What a treat!
If you haven't already, please visit Boomama for her tour of homes. It has been so enjoyable looking at how fellow bloggers decorate and live. It is so fun just to grab a cup of sweet tea and tour some lovely homes. I am so pleased that there are so many participants. I would have loved to have participated, but I do not have a digital camera, yet. I am praying God will help me find a camera with a good zoom, on sale. Do you have any recommendations? My hubby is an HP-certified technician, so he has encouraged me to buy an HP camera. (What can I say... he has seen proof of their quality.) He also recommends Kodak. Sorry, I cannot share pictures of my humble abode (yet), but I promise to share some when I get a camera. I sure hope you can relax for a little bit (during naptime, perhaps) and enjoy "visiting" homes of fellow bloggers. I have surely been blessed! Have a lovely Friday afternoon, dear friends!
Friday, July 28, 2006
Posted by Christine at 12:19 PM
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Since starting a regular household cleaning schedule, there has been a lot more order in my home. I was inspired to start keeping a schedule when I saw the example of many Christian women. Candy and Mrs. Catherine have a plethora of inspiring tips for planning a household schedule. My cleaning schedule is what works for me. Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of life, (doctor's appointments and such) I cannot always keep to it. But for the most part, it is a guide to help me focus on the areas of my house that need to be tended to most. Sometimes, I vacuum more, this is just the bare minimum of cleaning necessities. It sure is helpful to me because I used to clean the bathrooms when they "looked like they needed it." (I know, that sounds terrible.) I also do not remember dusting. (ever?) I am able to maintain my house now, rather than scurrying about, trying to see what needs to be done. If you haven't started a schedule, I heartily encourage you to try one. Do not just imitate someone else's plan; create your own. Otherwise, it will probably be impossible to keep. Note: Writing yourself a detailed listing of chores is helpful. I used to make a hundred trips into the kitchen while I would clean the bathrooms, just to gather my cleaning items. Now I just try to take them all at once.
Detailed Explanation of Daily Chores:
Pick up ALL items on the floor. Then, vacuum the three bedrooms and the hallway.
Tuesday: Clean Bathrooms
Gather the broom, dustpan, soap refill, windex, paper towels, toilet brush, and bleach bottle. Fill the bucket with soap, bleach, and hot water. Gather a towel for wiping the floor. Take all these items to the first bathroom, the guest bathroom. Clean the mirrors. Sweep the bathroom of any loose particles. Clean inside and outside the toilets. Clean the sink with the bottled solution. Refill the soap. Scrub the floor with the solution in the bucket. Wipe up the residue with a towel. Repeat process in master bathroom. Scrub showers.
Wednesday: Dust, Clean Windows, Scrub Kitchen Floor
Dust: Ceiling fans, window ledges and frames, door frames, baseboards, chair rail, shelves, dressers, crib, desk, tables, chairs, picture frames, living room armoire, crown molding, and light fixtures. Window Cleaner: Clean windows, glass doors, tv, and computer monitor. Scrub Kitchen Floor: Fill bucket with soap, bleach, and hot water.Scrub floor.
Wash all dirty clothes. Next, wash all bedding, and towels. Replace all bedding and towels.
Vacuum all bedrooms, closets, and hallway.
*Sweep: living room (move couch and loveseat too), dining room, foyer, and kitchen.
*Wash at least one load of laundry.
"Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."-Proverbs 31:31
Posted by Christine at 1:42 PM
Notecards: One of Life's Little Helper's
One of my new favorite items is spiral bound notecards. I know they don't sound very glamorous, but these humble cards can certainly serve a variety of household purposes. Some notecards are even divided into five different colors, which makes them that much more useful. I like them for writing bible memory verses on. Anytime I am waiting in line, (at a doctor's office or store) I can fortify my heart with strength from God's Word. The notecards are very handy for keeping precious, family recipes. Imagine surprising a dear young lady with a bundle of recipes for her to experiment with, in her kitchen. These would also make lovely flashcards for committing facts to memory. Walmart sells a pretty set with a cover for $1.24. Sometimes, the little things truly help our lives to run smoothly.
