Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Photo: A portion of July 11 devotional from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

After reading this last week, I began pondering what idols we can have in our lives. Sometimes we are so blind to the idolatry we have in our lives. So I began listing some. Below is the list I have begun. Some of these have been or are idols in my own life or ones I've seen in lives close to me. 

Some of these things are sinful on their own, while others are sinful because they become and idol: when they hold a higher standing than God in our lives, when they are a stumbling block to our walk, or when they interfere with us doing the ministry of God. 
Beware, we can fall into the trap of justifying our idols. Even things that are good in moderation- uplifting to the soul can become so important that God takes a back seat. 

Perhaps you can relate to some of these. Comment below with additions to the list. 

Sport stars
TV personalities
Someone you are in love/infatuated with
Control of money
Clean home
Desire to have a spouse that has the character of so-and-so's spouse
Obedient children
Finding a spouse
Getting pregnant
Desire to have a marriage like so-and-so
Busyness of life
Desire to be right
Having own way
Time as a family
Time with spouse
Time alone

For me, I've noticed that I have fallen prey to these idols: wanting a godly husband, wanting to feel loved in particular relationships, wanting more time as a family, wanting my own way. 
These are not necessarily sinful on their own, but they have become more than desires. When I treat people wrongly or think negatively of them because I don't get what I want, then what I want has become an idol. When desires get in the way of me being Christ's light and love in the world, they have become idols. 
I may desire that my husband have a deep relationship with the Lord, but focusing on that rather than on building my relationship with the Lord so that I can share His love, is making my desire an idol. Likewise, focusing on the lack of love I feel in a human relationship rather than on focusing on filling myself with Christ's love and sharing that love with others, makes it a idol.

What things are getting in the way of your relationship with your creator, your savior? Take those things to the Lord and ask for his help it removing idols. You cannot do it alone and under your own strength. Beware, the idols will likely try to creep back in and take over. Keep taking it to the Lord in prayer. 

Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other Gods before Me. (NKJV)

Heavenly Father. I have not put you above all else. I have allowed other things to become gods in my life. Help me to rid my life of these idols and place you as my one and only God. Open my eyes so that I may identify these idols and so that I may see these idols as you see them- as stumbling blocks to our relationship. Give me your strength, your patience, your love, as I remove these things. Replace these things with more and more of you Lord. Forgive me, love me, help me, I pray. amen. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Jobs (chores) for small children

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. - Ephesians 6:1 KJV

Do everything readily and cheerfully - no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! - Philippians 2:14 MSG

When children are encouraged and praised for being helpful from early on they seem to have a desire to help. 
Now, my children do not always want to help, but usually the are willing. When they don't want to help, they are still required to obey if I tell them they have to help. And they have been taught to respectfully respond "yes, ma'am" or "yes, sir" in various situations... And this is one of those. 
Just because they want to stay and play Legos instead of helping with a job doesn't mean they get to stay and play. Nope, they are expected to help. Sometimes I will say that they can play for a little longer before starting the job, other times they are required to stop what they are doing and help immediately. 
Here are some jobs that my little girls (just turned age 5 and 3.5) help with:
1. Filling the toilet paper caddy in the bathroom
2. Picking up or sweeping up chunks of food (especially moist food) off the dining room floor
3. Taking dishes to the sink after a meal
4. Emptying the dishwasher of items they can reach (except breakables and/or sharp knives until they show they are trained for those)
5. Wiping down table after it is cleared
6. Picking up living room of toys
7. Making beds - helping with other not just their own
8. Vacuuming one room
9. Putting groceries into lower cabinets, and lower shelves in pantry or refrigerator.
10. Sanitizing doorknobs 
11. Organizing books on shelf
12. Putting dirty clothes in hamper or transporting them to the laundry room
14. Putting laundry away in drawers, on shelves or on bars they can reach
15. Setting the table for a meal

Comment below with what your kids do to help or your tips of what small kids can do. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Don't stop driving (living) just because of some potholes

I don't know about you, but sometimes we hit bumps in the road and feel coming to a complete stop and giving up and feeling discouraged. 

Today our bumps were manageable but I learned that they can't keep us from living. 

Both of my preschoolers had negative attitudes during parts of our school worksheets today. After trying to be encouraging and even firm, I decided we would just finish what they are willing to do and move the other pages to tomorrow. 

Since they did do a some work I said the three of us would each get a jelly bean to suck on while reading after lunch. So after lunch, we all picked a book or two, I set the microwave timer and we sat quietly to read. This was such a pleasant time. 

