Saturday, November 29, 2008

Frugal Thoughts For Christmas

I was going to do this post over at our getting out of debt site but it's so consuming my thoughts and life right now that It probably belongs here. The point is that we are determined not to use our credit card at all this year for gifts. Even with the "we can pay it back in January" mentality we sometimes have.

So, in the budget there is so little room for Christmas. I thought I'd share some ideas I'm using to make it happen.

-I'm thrifting a lot, especially for the kids but also to put some things together for family.

-I'm taking Daja's idea from last year and making a basked of felt play foods for Lilo and Superkid (Daja has some other great ideas on there too) who still enjoy playing restaurant and such. The kit will be a basket from the thrift store w/ a vintage tiny table cloth I found a few months ago thrifting, the felt foods, and the aprons and chef hats they all ready have along with a new apron I found that is for the on who wants to be the waiter. Plus one little notebook and pen for taking orders.

-I found a "bedazzler" a long time back at a thrift store and saved it. I'm working on a craft kit for the girls that will include that, some cut squares of blue jean from worn out pairs from our family that I've been saving, thread, needles, buttons, ribbon scraps and whatever else I come up with. Blue jean is a great starter fabric for girls because you can just sew a seam and let the edges fray in the wash. This makes purse or tiny bag making very easy. I'm throwing in the seat of the jeans so they can make them into little handbags and such. I still have to find some bedazzle beads so they can accessorize with those.

-I really liked Julie's hand made gift for her friend and it got my brain rolling on something to make for my mom (so mom, if you are reading....STOP NOW!). Only I want to print some black and whites of the kids and tear the edges and then mount them on cardstock to add to the message of the piece. I'm not sure exactly what will come together, but I loved her idea.

-I found some porcelain dolls in great shape at the Goodwill outlet. Their hair and dresses were still lovely. I have a bunch of old vintage doll dresses my grandma made in the 50's that I want to give to Princess with the dolls. I'm looking for two stands so she can dress them and then set them on her shelf.

-I was given a bunch of American Girl books with some hand-me-downs that I will be putting in sets with a ribbon and giving to Princess.

-I scored after Halloween and was able to get a Batman costume and a Superman costume for 75% off the original price. The nice thing is that they are size 8-10 boy which is what Superkid is even though he is only five, so the little ones never fit him anymore. Even though he looks big, he still wants to dress up. They came with the capes and masks and everything. So fun! You could still do these from thrifting but if you have not thought of it yet, they may be gone. Good thoughts for next year though.

-We are trying to put together some outside things for the kids. I found a huge bouncy ball at the Goodwill outlet that we are going to pump up and give to Lilo. Since the kids have gone to school they have become more interested in foursquare games, tetherball, and jump rope. So, I'm thinking of making a movable tetherball pole with an old time, cement, and a pole. I just need to figure out the pole part. We are also considering making a cheap plywood back board that they can bounce the balls against and letting them graffiti it themselves with paint. That one is still in the idea only department.

-I was very fortunate to find gifts at the Target 75-90% off for my nephews and niece last year. I don't want to say what they were but I also got one for our kids. It's a great way to get quality gifts for such a fraction of the cost.

-I'm making "Get Cozy For Christmas" kits for Rick's family but I can't say what's in them yet.

-Making a few more handmade things for friends that I can's share yet either.

-All year long I pick up "Boxcar Children" books Princess does not have, or "Animal Ark" or "Magic Treehouse" for Lilo or "Nancy Drew", all from thrifting, and tie each set up with a ribbon and box it as a gift.

-At Easter clearance I was able to grab a few Lego men singles from the Target clearance section. Superkid really gets more out of these than the big sets since he can't quite put them all together yet, and he likes the Lego men the best anyway.

-We save great games that we find complete from the thrift store through the year as well. This year I have an original "Battleship" and "Scrabble Jr." for the kids.

-Pier One is a great place to get some after season clearance items. Last year I got a holiday scent set for my grandma and will send it this season.

Those are the ones at the top of my head and I just can't share all of it yet so....have to wait for the rest of the details.

Here is a fun link for ideas.

And my friend Judy at Judy's Notebook always links to this site that is a craft lovers drooling station.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Five Year Old's Thankful List

Perhaps it's the fact that he is my last "baby" (though as those of you who know us know, he has not looked like a baby for a long, long time) but sometimes I hang on every little cute squeaky thing he says. Especially at prayer time. Lately he has been going through these long lists of "thank you"'s each time he prays. At first a few weeks ago I thought, how cute, and then the Lord used it to encourage me at this tough time of year. Here were some of the ones I remember as usuals:
"Thank you for our earth-
Thank you for my toys-
Thank you for my mommy and daddy-
Thank you for my kittens-
Thank you for my friends-
Thank you for our school-
Thank you for Mrs. E....-
Thank you for our world (he switches from earth to world sometimes)-
Thank you for dying on the cross-
Thank you for my sisters (I'm holding him to that one:)-
Thank you for mommy's dinners (that's my boy!)-
Thank you for our house-

There are lots more, and I keep thinking I need to write them down. He comes up with so much!

