Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Saturday Well Spent

This photo (which is admittedly, very poor quality) is photo of the list of things we needed to do today. In my ongoing effort to be a good and prudent wife, I am implementing more ideas for staying on top of healthy meals for my family, without breaking the bank or my back. We girls worked this morning to do much of the "prep" work ahead of time so that putting together dinner will be a much smoother and efficient process.

This is a picture of all that needed to be done. You will see vegetables that needed diced, chopped or grated. You see large packages of meats that needed to be separated, cooked and frozen.

We grated the carrots, enough for five meals this coming week.

We chopped celery, enough for four meals this week. Notice my fancy and expensive "tupperware" that I am storing my chopped veggies in. I even splurged and got the matching lids! ~smile~

We don't want to waste the precious resources that the Lord has blessed us with. So, all my vegetable "scraps" go into a pot. I later added water and some salt and these are now simmering on my stovetop to make a vegetable broth for soup this week. Once I have finished simmering these, I will strain the broth and these will go into our compost pile for the garden beds this spring.

When I am able, I try to buy in bulk. This is usually the less expensive way to go. Then we just separate the meat into portions for later.

We made hamburger patties, enough for tonight's dinner and enough for next Saturday's dinner. The ones for the freezer were stored in a plastic container with freezer paper between each pattie. When we are ready to use them, we can just thaw them out and toss them on the grill.

Here is my beautiful daughter, Shannon, helping make the patties. She later browned the rest of the roll you see on the left side of the picture to be divided for four other meals, two this week, two next week.

We had five happy girls when we served macaroni and cheese with hotdogs in it for a quick lunch. Most of us also had a pickle. Ok. I know. This is an unusual combination, but we are an unusual group of girls.

We cooked up boneless, skinless chicken breast and then dice it and divide it for two meals this week and two meals next week. This saves a lot of hassle and time later. Especially when we use the meat for our General Tso's Chicken.

So, what will we do with all of this food? Well, here is a copy of our menu for the week. We will use the same menu next week, as well.

All breakfasts will be boiled eggs with either toast or biscuits. The exception is Sunday breakfast when we will have cereal.
Saturday lunch: Mac & Cheese with hotdogs and pickles
Saturday dinner: Hamburgers on the grill, baked beans, salad
Sunday lunch: Baked Chicken and dumplings, green beans, salad
Sunday dinner: Chicken and rice veggie soup
Monday lunch: Mustgoes ( in other words, odd things in the fridge must go)
Monday dinner: Pinto Beans, Pork Chops, Fried taters, cornbread
Tuesday lunch: Baked potatoes with the works
Tuesday dinner: Taco Salad
Wednesday lunch: Mustgoes
Wednesday dinner: Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad
Thursday lunch: Veggie soup and biscuits
Thursday dinner: General Tso's Chicken over fried rice, salad
Friday lunch: Cheesy Chicken and rice casserole
Friday dinner: Black beans and rice, salad
I hope this inspires you to start planning ahead and doing what you can to make your home run more smoothly.
Remember: We do all things to please the Lord, not men, because from the Lord we will receive a blessing.
If I am able, I will post pictures of the finished products. I will even be happy to include recipes for those who are interested.
Thanks for sharing my Saturday morning with me.
Take care,

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Pursuit of Purpose

I want to share with you all a little of what God is teaching me. This past week, God has brought me to the point of brokenness. What a wonderful place to be. Maybe you don't really think so, but when we finally reach the point of being broken by God, then He is able to do a new work in us. I found myself on my knees, scrubbing the kitchen floor. Now, I have a wonderful large kitchen and a very weak body. It took me two days to scrub the entire kitchen floor. So, I had a lot of time on my knees. And while I was there, I have to admit, I was feeling a little sorry for myself.

Frankly, I don't enjoy scrubbing anything, much less the kitchen floor. However, God in His great love and mercy is re-training me, but I am getting a little ahead of myself. My prayers were going something like this: "Why does he (my hubby) think my whole purpose in life is to clean his house? Doesn't he realize that I have "ministry" opportunities? Doesn't he know that God desires to use me for some great work?" Ever thought like that? I feel rather confident in assuming that you have. For these thoughts come from the very heart of pride, which we all struggle with.

But God, in His great mercy for me, said: "What if I created you for the purpose of scrubbing floors? What if I have nothing more for you than to scrub the kitchen floor? Is this not good enough for you? Do you have a better idea than mine?"


Ever had the breath of God rush over you and you knew, you KNEW, you had better get your thinking back in line with Him or else?

Ok, so what if God created me for the sole purpose of scrubbing floors? Could I not find complete joy and satisfaction in doing that? Could I possibly find myself enjoying scrubbing floors?

