Friday, February 26, 2010

Hospitality Tips...

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:10-12
Over where I'm MomE & Loving It, I mentioned that we are having company tonight. I so enjoy practicing hospitality. I learned many things, at a young age, from my mother. Growing up as a Pastor's daughter, our home was always full of visiting missionaries, family and church family. My mother is a great planner and before I learned to cook it was my job to set the table. She trusted me with her gorgeous stem wear (I get that when you croak, right Mom?SMILE)...and I still find delight in setting the table. Today the Sweet Boobahs helped me set the table, talk about who was coming, make place cards, and welcome cards.
There are several things that I do when planning for company that ease any stress. I clean early in the week. Okay, yes...I'm very regimented and do things on specific days. Grocery on Monday, bathrooms on Tuesday, laundry on Wednesday, floors on Thursday, cook on Friday...company is always on Friday or Saturday. See!? Seriously, it really does set me up to not have a TON to do all on one day.

Establishing the menu early (always done while making the grocery list) allows me to plan and prepare as much ahead as possible. Tonight we are having a Greek Feast! Gyros, Greek Potatoes, Roasted Garlic Tsatziki , lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh pitas, and Marvelous Mocha dessert! The only thing that I'll have to cook when/right before they arrive is the meat for the gyros. The Greek Potatoes go in an hour or 2 ahead...which is when I'll prep the meat. The Tsatziki, veggies, and desserts are all done and waiting.

My grandma (and Mom) maintain that a normally neat house is a good house for guests. If it looks squeaky clean (every thing exactly in place) people feel ill at ease. For me, that isn't a problem...my two Sweet Boobahs create a very "lived in" atmosphere. Cleaning earlier in the week allows me to not feel harried when company arrives too. I do have the kids TIDY their toys, etc about a half an hour before...but we aren't mopping, or vacuuming as people pull into the drive. I have my kids tidy for DadE each night anyway...poor guy doesn't want to walk into a nightmare of the toy jungle kingdom.

Aprons are a good thing...just remember to take it off. I worry it makes people think you're fishing for a cooking compliment if you leave them on after the meal has started. I have an old BRIGHT purple one...that belonged to my great grandmother. It NEVER matches what I wear...but I still love it....and so do my ungreased clothes.
I cannot find the recipe to Marvelous Mocha Pudding Dessert...so here's kudos to whoever did create this recipe...and I'll tell you really quick.

Ingredients:
1 chocolate pudding mix (serves 4)
1 1/2 c. milk
1 cool whip
12-14 oreos crushed
4-5 whole oreos
1/2 c. strong coffee (ALL coffee I make is strong)

Mix pudding mix with 1 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. coffee. Poor into four pretty glasses...leaving about 1/2 c. in the container leftover. Fold cool whip (all of it) into remaining pudding mixture. Put about 1/3 c. crushed oreos into each cup. Put cool whip mixture on top to fill cup. Refridgerate. Top with whole oreo when serving.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WFW: Ring, ring....

Prayer is so precious to me. Lately, the only way for me to have truly ALONE prayer time has been to get up at 5 and trudge downstairs before anyone is up. Of course, getting up that early meant changing prayer methods....cuz just closing my eyes would have resulted in ZZZZZ. I've prayer journal-ed from time to time...and it is really a great method for me. I find that I'm more deliberate with my wording and can't rush faster then my pen. My mind doesn't wander off (as much) either. My Dad suggested this method to me...and I think he writes in cursive to slow himself down. For me that would be reversed...I print to slow myself down.

I like thinking of my morning prayer time as an appointment...for a phone conversation with God. I loved this picture....and the verse is a great reminder that my God DOES hear me...and is sooo so worthy of my praise.

To join WFW...head over where Susan is Forever His!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Powerful WORD...

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
"The grinding power of the plain words of the Gospel story is like the power of millstones; and those who can read them simply enough will feel as if rocks had been rolled upon them."
G.K. Chesterton




Friday, February 19, 2010

Caffeinated Randomness: Introspective Winter Blues...

I've been doing a lot of random thinking lately. I'm a SAHM...*okay...pause*....quickly on my first random note.... that is a term I detest...I'm a domestic engineer, full time Mom, daugher, friend, wife, lover....SAHM...It makes me cringe...DO NOT refer to me as a stay at home Mom...cuz I'm much much more...and I might go freaking nuts on ya!