Posted by Christine at 1:32 PM
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
One hobby which is quite restful and refreshing is journaling. I enjoy my online blog, but nothing can compare to writing in a leather or suede-covered journal. Whether you are in a hammock in your back yard, or traveling on an exciting trip, journals are quite portable and convenient. My husband gave me a beautiful journal a few years ago and it is almost full. It contains so many precious things of mine, including daily chronicles, quotes, recipes, and bible verses. Looking back over the pages, I can observe my worries and where God met my every need. A journal is an invaluable tool to observe one's spiritual growth. Sometimes, I am simply astounded by God's patience with me while perusing through my old journal. A journal can be the only way we can clearly remember an event. I recently read an entry the day before my son was born. I was a few days overdue, and I thought I would never give birth. I was very hormonal and was supposed to be induced in two days. I felt like I would never go into labor and that I would be eternally pregnant. But sure enough, I went into labor the next night. After experiencing labor, I forgot all about how I was at the brink of despair about my situation. But by journaling, I could so crisply recall the details that it was as if I was there again. How important this is so we can remember life's important events and the faithfulness of our God. Today is my sister-in-law's birthday and I have selected to give her a journal as a gift. I hope it will enrich her life and walk with the Lord. I have composed a list of ideas to record in one's journal.
- Prayer needs (yours and others)
- Count your blessings journal (write all the things that God has provided for you)
- Daily thoughts and happenings
- Record favorite poems, hymns, or quotes
- Nature- pack your journal and record a vivid description of your trip to the beach, or a hike in the woods.
- Answer a Question (Examples: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you visit and why?, Describe the most beautiful sunset you have ever seen, What is your idea of a perfect evening?, What is your favorite book and what is the most important lesson you have learned from it?, Who can you best relate to in the Bible?, What movie has most influenced your life?, If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be and why?)
Posted by Christine at 2:17 PM
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
One of my favorite ways to spend time with Lily is when we bake savory treats together. She is the most incredible Kitchen Aid I have ever seen. She could stir something for a half an hour and never get bored. Gooseberry Patch has a tremendous assortment of cookbooks,cookware, and many country items for your decor. They also have a vast assortment of children's bakeware and aprons. Their cookbooks are sprinkled with fun family ideas as well as delicious recipes. If you can find any of their items (especially on sale), you will definitely be in for a treat. Even receiving their catalog is a treasure. May we delight in spending precious time making memories with our little ones, today!
Image courtesy of Gooseberry Patch
Posted by Christine at 12:15 PM
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Used Bookstores: Treasury of Riches
I love classic books and I want my children to be exposed to great literature. Unfortunately, books can often be pricey. I was thrilled with my purchases I obtained at a local, used bookstore. I spent a mere $12.50 and got some wonderful books which have already brought my family much joy. The following is the list of books I obtained:
Winter Days in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder $1.50
The Tale of Jemima Puddleduck by Beatrix Potter $1.50
The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter $1.50
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter $1.50
The Story of Baby Jesus by Alice Davidson $1.50
The 23rd Psalm by Alice Davidson $1.50
The Story of Jonah by Alice Davidson $2.00
The Story of David and Goliath by Alice Davidson $1.50
So Help me God by Roy Moore Free (sells at Vision Forum for $25.00)
A Pictorial History of the Civil War Years Free
Isn't that amazing, my friends? Lily likes me to read these stories to her daily. I am so ecstatic that she loves to be read to. I truly hope she will be enamored with beautiful books throughout her life. Please visit your used bookstores to find some treasures near you. (Mine even has a large homeschooling bookcase) Don't forget to look in the discard/free bin; I definitely found some treasures there! Share a book memory with your children today. Isn't it amazing how a book can help shape them into the adult they will be!
Image Courtesy of All Posters
Posted by Christine at 7:44 PM
Friday, July 21, 2006
- Plant a fruit/vegetable garden.
- Pick in-season fruit at a blueberry, strawberry, or blackberry patch.
- Freeze, can, or dehydrate seasonal fruits and vegetables for future months.
- Keep an inventory of household supplies.
- Maintain a shopping list of household needs.
- Make a rotating 2 or 4 week meal schedule and grocery list.
