It is no cliché, time really does seem to speed up the older you get. This year has been our fastest year yet. May arrived...we literally blinked...and summer is gone. The air is getting crisper and cooler most days and the leaves are beginning to change to their beautiful autumn foliage.
Fall is my 2nd favorite season (used to be my #1 favorite, but a few years ago, Spring took that title..maybe I will share that transition sometime.) I usually look forward to fall, but this year is different. I have been grasping tightly to summer and really don't want to let go just yet.
At the beginning of summer this year, hubby and I felt a strong leading from the Lord that it was time to prepare our family to move to Arizona. I met hubby at college in Arizona and 13 years ago we decided to put roots down in Colorado. It has been a wonderful journey and the Lord has blessed us immensely here. However, our two young boys are growing up fast and we do not get to spend as much time with the grand folks as we would like. Both sets of grand folks (our parents) and one sibling (my brother-in-law) live in Arizona. We also have numerous other extended family members and some close friends that still live in Arizona.
As followers of Christ, we are called to 'trust and obey'...so that is what we are doing. All summer long we have spent working on completing unfinished projects, renovating our home, and started packing our belongings. The construction is almost complete and the home is looking amazing. Every time we finish a project, hubby and I say 'We should have done this years ago'.
It is so crazy how life gets so stinkin' busy and many of us wait until we go to sell our home to finish the projects we have talked and dreamed about. But as my hubby says, "It is what it is." We push through, leaning on the Lord for strength and guidance, the finish line is near.
The trek to Arizona is going to be a BIG one and preparing has been a bit overwhelming. Packing for this move has given me another chance to assess our belongings and contemplate what all we really should keep and take with us. It is a chance to downsize our possessions.
A few years ago, God put on my heart to live a simpler life. Again, in obedience, I am working toward this goal. What does that simpler life look like? For us, it is a life not consumed by material things and controlled by an "out-of-control" schedule.
This move, for us, is just another step toward this simpler life.
I am excited about the adventure ahead of us and I am excited about the new family who will be blessed by this amazing home. Many days I pray that the Lord would be putting all things in proper timing, preparing our hearts for the change, preparing the hearts of the new friends He will put in our path, and for the new church He wants us to be a part of.
I believe change can be hard for most of us. This change would be extremely hard for us if we didn't have faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ. A faith that is built on the rock of His promises will stand firm and never fall. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 7:24-27. I encourage you to look this passage up for yourselves.
As I write this post, I am also reminded of Proverbs 16:9, which says,
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (NIV)
If God is asking you to make a change in your life and you feel resistant, you need not be discouraged or worried, God is faithful to those who trust and obey Him. Lean on Him. Pray continually and take life one day at time.
What is going on in your life? Are you in the midst of change right now? What are you learning from it? Or do you perhaps see a pending change in your life, but you are being resistant to it? Please share in the comments below.
I love a good cup of coffee, but it can get quite expensive. A thrifty thing I am doing now is blending our coffee grounds. I buy an inexpensive brand of coffee in bulk and I buy a more expensive coffee. When I put the coffee grounds in the filter, I use about 60-70% of the inexpensive and about 30-40% of the more expensive coffee. It makes a good tasting cup of coffee at a cheaper cost.
I also used to love a big serving of a flavored creamer in my coffee, but I am reducing the amount of sugar in my diet, so I have stopped buying flavored coffee creamers. I now use half and half or the non-dairy options when they are on sale. These have less sugar and are generally less expensive.
I have noticed a difference in our budget since I have been blending the coffee grounds. I was buying a small, expensive bag of coffee about every 6 days. It was getting so stinkin' expensive. Now the coffee lasts a lot longer and still satisfies my taste buds.
I mentioned earlier that I buy the inexpensive stuff in bulk. We don't buy a super huge bag though. We are Costco members and we used to buy coffee there, but with just two coffee drinkers in the home, we couldn't drink it fast enough before it went stale.
Buying the inexpensive coffee in bulk at Walmart or a grocery store when its on sale works great for us.
Here's to good coffee that won't blow your budget! I hope this helps you be a little "thrifter" today.
Ladies, I have an important question to ask you...
Are you giving your husband the gratitude and praise he desires and needs?
Our daily lives are so busy I think we often forget that a simple thank you or praise can go a long way. Before you start lecturing the screen about how you aren’t appreciated enough and questioning why in the world you should show him respect?!? Let me stop you right there...just hear me out.