Then I got to thinking, what am I thankful for?
God's faithfulness and truth.
A husband who is so determined from his heart to love me and the kids.
Children who are so interesting and different. (God's holding me to that one:)
Children who are eager to learn of God.
Friends who are so caring and steady.
The amazing chances we have had to meet lots of people lately and start building relationships to share God's love in any way we can.
For such a quaint small town to do that in.
For the fact that my kids all have great teachers.
For need. I'm thankful for need. It helps me rely on God.
I'm thankful He has placed a great desire for Himself in me that is greater than all other forces and deceptions in my life.
I'm thankful for health.
I'm thankful for my mom and God's faithfulness to her this past year.
For the promises of God, mainly eternity and the awesome prospect of living in His goodness every moment.

What are you thankful for? What theme of gratitude is on your heart this year?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Was Plesantly Surprised

Lilo made a beautiful paper woven place mat with this written on it:
Thank you God

For the world so sweet.
Thank you God.
For the food we eat.
Thank you God.
For the birds that sing.
Thank you God
for everything!

She did not bring this home from Sunday school, or Awana, no. She brought this home from her Public School second grade class.
Praise the Lord for teachers still brave enough to thank God.
I'll be sending her a note of thanks myself.:)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sardines For Breakfast

My dad was eating a lot of sardines when he was fighting cancer. Turns out they are one of the healthiest little cheap foods you can eat.
I've been talking to a lot of people who really won't get healthy because they just don't like stuff. I'm not a purist, and as I've said, I gag at bragging about being pure in diet, but if it's in your budget and making your life better why not give it a try. So, I've been trying to narrow down some superfoods that we can afford. I'm tired of life in a bottle or pill so I'm thinking, if I'm going to eat anyway, why not adjust my pallet to the things that I'd supplement to get benefit from anyway. Other wise you end up eating bad (which may cost you a lot to do anyway with processed foods, and pre-packaged, or chemically stabilized etc.) and then spending tons of money on vitamis. I guess you could say I'm looking for a bang for my buck.
This morning I had a weird craving for sardines and crackers for breakfast! What can I say, I walked an hour and was feeling outdorsie. I always keep some sardines for earthquake type emergencies. I pulled some out and then began to wonder if I was killing my diet by having them. I googled it and that's when I started to understand why it was recommended to my dad to eat. Look at this! We women need b-12 a lot, Vitamin D a lot, and Calcium a lot. Look at those levels! 150% of your B-12, 120% of your D, and 24% (some brands have more) for your Calcium! Look on the link at the great fatty acids and omegas too! And it's so cheap! That wedge of lemon looks so good, I think I'll try it next time. BTW, my fears of going off my diet were crazy when I found out that they are helpful in weight loss. Protein in general is needed more in our diets.
Just one tip. Don't look down too much while you are eating.

The problem is getting over how it looks. I have them on about six saltine crackers because the pinch of salt makes them better. I am going to look into other ways to have them. My kids even sometimes like them with crackers but I usually have to salt them a bit.

Other things I'm adding:

-Hummus (I've been doing for a while but now it's the only thing I'll dip my veggies in or put on my sandwich)

-Berries- Frozen Strawberries and Blueberries are on my list for shopping this next paycheck.

-Sweet Potatoes- I'm exploring how to get this into our diet more.

-Cooked Kale Greens- Just keep forgetting they are out there. We've had them before and liked them but I just forget.

-Sweet Red Pepper- We've done it before but I'm upping the amounts because it's a very healthy veggie the kids like.

-Spinach- starting to use it more in salads. My kids actually like it raw in salad and cooked in dips.
-Green Tea- Keeping a warm pot for the afternoon when I don't feel like drinking water because I'm cold but I need fluids. Use the rest for dinner over ice and with lemon.

Any ideas for more super foods on a budget?
NOTE: I realize this should have been over at my Good, Better, Best blog but I thought it was too interesting to get lost in the shuffle. Maybe I'll copy it over there. :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Power Of Perspective Part 1

I've been thinking a lot about this. You know how sometimes concepts gather in the bucket of your brain one little drop at a time? Well, this one has been dripping for months and I'm thinking' it's getting near the top and wanting to be poured out.

