Thursday, October 30, 2008

Giving is a Lifestyle

Just a couple of days ago, someone rang our doorbell. It was a family down the street who had come to welcome us to the neighborhood.They were so kind and friendly. The wife had crocheted a pretty little hand towel as a welcome gift. My heart was touched at the small gesture of thoughtfulness. The same day, this family gave our son a ride home from school as he has been walking home everyday. We also received a surprise gift in the mail last week from my parents with a beautiful wine rack and plaque that was handmade. It was exciting to receive mail that day as I had been feeling down and lonely since we are so far from our friends and family.

Just yesterday I received a call from a sweet lady who is an expert coupon clipper and user. She saves so much a month using them at stores that have double and triple coupon savings. She called me yesterday and is going to pick me up and help me get started saving money on our groceries. How amazing it is that she would share her strengths and abilities to help others? These precious people are examples of givers, loving and helping others with their time and resources. And their ways of reaching out did not cost much if any money. It just cost a little of their time.

These were seemingly small acts of kindness and love, but the impact they made upon us were tremendous. We should never underestimate the ministry we can bring to others even through small gifts and acts of love.Giving should be a lifestyle and not something we do on special occasions.Some of the most precious gifts are free.
For example, when you sit and read a book to your child, you are giving. When you offer a prayer for a friend going through a difficult time, you are giving. Even sharing a sincere compliment with your husband or child , you are giving. When you give in these ways, you are imparting life and bringing hope to others. Most importantly you are following the example of Christ who came to give of His very self that we may have life.

As the holidays are approaching, you have probably started thinking about ideas for gifts. It is amazing how stressful the season can be when it should be a time of peace,enjoyment and reflection. We pile up our schedules and spend too much money. Then we find it difficult to relax and embrace all that the holidays stand for.

I would like to help in some small way to begin getting organized for the holiday shopping and gift giving. We can make the upcoming season fun, simple and stress free. Do you think it is possible? Together we will try.

1. If you have not already made your list, now is the time. Start a small folder with pockets to put your list,sale ads, coupons, receipts and other things related to your shopping. Use a blank piece of paper to put in the front of your folder. Make 5 columns on the paper.

2. Label each column across the top.
a.column one-Names (these will be names of all those you would like to either buy a gift, send a card, or both.)
b.column two-Budget (this is the amount you can spend on each person.)
c.Column three-Items (this would be children's wish list or ideas for those on your list.
d.Column four-Cards (you will place a check by every name you would like to give cards to.)
e.column five-baked gifts (this is optional but will help keep up with amounts of baked items you would like to give.)

3. Now you are ready to write down names and to place a check within appropriate columns for those you are giving a gift, a card or both. As you purchase an item put a line through it or use some other symbol to remind you where you are in your shopping. Also, as you do your Christmas cards you can mark off names as you go.

4. Now begin to shop. Look online, in catalogues, sales brochures in the paper and other places. Place sticky notes on the add with person's name and place in your folder. You can also bookmark sites where you find a gift you may consider ordering.

5.Make a goal to shop for at least an hour a week to begin purchasing your gifts. Take your folder with you so you will have your list and ads available. This will save you stress of last minute rushing and will help you stay organized and within your budget.

6. Most of all, this is only a suggestion or idea. This works well for me as we have many children to shop for. Therefore waiting until the last minute would be disastrous for our family.

Over the next weeks, I will be sharing ideas for inexpensive gift ideas under 10 dollars and five dollars. organizing your gift wrap center, recipes, and other simple ideas to help you keep your holidays stress free.

Remember to keep things simple so you can relax and enjoy the people you love.

Morning Bagel: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Daily Hug: The words from John 3:16 should never grow stale in our hearts. Maybe you have heard the verse over and over. I know I have. I have heard it in numerous sermon and songs. I have read it in the Bible, in other books and articles. I have seen it in the sports stadiums on television. I am reminded as I am writing this that God so loves us that He gave. He simply gave the best He had. The price He paid was more costly than any price we will ever have to pay. Sometimes I find myself complaining about having to do this or that for someone else. Our precious Lord knew He would have to give His most precious treasure for our sake, but He never complained. Every time we give or are asked for help, we should be reminded of what He gave-His very heart...His most valuable treasure-Jesus.

Lord, Thank you for all You did for me when You sent Your son to walk this earth and then to suffer for my sake. You gave so willingly without reserve and without complaint. It brought You joy to give Your very best which was the life of Your life.

Thank you also for the precious people you have put in my path this week who gave of their time, their gifts and encouragement.. There is not one kind gesture that is insignificant to You. Help me to keep this in mind as the holidays are approaching. Show me creative ways to give to others. It is the least I can do after what You did for me. In Jesus Name. Amen

(Please feel free to post a comment with your ideas and suggestions for making the holidays more enjoyable and simple. click on "leave a comment" below.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

To Love or Not to Love

Everyday we choose to love or not to love. This statement came from a parenting course John and I studied a couple of years ago called,"Growing Kids God's Way." As women we are wives and mothers in the home. We also are mothers in our communities and our churches whether we have natural children or not. This statement is the backdrop of the course of generations to follow. Our choice to love each day is the greatest opportunity for success we will ever have.