I understand that us moms are going non-stop from the minute are feet hit the floor in the morning. And at the end of the day we feel like we gave our all and maybe didn’t receive any recognition. I want to challenge you. What if you start setting the example for appreciation and praise? I believe you just might find yourself being flooded with praise and appreciation before you even know it!
Men are wired differently than us women, but we all need to feel appreciated. Although they may not show it or make it well known, men desperately need praise too. They need to be reminded they are doing a good job and that their hard work is appreciated (whether they work outside the home or are Mr. Mom, they need to know that what they are doing matters). It is not always in our female nature to remember to say thank you “just because”. With our busy schedules it is easy to run day in and day out and unintentionally begin to take each other for granted.
Our world is very competitive and can be extremely stressful on a husband and father. Their self-esteem can be quite low and we don’t even know it until it’s too late. I can’t tell you how many people I meet who are dissatisfied with their jobs and don’t feel like their managers notice the hard work they do. This is especially prevalent with men. I have to tell you, there are a lot of people who are “managers” who shouldn’t be. These people are thrown into the position and they lack the necessary skills to really be a good leader for their team. Two of the necessary skills these poor managers lack is the skill of encouragement and gratitude. They fail to see the importance of giving recognition for a job well done.
This is where we come in, Ladies. We need to help fill that gap. If your hubby isn’t feeling appreciated at work and then he comes home and he doesn’t get any appreciation there either...what do you think that does to him mentality? Over time, I will tell you, this will crush his soul.
Us wives and mothers can also fall in to the trap of ‘nagging’. Whether we have been working outside the home all day or been taking care of the home and children (which is just as hard, if not harder), by the time our husbands get home we are exhausted too. Both husband and wife want to just get a little time alone to unwind, but when the kids are whining because they are hungry and the dog wants to be taken for a walk and the house looks like a bomb went off, it is easy to get overwhelmed and thus the nagging begins.
This is when we need to stop and take a deep breathe…get our minds back on to what is really important. And instead of nagging, start praising.
I encourage you to make a few small changes in your routine to give praise and thanks to your husband and I would bet you will see a change happen quickly.
My husband and I always give each other a kiss before he leaves for work. Even if we have been arguing, it is very important to us. When we say goodbye I also tell him that we (the kids and I) appreciate him working so hard for our family. I usually make his lunch because it is much cheaper and healthier for him to eat a homemade lunch than to buy out all the time. In his lunch, most days, I have started putting a little note with an inspirational scripture verse on it. I try to find scriptures about courage, strength, and/or wisdom. Scriptures to lift him up and provide encouragement. I will usually get a text from him right around lunch time thanking me for the note. Then when my hubby returns home from work, I try greet him happily with a hug and kiss and I tell him that we have missed him and again thank him for working so hard for our family.
After a long day with the kiddos, I have to tell you, it is my inclination to just unload on my hubby as soon as I see him. And when he gets home late, I am usually pretty grumpy. But, I have to remember attitudes are contagious. If I am grumpy and nag on him immediately when he walks through the door, he may be sympathetic at first, but as the night wears on, or if my negative attitude becomes a habit, he is going to react to those emotions and will be negative back towards me, which just fuels the fire.
Instead, strive for a positive and encouraging attitude. Have an "Attitude of Gratitude" as someone wise once said. I am not saying to be fake and act like everything is sunshine and lollipops if you have had a bad day, but make sure that everyday isn’t a bad day. Be critical of your emotions. Was your day really that horrible? Or is there something else going on that can be fixed pretty easily. I have found that often times when I get grumpy it is because I am either hungry, tired, or both! Make sure you are taking care of yourself and you will be able to then take care of others.
If you are continually having bad days, then you need to seriously address this. Pray for guidance and wisdom. Sit down with your spouse and maybe your doctor to see if they have any insight to what is going on. I have found that professional counseling has a lot of great benefits too. And I recently discovered I was extremely deficient in Vitamin D. Once I started taking a daily dose of Vitamin D, my overall mood seemed to improve.
There are things we can do at home on our own to help turn our attitudes around. It makes us feel good to give praise, but it also feels good to get praise. Ever since I have started being more intentional about saying thank you and giving encouragement to my husband I have noticed some changes in him too. I have definitely noticed he says thank you to me a lot more. It is really a great feeling to hear ‘Thanks for making a great dinner’ or ‘You deserve a break, let me take the kids for a bit’ or my fav ’Thanks for being a great Mom/Wife’.
I didn’t sit down and have a heart to heart with my husband about saying thank you. He didn’t come to me and tell me he wasn’t feeling appreciated. I just realized that I wasn’t being intentional about showing him the gratitude and praise he deserves. And by making a few small changes in my daily routine it has been extremely beneficial to the entire household.
