Friday, February 7, 2014

A Prayerful Break...

This blog has followed a journey the Lord started nearly 8 years ago when The Great Recession hit our nation and my family. We went through many years of loss but I hope it's been evident to those who have followed OUR STORY that we have been blessed daily and God has provided for us abundantly as our income decreased to nearly a fourth. This blog shared many of the lessons the Lord taught me on how to stretch my husband's disability check to meet our needs by living on less.

I've been sensing a nudging lately. Maybe it could even be described as a conviction ... to evaluate how and where I am spending my time. Is everything I do to the best of my ability for the glory of God? or for my glory? Do I really want to be known as a frugal, penny pinching woman or a woman who follows Christ who happens to use thriftiness as a means to a better end? Am I seeking to love God with ALL my mind and ALL my strength in my daily schedule? 

Therefore be careful how you walk, 
not as unwise men but as wise,  
making the most of your time, 
because the days are evil. 
Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV

The days are short. My life will not last forever. God has ordained how many breaths I have left. If today were my last day on this earth would I have regrets that I had not listened more intently to those convictions that were leading me towards a more God-focused life? 

Of course, I will never be perfect in how I choose my time but I am responsible for my choices and my actions and with all my heart I want to bring Him glory in all I choose to do. 

I love how John Piper unravels what it means to live for God's glory. You can read about it here.

I can't imagine I will stop writing completely. So I hope you will remember me in prayer as I seek His face in the coming days and months as His plan uncovers the next step in this marvelous journey called life. 

Please keep in touch... and stay tuned!

May we live (coram Deo) before the face of God!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ordering our Days

Our days are full of choices from the moment we wake up until our head hits the pillow at night. Choices as to how we will spend our minutes... minutes that run into hours... and hours that accumulate into days. Each choice can lead us towards a goal or hinder. It's so important to live life with God's glory in mind. 

Years ago I attended a bible study that encouraged us to write a yearly mission statement using only Scripture. From the mission statement we would then write out a yearly, monthly, weekly and finally a daily schedule. This practice was a tool ...

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. 
Psalm 90:12

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Sweet Peas and cabbage

I haven't made a mission statement in years but I do find myself mentally evaluating my daily choices and how I am spending my days. When life gets so hectic that I find the order of my days upset and my relationships strained then it's time to look at the choices I'm making each day and how I'm spending my time. 

For instance, if I cram too many outside activities in to my week (shopping, church activities, visiting friends) then it can affect my relationship with my husband. How you may ask? *smile* When I am gone too many days from my home then I get behind in my work. If get too far behind in my house work,laundry and dishes then I am tempted to being anxious. When I'm tempted to be anxious then it can affect how patient I am with my husband. When I'm impatient with my husband... well you get the point!  *smile*  One unwise choice can lead to other unwise choices which can ultimately affect the important relationships in my life. 

I also find that I'm tempted to not spend time with the Lord in the mornings if I'm behind in my daily work or too busy outside my home. Spending time studying God's Word is one of the greatest joys in my life and I want to keep it as a top priority. I have to plan to set aside this time otherwise it doesn't just happen. 

It's such an old plant but I just hate to pull it out while it still tries to bloom. 

It's to be expected that busy times will come in our lives. It's unavoidable. Family members will need help when they are sick or moving or we will have days when we are helping with the grandchildren.  As a result we will get behind with our work at home and that's okay. Our work at home should never be an end all of itself. It's only when we are making unwise daily choices that become an established pattern that consistently affects our relationships that we need to consider making some changes. Or if our house is so out of order that we cannot fulfill the command to be hospitable. 

I need God's wisdom to know how to order my days to bring Him glory. Isn't it wonderful that we just have to ask and He freely gives it? 

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5,6

Any extra minutes are being spent working on my paid projects. Here are a few things though that I did this week in my home:

1. I have a very small closet compared to the ones in the newer homes. I've been blessed with some hand-me-downs but now my closet is crammed full. It's a good thing. I took most of my clothes out and started sorting to see what I really had. I made separate piles of long pants, caprices, tank tops, short and long sleeve tops, skirts and dresses. I got rid of 1 box and 1 bag of clothing. It feels so good to open the closet and see it neat and organized. It's good to bless others with my overflow rather than hanging on to unused items.

2. I bought a different kind of mayo on sale and just didn't care for it at all. So, instead of letting it go to waste I have been using it in recipes where you can't taste the difference. This week I made a Low Carb Chocolate Mayo Cake and also a banana bread recipe for my mother.

I got this picture too late last week to post. My son & his family giving up his day to build our fence. 

3. We harvested a very large head of cauliflower from the garden. I melted some coconut oil on a cookie sheet in the oven and then tossed the cauliflower in the oil with some garlic salt and pepper. Baked at 350 for 30 minutes.  (Thank you Pam!) It was yummy!

4. As I said above...I was given a large bag of clothes. Some of the tops were cute but too big so I ran a seam down the side and they fit just perfect. I love FREE.

5. I made another batch of homemade laundry detergent. The last batch lasted for months and months.  I've been making the Duggar's Laundry Soap recipe this year. I just don't water it down as much as they do. It saves me so much money.

Duggar's Laundry Detergent

4 c. hot water
1 Fels Naptha Bar soap, grated
1 c. Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1/2 c. Borax 

1. Grate bar. Add to water.
2. Melt over low heat. 
3. Fill 5 gallon bucket 1/2 full with hot water. 
4. Add above mixture. Stir till dissolved.
5. Fill bucket to top with hot water. 
6. Stir and let set over night. 

The Duggar's fill a used laundry soap dispenser 1/2 full of soap and the rest with water. You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons once cooled. I tried this once 
but the smell evaporated.  

6. A friend gave me some leftover pieces of stained glass window film. I put it on the glass panes in our door. It gives privacy, looks lovely and was free. Thank you Yvonne!

7.  I made Pumpkin Pie Spice again for my Low Carb Pumpkin Pie recipe. I had these spices on hand so I didn't have to run to the store to buy a special blended spice.

Pumpkin Pie


3/4 c. flaxmeal ground
1/4 c. sunflower seed flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. oil or butter (I used coconut oil)
2 tbsp. cold water

Press into 9 inch pie dish. Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Pie Filling

2 c. homemade pumpkin (or 15 oz. canned) pumpkin
1 c. coconut milk (or other liquid)
2 eggs
1/3 c. Truvia  (I used 1/3 c. Erythritol and 1/4 tsp. Kal Stevia. You can find a link above)
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
Dash of salt. 

Mix together. Taste to see if it's sweet enough and adjust sweeteners accordingly. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

8. Items I saved this week:
  • Low carb tortilla bag (reuse as a baggie)
  • Frozen strawberry bag (reuse as a baggie)
  • Rubber bands from radishes
  • Erythritol bag (reuse as baggie)
  • Plastic bags with zippers that curtains came in. (I'll reuse to hold projects that are partially done so I can see what is in the bag). 
  • Cracker bag (reuse as baggie)
That's it for this week. So do you gals ever have trouble keeping your priorities straight? Any suggestions?  

Blessed to be home!