Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Are You a Martha or Mary During Christmas Time?

Read with me the classic story of Mary and Martha and ask yourself who you are more like during Christmas time (verses in italics):

"As Jesus
and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.

Martha often gets a bad wrap. But this verse gives the first insight into why we shouldn’t think too poorly of Martha. She opened her home. She was practicing hospitality which is actually commanded in the New Testament. She was also a servant. But some let their gift of service become a source of irritation for them rather than a gift for others which we will see Martha demonstrate in a couple verses. Do you serve but find you are often irritated with the "burden" of it?....

"She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said."

Imagine Jesus is coming to your house. Kind of a big deal right? The Savior of the world coming to eat at YOUR house?! You would probably appreciate a little help right? Nowimagine your sister comes over and just plops herself down in front of Jesus feet while you are trying to serve and make food for everyone, including Mary!

"But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made." (Let’s pause there). This part of the verse is the main reason I chose this passage. The ESV says: But Martha was distracted with much serving. Anything strike you as peculiar about that?  She was distracted with SERVING. Seems like a pretty good thing to be distracted with if you ask me. I would like for you to ponder what distracts you from time with the Lord? What keeps you out of His Word? Are there even some good things you can think of that maybe aren’t the best things? Are there some obviously bad or not beneficial things that distract you that you can easily get rid of? What distracts you during this holiday season? The very season that is supposed to be all about Christ...

This word for distracted is perispao in the greek and it means:
to draw around, to draw away, to be driven about mentally, to be over-occupied, too busy, about a thing. I love that definition! Something fascinating about this word too is that this is the only place it is used in the bible! Let’s look at that definition again: to draw around, to draw away, distract to be driven about mentally, to be over-occupied, too busy, about a thing.

Our minds are so full they distract us from God’s true purpose for us. It’s like our thoughts are driving us around distracting us from Him. The last part of the definition is “over occupied and too busy”. That pretty much describes everyone. It takes great intention to not over occupy ourselves or be too busy. Especially now a days. 1 Thess. 4:11 says to "make it our ambition to lead a quiet life and mind our own business"… I have a feeling that if we did make this our ambition our lives would be much less complicated and distracting.

Let’s continue with verse 40. “She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Not sure I have words for this one. How can you use the word Lord and “tell her” in the same quote? Martha is clearly what we call a Type A personality. Focused and determined and bossy or maybe even controlling. Some may relate to Martha more than others. She seems to be focused more on the physical than the spiritual and she also pictures the opposite of that gentle and quiet spirit. Does your family see you like this during Christmas? Let’s see how the Lord responds in verse 41:

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

This is how the Lord would respond to us as well. I can just picture Him saying to me Katie, Katie you are worried and upset about many things…. During the holidays it seems we become even more worried and upset about MANY things. Jesus probably doesn’t care about most of those things that are distracting us. He is probably calling us away from those things and convicting us to choose the better thing. He says there are a few things needed, indeed only one and that Mary chose what was better. She chose Christ. The question is are we doing that? In the midst of much planning and organizing and hosting and cooking and prepping and crafting and decorating and shopping are we choosing, moment by moment, the better thing? Are we distracted from the world and looking to Christ or are we distracted like Martha and looking to things that draw us away from Christ?

In the midst of holidays it is good for us to remember Col. 3:1-2 which exhorts us to “
keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth…”

Practice sitting at the feet of Christ like Mary by setting your minds on things above the temporary things of this earth. When we practice Col. 3:1-2 we are choosing the better thing. We are choosing Christ. In the commotion of this time of year I hope you will remember what I have shared and ask the Lord through out your days if you are being more of a Martha or a Mary.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My First THM Pregnancy

I have some pretty difficult pregnancies because I struggle with what is called hyperemesis which is a fancy word for terrible, all day, "morning" sickness. With my first three I was so sick I was hospitalized with ivs because I was throwing up, on average,  12 times a day. Because of this we decided to stop at three... and then we reversed our decision and I was filled with anxiety and excitement when I got pregnant.

My pregnancies are manageable through two things: zofran (a chemo patient drug that helps chemo patients with nausea) and FOOD. I eat up to three bananas a night throughout the night to fight off nausea and I have to eat with my eyes closed and no movement to keep myself from throwing up. I have to lay in bed eating until I feel the nausea has subsided enough that I won't start throwing up and then I make my way to the recliner where I spend the next few hours eating and waiting. I am not usually able to move until about noon. My days, for the first 20 weeks or so, consist of constant eating and laying around which is a perfect combo for gaining lots of weight fast.

With my first "reversal pregnancy" I gained 60 pounds, which was average for me. I lost it all before getting pregnant again but I was still overweight. I started my second reversal pregnancy at the same starting weight that I had started my first reversal pregnancy. I wanted to try out Trim Healthy Mama (THM) but I was finding it nearly impossible to keep anything down except bananas and other simple carbs. I gained 20 pounds in five weeks and was pretty discouraged. As my nausea subsided, around 20 weeks, I began to incorporate THM snacks and meals into my diet. It started getting easier as time went on and by 30 weeks I was doing mostly THM with a few crossovers a day (like combining 2% greek yogurt with cottage cheese and berries and not keeping track of the fat, protein and carb count or like having an apple with peanut butter or bananas as needed for nausea). Even with all those crossovers I only gained 10 pounds the rest of the time!!! I can't believe it! THM helped to cut my weight gain in half! I am 3 days past my due date and I have gained 30 pounds total! Hopefully this encourages those of you who are like me and can't stomach much meat/high protein meals during those highly nauseating months. You can just start a THM lifestyle when possible and still fin dit helps a lot!