Do you believe encouraging your husband is important? If you do...in what ways do you encourage your spouse? Let me know in the comments below.
Grace & Blessings!
" The simple act of getting down on their level, engaging in play
and giving them undivided attention is exactly what they want and need. "
The other morning I woke up to a foggy, fall-like morning in the forest. The air was damp and cool. Even so, there were still signs of it being the middle of June…the birds were chirping a melodious chorus and the dirt pile in our yard showed signs where dirt roads and racetracks had been built by my two young sons the day before.
As I sipped my morning coffee, I pondered the importance of play in our lives.
The words ‘children’ and ‘play’ are synonymous. Children make play look so easy, because it is for them. Play is in their nature. It is generally the first thing my children want to do when they wake up in the morning, even before eating some breakfast.
Our family theme this month is Joy, Play, & Peace. With summer in full swing, what better time to embrace the art of playing.
Children’s minds are wired to play. My Type-A, adult mind on the other hand, finds it difficult to stop my ‘adult’ work and join my children in play. I am a very purposeful person, so if there doesn’t seem to be a “purpose” in doing something, I see it as a waste of our precious time. However, when I stop and really think about play and childhood I reminded of its importance to them.
Play is very purposeful for children and deserves more value than I often give it. Play is very important for them and it is actually a large part of how they learn. Even though it is not something that comes natural to me, I am training myself to join them in their play on a daily basis.
There are many opportunities for teaching lessons when we are playing with our children and I encourage those. But having a training and teaching mind set often causes me to be more focused on the “lesson” that will be learned from our play together; instead of just enjoying time with my children and allowing the Holy Spirit to “teach” a lesson if it arises. I believe a balance of both is in order.
The quality time spent playing with our children is priceless and it creates a strong bond between us and our child. We don’t always need to have an agenda in our play with our children and it doesn’t have to be some extravagant thing we are doing with them. The simple act of getting down on their level, engaging in play and giving them undivided attention is exactly what they want and need. But there have many days where I would get to the end of the day and realize I had no “real” intentional play time with my children.
Can you relate? Do you often get to the end of your day and realize you had no real “intentional” play time with your children? I know we are all very busy with to-do lists and responsibilities, but the responsibility of parenting well should be a top priority and that means being intentional; it means maybe sacrificing some personal interests for the time being, putting our devices down, and engaging wholeheartedly with our children.
If our daily schedules are too full to have time to play with our children, then I believe a reworking of our schedules is in order. Our playtime need not be extremely lengthy; just intentional and as undivided as possible. I have seen that sacrificing some of my own interests and personal goals in order to make time to intentionally play with my children is worth it. And an added bonus after intentional play is that their behavior tends to be more positive and compliant for long after. Our children's obedience and cooperation I think is something all us moms desire.
There are so many “ways” to play with our children. If you haven’t played with your children in awhile, I encourage you today to stop your housework, work, to-do list—whatever it is you are occupied with—for a bit, and join your children in some play time. It might be playing with their cars and trucks or dolls, Legos, a board or card game, sidewalk chalk, etc. Come to them with a fun idea or better yet, let your children choose what to play…but come with no agenda and be fully engaged with them.
Have fun today, look for joy, and be blessed by His truth & grace!
Do you ever compare yourself to others? Does the grass seem to look greener on other lawns??
Comparison is a dangerous trap we all can easily fall into. It can definitely be a stronghold in our lives if we are not on guard.
"The best thing I can do for my congregation is to quit comparing myself to other pastors and simply strive to be genuinely me." ...Words by Brady Boyd, Pastor and author of the book, Addicted to Busy.
Last night, as I was going through some old papers I came across a note with the above quote at the top. Underneath it were my thoughts about these words and I want to share that with you today.
I think the words from this pastor have application for us all. God designed each one of us in a special and unique way. Our lives are not meant to look the same. We are not meant to do everything the same way as our neighbors, friends, or even our family. Our pieces of the puzzle look different than everyone else's pieces. But the beautiful thing is that all our different pieces fit together with everyone else's to make one BIG, beautiful picture God is creating every day.
These words are not just applicable for this pastor, we can take these words and make them personal--We can say to ourselves, "The best thing I can do for my family, and for God, is to stop comparing myself to other (moms/wives) and simply strive to be genuinely me."
Comparison is a waste of time. Unless someone is a close friend, we really don't have any idea what is going on in other peoples lives and what they are going through. ...And when we do know the details of what is going on, we should be on our knees in prayer for those individuals, not using their circumstances to feed the destructive stronghold of comparison.
