Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Eternal Encouragement Review- 12 Super Simple Time-Saving Tips for Moms

One of the constant battles that we continually fight as women of this 21st century is our schedules!  How do we fit everything in when we only have twenty-four hours in a day?

This month's product for review from Eternal Encouragement is a CD or MP3 from Lorrie Flem entitled 12 Super Simple Time Saving Tips.  What a gold mine of encouraging advice!  Whether you consider yourself organized-challenged or just need a refreshing boost -you will find something for YOU in this talk.

I will not surprise the fun and list all twelve of the tips that Lorrie shares; I will just share a few that spoke directly to me.

 #1 Make it my priority to look like Jesus.  In following with the theme for LOV this month -I can have a perfectly clean home, laundry all caught up, children happy and obedient, but if I have not LOVE then all is vanity.  I want to love Jesus more.  I want to be like Him.  The only way that I know to do that is to spend time with Him.  Much of my time can be wasted because not just of poor organizing but of sour, ugly attitudes.  I need a continual readjustment.  I need to constantly be with Him.

#6 Love something by giving it away.  Are you overwhelmed by work?  Give it away!  Lorrie reminded me that I am NOT loving my children when I am doing everything for them.  They are not learning how to keep house, be a part of the family, and grow in discipline.  Delegate the chores.  Work together.  I need reminded of this, because for me it is often easier do it myself rather than deal with complaining.  But am I loving them by allowing that?

#7 Be like a grape!  Grapes grow in clusters and so do tasks.  One way I do this is by setting items that need taken upstairs in a basket at the bottom of the steps, then I will take the basket up and put everything away at once.  Another suggestion by Lorrie was to make all of the phone calls that you have to make together and while doing another task if possible (like folding clothes).  This will greatly cut down on time and work effort.

And beautifully, Lorrie points us to JESUS at the beginning and end. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith, is He not?  All of the tips that she shares fall under this heading.
   Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?    Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
~from Matthew 6


C
lick on the image and you will be connected to this great product that will offer you spiritual and practical advice to help you stay kingdom focused and sane.
12 Super Simple Time Saving Tips


*As a member of the Gabby Moms, I received this mp3 free in exchange for my honest review*

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Love transforms...

I am sitting here with a blank computer screen waiting to be filled with words.  Sometimes words are ready to tumble out of my brain falling onto each other.  This morning I am contemplating LOV's monthly theme -LOVE- and I am just sitting here pondering just what to write about.

Love has been the muse of poets and painters throughout the ages.  Do we ever get tired of love?  Can the books to fill all of the book shelves in the world express all that there is to say about love?

Love transforms.  He takes a vile murderer and removes the evil. 

Love washes the perverse white as snow.

Love touches the tongue of the liar and cauterizes the member with fire.

Love elevates a life to have eternal purpose.

Love gives passion with a continual flame.
 
What does Love do to you TODAY? 
Is Love transforming you?
Is Love adding purpose to your days of mundane routines and dreams not yet realized?

Ponder on LOVE.

"Love is enough, though the world is awaning."
~William Morris (1872)



God is Love.  Is Love enough for you today?

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Brushing His Hair

I am learning much these days- 22 credits full of the Tudor lineage of the British monarchy, symbolic analysis of Keats' poems, what is a poly carp, the painting techniques of Lorenzetti, and how to calculate a Cartesian product.  I love it.  I love learning and I can feel my brain cells growing fat and the synapses stronger.

This morning these words shouted at me as though in big, bold red letters-
"...as for knowledge, it will pass away.....but LOVE never ends."

All of the reading, studying, and harboring of knowledge -Knowledge WILL PASS away. What is left?  Only LOVE.

And then in His Providence, I was led to read this story.  I have read it before and it still brings tears to my eyes.....Oh, the great, great Love of Jesus!  So simple, so pure.  So upside down in this world.   Read on  and you will understand what I mean.

For those of you who do not know Beth Moore, she is an outstanding Bible teacher, writer of Bible studies, and is a married mother of two daughters. This is one of her experiences: April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville.
 