I was so pleased that I said we would go to the library to pick out a couple books and get them each a library card. 
And even this time went well, despite it taking a few extra minutes to get cards and check out. 
We had gone while my husband was out of the country. We wanted to pick out some books about where he was. I think we read one of three books that time. This time we just picked books they wanted and were geared for smaller children. 

Whenever we go out - the three kids and pregnant mama- I try to make it a short trip and let them know it will be a short trip. Overall my kids are well behaved but they have their moments. Letting them know that we will not be gone for long gives them an idea of the timeframe. So if they aren't happy with where we are going they know they don't have to be there long, and if they do like it, they have been told ahead of time that we will not be there long... So they are less likely to have a fit or bad attitude when I say it's time to leave. 

So my lesson I learned today: when you hit bumps in the road, you don't have to stop, you can push through or change course. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6

Oddly enough, the day after I wrote this post I was involved in a car accident with all three kids in the car. We are all fine and I only went to the ER to get checked out since I am pregnant. 
Not quite the bump in the road I would expect on any given day! God protected us. And the accident could have been far worse
Photo taken from my driver side door. No fatalities. Everyone conscious and as far as I am aware no major injuries. One other person was taken to the hospital. She was able to speak to my adjustor the next day... Which was encouraging to hear. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mommy down time.

Tonight I'm thankful to have so many restaurants and stores close to our home. Kids are in bed. I made a run to aldi before they closed at 9. Now I am sitting at Applebee's ready to enjoy half off appetizers - may I suggest the chicken wonton tacos? My husband even likes them and he isn't the bigger coleslaw fan. 

As I sit here I am checking out the weekly ad for a local 24 hour grocery store, since that's where I'm headed next. 
Maybe by the time I get home I will be out of mommy mode and can perhaps clean up some of the basement. 
You see, if I plan to homeschool, which seems to be the way we are headed, I need to get my act together and organize a dedicated space for storing all our educational items. Right now we use the kitchen table for schooling but we have no real storage area upstairs to contain the supplies. 
Anyway, so my downtime is productive time really. Anyone else find themselves in the same boat? Do you feel differently when you return home after being out alone?
Mommy moments, brought to you by Applebee's restaurant. ;)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Children praying for their dad

A few days ago I started our praying for daddy bible lessons based on

I decided to take one week for each scripture since our kids our young (preschool) and it take a couple days to focus on one scripture. So we are currently praying for daddy to trust in the Lord and not lean on his own understanding. 

I love when the kids ask faith based questions. They have asked at times why daddy doesn't go to church with us and I encourage them to pray for daddy. Tonight for dinner our 5 year old prayed aloud that daddy (who was sitting with us for this meal) would "go to church with us  so he could learn more about Jesus, God and Moses." 

I am not a very organized person so we rarely stay on track with our "schooling" and Bible lessons are no different. So I'm trying at this point to encourage them to be in prayer for daddy based on what scripture says. Who knows if I will stick it out for 10 consecutive weeks. But for now, they are praying for him and that makes my heart glad. 

"Daddy can I tell you the bible verse we learned?" ... "Proverbs 3:5-6... Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" ... I was so glad she remembered the reference to the verse for this week but giggled that she quotes Joshua 1:9 instead :)
After only a few days they need very little help to say proverbs 3:5-6. My heart rejoices. 

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight. 

Laminator- cool!

Well I bought a laminator since we seem to be heading in the direction of keeping our almost 5 year old home for schooling. So far I have laminated two things- a math chart backed with sight words, and three addition problems activities. 
I made a YouTube video about using the laminator (see link below) and plan to make one about some of the things I am/will be using it for. I will have to come up with a new way to use my math matching activity on the right in the photo... Shoe laces aren't long enough. I do have some ideas. I will update once I try them out. 
I will add a link once I upload the YouTube videos. Laminator was $20 at Walmart and target. 
Using the laminator video:

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Organizing and Cleaning Journey of a Type B personality... Living with a Type A

Spend a day in our home overseeing our daily interactions and it will not take long to see that my husband shows many Type A Pattern behaviors while I show many Type B. I am more relaxed, patient, and it takes more physical stressors to get under my skin compared to my husband. I also am expressive of my feelings whereas he is more likely to express emotion when it's negative and he wants something done about it. He is more organized and more of a minimalist while I'm more crafty and a packrat. 

So... When it comes to the home he is often stressed. I desire to have a happy husband and a happy home so I am trying to create a place where he can unwind instead of the home adding more stress. This is not an easy task for a Type B personality... In my experience... I've been at it for nearly 8 years now. 
Sure, I can do a superficial clean when company is coming over, cleaning the necessary areas but I'm so inconsistent on a regular basis. 
So I'm working on it... Again... And Still.
A month or so ago I saw a temporary free video e-course which contained two videos from which I gleaned a lot of help. One was about laundry and the other about dishes. I started with these and have added some things along the way. I am also reading the ebook Chaos to clutter free. 