Okay, on we go...
being with toddlers A LOT makes me "think in cartoons"...for example... I've noticed that I've always been sort of a Rabbit....
...ya know...very welcoming, a teeny bit know it all, friendly to a fault...
but lately...maybe cuz WINTER is sooooo loooonnnnngggg this year....I'm turning into a bit of an EEYORE....
...gloomy. Even on sunny days. Whatever can go wrong, probably will.... It was not a happy realization. "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life." Phil. 2:14-16

So, then I realize that sometimes you can just spend too much time dwelling on things. Oh...how do I feel about this...oh, I feel down about that...
AND...it's LENT...so, I should be focusing on CHRIST!
So, now we're to the end of my CR...very very random but basically...no matter how I'm feeling or not feeling...if I'm going to introspect it better be Christ focused and not me focused!

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lenten Rant...

I was just thinking that my practice of Lent is going to be very different from what some people think of...okay, most people.

I'm not giving up anything for starters. And...while I'm there...I'm getting a little frustrated reading about people giving up things and calling it fasting. Fasting is giving up food...or sustenance. What these people are actually doing is called abstaining.

I'm not thinking that temporary behavior modification is necessarily the direction I want to go...with giving things up. I'm more interested in personal spiritual reform...changing something...maybe actually doing what I should do even if it causes me discomfort because it's better for me in the long run.

Also, one of the points I was trying to make yesterday was that the practice of these important things...should go beyond the traditional celebratory time. Meditating on Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection should go beyond the 40 days of Lent.

I'd also like to point out that NOTHING you could give up for 40 days (or forever) would even come close to Jesus' SACRIFICE for our SINS! That's where some of my Catholic friends kind of irk me. You're giving up Ranch Doritos, huh? Seriously?? You love
Ranch Doritos so much that you consider it a sacrifice, that you'll need to rely on God to get you through for the next 40 days? Maybe that's why I've not even investigated Lent before. So many people are just making it a mockery and missing the whole point anyway.

I guess it kind of comes down to two things...that you should really be checking all the time...

HONESTY--God, how are things between us?

BALANCE--not attempting to work my way to heaven, and not copping out on doing the good works He's prepared ahead of time for me to do. It's like my anniversary...a time where I get to focus my attentions, devotion, reflect on our past and future, and communicate my feelings to my Loverbrains. God created a relationship with Him...and after man screwed it all up...he restored it through the death of His son, Jesus...


"Lent should be a period of preparation that includes reflection and penance." Okay, I just wrote that and now I'm thinking...the time restriction is a problem. I love some of what I've read about people feeling tempted to eat/do what they'd given up for Lent so use those times to pick up their Bible, read it and pray. Um...hmmmm? Shouldn't I always be putting God's Word first...above anything else....EVERYDAY? I mean, after Lent when you can eat Doritos and drink Diet Coke...and read Fiction...whatever...afterwards...will you still be reading God's Word and praying?

Don't justify giving up something because you need to draw you closer to God because said item X was between you and God. If there is something between you and God...get it right...REPENT...and give it up for EVER...not for ty days!


Sorry for the rant...but I felt I needed to clarify some stuffs...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Word FILLED Wednesday: Lent...

As many know, our family has enjoyed taking the entire month of December to celebrate Advent and teach our children (& remind ourselves) about Jesus' birth...and why He is THE special gift to us.

So, we were thinking that we would like to use the celebration of Lent to teach our children about Jesus' sacrifice for our sins. We want to take an entire month to reflect...

...because, as the verse above points out...without His raising from the dead...what is our faith but vain preachings anyway?

I know many consider this un-protestant of us. But I love the words of Samuel Johnson,
“The Church does not superstitiously observe days, merely as days, but as memorials of important facts. Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another; but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birth of our Saviour, because there is danger that what may be done on any day, will be neglected.” I am trying to take every opportunity to instill in my children the great truths of Christ...his coming, his horrible death for our sins, and his wonderful resurrection from the dead...as he conquered death; What HOPE it brings! I want to hear my Savior say, "Well done." I don't want to neglect teaching anything.

Many consider Easter (ahem...Resurrection Sunday) as the cornerstone of the Christian faith...but most only spend one day (a long day...starting with a sunrise service) celebrating it. I encourage you to try Lent with us this year. I hope you will be blessed. Consider it a new teachable moment.

Janna at Mustard Seeds has been kind enough to share ideas and literature with me...I hope it benefits you too. We will be using Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter.

If you'd like to join in WFW today...head over to Critty Joy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Your Hands...



I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands


Your Hands...JJ Heller

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Caffeinated Randomness: Save the Spotted Owl!

I think, Winter might last FOREVER! No, I'm just kidding...nobody go and hit the panic button. We've had a series of snow storms and very cold temps...all meaning that I'm feeling a bit frazzled and weary...
Loverbrain's been out of town on business for a few days...and that really pushes the limits of my endurance...I'm ashamed to say I did have a bit of a "grouchfest" at him when I called to have the kids say goodnight to find he was out having a nice dinner. (I had leftovers.)