I am so looking forward to continuing THM afterwards and hopefully getting well below my pre-pregnancy weight. My pre-pregnancy weight was still about 50 lbs overweight... so I have a ways to go.

I should also mention that for the last three months of my pregnancy I have been doing 30 minutes of moderate cardio (on our elliptical machine) 4-5 times a week. 

Some of my favorite/go-to THM meals and snacks are:

*slice of turkey wrapped around a piece of string cheese (fp).
*romaine lettuce leaf with a smidge of ranch and slice of turkery wrapped up. (fp).
*chocolate peanut butter squares-taste kind of like butterfingers. (s)
*Different variations of MIMs (muffin in a mug). (s)

*Chicken breast-that I cook at low heat (300 degrees) with chunks of onion, garlic salt, drizzled with olive oil and after cooked I top with a low carb marinara sauce and thick sliced Parmesan cheese. (s)
*Salad with bacon, chicken, parmasan, a few tomatoes, and "guacomole ranch". (s)
*The pizza made with cauliflower crust. (s)
*Broccoli and cauliflower au gratin. (s)
*Chocolate peanut butter "frosty". I put almond milk in my ice cube trays. I use about 6 or 7 almond cubes, a cup of almond milk, a tablespoon of dark unsweetened cocoa, 2 tbsp of chia seed, stevia to taste, a scoop of protein powder, a 1/4-1/2 cup of cottage cheese, 1 tbsp all natural pb, cinnamon and a 1/2 tsp of gluco. (s)
*Salmon with a side of sauteed cabbage and/or zucchini. (s)

*usually the same as my dinner meals. Although I often have eggs and bacon :) Yes... I am too heavy on the s meals and working on liking the e meals more... just like everyone else :)

Here is a picture of me at 38 weeks pregnant.

*Peanut butter oatmeal (this is one of my crossovers) with almond milk. You can use PB2 though and have it be an E meal. Click here to see where I get mine.
*Almost every morning I have 1/2 cup fat free of greek yogurt with 1/2 cup cottage cheese,  2 tbsp of slim belly jelly (recipe in book) and 1/2 cup raspberries.
*Pancakes! (with pb or sugar free syrup)

*The skinny chocolate pb bars I mentioned earlier. (s)
*different variations of low carb cheesecake. (s) 
*Variations of the chocolate shake I make sometimes for a meal. (s)

Now I know that sounds way simple... and pretty boring, but I like it that way. I do eat some other things but these are the most common things that I eat. I am not one who has to have a lot of different meal options, but when I do desire something new there are PLENTY of recipes online! If you need a place for recipe ideas check this out!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Are You Depriving Your Husband?

"For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." (1 Cor. 7:4-5)

When you got married you signed over your body to your husband. Yet another reason for you single ladies to be VERY PICKY about who you say "Till death do we part" to. When you said "I do" to your husband you were also saying: I give you authority over my body. Single ladies, be warned, who you marry will have authority over your body. This verse can be scary for some women no matter who they married. But regardless, you are called to satisfy your husband sexually.

The passage goes on to say: "Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a LIMITED TIME, that you may devote yourselves to prayer...." Let's dissect that a bit. Notice the first part which pertains to the title of this post: "Do not deprive one another". More often than not, this is an issue for the man feeling deprived and not the woman (I do know of some cases personally where it's the other way around, but by and large men feel deprived more often than women). The bible COMMANDS US to not deprive our husbands "except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer." I have yet to see this lived out in my 8 years of ministry/marriage counseling. Usually it's just the wife depriving her husband because she doesn't want to give of herself to him sexually. I have not heard of a married couple coming to an "agreement for a limited time" so that they devote themselves to prayer. But those are God's instruction for choosing to not be sexually active with your spouse.

When we as wives choose to deprive our husbands sexually by telling them no or giving them the cold shoulder or another excuse, we are depriving them of a very really need and in so doing Satan tempts them because of a lack of self control! Our husbands will stand before God accountable for their actions but do you want to be the one that contributed to Satan tempting them?! When we deprive our husbands their lack of self control grows.

Think of it this way: "
Just as your body tells you when you're hungry, thirsty, or tired, your husband's body tells him when he needs a sexual release. Your husband's sexual desire is impacted by what's around him but it is also determined by biological factors, specifically the presence of testosterone in his body.

Immediately after sexual release, men are physically satisfied. But as their sexual clock ticks on, sexual thoughts become more prevalent, and they are more easily aroused. The physical need for sexual release intensifies as sperm builds up...

The best way for a woman to understand this dynamic is to relate it to another physiological need. If you've had a baby, you may relate to the experience of milk building up in your breasts a few days after giving birth. The buildup of breast milk becomes annoying (and even painful) until the milk is expressed." (a quote from Focus on the family)

When you turn your husband down time and time again you are depriving him of a very real, physical need. Married men should not have to tell themselves no because their wives are too selfish to give of themselves physically. We are setting our husbands up as bait for Satan to tempt in all sorts of ways when we deprive them.

If this post has convicted you because of your lack of response to your husband's needs (or because of your outright rebellion to these verses) please respond to that conviction and recognize that you no longer have full authority over your body. Your body is a gift to your husband. Don't deprive him of it any longer. Bless him in a way that only his wife can knowing full well that God is pleased with what you can give him!

Lastly, sexual issues can play a very significant part in the marriage relationship. Don't be ashamed! Seek out godly counsel. Contact your church and let them know you would like counsel if you are not sure how to deal with the different issues that are involved in your sexual relationship with your husband. There is nothing to be ashamed of. God created sex as a blessing for the marriage relationship!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Are You Too Messed Up To Be Used By God?

