Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mary did you know?

Over the summer I read Anita Diamant's The Red Tent, if you haven't read this book, you should.  It's a first person narrative that tells the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph.  Dinah was barely mentioned in the bible, but the author expands her story beautifully in this novel.  The book tells of Dinah, Rachel and Leah and life of women in general in biblical times.  In this time, women would gather together in a specified place when they were menstruating or during child birth.  For these nomadic characters, this was the Red Tent.  Gathering in the red tent allowed the women to not only have their privacy, but to nurture and support each other.  Of course the happenings within the tent at the full moon were mostly a mystery to the men. The whole thing makes perfect sense to me, all the women in camp having their periods at the same time, no wonder the men just left them alone to do their thing.  Besides, modern sanitary products didn't exist way back then. I seriously recommend this book, read it.

Anyway, all this got me thinking about Mary, Mother of Jesus. Imagine this teenage girl who is engaged to be married to a nice boy and BOOM she comes up pregnant.  God gave her the choice and she had faith that He knew what he was doing so she took on this challenge.  Now she has to tell her parents, her fiancé, and her friends what is going on.  Who's going to believe this story?!?  We assume everyone took it well enough and accepted it, right?  But then they get news that they have to go on a long trip in her third trimester.  Desert heat, riding a donkey, at eight months pregnant, probably not the most comfortable trip.  They get where they are going and it turns out Joseph didn't make the reservations and of course she goes into labor.  Here we have this young, unwed, pregnant woman about to give birth in a strange city.  She's not in her red tent, but in a stinky, dirty barn!  I imagine that if Bethlehem was this full, there was a decent midwife and a couple female relatives on hand, but still not ideal.  On top of all this, there are people who want this baby dead so badly they are killing male babies right and left trying to get to Him.  I realize God chose her because she was the person best equipped for this task, but what a task it was!

After such an eventful birth and the entourage of kings and shepherds that followed, there is still the task raising the Son of God!  Now I'm only raising the Daughter of April and I feel the pressure.  Princess already thinks she knows more than the rest of us and in some cases she is probably right, but we won't tell her that.  I'm worried about which after-school activities are best to keep this creative child inspired and concerned about her getting a B in math.  Mary is raising the future of the world!  No slacking or being lazy about going to church for this family!  Sure, Jesus was God embodied so he would have absorbed the information he needed if his family didn't take him to church but Mary and Joseph stepped up to the job. They kept the faith and held God as a very central part of their everyday life.

Then, of course, there is the end of the gospels.  The part where Mary had to watch her eldest child die.  He who had never sinned was put to death before his followers, loved ones and his own mother.  I can't imagine!  I'm sure she felt proud of her son for following through with what he was meant to do, but I'm sure she was devastated all the same.

This year while you are preparing for Christmas, take some time to reflect on the details of the birth we are supposed to be celebrating.  Think beyond the nativity play the kids perform at church on Sunday evening.  Think of the people involved in the process.  The danger the wise men risked by traveling to worship this baby, the parents of Jesus, the grandparents, the innkeeper who put them in the stables with the livestock.  Aunts, uncles, cousins who grew up with Jesus.  We've all been guilty of comparing our child's development and accomplishments with our friend's children's development and accomplishments.  How would you like to be Mary's sister-in-law?  "You know that boy was conceived before they were even married, yet everyone thinks he's sooo special.  I can't believe Joseph kept her around after she told him she was knocked up!"

What is God asking you to do?  I bet it's not nearly as big as what He asked Mary to do...

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Boomer Sooner!  Football season is here!  Okay, I don't really watch football much on television as we don't subscribe to any TV in my house, but my husband is excited and usually watches with his friends.  I do, however, like to watch live football.  College, little kids, I don't care, I just like it live.  We took Princess to her first college football game recently.
She got a new dress for the occasion.  She wanted a cheerleader dress, but we didn't find those in her size.
I went with a beehive.

 Husband didn't really need to get fancy with us.

Thing is, she LOOKS super excited there, but trust me, she wasn't.  It was hot and she could care less about football.  She was miserable and acted like a tool until after the sun went down.  After the weather cooled down, so did her attitude, but we have all decided that she doesn't have to go watch the games with us anymore.

