Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Grocery Shopping Method

Planning my family's meals for the week is one way I've found way to cut down on stress throughout the week.  It also ends up saving us money, because we're not so tempted to eat out because we don't have something planned for dinner.  

If you use my method, you may need to tweak it a little, as we have two little ones...and only one of them occasionally joins my husband and I for dinner.  We don't have a meal lined up for every night of the week.  Usually we have leftovers, and I don't cook on a couple of nights during the week.  Those nights are Sunday and Wednesday because of church.  Every once in a while, I will cook something before church so that it's ready to serve when we get home.  

Here's what I do:  I created a document in an Excel type program (you could really use any program, it's just easier for me, as all the columns and rows are already there).  You could even just take a sheet of notebook paper and fold it in half lengthwise.  On one side, I list the days of the week, and the meal for that night.  Then, as I'm doing that, I think of what ingredients I will need for that meal, and then type them on the other side of the sheet.  I find it's much easier to list the items I will need by the store, just to get the shopping done more quickly.  I actually used to just make my list in a notebook, but found it was easier to divide up the items by store on the computer.  Most stores have their weekly ad available online, so you can plan your meals according to what's on sale that week.  And you don't have to fumble with the paper ad.  (Plus you don't have to save it when it comes in the mail...and it won't pile up on the counter because you forget to throw it away).  

Not pictured are the items needed from the other store(s).  Usually, I try to limit my shopping to one other store, usually it's mostly produce and meat that I get elsewhere.  You can see, there's also space on the list to jot down the price of the item if you need to keep track.  Aside from church nights, we also usually have a date night- so we usually eat out for that! ;-)

Then after the ingredients for the meals are accounted for, I list the other groceries or household items we might need for the week.  I find that a weekly shopping trip works best for us, that way we always have fresh produce in the house, plus we have limited space available in our kitchen to store our groceries, so we don't run out of space if we try to stock up for two weeks or more.

Friday, August 20, 2010

God's Garden

I came across this Scripture this morning and wanted to share: 

"For we are fellow workmen (joint promoters, laborers together) with and for God; you are God's garden and vineyard and field under cultivation, [you are] God's building." 1 Corinthians 3:9, (Amplified)
What a lovely picture of what God is doing in each one of us! The word "cultivation" really stands out to me.  Really, it's an everyday process; God is truly cultivating each of us- you know, pulling the weeds and such; but look at the following definitions for the word cultivate- it really opens up what God's intention is toward His children:

1. to prepare and work on (land) in order to raise crops; till.
2. to use a cultivator on.
3. to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.
4. to produce by culture: to cultivate a strain of bacteria.
5. to develop or improve by education or training; train; refine: to cultivate a singing voice.
6. to promote the growth or development of (an art, science, etc.); foster.
7. to devote oneself to (an art, science, etc.).
8. to seek to promote or foster (friendship, love, etc.).
9. to seek the acquaintance or friendship of (a person).

I'm especially talking about definitions 1, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9. (Obviously! LOL!) But what care, and love and attention He gives to us! I'm just marveling at His devotion and His desire to see us grow up and be the best we can be, though sometimes it may not always be an easy process for us (ok, usually it isn't)- but the resulting beauty and benefit to us, and to His Kingdom...I'm just amazed.

Are you letting Him cultivate YOU?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Renewing Our Minds

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2

I believe this Scripture is so important to us as Christians. Almost on a daily basis, I have to examine my thoughts and feelings and compare them to the Word of God. We are not to be conformed to the world, to our culture, to our fleshly nature. Sometimes, things happen in life and we feel a certain way. Lots of other people feel that way too. We feel right. We can call friend after friend, and probably most would agree with us. But the Word of God still stands. The Bible tells us that God's ways are higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

I'm thinking of this in light of one of my dear friends' approach to the tragic loss of her adult son. I heard about his death a couple of days ago, and I'm still just not understanding. I've heard people say things like "he's in a better place now"- and I agree; I know that ultimately that is the case. The Bible says  
"For we walk by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:7-9).  