- Thaw meats the night before for dinner preparations.
- Make and freeze several meals for the future. (especially if you are having a baby soon or for some reason you won't have as much time)
- Learn how to make meals with as few processed foods as possible. ( For example, I want to learn how to make a delicious crust for my pot pies rather than the store bought variety.The aluminum in store bought pie crusts is most unhealthy. I also want to learn how to make more broths and creams.)
Any ideas that you can add to this list would be very helpful. May we look well to the ways of our households and not "eat the bread of idleness." (based on Proverbs 31:27) Finding ways to improve our household management can make us more efficient. Let us serve our family heartily today, even as unto the LORD. Let us be as the ant, who is constantly looking towards preparing for tomorrow. (They invaded my kitchen this morning, so I have carefully watched their diligence. Thankfully, they are gone, now.)
Posted by Christine at 12:16 PM
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
"She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed in scarlet." (Proverbs 31:21) What a beautifully insightful verse as to what we should emulate in the Proverbs 31 woman! The main implication is that she prepares ahead of time for the elements and any other events. She has a great amount of foresight and does not live for this fleeting moment. She makes sure that she is busy in preparing clothing for her household. She also would surely make sure food and other necessities were well provided for beforehand. How can I use summer goods for the cold winter? Sewing and canning can be two wonderful ways to perserve for tomorrow. As one who often forgets about things my household needs, this is a very convicting and helpful verse. I need to keep a list of all the household necessities my family is running low on. By preparing menus and grocery lists, we can be efficient in our spending. When our households contain order, we are truly freed from many troubles. Another deeper meaning I saw in this verse was regarding snow and scarlet. Snow is often symbolic of God's Justice/Righteousness. Many households ought to be in fear of God's Justice if they have not repented of their sins and accepted Him as their Savior. But the household of the Proverbs 31 woman is "clothed in scarlet", which is symbolic of the Blood of Jesus. She and her husband have instilled in their children biblical truths and have led them to the Lord. A godly family does not fear God's Wrath when they are cloaked in the Precious Blood of the Lamb.
Posted by Christine at 1:08 PM
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
The Craig Family
Last year, I first learned about the trials the Craig family have had to endure. It all started in April 2005 when their son, Wesley, an epileptic, died. They had five children, five years and under. Shortly after Wesley's death, the other children were taken into custody by the state. For an entire year, the parents were only allowed supervised visitation with their children.The parents, Matthew and Danielle, are very godly examples who stayed strong in their faith. Thanks be to God, the charges were dropped and they were granted full custody of their children. As a mother, I could not imagine losing one of my children, and then the rest being ripped from me. The youngest baby at the time was only a couple of months old and had been nursing. Even he was pulled from his mother's arms. I am so ecstatic for this family for the victory in Jesus they received. Despite all the trials this family was experiencing, they still entrusted their fertility to the Lord. On June 14, they welcomed their sixth child into the world, a baby boy, Chayse Mathieu. Please keep them in your prayers, for they still have a lot of legal fees. I thank the Lord for the example of this dear family and for bringing their precious children home.
Posted by Christine at 4:11 PM
Friday, July 14, 2006
The Faithfulness of our God
Yesterday, my daughter, Lily, had a medical appointment that was rather upsetting. She should be ok, she just needs some future treatments which will be very painful. When I found out the results, I cried buckets and buckets. I was blessed to have my pillar of strength right beside me, my husband. I don't know what I would do without him. I was just so devastated that even his even temperment was unable to balance me. I wept and wept and wept some more. I could not do anything but cry and beg the Lord for strength. When we got home, my dear hubby asked me why I was crying and kneeling right there in our kitchen. I told him that I needed God's Strength right now. Do you know what He did for me, dear friend? He gave me, a very weak and sinful creature some of His Strength. I know for a fact that it could not have come from anywhere else. Though I was still upset about it all the rest of the evening and last night, He helped me to rest in Him. He can always do in an instant what it would take me a lifetime to accomplish. He does not always prevent the pain and sufferings we encounter, but He is always right there to lead us through. What amazes me is no matter how weak we may be, He is constantly there for us. He showed me that this is just one of the many sorrows that can occur in our bodies in a sin-filled world. As a result of sin, everything tends to breakdown and decay. He reminded me that "the world's thy ship and not thy home." Everytime I get real cozy and try to settle in and get used to this earth, God gives me one more reason to long for heaven. If earth was a cakewalk, we would never want to leave. As long as we are sojourners on this earth, we will always have sorrows, tragedies, misfortunes, sickness, deaths, and accidents. But if we focus on the brevity of this life and the joy to come, we will be able to make it through our trials. The verse that God has given me to savour is Romans 8:18, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." I heartily thank you for any prayers you may say on Lily's behalf.
