Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My daily schedule and advice needed from you all!

So, here's how it's going. It's not. lol I've been staying up too long at night and waking up late these past two morning. Last night, I took a sleeping pill (I'm still having insomnia issues) and just couldn't shake it off this morning. I still have some issues about scheduling though. Maybe I can get some help from my readers out in blogland.

John and I have been talking about how to get our family consistently on fire for God. Too often, we start out with a bang, and end with a fizzle. Our love for God doesn't go away. Just our desire to be in the deeper things of God. I'm really worried that I'm not teaching my children to be the Christians they should be. I'm really worried that I'm not being the type of Christian that I should be.

I'm being absolutely painfully honest here. We don't do family Bible times. Shoot, only one of the four of us is a morning person, and the rest of us have to really restrain ourselves from hurting him. lol By the time we are back together again at night, we eat dinner, park in front of the TV and then crawl into bed at our appointed times. Or, in my case, after I've found out whodunit. We are looking for a new church, and haven't made going to visit any the priority it should be. I think part of that is Michael and I used to be very involved in our church. You could find us there most days doing something, or hanging out with someone from there.

When John and I got married, we agreed that blending our family took priority over outside activities. I scaled back (ok, quit) my activities and Mikey's. Then, we moved and switched churches. The church didn't have any activities for anyone other than Wednesdays and Sundays. Not for the kids, not for the adults. I mean, my old church even had an active men's ministry. How hard is that in this day and age! They had a Christian biker's group, hunting and outdoorsmen group, a father and son group... the list goes on and on. I think that's why that church was so successful. Our new church didn't have any of that and I struggled to really fit in. Well, they've had a shake-up. The pastor that drew us there isn't there anymore. The few friends I made aren't there anymore. And there is even less going on than before. So, we're going to a new church.

I firmly believe that you must have an active group of programs for people to join. That helps people connect. Once they are connected to the Body of Christ, they feel more emboldened to share Christ with others. After all, aren't we supposed to make non-Christians CRAVE what we have? I don't know about you, but I'd rather join a group with a lot going on and something to offer everyone in my family than a place where you just go to fill a seat. I'm not the type to just fill a seat.

Now, I don't think that our inactivity as a family is because of the church. It's us. We've blended pretty well, but in doing so, we took the focus off God and put it on the family. I have definitely heard from God about this. I'm starting two groups, getting involved with another group that I used to work with, and I'm joining a fourth group. I know I will be busy, but I have to do what God tells me to do. Plus, I used to do this as a single mom. I headed two large non-profits, was involved in two others, worked more than full time and was active in church. All while raising my son, who is a great kid.

I will not do any of this if it means not drawing closer to God as a family. So, how do we do that? Is the family Bible time too late to start with a 15 year old and an almost 11 year old? Can they not learn that from us now? Is it never too late to start? What is better, morning or night? We have pros and cons for both. Should we just start reading in Genesis and go on from there, or because we're new to this, should we get a family Bible study with a book and structure until we're ready to go it alone? I'm open to all suggestions. I'll share them with John, and let you all know what we decide and how it works. I know that there is no "one-fits-all" solution. I'm just looking for options at this point.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Confessions of a news junkie

Yep, you read that right. I'm a news junkie. I really did try to give up the news. Really! For a whole week. Then, I just took a peek to see what was going on. The next thing I knew, I was back where I started. Following every news story, reading all the comments, refreshing the pages of the sites I enjoy to see if there was any breaking news. And the angst! Oh the angst of every news story. The rehashing of it with John, the venting about issues with the kids, the drama of the events. My peace of mind is completely gone!

I'm brought back to what started my whole news fast. The WORD of GOD! Here is Isaiah 33 again.

Isaiah 33 (New International Version)
14 The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: "Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?"
15 He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil-
16 this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him.
17 Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar.
18 In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror: "Where is that chief officer? Where is the one who took the revenue? Where is the officer in charge of the towers?"
19 You will see those arrogant people no more, those people of an obscure speech, with their strange, incomprehensible tongue.
20 Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken.
21 There the LORD will be our Mighty One. It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams. No galley with oars will ride them, no mighty ship will sail them.
22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us.
23 Your rigging hangs loose: The mast is not held secure, the sail is not spread. Then an abundance of spoils will be divided and even the lame will carry off plunder.
24 No one living in Zion will say, "I am ill"; and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven.

This is very clear! I need to keep my eyes on God and not on the world. I admit that I have had some discouragement over the time I've been back in the news. I've had some worries and doubts. I've fallen off the path that I knew He's set me on, all because I've taken my eyes off Him and put them on the detours of life.

Here's how I rescue this situation. I put my eyes back on Him who gave me sight, and I take them off the world. Easier said than done, but I need to do it. And so, I will be doing that this afternoon. I admit, I want to see what is announced with the auto industry. I'm in Michigan and know people who rely on the auto industry for their livelihood. Whatever is announced, I'm not letting it get me worried. We serve the most high God!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The start of a new week

I admit it. I'm a geek. I love the beginning of new weeks, new months, new years, new school years. I just love new beginnings. This week is the start of several new things. I'm starting a new, improved daily schedule for me. The kids are working on their chore charts, and doing mighty well with them I might add. I'm starting a new phase in my business - we're transitioning from craft show based to Internet and wholesale based. And, John and I are working on a new project. I can't share that one yet. We're also looking for a new church. The kids really want us to go to one of the churches that their classmates go to - Colonial Woods or another one along those lines. Some of the parents have invited me to visit too. We'll see what happens. I really really really miss the AG church. I know that the one I attended was different than most AG churches, but I loved the activities, fellowship and all my friends. Now, we're all scattered around and the kids haven't really connected with the church we were attending. There just aren't kids' activities there for them.