     I was waiting to board the plane, I had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you. You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons, not the least of which is your ego.
     I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his shirt.. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones. The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair hung well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man. I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face.
     As I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was dead. So this man in the airport... An impersonator maybe? Was a camera on us somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served up on a wheelchair only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more overwhelmed with a feeling for him. Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.
     I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be embarrassing. I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit and I started arguing with God in my mind. 'Oh, no, God, please, no.' I looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven and said, 'Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now. Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience. Please, Lord!' There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, 'Please don't make me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane.' Then I heard it...'I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.' The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun like a top.
     Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainer. I looked straight back up at the ceiling and said, 'God, as I live and breathe, I want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm your girl! ;You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life. What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I am going to witness to this man.' Again, as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write this statement across the wall of my mind. 'That is not what I said, Beth. I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.' I looked up at God and quipped, 'I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a hairbrush?' God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as these thoughts came to me from God's word: 'I will thoroughly furnish you unto all good works.' (2 Timothy 3:17)

     Are you kidding? Of course I didn't want to. But God didn't seem interested in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I could utter the words, 'Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little problem. I don't have a hairbrush.' 'I have one in my bag,' he responded. I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on, hardly believing what I was doing.
     I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but must admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering to take my time not to pull.   
  A miraculous thing happened to me as I started brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair I know this sounds so strange, but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in my entire life. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes - felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a short while. The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's. His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's.
     I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knee and said, 'Sir, do you know my Jesus?' He said, 'Yes, I do' Well, that figures, I thought. He explained, 'I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry me until I got to know the Savior.' He said, 'You see, the problem is, I haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I must be for my bride.'
    
     Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it. Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have accompanied him on that aircraft.
     I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She said, 'That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that? What made you do that?' I said, 'Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!' And we got to share.

     I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted, you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual. Tell Him your need! I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way... all because I didn't want people to think I was strange.
      God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me. Please share this wonderful story. 'Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Meeting All My Needs and Desires

It has been many years since I have learned the life-changing truth that my husband cannot meet all of my needs...The need for happiness, security, purpose, value, peace, and contentment. I have learned and continue to experience, "My God shall supply all (my) needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Phillipians 4:19) He is the perfect Lover of my soul. Relieving my husband of this role, which employed an endeavor impossible to actualize, changed my marriage. I could then begin to ENJOY my husband, not focusing on his short comings in meeting my needs. Really, if every woman could "get" this, I think that our culture would be elevated! How many marriages are stressed because the wife unconsciously or not manipulates her husband to get him to meet her needs and ends up angry and frustrated.

However, after reading and pondering Day 21 in The Love Dare, I became aware of present desires that I have for my husband to fulfill. I want more- more depth of love in our relationship, more intimacy, more comraderie. Are these desires wrong or misplaced? In this case, no, I do not think so. I did not endeavor to take the "Dare" because my marriage was bad or falling apart. Rather, I wanted more! to have the ultimate marriage experience on this earth and I would do my utmost to make that happen! I felt a push to strive to have an exceptional marriage as a testimony of God's handiwork and for my pleasure and satisfaction! But what about just having a "good marriage" to a "good man"? What is wrong with that? Is that not enough? My husband is thoughtful, loving, a great provider, friend, and a wonderful father. I sense the Holy Spirit leading me to gain a new perspective. One that confidently knows that all of my needs are met through Christ Jesus, and enjoys my marriage completely at this moment, accepts my husband at this moment.

Will I stop praying that our hearts would continue to bond and experience the depth, breadth, and height of the love of God? No. But my intent is to pray and live from the postition that we are "joint heirs of the grace of life". (1Peter 3:7) If today is as good as my marriage ever gets, I will be most blessed. And I do have a great marriage now!

How about you ? What is your perspective today?

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Monday, February 13, 2012

We All Want To Get Flowers

Many of you will be receiving flowers tomorrow from the man in your life as a symbol of his love for you.

Many of you will not receive flowers -and will probably be pining that you didn't.   We are women.  We want our loved one to acknowledge US, to tell us that we matter to them.  We want pretty petals to look at, to remind us that we are loved.  Nothing says it more deeply than the velvety petals of the rose.

Do any of you watch the television show "The Middle?"  The episode this week showed the Heck couple dining out with friends.  A flower lady approached their table and asked each husband if he would like to buy a rose for the love of his life. The husbands of the two other couples purchased the lovely single rose and in handling the love token to their wives, received the crowds, "Aaaaahs."  Mike Heck simply continued his monologue and dismissed the flower lady with a "No, thank you."  Frankie (his wife) is left flowerless and grabs a bread stick to munch on while her two friends gaze at the velvety petals.  The next morning Mike is awakened by a very upset Frankie who berates him, "Why didn't you buy me a flower?"  He replies, "I thought we agreed that that is a scam and that flowers are a waste of money?"  "Yes,of course it is.  But I still wanted a rose!!"