The changing of the seasons has also meant I've been feeling crafty.  I've scoured the pages of  Pinterest and finally settled on this cute fall wreath for the front door.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Great Purge

Princess' room is clean!  I cleaned it out over the weekend. I was correct, she had entirely to much stuff and is happier now that her room isn't such a disaster.  I'm sad I didn't get a before picture, but we changed most of her wall décor so it matches her personality and interests.  The last time we decorated it she was a toddler...
 Mountain of stuff to donate to the church
 Vinyl gorilla chalkboard
 Display for rock collection
The television stand is my favorite part.  This was an old school desk I rescued from becoming trash.  The top was in terrible condition so we used leftover lumber and made a larger top and affixed a shelf under.  A couple cans of Krylon, a couple rolls of duck tape and she now has a custom television/game stand.  The television she had in her room was a monster on a monster stand and it took up so much room she and her friends didn't have room to play the dance games she has for her Wii.  We replaced the monster television with the slimmer design and now they have plenty of room to boogey!
The only room I have left to purge is my bedroom.  It's last because I've put it off all this time.  Anyone want to come clean it out for me?  I also need to finish decorating the living room, maybe I'll do that before I purge the bedroom...  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Turns out I'm a hoarder...

I've been telling Princess for weeks that she has to clean out her room or I'm going to clean out her room.  Her hoarding is making me crazy!  She has way more stuff than any one little girl should ever have and she just won't let go.  I just don't understand.  Or do I?

I'm cleaning out all the rooms in my house.  This is an ongoing project in my house because we all have a little hoarder in us.  My most resent room:  the bathroom.  Who hoards stuff in the bathroom, you ask.  This girl.
Nobody needs as much makeup as I own.  I had pictures, but I must have got on a cleaning kick and deleted those!  Oops.  These are some of the things I had:

An entire snack-sized baggie of lip color or conditioner and 99% of the time my lips are naked. 

Six, count them, six mascaras.  One is nearly empty but I so I had to have five spare? 

I should never have to buy eyeliner again!  There were at lease a dozen in several colors.

I threw away some of the oldest stuff and I'm donating some of the stuff I've barely or never worn to my sister and a friend.

Between what I left readily accessible and what I kept for backup I probably still have entirely to much makeup for one person.  I will work on other rooms for a while and maybe I'll come back to this again in a couple weeks.
How much makeup do you own? 
Are you a hoarder like me, a minimalist or something in between?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cold Brew Coffee

I really like glass jars and bottles. Like, REALLY like them.  When I have food or condiments or beverages that come in glass, I have a hard time throwing them out so I try to find other purposes for them.  My real weaknesses are mason jars and pretty bottles.  See example below:

Recently I discovered a way to use my beloved jars to make cold brew coffee.Screw the coffee filter on the top of a quart sized jar with the lid ring.  Pour your water through the filter.

Carefully unscrew the ring and add the lid, if you want.  This step probably isn't necessary, but I'm afraid a fly will land in my grounds, get stuck and die and that would be gross. (I may be a little paranoid on this on...)

Let this steep overnight in the fridge!

Cold brew coffee in the morning!  No fishing a tied up bag of grounds out from the bottom.  My quart sized jar makes enough coffee to last me 2 days.  I pour half into another jar with ice in it and add whatever flavors I want at the time.  Creamer, vanilla vodka, chocolate silk, Kahlua, whatever strikes my fancy that morning.  I have a lid I've punched a whole big enough for a straw that works perfectly for my cold brew to go.  While I LOVE the local coffee place and the wonderful folks who run the show, I can't afford to visit them every morning.  This is a wonderful alternative! 

How do you make coffee at home? 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer ending, blogging again

Hello Blogworld!

I have not fallen off the face of the earth like you may have assumed.  I've been busy and lazy lately. Okay, I know it's been 5 months or so since my last post, I'm sorry!  Here's quick recap and know that I'm going to try to get back to regular blogging. 