Perspective is such a powerful thing. Now, you may think I'm referring to the perspective of looking though the eyes of faith and having joy in circumstances of life and all that, but I'm not, although that is a great topic for any blog. No, I'm actually talking of physical and psychological perspective.
It's random...let me see if I can just get going and well see where I end up together.
Part One:

First I've been pondering on the great perspective of God.
Picture yourself standing in a field. Slowly, you lift up into the sky and see not only the field but the lands about you as they slowly form into lots and properties divided by fences or roads. Further on the borders smudge into patters of green and brown, maybe some lakes appear but it all starts to be sections of color hue instead of defined human dwellings. Even further (perhaps you feel like you're on a mental google earth trip:) and huge bodies of blue appear. The brown and greens gather into smaller masses that become visible as continents. Now weather patterns appear and smudge out major sections of the land. Further back the prominent colors of white and blue appear and the definitions of the earth's sphere grow smaller as you fade away. Now it is beginning to change shape as only the sunlit side of earth remains visible and the rest fades into darkness. Speeding up now you whisk past stars and moons until the earth is just a lit spot in the distance. You can guess the progression until you are staring at the massive Milky Way galaxy. God can go even further back than we can define. So, this is where I'll stop.

The more amazing part is this:

From that outer perspective you know the workings and makings of all matter. You saw it on the day it was born and know the very patterns and common sense (at least in your mind) of it's makings. Beautiful clock work. You know the names of all the stars and celestial gatherings and bodies. Now you focus your attention back to earth. You begin to zero back in.

The view is of course just a rewinded order of the view from when you left. But now, as you zero in, you see all the men of earth. Like grasshoppers covering the earth.
Is. 40:22
"It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in."

Further in you hover over a large city like Los Angeles. The bug analogy works so well as there is so much coming and going. Masses of humanity moving too and fro all wrapped up in their own business. Amid the buildings you see a concrete slab with skittering movement back and forth. It's a group of boys playing basket ball. Your eyes meet one. We come closer and know the exact number of hairs on his head. (Matt 10:30). You hear his thoughts and are aware of the very functions of his brain. Every synaptic moment you oversee. You see inside the core of his being and know the very workings of his inner organs. Every time his heart pumps you hear the sound. You know where he is healthy and where his body weakens. You see when his blood count drops and when outside threats make their way in. You know exactly what he had for lunch and how his body is breaking it down and using it for energy. More than this, you know his every thought and motivation. You have heard every one and taken note of it. In fact you were there when he was born and greater still, when he was conceived. You knew in that moment exactly what characteristics he would have in both personality and appearance. You heard his first thought before anyone knew he was having them, and even he does not know what they were. You know every path his life has taken and every one it will take from that moment on. You know what day his body will stop working. You are just as intimately involved with his death as you were his life beginning. You know all this and as you back out again from the scene, you know the same amazing and intimate detail of each one of those boys there. Even if man were to hear thoughts, he could hardly handle the scattering thoughts of ten men. Yet, you can hear each one and comprehend it, and furthermore you knew what it was going to be before they conceived it. Greater still your perspective becomes as you take in the details of humanity in the whole city. Thoughts, intent (Psalm 94:11) pulsing veins, good and bad health, pregnancy unknown still, cancer unseen, love attracting, anger dividing, deception and good deeds, trusting you and shunning you, believing and blinded, working and resting, eating and starving, joyful and see it all. Not only this, but zooming out, you see all who walk upon the earth with such intimate detail. Each one you created with care and saw in the warmth of the womb. You alone heard the first beat of their heart. (Psalm 139:13) Man could never be so acquainted with himself, let alone another in this way and yet you are so intimate with all of humanity. So great is your love and care for man that you went to your greatest pain to save those who would let you save them.
You who are so acquainted and understanding of these "grasshoppers" along the surface of the earth, are just as acquainted with the working details of the universe. You do not have to move focus from one detail to another as man does and therefore not attend to all at once. No, not only can you know like no other through your perspective, you can know all instantaneously.
YET! Neither are you bound by the boundaries of time as man is! You can see all that is and attend to it in every detail in the same moment you see all that was from the dawn of time as it is known, till the end of it.

Because I am unlike God, my perspective is small. I make the habit of thinking His is too, even without realizing it. Just by existing in the way I do. Even my pondering and writing about
it, as I have, does not even comparable to the reality of the greatness of God. Still, I want to stretch my brain constantly out of it's "grasshopper" mentality to remember that my perspective is modest at it's greatest moment.
More on this later. Part two is my thoughts on the complexity of man's perspectives.
In conclusion:

If we could understand remotely the hand we fall into when we submit to the sovereignty of God's perspective, we would ache for the joy of doing it again, and again.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Forever Young

Mommy: (giving Superkid a hug and kissing him on the head)
"Will you stay little forever for me?"
Superkid: "I don't know if I can."

Good to know he would consider it if it were possible.

Aprehension About Thanksgiving

I am distraught. I just wrote this whole long blog and was in blaring tears by the end of it and blogger lost it. I feel numb now. How do I pick it up and try again? I don't know if I can.

