Friday, February 26, 2010

To Chore or Not to Chore

As many of you know I am a stay at home mom with three children; two of them who are old enough to help when needed which is exactly what they do.  They help when needed, or better when asked.  My 15 year old daughter's chore is the trash.  It is her responsibility to take it out whenever it is needed which is on a daily basis in our house.  My 6 year old son's chore is to make sure that the dogs have food and water.  That's it.  Those are the only responsibilities they have other than doing well in school.

Let me ask this - is this good.  I was once convicted that I am not showing my daughter how to be a good woman if I am not teaching her household tasks and my son won't be able to know how to take care of himself when it is needed.  I agree with that on a level.

The reason I am bringing this up is because it has become blatantly apparent to me that I NEVER sit down!  Seriously!!  From the time I rise until my day is done at night I am constantly on my feet.  Since we have a breakfast bar we don't even sit at the dinner table now.  The kids are around the bar and I am standing on the other side eating and feeding the baby.  Still standing.  Dishes, laundry, the constant pickup from a one year old, training a puppy that wants to chew everything in sight, sweeping, mopping, vaccuuming, taking this kids here and there, working on the computer, dishes again, another load of laundry, dusting, cleaning up the kitchen.  Honestly the list goes on and on....all day......every day.  It is so monotonous.

the other day when I asked my son to get my shoes for me since I was sitting down for a couple seconds to get a breather.  He said, "Gosh, why do I have to be your slave?"  [jaw dropping]  WHAT?!?!  It made me really think about what I do around here and how I am the one doing everything and he has no clue what a slave is.  Don't get me wrong I love what I do, but it was proven to me right there that he doesn't show any appreciation for the house that he is raised in.  It might be messy at times but that is a given with a busy family where someone is always home.

My question - I have a hard time instilling chores when I would rather do them myself so that I know they are done properly, there will be no arguing, and  they will be done when I want them done and when they need to be done.  My daughter helps a lot with my one year old so that I can finish stuff around the house so I don't know which one is better.  My son would rather sit and play video games all day and my daughter would be a hermit in her room reading or something which means they are out of my hair and I don't have to hear their constant bickering.  Let me tell you the age difference doesn't make that go away at all.  They fight like none other.  My son is annoying and my daughter is just - well let's just say she isn't very nice.

What do I do?  I have a really hard time watching my kids do chores around the house so that I can just SIT.  I feel like I am not doing my job.  How do I overcome that and get them to help me around the house so that I don't feel guilty and yet they don't feel like I am working them like slaves.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Growing Encouragement - Part 3 in a Series

Encouragement is something that doesn't seem to need any explaining.  Real encouragement looks beyond who you are though.  Being the encourager that we are called to be can be a daunting task when you really look at it.

Encouragement is not the cheerleader that we all think.  It's not JUST the person sitting on the sidelines giving praise and guidance.  Courage means to inspire others with hope and confidence.  You can't just tell someone that they can do it.  You have to make them feel that they can.  Only then can they see past their limitations and see the possibilities.

Real courage looks beyond the "I", the self.  You must focus on the outside self.  You cannot serve others if you are focusing on self.  In order to grow encouragement you must first give unexpected affection.  As a stay at home mom I am around my kids ALOT.  How often do you go through your days and the frustrations and mundane tasks just seems to pile into a mountain and you can't believe that you have ANOTHER load of laundry to do or ANOTHER pile of dishes in the sink.  Have you ever felt this mounting pressure and unexpectedly your child gives you a kiss or a lingering hug.  Doesn't that just melt your heart and all of the pressures seem to float away.  That little bit of encouragement from our child shows us that we are not alone.  Where can you give affection to others that need it?

Second, you must provide words of praise.  Tell your husband, "I appreciate you" or your child, "You did good".  Think about what inspires you when other people encourage you.  Return that encouragement with honor.

Third, acknowledge people to show their importance in your life.  Actions speak louder than words.  As a stay at home mom it's easy to be focusing on dinner or other duties when my husband walks in the door.  How encouraged would he feel instead if I greeted him at the door with a kiss and asked how his day was rather than shouting a hello from across the house?  How would you feel if you were personally greeted like that?

Fourth, PRAY.  Prayer changes your heart and attitude towards other people.  There is no simpler way to say it.  If you have been at a low point in your life and someone tells you that they are praying for you, what does that do to you?  For me, it encourages me to keep pushing through.  That this will pass and there will be brighter days.

