Friday, September 7, 2012

The Sower

Last week, I dove back into God's Word for the first time in a while. With babies, homeschooling, chores and all the other things that go along with being a stay at home mom of three children five and under, it's really easy to "justify" not spending time in the Word.

I fought for this time of reconnecting with God through the inspired Words that so many people struggled over centuries to put into print (for me! And you!) It has been a battle since I have not yet mastered the art of waking up long before everyone in my house. (Note to self: make this happen!)

So with the baby napping, and the older two children semi-occupied with toys or a television show, I would sit, pen in hand, ready to underline Words that ministered grace to my soul and spirit.

Then one day, things got hectic, and I didn't get around to my new routine. By early afternoon, there was frustration, raised (angry) voices (okay, just one...mine!), and general chaos. Nothing had gone the way I planned for that day, and I began to wonder, "is God punishing me for not reading my Bible today?!"

"Is God punishing me for not reading my Bible today?!"

The immediate answer I "heard" in my spirit: "NO!"

Right after that, I was reminded of the parable of the sower in Mark 4:
3“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”
9And He said to them, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

What's that got to do with me? (I know you English majors are rejoicing right now! Ha.) on...

14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

Could it be that my heart is like the wayside? Or the stony ground? Now, I'm not generally one to blame the devil for all the mishaps of life. Sometimes, it's just me. But Satan really doesn't want the Word to take root in my life. Oh, God has got me! No doubt about that. But Satan wants to do everything in his power to make sure that the Word doesn't influence my actions, my relationships, my world (and all the people in it).

If I'm not busy tending the soil of my heart, the birds of the air would like nothing better than to steal away the seeds that have been planted. Distractions come. Children misbehave. Plans unravel. First and foremost, I need to make sure I'm guarding and protecting the precious Words God sows in my heart. Prayer waters them, and acting on the Word (James 1:22-23) tills the soil, until slowly but surely, the soil becomes good ground.

So, no. God does not punish me for neglecting His Word. But I can't bear fruit for Him if I am not diligent to seek after His Words and put them into practice. The enemy sure would like to distract me, sometimes right away, and I need to be aware and know that he likes to sneak in little attacks along the way. But, man! Sometimes it's hard to see through it to the bigger picture.

How about you? Have you been able to work through the stony ground to make it good, fertile ground for God's Word? 

Linking up here:

Friday, August 31, 2012

What I'm into this Month- August 2012 Edition

Oh, August! Where did you go? This month has been a fast paced month for me for sure. We started homeschooling, and in addition to all my other responsibilities, it has really kept me busy. So, I haven't had a lot of time for blogging, though I have started several posts. I hope to get around to finishing them in the coming week or so!
A play-dough fish made by my boy!

On My Nightstand- Same as last month! (Grace Based Parenting). I haven't been getting very much reading done lately. I don't know what to make of that. Definitely going to be more purposeful about reading next month! Which leads me to my next point:

Want to Read- A bunch of other titles. All these unsuspecting books I bring into the house that are promptly neglected. So much to offer, so unappreciated. I've got to do something about that.

TV Show Worth Watching- Well...I've turned into quite the lover of reality TV. Especially the ones about big families. I started watching Jon and Kate Plus Eight streaming on Netflix, and ordered the discs of 18 Kids and Counting (or is it 19 now?) I'm quite impressed at how they handle it all. I've been taking mental notes. Even though our family is not considered a "large family", I can still operate in the wisdom I take away from watching these families in action!

(And lest you think I just sit around watching television all day, I watch most of this stuff in segments when I'm feeding the baby or trying to get him down for a nap or what have you. I used to be able to use this time for reading, but this baby is SO wiggly!)

Movie I've Seen- You know, I still haven't ordered a single movie from Netflix. I keep starting them online, and then lose interest. Terrible! Ha ha! So unless you count overhearing (and catching bits and pieces of) the first two Toy Story movies in a seeming continuous loop being played in the living room, I haven't seen any movies this month.

In My Kitchen- Food. Maybe a little too much coffee (though it might be a good thing...I think this is the briefest "What I'm into this Month" post I've ever done!)

I'm starting to feel the need to begin the GAPS diet again. I hope to stay on it for more than a day and a half this time! But really, I would love to see some changes in foods I can eat while breast feeding (as in the ability to eat more without affecting my little guy). Though, of course it all goes back to gut health is what's causing the food challenges we've been having. (At least that's what I've come to believe).

Newest Blog Read- I almost thought I didn't have a new blog read this month, but then I remembered a dear friend of my husband's family (now my family, of course) Dena, has started a blog called Corkin' the Crazy. She tells the best stories! I can't wait to see what the Lord will do with her writing. Pay her a visit and welcome her to the blogging community? I know her stories will bring a smile to your face!

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month- Cooler temperatures? Please? I might even take the family outside. A new month of home school (more about that in another post!) And more blogging, I hope!

What are YOU into this month? Share in the comments, or leave a link to your blog if you already shared there!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Best Prayer I've Ever Prayed for My Marriage

Long ago (okay, probably just a little more than a year ago) I found myself where many wives find themselves: with a bad case of "baby fever". We had two children at the time, and after our second, we agreed that was all we could handle. (I think we thought we really meant it, too!) But, somewhere along the line since my daughter was born almost two years prior, I felt that God changed my heart concerning our family size. I was beginning to feel like we needed to try to add one more, and of course my husband was not moved by my rationale of "I don't know why, I just think we should." (So typical!)

So, here we were in this place of disagreement. It seemed to last for a few months. I kept re-approaching the subject, to no avail. (He kept reminding me of all the reasons we thought we were done). I struggled with submitting to him, I pleaded with God to change him, or to give me some way to get my point across...something!

Finally, I had an "a-ha!" moment. I can't remember exactly how this came to me (did I read it somewhere?) but I had the notion to pray that our desires would line up with God's desires for our family.