I grew up not celebrating things. Kids thought I was a JW. We had no Christmas tree and I had no birthday cake or presents. My parents in short grew up in families where presents where given but there were MAJOR issues when it came to actually being a loving family. I think these days put a bad taste in their mouth so they went as far the other way as possible with us. This was a mistake too but what do you do when you're a parent trying to do the best you can and still deal with your own baggage. They both had a lot of baggage. I'm absolutely certain I don't know the half of it all.
All I knew is that I could not understand why we didn't celebrate things the way other people got to. I would wake up on Christmas morning and lay in my bed wondering what wonderful family fun everyone was having. My dad would read the story from the bible over breakfast but that was it. Perhaps this is why I've developed an acute radar to legalism and tend to error on the side of having too much fun and sugar. :) I also grew up with no sugar and no white flour so don't get me started on my "finger gagging my mouth" attitude when people become so self-righteous about their purist ways either. Oh... better stay off that rabbit trail. The one birthday I do remember when I was five or six, my candle was on a plate. A plate. Melted to a plate. I blew a candle out on a plate. That was the last one I remember even having a candle. So, forgive me if I don't want to go down those trails again. I'm a passionate believer in moderation and even though we humans will fail at keeping it, I would rather keep striving for it than the alternative.
There was one day out of the whole year that was special. One. It was Thanksgiving. My mom would cook the big meal with it's southern flair (my family is from Indiana and Kentucky with roots in the south). Turkey, dumplings, cornbread stuffing, green beans with a spoon of bacon grease, 7-up salad, sometimes yams, a big green salad, and pumpkin pie. Oh, and that ridiculous can of cranberry sauce so lacking the originality the rest of the meal had. My mom would plop it out like jello onto a plate and then slice along the can impression lines. :*
It was a good day. My dad loved the food, my mom knew he loved the food and put her heart into it. The house would be clean and my dad would light the wood stove. There would be candles and music and warmth.

That day as I always knew it died when dad died. Last year I did all the cooking from scratch. It was my first time since we always went to mom and dad's for Thanksgiving. It was kinda "their holiday" since it was really the only one they ever did. When Rick and I were engaged we had our first Christmas in my bedroom with a little tree. I was not allowed to put it in the living room. Funny, because after Princess came, they started having a tree (they started with a few mini ones with lights around them and then worked their war up to the traditional one with ornaments and everything). I try not to think about it....more baggage. I'm sure I'm giving my kids their own baggage. As long as it's different baggage right?! :* Oh, dear. Anyway... I kept myself busy with cooking so I did not have time to think about the change. And it was at my house so it was very different. Thanksgiving as I had known it no longer existed and I seemed to be focused on a new version of it that was distracting enough to get through. I do remember just wanting to get it over with and hated that I felt that way about it. There was no alternative though. Probably the next morning one of the first things I said was "let's get the Christmas tree out!". I was anxious to move on. Christmas was "ours" and that was normal and comforting. It had not changed because dad had never been into it. This year my mom wants to have Thanksgiving back at her house. All of a sudden I'm panicked about it. I don't know if I want to sit around the table and feel the void. I'm proud of her though, because I know she does not want to even more than me and she is being brave to make a big step. Even that scares me. Will I have the energy to be strong for her? It means ignoring my own feelings to do so and I think I'm more scared of having to do that than giving into them. It takes more energy to push down pain to be there for someone else than it does to give into it and release sadness.

Scott will not be with us this year either. He is only coming home for Christmas. So there will be a double void and I just don't know if it will be too much.

Thanksgiving was dad. Mom was in the kitchen all day and dad was outside with us usually getting out the guns and doing dome target practice. When the grand kids came, it was them following him around the yard saying "Papa?" this and "Papa?" that. Pushing them on the swing out back in the tree, raking leaves, just being with him. He hardly ever stopped for life. This day he seemed to. What do you do when that's gone? I feel like the little girl on "The Grinch" only my heart is singing "where are you thanksgiving, why can't I find you? why have you gone away?"

Change is hard. Sometimes you cannot change something. You can only re-define it. It can never be what it once was, it has to become something new. You don't like the new. You hate it. You wish it would just go away completely but the world around you says it's still there so you try to work it out. You try to make it something new and special for the kids. You wish they could have had it the way you had it. You don't want them to have it this way.

I may dread it again this year. I may be glad with it's over. I may not be able to apologize for feeling that way. I may not be strong enough. I may not know what to do with myself. I may cry. I may try not to cry. I may be awkward the whole time seeing my mom try not to cry. I may make small talk. I may hate the small talk. I may walk outside and only hear the wind and wish I could hear the familiar scuffing of work boots coming up behind me with some new ingenious invention to entertain the kids on this once lovely day.

