Thursday, January 31, 2013

Planning Our Garden... Yes even in January!

I dream of a homestead.

A little place out in the country with a barn for small livestock, and our horses, maybe a dairy cow, or two.  A nice little chicken coop and a big kitchen for me to work in (I know that is not very homestead-ish, but I really really want a big kitchen!), and a place to grow a nice lush garden where the deer aren't protected and I don't have to worry about them eating the leaves off the squash and zuchinni plants (and they might be dinner!).

So this is the time of year where we start planning our garden for the year.  This is our 4th year to plant a garden, and it grows every year.  Every year we try something a little bit different, sometimes it works, others it doesn't.  This year, we are planning an early crop (planting in February) of Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, and starting our onions.  New for us!  And we are going to try to cycle through and get basically 3 growing seasons out of the year.  We can do an early, spring, and fall crop, if we are attentive to our crops and work really hard.

This was last years garden.  We have to build frames over our plants to keep the deer out, and then we put deer netting over those frames, so we used the frame to water as well... we added sprinklers!  It's such a big help!  This year I think I am going to do a few different things but the premise will be the same.  I am starting my tomatoes as well from seed today.  There is something so amazingly satisfying in being able to start a plant from seed and then eat from it!

I can't wait for spring time!  We get so excited about spring.  But ordering my seeds always gets me excited for the garden.  Plus there is canning!  I love to can!  And my wonderful dream homestead kitchen will make canning an amazing experience!

These are last years zuchinni pickles that my family loved!  

Monday, January 28, 2013

February Prayer Journal Page

Here is the February Prayer Journal Page.  It's so hard for me to believe it's that time of year! Click on the image below to take you to the download.  

My children use this during their Bible study time to learn about praying for others.  I felt extremely burdened for my children's prayer life as a part of my drive to Focus more this year.  

If you click on the image above, it will take you to the download page. You can also click HERE  if clicking on the image doesn't work. Check back often, as I will be adding another image in March!  

Enjoy and be blessed!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bread For Daily Use-

Ugh.  How often do I walk past my desk to go do dishes, or help with fractions homework, or sit and watch TV, and I don't receive my daily bread from the Lord?  How often does He beg me to spend time wrapped in His word but "I" have too much to do, and wind up with just cake?

Now cake is great... don't get me wrong.  But bread is filling.  It is full of nutrients, and vitamins.  It's satisfying.  Cake, is well, sugar.  You feel great for awhile, but after a short bit, you come down from the sugar high, and still in need of being satisfied.  It's a lot like life, isn't it?  The Lord has the filling, satisfying manna for us, but we brush it off for cake, and then are still left wanting more.  

How often at the end of the day am I left with a hunger that could have been satisfied with God's Word? With His love, and promises? 

I want my Bible to be worn, and loved.  Something my children all fight over because they know it is full of not only God's words, but little bits of bread that the Lord gave me while reading it.  

Blessings Friends!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Headpod for Dylan

One of the reasons I initially started this blog was to chronicle our family.  In that, I wanted to show God's glory through the boys, and the things we are doing for them!

Last August, I got a phone call from Jim, our wheelchair clinic guy, who asked me to go look at a product that a therapist from Arizona had called him about.  It was the Headpod.  He told me to watch the video, and see what I thought.  Needless to say, this mama cried through the video. And then I went to see how much it was.

After confusion about conversions from Euros to Dollars (I cried, at one point in my conversion it was $2000) I figured out there was a converter on the sight, and, cried again, when I saw it was $250.  We bought one, and had it shipped from Spain.  I cannot tell you how much it excited me to have this little jewel, and be one of the first 100 people in America to have one.  

Here is my son, Dylan, using the headpod with head switches.  The head switches activate activities on the computer.  We feel so blessed to have this in our home.  Our speech therapist loves that she can use it with the Intelleswitch, the Occupational therapist uses it with his Ipad, and we use it to feed him etc.  I really wish we would have had it earlier, but we are already seeing a marked difference in his voluntarily holding up his head. We attribute this to the fact that we are pretty sure he does not like it.  It's still motivation, right? 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Am I Addicted to Facebook?

Okay, so this little funny is circulating on...Facebook.  Ignore the irony here for a moment. LOL.

But, this image popping up in my news feed, coupled with my pastor preaching against Facebook, has to give you reason to pause and legitimately ask yourself that Question.

Am I addicted to Facebook? 
So, at first glance, I would say no.  But when I observe my behaviors, I would have to say honestly, Yes.  Of course I can justify the need for Facebook- South Texas family can get a glimpse into our daily life, I get insight from fellow Christians and quotes and perspectives that make me think and ponder what God wants from/for me, sharing my thoughts from Bible studies, and the like.  