Are you feeling "too messed up" to be used by God? Feeling like you never "measure up"? Well, that's a good place to be. God uses people like that the most! It's the prideful and the "I've got it all figured out" folks that are difficult to use.

"And He has said to me (and He says the same to YOU), 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'"
(2 Cor. 12:9)

Think about what God is really saying there. He is saying WHEN YOU ARE WEAK YOU ARE STRONG. When you feel strong and confident in yourself you are really weak. Your strength is to be found in Him alone. He works best in weakness and He uses those who are desperate for Him not independent of Him.

Our Creator doesn't choose the powerful and wise and perfect. He chooses the weak and the messed up so that they have nothing to boast about except Him!

"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'" (1 Cor. 1:26-31)

Thank the Lord that He chooses the foolish! Thank Him that it is only because of Christ Jesus that we have any wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption!
He is able to take fallen men and women like you and I and turn us into men and women of God not because of our own doing but because of what He has done and can do.

He is able. Are you willing?

Oh that believers could be like Isaiah and say: “Here I am! Send me.” I love the section of scripture in Isaiah 6 where this quote comes from! First Isaiah sees the Lord, then he recognizes how unclean he is, next his guilt is taken away and his sin atoned for and he is able to say: "Send me."

That should be the process that takes place with every believer.
We all must come to the end of ourselves, recognizing how unclean we are, look to Christ to remove our guilt and atone for our sin and then we are able to say: "Send me."

Don't wallow around in your guilt and shame. Don't whine and complain about all your weaknesses. Don't find your confidence or lack of confidence in your ability, personality or skills but find your confidence in God's ability to work in and through you.

If His work in our lives were dependent on us we would be in big trouble, but His work is always dependent on Him.

"...looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith."
(Hebrews 12:2)

"God—not humanity—is always the Hero." -Preston Sprinkle

Thank God that you don't have to be the hero, you just have to be willing like Isaiah... David... Abraham... Paul...

Don't wait until you are "worthy" to be used. If you are in Christ, then you are already worthy.

Get over yourself and let God use you today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Our Family's Daily Routine

This is a simple version of our family's daily routine. We are a homeschooling family with four kids seven and under and we have a little one due at the end of the month.

Between 7:30 & 8:00 a.m.-
Get up and have breakfast. I usually read my bible while kiddos eat. We eat the same thing: oatmeal or cereal.

Around 8:30 a.m.-Scott usually leads us in a family devotional before going to work. 

9:30 a.m.-I head downstairs with all four kids. Our cardio machine is in the same room as the kids school room and toys so while I do cardio (for 30 min) Ricky and Rhea work on some schoolwork that they don't need my help with and Johnny and Charis play with toys. After I finish cardio I finish up school work with Ricky and Rhea.

11:30 a.m.- Go upstairs and have lunch. Ricky and Rhea do their piano practice after lunch.

12:30 p.m.-"Clean up parties" in different rooms in the house. My goal is to have each room picked up before naptime at 2. After all the rooms are cleaned up I let the kids go outside and play or read books until naptime.

2:00 p.m.- All four kids are down for naptime (even my seven year old, who falls asleep every day!). Sometimes Charis only makes it to 1:30 p.m. I much prefer having a mid day break like this than having my kids go to bed early. It is a great way to break the day up, it also helps with our schedule since we do a lot of things in the evening and an early bed time would be inconvenient. I also think it keeps my children's immunity stronger because I have noticed on certain days when they are fighting a cold they nap a lot longer and they rarely get sick. I often lay down for about 20-30 min. with them. After that I shower and get dressed. This is also a great time for me to do blogging, facebook and reading or extra clean up.

4:30 p.m.-Kids are up and I am getting dinner started.

5:30 or 6:00 p.m.-We eat dinner.

6-10 p.m. We often do ministry stuff in the evenings (this week we have something planned 5 nights out of 7). On the nights that we don't have ministry/an event we do more school work downstairs to make up for the days and weeks when we can't (because of sickness, vacations etc.) About once a week we have family movie night where we will watch an episode of Little House on the Prarie and eat popcorn. My kids go to bed between 9:30 and 10 and Scott and I go to bed around 11.

How about you? What does your routine look like? Do you have any questions about the details of our day? Leave them in the comment and I will answer them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

8 Practical Ways To Beat the Winter Blues


Winter is coming. Some people are stressing about the inevitable "winter blues". I hope this practical post gives you some ideas to implement into your winter agenda that will help beat the blues! Maybe this list is overwhelming? Try to implement one a week and see how much each one helps rather than trying to do it all at once.

#1 Clean. Sound weird? It's not. A messy house and clutter are linked to depression. The more you sit around in your mess the more likely you will feel the affects of it on your mood. GET UP and CLEAN UP! The cleaning will distract you and the finished product will be much more enjoyable to be in. Since we spend a lot more time inside during the winter doesn't it just make sense that the cleaner your surroundings the less likely you will feel down?

#2 Listen to Christian Music and Audio Bible. While you're cleaning (or doing anything really) be sure to listen to Christian music AND SING WITH IT. Nothing fixes the blues for me like singing to the King of kings! We are constantly thinking all day and singing forces our minds to think about something else. If you are singing worship music it takes your eyes off your self and onto Him and thinking about Him and praising Him is a natural anti-depressant."fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith." (Hebrews 12:2) Listening to the bible is also a great way to fix your eyes on Jesus and think about spiritual things rather than temporal things. 