We should never discount the value of everything we touch in our homes. Creating a warm and loving haven for our families is vital as well as finding special ways to s how our family how much we love them. It does not take much money-just a bit of time and creativity.

A few weeks ago, I shared that starting in the Master bedroom is important because your relationship with your spouse is the most important in the family. Making this room the most elegant in your home shows your husband that you honor and respect him. Our second most important relationships are with our children. Their rooms are a reflection of them and should be a pleasant place for them to rest, read,and play.

Since we just moved here, I have not purchased many new things for the home. Therefore I have been praying and asking the Lord to help my creative juices flow so I can create a beautiful home for my family on a shoestring budget. Here is a project I did last week with my preteen daughter, Sara. She wanted to give all of her "pink stuff" to her little sister and make her own room look a bit more like a room for a teenager.

The photo on the top right is a mural we created together of photos that are special to her. This is great for a preteen room. You can make as many of these as you would like and even hang them as a grouping on the wall.

1. Find a large frame around the house you are not using. It could be from an old print or large photo frame with a matting for various photos. Remove the matting or print. You can even paint the frame if you would like the frame to tie into the color scheme of the room.

2.Search your home for unused fabric. Some ideas would be a table cloth you have not used in years, colorful sheets, cloth napkins, or material from an unused curtain. You will be amazed at the amount of unused fabric you have stored away. Since my daughter Sara wanted her color scheme to be mostly red and brown, we used a set of deep red cloth napkins for the background of her collage. (See photo)

3.Using the cardboard backing of the frame, glue the material pulling tightly. You may want to trim down the fabric. The mural we constructed used two cloth napkins.

4.Allow the material to dry. We used Elmer's glue. Gather photos and arrange them on the background. Either tape or glue the pictures. You may even use various items to accentuate the photos such as ribbons, stickers, etc. We used artificial leaves for a fall theme. We did not glue these as they can be removed and other accessories can be used later for different seasons.

5.Carefully place into the frame with the glass. Hang on the wall or prop the collage against a night table or dresser.

This project was free to create. The only thing it cost was about an hour of our time. It was something we did together to create something "cool" for a teen room. Most importantly we made a special memory. With the holidays just around the corner, this would be a great and inexpensive gift idea for any age person.

I did spend a small amount of money on a few room accessories as Sara wanted to change the entire decor. So we went to Walmart and bought a few simple accessories to decorate. The red pillow on her bed was only 6 dollars. The brown bed spread was only 14.99 at Walmart.

For the window treatment. We used the remainder of the red cloth napkins as well as some white cloth napkins I do not use. We folded them once into triangles and alternated them across the top of the window to create a valance. We used small pin nails to hold the napkins.

As a creative "earthy" backdrop behind her bed, we used 4 woven placemats and created an "Indian" style mural that looks like miniature rugs.(See photo)

We have more ideas to create for the room. However, I mainly wanted to share the fun and the simplicity of bringing warmth into your home without spending a lot of money. The best part of it all was spending time together and creating beauty with my daughter.

If you have any "shoe string budget" ideas for creating kid's rooms, please email me at I would love to read about your ideas and even post them here to share with others.

Remember that investing in our families is the most important deposit we will ever make. It does not need to be costly in money, but it will cost your time. Isn't that the way to spell love: T-I-M-E?

Morning Bagel-Love one another.In the same way I loved you,love one another. This is how everyone will recognize you are my disciples-when they see the love you have have for one another. John 13:34-35 (The Message Bible)

Daily Hug- We can be assured that we hold within our very being the God given capacity to love. 1 John 4:7-8 commands us to love one another for love is of God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

Obviously love is very important to God. He created us in His image.(Genesis 1:26-27) Therefore we have been given by God the capacity to receive and give love. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 that others will know we are His people by the love we demonstrate toward one another. The only way we can be filled with the unconditional love of God is to know Him and walk with Him daily. When your child is receives God's love through you, he or she will be confident in your love and will learn to love others through your actions and example.

Lord, thank you for the opportunity You have given to me this day to give my family my love, but most importantly Your love. This day I choose to give love. However, I cannot do this without You filling me with Yourself.

Come and fill me Lord with You
May Your love flow
In all I say and do.
May the touch I give
To my family today
Bring a splash of Your presence
I earnestly pray.

You poured into me
Now help me be
A fresh breeze bringing blessings
To precious others with need
Make me a message
That my family can read
So they may know
And they will believe.

May my smile be as a gift
And my hugs a cozy cape
And the time I give my family
Be a letter of Your grace
May all I create
And even the mundane tasks I do
Be an eternal stamp
Exclaiming, "I LOVE YOU!"