I know what I will do. I will be thankful for each one I love with me now. I will also pray for hearts akin to mine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My New Favorite Sandwich

Some of you know I'm trying hard to cut certain foods. I've cut out cheese and am trying not to do mayo. So, I have a new favorite Sandwich. It is SOOOOOO good.
It's just thin ham, hummus, lettuce and sliced cucumber. A little bit of comfort in a world of self deprivation!
The hummus serves the creamy that the cheese and mayo would give and the cucumber gives a lot of moisture. I personally had it on TJ's flourless multi-grain bread which is my favorite.
It would be good with a cooked portabella too but I don't buy those usually.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Food at $75 Part 2 and Pinto Beans Cheap and Easy

I'm still roaming' my other bogs. I realized I did not quite complete my talk about groceries at %150 a paycheck, so I have a Part 2. BTW- I really welcome more ideals from you all over there as to how you save money so please comment!
Also, I have been asked by a few friends how I do my beans. The recipe is in the Cupboard.
OH, and you have to check this's so cool!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm Over Here Today

I'm mainly over here ("Keeping the Food budget at $75 a week") today, but also a little here.:)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blogging Makeover Inside and Out

I've been blogging for many years now. I have noticed how complicated blogging can become though lately. I want to take on things but then come to that point where it's just better to simplify. I've also got some new outlooks on blogging after some disgust with myself, some life lessons on my heart from God, and some observations on the trends in blogging.
So, on the outside, the blog just got simple again. I put the blogs that I actually do still go to from time to time, though even my blog reading time has shortened a great deal.
On the inside, I have a new outlook on blogging. I want my freedom back so I'm scrapping the blog themes except for the Saturday one that I'll get to when I have a relevant report. I'm also resolving to tell life how it is from my perspective, things I'm learning, or things we are doing and let go of this great trend of blogging to convince people who come by of anything. I'm a very passionate person for the the things I believe, and when the Lord moves me in a certain direction I take it on fully and tend to want everyone to follow. I'm learning to take some steps back and realize that He is working on me and my family and the rest is not my job. I have had a hard time the last few months sharing what we have been going through in life but trying to keep the delicate balance between sharing and blaring. I think there is a lot of blaring going on in blog land and I'm starting to tire of it myself. It has made me see it in myself and I want to wash up before moving on. I was getting so fed up with it for a few weeks I even considered stopping blogging all together. I was so annoyed with how opinionated people were and then realized that I'm easily perceived as opinionated myself. The only way to avoid the soap box is to share but not preach. So, that's just going to be the new trend here at SFE. Thanks for bearing with me as I try too often to start some revolutions. I will still be passionate about what God is showing me, and what we are up to, and I think I should be, it's our calling, but I'll be use more "me" and less "we". This may be the only regard when it should be "all about me" instead of "all about we". Does that make sense? If I lost you, I'm' sorry.
I'm so tired tonight! I had other thoughts on this regard but I'll have to try again another time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Real Mr. Incredible Was No Einstein

Rick was reading bible stories to the kids last night from an old vintage story book that my dad use to read to me when I was little. I usually would take this time to have a moment to myself in the evening after homeschooling all day. Now I'm sitting with them and just started a crochet project to do during our family time. It's so nice to have had my sanity through part of the day to have the energy for family, I'm loving it.
Anyway, Rick was reading many stories but one of them was of Samson. I guess I really just don't think about the story that much but really, have you ever thought about that story? It really seems like a fable in many ways. I can even swallow the Jonah (ha, ha) story better than this one. Don't get me wrong, I believe it's true for one reason, I BELIEVE the Bible to be 100% truth. Those thing that seem impossible are tiddly winks to what God is capable of. Just for fun though lets review the real Mr. Incredible for a moment.

-He captured 300 foxes:

Really, how DOES one do that? It's not like you have 300 fox cages on hand and holding 300 foxes at a time is well...ha, impossible! Further more, how is it that there were 300 foxes available for him to capture!? As if this were not bizarre enough, consider that he tied their tales together. Can you imagine how you tie 300 fox tails together without them running off? After all that, the poor things had their tails lit on fire to run through the field. Poor little varmints! Why didn't he just SET the field on fire? Who knows.

-He killed 1000 men with a jawbone of a donkey:

Okay, so you've hear it a hundred times if you are a kid who grew up with these stories. Stop though..... a thousand men!? When was the last time you were in a room with a thousand men? How is it that they collectively could not overpower him? I mean, it's not like he even had a gun or a bow and arrow which would make them want to step back and hide. He just was swinging a mean thing. He must have been absolutely incredible to not just stun, not just frighten away, but to KILL all of those thousand men with a large bone in his hand.

-He pulled out the gates of the city and ran 20 miles with them.