"Lord, I ask that You would cause Your desires to become our desires, and that we would come into agreement with Your plan."

Now, if you read a few posts back, you'll know how this turned out for us (it happened pretty quickly too, I might add). I was scared to pray this way, because that meant surrendering my will and accepting God's will (okay, admittedly, in this scenario, more often than not, His plan is for growth, but still).

How would praying that prayer impact our lives in other instances?

  • A relocation
  • Finances
  • Educational choices for our children

The list could go on and on. The point is, that not only would we be in agreement with our husband, but our marriage and family would be consecrated to God! There's no way we could go wrong with that!

Linking up w/
Rediscovering Domesticity Blog Button

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bottles, Barbecue, the Bookstore and Blessings

"So, I just need you to know, that when you wake up, Grammy will be here, and Mommy and Daddy are going to go out. We'll be gone for a little while, but Grammy will take care of you. Brother and Sister will be here too. Also, Mommy put some milk in something called 'a bottle' for you. It will be plenty until Mommy gets home. You'll drink it pretty much the same way your normally drink your milk...well...sort of."

He seemed to understand.

As soon as my husband got home from work, we were out the door, not sure of how much time we'd be afforded to reconnect. Not only are we celebrating six years of marriage today, but last night was the first date night we've had since late in my pregnancy. (I tried to "tough it out" til the end, but even getting in and out of the car was major drama past 36 weeks or so!) So, it was the first night out for us since our youngest blessing came on the scene. (He is two months old today!)

We decided we'd go out for a quick bite to eat, and then go from there (we needed to be able to pack up and run in case the baby just wasn't having it). Barbecue seemed simple enough and since they had their ingredients listed online (I knew what I could safely eat), that's where we ended up. Plus, they have really good iced tea. That's important! Also, I think I ate a half cup of barbecue kidding! Anyway, we finished our food, and after checking in with Grammy, my husband looked at me and said "what next?" I suggested going to browse at the bookstore (one of our go-to date night activities), so we were off to our favorite used bookstore.

We walked into the store, and it was like seeing an old friend. Except our friend had gotten a "facelift" since the last time we met. They had done some remodeling in recent months, apparently. Completely exciting. We ended up finding some old VHS movies for the kids for fifty cents a piece, and my husband hit up the clearance CD's. I also found a couple of marriage books (one of which I've been interested in reading for a while), all for really cheap. (You'll probably see us on an episode of "Hoarders" in the near future. The bookstore does that to us. Just sayin'.)

In case that wasn't enough romance (hee hee), we stopped by a local retail store for some diapers and a few "back to school" essentials. Then we just drove for a while and chatted about our future, and our hopes to be able to move into a bigger place soon. It was nice to get away and be able to talk without interruption for a while. And I realized that getting out is SO essential, not only for our marriage, but for me personally. (And all the mommies said "amen!")

To my delight, when we returned home, I learned that my little guy drank five ounces out of his bottle with no issues (my daughter never took a bottle- so I was a little nervous that he might do the same). He was asleep on Grammy's lap and the older two were excited to see us. Later that evening, my daughter looked at me and said, "I missed you, Mom!"

As we start a new year of marriage, I realize once again just how blessed we are. God is showing us great things (as always) as we continue to trust Him. That, I believe is the key to being happy and content in marriage...and really life in general: Trust Him! I know it sounds so cliche, but it's true!

So, Happy Anniversary to us! And happy two month birthday to our little guy!

What are you celebrating today?

Monday, July 30, 2012

What I'm into this Month- July 2012 Edition

You know I'm back when...

Was it really August the last time I did one of these?! Wow! So since then, I've gestated and given birth to a new baby boy! I do so admire and respect those that just keep on keepin' on during pregnancy. I don't know how you do it! I guess I realized in part why I don't do it: I kinda get anemic during pregnancy. (I think it's safe to say after three out of three). I didn't have a blog during either of my previous pregnancies, but I did have other stuff that got sorely neglected. This pregnancy was pretty rough for me all around, and I've yet to determine exactly why, but thanks be to God, the recovery has been the easiest by far!

On another note, my two year "blogiversary" just whizzed right by in June. I did nothing to commemorate! Boo!

Anyway. July has been a pretty calm month for us. We are getting back into the swing of things, and I've been brave enough to take three little ones out in public "awl by mysewf" as my daughter would say. It's July in Arizona, so, you's HOT, so we don't get out too much. But we've had some breaks in the heat with our annual summer Monsoon (the most amazing weather).

So, without further ado...

On My Nightstand- (Or rather, on my living room side table) Grace Based Parenting. This one is full of revelation for me, even though I'm only on the second chapter! I may be posting about something that "clicked" for me pretty soon. (Brace yourself! Ha ha!)

Want to Read- French Kids Eat Everything (among others). Seems like it would be a good read for me, especially since we deal with a fair amount of picky-ness around these parts.

TV Show Worth Watching- Well, lemme tell ya! I've never really had anything noteworthy to share in this category, but oh, we now have Netflix. (Hellooo, 21st century!) I've been mildly obsessed with watching favorites from my childhood and adolescence. My selections so far: The Wonder Years (I'm now about halfway through the second season- and as an added bonus I can watch this one on my phone- we don't yet have any sort of device that allows us to watch the streaming shows on the television). Punky Brewster is one of my DVD selections, and we're about halfway through the first season. To my delight, my kiddos actually enjoy this one. It's a pretty sobering thought that my older son is the exact age I was when this show premiered. Yikes!