In Jesus Name. Amen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Playtime!!!! A Visual Message!!

Jesus said He came to do something. Remember what HE said? He came to give life, not religion. He came that we may enjoy our lives, our relationships, and each day that He gives us. We may stare into the face of suffering in seasons of our lives. We may feel that all hope is lost at certain times of difficulty. However, His joy is a gift we carry with us at all times. We may not always feel it. We may not always experience it. However, we can choose to walk in the joy of the Lord and seek the goodness of God in all situations. Remember to live life to the fullest today. This is the choice I have made. Send an encouraging email to someone who needs strength. Smile at a stranger. Walk in the woods. Roll around on the floor with your kids. Laugh ! Laugh! Laugh!

Morning Bagel: The thief does not come except to kill, steal and destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Daily Hug: There is a winning side and there is the opponent. If we have Christ in us, we are on the winning side. Even though you are winning, you have an enemy who wants to steal daily from you any ounce of joy or blessing that God has planned for you. John 10:9 says that Jesus is the door. If we enter through that door (Jesus Christ) we will be saved and we will find pasture. This means that we can choose what door to walk through each morning, each moment, and each day. Ask Him to fill you with His spirit. Yield your all to Him this moment and you will find the inner rest your soul longs for. You will find your pasture of rest and nourishment, your provision for an abundant day. It is only found in Him.

Lord, You are the way to an abundant life. I choose to walk through the door of Your truth this day. Help me not to put more pressure on myself than You intended. I choose you this day and refuse to allow the enemy to steal joy and rest and peace from me. May this day be filled with your fullness. Thank you for the life you have given in everyday life. I can enjoy all you have given me in family, in my home. I appreciate the simple mundane tasks of washing dishes, making beds, dressing my children, doing laundry and cooking meals. I offer them all as worship unto You this day Lord. Thank you for giving me the ability to accomplish only that which you have planned for me this day. Make my home a temple. Make me a blessing, especially to you Lord. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Our Precious Neighbors

I hope you all had a great weekend spending time with and investing in the lives of the people you love. This past Saturday we took our family to the Phoenix zoo. Some of our younger children have never been to a zoo so they were very excited about going. I am reminded more and more the importance of creating memories and doing simple activities with my family.

When our eighth child was a baby, I began to be concerned that I was too busy at home and was not being a good neighbor. I began to feel guilty that I was not baking for the neighbors and reaching out to get to know them. A wise pastor from Taiwan was visiting our home one day during the holidays. I shared with him my concern about not being a "good neighbor". He pointed to all the children, smiled and replied, "These are your neighbors."

Even in the church and as believers, we sometimes can get bogged down by what we "think" we should do to be witnesses for Christ. If we are being faithful with our families by investing in them with our time and resources, God will be faithful to open the door for us to reach out into our neighborhood and community without striving and guilt. As you serve your closest neighbors, your husband and children, God will bring increase. His faith and love will be imparted to them. Do not be surprised that someone just might knock on your door.

For example, one morning I was homeschooling the children. My phone rang and it was the young mother who lived across the street. I had only spoken with her a couple of times and had given her my phone number. She called me in tears and asked if I could pray for her. My oldest was in high school so I could leave him with the children. I walked across the street and just sat with this discouraged young mother for about half an hour. The Lord gave me an opportunity to sit with her and just listen. That particular morning I was tending my own field and God brought a divine interruption. Over the years I am learning that being a light in this world is just about that. "Being". It is not so much about what I do but it is about being who God made me to be. We tend to put so much pressure on ourselves by asking God what He wants us to "do" rather than asking Him to make us who He wants us to "be".

This week I hope to share with you some simple things we are doing here in the home to create memories and to enjoy the preciousness of what He has given in family. Since we moved across the country we have not made many new friends, so it has been a wonderful opportunity to grow closer in friendship with God and family. May you enjoy the week with the precious treasures God has entrusted to you.

Morning Bagel: This is the very day God acted-let's celebrate and be festive. Salvation now, Salvation now! Oh yes God, a free and full life! Psalm 118:28-29 (The Message Bible)

Daily Hug: Lord, You made this day! How great You are! Thank you! It is Monday and it is a new beginning of a new week. What great opportunities You have placed before me. I am excited and I am grateful . I rejoice for You are good and so thoughtful . You know the very things that bless my heart. Thank you for the precious lives you have placed around me. I rejoice in You. Lord, are my closest and most precious neighbor. You live in me and walk beside me. You chose to dwell within my imperfect heart. What an honor and privilege it is that you would reside with me. Cleanse me and give me a clean heart. Make me a vessel of your glory and love this day to those who live with me. Bless my husband and children. Cover them in a quilt of Your grace. Give me strength, joy, peace and let a gentle countenance be upon me so that those with me may see You. I am glad! I will rejoice! You have provided all I need. In Jesus Name. Amen