But when I get a notification that something has happened on Facebook, 4 devices ding at me.  WOW!  When I am sitting here at my computer writing a blog, I click back over the the facebook tab, and THEN I pick my phone up and check my facebook. Really?!?

At first glance, I can justify my sin (addiction to Facebook) by giving a Biblical (ministry tool) reason.  But is that really what I am using it for... and do I really need Facebook to be a light to the world?  Facebook takes time away from my family, Facebook takes time away from God (when I neglect my devotions or Bible reading to spend time on Facebook), and Facebook exposes us to verbage and behavior we wouldn't normally allow into our minds and homes.  Things come up in our news feeds that disgust us, but we look/read them anyway.  See where I am going with this?  

My pastor said one thing on Sunday that I will just throw out there, and explain how I feel about it.  Facebook gives you "courage" to say things you wouldn't normally say to someone's face.  Recently, I had used Facebook to tell someone what I thought about their recent behavior, and bad attitude towards another (who in this case was actually my husband) and informed them I was deleting them from my Facebook to avoid looking at the continued nonsense.  Now, given the opportunity, I would have said all of those things (and more, truth be told) to that person's face.  Okay, I have not arrived.  I have a flesh to fight.  I can't say that what I did/would say was right or wrong, but Facebook actually gave me a chance to sensor my words, and be a little more tactful about how I used my words.  But I see his point.  In most cases, people let their fingers do the walking and talking, instead to taking the time to censor themselves.  They wouldn't think about things like, for instance, their testimony.  I am grateful I had the opportunity to hit the backspace key (a lot), but still express my feelings on the matter.  

And, this conversation wouldn't be complete without the portion on games on Facebook.  Not only are some of them just down right evil (not the farm games people!) in nature, but think about the time it takes away from your children.  I used to play the farm games.  They, in themselves, are not inherently evil, but the hold you allow them to have on you (gotta harvest grapes in 4 minutes, who cares about the dishes or my devotion, or that my husband has been waiting for me to spend time with him or go to bed!), and what they hinder you from doing.  I don't play computer games anymore.  I don't want something like that to have any hold on me, or keep me from what my ultimate love should be- God.  

And I glorify God by honoring, cherishing, nourishing, and ministering to my family. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Focus- Fifteen days later-

I wish I could tell you it's been easy- but apparently I have a little ADHD in me.

At the beginning of the year, I pledged to have more focus.  Well, it's been a trying time.  It seems Satan wants to throw at me every dart (with something shiny trailing behind!) to take me in directions that are not where I need to go!

I have however done the following in an effort to get Focused:

1) Worked on cutting out the unnecessary travel in our schedule.  My goal is to get us down to one day a week traveling into town (20 miles one way).  This is two fold.  The first part of that is cutting down expenses on travel.  We travel a lot for therapy for the boys, so any unnecessary gas money spent hurts the budget.  The second part is that it keeps the kids from having to do extra school the next day to make up for being gone.  Less study time equals more family time.  See where I am going here...?

2) Started working on a Home Organization Binder.  These are so multifaceted, you could spend months finding the right printables, finding the right binder, etc.  But I think mine is finally coming together.  By the way... Erin over at HappyOrganizedLife  is doing a whole month of tips, and free printables she normally sells on her Etsy sight.  I love her pretty pretty organizing stuff!  She does some amazing custom work as well!

3) It's week 3 into the new year, and I am FINALLY back on track with my daily devotion.  I must say, the one I am using is really a killer, but I like it when God shows me where I need to change, and I have been needing to focus on HIM more than anything!  When my focus is on Him first, my days go so much better!

4) I have been a Stampin' Up! demo for 2 years, and I am really starting to focus hard on this finally, without taking time away from my family.  It's been so therapeutic!  I love crafting, and helping people make pretty things!  I am focusing on blogging over on that blog pretty regularly (pre-scheduled, so I can do more at once) and working also on being more consistent with posting on my business facebook page as well.  

So, that's my story, in week three of a 52 week challenge, and I am sticking to it!

How's your One Word Challenge going?  Are you sticking to it?  Where have you had the most issues this soon in?  Let me know below if you would like!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hallelujah- New Lyrics with A new FOCUS! Yay!