Have you ever seen the defending gates of old cities? This is not your garden gate variety. These are heavy and strong. Getting them out would be amazing alone, but he didn't stop there and just throw them on the ground, nope. He lifted them and carried them off. Not only so, he carried them for 20 miles! Think of a place that is 20 miles from you. I don't think I'd want to carry my groceries 20 miles, let alone city gates. This is crazy power!

-He killed a lion with his bare hands. Well, nuff said on that one.

However, Samson was seemingly dense. What God gave him to be strong in, he was amazingly strong in a most superhuman sense. The enemy knew his weakness though, and he used it to full advantage. Of course we know all these things were in the plan of God but still, it's something to take note of and watch out for.

Not only is he dumb enough to fall into the influences of the women on the very side that God is not pleased with, the Philistines, he is as gullible as a child with her.

She tries to get his secret of strength, he lies. She yells "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" and he wakes with a start to defeat them. If this happened once, any smart man would get that this woman was up to betraying him. Nope, not Samson, he let's this happen three times and worse than that...he gives the truth in end! Did he not have an idea that this might happen to him?! Did he not get that "if I do this, then she does that, then I get attacked" was becoming a pattern? Though there is great sadness in what happened to Samson, one feels for a moment that he "duh!", should have got a clue.

Then I think about myself. How often I let the world get me and look back and say "duh!" to myself. How often I get swept into temporal thrills and forget my eternal goals. How quick I exchange the power of the Spirit of God for the tiny things I want here and now. Our pastor has been preaching on the Holy Spirit and I've been excited to understand him for the first time in my life. It has changed the way I pray. In the morning I pray for myself and all of my family one by one and by name:

"Lord, may the Holy Spirit do work in (my, or the other person's name)'s life today. May he have victory today over (my, or other)'s sinful human nature and work in their (or my) life and heart to the glory of God the Father."

Why this prayer?

Because I tend to get wrapped up too quickly in the part I play, or think I play in the work of God, and I forget that the bible tells me that anything I do is in reality the work of the Holy Spirit of God himself at work in me. I also then forget that I need to be instep with that Holy Spirit as he works to move in my life, and obey his promptings on the temporal vs. eternal issues that come up. They can be so small. With Samson, he thought he was just having a conversation with his girlfriend and yet, the course of events that followed were huge.


The power of the Holy Spirit wants to work in my heart, mind and soul for the glory of God. In big amazing challenges, he can overcome. In little seemingly mundane decisions, he wants to use his power and strength to bring about the glory of God too. I need to be alert to stay in step. I am certain that if I did this more, I could avoid some painful humbling events in my life. And since doing this itself is not a work of mine either, I can pray that the Holy Spirit would tune my ear to his voice, for I certainly am born not to hear at all.

Note: Incase you did not notice, I'm not doing blog themes lately. I have not had that much time to blog.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Heavy Hearted Hope

I've been working on this but wrote it the day after the election.

Heavy Hearted Hope
My hope is in you, my position secure,
My outcome foretold and strong to endure,
No wind can dare move what you have in place,
No darkness can hide the light of your face.

Ages may pass and men may lay plans,
But his every move, is your slight of hand,
Power and victory which none can attain,
Are wrapped up completely in your holy name.

So, tremble my heart for a moment today,
As men fall to blindness and further decay,
Find joy in the morning- all is in right,
When You show Your glory, Your power, Your might.

For even the workings of those who rebel,
You turn in submission of all being well-
Though seeing your truth so distasteful to men,
Does bring me to sadness again and again.

The roaring of masses caught up in deciet,
May run a chill from my head to my feet,
I weep for your word so strongly rejected,
A land where your statutes are quickly neglected-

But Your hand is steady; your way is straight,
I'm called to trust you and patiently wait-
For man is but mist and the fading of grass,
But Your Word was first, and it shall be last.

Finding my footing I'm filled with a joy,
It's power I'm certain I need to employ,
Growing my passion to blaze brighter still,
As shadow around is pressing it's will.

May I not shame you by covering my light,
But let it be boldened and evermore bright-
Heavy with purpose instead of with fear,
A longing to seek you and draw ever near.

Kingdoms and men will still fall and rise,
You hold them up and cause their demise-
Doing my part, I'll stand for your name,
Though here and now it may bring me shame-

Eternity waits and it's victory I feel,
It fills me with triumph this cannot steal-
You who hold all will keep ever steady,
This servant, this witness whose standing here....ready.

Alicia November 5th, 2008
(please do not copy or forward)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Such A Time For Spilling Salt

I'm coming by to check in a little and then check back out. Unfortunately I don't have time lately to even share lots of fun stuff and some thoughts about this week.