So, my schedule is going to look something like this. It's a work in progress, and is going to be changing as I get into it more.

6am - up, Bible reading, shower and dress
6:45 - make sure both kids are up
7:15 - breakfast
7:35 - leave for school
8-9 - stuff that needs doing around the house
9-2:30pm - work
2:30-3:30 - pick up kids
3:30-5 - kids do homework and chores, I finish up work
5-6:30 - make dinner and clean up around the house
6:30-9 - dinner and family time - Michael shower at 8:30 - once the garden is in, we'll be using this time to maintain it as a family.
9-10 - Michael in bed, Katelyn get ready for bed, bed at 10 for Katelyn and me

Fridays are totally different. I don't work, and I do my errands and grocery shopping. My Saturdays, when not at shows, are going to be work 9-5 also, but more flexible. Sundays will be the Sabbath. Church and family time.

Now, I know there are some glaring holes in this. When do I blog? That is actually part of my work. I see it as ministry and work related. When do John and I get some alone time? Well, we have no kids on the weekends during the school year, so we get lots of time then. This will be especially true as I move the business away from craft shows and more into the wholesale part. Plus, Katelyn has soccer that we're working into the schedule. The thing is, the schedule for that is so crazy that it is pointless to put it in the schedule. We just have to work it out as it comes.

My schedule has been so crazy lately that something had to give. John and I talked, and my schedule is what has to change. I couldn't get more flexible without breaking something. I've been forgetting stuff and missing appointments - totally not me. My planner is back out and in full effect now. I also have to start treating the business as a business, not like something I get to when everything else is done. Things are never completely done! lol

Well, I have to get moving now. This is the last Sunday where I'll be doing stuff instead of keeping the Sabbath. I have to use this time to prepare for this week coming up. Plus, I have to make sure I can schedule in everything to be ready for next Sunday. I want minimal cooking and cleaning for Sunday. It's time to reorganize my priorities.

Coming up this week on the blog:
Monday - Bible Study
Tuesday - How the schedule is working so far
Wednesday - A look at my meals/cooking with allergies. Plus, announce the prize winners!
Thursday - Revisit the $3000 challenge (we have $500 of it sold.)
Friday - Menu Planning
Saturday - Organization update
Sunday - Nothing planned - just whatever God puts on my heart, if anything

That's the plan! Let's see how it all works out this week.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Welcome to Ultimate Blog Party '09!

There is this really annoying commercial on Nickelodeon. It's a compilation of these guys saying the word "dude" over and over and over. Last night, we were watching Scooby Doo (yes, one of my favorite shows) and the commercial came on. My loving husband offered to throw something through the TV to turn it off. A normal family would have changed the channel. We are not normal. The kids and I promptly went into a 2 minute chorus of "dude" as many different ways and tones of voice as we could. By the end of it, even my husband was laughing. Life is just too short to get annoyed with the little things. Welcome to my world.

My name is Michele, but just call me Chele. Everyone does. I am a stay at home wife and mom. My husband John and I have been married for three years this coming May. We each have one child from our first marriages. Katelyn is 15 and a freshman in high school and Michael is 10 and in fifth grade. We are all evangelical Christians, and the children (excuse me, young adults) attend a local Christian school. John is the IT manager for a chain of collision shops. I have a candle and scented products company. I handmake all our products. I adore my husband and kids. We have such a great life!

We live in the country on about three acres of land. I love it! I'm starting a local chapter of the Mary Jane FarmGirls here. I'm really embracing my inner barn diva. I'd like to actually have more land. I'd like to be able to be as self-sufficient as possible. I'm really frugal (ok, cheap), and the thought of not having to pay anyone else for stuff appeals to me a lot. There's also another reason we want to grow our own food. Food allergies.

Yes, I have some serious food allergies. People hear the list of what I'm allergic to, and the first question I get is, "What do you eat!". I'm used to it, and it makes me laugh. There is this perception that being allergic to something means that you are missing out. I'm sorry, but I eat very well without getting ill. My list of allergies includes dairy, the entire onion family (onions, shallots, chives, green onions, leeks and garlic), most food preservatives, meat tenderizers, MSG, roses, latex, most antibiotics, grass, dust, feathers, fur, and several others. My son is also allergic to dairy. I also have a health condition that makes me get very ill if I have too much fat. I can only eat 25-50 grams a day before my body starts to register its complaints. As a result, we eat very few processed foods, very little meat, and lots of homemade goodies. Some family favorites include spaghetti, all types of Mexican food, chicken and dumplings, sticky buns, bread, all types of Chinese (I make it from scratch, like most everything else) and almost anything edible. lol I love cooking, and we try new recipes often. I'm considering entering a cooking contest. We'll see how that turns out.