Also, I've started to watch some reality television- (I have so much to catch up on, being that I haven't been willing to subscribe to cable in about eight years or so...but I digress). I watched PBS' miniseries, Frontier House, and soon discovered that they have several other versions from different eras. (So exciting!) If you aren't familiar with Frontier House, they recreated life on the old frontier in Montana, from the time of the Homestead Act of 1862. They sent three families out with only the provisions that would have been available at that time to see how modern people would adapt. I found their challenges really interesting, especially now that I've learned to not depend on some modern conveniences like certain health and beauty products. (I know there was a lot more to it than that, but that's just one area I can relate to).

There. I think that more than makes up for my lack of enthusiasm for television in the past. Don't ya think? (By the way, feel free to suggest shows for me to watch. I'm all ears!)

Movie I've Seen- Somehow, nothing is coming to mind...even though we recently signed up with Netflix. Ha! (Suggestions?)

In My Kitchen- I'm back on the allergen-free diet. My little one was starting to show some allergic symptoms, pretty similar to what my daughter dealt with in her early months. I figured a little proactivity on my part was in order. I started an elimination diet like the one here, but quickly added in some other foods, since I started to feel like I was starving myself. Not good for a nursing mother! So, for now, we're eating a lot of meat, rice, vegetables, and I'm experimenting with some gluten-free, dairy free, egg free ideas. I made crackers the other day, which were a hit with everyone, I'll share my recipe in a coming post. The good news? The symptoms my son was experiencing have improved a lot! I'm all about progress.

Newest Blog Read- Becoming Peculiar. I found her through a link up on Sorta Crunchy. I saw the title of her post, "14 Reasons I Don't Wear Shoes," and I had to read (who doesn't need more reasons to not wear shoes? Maybe this is why I haven't been totally successful with the Fly Lady's program. Ha ha). But then I got kinda sucked in to reading about her Mennonite upbringing (a culture I knew virtually nothing about). And found some cool recipes for personal care products to try.

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month- Well, it will be six years of marriage for my husband and me! Also, Baby J is turning two months old. Aaand... my big boy will be starting school! We've opted to do the online public school for this year. With the new baby and a toddler to care for, I just wasn't sure about jumping in to doing full-fledged homeschooling this time around. I'm glad this option exists, especially since it can be tailored to each child's specific educational needs. So, for now, we are doing "school at home" rather than homeschooling. I'll let you know how it goes!

What are YOU into this month?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Swirly Thoughts

"I feel like I need an outlet. There are things on my mind. But I don't know what to say," I told my husband recently. "My thoughts are just too...swirly!"

I'm six weeks into being a mom of three. I've definitely gotten my energy back (for the most part). I've been able to get our home back in some semblance of order. Starting to get routines figured out. These are good things!

But what direction is this blog taking? I don't know. I feel the need to spend some time in prayer and hearing from the Lord what He will have me do here. I never wanted to simply have content. Just to post consistently...though that would be nice. It would keep me from "falling off the map" I guess. I also never intended for this blog to really be about me, which, having looked back over some of the more recent posts, seems to be the direction I've been taking.

Also? Aside from blogging, I need to get back into the habit of being in the Word. That's probably why I'm coming up blank here. How can I encourage anyone if I'm on empty? How can I even care if I'm so out of touch from His perspective?

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:5

So, that's where I'm at for the moment. Waiting. I so desperately want to get back into blogging, but I need Him to bring some order to these thoughts that are swirling around.

Pray for me?

What has been on hold in your life lately?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

He's Here!

I am excited to (finally) announce the arrival of our sweet baby J! He was born on June 5th at 2:55 am, weighing in at 9 lbs, 3 oz. 

Some things came up and we had to deviate from our plan to give birth at home, so he was born at a nearby hospital. Thankfully, it was a decision that was made about a week in advance, so I had some time to wrap my mind around it! (Also glad it wasn't an emergency transfer in the middle of labor and birth!) It ended up being the best decision, as some of the events surrounding my labor were not conducive to the gentle labor and delivery I hoped for. (I will share more about his birth in the coming weeks). I absolutely believe and know that God had His hand in all of this, and of course as always, He knew the end from the beginning and was guiding each decision. 

I ended up with a postpartum hemorrhage and needed a blood transfusion, so I probably spent an extra day in the hospital being monitored, etc. We came home late last week, and we are adjusting well. Baby J is doing great and is even almost back to his birth weight (as of his check up yesterday, he was an ounce away, so he is growing and feeding well). 

Last night was my first night of somewhat decent sleep (hooray!) so I thought I'd give a quick update. I have not been online much, since I've been focusing on recovering and of course caring for the new sitting at the computer is not the most comfortable right now! Hopefully, I will be able to get back into the swing of blogging in the coming weeks.

What have you been up to?

Monday, May 21, 2012

How to Serve Others without Leaving the House

I am happy to present to you my very first guest post! I connected with Jenni probably close to two years ago (around the time I started blogging!) and have found her blog to be encouraging and inspirational. To learn more about her, read below. 

Anyway, I was excited when she shared with me what she would be writing about- I'm 37 weeks pregnant tomorrow and currently leaving the house only if necessary! So, I trust that these tips will be helpful to you too, no matter what season you are currently in. 

* * *

As a mother of a small child, I often find it difficult to find ways to get involved in ministry. Many opportunities conflict with nap time or bedtime. Often service projects that I could volunteer for are not very baby-friendly. This dilemma has caused me to look into alternative ways to minister to others. Below is as short list of ideas that I have come up with for serving others without leaving the house.