Friday, October 17, 2008

Heavenly Collections Part 2

I am standing here looking at the sliding glass door which leads to our backyard. It is filled with fingerprints and smudges from all the children going in and out throughout the week. As I gaze at the mess, I see treasures. They are a precious reminders tracing to eternal collections- people. I could stress over the mess. That would be my natural way. However, I am admiring this unique collection knowing that one day I may no longer have darling fingerprints on my doors and windows.
As I ponder on these sweet impressions, I think about the fingerprints we as women leave upon others. This brings us to the importance of what we invest in-people. If you have ever had to be fingerprinted for any reason, you are told not to press too hard or you will leave a smudge. Then your identity is unrecognizable. You are instructed to press lightly so the fingerprint will be clean and identifiable.

Whether we realize it or not, we have a choice each day to leave a nice, gentle print on those we love. It is never too late to begin practicing new ways of investing in others. This should start within our own families. As we invest in our husband and children, we will be like a fountain splashing onto the lives of others outside of the home. We will leave recognizable prints for generations to come.

Soak in this prayer of Mother Teresa."Dearest Lord....Though you hide yourself in the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting,the unreasonable, may I still recognize you and say, "Jesus, my patient,how sweet it is to serve You."

Mother Teresa had no husband and she did not birth any natural children. She cared for the lost and dying. She cleaned the wounds of people who slept in ditches with worms in their wounds. She fed them, cleaned them, and provided rest for them in their last days of life. She left beautiful fingerprints of grace and love on the hearts of others. She was an authentic mother. She saw every life as an investment for eternity.....a heavenly collection.

We may never go to the streets to save the dying.However, no deed is small in the sight of our Lord. Here are some simple ideas that can leave imprints forever in the lives of those we encounter each day.

1. Smile. It is free and it is powerful. A smile is like a drink of cold water to a discouraged heart. It is like a welcome sign to those who feel alone.

2.During your rest times, pray and ask God to show you one person you can encourage that week or day. Keep a box or basket of note cards by your chair. Write a note of encouragement. People still love to receive mail in this busy culture. It is a way to share a quiet moment of rest with a burdened or wearied heart. A small edifying word can make a profound difference in some one's life. Remember, it may be your own husband or child who would be lifted up by a card or note from you.

3.Give. Give . Give. You may not have the funds to buy gifts, but there are creative ways to give. Find things in your home that you think would bless someone. Choose one item out of your home each month to give away. Give your daughter your favorite earrings. Make your husband his favorite dessert. You will reap a blessing of joy.

4.Take a picnic lunch in a basket to a young mother who cannot get out often. Serve her and her children a simple lunch. Stay and watch the children so the mother can take a nap, have a bubble bath or read.

5.When guests come to your home, turn off the TV so that they will know you value them.

6. If your children are older, keep a basket or box of toys in an area of your house to welcome families with young children. Have a high chair on hand for meals. If a nursing mother is in your home, have a private area with a chair she can go to feed the baby.

7.Keep simple breads or cookies in the freezer to take to a new family in your neighborhood or your church.

These are just a few ideas. The list is endless. Pray and ask the Lord to show you creative ways to invest in others as the opportunities arise. Remember, people are not projects to complete, but are precious in God's eyes. As you pour into others you are pouring into our almighty and loving God.

Morning Bagel-Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30
Daily Hug- Father, Your love is amazing and incredible. In my own limited strength, I know I cannot love with the depth of your ability. But with You, I can do all things. The God of glory dwells in me. The Lord of love inhabits my being. Love through me Lord. Help me to love as You love. I ask that your beauty would be cultivated in me in my times of rest and refreshment with You. Speak to me and give me ideas of how I can bless others. You have placed me in my home, my neighborhood, my work place and my community for such a time as this. I depend on You to love through me even when I am down and feeling all alone. In the valley let me love. On the mountains let me love. Through my tears, my fears, my laughter and pain, let me love as if it were my last chance. In Jesus Name. Amen

Heavenly Collections Part 1

The weekend is upon us and most of us have already made plans with our families and friends. Some of you may be working or planning to catch up on cleaning. Tomorrow our family is taking a day away from the house and we are heading to the Phoenix zoo. I have wanted to take our family to the zoo for a long time. However we have been so busy and bogged down with responsibilities that we have not made the time to go. For a season, we had become very out of balance by collecting responsibilities rather than collecting memories and eternal treasures.

God is obviously speaking to us about rest and focusing on the more important aspects of life. What are we really collecting and accumulating? Look around your home. What kind of collections are there? I am not suggesting you go through and discard all of your collectibles. I collect willow wood angels and books. But I have to examine my heart periodically to see if I am making my earthly treasures more important than my heavenly treasures.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21, "Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or -worse-stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven where it is safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious isn't it? The place where your treasure is is the place where you most want to be, and end up being. (The Message Bible)

As women of God, we need to continually be reminded of the importance of collecting the right things. If I store my treasures in heaven, then I am investing in something that will never break, be destroyed, or stolen. My earthly trinkets will fade away but my eternal ones will not.