I’ve heard there was a secret chord 
That David played, it pleased the Lord.  
But You don’t love us for our music, do You? 
Sin goes like this: The fourth, the fifth, 
Adam’s fall, the major rift, 
The baffled king neglecting Hallelujah. 
 Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

Nathan said, “I see your lust. 
You violate a soldier’s trust. 
Your pride, your pomp, at night they overthrew you. 
You steal, you kill, you get your way, 
But God has said, your child will pay,  
And from your lips He’ll draw the Hallelujah.” 

David prayed, “Have mercy, Lord, 
You saved me from Goliath’s sword. 
Yes, I lived for self before I knew you. 
Now, more evil in your sight, 
So I give up, I cannot fight.  
Mine’s a cold and broken Hallelujah.” 

“Blood your hyssop, I’ll be clean. 
Wash me so my sin’s not seen. 
Give me of your Holy Spirit, will you?  
Create in me a new, clean heart. 
Give me now a strong, fresh start,  
So every breath I draw is Hallelujah.” 

“You don’t delight in sacrifice. 
You don’t excuse our secret vice. 
You want from us a broken spirit, do you? 
You’ve shown me what I did was wrong. 
I’ll stand before You, Lord of song,  
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.” 

New Cover Lyrics By: Marvin Olasky 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Decluttering-and Getting Organized-Focus

So, I have so much stuff around my house... it's hard to focus!  I think we have been on the road so much (4 different therapies, piano, church, etc) that the clutter collects, and just gets shoved from one room or place to another.  Frustration sets in, and then I feel my walls closing in on me.

One thing I have started focusing on is a Home Organization Binder.  If you are on Pinterest, I am sure you have seen a bazillion free printables pinned by your friends.  Well, I have jumped on the band wagon.  I am trying to maintain two blogs, and a family of four homeschooling children.  Organization, smorganization, right?

I slowly started last fall gravitating towards pantry rotation sheets, menu planning sheets, and Daily to do lists,  and that is when I found Erin at HappyOrganizedLife.  She was great to work with on customized sheets to meet my finicky needs, and made them all customizable in Adobe Acrobat, so that if I didn't want to hand write, I could type it and read better!  Plus, they are pretty!  She even made me this awesome coupon shopping list with price match columns.  Seriously, that small amount I paid for the sheet has been saved over and over again, just by helping me get organized when I grocery shop!

Right now on her blog, she is doing a series on Home Organization Binders, and giving away free downloads of prints that she usually sells on her Etsy store.  If you don't see something specific you need, ask her.  She will either find it or make it!

Have a great FOCUSED day!

Friday, January 4, 2013

In My Quest for Focus-Prayer Journals **UPDATE** Link to PDF file Fixed!

I am ashamed to admit it, but here you go-

I don't feel like I have taught my kids how to nurture a good prayer life.

Sure they pray well at meal time, but honestly, and really, opening themselves up to pray for others consistently and whole-hearted.  Acceptance (confession) is good for the soul, right?

So, in an effort for me to focus more on my faith, and family, it seems my pastor has pointed me down the path of prayer (he handed me 2 books about prayer last night after church).  I realize I am lacking in my prayer life, and in that, I am lacking in teaching my kids the power of prayer, the right way.

So, I created these printables for my home life, for my family to use to learn about prayer, and to give them something to look back on through the year to see answered prayer as well.

  You can click on the picture, and it will take you to a place to print and download the PDF file!
I am offering these for free, for anyone else who sees the need to give their child (or themselves) a starting point in their prayer life.

Let me know what you think, and feel free to share!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Linking Up to Only A Breath- 2013 One Word Reveal!

Yesterday, I blogged a little bit about what my one word was going to be for 2013, and a little about why.  After the Watch Night service last night, I almost changed it.  There was so much preaching surrounding the word "Rejoice."  I had a hard time!  I still just really feel like focusing on Faith && Family is going to help with the rejoicing. 

My son Wyatt is there on the left with his arm crutches, and this is my husband (suit in the back) and some others playing music during our eating break between preaching sessions last night.  God gave us so much to praise him for last night... and issued some clear challenges for the year ahead and listening to His preached word, but the only way I can be a better ministry tool for Him is to focus on my ministry at home.  For those that don't know me personally, I will just tell you that with the amount of nurses, therapists, and teachers that filter through my home, I don't have to leave home to be a witness for Christ!  In that same breath, I have a second layer of accountability as well.  We have had people get saved here, and people get right with the Lord here, just because of the environment that is, and how encouraging in the Lord we try to keep our home.  It's not always easy, I promise!  

I am so excited for the One Word link up, and the accountability.  I am more excited that through linking up with others, I might be able to be an encouragement to someone who is struggling with children with disabilities.  

Amanda :)