8 Ways to Minister from Home

  • Write a letter to a missionary. I know first-hand how uplifting a simple note of encouragement can be while serving in full-time ministry. Knowing that someone is praying for you and has taken the time to let you know can make a difficult day much easier.
  • Send flowers to a friend. Those that are ill or going through hard times will appreciate this gesture of kindness. Although, there doesn't have to be a reason for sending a vase-full of cheer. "Just because" is a fun surprise.
  • Bake cookies for your neighbors. Share you favorite cookies with a new neighbor. Or ones you know well. Your family doesn't need to eat a whole batch of cookies by themselves anyway! 
  • Send a care package to a college student. Being away from home can be tough on a freshman. Include a note of encouragement with their favorite snacks. 
  • Donate money to a local homeless shelter. Or donate furniture, clothes, personal hygiene items, Bibles or anything else they need. Many larger ministries will even pick up your donations so you don't even have to leave your house. 
  • Send a thank you card to a soldier. Those that serve our country deserve recognition and support from those they are protecting. There are several online projects, such as, that you can join. 
  • Invite a single adult over for dinner. Singles often feel overlooked and long to connect with people, especially if they don't live near family. Reach out to a young adult who would enjoy a home-cooked meal and fellowship. 
  • Sponsor a child. Whether you go through Compassion International or World Vision, you can lend a hand to a needy child just about anywhere in the world. If this isn't in your budget, you can write to a child instead.
I hope these ideas will help you get creative in finding ways to serve others without leaving the house. If you would like to share ways that you have ministered from home, leave a comment below!

About the Author: Jenni is happily married to her best friend and a stay-at-home mama to an active, red-headed baby girl. In her free time she enjoys deep conversations, decaf lattes and diving into a good book. As a writer, she is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to live for the glory of God. Connect with her at

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Pregnancy Must Haves- Part 2

With movies, it's generally understood that the sequel is never as good as the first. I wrote part one when I wasn't even pregnant any more and it had been almost a year since I gave birth! I figure it's relevant right now, and I'm thinking about the things I "must have" all the time. And this isn't a movie, so hopefully, part two will be even better than the first!

Lemon water- I had been getting awful swelling in my feet starting from the time I woke up in the morning. Many times, by the end of the day, my feet would resemble memory foam! Not any more! I've been chugging lemon water, and I haven't had nearly the problem I was having. Apparently lemons are a great liver cleanser, and help your body process excess fluid and toxins.

***You must pick your lemons just right though. I had received a big bag of lemons from someone's yard, and I was using a fourth of a lemon squeezed into each glass of water (sweetened with a bit of stevia to cut down on the sourness- almost like lemonade!) and that's when I started getting the best results. Well, I ran out of lemons, and so my husband went out for some and brought home a mesh bag full of smaller lemons from Wal-Mart, and when I used them, the swelling returned! (Those lemons barely had any seeds, by the way). I also read something online that said an indication of a "good lemon" was a little 3-5 point star shape on the base of the stem. Well, I got new lemons after I ran out of the "dud lemons" and several of them have the little star shape. Guess what? Swelling is gone again. Hmm.

Epsom Salt Baths- This one also started because of the swelling, but it's good for so much more! My midwife advised me to use two cups of Epsom salt in a bath and soak for at least 45 minutes for optimum results. Not only did it help reduce the swelling in my feet, but it also helps me sleep as well as reducing pain and inflammation in my body! Check out this list of more great benefits.

Rice Sock- This is another one that's great for easing aches and pains pretty much anywhere in the body. Fill a sock (the bigger the better) with about 1-2 cups of uncooked rice and tie a knot on the end (you can sew it too, if you're the crafty sort- or even make a small pillow- but a sock definitely does the trick in a pinch). Stick it in the microwave for 45 seconds, then remove it and shake the rice around and put it back in for another 30 seconds or so. When I was having sinus trouble, I would place it over my face for relief. If you have a headache, you can even sprinkle a bit of lavender oil on it for additional soothing (that helps you sleep too). I would also put it on my neck to relieve tension, or even on my lower back to reduce the achy-ness.

Belly Band- I started using one when I started growing out of my pants! It helped me stay in my regular size jeans as long as I could, since I could wear them unbuttoned under the belly band. Then I moved up to my larger size pants, and it helped those stay up too. (Until I outgrew those!) Now that I've finally given in to wearing maternity pants, it gives me a little more "security" since they're a little looser in some areas. I have a feeling that I'll be using this item for a while after I give birth as I transition back to my regular size. (I wish I would've known about this with my first two pregnancies).

Friends, what has helped you get through the uncomfortable or awkward times in pregnancy? Share in the comments!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pregnancy Update- 32 Weeks

I guess I should do an update on my pregnancy. It's only been since 20 weeks along that I've shared specifically about it! Yikes!

Well, things are coming along pretty nicely! I'm just getting bigger, and bigger, and...well, you get the idea. I'm really shocked at how much bigger I am with this pregnancy. Almost none of my old maternity clothes are fitting any more. And I had purchased a few pieces that I thought would last through the pregnancy, only to basically outgrow them a month later. Sheesh.

I have been measuring ahead by three weeks pretty consistently for the past few appointments. I am now going every two weeks! In some ways, this has definitely flown by.

On my mind:

  • Getting ready for the birth. Every few weeks, I have this sobering thought that flashes across my mind "the baby has to come out!" It's still so surreal, even though I've already done it twice. I don't know if you can ever get used to the idea of a person coming out of your body!
  • Getting my "nest" ready. I began to do some early nesting last week, but this week, I have been more tired. I need to figure out where we are going to keep the new baby's things, and I want to do some reorganizing in my bedroom and the children's room. I'd also like to prep some meals ahead so that I don't have much work to do at dinner time, and so we don't have to waste a a lot of money to eat out a bunch in the early weeks.
  • Birthing at home. This is so exciting for me! I just love the fact that I don't have to go anywhere to have my baby. The other children can be nearby, I don't have to arrange for other care for them (Grammy will be on standby in case the birth happens during the day, and they become too much of a distraction- but hopefully Grammy will be able to be here to share in the excitement). Also, I don't have to eat hospital food, or wait for their scheduled meal times (I can even eat during labor if I want- yay!)
  • The birthing at home thing nearly didn't happen. At my 28 week appointment, I did the glucose tolerance test, and I failed! I couldn't believe it! I even had what I feel is a better test for pregnant women- that doesn't include the Glucola drink. My midwife tested my blood an hour after a "normal" meal and my glucose levels were sky high. I opted to have the three hour test (my other option was to test my blood sugar at home for a period of time). I really dreaded doing it, but it wasn't as bad as I remember from my first pregnancy. Thankfully, I passed. If I hadn't passed (meaning I would have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes), I would've been "risked out" of a home birth, and referred to an obstetrician along with a nutritionist. There would have been a chance to return to prenatal care (and ultimately home birth) with my midwife if everything was able to be controlled easily with diet, but I'm really glad I don't have to go that route!
  • The older two children are really excited. I'm not sure if they imagine that I'm permanently pregnant or what, I try to communicate that the baby will be coming fairly soon, but who knows what that means to them! They do fly-by belly rubbings throughout the day, and my daughter, a couple times, when I've told her the baby was kicking at her in response, began to try to kick back at my belly! (I stopped her before she was able to, of course!) They have also started referring to the baby by the boy name that we picked out, which makes me a tad nervous since we opted to keep the gender a mystery until birth (I don't really know how they picked up on the name, since I don't refer to baby by name). Anyway, I am fairly convinced that this little kicker is a boy, but only time will tell!
  • Discomforts. I find it hard to be on my feet for very long. Also, I'm starting to notice that I'm waking up more frequently during the night. For a couple nights, it was basically every 1-2 hours. I really think it's God's way of getting me ready to accommodate the needs of a newborn. And then when I can sleep otherwise, I can't stay in bed because I'm uncomfortable. And my bed is generally very comfy. I'm happy to report that even though I was having pretty major pubic joint pain (Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction), chiropractic seems to have really helped, and I've only had two visits. The first visit, after my adjustment, it was completely gone! It has returned somewhat, but nowhere near what it was before.
  • (More discomforts!) Swelling. Ugh. My feet have been swollen off and on for probably more than six weeks. Some weeks are better than others- like I can go for three or four days at a time with virtually no swelling, and then for some reason or another, the next day- more swelling. I've started drinking lemon water almost exclusively to combat this. I really think the lemon water helps, but it's hard to say why it's so off and on.

Anyway, about 5-8 weeks to go! I suspect I'll go about 39 weeks, but only God knows when this little one will be ready. My first baby was born at 40 weeks, 1 day; and my second was born at 39 weeks and 4 days. We shall see!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ultimate Blog Party 2012- Welcome New Friends!

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Welcome to Happy Christian Home! I am Becky, and this blog is where I (attempt to!) write about all things pertaining to life in the Christian home. Of course, some of the things I write about happen in any home, but my highest priority with this blog is to keep Christ at the center of it all.

In case that sounds too serious, I must warn you, I love to joke around, sometimes subtly weaving humor into my writing. Sometimes a little too subtle (as in: "is she serious?"). I love telling funny stories about my children, life in ministry, and marriage.

My husband and I have been married for going on six years. We have two children- a son, almost 5 years old and a 2 ½ year old daughter and another one on the way this June. My husband is a minister (not the minister) but our church's worship leader, in addition to working close to 60 hours a week. He's a really great guy. At least he was last time I saw him. Hee hee. (Kidding!) In this busy lifestyle (well for him anyway!) we must be intentional about getting in a weekly date night.

Speaking of ministry, I share about my experiences in children's ministry from time to time, and like to share ideas I find and other resources.

I'm kind of a "crunchy mom". I try to eat all natural (though that sort of went out the window during this pregnancy) and make most of our food from scratch. I like to use natural things around the house too! I'm also planning a home birth with this new baby. We've dabbled in cloth diapering, and plan to do so with the new one. I'm all about breast feeding, and have done extended breast feeding with both my children (both past the age of two). A lot of my quest to achieve health is driven by our family's experience with allergies.

I plan to start "officially" homeschooling my soon-to-be five year old this fall (that should provide plenty of blog banter with two younger siblings around- hopefully, I'll still have time to tell you about it!). I try to be intentional about providing educational opportunities for my children even from a young age, and feel that little ones can learn a whole lot more than we give them credit for (though I don't do so in a "pushy" kind of way).

I'm still finding my way in this stay at home mom/homemaker role, even though I've been at it for over three years now. I find that it's always changing, and I'm always looking for new ways to adapt! I certainly don't pretend to be any kind of authority on how to keep it all together ('cause, trust me, I don't!) but I like to let my readers know when I find something that works for me.

I feel that my blog is most "successful" when I hear from God and share my experiences in the Word and this life of faith to encourage and equip other wives and moms. You might've noticed the phrase "Biblical Encouragement" in my blog header. I think that being grounded in the Word is the most important thing that a woman, wife or mother (or anyone) can choose to be, all the rest is the "other great stuff" that I hope you will enjoy and relate to!

Also? If you couldn't tell, I can be pretty verbose. And I like to use parentheses. A lot. So, if you like to read a lot of words, stick around!

So, that's me. Pretty much. If you like what you see so far, I invite you to follow me on Facebook or subscribe by email, and I look forward to getting to know you, too!

Friday, March 30, 2012

My Smartphone Keeps Me Connected . . . to God?

I've always been sort of a low tech kinda girl. In the past, when choosing a mobile phone, I just really wanted something I could make phone calls on, send text messages and take a picture or record video on. (Okay, I know that's not low tech to some people). So when my husband and I were in the market for new phones this past December, he was really excited that there were great deals on Smartphones. I was really hesitant to get on board with that idea, and I hoped to stick with something more basic. So I researched all my (surprisingly limited) options online, but ultimately, I chose to get an Android, all the while telling myself that if I didn't like it, I could return it and get something with fewer "bells and whistles".