I would like to share some ideas on investing most of our time in the eternal treasures-God and people. These are the only two things that last forever. Isaiah 40:8 shares that "the grass withers an the wildflowers fade, but our God's Word stands firm and forever. (The Message Bible) Also, Revelation 22:5 speaks of people in the City of God reigning forever and ever.

How can we invest in God and people? By filling our hearts daily with God's spirit during our times of rest, and then making ourselves available to show His love to others. It is as simple as that.

If you are just starting on learning to invest in God's word, start small. Begin with snacks of His truth. I used to get discouraged when my oldest children were babies. I would hear women speak of their wonderful hour long times with God each morning. If I tried to have quiet time early in the morning during that season of my life, I would fall asleep after being up with a small baby during the night. One evening before I went to bed, I shared my frustration with the Lord. He gave me this idea-start with a little. So I began each evening before bed with one scripture. I read it and thought about it. Then as I was going to sleep I would think about God and say a short prayer. God is not so much concerned about your method in your time with Him, He is looking at your heart. If my heart is not invested first then all of my time is futile. Everything starts in the heart. Below is a list of ways to invest in eternal things.

1. Make a scripture collection. Buy a small photo album at the dollar store along with index cards. Write down one scripture a week and place it in the album. (you can do 2 or 3 and keep one in each room where you spend the most time or keep one in your purse.) When are cooking dinner, meditate on those words. Memorize them.

2.If you are a busy mother with small children, keep a bible in your bathroom. This is a great opportunity to invest in God. Write in your bible. Highlight scriptures and jot down prayers in the margin. This is an investment in God and in your children and grandchildren who will know you spent time with God.

3.Use your work as symbols of worship. "Thank you Lord for my helpers-my washer and dryer, the stove, and my crock-pot. Thank you for the things you have blessed me with that I may have more time with my family. As you are making your bed pray, "Lord, cover my family today in your love and protection. Give us your peace, rest, and harmony in our attitudes toward one another. Be creative. As you invest in God you will be investing in others.

Tomorrow I will share practical and simple ways to invest in people. You are storing up riches in places that matter and that last forever. Remember to rest and enjoy your loved ones this weekend. Live, laugh, love. Play with your children. Give your neighbor a hug. Most of all, retreat to a quiet place, if only for a few moments, and tell God that you love and appreciate Him.

Morning Bagel-Be delighted with the Lord. Then He will give you all your heart's desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him to help you do it and he will. (Psalms 37:4-5) The Living Bible

Daily Hug-Lord, this is the day You made. I appreciate the life You have given to me. If not for You, I would not have been able to get up out of the bed this morning. If not for You, I could not take the breath I am breathing right now. If not for You , I could not kiss my husband this morning or embrace my children. Thank you for investing in me Lord. You created me. You invested in me. You bless me with love, joy,peace and life. You invest in me continually. You sent your beloved child to die for me. You invested in me. You have given everything for my benefit. Help me to never take your eternal gifts for granted. I simply say thank you Lord. I am grateful. I am appreciative. Show me how to collect the things You collect and not to be distracted by things that fade away. I choose to make You and people my priority today. In Jesus Name. Amen

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Taking the Slower Path

Ten years ago I found myself sitting in a women's Bible study absorbing, like a new sponge, every word shared. I had been in church several years and I knew the Lord, but this group of women touched my heart and shared wisdom that impacted me for eternity. One day as I was sitting and enjoying the wealth of knowledge and heavenly perspectives of women old and young, one elderly lady spoke up boldly and said, "You know. I am tired of hearing the same cuss words over and over. I hear it all the time and it just wears me out." The room became unusually quiet as we all waited for this sweet lady to continue. She said, "Hurry Up! Hurry Up! I hear those cuss words all the time and I am tired of them."

We could not suppress our quiet chuckles at her unusual comment. However, her remark has remained with me over the years. It is a profound statement. How many times I have been guilty of using those words too often...on myself and others. "I have said it to my children and to my husband creating pressure that need not be. Now I am not disregarding the need to be punctual and disciplined. These are important. However, we must guard our hearts and our families from the pressures of this world. God wants us to take the slower path.

Author John Eldridge says, "The strategy of our enemy in the age we live in now is busyness or drivenness". He says that the enemy's plan is to "keep them running, that way they will never take care of their hearts. That way we will burn them out, then take them out."

When my two year old son is tired, he is unbearable and unreasonable. He screams and stiffens his body. There is nothing we can do to calm him except make him go to bed. We are much the same. When we do not get adequate sleep or rest, we become cranky and unable to function at the level God intended for us. Just as our little ones resist nap time, we also fight taking times of rest . However, God will many times make us rest just as we make our little ones rest. We put them in their beds or cribs and make them stay there. If we are not careful to obey His instruction to rest, He will lay us down and make us rest. He is good and knows what we need.