This blog is a mix of Bible study, homemaking, family news, and whatever comes to mind. I have a strange sense of humor at times, and we enjoy pranking each other. I also like to talk about living with allergies. It's a challenge that more and more people are living with. Living frugally is also important to me. We have a monthly grocery budget of $360, and that includes all of our pet foods, paper products, and toiletries. We're also working on being debt free in the next three years. I try to be organized. Really I do. It just doesn't happen very often. lol It's a work in progress. I'm a work in progress. I'm very open about my life.

Well, that's me in a nutshell. I welcome you to poke around the blog. I'm in the middle of doing a giveaway for my business. We just launched my revamped website. And now that I know where our camera is, I'll be taking pictures to share. The kids should be very scared. Let's just say I love taking surprise shots. lol

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm just plain old mad now

I mean, good and ticked. A friend asked if we could get the word out about this. People, this would directly affect your ability to have your own garden to produce your own food. I'm going to copy and paste the information from the message boards at marilu.com. I don't want to mess this up. We live in a farming community, and this would really hurt our already hurting economy. This is a long read, but worth it.

Please read: A bill to outlaw organic farming next week?

by Tonia on 25 Mar 2009 18:05

Hi everyone. Marilu received the following email on a bill that's coming up in Congress and we'd like everyone to know about it.-------------------

US House and Senate are about (in a week and a half) to vote on bill that will OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING (bill HR 875). There is an enormous rush to get this into law within the next 2 weeks before people realize what is happening.

Please take time to read this and pass it along to your friends. This is truly alarming! The wording of this bill is so general it gives the government complete control over our food. It has the potential to take away our right to choose the food we want to eat; all in the name of food safety.

The name on this outrageous food plan is Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (bill HR 875).HR875 Title: To establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes.

Senate Bill 425 - To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for the establishment of a traceability system for food, to amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspections Act, the Egg Products Inspection Act, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for improved public health and food safety through enhanced enforcement, and for other purposes.

Notice the last sentence “and for other purposes”…

How much control are we willing to give up?First of all can you imagine the additional expense to our government to create a new USDA/FDA body (In HR875 the new administrator is given complete authority to make this organization as big as he wants). We are already trillions in debt as a nation. This bill includes surveillance of growers/farmers, computer tagging, monitoring, and “mandatory” usage of whatever means the government deems necessary to kill anything living in our food they feel is bad, including all the vitamins which are quite fragile. Imagine the manpower. Are we trying to create jobs just for the sake of it? Who’s paying for this? WE ARE!

425 would potentially outlaw all “potlucks”, anything home grown, herbal remedies, alternative health options, personal food gardens, and so on! This is serious!

Don’t be fooled! READ IT!

This is all being claimed in the name of “food safety”. It is a way to squeeze out our smaller local farmers and shift food production over to large national “BIG Business”. The financial burden to comply will effectively squeeze out small farmers. No going green here! Major carbon footprints!

Please check links below on HR 875 proposal potentially criminalizing organic farming, seed diversity and the backyard gardener, all in the name of food safety and 425. It’s a violation of your rights. Please express your concerns to your state representatives and congressmen. This impacts all of us now and our children in the future. This bill will effectively give our government or whoever is in control, complete control over our food system. The downside is that heirloom varieties, non-GMO plants, non-cloned animals, non-irradiated, hormone free, organic and pesticide free plants and animals can be deemed illegal! Our health hangs in the balance. This hands our food future over to herbicide/pesticide manufacturers like Monsanto.

Main backer and lobbyist is (guess who) Monsanto – chemical and genetic engineering giant corporation. This bill will require organic farms to use specific fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the newly formed agency to "make sure there is no danger to the public food supply". This will include backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and not for sales.If this passes then NO more heirloom clean seeds but only Monsanto genetically altered seeds that are now showing up with unexpected diseases in humans.

There is a video on the subject.

And another one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeWVkTU1s1Ehttp://www.opednews.com/articles/Monsan ... 9-337.html

(Article on Monsanto)http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:h875: (bill itself - click on Thomas Home and then browse bill by sponsor Rosa DeLauro)

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtex ... l=s111-425 (Bill 425: Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act - Introduced in Senate)


Get on that phone and burn up the wires. Get anyone else you can to do the same thing. The House and Senate WILL pass this if they are not massively threatened with loss of their position.... They only fear your voice and your vote.

Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. sponsored HR875.The best thing to do is go to http://www.house.gov/writerep all you have to do is put in your zip and it will give you your congressperson and how to get in touch with them. When you call their office someone will answer the phone, just tell them (politely) that you are calling to express your views on HR 875. Tell them your views, they'll take your name and address and pass your comments along to the congressperson. The following link http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_i ... rs_cfm.cfm is a list of the U.S. senators and their contact info.