Flash forward a couple months, and it turns out, I really kind of like it! (Okay, sometimes a little too much!)

Anyway, I recently came across this awesome app on my phone called You Version. It has the Bible in many different versions, as well as several other useful tools.

I had been struggling to stay in the Word for a number of reasons, and looking to find a Bible reading plan that I could realistically stick with. Well, one day I got curious, and started exploring this app, and noticed that there were Bible reading plans. Oh, my goodness! There are probably hundreds of different plans to choose from. Ranging from your basic "read through the Bible in a year" to chronological studies to week long plans for study on a particular topic.

I ended up going with one called Project 345 Plus. It includes readings from the New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs as well as selected readings from the Old Testament.

What I really, really love about this app? The "Catch Me Up" button! Usually, during the week, there are four selections to read, and when you complete all of them, it congratulates you on completing a day (who wouldn't love that?) But when you don't, there's the option to catch up, and when you tap the button, it basically updates your plan so that you don't skip the readings, but you also don't get "swamped" with missed readings. As a mom of two little ones, and one on the way, I really appreciate that!

So, how does that keep me connected to God? Not only can I pretty much do my study time any time, anywhere, but it also keeps me focused. I know that I can open the app any day, and have something specific to read. While I haven't gotten back in the habit of a daily study time, I'm closer than I would be otherwise.

Does reading the Word somewhat regularly or even everyday make me perfect? Absolutely not! But at least I have a better chance to "hide His Word in my heart" (Psalm 119:11) than I would otherwise.

Do you use any "gadgets" to keep you focused spiritually?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Easiest Way to Make Rice

I used to be pretty comfortable in the way I made rice. You know, measuring the rice, measuring the liquid, etc. But I would find that whenever I made bigger batches of rice, for some reason or another, it wouldn't cook right. I would end up with rice that was crunchy and inedible.

I was sharing my issue with my mother-in-law one day when she taught me this little trick, and now I pass it on to you!

1. Pour desired amount of rice into a saucepan. (No measuring needed! Unless you really want to for some reason!)
2. Add enough water to the pan so that the level of the water (from the surface of the rice) reaches the first knuckle on your index finger.

3. Heat water on the highest setting (high for stainless cookware, or medium for non-stick) until it begins to boil. (MIL insists you should not stir it at this time at all, but I'm a stirrer and I've never noticed any issue).

4. Turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

5. Remove from heat, then fluff with a fork or whatever utensil you happen to be using!

It doesn't seem to matter what size pot or pan you are using, for some reason, you get the right amount of liquid every time.

Now I can make Jambalaya without crunchy rice (and I can do so without using measuring cups)! Thanks, MIL!

What cool kitchen tips have you come across lately?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Blessings. (But Mostly the Other Stuff that Happened on Sunday Morning...)

The children woke easily to bribes promises of cereal bars on the way to church. The morning would be a little rushed, but we would make it on time to church. My son's clothes were laid out, all he had to do was get dressed, and put on his socks and shoes. My daughter got out of bed, and I started to get her ready. I thought I would get her dressed, and while she was putting on her socks and shoes, I would finish putting on my make up, and we'd be good to go.

"Mom...I can't find my sneakers!" called my almost 5 year old.

This is where it gets interesting. I finished getting my 2 year old dressed and sent her to put her socks and shoes on. The boy had just had his shoes the night before, and he's supposed to put them away on the changing table. Every. Single. Day. I tell him. (Okay, every single day he wears his shoes- the majority of the time we stay home, so it really isn't every day- but still...the 2 year old gets it!)

Mind you, I wasn't finished getting ready yet. I stop what I was doing, thinking they must be under the couch or one of the other usual hiding places for his shoes. He looked in all the places I told him, shoes.

After a few minutes of searching, I realize it's time to go. He's only wearing his shirt, pants and socks. Oh yeah...and it's raining. After a week straight of 83 degree highs and sunshine. Go figure.

I sent out an "SOS" text to the other teacher on the schedule in children's ministry letting her know we were now running late. A few minutes later, she responds letting me know that she had just been awakened by my text message!

Sigh. Okay.

I make a quick call to another "off duty" teacher to see if she can cover for me til I arrive. All I can say is "thank God for people I know I can always count on!" (Even if I'm not one of them!)

Finally, I give up on finding the boy's sneakers. "Get your sandals and put them on over your socks." In his room, I hand him a sandal. "Where is the other one?!" This is the part where I lost it. Just a little. I frantically search for the matching sandal for a few minutes whilst verbally expressing my frustration at his lack of diligence. (Yes, I know he's four). Finally, the other sandal is located, and I send him on his way, and get back in the bathroom to finish getting ready.

I hear him struggling in the other room to put them on his feet. Did I mention these are sandals he has basically outgrown? Yep. So with the too-snug sandals and socks finally on his feet, we make it out the door and on our way.

Miraculously, I was not a basket case by this point. God is so good. Remember the rain? It was still coming down, of course. As I drove along the wet asphalt, I realized how perfect His timing is. Earlier in the week, my husband was able to put four new tires on the van. And just yesterday? We had the majorly cracked windshield replaced. (Both things were LONG overdue by most standards). Amazing. Driving in the rain can be a tad scary in these parts, since it is such a seldom occurrence. Plus we have a lot of "winter visitors" with "questionable" driving skills around this time of year. I'm just so blessed to know that He saw ahead to supply new tires and a new windshield for a time I would definitely need them!

Oh, and the sneakers? We finally found them. After church. In the hamper.

What blessings (or obstacles!) have come your way recently?

Linked up w/Mommy Monday

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Totally Get Why Elizabeth Hid Herself. . .

At no other time in my life have I felt the urge more strongly to hide under a rock than now, during this pregnancy.