An unintentional, but very negative by-product of social media is comparison. In social media we get a snap shot of someone else's life and it is easy to think that person/couple/family has a "perfect" life. Spoiler Alert...Their lives are NOT perfect! No one's is.
Now I am not faulting anyone for sharing the "best" parts of their lives. I am guilty of it too...but when we are on social media we need to be aware of the pitfall of comparison. We can be on guard, turn our thinking around and share in that person's joy.
If you have a tendency to fall into the comparison trap, like a do, I encourage you to spend some getting to know yourself better. Learn your strengths, your passions; get to know your family members better, learn their strengths and passions. If you haven't thought about your own strengths and passions lately, you might even be surprised to learn that some have changed.
The best way to really know yourself better is to spend time with The Lord. Get to know what His words says about you. Our Heavenly Father cares for you deeply. He loves you immensely and He wants to bless you beyond measure. He made you in His image and He gave you strengths and talents that no one else has. His plan and will for your life is perfect, you just have to be willing and ready to live it.
Let's strive "To be the most excellent we can be; and not strive for someone else's excellent."
Blessings for you today.
This homeschooling mom and wife thing is hard. I mean really stinkin' hard. Selfishness, bad attitudes, and constant needs can make for a frustrating and exhausting day (...sometimes I am the one guilty of these). But should I just give in and quit?
If you are like me, God has called you to this life of being a wife and a homeschooling mom and it is a blessed responsibility.
I never imagined myself here. I was a professional medical provider, a business owner, but I was also crazy consumed by my career. God changed that a little over 2 years into my motherhood.
Thinking about where I was and where I am now gives me clarity and realization to the importance of my current responsibilities.
There are times when I get so frustrated with the events of the day I briefly convince myself that I am crazy to be homeschooling and that the alternative must be a better option. But once I settle myself down, I truly don't believe that is God's will for our family. And as a follower of Jesus, I remember that my hope and strength does not come from within myself. My hope and strength comes from the One who shed His blood on the cross for me. I am not in this homeschooling journey alone.
Most of the time the reason for all the frustration and chaos is because I am trying to do too much. I get consumed by all the "things" to get done and miss time with God. I overcommit our schedules and convince myself I can juggle it all well. But it just isn't possible and the ever important priority of spending time with Jesus falls to the way side or gets drastically shortened. In the chaos I can also lose sight of my purpose for homeschooling.
Our children need us to be their cheerleaders and coaches. When one of my boys has a bad attitude or throws a tantrum, it can be easy for my flesh to get annoyed and want to just walk away to avoid the tough stuff. Sometimes we may need to walk away for a moment or two to take a breath, but ultimately we need to return and press into the tough stuff. We need to get down on their level, hear what they have to say, console and sympathize with them. We need to draw out their strengths and encourage them. We need to guide them the best we can.
We also need to be praying for our children constantly. Another support system is other homeschooling moms, especially those who are also believers and who share similar ideals.
These battles we struggle with every day should not be taken at face value. They go deeper. We must remind ourselves that many of our struggles our not of this world.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. -Ephesians 6:12 NKJV
Don't give up. Don't let the devil win. Your children's hearts and souls are way too valuable to let your enemy win. You and I can do this. We can fight the good fight and be the victor! And our children and husbands will be victors too!
God is so pleased with us when we lay down our lives. When we sacrifice for His Kingdom.
If you are a homeschooling mom and are feeling down today, please know you are not alone. But don't stay in this mindset.
Remember who you are in Christ. You are redeemed and loved. You are a royal priesthood. He sees your heart and knows your flaws, and loves you with an everlasting love.
Keep pouring truth into your kiddos. Continue to love them with everything you have because it is worth it. Especially when they have bad attitudes...hold them accountable to their actions in a biblical way, but love and model respect to them. Don't take their immature attitudes personally. Show them emotional maturity and unconditional love. They need you and your husband to show them the way.
As I have been reminded many times, the training up of a child is not a sprint, but a marathon. Run the race well. Enjoy the journey. You have what it takes when you rely on the Almighty One!
May The Lord Bless you and keep you today! May he make His face shine upon you. He loves you dearly.
Check out this awesome and uplifting song by Tenth Avenue North, click here.
Hi! My name is Mandy Jo.
Thanks for visiting my blog! Being a mom in this modern age is a blessing, but no cake walk. So many expectations are imposed on us and it can be overwhelming and often discouraging.