Fifth, control your tongue.  Words are powerful even if they don't affect you.  You words touch and mold the lives around you more than you know.  While something may seem trivial to you,but it doesn't lesson their power to create or destroy.  Think outside of yourself.  It's not about you.  Matthew 12:36 says, "Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning .  Words are powerful, take them seriously.

If you use ALWAYS or NEVER in your statement, you are treading dangerous ground.  "You NEVER help me around house."  "You ALWAYS choose other things before me."  Be careful what you say to someone else.  These usually most often don't encourage.

Our tongue is the most offensive weapon that we as Christians possess.  Ephesians 6: 14-17 says, "truth, peace, righteousness and salvation are more than words.  Learn to apply them.  You'll need them throughout your life.  God's word is an indispensable weapon."  How are you using your sword?  If you speak positive words, make sure that your body language matches what you are saying.  People will notice if what you say does not correspond with how you say it.

How can you be a better encourager?  It's a known fact that it takes 3 weeks to learn a new habit and in order to make that habit a natural part of your day it takes six weeks.  This is not something that you can just change overnight.  Here is a week by week plan to help you on your path to being a better encourager.

Week 1 - Say nothing but good, positive, uplifting things to people around you.
Week 2 - Continue with positive words and say a prayer of encouragement for a person.
Week 3 - Continue with positive words and prayer and choose one activity that another person needs for encouragement.
Week 4 - Continue with positive words, and prayer and add touch.  A hug, a kiss, a back rub.
Week 5 - Continue positive words, prayer, and touch.  Support a person in a dream or activity that they have.
Week 6 - Continue positive words, prayer and touch.  Make them a priority.  Look at them when they are talking to you.  Show them that they have your full undivided attention.  There should be nothing that interrupts your focus on them at that moment.

Being an encourager will allow God to become a greater part of your life.  Encouragement is the sister of love.  Encouragement leads to a joy of peace and joy.

To learn more about the series please go to A Woman Inspired to purchase conference audio.  The cost is very nominal compared to the messages spoken.

Thank YOU Beautiful Calling

Jen over at Beautiful Calling linked to my blog in her post today.  I posted a blog entitled Gentle Reminder in January and I am so honored that she needed to read just what I posted.  It is so easy in the mundane everyday tasks for us as wives, mothers, and homemakers to forget what we are really doing and who we are really doing it for.  Rereading this on her post was a good reminder to me again today.

Thank you so much Jen for linking to my blog!  I am glad to have found you in the Blogosphere and look forward to sharing and learning more as we travel on the path that God leads us!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

YIPPEE - How Could You Not Like These!!

I couldn't be happier with the two aprons that I got for my birthday!  My mother and mother-in-law know me all to well!  I love them sooooo much!!  Thank you again!!  Call me crazy but I am so giddy with excitement :)  The first one is from Jessie Steele and the second is from Flirty Aprons.

It doesn't bother me one bit that some of my friends think my obsession with aprons is weird.  I love them and will keep adding to my collection!  YIPPEE!!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fulfilling Your Calling - Part 2 in a Series

We are called by God to do many things as we walk through life. There are many people who don't hear that call. When we do hear him we are commanded to react in a particular way. You are an absolute child of God and therefore we should not feel unworthy or not good enough. If we don’t heed his call then we are essentially saying “NO” to God. His call is beautiful even though it may not be easy. If you believe in the call that he is sending you then you must stand firm in your faith and stand firm in his faith of you.

You need to love your call, grow your call, and live your call. Be authentic and you will be glorified. Lean on him.

Psalm 1:9 says I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart. I’m writing the book on your wonders. A prayer journal is an excellent way to commit to this. A prayer journal is a book on his worthiness. 1 Corinthians says don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.

Writing Tips to Start a Journal
Follow to the Holy Spirit Leading
Invite him
Speak your truth
Write when you’re weeping, lonely, and broken
Write when you hear God
Start small
Lower your expectations of yourself

Ephesians 3:8 says that when it comes to presenting the message…God saw to it that I was equipped. We need to allow him to work fully in us. That means no arguing and no reservations but simply submitting to God’s calling by our faith.

If you make your life about you, it will crash around you.

When you decrease, God will increase!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So What Do You Wanna Do When You Get Home?

Parker loves talking listening to people when they call.  Here are some ADORABLE pics of Parker talking to his Daddy...
Too Cute!!

He is getting such a personality and growing up so fast!

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Want A Do-Over, Please!

I would love to just be able to replay today with different outcomes or just skip it all together.  The one good thing that came out of today was the Valentine's Party I got to spend with my lovely, handsome son at school!

