Thursday, January 31, 2013

30 Days of Wholesome Speech : Day 2

I wasn't going to blog tonight about this. After all, I'm sure you have better things to do than slog through each day of how I'm doing on this challenge. Yet, here I am. 
  Today was harder than yesterday. Part of lifting others up with your speech is not nagging. My husband didn't come right out and say "You're nagging." He just pointed out, with a smile, that I'd made the same request three times in two minutes. Oops. The sad part is, I don't even realize when I do it sometimes. This challenge is going to take some work! I can use the fact that this trait has been handed down to me by a parent as an excuse, or I can use it as a learning tool. I don't want to saw at my husband's (or anyone else for that matter) nerves and make him think it's better to live on the rooftop than with me (Proverbs 25:4). 
  From there I go to a friend who mentioned something that automatically puts me in full Mama mode. The "I know better than you and I'm a tad concerned(ahem)" mode. You know the one. The one that makes you want to bang your head against a brick wall because that would be about as effective as voicing your concerns. My dilemma: How do I let her know I am worried without being a nag or a know it all or both? For the record, my friend isn't doing anything illegal or immoral. It's just flat out dangerous. 
  I can't live her life. I can't tell her what to do. In short, I can't be in control of what another person says or does. Lesson number two of the day. Both lessons that are tough and needed. The hard part is learning to zip my lips and keep praying. 
  How are you doing, two days into this journey? Are you finding it difficult like me? Or are you having an easier time of it?   

30 Days of Wholesome Speech Challenge : Day One

Yup, it's the end of the first day and already I'm struggling. Did I think this was going to be an easy challenge? Nope, not in the least. I thought it would be a bit easier than it is, but I hadn't counted on the adversary baiting me. 
  If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, go here and here to read up about the 30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge   started by Smockity Frocks.  I chose to participate and blog about it.
  For me, the hardest part is my mind. I read something online, hear my husband say something because he is frustrated at something, and automatically I want to growl right back or give some biting remark. Granted, it's only happened two or three times today, and for the most part I've been able to keep my temper. But the sighs. My own. I don't want to blurt out what I'm thinking so I blow out my breath. Only once though, did I growl and get snarky. 
  Is that it? No. I've been having conversations in my head and partly with my husband about a potential situation (Didja catch that word? Potential? That's called borrowing trouble and is a whole 'nother Dr. Phil show--I mean, Dottie post). "she's gonna do this"  "she's gonna say that". Yeah, totally not good. How can I focus on speaking only things that uplift and help another person when I am self talking myself into a tizzy? Bottom line, I can't. Not in that line of thinking. 
  Speaking of thinking, though, a good part of this challenge is to make you think. Think about what you're about to say. Think about how to give voice to your thoughts without tearing the other person to shreds. That's what I'm trying to come away with on this challenge.
  How are you doing? I'd love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on wholesome speech?      

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Joys of Walking

 This was supposed to be my Gratituesday post for yesterday. I wrote it then, but for whatever reason it wouldn't publish. It seems to be working now though.
  Being a stay at home mom with one car in the family means that I pretty much am a stay at home mom. I don't mind it so much but when the child at home is basically a two year old trapped in the body of a nineteen year old, there really isn't much quiet time unless he's asleep. Even now he's in his Archie Bunker chair across from me, bouncing, making noise. Not too loud, but he's making his presence known over there.
  Although I've gotten to the point of walking each day -and then stopping--a few more times than I'd like to count, I'm back at it. Why don't I just give up? Many reasons, actually. It gets me outside in the sunshine. I use the time to pray or just let my mind ramble and untangle the knots. It's a few minutes of precious alone time.
  As a mom, especially a mom of a child with special needs, my first instinct is to constantly hover, to always be there with my son. But it's taken me a few years to realize that mama's need a little downtime in order to better take care of her family.  

30 Day Wholesome Talk Challenge: Can I Do This?

 Last night while I was on Facebook, I read an update from Smockity Frocks
about a lesson from her pastor about wholesome talk. He challenged his congregation to work on letting no unwholesome talk come from you, and also to  build others up in your speech. It comes from Ephesians:
  “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

Smockity Frocks then asked her readers if they would join in on the challenge. I immediately said yes. Then I got to thinking: Can I really do this? I'm going to be totally honest here. While at home, my speech has not been as wholesome as it should be. I admit to cussing some when I'm angry or frustrated. Not very ladylike and certainly not very Christ like. And as for building others up and benefiting them with my speech... that needs a little work too. I recognize it almost immediately most times and I feel horrible. I'm supposed to be a loving wife and mother, sister and daughter, and I have a sharp tongue at times. It's time to let go of that and move on to a better way of thinking and speaking. 
  The bible tells us in Philippians 4:13 that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I am claiming that promise to beat this. It's going to take prayer, study, and careful thought. Will you join me? I will try to update each evening on how I'm doing. You can comment here on my blog or you can join Smockity Frocks from the links above or the button on the right if it is working correctly.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gratituesday:Thankful for Computers