It's all okay now. After all, I'm here doing what I want to do...spending my days FULL of things to do and little warm bodies to love and teach... I'm so blessed. My Loverbrain has a great job...and gets to go out to dinner 'company paid'...he's safe and will hopefully be home late tonight. I'm so blessed.
The random thread is thin here, I know...but try to follow me. How many times do you find yourself grouching over your blessings? Yikes...it's startling to me. This morning, after a good long TALK with God (you know the one's where He does most of the talking), and several cups of very CAFFEINATED coffee...I'm trying to give thanks in everything. I purposed to be kind and loving to my cooped up babies today. I followed them around and made my spotted owl. Isn't he cute? I think I'll call him Archibald...it sounds very proper...as any wise owl would be, of course. Nothing like re-purposing a sock, while playing with toddlers...with a joyful heart...to make the sun shine again.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday: Ignorance...

I've had this in the back of my Bible for years...can't remember where I heard or picked it up. It is very thought provoking though...and I wanted to share it with you...

How Ignorance Manifests Itself:

1. God is not as right as He says He is.
2. Man is not as bad as God says he is.
3. Sin is not as bad as God says it is.
4. Scripture is not as authoritative as God says it is.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WFW: Light Prayer Hook

I few years ago my Loverbrains and I heard about prayer hooks. You know, something to hang your prayers on...a reminder. We use on ramps and off ramps to hang our prayers for travelling mercies and blessed visits. We use the street where our church is located to hang our prayers for that day's services, our pastor, the teachers. I use my husband's socks (the thing I dread most to fold) as a hook to stick up my prayers for him and his day. I love this idea...and it really really helps me.

So, I also have scripture hooks. I'll bet you can guess what they are...yup, places or things that help me remember scriptures. When I replace light bulbs...I think of John 8:12 (or 9:5 or 1:9). I'm a bit of nerd about this too. I wear Sweet Honesty perfume...cuz it reminds me of...
"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Eph. 4:15 I find I do it with names too...like Joy...I think of Nehemiah 8..."the joy of the Lord is my strength." Yes, I think of it to the tune of children's song. Songs can be great scripture hooks!

I could go on and on...but if you've never tried out prayer or scripture hooks...I'd encourage you to give it a go...We've been so blessed...

If you'd like to join WFW...go to Lori's where it's about all you have to give.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Becoming Titus 2...with reverence...

I've followed eLisa at Extravagent Grace for a while now. I decided to join her this month. Today's topic in the Becoming Titus 2 series is, "What does is mean to be reverent?"

"Finding out what this means is critical to understanding how we, as Christian women purposed to apply the principles of Scripture, ought to live in such a way that our example and behavior draws others to Christ. When God offers instruction in the Word, it is always meant for our benefit, but also for His Kingdom purposes." ~eLisa


I was really struck by her definition of reverence.
[reverent means] to conduct oneself in a manner appropriate for one who lives in the realm of the divine, walking in the presence of God.
"

Generally, when I think of reverence, I think mostly about my relationship with my husband and children. I tend to make reverence synonymous with respect...and they are definitely related. However, I've been challenged recently to watch my level of reverence to God within groups of women. Some Biblical principles are hard to apply. Most (I'd hope all) Christian women would say that they fully support the principles found in Matthew 18...and the various Scriptures against Gossip...however, we don't always help our sisters obey these verses. It shows a lack of reverence...because we aren't acting as we would if we were walking in the presence of God.

In my mind there are two reasons that we listen to gossip. One, we want to be "in the know." Knowledge is power...or so we think. My experience shows that you'll find that you are better off NOT knowing things...and addressing sin as sin. The second reason we listen is because we are afraid to point to Christ. We worry about how someone will respond to correction. We worry so much about them...that we forget to conduct ourselves reverently and show them to Christ.

I'm not condoning "mean spirited attacks" here. Speak the truth in love...but SPEAK THE TRUTH!! You don't even have to take the pressure on yourself. Say, "The Bible says...if you are having a problem with someone you should really go and talk to them about it." Please don't think that I'm writing this cuz I've got it down perfectly. I've been painfully corrected in this area lately...and have attempted to start to practice what I preach. Truthfully, it had me really down. I was wanting to control the response of others to being corrected...which isn't my job. I was feeling like Jesus' had better results...but if you think about it...He was crucified.

I often say that I want to "be a woman after God's own heart, " but that means acting in reverence to God even when it's unpopular or painful. I pray for my family each day...and when I pray for my daughter I think of what kind of woman I want her to be...this shapes how I pray for God's working in my own life. I want to be a Godly woman...I am my daughter's Bible study. I think within Titus 2 I cop out and say that because I am a younger woman I don't have to lead in these areas of obedience. That's a lie...I am to OBEY.