Here are a list of Reps cosponsoring HR875, if your state is on here, please contact them and express your concerns.
Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] - 2/11/2009
Rep Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [GA-2] - 2/4/2009
Rep Bishop, Timothy H. [NY-1] - 2/4/2009
Rep Carson, Andre [IN-7] - 2/11/2009
Rep Castor, Kathy [FL-11] - 2/4/2009
Rep Courtney, Joe [CT-2] - 3/3/2009
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] - 2/4/2009
Rep DeGette, Diana [CO-1] - 2/4/2009
Rep Engel, Eliot L. [NY-17] - 2/4/2009
Rep Eshoo, Anna G. [CA-14] - 2/4/2009
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] - 2/10/2009
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 2/4/2009
Rep Giffords, Gabrielle [AZ-8] - 2/4/2009
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 2/4/2009
Rep Hall, John J. [NY-19] - 2/4/2009
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 2/4/2009
Rep Hirono, Mazie K. [HI-2] - 2/4/2009
Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [TX-30] - 2/12/2009
Rep Kaptur, Marcy [OH-9] - 2/4/2009
Rep Lee, Barbara [CA-9] - 2/4/2009
Rep Lowey, Nita M. [NY-18] - 2/4/2009
Rep McCollum, Betty [MN-4] - 2/10/2009
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] - 2/4/2009
Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 2/4/2009
Rep Moore, Gwen [WI-4] - 2/4/2009
Rep Murphy, Christopher S. [CT-5] - 2/4/2009
Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] - 2/4/2009
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] - 2/12/2009
Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1] - 2/4/2009
Rep Ruppersberger, C. A. Dutch [MD-2] - 3/10/2009
Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17] - 2/4/2009
Rep Sanchez, Linda T. [CA-39] - 2/4/2009
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] - 2/4/2009
Rep Schauer, Mark H. [MI-7] - 2/4/2009
Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [NY-28] - 2/4/2009
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] - 2/12/2009
Rep Sutton, Betty [OH-13] - 2/4/2009
Rep Tierney, John F. [MA-6] - 3/3/2009
Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-20] - 2/4/2009
Rep Wexler, Robert [FL-19] - 3/3/2009

Still here

Wow! Life has kicked into overdrive. I love that downward slide to the end of the school year. Big projects get wrapped up, moods lighten up, and no more ambushes from teachers about my children missing assignments. lol Yes, we have another 9 weeks of school left and I am counting down the days.

Our children go to a local country Christian school. Homeschooling is not an option for us because of custody arrangements, but we've found the next best thing. The school has a great family atmosphere. I volunteer in school, and the kids are active with their friends, as much as possible. I like the Christ-centered education that they receive. They are able to see people living and walking out their faith on a daily basis. I mean, that there are others that do it besides us. lol

I had some dental work done yesterday, and am still hurting. I'll take some Tylenol and go on with my day. John took the kids to school this morning, so I have had a quiet morning. I really have to remember to pack lunches at night. It makes everything go so smooth! The kids are settling into their chore lists really well. Once I took a look at what was being done by whom, I was able to balance things out much better. Great for one child, not so great for another.

In the busy-ness of life, I've gotten away from the $5 dinners that I was doing. So, back to that. With that in mind, here is the menu for the next week. Because of some changes around here (I'll explain in a few days), my grocery shopping is changing from Thursday to Friday next week. I've added an extra day in here to reflect that.

Thursday - Chicken and Rice soup (left over mashed potatoes for me)
Friday - Wraps with rice, veggies, and maybe shrimp
Saturday - Stuffed mushrooms and salad
Sunday - Pot Pie
Monday - Chicken and Dumplings
Tuesday - Spaghetti
Wednesday - leftovers
Thursday - Fried Rice

I always put in a leftovers day, but the reality is that sometimes we don't have leftovers. On those days, I make brinner - breakfast for dinner. I always have eggs on hand, and can do pancakes or omelets on short notice. I just throw in whatever veggies I have for omelets. A big hit every time.

John and I have been talking about the direction life has been going in. God has been so good and faithful. All He asks is that we be faithful in return. We're restructuring a lot of things around that. Two words that keep coming up are "Excellence" and "Integrity". Look for much more coming up on that.

Well, I have to run. I have grocery shopping to do, and Katelyn has a soccer game tonight. We're doing a family ice cream night after the game and dinner. Michael and I will be having Rice Dream ice cream treats - non-dairy chocolate ice cream dipped in chocolate and rolled in peanuts. Yes, it's a splurge, but the fact that we actually found an ice cream treat we can eat is reason enough. That, and chocolate is always a good thing. lol

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Giveaway for my website's launch!

Yeah! It's finally done (except for six little pictures which will be done later this week.). I've finished our website and sent out introduction emails with coupons to the email addresses I have for friends and family. Now, it's time to do a giveaway. I'm hosting one on Facebook and another one here.

Times are stressful. Every day, the news just makes you want to curl up in your home, shut off all outside distractions, and relax. We want to help with that.

To celebrate the launch of our redesigned website, we're giving away a basket of our best selling products to one lucky person on Facebook. This Tropical Escape basket includes:

*12 votives - 4 each of pina colada, pineapple, coconut
*1 16 ounce jar candle - mango and papaya
*3 sachets - pikaki
*2 bars of soap - one cucumber melon goat's milk soap and one mango papaya glycerin soap
*1 brown sugar body scrub - brown sugar and fig
*1 jar bath salts - pina colada
*1 pound mixi melts - 1/4 pound each pineapple, coconut, fig, almond

Of course, there is absolutely no cost to you. Shipping is included.

The giveaway runs from 9:30 am Eastern 3/18/09 - 11:59 pm Eastern 3/31/09. The winner will be selected 4/1/09 by random selection at www.random.org and announced the same day. Each entry will be assigned a number. Multiple entries are possible.