I was quickly brought back from my pride and arrogance to the point of wanting what God has planned for me, not what I hope to accomplish. To continue believing that I knew better than God, that I should be used in some great ministry, was to bring discipline to myself, my husband, my family, my home.

I don't believe my only purpose on earth is to scrub floors. I am a wife, mother, teacher, home manager, helper, private nurse, chef, baker, discipler, taxi-driver, lover, enabler, nurturer, etc. But, at this moment, if God wants me to scrub the floor, then I will do so with great joy and peace in my heart. He has already equipped me with every good thing I need to accomplish the task set before me. I can have joy and contentment in doing what God is purposing me to do. I can go about my duties with singing and laughter.

Why? Because, it is a delight to God to be joyful in my work. Because I am to give thanks in everything. Can't find a reason to be thankful? Do you have a kitchen? Do you have floors? Do you have a home? Do you have children who are observing you and learning from you how to have a servant's heart? Do you have a husband who appreciates clean floors? Do you have the strength and the ability to clean those floors?

Still need help? How about offering up that sacrifice of praise to the Lord? Think about that. A sacrifice of praise. Not an easy task. But as you go about your work, start singing. Start thanking Him for His Helper who is enabling you to do the task at hand. We don't acquire a joyful spirit and then start the task, we practice our way into a joyful spirit. We aren't automatically content in every situation, but we practice being content.

In scrubbing my kitchen floor, I found that God has not purposed me to scrub the floor but to be able to praise Him, thank Him, worship Him, be content in Him, find my joy in Him, and be blessed by Him.

How I am enjoying this pursuit of purpose.

Take care,

PS By the way, I found myself truly enjoying scrubbing the kitchen floor. In fact, I hope to do it again today!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In Christ Alone

Just wanted to share with you today:
Romans 15:13 (niv)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God bless you on this beautiful day that the Lord has made,


Friday, January 16, 2009

Dressing Your Girls Modestly and Inexpensively

My five year old has been growing like a weed. She had gotten so tall that many of her dresses were shamefully short. Through a series of events, I remembered how years ago, I had made t-shirt dresses for my other girls. They were long, comfortable and inexpensive. So, I decided to make long sleeved t-shirts dresses again for Evie. The only problem was, she didn't really have any long sleeved t-shirts, either.

I headed out to do some shopping, wanting to spend as little as possible. Now, I don't typically shop at Wal-mart, but here in WV your choices are limited. So, to Wal-mart I went. I happened to find 3 long-sleeved shirts for $3.50 and one turtleneck shirt for $3.00. So, I picked those up and headed over to the fabric section. I went through and chose three coordinating fabrics for each shirt. I tried to stick with fabrics that were $2.00 a yard or less. With my 12 bolts of fabric, I went to the cutting counter and got 1/4 yard of each.

These dresses are for winter, so I picked up a spool of black thread to use with all four dresses. At the check out, my total purchase was right at $20. I came home, eager to get started. I made the skirt to each dress first, and then attached it to the t-shirt. I first stitched the skirt on with the right sides together but with the bottom of the skirt up toward the neckline of the shirt. Then, I pulled the skirt down so that I had a completed looking dress, but on the outside of the skirt, I stitched the skirt down again.

I did this, because years ago, when I made the first t-shirt dresses, the fabric was often too heavy for the t-shirt and would eventually start pulling away, ripping the t-shirt and not looking very nice at all. With the skirt stitched on twice, it is very secure and I didn't have to worry about finishing the top edge of the skirt as it is now hidden under the second row of stitching.
As you can tell, these were some pretty colorful dresses, but they fit the personality of my youngun'. There was probably a cheaper way to do these dresses, but when you are the youngest of six girls to have "brand new" dresses can be pretty exciting. And I didn't feel that $20 for 4 dresses was a bad deal.

Hope this inspires you to give the idea a try. Let me know how it turns out for you and have fun!
Take care,
PS There really is a fourth dress. It's in the laundry.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Grace for Today