I've been all over the board emotionally this week. Pensive would be the big one about my country. Totally joyful in trusting God and excited that I'm SURE He is stirring us up to "such a time as this". I can almost feel the wind begin to blow harder. I'm excited about that as the wind started blowing in my own life over two years ago and the stirring of the Holy Spirit in my soul has changed me forever. I look forward to further stirring, further banishing of fear, and further passion to be salt in a culture that is in decay. I look forward to seeing this happen to many move believers as their lives are challenged. I look forward to seeing us not hide and wait for the coming of the Lord, but be engaged AMONG the pagans as it says in Peter. I've been encouraged reading first and second Peter. 2 Peter 2 is telling of the times. I was listening to Focus on The Family the day before election day as I painted the girls room. It was sobering and excellent. Here is the link. It was called "For Such a Time As This".

I've been thinking about the fact that world is building up to truly be hostile toward followers of Christ. Even here in our safe little America. A man has brought many people together of all races, age, income and everyone is excited about that and gathering in mobs to cheer it. There is only one group of people not welcome there in that great mass of "all accepting" individuals and that is us, those who believe the Word of God tells us right from wrong. Those of us who still cringe in our hearts to know this man supports an aborted infant should lay and die after surviving the failed attempt of the abortion process. We live in a world where we call things other than what they are in order to become more comfortable with them. Those who raise their heads and say "it's actually this" will be the unwelcome ones. I fear that that unwelcome spirit will be the birth place for an end time hostility toward Christ followers. I wonder what world my children will be in. I keep thinking "come quickly Lord Jesus" and then I read in 2 Peter that his wait is his own amazing patience that more should come to the truth and his love before he slams his fist down and says "that's it! Enough!". If he can be patient for those he still aches to draw to himself, then I can too and I will get out there to aid Him in reaching them. I have never been more confirmed that I AM to be in the Public School. I hope more Christians return to that mission field. I am excited to walk along this challenging path with my children as be face the culture, engage in it, and discern our way through it with the powerful Word of God. I have been thinking that much of this turn in our culture is a result of our lack, my lack, of passion to put salt in the rot of society. We have been guilty of keeping the salt in the shaker and the light under baskets. I have been guilty. No mater what arena God has us in, we need to bee reaching out and speaking truth like we have nothing to loose and all to gain. Each of us has this little sphere around us, this perimeter of sorts that we ARE capable of obeying God by shining and salting. Are we? I think what is happening in our culture is a sign that we are not. I think it is a sign that Christians are more crippled by fear than anything else, and more faithful in formulas than the power of God. I believe the Holy Spirit is preparing to awaken our souls in perhaps a painful stripping away our false securities. That is when we see what we really hope in, where we are really headed, and what we are really supposed to be doing here. I say bring it on, we need it. I need it. If any verse has become mine from the Lord in the last year it is this: "For He has not given us a spirit of fear but of POWER, LOVE and a SOUND MIND." I have always had that memorized since childhood to where it began to loose meaning. I have began to understand what it really means and how it really changes my life. The opposite of these qualities of the spirit are FEAR, SELFISHNESS (all forms of self seeking including hiding in comfort zones), AND FRANTIC/ANXIOUS THINKING (worry, distrust of sovereignty , twisted belief of truth etc.).

On my mind also has been a lesson from the Lord to be careful to mind my own business unless I am sharing Him (as apposed to my opinion more so:). I am trying to turn this weeks emotions of wanting to change the world and what has happened to it, to focusing on what I need to do in my own family to just take care of my own. I have been both shocked, and disillusioned for moments at the fact that some christian people I know of, or grew up with, voted for a man who is so blatantly against the very teaching of the Word of God (let alone a bad political choice). That has really slowed down my step a few times. The Lord has reminded me to carry on with the joy and peace of my own walk with Him, and my own family, my husband , my children. I guess it's been a reminder that all the rest (and even all of my own stuff) is in God's hands and not mine.

I have pondered the life span of this blog lately. What kind of world will it be to blog in? Where there be future concerns for blaring my beliefs across cyberspace? Will it someday put my family in harms way? Does anybody really want to hear it all anyway? I guess I've been tempted to disillusionment on that level as well. I think being too busy to blog has added to it. I think I'm in a burn out mode on the blog for many different reasons.

On the home front we gave my dad's old big oak desk to some friends. That was hard emotionally but good to size down. I was glad it went to my friend so I can visit it now and then. I have so many memories of him sitting at it doing bills. It's a moose though and we are trying to simplify. That along with working on the girls room has cause some moving of furniture and all kinds of stuff is everywhere. AH! So, that is the reason I'm coming and going again. This whole next week will be full of putting things right again. The kids also have four days off! So, that will be fun.

