Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tightwad Tuesday - Cheap Convenience Store Drinks.

Please join us for Tightwad Tuesday hosted by
Mary on Raising 4 Godly Men.

Since we've started focusing on eating healthier and watching what we put into our bodies, I've lessened my soda intake and am drinking mostly water or tea. When I do drink soda now, I usually can take one or two sips and I'm done. If I drink any more than that, it just gets too sweet for my taste.

When we stop to get gas, and if we have a little extra cash, we like to get the family some snacks and drinks. But with me not drinking more than maybe a fourth of a fountain drink I can not justify paying .69 for a soda I will not finish. So I've found a way to get myself a drink that I will drink and is actually cheaper than most fountain drinks.

We usually get gas locally at Quicktrip, and they sell ice cups for $.20. The ice cups can be any size from the 22oz to the 44oz size, I usually get the 32oz size ice cup. They also sell the single serving packets of Crystal Light in several flavors. My favorite flavor is the lemonade :). I pour one packet into the bottom of the empty cup. Then I fill the cup full of ice, and then fill with water from the hot water tap on the coffee machine.

The ice cup costs me .20 and the Crystal Light .39 for a total of $.59 for a cup of lemonade. If I think ahead I can bring my own cup and save the cost of the ice cup and have a cup of lemonade for only $.39. Not bad for a drink that I WILL completely drink, and is probably a little bit healthier than sodas loaded with high fructose corn syrup. If you bring your own cups for everyone in your family and use this method for quenching your thirst you can get drinks for a family of 5 for just under $2.00! :)

Have a blessed day!

Minor Musings....

Jordan and I were having a friendly chat this morning while we were doing the dishes. Some of the coversation went like this:

Jordan: Mom, I'm going to have babies when I grow up.

Mom: That's a good thing. And it's good to wait until you grow up and get married to have babies. Babies need a daddy.

Jordan: Uh huh... you know how many I'm going to have?

Mom: No... how many?

Jordan: I'm going to have 6 babies. Babies are fun and easy to take care of...

Mom silently grins.... yes babies are fun, but not always easy. But I won't burst her bubble just yet....

Monday, November 10, 2008

Guest Blogger : Shaping a Godly Heritage through Faithbooking

As parents and teachers, church workers and community members, it's one of our chief jobs to hand the children within our reach a heritage. Some families have passed down alcohol or nicotine addictions to their children. Other children have received emotional wounds left from various forms of abuse and neglect, at their parents' hands. No one intends to do this, so why does it happen? Probably because so few of us step away from all the busy-work that comes with our tasks of clipping little nails and brushing teeth and washing the clothes and cleaning house and picking up the toys; having the sex talk with our teenagers and giving them driving lessons, to get some perspective on our lives as well as theirs.

We cannot pass perspective on to our children if we don't have it ourselves! Take some time, while doing dishes or sweeping the floor, to occupy your brain with this thought: what ideas and attitudes and values am I really passing down to my children?

Ask God to show you how He sees you; your children. That's step number one to getting perspective. For example, some people think being humble means thinking poorly of oneself and highly of others. Others think humility is the epitome of seeing yourself precisely the way God sees you (valuable, powerful, important, beloved...). Depending on which of these views you hold, you will pass down different values to your children, whether you mean to or not.

There are thousands of these questions we need to reexamine in our hearts on a frequent basis to be sure the corrupt spirit of the world has not tained our view of God and ourselves and the rest of the world.

So where am I going with all of this? Allow me to explain. I have spent more than a decade being an avid photographer of my family and scrapbooker. Are all of my pictures in albums today? No. But the ones that are, are there because I had specific messages to send to my children.

A few years ago, scrapbooking was considered the fastest growing sector of the crafting industry, and for all I know it still may be. Some people began scrapbooking to have an artistic outlet. That's me. Some people were eager to have their pictures in order instead of spread all over their house in total chaos and disarray. That was me too. Some people earned a little income for their families selling the really good stuff. Uh-huh, also myself. Some treated their albums as an excuse to meet with their friends and chat (boy I enjoyed this part, and yet it didn't really lead to albums getting done). All this to say, different people pick up their pictures and memorabilia and scrapbooking supplies for different reasons.

But there is one movement within the scrapbooking world that does all of the above and SO much more. It's called Faithbooking.

If you're organizing your pictures for the very first time in your life, you might begin to group them chronologically. Or you might make piles of pictures to put into each child's own albums that they'll take with them when they grow up and start a family of their own. You might group them according to themes like birthday parties or vacations.

But what if you did more than just chronicle where you went and what you did in those albums about your life? I think when I get out my album supplies, God is looking down on my joy over stickers and pens and patterned papers (my toys!) to complement my pictures, and He's smiling. But imagine His out and out joy when I use my albums to convey His values to my children - when I choose what I write about, and how I write it to tell my kids how important they are to Him. Think of the tool that your albums, even ones with very simple pages, can be in shaping the way your children see themselves and the world around them.