Summer is nearly over and school will be starting soon.  Princess has been gone most of the summer because that is what she does.  She's a social butterfly and spends her summers visiting lots of family.  I took a MMA class for about a month.  I know what you are thinking, and yes, I did get my butt kicked.  It was a lot of fun for that one month.  I was training with newbies like myself and with actual MMA fighters.  It was a really cool experience but after that first month was over I was beat up and bruised and exhausted.  I think they had stopped taking it easy on me and I had tweaked my knee and my neck.  Since I had no intention of ever becoming an actual fighter, I decided it wasn't worth the risk to keep going. I've healed just fine, but I think I'll stick to something a little safer for a while.  I got Chelene Johnson's Turbo Fire and I plan to start that program in August. 

Princess and I are going to get back on track next week with a real routine.  I'll get up and workout in the morning, fix breakfast and get us to school/work on time.  I will have to do some serious grocery shopping because I've been slacking this summer.

I have a feeling we may have big news and big adventures ahead of us in the near future.  My sister's baby is due any day now.  There could be a big move.  God has big plans in our future and I hope to be reporting lots of good news.  Thanks for being patient with me and I'll try much harder to keep this blog up.

P.S. My mother, the librarian, has started a blog about book reviews.  Show her some support, she's a better writer than I am and she'll probably post more regularly than I do

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What to do with those wilted roses

Valentine's Day (and our seventh wedding anniversary) are now behind us, but if you are like me you now have a bouquet of wilted flowers sitting somewhere.  My sweet husband spent time and money to send me this thoughtful arrangement and now it's starting to die off, one type of flower at a time.

The first of the flowers to go were the roses.  Now, husband knows I'm not a huge fan of roses so he always gets me an arrangement of lilies and orchids.  Those are my favorites.  This years Valenversary arrangement contained three purple roses in the mix. After a quick Google search, I learned it's really easy to make rose water from your cut roses.

Basically, pull off the petals. Put them in a pot and just cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer until the petals lose their color. Strain and cool.  I plan to keep mine in the fridge and I'm not sure how long it will keep.  A couple of flowers didn't make a whole lot of rose water so I'm sure I'll use it up pretty quickly.

Uses for your DIY rose water:

*Spray on skin after a hot shower for a pleasant scent and to calm the skin.

*Use as an astringent after you wash your face to pull leftover dirt and oil away from the skin.

*Add to fresh lemonade for a fancy twist on a classic drink.  Add some lemon flavored vodka to make it an adult beverage, or jalapeno vodka for a kick.

These are just a few examples.  With a little imagination and a quick Google search I bet we can find lots more uses for fresh rose water.

What will you do with that Valentine's bouquet?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Even Eve craved the Apple

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon talks about how money doesn't solve things and that if you love money you will never have enough of it.  In a society were it's the norm to 'Keep up with the Jones'' it's hard not to get wrapped up in material things.  We want to work hard to provide our children things that we didn't have growing up, but what is the true cost?  Sometimes we are spending to much time with work and not enough time with family or with our relationship with God the Father. We are doing our children a disservice by giving them everything and not letting them work for the things they want.  This is something we are working on correcting in my own house right now.  We don't want Princess to grow up thinking someone should take care of her.  We want her to be independent and not require someone to care for her.

God designed us to desire more.  If you notice, it didn't take much to convince Eve that she 'needed' that apple.  Here Adam and Eve had been told they could have everything in the garden except that one tree. EVERYTHING.  Seriously, God gave them Everything.  They were given everything they could need, yet it still wasn't enough.  Eve still craved more.  The plan was for us to fill our desire with God, not material things, not the knowledge of good and evil, not the all mighty dollar.  With God, Father, Creator, The Great I Am.

So, how do we get ourselves off the merry-go-round of more, more, more?  I believe that if we get down to the nitty gritty and really bare ourselves before the Lord.  Really come clean.  If we ask God to take control of our lives and then actually let go of the wheel and trust that he will drive you down the road you should go down, He will show you the way.  His Way.  I'm talking actual leap of faith stuff here. Walking on a tightrope with God as the only safety net.  I'm not saying run out and do something drastic because you THINK it's what the Lord has planned for you, I'm saying ask for direction then sit still and listen.  Don't reason, don't tell God what you think or what you want to do.  Just sit. Be quiet. Listen.  He's not going to yell at you, it's not really his style.  He wants you to listen and you can't listen with your mouth open.