Six months ago, when I discovered this new little person coming into existence, I just wanted to turn inward. I guess I had felt that way with the other two, but this time more so for some reason. Maybe the timing and my responsibilities and stress levels (none of which were terribly great or anything) coincided just so, or something caused me to want to retreat.
I started thinking about the part in the Bible where it talks about how Elizabeth became pregnant with John the Baptist. There's a verse that talks about how Elizabeth hid herself for five months (Luke 1:24). For a while, I've wondered about that. I tried to research a little into the meaning of that passage, really, to no avail.

One thing is certain: I definitely relate to that desire!

In the beginning of my pregnancy, it was mostly due to lack of energy and constant nausea. I just wanted to stay home and be by myself (which I mostly succeeded at- well, of course with the addition of my two older children). This time around, for some reason, the nausea and "morning sickness" extended past the "requisite" 12 weeks. I think I had it up until 16 weeks or so!

Since then, I've been feeling pretty good for the most part. I've had some aches and pains, but mostly, I'm embracing and enjoying this belly and the baby inside of it.

Then, recently, the comments began.

"Are you ready for that little girl to be born?" (We decided to wait to discover the baby's gender).

"You've got what? Two more weeks to go?" (I had 14 weeks left until my due date at that time).

"Wow, someone is going to have a baby soon! When are you due?" And then when I said "June", the response was "June?! Are you having two?!"

Oh, brother! I can just imagine back in the day when Elizabeth discovered she was with child, some of the comments she might have encountered. People probably would have made comments about her age, and if we read further in the story, we see that people questioned their desire to name the baby John, so there likely would have been comments about that, too. I think Elizabeth was wise to hide herself, since pregnant women seem to be a huge target for all kinds of comments and influences. It is so important to guard yourself when you are expecting.

I know I will have the grace to get through this and savor this pregnancy. I just may have to stay out of the public eye a little to make that happen! Don't worry, I really don't mind staying home as much as possible anyway!

How did you feel when you were pregnant? Did you want to be around others a lot, or did you feel the need to retreat?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Maintaining My Home Management Binder

It's a great thing to have a home management binder. It reminds me of my days as the office manager at our church when I used to go everywhere with my planner (or as I jokingly called it, "my brain"). It can make you feel more centered, more in control of your day and the goings-on of your family.'s pretty much useless, if it's not organized in such a way that you can actually utilize the information contained therein. I know this from experience.

About a year ago, when I originally got inspired to make my home management binder, I put in a few forms, some checklists, and then added some recipe clippings to that since I love cooking and baking. (I kind of have a ridiculous obsession with finding new recipes to try). Anyway, somewhere in there, I had gotten out of the habit of maintaining my binder. Needless to say, I didn't really use it anymore, except for a catch-all for my recipes found online or in magazines or wherever. It had no purpose; it was just a clutter magnet for my kitchen.

Recently, I had been seeing more and more posts on different blogs about home management binders. I got inspired again. I pulled out my binder a few weeks ago and knew that I had some work ahead of me. It was a mess. I'm happy with the progress I made, even though I still have more to do to make it totally workable for me. But at least it's a start...

  • I started by pulling out all those recipes. I went through each one, and I realized there were several that I never actually used. The ones I did use, I placed in a pile to be organized.

  • Then, I got to clippin'. I trimmed out unnecessary parts of the paper, as shown so that I could fit as many recipes as possible into my binder. 
  • I used some of those adhesive photo refill pages to organize my recipes. I managed to fit 2-3 on a page. 
  • My recipe pages are now organized by soups, main dishes, special dishes for a crowd (like church potlucks or holiday dinners) and children's favorites (like granola bars, etc). 
I still need to get some more pages, so I can also organize my massive collection of dessert recipes (still growing, now that I'm on Pinterest!)

Anywho, I had a lot of trash when I was done. (I hope no environmentalists are reading this! Lol!)

I found some helpful forms here, and printed them and added them to my binder like so: 
By the way, I'm using the Daily Docket and the Master Weekly Checklist from the above link. I'll probably add some more of these free printables gradually, so as not to overwhelm!

Basically, it's more functional now. And that's a good thing. Right now, I need all the help I can get! Now, if I can just stick with it, I think I'll be in business! Though, these days, I'm trying to be a little more forgiving of myself, since this little person is not allowing me to operate at my usual pace (that's okay!). 

Have you ever gotten off track from your organizational endeavors? How did you get back into the swing of things?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Valentine's Day Resources for Children's Ministry (And Home!)

Here is a small collection of links to free coloring pages and project or craft ideas I have come across online for use in children's ministry, or even at home. Many of these are from At our church, we plan to use many of them, as our theme for February is "love". Enjoy!

Valentine's Themed Coloring Sheets:

John 3:16 coloring sheet
God Gave us Love coloring sheet
John 3:16 Valentine sheet
"Love Is" 1 Corinthians 13 coloring sheet
"Love Your Neighbor" coloring sheet
"What is Love?" Activity Sheet (great for older kids!)

Valentine's Themed Ideas: 

Valentine's Day Bulletin Board
Top Ten Love Bible Verses
Valentine's Day Frame craft

What tools have you used to teach your children (or your class) about Valentine's Day and God's love?

Linking up here:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

But Why, God?

I'm a mother of a four year old. For the longest time, I would hear of moms going a little crazy when their little one would start asking the question, "why?" These moms had children who were two or three years old. My little guy never really asked that question at that age. I reasoned that he's a bright kid, and if he wanted to know why something happened, he would either try to discover the reason for himself, or eventually, he would ask, and be satisfied with my response.
Fast forward to now: I'm the mama going a little crazy with the incessant questions. "Why?"

"It's time for bed," I'll say.

"But, why?"

"You need to eat your dinner."