#3 MOVE. Your body was made to move. Winter time can leave us wanting to hibernate and lay around all day. Not good for the blues. Your body releases natural "happy brain chemicals" called endorphins when you move. The less you move the worse you feel. I am only doing 30 min. a day 4-5 times a week and I see it make a tremendous difference. Look for some piece of simple exercise equipment (used!) and save up to get it and then most importantly use it. Maybe you already have a piece of equipment? Dust it off and use it! OR you can get different workout videos through your library for free to change it up a bit! Get the kids involved and have PE every day. They'll enjoy it too! And on the days when it's not raining, GET OUTSIDE. Being outside, even when it's overcast, is a great mood booster.

#4 Get enough rest. I take a nap about 5 times a week on top of going to bed around 11 and getting up at 7! This may seem excessive but I think it helps me greatly in fighting depression. I see a direct link between me being "overly emotional" and not getting enough sleep. There are so many things that tempt us these days to not get enough rest but by saying no to those (and yourself) you are doing yourself a big favor! 

#5 Take Care of Yourself! #3, #4 and #5 kind of go together. Part of taking care of yourself is getting enough rest and exercise. Another part to taking care of yourself is: Eating well, drinking well and supplementing well.

*First, eating well. To put it simply, I think the best way to eat is to refrain from too many carbs (especially simple carbs like white bread), eliminate as much sugar as possible and consume lots of vegetables. I do think that the Trim Healthy Mama diet is good not only for weight loss but for mood as well! One reason I think that it is good for our moods is because blood sugar is directly related to how we feel. People who eat lots of carbs/foods high on the glycemic index often ride a roller coaster of emotions as their blood sugar fluctuates through out the day. The Trim Healthy Mama diet really helps to keep your blood sugar levels consistent without that roller coaster effect.

*Drinking well. Believe it or not, getting enough water influences how you feel emotionally as well as physically! I try and keep my mason jars with ice and water full all day for me to sip on. Drink water. Also, you can try out a couple of my "energy drinks" and see if they help with your mood!

*Supplementing well. In addition to eating and drinking there are so many things you can supplement to your diet to help with your mood! There are many herbs, vitamins and minerals that are conveniently ready for us to consume to help us attain optimal health and mood! The basic ones that I take every day are: Emergen-C (which if you do subscribe and save is only 23 cents a day and I also split one package up between my four kiddos during the winter in their smoothies), Iron (again, I do the subscribe and save to save money) and vitamin d. These are the only three that I supplement with but they seem to work for me! I take 200% of my daily value of iron a day and 300% daily when I am struggling with postpartum depression. Keeping up your immunity is also a natural way to combat depression. In fact, the next time you are "feeling down" take note and see if you get a cold in the next day or two. When your immunity is down so is your mood. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

#6 Create a Schedule/Routine. This is especially applicable for stay at home moms. The more "out of sorts" you feel or the more chaos around you the more out of control you feel and the more out of control you feel the more your mood feels out of control. Create a daily routine and/or schedule and stick to it. Children thrive off of routine and so does your mood. When you lay around a lot because you "aren't sure what to do next" this may feed your feelings of hopelessness. Sit with your husband and kiddos and figure out a daily routine. This is also very important if you are like our family and limiting the television and electronic gadgets, you need to have a plan for what you are going to do with your day. Children need direction. The less direction they have the more likely they are to drive you and your mood crazy.

Here is a sneak peek into our family's daily routine.

#7 Think about others. One of the best ways to "get over yourself" is to think about others. Who do you know that is in the hospital? Who do you know that is struggling in their marriage? Who do you know that has children who have strayed from the Lord? Who do you know that is struggling financially? Pray for these people and write them a note. The act of praying and writing them will help you to focus on other people's problems rather than your own.

#8 The best way to beat the blues is to keep an eternal perspective.
No matter your mood, remind yourself that it's temporary. This life is but a blink of the eye compared to the eternal glory that awaits us.
"Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.…" Col. 3:2-3 Always remember true happiness is found in Christ. Seek Him in the Word and set your mind on things above.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Do You Want Peace?


You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
(Isaiah 26:3)

What a promise! How much do each of you long for and crave perfect peace?!

If you struggle with worry, anxiety or stress, which I’m pretty sure all of you do, this verse can serve as a continual source of comfort for you.

Let’s do something I like to do with some verses and talk about the opposite of what this verse is saying:

“She will not be at perfect peace if she does not keep her mind on God because she isn’t trusting in Him.” In fact, let’s face it, when our minds are kept on our surroundings and circumstances we have anything BUT perfect peace.

Our minds have a million things to think about and dwell on all the time. We must discipline ourselves to take our thoughts captive and do as this verse says and keep our minds on Him.

Let’s contrast biblical peace with worldly peace.
The world defines peace as the sense of calm, tranquility, quietness, contentment, and well-being that comes ONLY when everything is going well. But that definition is shallow. A calm, tranquil feeling can be produced by lies, self-deception, the absence of conflict and trouble, even drugs and alcohol, or something as simple as a good night’s sleep.

This kind of peace is fleeting and easily destroyed. It can be shattered by the arrival of conflict and trouble, as well as by failure, doubt, fear, hearing someone’s bad opinion of you, guilt, regret, sorrow, anxiety, being disappointed or mislead by others, making bad decisions – in short, worldly peace is threatened by anything negative and negative things are bound to come your way every day. If your security and comfort is wrapped up in this sort of peace, you are bound to ride a roller coaster of emotions for life and bound to never find perfect biblical peace.  

