Five-Minute Friday

Lisa-Jo Baker’s prompt was the word “small”.  Being a mother of three, I almost need to say “don’t get me started on the word small!”  I have too many blessings in small packages to name!  I will try to restrain myself =)

I’m staying up late just to write this post.  I figure it’s better to stay up Thursday night than to stare at a screen for five minutes Friday morning when my kids are awake.  Five minutes might seem like small potatoes to us grown-ups, but to the five-and-under crowd, it’s all about the small things…

Staying up late the night before Valentine’s to cut out red paper hearts to surprise my daughter.  I scrounged up some old ribbon (from someone’s bridal shower) and tiny play clothes-pins (from another’s baby shower before any of mine were even a pea in the pod).  Then I found some thumb tacks and hung the long strands of love-cut hearts in the two archways of our home.  Princess woke up early, beaming.

Daddy took princess out to dinner on Valentine’s Day.  I wish I could have caught on camera her bashful, beaming smile when she saw the dress shirt and pants I handed to daddy, which he only wore on very special occasions.

I remembered Rachel Jankovic’s words, and my purpose for this blog… heavy branches.  Bearing fruit.  Even if that means staying up all night cutting out paper hearts.  Doing little (or majorly time-consuming) things to bless others.

Small gestures with big thoughts behind them.

Small things like making bread.  My daughter’s been asking for weeks “When will we make bread?”  But I haven’t made any in so long, I had forgotten that it’s really not that big of a burden.  In fact, I noticed something the day we made bread together, and I stopped to think about it the next time we made bread together just a few days later.  My children sit patiently and wait, regardless of how long it takes me to prep, when they know I’m going to do one small thing that they have really been wanting to do.

So I have a challenge for you–something I began over a year ago and have been inconsistent about myself since but will tomorrow morning pick back up again.  Print out this month’s calendar, and next month’s calendar (and so on), and each day purpose to fill in one small thing (or one big thing!) that you did to make that day worthwhile.  Granted, loving, feeding, and caring for your family makes the day worthwhile, but I’m talking about that little extra thing.  My old calendar has things like, “let kids stay up to see stars”, “had a picnic in the grass”, “met daddy for lunch”, and “read books together”.

Speaking of small, how can such a small, eight-month-old person have such a big voice?

And how can that same, small person have such a big impact on my life?

And how can a small, three-year-old boy, have so much love for God?  “Mommy, when will I go to heaven?” “Why do you want to go to heaven?” “because I love God”

Happy Friday!

Five Minute Friday

The Discouraging Wife’s Role in The Torment and Testing of Job

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For convenience, I’m writing this post with the assumption that my audience has a basic understanding of who Job is and where to find the book of Job in the Holy Bible.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I would love to help.  Please send me an e-mail!

Every Saturday, my husband and I participate in a fellowship group at my friend’s house where we share a meal and discuss Scripture.  A few weeks ago, we were reading through the book of Job together.

The next morning, my husband and I woke up and began our day as normal for weekends.  Except one thing was different.  For whatever reason, everything I said to my husband was laced with poison.  My few sharp words were so piercing, they gave me a jolt.  But each time, my sharpness and jolted conscious were immediately followed by justification.

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.  Proverbs 12:18

I was demeaning my husband.  If he was an earthen stone, I was chipping him away.

As my husband walked outside with our 3 and 4 year-old in tow, I closed the door behind them and checked on the napping baby.  From the kitchen to the bedroom, God convicted me.  My thoughts went back to the book of Job:

“Why didn’t Satan kill Job’s wife?”

“Satan isn’t merciful, and he wouldn’t have forgotten anything.  His mission was to torture Job enough to cause him to reject God.”

“Satan destroyed all ten of Job’s children and all of his possessions in a single day.  His body broke out in horrible sores.  Satan took everything but Job’s very life (because it was the one thing God forbid).”

“Why not his wife?”

“Was it worse to have a discouraging wife than no wife at all?”

“Why not take his friends?  Was it worse to get beaten down by his own friends than to be left all alone with God?”

I am no theologian, and I’m open to correction if you have it!  But I believe that by leaving Job’s wife and his friends physically on earth, Satan used them as living tools to torment Job.  Satan used them to cut straight through to Job’s very mind and soul.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.  Proverbs 18:21

The words of Job’s wife and friends were intended to chip away at the one strength Job had: his faith.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity?  Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak.  Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.  Job 2:9-10 (emphasis mine)

Ladies, let us not be used as tools in the torment of our husbands!  Or anyone!  Let us not only encourage one-another, but encourage one-another to be encouraging and to be the help-meet’s we were created to be.  Let us live in such a way that the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:36-37 does not make us wince with worry

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

Let us pray at the beginning of our days

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Psalm 141:3

Let no corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

Let each step be beautifully laced with this prayer on our lips

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.  Psalm 19:4

And let us say at the end of our day

You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.  Psalm 17:3

Let us try.

The most encouraging, uplifting and honoring thing we can do as wives is to pray for ourselves and for our husbands.  There was a time when I didn’t know how to do this.  Then, a number of lovely ladies kindly recommended The Power of a Praying® Wife by Stormie Omartian, and I am so thankful for this book!

A note to the discouraged wife:

Dear wife and mother, if you are discouraged today, that was not my intent!  Your husband is not better off without you.  You two were brought together and united as one flesh.  If you are feeling discouraged this day, take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.  Put on the armor of God, and ride it out.  Let the Lord fight for you.  Take one step at a time, do the next thing, and let the waves pass over you and be gone.  Rest in the shadow of the Almighty’s wings.  Talk to your mother, sister, friend, or your pastor’s wife.  And feel free to send me an e-mail.  I will pray for you!