Doesn't that speak for the woman in all of us?  I know for me it does.  Yes, Hallmark is making millions from the propaganda of your love.  So is the flower industry, and diamond.  We KNOW that it is propaganda.  But don't we still want the flowers?

How will YOU react if your hubby comes home empty handed Tuesday evening?

Can you get over your disappointment?

In twenty years of a marriage relationship, I would like to think that I have grown and learned something.  There have been a few Valentine's that I went flowerless.  I have been disappointed. I have cried.  I have yelled . . . And I have learned to not depend on my husband so much for fulfillment and happiness.  My husband will be away this Valentine's Day.  He is working 2,000 miles from our front door.  That speaks his love to me.  He will not be able to bring me flowers.  I knew that.  So when I saw this beautiful bouquet at Sam's Club -I bought them for myself.  And I love to see them open more each day.
The other day my daughters and I made cookies.  I tried out the new cookie mold I had bought for the purpose of making heart-shaped coolies for Valentine's Day.  Making my husband's favorite, chocolate chip, I filled the mold.  The cookie turned out perfectly.  I took a picture of the tasty treat with my phone and sent it to my husband with the message, "Here is your Valentine's gift.  I guess we will have to eat it for you."  I also sent him a picture of the flowers with the message, "Here are the flowers you bought me, thank you."

He replied, "Bon appetit.  And I hope that you like the flowers."

We both smiled inside.

It is freedom to know that I can buy myself flowers....and enjoy them.

Can you?

Have a Valentine's Day filled with joy and love.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Makin' Valentines

Originally posted February 12, 2011. We plan on doing the same this Saturday.

My daughters and I spent a sunny, cold afternoon creating Valentine's for our sweet ones.

This is our breakfast room. If you look closely you can see my sweet, shy daughter hiding from the lens behind a book. The table is nice and neat awaiting all of the ephemera (I am always looking for ways to use that neat word. I just "googled" it and discovered that there is actually an Ephemera Society! interesting...well, if you need a little help with its definition the dictionary says that ephemeron {the plural} is transitory written or printed material not intended for long time use such as postcards or tickets...the etymology is the Greek meaning "mayfly" {have you ever seen one of THOSE?}....interesting ...well. since we DO want our Valentine's to be preserved, remembered, and cherished may be this is not the correct context for this word. However, since little decorative things for scrapbooking like stickers are culturally described as "ephemera" {see all of the internet scrap book with "ephemra" in their name} then I will still use it. Also, ephemera such as notes and cards are now considered collectible- though completely contradictory to the very definition of being temporary- then there is another confirmation that I can indeed express that the breakfast room table was waiting to be covered with ephemera- otherwise known as colorful paper, stickers, ribbons, bobbles and such. Did I loose most of you? I am trying to write as goes the conversation in my head....may be that the general populace cannot follow my sporadic thoughts? But I DID get to use the word about 5 times!

Here the girls are creatively concentrating.
Between taking pictures I read Little Town on the Prairie. Presently we read about Laura's autograph book that she shared with her friends and the rage of calling cards. Even then pretty ephemera was exchanged and appreciated. This is a poem that Laura's friend wrote in her autograph book. We thought that it was perfect for inside a Valentine.
                                     "The rose of the valley may wither,
The pleasures of youth pass away,
But friendship will blossom forever
While all other flowers decay."

Isn't that sweet?


                       Here is my "little" one happy with her creation.
So if you have some ephemera lying around your house, maybe you can gather it together, sit and relax, and make some collectible ephemera for your loved ones.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sending Love

This month at LOV we are celebrating LOVE.  How wonderful!  Each month I would like like to share with you, ideas for family activities to celebrate a monthly holiday or theme.  These activities are meant to bring your family closer, add joy to your home, and a deeper appreciation for sentiment.  They could very will become beloved family traditions.