Today is Tuesday, known as Gratituesday thanks to Laura from Heavenly Homemakers . On this day she gives bloggers a chance to link up and tell what they are grateful for.
  In this swiftly moving month of January, I find myself grateful for many things. I'm thankful that I'm not in the pain I was just a few days earlier, thanks to prayer and modern medicine. I'm thankful for a husband who was there for me during all the great discomfort (that's putting it very mildly!), as he is in the good times and the bad. I'm thankful for so much. But I think the biggest thing I'm thankful for today is my computer.

   My computer has allowed me to connect with others to learn different recipes, house cleaning/organizing techniques, and money saving ideas. More importantly, it has allowed me to be part of social media that has introduced me to people I might never have "met" otherwise.  Some are bloggers who have much to teach, others are just people who offer friendship and wisdom. All very important in my life. 
  I complain (Loudly!) about technology at times, even of this contraption that I use almost every day, but I'm very happy I have it. Now, it's your turn. What are you thankful for today?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Six Days to Create a World, Dealing with Life's Problems

Earlier today I mentioned how my home must be the only place in the world where things like onion powder and garlic powder are locked up tighter than Ft. Knox because J loves the taste of them. It's true! He tries eating them straight from the bottle and sometimes mixes them with water (again. In the bottle. *sigh*) because a) someone left them out and b) he's decided he's hungry. I love his sense of independence but yeah, being busy doing something else and then detecting the overpowering smell of garlic in the house is so not fun. J? Really. It's okay. I'm not that busy, I can fill your tummy with something a lot more filling. On the plus side, vampires, were they real, would never go near him. He'd be totally safe. 
  But I digress. A friend commented on my sense of humor on that post. It got me to thinking how I got that one down, but I still have so many life lessons to learn:patience, hospitality, frugality, not worrying...I could probably go on and on, but you get the picture. It occurred to me though, as I was thinking about what I still need to learn, is that God does not expect us to learn all these lessons at one time. We may feel at times that a whole laundry list of trouble gets dumped into our laps all at once sometimes, but life lessons don't really get resolved in tidy little packages. 
  Take worry, for example. Johnny needs braces, Susie is close to flunking algebra, the car needs two new tires, the bills are all coming due, and in three weeks is Cousin Erma's wedding, and tomorrow is...  STOP! Slow down, sister! Go back to Genesis chapter one. God decided to create and POOF! He did it all it once. Right? Wrong! He took six days to create all of this. Each day had its own task. On the seventh day, He rested. I think he did it in this way as an example to us, especially us Mamas who try to tackle the whole world in one day. 
  First of all, our heavenly Father had a plan in mind. He knew how he was going to set up this world and the way he wanted it, and he set about doing it. We need a plan of action as well. 
  And are we content knowing that all is (relatively) well at the moment? If you're like me, not likely. If I have too much time on my hands, I start thinking about tomorrow's (or even next year's) problems. Okay, it's good to plan ahead a little, but coming up with lists of things to worry over is not productive. First of all, when we (I) do that, I'm forgetting that I'm not in this alone.      Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. 
  When asked to teach his followers how to pray, in Matthew 6, verse 11 says "Give us this day our daily bread." That means if we ask, we will be taken care of each day. Will we be given all the answers and get all we want accomplished? Maybe not, but what is needed for each day will be taken care of. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NIV). Why borrow trouble? God gave us seven days each week, and each day we have enough to attend to without adding more on ourselves. 
  So what do you have planned for today? Will you be cleaning the living room? Finding a tutor for Susie? Or is today a day of rest for you because of your work schedule? Whatever it is you choose to do today, have a plan, but don't take too big of a bite. Take care. 
  And lastly, Matthew 6:24 says 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Saving Money in the Kitchen

You know, J is turning out to be a good helper in the kitchen. He puts the liner in the trash can for me, turns on the lights when it's time, and this afternoon he helped bag and put away ham for different recipes.  Okay, so mostly he just watched and happily ate bits of ham that I gave him, but he did help put the meat into the freezer bags and then put them in the freezer for me. He's now waiting on the mac n cheese with ham that is baking off in the oven. So, what does J helping put things away have to do with saving money in the kitchen? It doesn't. I just wanted to brag on my young man a little. Mama's prerogative. ;)