Wake up to a house that is not warm AT ALL.  New house and a five year old furnace shouldn't equal COLD HOUSE in the MIDDLE OF WINTER - - BUT it does.  If I keep going to the basement and resetting the gas on it every 30 minutes then we're good to go.  So it looks like I'm going to be getting some good exercise since the Home Warranty company can't get anyone out until MONDAY!  It's going to be a long weekend if they can't squeeze me in tomorrow.

Secondly our refrigerator was leaking water into the fridge part.  We have known we needed a new one simply because our old one doesn't fit quite right in our new home.  So we were waiting until our lovely tax return to purchase a new one.  So we go to the famous Nebraska Furniture Mart, the people that seem to get our tax return money EVERY YEAR and we find a refrigerator that we LOVE!!  We had a friend help us pick it up so we didn't have to pay for delivery.  It was ALL GOOD - - until we get it home and hook everything up and it isn't working properly!!  Cools and freeze all right but the lovely electronic display on the front makes an obnoxious beeping sound telling us there is an operating error!  Don't know if I should take that personally or not :)  Soooooo....I call NFM and they tell me to call the GE Service Center.  They tell us that they don't know what is wrong with it and they can have someone come out on Tuesday to service it.  So I have a family of five with a refrigerator that doesn't work.  How is that supposed to happen?!?!  Well, it wasn't in my book so I called NFM back and they told me to call at 9 in the morning and they would get a replacement out to us.  Okay...I guess...better than Tuesday.

So right now my kitchen has a REALLY PRETTY fridge but is completely destroyed and looks like I have negleted the care of it for about a week!!  UGH...

Can I PLEASE have a do-over today?!?!  I had my day planned for tomorrow but it seems as if other things are on my schedule now, like WAITING ALL DAY for people to come and fix all the broken things in my house.  It's only 9:40 pm right now; what else can break before the day is over?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gotta Try It - Sante Fe Chicken Salad

I am attempting to make at least one salad as out dinner every week in order to get lighten our plates a little bit.  I got this recipe from SparkRecipes.  They are heathier options and it also give you the nutritional values of the meal.

The original recipe called for Peanut Sauce which couldn't find at the store so I substituted Kraft Asian and Toasted Sesame Dressing.  My family LOVED it, including my six year old son who WILL NOT eat anything.

Sante Fe Chicken Salad
1 large bag of Romain lettuce, rinsed, dried and torn
1 can sweet corn, cooked and drained
I can of black beans rinsed until the water runs clear
5 plum tomatoes washed and diced
4 taco shells or tortilla chips, crunched up
4 chicken breast

Slice chicken into strips to your desired length and marinate in dressing for 30 minutes.  Cook along with dressing that you marinated with until it is cooked thoroughly and the dressing becomes sticky.

While the chicken is cooking toss all of the other ingredients together.  Toss chicken in when done cooking.  Spoon onto a plate or bowl and dive in!!

Sorry my pic is a little blurry.  I REALLY need a new camera (hint, hint if my hubby is reading this).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Friendly Reminder!

This is just a friendly reminder about the give-away on the series of blogs that I will be posting.  This is a place that I want you to be able to share how you feel or maybe offer another word of encouragement so someone else who may be needing tohear exactly what you have to say!

The give-away will happen after the last post in the series and at this point I am thinking it will be a random drawing!  Please participate and join in the fun!! 

Who is Doing Your Dirty Laundry? - Part 1 in a Series

We have all been there; the mountain of laundry that seems to pile up no matter how often we attack it. You may wait until one day a week to tackle this feat while others, like me, attempt to do a load or two a day in order to keep it under wraps. Let me tell you, neither way works. There always seems to be more that needs to be done. LAUNDRY NEVER ENDS!

But what about our other “dirty laundry”? You know the kind that we ALL carry that the world would refer to as shame. Things that have happened to us in the past, been inflicted upon us or created ourselves. As moms it’s so easy to put that laundry on the back burner and tend to the laundry in our home. The good news though is that God wants to take that dirty laundry away from us. John 10:10 says that the evil one comes to kill, steal and destroy. But God wants us to live ABUNDANTLY. He is walking behind us carrying a laundry basket just waiting for us to toss all of our shame in and let him clean us so that we can be pure.

You dirty laundry may consist of sexual unfaithfulness, lust, jealousy, selfishness, envy, loving wealth, wasteful, prideful, greedy, hating other, bitterness, cussing, lying, or slander. The list goes on and one and NO ONE, I repeat NO ONE is free from all of that. We are all carrying something that we can hand over to God in one way or another. The sad part is that you can only carry that burden for so long before it breaks you. When you let that secret go it can no longer have power over you!!