*For one entry - sign up to follow this blog. Please don't sign up anonymously. I can't count that for the contest.
*For one entry - go to www.bluewaterscentsations.com and pick your favorite product. Post a comment here and let me know which product you chose.
*For one entry - Ask for the email with the coupon code - I do not share email addresses ever, and will not send further emails, if you request I don't.
*For one entry EACH TIME - Spread the word about this giveaway. Post here with the link to where you mentioned it, or how you promoted the giveaway.
*For even more entries, you can participate in the Facebook giveaway too.

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Busy GOOD day

Yes, it has been busy. Today was the bake sale for my son's grade. I worked it with his best friend's grandmother, who is my friend. We had a blast! We also talked about a project I've been working on. It looks like it's going to be fun.

John has decided to start doing consulting and tech support on a part time freelance basis. It means less time with us for a while, but it's ok. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to get to where you need to be. I am going to be a busy girl with both my business and his, not to mention our regular responsibilities. Organization is going to be key in all of this.

God is so good. I'm so happy that we are being faithful in this. We just made the decision last night, and already John has two, maybe three customers. Isn't He great?

Tomorrow won't be as busy outside the house. But, I am always busy here. I have lots to get done. Not only that, my brother-in-law's birthday is tomorrow, and my father-in-law is treating us all to dinner at Outback. True, I don't eat beef, and can't eat garlic or onions, or corn, and the list goes on and on. I'll be calling them ahead of time to find out what's safe. Even if it's just a salad, it's dinner I don't have to cook!

Have a blessed evening everyone. I'm going to finish up some work on the website and head to bed. Tomorrow, finally, will be the long-talked about giveaway.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Praise in the midst

Have you ever had a stretch of time in your life that just challenged you and your faith? I mean, where it seems like the tests come one after another, with barely time to breathe in between. I know that God doesn't make these things happen, but He does allow them for a reason. Right now, our lives are in such a season. This last test, which will be unnamed, has rocked me to the core. I worried, and stressed out, and all the things we're not supposed to do as children of God. Finally, God asked which I thought was bigger, Him or the problems? What works better, letting Him handle everything or worry everything in circles? The choice, while hard to put into practice, is clear. God is in control and I have to let Him work it out.

Now, don't get me wrong. I still feel worry coming up in me. Sometimes, even bordering on panic. But God! is there and is faithful. I crave Him! I need Him! He is the fountain of all my strength.

So, while I have planned and plotted out how everything should be, God is busy turning things upside down to show me where my trust should be. I praise Him, no matter what. I serve Him, no matter what. I build my life around Him, no matter what.

Today's to do list is being revised to what God has planned for me to do, not what I had for me to do. I must run. Tomorrow, God willing, I'll get back to my Bible Study. If not, I won't worry.

Menu Mondays

Here we go. This week's inspired menu. NOT! I admit it. I have cabin fever and no working oven. lol We're still stove shopping. We haven't found any deals that are just sooooo good we have to jump on them. Thankfully, I still have the microwave with the convection oven feature, but that's just not the same. lol The whole family will be happy to have me back to full time baking, instead of the iffy experiments I've been doing lately. I just won't compromise on what type of stove we get for our dollar. We went to 6 stores this weekend without buying anything. Plus we're looking at Craig's List. The problem is that we can only have an electric stove, but not a flat top. You can't use cast iron or do canning with a flat top. We have a flat top now, and let's just say that it half works half the time. lol And on to the menu.

Monday - Leftover Pot Pie from yesterday. I ended up making a biscuit crust that went over well. Too well. I'll have to make more biscuits today so everyone has crust for their pot pie. lol

Tuesday - Spaghetti with homemade sauce. Remember, I can't have onions or garlic, so I'll be making my own version. One day, I'll remember to write down how I make it.

Wednesday - leftovers then over to the in-laws for dessert for my brother-in-law's birthday

Thursday - Nachos or some Mexican food

Friday - Dinner Salad

Saturday - Fried Rice

Sunday - Chicken and Dumplings

I might change this up, if we can get the propane filled for the grill. I want some grilled veggies and wrap them all in a pita, and maybe even some turkey brats (yeah, right. I can't eat those until my gallbladder is all better). I am ready for warm weather! lol During the summer, we grill just about every day. Rain or shine.

I also have to make up more of my spice mixtures. With all my allergies (I should list them sometime), I have to make them myself. For example, chili powder has other spices in it. But, powdered chilies have only chilies in it. Go figure. Plus, this week we'll be starting our seeds for our garden. Spring is in the air!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A wake up call to Christians

This is a blog posting by one of my husband's online gaming friends.

*** Edited to add - several people asked for the link. Here it is, thanks to my sweet husband. http://kgov.com/writings/nicer-god***

I think that it's a wake up call for all Christians. It's time to decide which side you are on. I'm reminded of the verse in Revelation to the church in Laodicea:

Revelation 3:15-17 (Amplified Bible)
15I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot!
16So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!
17For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

Keep this verse in mind while reading this entry. Thank you to my dear husband for showing this to me, and sharing it with the children and me for Bible Study tonight.

Christians today are nicer than God.

Or at least they are trying to be so. In the Church there is a standard of niceness that Jesus failed to reach while on earth. Comparing God’s attitude and behavior with that of the Church today shows that believers are far more polite, tolerant, understanding and respectful to the wicked than God is.