We are not to "mourn" his loss, but to rejoice that he is with God. 
I was greatly encouraged today when I spoke with my friend briefly regarding some of the arrangements for his memorial. She sounded upbeat, positive- strong. The joy of the Lord truly is her strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) I was glad to hear that, but seriously it took a mental adjustment for me. Granted, she's a strong "rock" of a woman who has been walking with the Lord for longer than I've been walking period, but still. What an example of truly walking by faith and not by sight  She's apparently not giving any place to the enemy to steal her strength or her joy. It's truly inspiring to really see someone's response almost immediately line up with the Word of God when it really matters most.  

So, I ask...what areas of your life need some mind renewal? 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Quietly Supportive = Very Helpful!

We all know the Word says that wives are to be a helper to their husbands. But what does that look like in action? We can serve our husbands by doing chores around the house, helping him promote his business, cooking great meals. But sometimes it's the things that we don't do that can help him in ways we never imagined. 

Think about the last time you and your family were in a tough spot; whether it was financial, problems with the in-laws, a conflict with your husband's job- whatever. Examine your attitude. Were you quietly confident in your husband to work it out in his own way; or did you get irritated and insist that he take your suggestion? 

I know I've been there! But guess what? There is so much more peace when I just zip my lips and let him work it out- whatever "it" may be. He, as a man, appreciates it so much more when I just flow with him and trust his ability. It's an easy way to show respect and submission (yes, that!) that speaks volumes of your love for your husband.  

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Four Years Ago Today...

...Our "Happy Christian Home" came into existence!  My husband and I are celebrating four great years together! 

These past four years have definitely not been boring!  In that short time, we've been blessed with two (count 'em, two) beautiful children, we've both gone through major transitions in jobs, finances and more.  In all that time, even though we've had some challenging moments, God's hand has been upon us,  and we are so thankful for how He has shown Himself faithful time after time.

I am grateful to have His Word as a light to show us the way, as well as our pastors and some very good friends to inspire us with their longevity and wisdom.  I'm glad I have Holy Spirit to hold my hand, and gently correct me during those times I am wrong- and to tell me to be quiet when silence is in order (I'm not always perfect in this area, but I'm working on it!).  It's taken me the better part of four years to learn to just "let it go" sometimes, so, hopefully over the next four years, I'll get a little better at it!

At any rate...Happy Anniversary to us!  God has been so good, and He has truly shown us to "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).  

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cease Recalling Disappointments

Sometime last week during my Bible study time, I came across the following Scripture:

"Walk about Zion, and go round about her, number her towers (her lofty and noble deeds of past days), Consider well her ramparts, go through her palaces and citadels, that you may tell the next generation [and cease recalling disappointments]." (Psalm 48:12-13, Amplified)

That last phrase "cease recalling disappointments" just about hit me right between my eyes, so I immediately copied it down across the top of my Bible reading log sheet. 

What a powerful reminder to look ahead, and when we do look back, to remember the good things.  I think as humans, we too easily remember the negative; we gravitate to it.  

The main reason I believe that spoke so loudly to me, is that oftentimes in my prayer time, I'm complaining about marital problems. (Can you relate?) I pretty strongly believe in keeping my frustrations between me, my husband, God and our pastor (in marital counseling), so unfortunately (or fortunately- depending on how you look at it!), God gets most of it! But the problem is that I'm spending so much time meditating on the latest thing I feel my husband did wrong. You know, how he didn't spend enough time with us this week, he forgot to take out the trash...stupid stuff.  But God is telling me "Stop that! Look around! Think of the fun things you did together on your last date...think of the financial triumphs that have happened this year!"  Something else. Anything else- just "cease recalling disappointments".  

So, that is my goal from now on. Sure, stuff will probably come up that needs to be dealt with in prayer...but I'm not going to stay there. I'm going to give it over to God, and then move on. Remember something great.   
What happy thought can you think about your marriage today?