Posted by Christine at 10:59 AM
Thursday, July 13, 2006
- Use Scripture in your decor. Stencil verses on the wall or around the doorway. Write verses in calligraphy and frame and display them.
- Utilize your bathroom by placing booklets or brochures like ones you can find at Answers in Genesis and Living Waters .
- Put a colorful, high-quality book on your coffee table or end tables in your living room.Some wonderful selections can be found from Vision Forum or Answers in Genesis.
- If you have a table in your foyer, perhaps you could place on it a lamp, a vase of flowers, a guestbook, and some tracts. As your guests sign their names in your book, they may peruse a tract. This also makes it handy to give tracts to salespeople.
- When inviting guests over, follow the example of the Pent family. They would have their regular devotional time regardless of whether company was with them. They would simply invite their guests to have devotions with them. What a simple, courageous, and beautiful way to share one's faith.
- Use art in your decor that tells a tale scripturally. One beautiful example is here . Any prints, photographs, or pictures that demonstrate biblical womanhood and masculine manhood is a wonderful testament to God's established roles.
Please remember that this is just a list of a few ideas. You may glean as little or as much from it as you wish. I want to implement many of these ideas soon. The most important thing is that we make our homes as heavenly as we can to be instrumental in the way we lead others to the LORD. I thought of this list of ideas after an unsaved guest left my house recently. I felt sad that I had not done more to lead her to the Lord, even through my example. May these ideas be a blessing to you. Please send me any ideas you think of and I will add them to this list.
Posted by Christine at 10:48 AM
Friday, July 07, 2006
"Take heed therefore that ye do not your alms before other men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven... But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly." -Matthew 6:1,3,4
Our Blessed Lord has weighed this verse upon my heart greatly throughout my life, and especially as of late. I want to "abound to every good work". (2 Corinthians 9:8) But God does not just look on the outward appearances as man does, He looks at our heart. I am often guilty of doing good deeds without having a heart that is pleasing to God. I need to constantly evaluate my heart and my motive(s). Am I baking a fresh batch of cookies for others out of love for God and my neighbor or am I seeking man's praise? For if I am seeking man's praise, I have already received my reward. One way that God has showed me that I can have a purer motive is to pray while I am preparing a gift or food for another. I am to beg the Lord to use me and my goods for His Glory and never to seek my own. What reward do I seek from my works? If they are done out of Christian charity, I should not expect a thank you. So often, I am let down when I receive no gratitude from man. But that simply is not the way of our Master. We are to do good, expecting nothing in return from man. We need to do everything to please our Lord. We should try to do our good deeds and our almsgiving as discreetly as possible. When we blow the trumpet and act like the martyr, we have already received our reward. When we seek man's approval, we have already received our reward. The few times I have done good deeds without anyone knowing save my Lord, are the most precious times to me. They are special to me because they are like a secret savored between my Beloved Lord and I. May I always seek to glorify Him alone.
Posted by Christine at 10:15 AM
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Times of Refreshment
Being the mother of two young children (a one year old and a three year old) is a great blessing from the Lord. They are the greatest treasures that the Lord has bestowed on me. Lately, I have been feeling burnt out and easily frazzled. I know that I am not giving myself as well to others when I am stressed out and at my wits end. God has recently led me to evaluate my daily schedule (or lack thereof) and to find ways to incorporate times of refreshment in my hectic days.