The Church is also less offensive, rude and sarcastic than God’s men in the Bible were. And no Christian would ever be caught dead mocking the wicked, as God’s men in the Bible sometimes did.

Jesus was offensive. Most people were offended by him. The proof for John the Baptist that Jesus was the Christ was that the blind see, the lame walk and the majority are “offended” by Him (Mat. 11:2-19). As Jesus said, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Mat. 11:6; Luke 7:23). In Galilee, Jesus did not plead with his neighbors to understand Him when “they were offended at Him” (Mat. 13:57; Mark 6:3). If unbelievers are offended, so be it (cf. Luke 14:3-4; John 5:8-16). “Shake off the dust from your feet” (Mat. 10:14). But alas, that is no longer a Christian attitude.

Christ’s apostles asked Him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard [Your] saying?” (Mat. 15:12). What is the accepted Christian response today after an offense is taken? Quick, apologize! Ask for forgiveness! Tell them you are sorry. How did Jesus respond? He said to ignore the complaints of the unbelievers: “Let them alone. They are blind,” (Mat. 15:14). Today, many Christians condemn Christ’s attitude as unloving.

Jesus promised his followers, “you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended” (Mat. 24:9-10). When a Canadian started his call with a vicious, “Bob, I hate you…” The immediate and (super-) natural response was “Cool. Great! Because Jesus taught that ‘if they hated Me, they will hate you’” (see John 15:18-19; 17:14; Mat. 10:22; Luke 21:17). Today Christians think if the world hates them, they have failed. The reverse should be true. It is not that a Christian wants to be hated; it is simply an occupational hazard.

Jesus is the Rock. Most believers are unaware, however, that Jesus used this metaphor to issue a graphic threat against the unrepentant. For Christ said that on whom that Rock “falls, it will grind him to powder” (Mat. 21:44; Luke 20:18). Even the Father said that the Son is the “rock of offense” (Isa. 8:14; Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:8). Offending unbelievers is Christlike in the deepest sense.

God utterly forbid drinking blood (Lev. 3:17; 17:14). Israelites, from priests, to Pharisees, to average citizens, were at least superficially obsessed with “keeping the law.” Thus when Jesus said whoever “drinks My blood has eternal life,” (John 6:54) He was being extremely offensive, and intentionally so. Further, He made no effort whatsoever to clarify Himself. Rather, He let the offense work its ministry. Jesus knew He even offended His own followers. As He said to “His disciples” immediately afterward, “does this offend you?” (John 6:61).

Being rough with the wicked does not automatically turn off unbelievers. A harsh style is difficult for more sensitive Christians to appreciate. However the biblical approach to communicating with the world includes not only compassion, but harshness as well.

The Bible sometimes ministers through ridicule, humor, sarcasm and even mocking. For example, God mocked the Midianites when He defeated them after sending a nightmare to them that they were being attacked by a loaf of bread (Jud. 7:13-14). Elijah, just prior to executing 450 prophets of Baal, “mocked them” as the Bible says, telling them to yell louder to their god so that Baal could hear their prayers since he was either on a trip, sleeping or in the restroom (Hebrew, “private place,” 1 Ki. 18:27; and 2 Ki. 6:8-20).

When the Ad Council airs anti-drug public service announcements (PSAs) that mock “pot heads on Jeopardy” who cannot even remember their names, they are not motivated out of hatred, but out of love. Ridicule can and does save lives. “Why do you think they call it dope?” Ad Council spots run on Christian stations and get no criticism for being unloving or unkind. Why is it that Christians never rise up against the effort to stigmatize drug users? If a pagan brings peer pressure against “pot heads,” that is accepted. Let a believer, however, use mockery to stigmatize fornication or sodomy, and the Church rises in condemnation. God, however, does not condemn those who “rebuke the wicked” (see Prov. 24:25).

When a harsh word is needed God uses a harsh word. This is true in the Old and New Testaments. Herod beheaded John the Baptist for “rebuking” the king for “all the evils which Herod had done” (Luke 3:19) and for condemning the tetrarch for incestuous adultery (Mat. 14:3-4; Mark 6:17-18; Lev. 18:16; 20:21) with “Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife” (Luke 3:19). Jesus warned of “the leaven of Herod” (Mark 8:15). When notified that “Herod wants to kill You,” (Luke 13:31), Christ responded without respect, “Go, tell that fox, ‘I cast out demons’”” (Luke 13:32).

The especially harsh term hypocrite is used in the Gospels twenty-three times. Christ often insulted the scribes, Pharisees and lawyers. He even called the Pharisees blind guides (Mat. 23:16, 24) and sons of hell (Mat. 23:15). Jesus spoke unkind words unacceptable today. He said to Peter “Get behind me, Satan” (Mat. 16:23). He told the Pharisees “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44), and made a whip and cleared “thieves” from the temple (Mat. 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46; John 2:14:15).

Gentiles (as symbols of the godless) and sodomites are called “dogs” in the Bible (Mat. 7:6; 15:26; Deut. 23:17-18; Ps. 22:16; 59:5-6; Phil. 3:2; Rev. 22:15). And Jesus was harsh (not only to the Pharisees, as some believers wrongly assume but) to all the unrepentant (see His use of “hypocrite”). Jesus instructs Christians to not “cast your pearls before swine” (Mat. 7:6). Yet the silly dilemma now is, “Who could Christ possibly have meant by that, for we are too loving, tolerant, polite and respectful to refer to any human being by that mean-spirited term.”