#1. Biblical peace is not based on circumstances.
The world’s peace is fleeting. It disappears as soon as your circumstances change. God’s peace is based on Him and therefore it doesn’t change with your circumstances because He does not change with your circumstances. Just listen to Christ’s words in John 14:27Peace I leave with you; MY PEACE I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” We do not have to be troubled or afraid when it is His peace we seek. But if you are seeking worldly peace then you should be afraid.  

#2. Biblical peace is everlasting.
Not only is His peace for this life but it will be all we know in heaven! Think about that! Imagine your life with ongoing PERFECT peace. That’s what awaits believers in eternity. This is another reason for us to look forward to our true home in heaven with our King. God’s peace endures forever. Worldly peace comes and goes.

#3. Biblical peace is always available. This should be a great comfort to all of you. You don’t have to earn it. It doesn’t come to those who are the closest to “perfection”. God says, here in Isaiah 26:3, that it comes to those who keep their minds on Him! What a joy to know that we are able to take advantage of His perfect peace whenever we choose to set our minds on Him and to trust in Him.

#4. Biblical peace is better!
Why would you seek after the temporary peace I described earlier that is so easily shattered? God’s peace is clearly better! The problem is our flesh lusts for the worldly, quick fix peace and our flesh also gravitates toward whatever is the least beneficial for us spiritually. Once you begin to eagerly seek biblical peace by setting your mind on Him and once this becomes more of your practice, your flesh will lose out because you won’t be chasing after worldly peace as often.

#5. Biblical peace aligns itself with the Word of God.
Have you ever watched a friend make a terrible worldly decision and then hear them say something like: “I prayed about it and felt peace.” Genuine biblical peace will NEVER come with worldly decisions. God would not bless someone with His perfect peace who was directly disobedient to Him. His peace will always coincide with His Word. Worldly peace may be confused with His peace but His peace matches His Word. If what you desire is peace that is NOT based on circumstances, peace that is everlasting, peace that is always available, the better peace and one that aligns itself with the Word of God then what you desire is biblical peace and God promises that we can have it when we set our minds on Him because we are showing that we trust in Him.

Whenever your mind wanders and takes your peace away call your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ and say Isaiah 26:3 outloud: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You."

Monday, October 20, 2014

What I Took Away From "What Did You Expect"

Paul Tripp
is definitely becoming one of my very favorite authors. Recently my husband and I went on a marriage retreat with our church. The retreat revolved around Paul Tripp's: What Did You Expect marriage dvds.

Here are my favorite points. I hope they encourage you in your marriage as much as they did for me!

Questions to ask yourself:

1. Do you love your spouse in the same manner Christ has loved you? 

2. Do you quietly wish God was doing a better job working on your spouse and changing him or her into the image you want?

3. Are you gracious in the face of the failures of your spouse?

4. Do you seek to be a tool in the hands of God of GRACIOUS change in the life of your spouse?

5. Do look for opportunities of ministry more than opportunities to prove you are right?

6. Does the way you treat your spouse demonstrate that you want God's kingdom to come into your marriage or your kingdom? Along the same line, are you making efforts to serve the kingdom of God in your marriage or are you seeking to make others, including your spouse, serve your kingdom?

Great points:

1. Looking to temporary fixes as a means of saving your marriage only leads to more problems. Date nights, fancy gifts and vacations, flowers etc. are like fake apples on a apple tree. Maybe they taste good for a bit but if your marriage/apple tree is not making apples on it's own because of issues dealing with the roots of your marriage then you are bound to fail and never ultimately improve your marriage.

2. What rules your hearts will rule your marriage.

3. The sooner you give up on establishing your kingdom in your marriage the sooner you will learn to enjoy marriage as God intended.

4. You are a flawed person married to a flawed person in a fallen world but you have a faithful God. Look to Him to improve your marriage, not to the fallen world around you.

5. When you love only because you feel loved you are no longer loving in a biblical way.

6. Marriage issues are first heart issues.

7. No matter how your spouse has or hasn't loved you today you can still say: "I have been dramatically loved by my God."

8. Godly marriages are rooted in worship.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

If I Get Ebola

If I get Ebola it will not surprise the Lord.

If I get Ebola He will be my side.

If I get Ebola and die that will be how the Lord chose to take me home. All your days and all my days are numbered and He ordained each of them, even the day we die. And the Word of God tells me to die is gain.

If I get Ebola God promises in Romans 8:28 that He will use it for good.

If I get Ebola, cancer, swine flu, heart disease, west nile virus or any other disease that there is to fear and worry about, I will have God's grace which is sufficient in the midst of it. 

Even if my children get any life threatening disease the Lord will not be pacing around the throne room in fear. He knows the end. He is not afraid and He has not given me a spirit of fear.

But many of us as believers demonstrate a spirit of fear in many ways, especially when there are reports of scary diseases spreading. Remember Christian to mediate on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." (Phil. 4:8) and don't mediate on all the possible horrible things that might happen to you or your family. Open your bible and turn off the news.

This world is not our home. Even our biggest trials and tribulations are but the blink of an eye compared to eternity with the King of kings.

Remember Christian parent, your children are watching you. As long as we live there will always be things to take our peace and trust in God away. Demonstrate for them what a life characterized by faith looks like in the midst of the storm, not what a life of fear and panic looks like.

Put your hope in Him and not in a possible vaccine or some immune booster or the temptation to isolate yourself from society forever. Put your hope and trust in Him and leave it there.

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26

If you get Ebola, your Father in Heaven cares for you and will be there but for goodness sakes quit going around worrying about it all the time allowing the enemy to zap the life out of you because of all the possible what ifs in life. After the Ebola scare goes away there will be something else to take it place. The list of things to worry about is endless. 

