly Planner
Daily Sheets

When you first sit down with all of your pages, the planning may seem like a lot.  But with routine and use, the planner will be an effective tool for your home to flow smoothly.  Before the beginning of a new month I sit with my planner and write the number dates on the monthly calendar.  I add any known appointments or activities for that month.  I use the planner page (which I place facing my calendar page, having its holes punched on the opposite side of it) to write in ordinary tasks and ones specific for that month.  For example- This month I have written "Grandma's birthday dinner".   I will have "making Valentine's" on the monthly planning page for February.

After having done the monthly planning, I concentrate on the upcoming week.  I write general activities first, then I can see what open spaces of tine is available for extra things.  I also use the weekly planner.  This current week, I wrote on to call garage to make an appointment to have our car's oil changed.   Every Saturday or Sunday, I sit down for a few moments and look over the upcoming week.  This also provides a great tool for meal planning.  You will be able to see when you simply do not have time to make an involved dinner and perhaps want to do a crock-pot dish that day, etc.

Finally, the daily sheet.  After looking at the week, I write myself a daily sheet.  You will be surprised by how much little open time you have when you write down what are actually accomplishing in a single day!  Even folding one load of laundry and putting it away can take up to 20 minutes.  If you do only two loads a day that is 30-40 minutes of time!

Another way in which I use the planning sheets is to see where I can add activities that I do not usually get to do, but would like to.  For example, I like to make jewelry but have to find a place where I can fit that it somewhere in the schedule.  If I do not make time- it just does not happen.

So there you are.  A brief introduction.  To reiterate- this planner has saved my sanity!  I hope that it will be a blessing to you too!

"She looks well into the ways of her household,
She laughs at the time to come."
~Proverbs 31:27, 25

Yesterday there was some trouble with downloading the study.  The January printables I have placed in one folder.  When you click the link you should see a page that has all six titles of each pdf.  Click on that title- wait a second- and a page will appear with a "Download" button.  You will have to download each page at a time. (You should NOT have to log in or register)  PLEASE let me know if you are not able to do this.  I certainly want you to be able to access them!

As a "thank you" would you "like" LOV on the FB page?  There is a link on the right bar here.  And pass the word on to your friends; I want to bless others.

Have a great day and happy homemaking!



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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Managers of the Home Study

  Hello to all. I am excited to share with you today something that I think could be life-changing for your home.
  I have had twenty plus years to grow at being a home-maker.  Not just a woman who lives in a house co-habitating with other members who share the same blood.  Nor simply a cook, or laundry washer, ironer, budgeter, shopper, chauffeur to children and teens.

  A maker of HOME.

   Four walls with a roof where love is fostered, creativity blossoms, dreams emerge, comforts laid, lessons learned.   Four walls that are beautified with generosity, appealing hues that set the ambiance of a cozy library or sunny kitchen.  A sanctuary from the world and a place of welcome with hospitality.

     So many areas that make a home.  So many areas to balance.  God made us women the managers of this multi-faceted responsibility; our brains are wired to think of different subjects simultaneously.  If you have ever confused or tired your husband by talking about the dress that you got on sale at the store, which will save you money to put away for Junior's lessons which reminds you that you have to call Jennifer because you need her to carpool with you tomorrow....you know just what I mean. 

   Womens' minds can think globally and in a detailed manner all of the same time.  Yet, even the most clear headed woman can benefit from a list.  You know the classic "To-Do" list.  I cannot remember a time when I did not use one.  Early in my marriage, I used post-it notes.  Then notebooks with pretty covers.  When I started to homeschool my children the daily tasks became more routine and complex.  I think that I would have forgotten to brush my teeth if I did not write it down!  Not really. But I probably would have forgotten to buy the frozen blueberries for a fruit crisp recipe or to order that present for Grandpa's birthday, if I did not write it down somewhere.

   In recent years my "to-do" list has developed into a Home-Manager Notebook.  The demands of having children whose ages span a decade having their own activities that accompany each differing age, their schedules, mine, my husbands, activities we would like to do together, appointments, etc. I found it essential to have a calendar with a planner together.  Though, I could not find a planner that was 1. pretty and 2. fitting to my personal needs.  Yes, both are important.  So through the years I have developed a planner of my own made up of a set of monthly sheets.

   Tomorrow I will post these printables for you to use.  They are for the month of January.  Please come back as I am sure you will love them!

   Today I want to share with a short bible study that I have written on managing your home.  Before tasks are written in their appropriate spot, I have found that there are some essentials that cannot be overlooked if I am to have a happy home.  (Meaning a home where Momma is happy because she is not over-stressed! And a well-planned home makes for an orderly, lovely home.)  Those essentials are pondering, prayer, prioritizing, and planning.

   This study, "Managers of the Home" is six pages in length and I encourage you to prayerfully use it over the next few days.  Pondering your family life, prayerfully asking for wisdom, prioritizing areas, and planning, helps you prepare your home for family life.  You will be able to confidentially say as the virtuous woman from Proverbs, "She looks well into the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness....and she laughs at the time to come." (Prov. 31:27, 25.)

   Your home is a reflection of Him. I pray that my words will point you to Him.

    As a special "thank you", I ask that you would simply "Like" Ladies Of Virtue on the Face Book badge to the right and share LOV with your friends.

To download the study click here-Managers of the home.