Before we moved here, I was trying to do it all....home school 5 of our children, teach other women in the church, pastor with my husband, and develop a non-profit ministry. Only a few months went by before it began to take a toll on me. In the same year, my husband lost his job and I lost two babies to miscarriage. I thought that staying busy would heal me, but my wounds remained raw because I did not rest enough. I loved all that I was doing, but my heart began to long for rest and the simpler things of life. Now God has made me to rest. He moved us out of state away from all of our former activities. He placed us in a new "crib" which I love.Now I home school, take care of the home and write. It is still a lot, but I rest more and sleep better at night.

Hopefully you have been thinking about creating that place of rest in your room or some other quiet place in your home, I would like to share some simple ideas for how to welcome more rest into your life and home.

1. If you do not have a resting place, seek one out. Here are some suggestions.

-A back patio
-A living room chair after the kids leave for school
-A rocking chair in the baby's nursery
-In your car during your lunch break at work
-In your car on the way to work. Play worship music or listen to scripture on CD
-Your pillow each night as you think about Him before you fall asleep

2. Sit and stay in His presence. Just sit and wait. You do not have to say anything. Do not even busy your mind with what you should pray. Be still and know He is God (Psalm 46:10). If you find you are battling distractions, take a journal and write them down. Then go back to focusing on the Lord. Do not strive in this time to hear God. It is not so much about hearing Him, but just being with Him and enjoying His company. He loves this.

3.Think on His things-Kingdom things. Take your mind off of earthly things such as our homes, our jobs, the bills and the meals. Practice meditating on His holiness and the things that matter in this life. Take your focus off of your list and place it on His list.

Most of all remember, He is your resting place. It is not so much in a method or in a location. He is where your rest awaits. Guard against comparing your resting place and quiet times with other women. You are unique and your relationship with the Lord is no one else. Also, God does not present this to you as an suggestion, but as a commandment. (Matthew 11:28) He is our Father and His commands are words of love and protection for us. God tells us to rest because He knows best. Psalm 23:1-3 says, God, my Shepherd! I don't need a thing! You have bedded me down in lush meadows,you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. (The Message Bible)

Morning Bagel: God is my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck. Psalm 32: 7

Daily Hug: God is our island hideaway. We can go away with Him each day or during moments throughout the day to be refreshed, renewed and rested. Whether you realize it or not, you need to be healed each day from the pressures, wounds and corruption the world brings upon us. Many times we say, 'If I could just go on vacation, if I could just have this, or do that, I would be okay. These things may help for a moment but they are only temporary. However, there is a place that is eternal, an island that awaits us and welcomes us continually. That place is not a location, but a person. His name is Jesus.

Lord, help me to find rest in You continually. You are so loving in that You wait to throw garlands around my neck saying , "Welcome into My presence" Help me to take the slower path and to find the island where Your presence dwells. I need You more today than ever. Everything I need You are. Nothing can fill my heart, heal my heart, and flow from my heart like the waters of Your love. I open my heart to You and welcome your blessings as I walk the path of rest...the slower path...the Way that is best. In Jesus Name. Amen.

A Lovely Invitation to Retreat

Have you ever found yourself trying to have some quiet moments to yourself and the silent screaming begins? "Why aren't you cleaning the bathroom? You should be returning that phone call and those emails! Why aren't you doing anything? Get up and make yourself useful for crying out loud!' And that it is- loud cries from the inner wells of our being demanding us to always be busy, busy, busy.

Since our move, I have sensed the Lord continually beckoning me to rest with Him. With boxes still in the garage to unpack, appointments to set, and many children to care for, it has been a challenge. It is amazing how we put so much pressure on ourselves to perform,control, and accomplish tasks as women and mothers in a world that applauds us for our many endeavors.

This brings us to the most important room in our homes-the master bedroom. If you are wanting to redo or reorganize a room in your home, this is a good place to start. Make this place the most inviting spot in your home. So many of us tend to put this room last. It should be the most warm and elegant room, for this is the room you share with your beloved husband. Create a haven that is like a hidden cove for him and you. When you do this, you are showing love, honor, and respect for him. Likewise, it should be an area for you personally to also find rest.

God is pleased when we honor our husbands and when we also honor our times of rest and refreshment for ourselves. Here are some simple ideas for creating that lovely and inviting retreat for you and your husband.

1. Start by uncluttering the room. Pick one area and spend 15 minute time increments so you will not neglect your family. Clean off a cluttered dresser. Purge all of those underclothes you have not worn in a year. Scoop all clutter from underneath the bed.

2. Remember your room is a place of rest and peace. Remove computers, TVs and any distractions that would tempt you do anything other than rest and pray. Fill your room with things that promote, wholesome books, journal, soft pillows, throws, candles and soft music.