"So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (or 'What if I get Ebola?!')
For the pagans run after (and worry about) all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matt. 6:28-34)

The bible uses the phrase: "Do not be afraid." 145 times!
My husband often points out how God is repetitive when He really wants to get His point across and I think if Christ were sitting next to me today He would say the same thing: "Do not be afraid." And He would say the same to you: "Do not be afraid." But if you are not a believer I would say: "Be afraid. Not of Ebola but of your eternal destiny. Fear God not disease. Turn to Him and put your trust in Him and find the peace that passes understanding!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Your Children Will Be Spouses

Was thinking about the saying: "Your mom doesn't live here so pick up after yourself." Got me to thinking about how important it is for us moms to be training our children to pick up after themselves and to let them know that isn't mom's job either :)

I've been thinking of this in particular with my boys... what a blessing they will be as husbands if they learn NOW to put their dishes in the sink, pick up their dirty laundry, put back their belongings after they are finished with them etc. We are to be training not only our daughters to be servants toward their future spouses and children but we should also be training our boys to be servants to their future families.

Men are not called to be keepers of the home but all Christians are called to a life of service and thinking of others before themselves. We as mothers must remind our boys of this, so that when they grow up to be men, serving will come naturally to them because they have been practicing it in the home for years.

With that in mind however, we should be reminding our daughters that they are the ones called to be the keeper of the home and therefore they will naturally need more training and experience than their brothers. I am working on instructing Rhea in the importance of having a joyful attitude in her chores because her duties as a housewife will be much more enjoyable if she chooses to practice joy now. 

As mothers it is most likely that we are raising future fathers, mothers, husbands and wives. Keep this in mind through out your days, through out your training and through out your discipline. Are you teaching your boys how to serve, love and lead? Are you teaching your girls what it means to have a gentle and quiet spirit and to keep the home? 

A simple example of this type of training: The other night my oldest daughter was going to bed. As I was tucking her in I started reflecting on the day and I thought about how many times she was being.... persistent.

I told her: "Honey, there is this side of your personality that could cause you lots of problems as a future wife. You are very persistent and don't give up on getting what you want. This can be used for God's glory when you seek to accomplish things for Him but it can also be a huge burden for your future husband. You know how mama is supposed to let daddy lead and to not nag him?"

Her response: "Yeah."

Me: "Well, your persistence can turn into nagging your future husband and you know what the bible says about a nagging wife?"

My oldest daughter: "No."

Me: "It says that he would rather live on the corner of a roof with all sorts of bad weather than live with a nagging wife. Mama wants to be a blessing to daddy and not a burden and I want to train you to be the same way. Make sense?"

Her: "Makes sense Mama." She had a big smile on her face picturing a husband sitting on the corner of the roof.

One of the biggest blessings for me in keeping this mindset is the benefit it is for my own marriage and parenting. By training them I am also training myself. It's hard to preach this stuff if you aren't seeking to live it out yourself. Fewer things embitter children toward their parents more than watching them teach what they aren't living out.

The number one way we train our children is in the way we live. How am I training Rhea and Charis to respect their future husbands and to love their children in my day to day life and in the way I treat them and their daddy? What kind of godly wife am I portraying for Ricky and Johnny? Am I training them in the fruits of the Spirit or the flesh? How is my life training them for their future and how will my training affect their future families?

"Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Give careful thought to your ways.'" (Haggai 1:5)

Monday, October 13, 2014

HOW We Paid Off Our Mortgage in Six Years On One Income

Last week I posted about WHY we chose to pay off our mortgage.   Today's post is about HOW we paid it off in six years on one income.

First, I should let you know I did do some substitute teaching for about 5 months about 3 days a week during our marriage so we were "double income" during those few months.... although the amount I made certainly didn't come close to full time employment.

On our honeymoon Scott and I read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. It was a wedding gift and one that I am very thankful for! After reading that book we were sold on paying off our mortgage. But we thought: "How in the world are we going to do this on one income... a teacher's income at that?!"

One of the main things I took away from that book that has always stuck with me and that I think is the main thing that kept me devoted to paying off the house was: "Live like no one else so that you can live like no one else." Scott and I knew that if we were going to pay off our mortgage on one income that we would have to live like no one else so that eventually we could live like no one else (debt free). This became a mantra for me when I felt like a weirdo for not doing what everyone else was doing.

Here are the some of the ways that we paid off our mortgage.... basically by living like "no one else" and putting all that money we weren't spending on the things listed below toward our loan:

1. We ate out maybe twice a year.  We hardly ever ate out and we tried to do only fast food on rare occasions when we were traveling more than four hours on the road. If we did go out for a birthday or anniversary we used a gift card. Making meals at home saves you LOTS of money. (I must admit that one thing that helped us in this area is that we only had four children in those six years and they were all six and under so they didn't eat that much :)

2. We don't go big on any holidays or birthdays. For birthdays we don't usually do anything fancy (have a couple friends over and eat cake that I make and have dinner that I also made) and we only buy one gift for each child on their birthday. Scott and I don't buy each other anything... like not even a card for holidays, anniversaries or birthdays. It's a nice mutual agreement we have that keeps expectations low and expenses low :) For Christmas we let each kid buy their siblings a small gift and then we ask the grandparents to only buy one special gift for each child. Holidays can REALLY ADD UP. I think our perspective on toys in general saves us lots of money. 