Remember to come visit tomorrow for January's printables. 
~Nicol


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Friday, January 6, 2012

Listen for the ROAR

     Today is Friday. Already!  I look forward to blogging Fridays.  I link up with The Gypsy Mama who gives a writing prompt.  We can only write for five short, sweet minutes.  I like writing within these parameters because- 1. I know that I will get a post up!  2. I will write stream-lined from my heart.  And as now as the sky is still cloaked in blackness, that means I am still sleepy, so it is sure to be stream-conscious.  3. No editing allowed!!! (Of course, I DO go over my too common misspellings.)
So today, the 6th day of January of this new year in 2012, the prompt is ROAR.

THAT wakes me up a little!

GO.

I cannot help but connect "ROAR" to thoughts that I have been having all week of the New Year.  My thoughts have been about pondering, praying, and planning.  But when I put "ROAR" in the same thought of the New Year...I cannot help but feel the whole resounding impact of
ROAR!!!!!!

A lion roars when he wants to be heard, right?  And being very direct about it.  This New Year has engulfed us six days in, and I am wondering what it will roar to me and what I will roar back. 

The stresses of life roar at me constantly and I sometimes roar back as loud as I can.  Sometimes that helps and sometimes not- my throat just gets soar.  Sometimes instead of roaring I cower.

I do not feel like roaring at the moment.  But there are times when it is necessary isn't it?

The Holy Spirit whispers to us in a gentle quiet voice. If I ignore Him, He beckons me still.  That soft voice a can become a soft, yet clear roar in my soul.  What will HE SPEAK  to me this year?  Words of love, words of encouragement, words of correction and direction.  I will listen and with clear voice roar what I have to share.

Have you roared lately?


STOP.
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year Aspirations

Happy New Year to you!!!!  Doesn't the ring of that, bring a jingle to your heart?  I love those two words together- New Year.  A blank book of pages waiting for our hopes, dreams, and memories to fill them.

If you are like most of us, Christmas decorations are being put away till that glorious time arrives at the end of THIS year.  Too soon the bliss of the holiday is set aside in our minds, as the routines of work and daily living and academic lessons resumes.  Actually, I am looking forward to the monotone hum that daily living brings.  But this first week of January brings change like a hurricane. One day we are eating the delicacies of the season with abandon, the next day fine-tuning our new exercise regimen and diet.  One day we are spending and giving with bliss, the very next day taking account and getting ready for taxes.  Children lost in the pleasure of days filled with playing, now need to rise early to attend school. (One of mine does tomorrow.  The other still gets to sleep a little later!) 

Organization beckons to us, as over-swelling refrigerators with holiday left-overs and garbage cans overflowing with cardboard boxes that housed all kinds of toys, yell at us that they need attended to.   Every organizational tool is for sale in the stores currently.  The sale flyers yelling at us to "get yourself in order!"  As if one human being could organize cupboards closets, garages, budgets, diets, schedules, and our lives- all within a few weeks!
I love to set things in order.  Really.  I love to plan and carry it out- making a mess into something clean and crisp.  The starkness of January, right after the full revelry o December, is a perfect time to do this.  But I am telling myself and exhorting you: Remember to give yourself time to adjust. And give your children and spouse the same room and patience.

As the end of a year closes, I begin in prayer to ask the Lord what my focus should be for the upcoming year. I make a prayerful assessment of all of the aspects in my life and family's, and prayerfully re-prioritize.  I consider my inward character needs, and the outward behaviors, activities, distractions, and things that I would like to venture into.  I use this time to gain what balance I can possibly maintain with a husband, three teens, a daughter, and a dog.

By listening to the Holy Spirit, I am guided into a main focus for the year.  This year, it is to be "Sow, till, weed, and work."  To me, this means I am to keep doing diligently that which I have been doing, and continue to give my all in it.  Sow more. Dig deeper.  Weed more stringently. And continue to work where I am.  For me, that work is being a help-meet to my husband as manager of our home, mother of our children, help with bookkeeping for his businesses, director of the home education of two of my children, teacher a class at co-op, hostess and leader o bible study groups, student at the university, and writer for Ladies Of Virtue.  Whew!  Really, I am not a type-A person (which is fine if you are!)  I simply have been given a lot of responsibilities.  This year I am reminded to be faithful in them.  I share this with you to help you understand what I mean by focusYour focus will be totally different.  Our Abba knows us and our situations intimately.  He will guide you just as you need directed.  Do yo have an idea of where you are being led this year?

"Aspirations"-
"an ardent wish or desire, chiefly of spiritual blessings;
to to rise or tower with desire"
from American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828.

I encourage you to pray about your life and the upcoming year.  You have aspirations for yourself and family; do not throw yourself back into life's routine with no thought.  I always ask the Lord for a scripture to confirm this focus.  Ask.  He is faithful to speak to you.  Just for your understanding, last year my focus was "DeSTRESS."  Nothing seemingly spiritual about that.  But I can tell you that life's circumstances can rob you of the fruit of the Spirit in you.  I cut back on activities, situations, perspectives, and emotions that robbed me of peace and joy.  I made adjustments to my schedule and my children's.  Of course, I could not get rid of ALL stress; but having that for my year's focus, I was on a path to live more fruitfully this year.

Always one to write things down, I made a list of ponderings for myself that I have used the past few years.  I keep it in the front of my home planner to peruse throughout the year, as a compass so to speak.  Below I am attaching one or you and encourage you to prayerfully use it.  If you do, would you please let me know?  I would live to hear what your year's aspirations are.

"And the Lord answered me and said, 'Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets....'"
~Habakkuk 2:3 Ampl. 

May your 2012 be richly blessed.

To download 2012- Yearly Aspirations click here. And please share your vision with me.

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