Photo safe albums, pens, and adhesives are all you need to get started with faithbooks. Oh, and you need perspective - the kind I mentioned earlier. No stickers, no papers, no die-cuts are necessary. Pictures don't even have to be grouped according to events or years, because the theme of the album is all about focusing your kids on God's faithfulness in their lives. Let this blow your mind - the things you write on the album pages don't even have to comment on the pictures you apply in the album! You can copy out your favorite Bible verses onto the pages or tell stories about their prayers God answered when they were small and too young to remember for themselves.

God forbid a parent is ever separated from his or her child by war or death or unfortunate circumstances, permanently or for any length of time, but if it happens, an album that reminds that child (even a grown one) where he or she has come from and where he or she is going based on God's purposes, will be visited over and over again in life. And what will that child (or one who never lacks for a parent with a clear view of God's will) gain in the process? Learning line upon line and precept upon precept who he is and who God is and what is the meaning of life from God's view. (And you thought I was rambling, but) Perspective! In a simple album with a few precious pictures, we can convey how much we love our children, how much God loves them, and we can give them the gift of knowing from an early point in life exactly what his or her place is in this world.

I'll part with the following, one of my favorite quotes of all time, by one of my favorite people of all time. Of course I see it as something to implement in many ways, among them through my scrapbooks:

"There is a richness of family heritage in each person's life that will be lost if it is not passed on to the next generation. To preserve this heritage for our children, we must tell them where we've been, and how we got to this moment Sharing about our faith, about our early family experiences, about the obstacles we overcame, or the failures we suffered, can bring a family together and give it a sense of identity. The stories of your past, of your childhood, of the courtship of your spouse, etc. can be treasures to be given to your children. Unless you share those experiences with them, that part of their history will be gone forever. Take the time to make your yesterday come alive for your family."
-Dr. James Dobson, Home of the Heart

And along similar lines, few of us will be leaving our children controlling interest in multi-million dollar businesses, but look at the following through the eyes of a future Faithbooker:

"A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children" - Proverbs 13:22

The most valuable things we can give to our children cannot be bought for any price, and only we can choose to pass along that richness to them, or else withhold it at everyone's expense. If we don't fill the children in our lives up with all of God's goodness and His world view, what will the world fill them with? They will grow to have a perspective of one sort or another, and it's up to you and me to help them find the one that will enable them to live a rich and full life, God's way. Faithbooking is one small step in that direction

Tina Nettles
homeschool mom and avid scrapbooker

Tina is a Creative Memories consultant and avid scrapbooker. She also is occupied keeping her castle, tending the royal garden, homeschooling, reading, and organizing activities for her church youth department. Her current castle is in Tulsa,Ok. She holds court with her husband Dan, sons Josh and Jordan, and two Dogs Sir Galahad and Lady Kensyton. She can be reached by email at the_nettles_family@yahoo.com.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Confession of an orginizational derelict....

I’ve got a confession to make…. You ready for it? I am an orginizaitonal derelict. Does this surprise you? Probably not, but at least I am finally admitting it.

I didn’t grow up in a home that was organized, and I am not naturally organized.

No matter how hard I try, I just can not come to a point that I can say I have “arrived” and become organized. And I have tried a lot.

I live in a 2 bedroom mobile home with my hubby, my 3 kids, and 1 dog. I can’t yet claim the cat that adopted our front porch, but I think my hubby is about to give in. We all share limited space with 1 bathroom (the dog doesn’t share the bathroom).

Needless to say, with all the stuff a family of 5 acquires, our home feels pretty small. One thing being out of place can quickly cause a ripple effect and lead to complete chaos. And with my lack of organizational skills this happens a lot.

So through my years I have sought out tips and advice from more experienced home-makers. My journey has led me to other women who are willing to share their experiences and wisdom to help me in the areas of my life that are lacking. I’ve slowly gleaned ideas on how to be more organized.

One thing that I have learned and have done to help me is develop a beneficial evening and morning routine. My morning routine helps me to have a smoother start to my day. It helps my day flow and sets me up to handle interruptions with less stress.

A routine is simply a series of things you do each day, and eventually they become a habit. Whether or not you realize it, you already have a routine that you follow in your day to day life. The question is, does your routine develop helpful habits, or habits that interfere with your day.

My routine is in the form of a written list. My 8 mo is still not sleeping through the night, and most mornings I am still too groggy to think about what to needs to be done. So my list is a tool that helps me to know what to do each morning so I can stay on track in my routine. I am starting to be a lover of written lists.

When I started to develop my routine, I first started with what could be done in the kitchen during the evening to prepare for the next day. I don’t know why, the rest of the house can be in complete disarray and I’m fine. But if my kitchen is out of order I can not function.

So I came up with a evening routine that included straightening up the kitchen, writing out what needs to be done the following day, and thinking of what I need to do to prepare my self for a smoother morning. I would then make sure that each of us had a complete outfit that was clean to wear for the next day.

