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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Living the abundant life

John 10:10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
 I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.


Have you ever felt "stuck"?  I told my husband just last night that I feel stuck.  He knew what I meant.  I think he's been feeling it too.  "Stuck" to me means eat, sleep, work - and that's about it.  Too tired to enjoy anything, we stumble out of bed when the alarm goes off, eat breakfast with our coffee IV drip so that our eyes slowly open and then, we head off to work.  We get home, stumble through supper, and then drop into bed the minute that we can justify it - like probably when the babies get to bed. 

For me, it's a bit different.  Just change the part where it says "head off to work" and insert, "start work at home".  No, I do not sit around with my feet up.  You may see my name on Facebook all day, but not because I'm sitting there waiting for someone to write something brilliant. Usually on any given day, I'm:
  • trying to follow FLYlady's plan - which is working super well by the way,
  • keeping track of who's doing what subject and what items they are missing yet for a finished day of school,
  • teaching babies that throwing metal cars is not a good idea especially when a littler baby is sitting on the floor minding her own business
  • continuously putting the slip covers back on the couches (if anyone has an idea of how to keep them on, please let me know)
  • paying bills and keeping track of the budget
  • making sure rooms are clean and piano is done
  • making supper and making sure there is enough leftovers to send something decent with hubby and school kids for lunch the next day (no, DD, Ramen is not a sufficient lunch)
So, how do we go through life, abundantly?  I think the place to start is understanding who we are in Christ.  Obviously, some may need to start farther back. See my post on Making the Lord a priority in your life.

So who are we?  If we are believers, then we have a home in heaven guaranteed.  No, ifs, ands, or buts.  We don't have to do anything to make sure we get it, just believe.  I think that should be the main thing that brings us abundant life.  Hey, most people think that you have to keep doing stuff to get it. 
  • Make sure you check church on your list every Sunday or more for extra brownie points. 
  • Don't say any swear words.
  • Stay true to your spouse
  • Basically, the ten commandments in general.
So, I'm wondering,  Are you doing these things so you can attain heaven, because if you are then it's by your works that you're going to heaven and Titus 3:5 tells us that it's not by works of righteousness that we have done.  

It's not that we don't need to do stuff and can sit around, we should be doing these things because we want to live righteously in this world, as it says in Titus.
 Titus 2:12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
also in Philippians.

Philippians2:14-15  "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,"

As my husband shared with me last night, beyond these things, living the abundant life does NOT mean going out and buying things.  We would be broke all too quickly and then no more abundant life.  No, I think it means being content, as we see in Hebrews

Hebrews 13:5 "Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,"

He'll never leave us nor forsake us, that should mean everything to us.  Got any more ideas of how to live the abundant life.  I'm still thinking on it, and want to come up with more ideas.  Another thing a pastor I listen to on-line said (btw, it's his fault I'm writing about this) is "Making the most of it."  Are you making the most of your life, where you are, whether it's where you wanted to be or not?  Cause dh and I would be on the other side of the world in a heartbeat if we could be where we want to be, but we're not and now we need to see what God has for us HERE, for now.  We can still hope, but we need to LIVE now, and not wait until we are where we want to be.

Making the most of it,

Steph

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

School beginnings

On the first day of school around town, I thought I'd write about some things I've been pondering lately. 

Three of our children are going to school at the Christian Academy in a nearby town, at our church.  They don't start till Monday.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to send them.  Last year was hurried and busy with three little ones and six grades of school.  At the end of the year we bumped it up to four little ones.   I was frazzled most of the time and my kindergartener didn't get much time with me. 

For the older three ( the three younger grades are going away), I gave them the opportunity to pick a start date.  The mandatory start date was when the littler ones went to school.  They would have to keep up with the academy their siblings attend, as it uses the same curriculum we do.  Last week I bumped it up to this past Monday as grandparents are coming the end of September and I don't want to teach school that week, nor do I want them to be required to do school.

Two of my boys decided to start mid-July and they are currently on lesson 18 in their year.  One decided to wait until the mandatory start date.  I gave them the choice, but when it came down to it, it was very hard for me to hold my tongue.  I wanted to praise the first two for being diligent and working ahead, but worse than that, I wanted to call my other son lazy for waiting until he had to start. 