(My tip, if you want to try these steps with me, is to focus on adding one step each week or maybe two weeks. It does not need to be in the same order as I am doing. Get the routine started before adding another step! Don't add if you don't feel ready or you feel you haven't had the time to complete the current steps. Refocus and press on with current steps... Add another once you feel you can handle it)

I'll start with explaining my dishes routine since I'm consistent with that. Dishes used to pile up and I hated doing dishes once they were overflowing. So, now throughout the day I will load whatever dirty dishes I have into the dishwasher. Sometimes this happens after every meal or snack but usually it's about 2-3times a day, finishing with my goal of having no dishes in the sink for bed. This has greatly helped since I wake up and no longer feel disappointment, or a sense of being overwhelmed upon entering the kitchen to prepare breakfast for the kids. It also doesn't feel overwhelming since it only takes a few minutes each time since the dishes aren't towering... Usually. Unless the dishwasher is less than half full ,I will start it at night so I can either have it opened at night to dry or open in the morning to dry. Putting them away before lunch is important since by then I already have dishes to go back in. So the sooner they can be put away, the less stress later on. 
Photo: this is a partial day of dishes. I went to visit someone at the hospital last night and by the time I got home at midnight, my cutoff time for cleaning, I told myself it'll have to wait. This is not the norm anymore, so it did not discourage or stress me to have to do them today. (Added June 27)

As part of the dishes duty, I have cracked down on the kids leaving dirty dishes on the table when they finish a meal. They often have to stop playing or doing an activity to come get the dishes they've forgotten and bring them to the counter. The kids are 5 and 3 and are certainly capable of handling this task. They also help me when I unload the dishwasher. They are responsible for anything in the lower cabinets and drawers, and now they have started stacking the things for the upper cabinets on a clean counter so I can put them away quickly.
Yes, I can do it more efficiently alone, but they will never learn if they don't get the chance. They can also be doing this while I am cooking a meal so that I am still getting something else done and available to help and supervise. Most of the time they are happy to help... But not always!

Now for the laundry. I tried the routine from the video ecourse, which says to complete the laundry cycle from start to finish before giving yourself permission to start a new laundry cycle. So... Do not start the washer again until the previous load has been washed, dried, folded and put in its proper place. Start by focusing on completing one load a day. This has been hard to stick to because of some crazy things in my schedule lately which have landed me with many loads to do on one day. So occasionally I've had a massive laundry day. The massive laundry day(s) is similar to the ideas in the book Chaos to Clutter free. In the book you basically tackle the laundry pile by washing it all and sorting into baskets (one for each family member's clothing) and only folding it (one basket at a time) once it's all done. 

I noticed that my husband would wear a pair of shorts for maybe three hours at the end of he day and I'd pick them up off the floor to wash. So I've asked him to move things to the bathroom when they need to be washed so I'm not washing things that aren't really dirty and will be worn the next afternoon after work again.

Something that has helped us with the laundry cycle- the putting away part- has been the installation of a second -lower- bar in the kids closet. Now all outfits are matched and the kids can hang them up in the closet and get them out easily to get dressed. Previously, they would rummage through drawers which made  all the folding I had done absolutely pointless. I feel so much more organized by having most of their clothes hung up. Also organized hubby's shirt drawer so he wouldn't dig around for tshirts. Here is my video about this step.

We may not be a family that stores all our mail, books, magazines on the table (though our counters end up as catch all many times), but our table often has coloring books, crayons, dishes, baby bottles, or miscellaneous items on it after the kids are in bed. My newest task has been to clear the table completely before going to bed. This gives me a clean slate for breakfast. Having dishes done and a clean table to sit at makes it so refreshing in the morning. 

Ok I'm ready for a new step!
I'm ready to add something. Now I will be picking up and vacuuming the dining room and kitchen before bed at night. No one likes stepping on cereal, eggs, noodles or whatever other item may have fallen down on the floor from the table or counter. 
Last night I was on a roll and even vacuumed the living room and hallway! I am not adding these areas to my expectations list at this point because they do require that the toys be picked up in order to vacuum the carpet. So I will add those areas after I've added picking up toys as part of my routine. 
Remember: one step at a time. Make it happen for a couple weeks then add more. 

This is where I am in my quest for cleanliness. I will add new steps as the weeks go on. Stay tuned. I may even make a few videos for youtube.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9

Comment below with any questions! I'd love to hear them.