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Tuesday Links

My Tuesdays are on-the-go busy, with Bible study from 9-11am and then ballet classes (I teach in the gym at our church) from 3:00-5:00.  And we’re 15 minutes from town, so driving back and forth with children 5 and under does tend to make me tired by the end of the day and not leave much time in-between for blogging.

So today I’m just sharing what others took the time to write–links that I remembered after looking at them!

I know Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and I’m sharing this now on purpose.  Love is every day.  That’s the point: Real Love   and   When You Think Your Love Story is Boring

Kelly Crawford, a former high school teacher turned homeschool mom of nine wrote “An Open Letter of Apology to My Former High School Student

Have a great Tuesday!

Romance Your Man With Minestrone (Easy!)

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Valentines Day is approaching, and if you are planning a date night at home, or you would really like to plan a date night, period, a delicious and easy-to-make recipe is a must!

I have three small children at my apron-strings (ages 5, 3, and 8 months), so any preparations need to work around constant interruptions.  Also, my  husband would much rather have a simple meal with a cheerful wife, than a fancy meal with a pots-and-pans strewn house and frazzled family members greeting him at the door.  (Oh I love him!)

Frequent date nights out are not a reality in our home because of the season of life we are in, but we date continually.   We have our own time after the children go to bed and we don’t go a week without at least a couple of these times together.  On special occasions I try to be more intentional.  Day-in and day-out, our children know their parents love each other because we make an effort to scoot the kids aside so mom and dad can share a warm hug and kiss.  Our marriage is important.

Now for a recipe you can prepare around children, with a cheerful heart, to be ready hot and delicious when your husband walks in the door.  Maybe this Valentines Day, you can serve the children early and save dinner with him until some candles can be lit.

Happy Valentines Day!

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This recipe is easy for our family, and I’ll explain why

  1. All of the effort is in chopping vegetables, which only takes about 15 minutes and can be done at any length ahead of time (hours, days, or even a week if need-be).  I often will chop up everything and put the chopped and frozen veggies in a bowl covered by plastic wrap in the fridge until I’m ready to cook.
  2. The actual cooking only takes 40 minutes at the most.
  3. The recipe doubles (and quadruples) easily.
  4. The recipe freezes exceptionally well.
  5. The recipe is extremely adaptable.  As long as the seasonings are there, many of the ingredients can be left out if I simply don’t have them on-hand.
  6. My husband and children love it =)

Melissa’s Minestrone

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In an 8-qt. stockpot, heat coconut oil over medium heat.  Cook onions for a couple of minutes, until translucent.
  2. Add ground beef and cook until browned.
  3. Add all other ingredients and cook 30 minutes, give or take, until vegetables are tender.
  4. Enjoy! =)  Extra may be frozen or saved as leftovers; it only gets better the next day!

 If you have tried this recipe, would you care to leave a comment and let me know how it went?        I would love to hear about it!

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(ENDED) $9.99 Ultimate Frugal Living and Homemaking Package – Molly Green Magazine

This Sale has ended, but you can still see many great deals on educents!

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Graced Simplicity

The Fastest Way Out of Overwhelmed

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Some days I just get what my mind dubs “overwhelmed”.  I feel like the waves are coming over me and my head is rarely above water.

The dishes in the sink.

The laundry with clothes we need clean for today’s outing.

The kids running in different directions.

Three voices saying “mom” “mom” “maaaaaaa”.

Do I tell everyone to “STOP!”?  Do I begin barking orders like a drill sergeant?  I only have three kids for crying out loud, is that really too many people to manage?  No… but I don’t want to manage them; I want to grow them.  I want to grow them.  It’s overwhelming.

It’s the consciousness that time is fleeting and there’s no pause button.

But remembering why I feel overwhelmed in the first place is to remember that the things I do are for the ultimate purpose of glorifying God through helping my husband and growing the next generation.

The dishes and laundry and outings and meals are all for the purpose, but they themselves are not the purpose.

You can’t grow up people without clothing, feeding, and sheltering them.  These things must take place, and they just won’t do themselves.  But when all we have to do begins to get heavy, we need to step back and look at it all through eternity-colored glasses, allowing ourselves to be transformed into graceful mamas by the renewing of our minds (and priorities).

Each child is not a member of a group collectively known as “the children”.  Each child is an individual, and she needs individual attention.  He needs to know I didn’t just hear his thoughts but that I was thinking about what he was thinking.  Facing the dishes while listening to a child who is sitting at the table drawing is absolutely time together with her.  But if days go by and this is the only type of communication we have, then everyone begins to feel restless.  She begins to show frustration and say I don’t spend time with her…

This is when I stop and make eye contact.

Hands-down, in my ten years of marriage and five years of being a mother, giving a person my full attention through eye contact while they are speaking has been the “gentle answer that turns away wrath”.  It’s softened the countenance of even the most momentarily-rebellious strong-willed child and drastically changed the course of our day.  It’s shown trust to the skeptic and joy to the downcast.

Eye contact can last 10 seconds or 10 minutes and may need to be reapplied several times per day.  This is a supplement to giving the One who is always speaking into us our full attention.

Remember why we’re here.  Remember what are the means and what is the end.  In all things, embrace grace.  I’m in this right along with you.

Now go find some children’s eyes to smile into.

Sharing with: Time Warp Wife, The Road to 31, Abiding Woman, Growing Home Blog, Raising Homemakers, Raising Arrows, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman 2 Woman Ministries, Graced Simplicity, Raising Mighty Arrows, Serving Joyfully, The Modest Mom Blog, A Mama’s Story, Far Above Rubies, Teaching What is Good,