3. We don't go anywhere. Okay... maybe that's an exaggeration... but if you ask some of our closest friends they would concur. We like to stay home which also helps with keeping the gas bill and car upkeep to a minimum. Traveling is expensive. We rarely went on vacations. Even our honeymoon was free because my in-laws let us use their time share in Palm Springs.

4. We don't go to the movies. I think since Scott and I have been married we have been to the movie theater twice. You all know how much money you can spend at a theatre and that sort of spending ain't privy to paying off your house.

5. We talk about every purchase that isn't food. Now this is where I really sense the "live like no one else" mantra kicking in. I also think this is what has saved us the most money. If it's a bucket or a piece of clothing for the kids or a bathmat or any other non-food item, we talk about it. I am naturally a spender and my husband is naturally a saver. I know how to waste money like nobody's business! This rule helped me so much to really consider what I am buying and if it is something we REALLY NEED. You would be amazed at how little we really need and how many of our purchases are really just what we want. The key is to see the great NEED to be debt free.

6.We hardly ever went out for coffee. Starbucks is not a friend to those wanting to be debt free! If you get the average drink there five days a week that's over a grand a year that you are spending on coffee! In fact we splurged on "unnecessary items" (like starbucks) VERY rarely. Books, concerts (we've never been to a concert actually...), name brand fashion, cds, dvds, the latest and greatest tech. stuff etc. were all on our "unnecessary list".

7. We rarely bought clothes.
If we did it was always secondhand or again, with a gift card. We have been very blessed with hand me downs as well. Yard sales are the best for buying clothes!

8. We aren't big decorators/home-improvers. We don't even paint the walls. We like to keep the house tidy but we don't spend money on making it "prettier". Home improvements increase the cost of "living" greatly. We have the same furniture my husband had when I married him (including the dining room table and living room furniture). Yard sales, again, are a wonderful place to purchase home needs. Buying things just because you want something to LOOK better isn't a good idea when you are trying to pay your house off. After we paid our house off we got a recliner and that was quite a splurge (even though it was half off at Fred Meyer :) I do have a desire to "pretty things up" a bit now that the house is paid off but it just wasn't a priority before. 

9. We buy used cars. A new car is a terrible investment. The second you drive your new car off the lot your car loses so much value it is crazy! We have purchased three used vehicles in our eight years of marriage and probably put about 3,000 miles a year on each vehicle. (Refer back to number 3).

10. Neither of us have hobbies. Hobbies cost money. Some hobbies cost a lot of money. My husband isn't into cars... guns... music... he just likes to study the bible a lot and that's not expensive :) He does like to workout but he has either just done cardio downstairs or found a super good deal on a gym. I don't sew, do any sorts of crafts, paint or have any animals... animals are another expense. We're not hobby people or animal people and this is another major way we save money.

Basically, you would never have heard us say: "It's just five dollars!" Five dollars, one dollar, twenty dollars, they all add up! All those fives and ones and twenties can go toward your mortgage and get you on your way to freedom from debt! 

We did not pay in twice monthly increments we simply put ANY and ALL extra money toward our mortgage. For example, when I inherited $10,000, we didn't even think twice about using it for anything else but our mortgage. ALL of our tax returns (which we averaged $6-7,000 a year) were put entirely toward our mortgage. We didn't look at these "big chunks of cash" as opportunities to spend on anything else.

For one year of our marriage Scott was working part time as a youth pastor and full time as a teacher. That was the most money we made in our marriage and again we took that as an opportunity to put all our extra cash toward our house.

So that's how we paid off our house in six years on one income. It's not easy "living like no one else" but it's SO WORTH IT!

Now that we are debt free we "break" rules one through ten every once and a while. We also are back to maxing out our Roth each year to save for retirement. Our house that we paid off is now a source of income because we have had renters in there for the last few years.

None of this is to brag or boast. It is simply to encourage those who are thinking of living like no one else so that they can live like no one else.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why We Paid Off Our Mortgage

My husband and I paid off our house in six years of marriage. We owed $160,000 on our mortgage at the time. I also owed about $6,000 for school loans that we paid off within the first year of marriage. Scott (my husband) had some school loans but they would be paid off through a grant program as he taught at a low income school district in Ca. That was all our debt. We didn't, and still don't, do credit cards and we pay cash for vehicles.

Early on we wrestled with the idea of paying our house off because of the tax deduction we got for having a mortgage. Dave Ramsey helped us out with that decision though:

"If you have the opportunity to pay off your home and you don’t pay off your home in order to keep the tax deduction, that would be an indication that you are poor at mathematics. Let me help you with the mathematics on this. Let’s say you have a $200,000 mortgage at 5% interest. If you have a $200,000 mortgage at 5%, that would be $10,000. We have a $10,000 tax write-off because we have a $200,000 mortgage at 5%. That’s a tax deduction, meaning if that couple makes $75,000 a year and they take a $10,000 tax deduction, they don’t pay taxes on $75,000. They instead pay taxes on $65,000. If you do this weird Dave Ramsey thing, though, and you pay off the house, you no longer pay taxes on $65,000 because you would not have a tax deduction. You’d have to pay taxes on $75,000. You’re in a 25% tax bracket if you make $75,000 a year. That $10,000 a year that we’re talking about is taxed at 25%. By paying off your home, 25% of that $10,000 that you’re going to have to pay extra taxes on is $2,500. In essence, you lost a $2,500 savings on your tax bill, but you gained $10,000 by not having to pay it to the bank. A $10,000 tax deduction is the same thing as saying, 'I would rather give Countrywide $10,000 than give the government $2,500.'"

In other words you would be saving $2,500 to spend $10,000... that don't make no sense!