3. Add a sitting room effect. Place a small table between two chairs or a small sofa. This provides a place where husband and wife can discuss family matters, pray together or just relax together.

4. If you have children, place a basket of books and small toys by your resting chair so they may sit with you and have individual time with you. This has been one of my own most relaxing and restful activities in the evenings before bedtime .

5. For decor, bring in things that bring a soft effect to the room such as plants (real or artificial). Place reminders of your relationship with your husband, God, and family. Some examples are, wedding photos, special gifts from your spouse, a pretty box filled with birthday or anniversary cards or mementos. Display a print on your dresser with a pretty scarf fluffed underneath to add softness. Even consider bring some pretties from the living room or den to make the room more colorful.

6.Now make use of your place of refreshment. Ever since I have had children, I have made it a point to carve out a "sabbath" time for each day. Two hours in the afternoon, the little ones sleep and the older children read or do quiet activities. I do not use that time to clean, cook, do laundry or talk on the phone. I give that time to God, for Him and for me. It helps me to be a more peaceful Mom and wife, and provides that extra energy I need for the evening's activities with my family.

Remember to just simplify. A cluttered room promotes a cluttered mind. Less stuff gives you more room to relax and enjoy your space.

Do you sense God wooing you? Check back to tomorrow to learn about God's heart for you and for Him in having times of retreat. Keep in your heart the reason for making your home a place of rest and refreshment, comfort and healing. May our labors never be in vain. As you go about your day, ponder on what Jesus is asking and saying.

WILL LEARN TO LIVE FREELY AND LIGHTLY. (Matthew 11:28-30) The Message Bible

DAILY HUG: Dearest Father, thank you. Thank you for making things easier than I make them for myself. You are teaching me how to take a "real rest". Lord, you walked when you were on this earth. You were never in a hurry. Every step you made was on the path of rest. I receive your invitation to live freely and lightly. Continue to heal me and instruct me in how to "recover" the rest of my life. I want to get away with you in my quiet place and learn to abide more deeply with you everyday in my heart. Your unforced rhythms of grace are embracing me and lulling me to deeper levels of peace and rest. Thank you for refreshing me. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Glean Ideas from the Creator

Our second Saturday in Phoenix was the beginning of a new tradition. We have made every Saturday evening a time for family and refreshment. The photo on the right was taken by our 16 year old son from our backyard. The older boys and John were out back with the grill cooking out burgers as the sun was setting. It was one of the most breath-taking sights I have ever seen.

John came running into the house calling me to come see this gorgeous sight. The entire family just stood admiring this simple beauty. It was as if God was inviting us to just stop, take in a deep breath and enjoy this tremendous gift together. How hospitable our Lord is in that He would provide such a beautiful portrait of His love for our little family cookout.

We can learn so much about creating inviting spots in our own homes by observing the beauty of our Creator. Look at the back drop of this photo. The colors are warm, soothing and inviting. The accessories of beautiful palm trees adds a simple touch to frame the inviting masterpiece.

God's colors and accessories have flawless harmony and balance.We can obtain such wonderful ideas without even having to search inside of decorating magazines and books. We can simply look out the window or take a walk.

Likewise our homes should have the same balance and flow created by use of color and tasteful accessories. Avoid colors that scream and stick with hues that provide warmth, love,peace and welcome. Ask God to help you as you choose color combinations for that special room you want to update. It was first His idea to make things pleasant for us to look at.

Whether our home is decorated elaborately or simply, remember it expresses our personalilty, our likes,tastes and various styles. Let love be your message as you express yourself in your home. Be free in allowing the Lord to be reflected through you. Take a moment. Look out your window or take a walk on your favorite path. Stir His gift within you.

Morning Bagel:God made all kinds of trees grow from the ground,trees beautiful to look at and good to eat. Genesis 2:9 (The Message Bible)

Daily Hug: Lord, Your creation is incredible. How I admire all the wonderful things you made. You are so loving to make a place that is filled with such beauty. I so appreciate that You put much thought and detail into all You made so we could see and experience your love. You really went to a lot of trouble for us God, but I know you enjoyed all the work you did.

Likewise Lord, I pray that you would help me to have this mind, Your mind ,as I create an atmosphere of beauty for my family. Thank you that we do not have to have a lot of money or "know how" to do this. You have already provided. Stir the gifts within me Lord and give me fresh ideas to show my family my love for them. Give me simple inventions that even my children can get involved in so we can do these things together and that they may see You have also deposited creativity within them.

In Jesus Name, Amen

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Arranged for His Glory

When we found out just two months ago we would be moving from the Atlanta area to the Phoenix area, we decided we wanted to move with as little as possible. We wanted to start over by getting rid of clutter and things not needed. It was exhausting. We literally threw away a ton of things and gave away just as much. I was horrified that I had allowed so much unneeded "stuff" to accumulate in my home.