Well, okay. Not one of my better pictures, but we had a very beautiful full moon here a few nights ago. It was gleaming brightly through the clouds that were rolling in, bringing in this latest winter storm.
I have been enjoying a brand new experience on this brand new year of 2009. Once a week, I am calling my dearest friend in the world at 6:30 am and we are spending about 45 minutes together in prayer. What might we be praying about? Well, we pray for our homes, our hubbies, our children and ourselves. We pray for strength to be the women that God intended for us to be.
This morning, my dear friend prayed that I would start a remembrance book of all the things that the Lord has taught me and continues to teach me; of all the victories he has granted and strength and grace to get through the lessons he is teaching me. What a great idea! A remembrance book.
Now, this may seem a little off topic, but stay with me for a minute. Tomorrow evening, we are hosting a simple pot-luck party at our home. I made out invitations and titled them "By God's Grace". Tomorrow, January 16, 2009 will be the ten year anniversary of when the Lord granted my girls and me safe passage to return home. BUT...when I returned, I felt my life was over. I felt that there was no hope for me. I felt that God had picked me up and laid me right on his spiritual garbage heap. My life had been for nothing.
But, ten years later, I look back and see how good and loving and gracious my Abba, Father has truly been to me. Yes, we struggled. Yes, I wanted to quit life entirely, throw in the towel and walk away. But, God in his Great Grace was leading me through the "valley of the shadow of death" and brought me out in "green pastures, beside still waters". Does this mean my life is all hunky-dorey? Nope. Not even close. But, reaching this ten year milestone in my life and being able to look back, I see with more clarity how God was using the trials in my life for his own purposes. He said in 1 Cor 2:9 that "no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has purposed for those that love him." His purpose. Not mine. His plan. Not mine.
Would I really want my own plan? Nah. Look back and see what God has done for you. Compare that to where you thought you would be. Would you really want your plans for your life over God's? Seeking my plan, I probably would not be married to the awesome man that I am, would not live in this beautiful home, would not be ministering in the special ways that God intended, would not have the blessed children that I have.
I have struggled. I have wept, been in pain, in agony over the trials that I have endured. But with all that God has blessed me with, I would go through it all again to come out in the same place, with the same perspective.
A little tune that the Holy Spirit has given me for today:
"Something beautiful, something good. All my confusion, He understood.
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife,
but He made something beautiful of my life."
Keep your eyes on Christ, the author and FINISHER of your race. Let His plan be your goal. Yeah, it's scary at times, but so very well worth it. It's worth remembering. Maybe I will start my remembrance book with that.
Take care,

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January Lights

This year, after Christmas, I was taking down all of our beautiful Christmas decorations and thinking about how bleak and dreary January can sometimes be. Longing for a way to brighten the month in my own home, I decided not to take down the tree but instead I re-did the lights and left them on the tree. As I was thinking and praying about what else I could do, and ever desiring to be a prudent wife and use what the Lord has given me, I decided to cut out paper snowflakes.
I started by cutting a sheet of 8 1/2" x 11" paper in half, then folded and cut. But those were awfully large. So, I cut the paper into fourths and went from there. Well, that was nicer, but then I decided to try 8ths of the paper. Before I knew it, I had beautiful little snowflakes that were an inch square.
I did manage to make a few snowflakes that measured 1/2" by 1/2", but I felt I was becoming slightly ocd, so I quit after four of those.

Anyhow, the effect has been delightful. I left a few little snowmen on the tree and the evenings are still graced by the lovely lights and green tree.
You know, speaking of lights, we live in a dark time. There are days when sin seems to be gaining ground all around us. Or maybe we suffer from darkness within our hearts and minds. I know how to dispel that darkness, do you? Jesus is the light. He didn't just come for Christmas and Easter, He came to be a light that would shine in darkness for the whole year. Somebody onced posed the question: "have you ever attempted to turn off the darkness?" You cannot turn off darkness, you can only turn on the light. You reach for the switch, give it a click and Voila! light.
We have a responsibility as his children, loved and chosen before the foundations of the world by our Creator and Savior, to share that light. Can you ask the Lord to help during this dark time of year to be a light, to share the light and allow Jesus to dispel the darkness in your life and those around you? I hope you will.

Just one more quick picture of one little corner of my living room. I left my "believe" stars out and added them to some warm, homey feeling items to keep the life in my home.
Ladies, I want to encourage you to do all you can to bring light, warmth and coziness into your home. This makes you feel better, makes your family enjoy home just a little more and will cause others who come by to feel welcome. May your home be a place of grace this coming year. May it and you glorify the Lord.
Take care,

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Just in case you have been wondering what was keeping me so busy....
We had puppies!
Well, okay, we didn't have puppies, our dog did. But, they still are getting me up at night so they might as well be my puppies.
Our dearest friends are visiting us this weekend and will get to make the first choice and after that, I am looking for other poor suckers..I mean, wonderful people who would love to have a puppy to love, to cuddle, to feed, to clean up after, to stay up with at night... you know, all that fun puppy stuff.
I totally missed out on all of the blogging stuff for Christmas. Instead, I was napping, eating bon-bons, being lazy. Not really, we had concerts and performances and company and parties and all of the usual hub bub of Christmas.
New Year's was a much quieter affair unless you count my girls and their cousins running through the house screaming at the top of their lungs. But that was only for a few hours.
Okay, my seventeen year old would like for everyone to know that she did not run through the house screaming. She went through the house saying "please, make them stop!"
Anyhow, my wonderful husband has finally gotten me hooked up to speedy internet workings again and I hope to get back into the swing of things here.
Thanks for bearing with me.