God looks at your heart not what makes you presentable. Primping our hair, wearing designer clothes or outfitting our home to make it beautiful does not hide what we really have in our heart from God. He wants us to unload our laundry on him so that we never have to deal with it again. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!

How does this happen? You have got to decide that this is it. There is no going back and there is no promise that the road to cleanliness and purity is going to be an easy one. You may have to deal with a lot of lint that you find along the way but in the end God promises that you will be clean. Every one of us is promised a fresh start.

For today, declare that there be no more secrets, no more lies, no more dirty laundry. From here forward you’re going to God, and you’re not looking back to the evil one that will zap his abundant life from you.

Set down and write a letter to God and yourself. Start reflecting on Psalm 129. God designed us so uniquely before we were even created. We are worthy to God. If we continue to carry around darkness then we are denying what Jesus came for. A life abundantly, a light shining brightly.  Reflect upon yourself and if you’re having a hard time, ask God to show you. You have got to be real and you have got to be honest. If you are not real and don't look deep into your heart, change will not happen.  I pray that this comes to your heart where you need it most today!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Free Magazine Subscription - NO JOKE :)

Focus on the Family has a new magazine called "Thriving Family" which includes inspiring and encouraging articles, advice on marraige and parenting, tools for teaching faith concepts to kids, and MUCH more.  They are offering a free 6- month trial to promote the magazine.

If you go to Focus on the Family and scroll to the bottom of the page you can sign up for the free trial subscription and a weekly email.  I just signed up and can't wait to start receiving them.  I only had to put my address and email address so it's not one of those things where you have to pay for a year and then you just get a year and a half.  There are no strings attached to this trial offer!  Try it out!!  I am confident that since it is from Focus on the Family then it will be full of great articles :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Blog Hop

Fabric Creations is doing a Blog Hop and I decided I would try it out and see what comes of it.  Check out some of the blogs below and let me know what you think.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Get Ready to be Inspired!

I bought a ticket to attend the online conference of "A Woman Inspired - Creative and Efficient Life" and I cannot wait until Saturday when I get all of the seminars on mp3 :)

I plan on passing some REALLY NEAT information on to you so that you to can have a creative and efficient life.  The speakers were AWESOME to say the least.  If you like what I pass to you then you should go to A Woman Inspired and pay the nominal fee so that you can listen to each speaker in depth and always have the download to refer to when life gets you down.  I know all to well how often that can happen to us.

Be on the lookout next week for some inspiration!  You won't be disappointed.  There "might" even be a give-away that I have for people that follow along.  Comments made here are meant to encourage and help each other.  It's a secret what the "gift" will be though!  You have to participate to find out!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Newest SIDS Research

Many of you know that I had a baby girl pass on to be with the Lord on December 15, 1996.  It was the most horrible experience I have ever felt and pray that parents never have to go through this.  She did pass of SIDS and so I try to stay with with the latest research in hopes that there is a cure someday.  Here is a link to the most recent article which states that "Babies who die from sudden infant death syndrome make low amounts of the message-carrying brain chemical serotonin needed to regulate sleep, breathing and heart rate."

One less baby to pass from this horrible occurrence is one more baby closer to a cure!

US Related Deaths Linked to SIDS

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's Your Name Mean

Go to Urban Dictionary and type you first name into the search box at the top.  Here is what "Beth" came back with...

"That girl who you just cant find anything to gripe about. Always really nice, but never too nice. Generally quite smart and can be blushingly nerdy, but the type of nerd that everyone loves. Has an awesomely wicked sense of humour that's so witty and can burn people to the ground. Someone everyone wants to be friends with.  A person who is fun and makes you feel all "fuzzly" inside.  A gem like, shim-shimmering like a precious stone, awe-inspiring and captivating."

Hmmmm.....I don't know what to think about some of that..  
Leave a comment below and tell me what your name means  :)

Blog Design

Anyone that follows this blog on a regular basis knows that the design of it changes almost daily.  I just can't seem to get a design that I like but I am slowly getting there.  There are tons and tons of sites out there to help you with designing your blog.  My problem, I don't like the business, professional looking ones so I was looking for something a little more artsy and creative.  Since I have searched the Internet high and low I did most of the legwork for you.

Below are some links with some SUPER CUTE designs and the majority of them are free.  If you want to invest the money and pay someone to design your blog for you, you can opt to go that route too.  Me?  I change my mind way to much and have to stick with the free ones.

Blog Design by Sheila
My Style Backgrounds
Hot Bliggity Blog
LeeLou Blogs
Shabby Blog Design

Leave me a comment if you use one of these designs so I can come and see what you did!