In the King James Version, the seductive women among the people of God are worse than “whores” (Ezek. 16:33). That crude term appears in the Bible dozens of times. The men who use those women are “whoremongers” (1 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8; 22:15), which is the most raw term in the English language to describe promiscuous men. God describes other sinners in terms of filthy excrement (Isa. 64:6) and even worse (2 Ki. 18:27; Isa. 36:12). Sinners truly are repulsive, regardless of how men may try to sanitize them.

The Bible does not say, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” It says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). And that God hates “all workers of iniquity” (Ps 5:5). “The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man” (Ps 5:6). Also “the wicked and the one who loves violence [God] hates.” (Ps 11:5). Further, “The face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (Ps 34:16). God “loves righteousness and hate[s] wickedness (Ps. 45:7).

There are six things “the Lord hates,” including “a heart that devises wicked plans” a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:16-19). And God reminds us “All their wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them. Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from My house; I will love them no more” (Ho 9:13). As Moses wrote of God, “if you do not obey Me… My soul shall abhor you” (Lev. 26:27-30).

Even in the New Testament, Paul wrote, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil” (Rom. 12:9) introducing the concept of hypocritical love. What is hypocritical love? “Should you” love those who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of the Lord is upon you” (2 Chr. 19:2). Warning the wicked of the coming judgment is harsh, but is a necessary component of acceptable love. A love that is not hypocritical rebukes and condemns, and then points the way to God.
God uses different methods to communicate the Gospel to people at different depths of depravity. At times, a Christian can pray with an unbeliever. At other times, a believer might ridicule the unrepentant in hopes of waking him up. Painful communication though is in no way reserved just for non-Christians.

Paul uses dripping sarcasm telling the Corinthians that they do not need his counsel because they are full, rich, wise, strong and distinguished. They are even like kings, and all that without Paul’s help (1 Cor. 4:8, 10). Sarcasm stigmatizes destructive behavior and prods people toward righteousness (1 Cor. 4:14). Paul also fell short of today’s compassionate Christianity when he wrote that the government should minister terror, wrath and vengeance against the evildoer and that the sword should be used against them (Rom. 13:3-4). The Apostle also erred by today’s standards calling unbelievers fools (Rom. 1:22) and the Galatians fools (Gal. 3:1, 3). Incidentally, Jesus also called men fools (Mat. 23:17, 19; 25:2-8; Luke 11:40; 12:20) when appropriate but never “without a cause” (Mat. 5:22) according to His teaching. As King David wrote, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Ps. 53:1). Thus, atheists are fools and it is cruel to withhold this knowledge from them.

Christians enjoy quoting, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” However many shudder at the rest of the verse. For thus says the Lord, “Every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn” (Isa. 54:17). Jesus taught that human beings will condemn the wicked. “The men of Nineveh will rise in the judgment with this generation and condemn it” (Mat. 12:41). Jesus said, “For God so loved the world.” Then two verses later He added, “but he who does not believe is condemned already” (John 3:18). By today’s Christian standard, no unbeliever would know that he is condemned, because most believers will not communicate this vital truth. John 3:16 is nice. John 3:18 is not nice.

Jesus was asked a question that goes to the very heart of His ministry. “Who gave you this authority?” (Mat. 21:23). Within the answer to that question lies eternal life, yet Christ was not inclined to answer them. Rather, He asked them a question, which they failed to answer (Mat. 21:24-27). Therefore He said to them that neither would He answer their question (Mat. 21:27; see also Luke 22:67 and John 12:34-36).

When people misunderstood Jesus He often made no effort to explain Himself. Quite to the contrary, He often purposely let His hearers misconstrue His words (John 2:18-22). Jesus let people walk away in unbelief without running after them. The Bible does not record Him as saying, “I’m sorry, did you misunderstand me?” He is the “stumbling block,” and if men wanted to stumble, He let them. For those who want to hang themselves, He invites them (Rev. 22:11). Jesus made the rope available. He is that rope (Rom. 9:33).

Jesus was a man, not a girl. Christianity today has been emasculated. Men and women are different and they communicate differently. Women are softer and nicer than men, and thank God that they are. However, men are not supposed to be women. Today, Christian ministers are expected to behave like women. That foolishness is a death sentence for many unbelievers. Strength, confidence, conviction and tough love appeal to those who are searching. Thus Jesus is a beacon to real seekers. But for those wanting to get lost, Christ is like a street sign that has been reversed by a troublemaker.

Today we are way nicer than God. It is tragic. This spiritual plateau that the Church has reached conveniently reduces the chances for confrontation. Nice people rarely rebuke, judge, confront, accuse or condemn. Nice people have less stress. It seems the only ones that Christians are quick to judge are fellow believers who judge the wicked. Go figure.

Kudos to this brave author! Thank you for sharing these words.

I am blessed!

So, I admit it. I'm totally fallible. What, you didn't know that? Well, I am. Take today, for example. I am having a problem with a piece of candlemaking equipment. Actually, it's the wax melter vat. That holds 300 pounds of wax. That has about 50 pounds in there right now. That needs one part replaced, but it's expensive, and we don't have it, and wax is an important part of candles, and on and on and on. I've worried and researched and even vented to my husband about it.