I had to work through this.  If I give them the decision, I need not knock them down because they choose the option I don't want them to choose.  If I don't want them to have the choice then I shouldn't give them the choice.  So I made some comments I shouldn't have, but then as I thought about it, I realized I should let him choose. 

This is new ground for me.  Usually I don't give my little ones options like, you can do this or this.  I do, during playtime, but those times I really don't care what they choose.  When it comes to school if some are started I'd rather they all be started.  So one chose to do what I didn't want him to do, but it was an option I gave him. 

As they grow up, I want to be the parent who allows my child to make a decision without condemnation from his mother.    I want to help him, but not force him.  I want to help him weigh his options without revealing my hand as it were.  I may let him know what direction I think would be best, if there is such a thing, but leave it all with him.  I don't want him thinking "Mom will be mad if I do such-and-such or if I don't do this or that." 

I had a wonderful example of parents in this regard.  I distinctly remember one situation where I was walking a rather dangerous path and I knew what they thought.  But I could talk with them about the situation and freely share my heart wth them because they did not condemn me.  I am very sure they were scared to death, but they didn't let that fear consume them.  I pray I can closely mirror their hearts in this.  I want to be that kind of parent.

What kind of parent do you want to be?  What are your goals in this area?  As your children grow how do you think it will change?  or will it change?

Steph

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Meal schedules

Have you ever had trouble find a meal schedule that works for you?  I have desired through most of my married years to have a meal schedule and to follow it.  To be able to prepare for a month and have the things I need for what I'm planning on making - wow that would be wonderful. 

Cooking has several problems for me. 

The first is what should I make.  I hate that question and it doesn't help to ask anyone else in the family.  Their answers are usually "I dunno." or something that is completely out of the question at the point and time I'm asking it.  Such as lasagne and it's 5:30.  Seems to me that I have to decide ALL the time, so if I, on occasion, ask someone else what we should have, I feel they should at least take a turn with this daunting task.

The second problem is after I do decide what I'm making.  Usually, it's "Oh, can't make it, don't have the ingredients."  So what I need is a plan. 

I'm very good at planning.  I may have said that somewhere in here before.  My problem: executing said plan.  Not very good at that at all.  So what's the good of a plan, if I don't use it.  Aha, but if the first plan doesn't work, then I can make a new one.  And that will be fun.  Yep, I do like planning, just not the consistency of continuing to do it.

So, I found something good on Pinterest.  Generally, I don't spend a lot of time on Pinterest.  It's not as addicting for me as others I guess.  I like going and looking at things for a bit, but it doesn't have a hold on me, like say, Facebook.

I found a site that had a menu planner that is something like I've never seen before.  It's a magnetic calendar, with slips of cardstock that have dinner ideas on it.  (I now need one for breakfasts. )  The squares with the meals go into a box with a magnet on the back on the fridge.  There are tiny little magnets to put the dates up on the calendar, but you could definitely just write them in with an erasable marker. 

Another helpful thing is that the meals are color-coded, so that by looking at the color you automatically know that it's a Mexican dish, or a chicken dish.  Also there are little hooks on the bottom to hang cards in a matching color with the recipe on them.

Here's the solution to problem #1.  At the end of the month, sit down with the family and lay the squares on the table.  In our family there are 9, but usually 8 are doing this job as Daddy is at work.  (I really want to make this something we do when he's home though, so he can have some of his favorite meals.)  Everyone picks a certain number of cards and I usually tell them that they have to have all different colors.  So with 9 of us, everyone picks 3 and then a few of us would pick 4. 

Next, we put them on the magnetic calendar with our little jewel magnets that we had fun making awhile back. 

The nice thing is we can switch them around.  If we do our shopping monthly (the non-perishables), then we should have most of what we need for switching things around a bit.  I just need more cupboard space to hold food for a month.   Have to talk with my dh about that.   :)

So this solves problem two.  If we know what we're having we can make it, because we'll have shopped for it.  The kids like choosing the meals and this way, I'm not the only one. 

If you want to see a pic, you can look on Pinterest and search for menu board planner. Or go to Robin's Menu Board at sugardoodle.net.  It was fun for me to make.  I still don't have all the recipes that I'd like there, but slowly I hope to acquire more. 

Hope you have fun with thinking about this and maybe making your own menu planner.
Steph