February 14th is known as the hallmark of Love.  Today it has been made to be quite an indelible mark in our lives by the card company  Hallmark.  Howver, the holiday first had its roots proliferate in the time of the Victorians.  In that era most middle-class and upper class women enjoyed the hobby of scrapbooking and letter writing.  These ladies of romance combined with their love of aesthetic beauty and the sharing of sentiment; the idea of sending valentines became popular at once.  These first valentines were hand-made with an ephemera of colored paper, fabrics, feathers, tinsel, and glitter. Until the nineteenth century, what we think of valentine's were handwritten love letters.  As the techniques of printing became more advanced in the 1800s, commercial valentines were produced, then becoming the rage of sending love. 

Still enamoured with love and sending it to others- valentine's today can be a cute rhyme for a class mate or the deepest of emotions shared to the one we love.  Bought or hand-made, valentine's remain a token of our well wishes, friendship, and appreciation of love.  A friend gave the idea of sending out cards for Valentine's Day to her friends that she is unable to communicate much with throughout the year, a perfect time to say, "I think of you often and still mean so much to me."  I have taken up this tradition and look forward to finding the prettiest appropriate cards for each one that I mail.

My daughters enjoy making their own valentine's, which I do as well if I am feeling creative.  I get excited by gathering our ephemera of colored card stock, stickers, trimmings, markers, colored pencils, glitter, ribbons, buttons, and anything else that might add to our pretty creation.


"Give all to love;
Obey thy heart;
Friends, kindred, days,
Estate, good fame,
Plans, credit and the Muse,
Nothing refuse.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Poems. Give ALL to Love st. 1


Will you blow warm wishes of kindness, friendship, and love to those in your circle?

~I would love to get one. (o;

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Real LIFE

  Today is Friday.  I put down short thoughts as I am constrained to write for only five minutes with the Gypsy Mama. Today we are talking about REAL.

Coffee that has overflowed, vomit spewed on the couch pillows, moans from a sick little girl, dirty bottom of a dog than needs attention (It is my dog, so I am the one to clean her butt.  As I do so I cannot believe that I am doing it.), packing hubby for a cross country trip (where is that big suitcase?), more moans mean I need to be with her to comfort -everything else has to be placed on hold -somehow- the heart of a friend is ripped apart as her husband is taken from her and her four darlings in a violent auto crash, my heart mourns for her loss.

This is real.


And so is this-
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned...
"I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler.
 My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you
[sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully];
for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed)
and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness."
Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities,
that the strength and power of Christ may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
~said by Jesus Christ in Isaiah 43:2, 60:17, 2Corinthians 12:9 (NIV & Ampl.)


Two worlds existing simultaneously, intertwining to be one for she who believes.

"Oh, Father how we need You today.  Comfort our hearts. Fill us with peace and joy in believing.  We trust you with our lives.  We know that You are for us. Amen."
This is REAL.


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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Love~ Begin with Him

Today is February the first -yeah!  I love the beginning a new month.  The cold winds of January are blowing away and the red brightness of February is turned onto our calendars.  It is the month we celebrate LOVE.  So we shall this month, as LOVE becomes the topic of LOV. (:  All posts that you read here will center on that theme.

And where is the best place to start except at the One who is LOVE.  Have you ever stopped to contemplate that?  Well, as much as our finite little brains can take it in.  God IS love. (1John 4:8)  He cannot act out of love, as that would be out of His character.  Every move He makes on your behalf, dear sister, in an act of love toward you.  Yes, even the trials, even the hardships and heartaches, the discipline, and sorrows that we experience in the few moments that our blossom blooms in this temporal garden. He works all things for our GOOD, even the worms that would eat our tender petals.  He loves us.

This love is embodied in the Person of Jesus Christ.  Have you looked upon Him lately?  He beckons you to Himself to be wrapped in His arms of love.

"We love because He first loved us."
~1John 4:19


What powerful words.  It is not in us to love.  We simply do not have the ability in our natural beings.  But, oh, when we allow His love to flow through us!  He is able to release a deluge that soaks all who are near us.  We become a fountain of Living Waters.

Let the Waters flow over your heart and through your soul.  No matter your burden, it is lighter when it floats on waters of Love.

Swim in it.  Meditate on it.  Pray to know the breadth and height and depth of this great expanse of Love.  It is limitless, because He is boundless.

And after being soaked, let's celebrate it this month.

Will you join me? 



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