My children need my attention basically all day long, but there are a couple periods of time that I have available for relaxation. These available time slots include early in the morning, naptime, and in the evening when the children are in bed. I want to utilize these times to be reinvigorated. The first vital element is to always begin one's day by soaking up the Word of God and praying. If we do not seek Him first, all of our efforts are in vain. Unless the Lord is the center of my life, all my deeds are mere "busyness". We can only be truly refreshed when we beseech our Lord to help us in our journey.
There are many beneficial activities available before one's household is even awake. A brisk walk in the cool morning air is quite peaceful. Perhaps you may enjoy taking a journal along and sketching a beautiful scene of what God has painted for you. Another exercise that can give you energy and time to think is simply riding your bike a few times around the block. This can wake you up even better than a cup of coffee.
Naptime is another wonderful time to refuel. During this time, try soaking in a relaxing bath with a little lavender oil. Find an outlet that you can enjoy such as journaling, scrapbooking, letter writing, or any hobby you enjoy. Even when/if your children have outgrown naptime, continue to have an hour of quiet in the afternoon. It will help the whole family to get along better.
My favorite time of the day for refreshment is in the evening when my children have gone to bed. This is an ideal time to share a mini-date in the comfort of your own home with your husband. My hubby and I don't get to go on many dates alone, but we can relish time alone together each evening. We need to simply be more efficient about putting the kids to bed at a set time so we can relax and enjoy each other's company. For a lovely evening with your spouse, choose an activity and enjoy a seasonal or favorite beverage together.
There are so many ways to enjoy the evening with your spouse. Choose a book to cuddle up and read together. Pray together especially for your children. Converse about your dreams and hopes. Plan a lovely vacation or even a future home. Play cards, chess, or board games. Lay a beautiful quilt on your backyard and watch together under a starry sky. Learn a foreign language together of a place that you would love to travel to. Learn a hobby you both enjoy such as refinishing furniture or building a dollhouse for your little girl. Put a puzzle together. Read the Bible together and discuss how God is leading you.
While relishing this time together, a delicious drink shared is wonderfully refreshing. Prepare your husband's favorite cuppa ___. Perhaps you may try a seasonal beverage. In spring, share your evening fellowship on the front porch on two rockers with a glass of iced sweet tea. In the summer, relax on the deck and savor a lemonade. When the crisp feel of autumn fills the air, share a hot apple cider with your sweetheart. During winter, enjoy a hot cup of cocoa while relaxing on the couch in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace. Other delightful beverages include smoothies, warm tea, and milkshakes.
I pray that you will use your imagination and that these "mini-retreats" will be a great source of refreshment for your soul. Only when we are more rested can we adaquately give of ourselves to others.
Posted by Christine at 6:58 AM
Monday, July 03, 2006
- Rocking Chairs
- Large Southern Porches
- Old Country Churches
- Toes in the warm sand
- Bed and Breakfast Inns
- Berries (all types)
- Handmade Quilts
- Plantation Homes
- Old Schoolhouses
- Floral Teacups
- Old Tree in the Shade
- Rolling Hills of Ireland
- Sunrooms with white wicker furniture
- Old treasured Hymns
- Amish built furniture
- Beautiful Gardens
Posted by Christine at 1:05 PM
Sunday, July 02, 2006
The Word that Nourishes Us
Jesus gives us His Word that is to daily nourish and sustain us. Just as we die without physical nourishment, we wither when we lack spiritual nourishment. Recently, when I was reading through the Bible, I encountered a very interesting passage, Amos 8:11-13.
"Behold the days shall come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of God and they shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst."
What a terrible famine it is to not hear the voice of the Lord! He is our Bread of Life (John 6:35) and we are to constantly feast upon His Word. It can be tempting to read a chapter or two of Scripture and to think we are done with our "duty" for the day. But we must study God's Word as often as we can. When we cannot be reading His Word, we should meditate on memorized selections of God's Word. What a great challenge to fill our whole lives with Scripture. Let God transform you through His Word. Then, when the trials and tragedies of life arise, we will triumph through His Grace. When we live for even one moment forgetting the importance of God's Word, we drift and cause ourselves pain. May our lives be centered around the Holy Scriptures and be radically transformed by them.
Posted by Christine at 11:35 AM