  If you're like me, and so many others judging by Pinterest pins showing up all over the place, you're looking for ways to save money. Now, if you're looking for budget tips, this is the wrong place because I am continually looking for ways to not have so much month left over at the end of the money! I have, however, figured out a few ways to save money in the kitchen. In no particular order, here are some ideas:

  •  Write out a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly menu plan. I've seen other bloggers such as Heavenly Homemakers  discuss this. And bonus, Laura and other bloggers have menu plans on their sites to give you some ideas. A menu plan is something I'm trying to get the hang of still, but it can be done. As long as I have ideas of what to make written down, I'm less likely to want to blow good money we don't have on grabbing a burger or sending The Hubby to the store for a frozen pizza. 
  • Make a grocery list and stick to it. Most of the time. In most cases, it is wise to put in your cart only the things on your list. This helps keep those last minute items from jumping into the cart and thinning your wallet. But, there are sometimes good deals that you will find. Say, your favorite cereal is marked down and it wasn't in the flyer, and you happen to have a coupon, upping the savings. In cases like that, by all means take advantage!
  • Use coupons wisely. After watching several episodes of Extreme Couponers or whatever it's called on Netflix, I got the couponing bug. The problem with me grabbing coupons for use is there isn't a whole lot out there in most cases for my family. I make most of our food from scratch and I make my own household cleaners. I do use things like tooth paste, spaghetti sauce, and a few other things, so the coupons do help some. 
  • Don't be afraid to buy an extra ham or turkey or roast when they are at a good price. I know most of us are ham and turkey'd out and don't want to see either for awhile, but when we can afford to do so, we grab them. These meats can make several different meals, thereby stretching your food dollars. For example, a ham gives you a nice ham dinner one night, with leftovers for ham and potato soup, maybe some ham sandwiches, and you can dice a few cups for salads, omelets, mac n cheese, etc. The bone and some fatty parts I use to flavor soups and beans so nothing gets wasted.
  • Make your own broth or stock. It's fairly easy. Use the turkey carcass or other bones, add some carrots, celery, and onions, maybe a few spices, and let it boil for several hours. Food network has a few recipes for you to try. 
  • Beans and rice. They are inexpensive and very filling and delicious. Sometimes a good meal for me is pinto beans, corn bread and some turnip greens. Southern simplicity.  Lentils and rice also makes a good meal. The family not big on beans? Sneak some into the hamburger meat to stretch it. Chances are they will never know the difference. 
  • Cook from scratch. It tastes better (in my opinion), is less expensive in most cases, and you know what's in it. It doesn't have to be fully made from scratch. As I've stated before, I use jarred spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce. I'd like to get to the point where I make my own, but one step at a time.
  • Set up a garden. We haven't done this yet although we talk about it all the time. This year I'm hoping to get the ball rolling for one. Home grown tomatoes taste so much better than those things you buy at the store.
These are just a few ways I can think of right now. How do you save money on your grocery budget? I'd love to hear your ideas.       

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hopping Back on the Horse, and Other News from Home

Good morning! It's a beautiful sunny January day here at home, and I'm slowly emerging from lethargy and nasty sinus pain. FYI, if you have issues with sinusitis a lot, do remember to drink plenty of water. That, and hot steamy baths or showers help a lot.
  Do you make resolutions or goals for the year? I do, and as I've said before, they tend to be the same basic ones that I need to work on. How am I doing so far on this ninth day of the new year? On a few I have fallen off the proverbial horse. In a few, such as working on my writing and walking every day, the horse is still in the barn, unsaddled. You know what, though? Each day begins a new chance to work on our goals, to better ourselves. 
  You know, God has his own set of goals for us. He gives us the choice to achieve them (or at least attempt them) or not, and he has a reward for those who follow Him. Each day we are alive we get the chance to try again, because just in our own goals, we will stumble and fall now and again. We can rejoice in the fact that it's not "game over" when we sin. As long as we have breath in our bodies we can begin again. The Lord knows our hearts, and listens to us when we pray. 
One of my goals this year is to lose weight, and one of the ways I'd planned to do that was to get back to my walking routine each morning. One excuse after another I came up with not to walk (too cold, to rainy, too sick) but this morning after I fed the cats I decided, time to take my walk. I got maybe halfway up the block before I heard "meow! meow! meow!" I turned around to see Miss Lucy running after me as hard as she could. Lucy is my darling prodigal kitty. She disappeared without a trace several months ago and suddenly showed up last night, meowing her head off and starving for attention as much as food. Jr, our faithful male kitty who has never left home, isn't too happy at the moment that his former playmate is back. He's booing and hissing every chance he gets. So for now my walk will wait until The Husband can keep Lucy occupied
  In other news, it's time to redouble my efforts to get this place organized and start looking for a new home. I have plans in place, just need to put them into action. Now how about you? How are you doing this week?