I started to hear the dreaded question more and more frequently. I would explain each reason to the best of my ability, trying really hard not to resort to "because I said so". Until one day, when I realized that "why?" doesn't actually mean "why?" As in, my four year old doesn't really care "why". In a lot of cases, I've discovered that it's a form of protest. As in, he doesn't want to go to bed. He doesn't want to eat dinner. He doesn't like the fact that we can't go to the park today. Why doesn't really matter.

Does any of that sound familiar to you? I know I've gone through seasons where the events are just so frustrating, that all I can say is "but why?!" Why do I have to deal with this? Why can't this person just do the right thing and stop bothering me? Why can't I just go out and buy whatever I want or feel like I need? Why does that family get to go on vacation, and we don't? Why, why, WHY?

The answers often elude me. But the fact is, I don't really want to know "why". I just want to escape the situation and get back to a place of comfort. In essence, I'm telling God "it shouldn't be this way. Fix it!"

The answer to the question "why" is usually something that my four-year-old wouldn't be able to truly comprehend or appreciate to the fullest extent- at least not now. In the same way, if God decided to tell me why, I'd probably be overwhelmed by the answer. It wouldn't make sense from where I'm standing right now. Just like we as parents have understanding that exceeds our children's, God's ways are infinitely higher than our ways.

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

Have you (like me) ever been through a season where you asked the question every parent (including God) loves to hear?

Linking up at:
I Choose Joy

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pregnancy Update: 20 Weeks!

Woot! I'm at the halfway mark! It's starting to go by pretty fast now. I'm really trying to enjoy this time. I'm obviously pregnant, but past the morning sickness, but not so big that it's difficult to get around. So here's a little update (and a pic of the baby bump!)

How does your pregnant body feel? Well...pregnant! Expanding, but good overall. Recently, I've been experiencing some digestive issues, mostly upset tummy, but I've been trying some different foods that I haven't been eating regularly, and now I remember why!

What changes have you noticed? Weight gain...and my complexion looks pretty "glowy". Ha ha!

Are you experiencing any strange cravings? Or are there some foods you can't stand any more? None of my tea tastes good any more! :-( I was having a cup of black tea in the morning. Then I was on a "pregnancy tea" kick for a little while. Then I switched to green tea, and most recently, I had red raspberry leaf tea. None of it appeals. Big bummer for me since I love drinking something hot in the morning.

Are you showing? When did your belly become obvious? Umm...the belly was pretty hard to conceal from the get-go. I started noticing changes almost right away. I'd say by 10 weeks or so, it was getting obvious.

Have you had to buy any maternity clothing? Nope. I already have a lot of stuff from the first two pregnancies. I'm still wearing "transitional pants" as long as I can (stuff I bought after my daughter was born) with a belly band. I will need to buy some new shirts since I didn't have a lot of warmer weather tops to begin with. I'm going to try to stick with larger non-maternity T-shirts so that I can still use them after the baby arrives.

How do you feel about your belly? It's sort of in an "awkward phase" right now. And of course my belly button has already decided there was no more room inside my body. There's no taming that thing. Lol!

Have you felt baby move yet? What does it feel like? I've been feeling movement off and on for a little while. Now it seems more definite. Feels like little kicks and flips.

Have you seen baby on ultrasound? What details were you able to see? How did it feel to see the little being growing in your belly? Yes, I had an ultrasound last week. We saw most everything, I made sure the tech pointed out specific stuff, just because I never have any idea what I'm looking at! It was awesome to see the little person in there. It's always cool to see the growing baby. Kind of just makes everything more real.

Have you found out the gender of you baby? What were your reasons for deciding to find out / not to find out? No. We didn't end up finding out. I was thisclose to saying "just tell me!" but I chickened out. The tech could see my uncertainty with wanting to know and she wouldn't just blurt it out. I just want a little mystery. But I have my hunches. ;-)

Have you done any preparation at home for baby's arrival? Yes. I'm hoarding baby stuff. I have a ton of clothes from my other two "babies", plus I had a neighbor offer me some no longer needed baby items. I started an Amazon registry, we only need a little bit of stuff, like diapers, a baby carrier and maybe a couple other things.

Will baby be in a separate nursery or sharing your room? Sharing our room for now. I have to get the older two out of there first or it's going to be an even tighter squeeze! Ha ha. We co-sleep, but how the older one ended back up in my room is a mystery to me. He has his own bed, and was sleeping in it before we moved (over a year ago!). We'll be getting our daughter her own bed in a few weeks. Mama needs her space! 

Twenty (or so) more weeks to go! What exciting things have been happening in your world?

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Tip for Picky Eaters

It's so amazing to me how different two children can be. On one hand, I have my daughter who will eat nearly everything that's offered to her. I mean, stuff you wouldn't necessarily expect a toddler to even want. She'll eat hard-boiled eggs, green smoothies, beans and more. On the other hand, I have my son, who is 4 ½, who will hardly touch anything that doesn't resemble a french fry or a hamburger. (To his credit, he will eat spinach and broccoli and most fruits, so he's not too terribly difficult to get healthy foods into).

The problem I've had with him lately, however, is that I'll tell him what's for dinner, and he'll say "But I don't liiiiike _________!" I got really tired of hearing that response (or something similar), so I stopped telling him. Now, a typical exchange goes a little like this: "Mom, what's for dinner?"

"You'll see when it's on the table..."

Fast forward to dinner time, and I'll say "dinner's ready, come to the table." and he'll come, willingly. And then miracle of miracles, he will begin to eat! With minimal fuss!
Is this how your child sees dinner?

I think this has been working for us because he doesn't have a chance ahead of time to be negative about the dinner time experience. He doesn't have any expectations in his mind of something unpleasant, so he's a little more flexible. I also like not having an argument on my hands while I'm trying to get dinner on the table.

Do you have "picky eaters" in your house? How have you gotten around food aversions in the past?

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