After I had an evening routine fairly well set up, I started working on my morning routine. I would think of one thing I could do to make my day start better, and I would work on making it a habit. Once I did that one thing pretty regular, then I would add another thing to add and work on. Eventually my routine became fairly regular and consistent and I noticed a big improvement on how my day started and progressed compared to when I neglected to do my routine.

What happens now on days I don’t follow my routine? I feel lost, the whole day feels helter skelter. Interruptions large and small can bring the rest of my day to a stand still, and I have a hard time figuring how to restart it.

My morning routine now looks like this:

Rise and Shine! Feed baby J.
Get baby dressed and happily occupied or put her back to sleep.
Make Bed.
Brush Teeth, do my hair, and put on makeup (sometimes)
Wipe bathroom counter and quickly hand mop around the toilette
Spray the tub
Make some tea or coffee
Read Bible and devotions…

I try to get my routine done before my girls wake up, but since baby J is not sleeping through the night yet. I like to grab all the sleep I can and usually wake up right as they start to stir.

It’s not a very long list, and I don’t always do everything on my routine list. But just doing some of these helps me to be ready to face the day ahead.

If you don’t have a routine, I highly recommend you start one. Just pick one thing that you can do to help your day go smoother, and develop it into a beneficial habit. And keep developing good habits one at a time, and I’m sure that soon you will start to see your days run smoother too..
Psalm 65:11 You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Be one who sighs and cries out....

Ezekiel 9:3b-4
And He called to the man clothed with linen, who [had] the writer's inkhorn
and the LORD said to him, "Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it."

Throughout the day today I read quite a few news articles and blogs reacting to the results of last nights Presidential Elections. Some were written with delight, some were written with shock and disbelief, some were written with a “see I told you so” attitude. But a prevelant mentality through most of what I read today was fear.

Those written with delight feared the weak economy and saw Mr. Obama’s plan as the only way to strengthen the nation’s financial foundations.

Those written with shock and disbelief feared the evil to come by the hand of our new President Elect.

Those written with a “see I told you so” attitude feared that America is so far gone that any attempt to stand up to evil would be fruitless. They only saw that no matter how they voted or voiced their opinion, evil would win in the long run, because God has already forsaken us.

I have to admit. When I woke up this morning, I was pretty shocked to see the final results. I was a bit stunned to read that Obama would now be the one that our country would be handed over to.

Over the past few months I have fasted and prayed that righteousness would be restored and justice would be sought for the millions of unborn. I truly believe that John McCain would be the best hope America had to stop the current slide and degradation. When I went to bed last night, I truly believed John McCain would be our President Elect.

So when I woke up, I was shocked. I grieved for the fate of the future unborn is now in even more jeopardy. I questioned my self whether I fasted or prayed enough, or if my faith was strong enough, or if I had any real faith at all when I prayed.

But did I fear? No. I believe that there is still hope and that the time following this history making event will bring great opportunity for the Body of Christ.

There is hope that Mr. Obama will humble himself and repent, such as King Manasseh. 2 Chron 33:9 says “So Manasseh seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel.” Mr. Obama is deceived. And in his deception he seduced the people of this land, and members within the church, to approve of great evil.

But great affliction came upon him, and in his affliction he implored the Lord, humbled himself, and knew that the Lord was God. And that resulted to the nation turning back to God.

But even if Mr. Obama does not humble himself, there is still hope. The first century church grew and gained great influence under the reign of one of the most evil rulers in the history of Rome. This tells me there is great opportunity for the Body of Christ.

This is a great opportunity, but will we take it? Or will we sit back in lazyness thinking some one else will pull our slack? Will we allow fear to keep us from stepping out in boldness and faith and continue to spread the truth that there is only hope in Christ?

Or will we allow ourselves to believe that God has already forsaken us?

In Ezekiel the God showed His prophet that the Israelites did many wicked abominations, all the while saying “The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.” (Ez 8:12). It was an attitude of fear and despair that allowed them to be blinded and their hearts hardened. It is because the believed God has forsaken the Land that they did not implore of the Lord, humble themselves, and repent for their sin. When God sends forth His wrath and judgement, he instructs one of those in charge of the city to seek out those who are crying out because of the abominations, and mark them so they might not be destroyed. (Side note, our mark is greater than the feared mark of the beast).

The future of our nation still depends on us. Us as Christians, children of the Most High God, and members of the Body of Christ. God is looking for those who cry out because of the abominations in the land, and willing to pray for the leaders of the nation. It is through us speaking and praying His word can His will be done. It is through us praying for our leaders and leaders elect. We need to pray for each and every one of their souls. We need to pray that the blinders would be taken off their eyes, that the scales would fall so they would see clearly. We need to pray that they would come to the knowledge of God through Christ Jesus.

Do not be deceived. Do not be afraid. There is still hope. There is great opportunity. God has not forsaken us.

He still reigns