You know, I love having an annointed husband. I really do. It's just frustrating at times when he makes sense, and says what I know to be true, but don't want to hear. I would rather worry and come up with my own solution to things. But God! in His wisdom gave me this incredible man who snaps me out of the worry, stress, and strife. John asked me if I prayed. My reply? "Of course I did! And I'll pray more!" How dare he question my prayers!

John then emailed me with a reminder of some of the negative things I said during the course of today, and sent me these verses.

James 1:5If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.
6Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.
7For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord,
8[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].

Oh that he would have stopped at verse 5! But now I know. And once you know, you are accountable for it. All kidding aside, I am so grateful to have such a loving husband that he would give me correction like this. I'm so grateful to have a loving God to give me such a husband! And now, I'm off to go get some stuff done before church tonight. Be blessed everyone!

Really? Plague and Pestilance - again!

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. lol After John's food poisoning (yes, it was food poisoning), Katelyn had what my former co-workers used to call the Michigan crud. She stayed home from school for two days with severe chest congestion and fatigue and stuff like that. We made it through that to find out it was going to rain all weekend, and I soooooo didn't want a fourth flood! John and his father rented a pump and dropped our pond down about six feet, and that kept the water out for now. We're going to completely drain the pond once it warms up enough to melt the rest of the ice on it. Thank you Lord for keeping us from flooding. The whole family is weary of the mess the last three have left, and the work still left to be done. Next, it was my turn to fight off the crud. Which, I did with lots of prayer and rest. Instead of my trying to still do everything, I listened to my body (and my husband) and slept and took medicine to knock it out. I didn't get nearly as ill as Katelyn. Praise God everyone is healthy and back to our routines.

Speaking of routines, Katelyn and Michael are NOT liking the whole chore routine. Attitudes abound, but will get better. The mornings are our biggest challenges. I have to think that the disorder in our home plays a large part of that. I'm also back to my insomnia routine, so I'm kind of out of it in the mornings and playing catch up the rest of the day. So, to fix that, I'm doing several things.

1. Quitting caffeine. I tried cold turkey once, and while it was successful, I was sick for a week while my body detoxed. So, I'm weaning myself off during the rest of this month. I'll be replacing my coffee with tea and local honey, which I need for my allergies anyway.

2. Posting the chore charts on the refrigerator in the kitchen. That way, it's in writing, and there's no doubt about what's to be done when.

3. I need to make a better daily schedule for myself. This includes limiting some time wasters, and increasing time spent on other things.

4. Get the areas that we do have available to be used better organized. Spring cleaning and getting rid of a bunch of stuff will help with this.

5. Cutting down on the last minute stuff that seems to creep into our days and throw everything off. So, the calendar is on the wall. If you have an activity, it needs to be put there so we know what's going on. I'd love to have illnesses planned out ahead of time, but eh. That won't happen. lol Seriously, no more illnesses are needed in this house.

6. Speaking of illnesses, we need to battle illness with prayer and staying healthy. I know, sounds simplistic, but taking vitamins, eating healthy and getting into shape will really help us stay healthy. And we don't do these things consistently.

I have more posts to do today as I get the time. Talk to you all later!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How do I learn how to can?

Does anyone know where to find canning classes? I want to learn how to do both hot water bath canning and pressure canning. It's a practical thing to learn, not to mention required for my allergies now. It is really hard to buy foods when you are allergic to most food preservatives and meat tenderizers. We've lost way too much food in freezers when we've had power outages in the warmer months, so I try not to have too much in there during the summer. Last year's quest for dry ice really brought home the need to have another way than the freezer to store foods. Most people that I know who can only do the hot water bath canning, but I want/need to learn both.

I'm also going to take sewing classes. I remember learning in Home Ec, but don't remember how to use a sewing machine or even half of my embroidery stitches. Don't get me started on the last time I did cross-stitching! Do they even teach Home Ec anymore? My daughter needs to learn how to do all that stuff too. I know she doesn't really know a lot of that stuff.

Well, I have to run and do a couple errands. I hope to locate the camera and take pictures of dinner and even one of me tonight or tomorrow.

Let's catch up

So, today will be a catch up day for me. John's feeling much better. We laid hands on him last night and prayed over him. This morning he woke up with the fever just about gone, and full of energy. He's off to work, and the kids are both at school. I can get back on schedule for my day and get some things done. I started a fundraiser for Katelyn and the cheerleaders. I have to start one for a great opportunity Katelyn has this summer. I promised Michael I'd find a 4H for him to join. I have a list of things to get done that's (no kidding) a whole page of my planner long. We'll see how much I get done today. I have several projects that I slated to start this week. I may have to bump them back a week. I also will be trying out the whole scheduled publish function of blogger to see how it works. Plus, the kids have chores to get done, and they are doing new chores in the morning. I give them a couple weeks to get into the new routine of chores. They have a lot they want to get done for this summer, and the deal is that we will put forth as much effort as they do. If they don't tow the line and do what they are supposed to do without giving us attitude, they will be home working for me this summer instead of having fun.

Talk to you all later! It's a busy busy day!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Prayers needed again

John is fighting off something. He's been ill for the past few days, and now it is starting to make him jaundiced (we both have liver issues). Please pray!