Now we have been here for three weeks and I do not miss a thing I left behind. In fact I realized that the saying "little is much and much is less" is a very profound statement. I have enjoyed reorganizing my home and decorating with less than what I had before. It has made room for much creativity and enjoyment. Also, it keeps things in perspective of "the less mess the less stress".

If you are thinking you would like to start over in your home or maybe just liven up a room, here are some very simple ideas I would like to share.Keep in mind that you are creating a place of peace, love, and rest for your family, not a show place.

First, dedicate your home to God or the room you would like to give a face-lift. Ask Him to release a flow of creativity within you to guide you.

Secondly, take a look around. Look in the attic,garage, closets, kitchen cabinets, or even under the bed. The junk you have hidden may be a hidden treasure. When we moved here I found things that I had stored away that I never thought about using as decor. There was a black metal plate holder I had not used in years. I found four frosted glass hummingbird plates I had in my cabinets for 17 years that I never displayed. Now I have them in my dining area. Also I took items I already had and combined them with things I never thought to put them with before.(See photos).

As you are going on this treasure hunt, designate a closet or some other place to put what you find until you are ready to decorate.

Thirdly, organize clutter. Buy large trash bags for throw away items and use boxes for give away items. Do not be afraid to let go of things you have had for years. It really is a wonderful feeling to release things we really do not need. Remember, God says He will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory, (Philippians 4:19) He wants our homes to reflect Him in physical beauty and creativity as well as being filled with His love and peace.

Lastly, be careful not to become stressed and over burdened by this venture. God wants us to enjoy our homes and for our families to find refuge there. Do a little at a time. Redecorate one dresser top one day, or one corner of your bedroom the next. Spend small increments of time so you will not neglect the most important, God and family.

Now you have a clean canvas. As you complete these tasks, think of your home as a canvas ready to be adorned with God's beauty and yours. Next time, I will share about color and different rooms in your home.

MORNING BAGEL: In the house of the righteous is much treasure. Proverbs 15:6 (King James Version)

DAILY HUG: I should think of my home as a hug. My hug and God's hug to my family and to the world. Seeking balance and letting God lead to a healthy balance in how much time I spend on my home is important. We should never feel pressured that we are to measure up to our friend's home. Your home is a work of art, unique to you. You should see it that way. You are creative. You were created by the creator. Most importantly, your home is a retreat and a shelter where love is provided.

Lord, thank you for blessing me with creativity. You have enabled me to be a vessel of your beauty.

Help me to arrange my home
For Your glory alone.
Paint my walls with Your grace
Hang portraits that reflect Your face.
Fill and furnish with Your mercy and love.
Give rest to the weary from your throne above.
Let comfort and peace adorn this place.
And may joy abound from Your soothing embrace.
In Jesus Name. Amen.

Friday, October 10, 2008


For starters I will share my heart and desire for this blog site. As women seem to get busier and busier as each year passes, the need to rest, to enjoy life, and to appreciate the more simple things around us are needful. We live in a culture of continual stress that weighs us down. How can we get back to the basic and simple things of life in a society that is continually harassing us to do this, be that, and have everything in the process?

In these blogs I want to share how God is still teaching me to slow down and to stay focused on what is the most important. A friend of mine shared that God had been speaking to her about getting back to the more weightier matters of and mercy. This has been my mission lately. Showing love in the home is our starting place. Extending mercy in the hidden places of our own dwellings is what God cares about the most . It is also where the greatest influences will flow from this generation to the next.

As you visit here, you will find various ideas on how to create a home that is a haven of rest, comfort, and acceptance to those who enter. There will be simple gifts here....decorating tips,recipes,entertaining ideas,and much more. You will also find a daily scripture which I call the Morning Bagel and a small devotion, titled "Daily Hug" at the bottom of each article.

My prayer is that you will learn to simplify your life so you will have more time to enjoy your husband, your children, and others who walk through your doorway. Welcome to my heart-A heart at home. Ange
Morning Bagel- If God does not build the house, the builders only build shacks. Psalm 127:1 (The Message Bible)
Daily Hug- We can spend a lot of time decorating and cleaning our homes but really miss the main point of why we do these things. If I busy myself with these because I am trying to impress others then I build a shack. If I clean and adorn my dwelling but there is no love there, then all of my labor is in vain. God wants our homes to glorify him. Just as Jesus loved to visit the home of Mary and Martha, He desires more so to dwell with you in yours. We should think of our houses as sanctuaries, as extensions of a woman's heart filled with God. As I busy myself with my daily duties I should ask Him if my work is pleasing to Him. If He is pleased, then we are filling our homes with His presence.
Dear Lord,
Thank you for blessing my family with a home. Help me to never take for granted the importance of my calling here. You have provided a place for me to express my God given creativity in order that others may experience your mercy, love and grace. I give you the home of my heart today God. Fill it with Yourself and let Your presence overflow into the lives of my family and any others who cross over my threshold. In Jesus Name. Amen.