Today Lilo got an amazing award. I'll have pics later. She was chosen as the student of the quarter by her teacher. I made sure to keep it a surprise and since I was in her class today anyway, she did not wonder why I was there. I have a pic to share later. I'm so proud of her. She has been doing so well. They all have. I had my parent teacher meetings this week and all three kids are at the top of their class. Princess is making all A+'s! She does not know it yet, but her teacher told me today that SHE has been chosen the student of the quarter for her class and will be getting her award next Friday. So, I guess she can't read my blog this week:). Amazingly too, Lilo's reading level has jumped from end of second grade to fifth grade level! Oh, my goodness. All that girl needed was a confidence boost and some time in her own element out of the shadow of her sister and she has taken off. Superkid is writing small sentences and reading readers now. When I met with Princess teacher she told me how helpful and attentive Princess is and that it's kids like her that make her want to come in and teach the next day. That was a blessing from the Lord. I give Him the glory that hey are doing so well and blessing those around them. I was in second grade all day today except with lunch with Princess (I'm excited she WANTS to have lunch with me still) and it was, as always, fun to talk to the kids, help grade their papers and help them with ones they got wrong, and rip out pages so the teacher can have them ready to go later. I have so much joy is serving and connecting with the teachers and kids. Every time I'm there I'm impressed with how precious all those children are to the Lord and how much he wants to reach them. Tomorrow we go to a birthday party of a boy in Lilo's class. I don't know this family or the other mom's and families who will be there but this is what I'm talking about. This is something God is bringing into my perimeter, and I'm starting to keep my opportunity eyes open. I am thankful that I get the chance to be among more unsaved who need him, who need hope. The connection of school becomes a catalyst for other opportunities to turn that shaker upside down and start sprinkling the salt. It's done one opportunity at at time, and one person at a time, and I'm learning more and more that building the relationships is the most important because they are the foundation for ministry. Just like missionaries live for years and years AMONG the people to build those foundations with them a they slowly share the good news. It shows them you are not just selling a bill of goods, or trying to convince them of something you think is right, or wanting to check them off your door to door list. You are invested, you are engaged with a concern for their soul and the life they live here and now. How many there are who are AMONG the people of other countries, how few their are who are AMONG the lost of our own culture and times.

What are we afraid of?

I looked at those people cheering on Chicago's "front lawn" and I felt we had abandoned them to their deceptions. We have gone and built our homes away, put up our walls, and hoped for protection from the world until Christ comes. We hope to stay safe and keep safe what is "ours". We have failed do surrender and sacrifice with our faith in God for our "own" (which is not really our own, but His) and we have left them to themselves. I wonder if God is frustrated with us. What started out as a righteous movement to bring our children up right, has become a wall between us and those we are called to reach. If we are called to be home only, we should have a passion to bring them in. But I wonder if many of us are missing a calling to go out. I wonder if God may even use legislation in the future to get Christians back into the trenches of the culture they are so afraid of. The culture they are born in and called to engage. I hope it does not come to that but I wonder if God will use it since we are not going out on our own. I wonder if he will allow many challenges to us to force us to engage the culture. I wonder if he is saddened by our apathy for the decay and deception around us. Do we not realize that without the showing of light, they will not even know they are in utter darkness? Who will show them? Will we leave them to themselves, their road to hell, while we walk our padded road to heaven?

Will we go out to save those of the world and abandon our own countrymen?
So we think we go out unarmed, and our children too? Do we not belive in the armor of God? Do we think it's weak? Do we think our methods stronger?

Can we not raise our own children in truth AND reach out to the many who need Christ as well. Think about it. If we guard our won, and raise them to guard their own, as they guard their many lost will be reached? Are we to breed a kingdom for God, or go out to the ends of the earth and our very streets for those who are to be in the kingdom of God? If we teach them to lead, as we lead however, how many more will be reached?
These are just my thoughts. They are certainly my own ramblings. They are my concerns and it is becuase of the level of this stirring passion within me, and my humbling realization that God works in and through all in different ways, that I have become focused on MY mission. There is work to do. I hope to work. There is a harvest to be gleaned, I hope to glean. I hope to work and glean along side my children and to pray they are impassioned with the mission as well.
It is not my job to convince but to obey my God and his calling for me, and to encouraged those around me to do what his word says and "go" in the way they are called. I do hope to share my heart here.

This quote by Amy at "Amy Writes" was phenomenal to me:

"We, as a Church, seem to have a "Keep God in Schools," but "Keep Christian Kids Out of them," mentality."

The same could be said about the culture in general. We are in this culture, called to THIS time, and not another.



NO WAY! I just posted this link on my facebook status and this was the set of code words (usually random) given me to allow my link to be put up : "vigilant revival".
No, way...too weird....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Taking The Week Off

There is a lot going on this week. My kids have early days and then four days off. We have the election stuff, and parent teacher conferences. On top of this I will be painting the girls room. I'm really excited to share when it's put together. I think some of you who were scared of my ideas will be relieved. :)
I have fun pictures from Halloween too but will be back next weekend to share those.

I hope you all will go out and be as American as you can!

May God Bless these United States, and may He stir our hearts toward Him.