Thing is, listening is only the first part.  Know what you have to do next?  Act.  We have to trust what God tells us, pray about it for assurance, then DO whatever it is.  This probably won't be easy.  God will probably make you a little uncomfortable to show you that His Way is The Way.  I'm nervous about this, don't get me wrong.  I have no idea what God intends for my life, but I do know that whatever it is, it's much better than anything I can do for myself on this earth.

I think we stay where we are and do what we do because that is what we are comfortable with. Even when we know that it's not what God intended and we know that God can do so much more, we stay where it's comfortable.  God didn't promise comfort, at least I've not come across those verses, have you?  The Bible tells us over and over that following Jesus and doing what God wants us to do is probably going to make us pretty unpopular.  Why do we continue to worship Comfort when we should be following Jesus' teaching and example?  Did that one cut a little deep?  Worshiping Comfort?  Isn't that sacrilege?  Aren't we told 'Have no other gods before me' (Gen 20:3)?  It's right there in the Ten Commandments, first one on the list, yet we worship Comfort instead of following Jesus.  I think it's time to get uncomfortable, don't you?

This week I'm going to dig deep into the book of Ecclesiastes.  I invite you to do the same.  Come on, it's only twelve chapters.  In my bible, which has the smallest font ever, it's only about 6 pages.  It's 16 pages long in my study bible with the larger font and commentary and that's still not that many pages.  I'm interested to hear what you learn from reading these pages.

What has God told you to do lately?

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I used to have these times I called the 'what am I going to be when I grow up freak outs'.  You know, one day I wake up and think that I should have done something different with my life.  This isn't what I was meant to do.  I'd go online and look at college classes I could take then I'd remember I don't want to make the time to go back to school with my full-time job and family to take care of so I'd go to the employment websites and see if I could find a more fulfilling career.  I'd realize that there isn't another line of work that I can do that will make more money without a degree.  Then I remember that I like what I do, it's good work for a J.O.B. and I work for good people.  I'd decide to just cry a little and drink a glass of wine (technically the bottle is glass so when I finished the bottle, I finished a glass...) and remember that my life is just fine where it is.  My husband is such a good man for putting up with this crazy cycle every couple of months or so!

Since I've been reading my bible more and focusing on God more, I haven't had this freak-out.  Funny how things like this happen when you stop focusing on yourself.  Now, though, I'm reminded that of a time when my freak-out lead me to attempt to teach Sunday school at the church I was attending because I thought maybe I was meant for ministry.  That Sunday school class was an epic fail for me and it took me a while to recover from it, but I do still feel like I'm meant for some kind of ministry.  I never did shake that feeling, but I didn't know what to do with it either.

The bible app I downloaded from comes with emails from the church.  At EOY they sent an email challenging that I choose one verse from the bible to be the theme of my 2014.  I thought this was an interesting idea and have decided to use a hashtag for the first time ever and join the movement.  I have thought long and hard about this and have prayed about it often since the email and this is what I came up with:

"For I know the plans I have for you,"  declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11

This verse seems appropriate for me this year.  I have been praying to God a lot lately to show me what I need to be doing to be in line with His will for my life.  I've made a resolution to spend more time in the Word.  I'm trying to focus more on God and less on me.  So I believe this verse will be the theme of my 2014.  These are some of the runners up from my list:

*I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13

*But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. -Isaiah 40:31

*"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" -Matthew 7:7

*Jesus said to them "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work." -John 4:34

*Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.  Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.  All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for a man who eats with offense. -Romans 14:19-20

Ha!  Now as I am reading all of these back together, they really all go right together.  If I eat His bread I'll have strength to run and not be weary.  I'll not indulge and make food a sin.  If I ask Him, He will show me what He has planned for me and I can do it all through Christ!

What will you choose to be your #Verse2014?