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Duet 6: 5-7



Extravagant Grace

Monday, February 8, 2010

Not I, but Christ...


Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted;
Not I, but Christ, be seen be known, be heard;
Not I, but Christ, in every look and action,
Not I, but Christ, in every thought and word.

Not I, but Christ, to gently soothe in sorrow,
Not I, but Christ, to wipe the falling tear;
Not I, but Christ, to lift the weary burden,
Not I, but Christ, to hush away all fear.

Christ, only Christ! no idle words e’er falling,
Christ, only Christ; no needless bustling sound;
Christ, only Christ; no self important bearing;
Christ, only Christ; no trace of “I” be found.

Not I, but Christ, my every need supplying,
Not I, but Christ, my strength and health to be;
Not I, but Christ, for body, soul, and spirit,
Christ, only Christ, here and eternally.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Caffeinated Randomness: Date Deprived Barometer...that's me!

Grab a good cup of coffee...this might take a bit to figure out...real randomness is approaching!

It is majorly snowing right now. No biggie...I like it when it snows...provided I have NO PLANS. See...now it's a BIGGIE...I had a wonderful day planned for myself tomorrow. I have a "just girlie me" something in the morning...with Loverbrain child care provided.

We then have a much needed date night scheduled. I've really really REALLY been looking forward to it. He's been working a lot and when he is home I try to make sure the kids get to see him as much as possible. AND IT WAS GONNA BE MY TURN...just me!

So, pray ya'll...I mean come on...right now...*pause and pray that your wacky little friend will get her date night*! I'd do the same for you...in fact...I'll pray that EVERYONE out there gets some personal one on one time...or "just girlie me" time...this weekend.

Oh, and you're wondering about the whole "I'm a barometer" thing. Well, I suppose this comes with age...although I've only heard of REALLY old people doing this...but I can tell when a major change in weather is approaching. Yeah, I'm like a walking barometer. I get this KILLER HEADACHE...and when the weather front rolls in my headache lifts...and then...my fingers and toes ache! Beginners arthritis, baby...break out the...um, what do you take for arthritis? I don't do Ibuprofen it hurts my tummy. Tylenol, I guess! HA! So....anyhew...

Happy weekend to you...I'm off to make my Friday night pizza dough...ya know...so it can be good and puffy for patting out the pizzas with the little sweet boobahs in a few hours. Sigh...weekends and Fridays fly by!


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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WFW: Blessing from Obedience!

Yes, this WFW verse seems to be a bit of a fragment...it follows Jesus washing the disciples feet...

"
You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him."

"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

I guess this week it's really hit me that the true test of a servant attitude is how you respond when you are treated like one. I struggle with martyrdom...big time. I DO the servant tasks but my attitude is often way off. My motives are all about me, me, ME...

Recently, a book I've been reading on respecting your husband. I'd like to throw it's convicting hide against the wall most days! Anyhew...it said to do uncommon acts of service for your husband. I'm thinking no biggie there. The kicker was...you weren't allowed to say anything about doing those things. You couldn't point them out...even if he didn't notice or EVER say anything about them. Why? Because the point was having a truly servant's heart...where it was done expecting nothing in return. Nothing. It's been really hard...but here's where my verse comes in again...

"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

I have received amazing blessing and a heart changing from doing these small things...for the right reason. Knowing that I will not be acknowledged...allows me freedom from the whole martyrdom drama...and God opens my eyes to see true needs and meet them. I truly see my husband's exhaustion and desire to spend more time with us. I truly see my children as blessings and not burdens. Most of the time...

SO...

Where are you called to serve unrecognized?

Where you do serve...do you need to confess a wrong attitude?

It is the only way to receive true joy! There is blessing in obedience.

"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

To join WFW today...simply go over to PennyRaine...here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tube Tuesday: Boxes...



This brought me back to the good ole days of christian camp skits. It's a little long...sorry...but worth it if you have time.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Meditation...

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

"How great are your works, O LORD, how profound your thoughts!" Psalm 92:5

How unsearchable his judgments,

and his paths beyond tracing out!
"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?" Job 11:7

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?

Or who has been his counselor?”

"Who has understood the mindof the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding?" Isaiah 40:13-14


“Who has ever given to God,

that God should repay him?”

"yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." 1 Cor. 8:6

"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." Col. 1:16

For from him and through him and to him are all things.

To him be the glory forever! Amen.

"to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen." Rom. 16:27

Text is Romans 11:33-36...cross referenced for meditation and study!