Even aside from Dave Ramsey's advice, it sickened Scott and I to see how much we would actually pay the bank at the end of our 30 year mortgage. Our paperwork showed that we would end up paying them back OVER $300,000!! Crazy! We would lose about $150,000! Imagine what our family... any family... could do with $150,000! We'll keep that for ourselves thank you.

The next thing that was appealing was just the THOUGHT of being DEBT FREE!!! Oh what a joy that would be to owe no man anything! Now that we are living that debt free life I can tell you there is so much freedom on the other side of owing people money.

The final thing for me that made me want to pay off our mortgage and be officially debt free were these seven simple words from Proverbs 22:7: "the borrower is slave to the lender."

I don't want to be a slave to anyone but Christ.  

I will be posting again some time next week on some tips/how we did it practically on one income!

Here is the link to HOW we paid it off!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Top Five Ways to Have a Bad Day

1. Think about yourself all day. From the moment you wake up until you go to bed look out for "number 1". Think about how you are feeling at every moment and focus on that. Definitely don't think about others and their needs and wants. Make yourself the focal point of your day and you are bound for a bad day!

2. Be consumed by your circumstances. Since circumstances are going to be unpredictable and up and down you too can be up and down as long as you ride along with your circumstances. Let your surroundings and happenings determine how you will feel. Don't look to the God who never changes.

3. Worry about all the "what ifs". Meditate on all the terrible things that COULD happen today, tomorrow or in the years to come. Don't meditate on God's truths. Don't keep an eternal perspective. Look at things as if you were a non-Christian and consistently try to take things into your own hands. Whatever you do, DON'T TRUST GOD. 

4. Don't read your bible. In fact, just look at facebook all day and get mad at everyone's statuses. Watch the television and fill your mind with worldly programs. Listen to worldly music. Get the least amount of God into your thought life as possible. The less you read His Word the more miserable you will be. Stay away from it!

5. Let everything annoy you and complain as much as possible. Being annoyed and irritable with everyone and everything is going to send you into a quick downward spiral. So if you are looking to have a bad day make sure you have no patience for anything. Lose your temper consistently and continue to pretend that the world revolves around you and how you want it to run. Make sure to complain out loud regularly about how annoying everything is so that those around you can have a bad day too.

p.s. if you are looking to have a good day and one that honors God do the opposite of one through five.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Trusting God with Our Children

What do you fear most as a mom? If you're like me it's that something would happen to one of my children and that they would die. 

Every year around this time the news lights up with lots of things to scare us as mothers. So far it's the scare of the "respiratory virus". Before that it was the swine flu or the west nile virus. Now there are reports of the ebola virus spreading in Africa and many are afraid of it coming here. Ladies, hear me on this, there are COUNTLESS THINGS TO FEAR. Sickness and death are inevitable and "around the corner". Sadly, the enemy takes many Christian moms captive and holds them in bondage with many fears of many things. 

My little brother was diagnosed with a whelms tumor when he was two. It was so big it constituted half his body weight. I remember watching my mom sitting in her room holding my little brother sobbing when we got the phone call. It was a terrible, frightening time. Numerous doctors said he would not live. He did. We just celebrated his 27th birthday. 

I don't know if some of my overwhelming fears have anything to do with my childhood but I can tell you that by God's grace, He is relieving me of these fears! By His grace I am growing in my trust in Him and therefore my fears are becoming less and less. Trust in God is fear's kryptonite. My Father is giving me an eternal perspective on death and life and it is through this perspective that I can live more fully! I feel the chains of fear being loosened and it makes it much easier to breathe. 

There are hundreds of terrible things that COULD happen to our children every day. If we CHOOSE to focus on these things the enemy will rejoice because he knows he has taken our hearts captive. Our hearts cannot be captive to two masters. We are either serving the Lord or something else and for many of us moms we are continually "serving" fear. We are at it's beckon call. When we see another report of a child dying from some virus our hearts are taken captive and we lose that eternal perspective. When we hear of some flu bug going around or even a terrible cold we can be gripped with fear of one of our children getting it. We lose our trust in God and are weighed down with anxiety as we contemplate all the ways WE (not God) must protect our children. Who are we showing our children that we believe is in control of all things?

"That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things." (Isaiah 45:6-7)

Now, does this mean we "throw common sense to the wind" and do nothing to protect our children? Absolutely not. Protecting our children is a God given instinct. However, what does God want us to recognize? He wants us to recognize control was never ours to begin with. He has given us these beautiful gifts called children but we must come to grips with the fact that they are ultimately His. We are to steward them, and part of that stewardship is watching out for their well-being, but He is their Creator... He gives and takes away.

The joy that comes in recognizing that death is not the end is life-giving. The fear that comes when we obsess over all the possible sicknesses our children can get zaps the life out of us. EVEN IF God were to take one of our children, EVEN IF some of our biggest fears come true, we can rest in knowing that even though our children's (and our) days our numbered, we have eternity to look forward to. THIS IS NOT OUR HOME. We model for our children in many ways if we truly believe that or not.

Mothers bound by fear model to their children that they can't trust God and that this life is of utmost importance. Mothers who trust God with their children model for them what true faith looks like. When we are not held captive to anxieties that come with worrying about every sickness or every "what if" we show our children what it means to put our lives in the hands of the living God.

Our greatest concern for our children should not revolve around how they are physically but how they are spiritually. John said: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."(3 John 1:4) The opposite could be true as well: I have no greater sadness to hear that my children are not walking in the truth. I pray my main concern be my children's spiritual well-being. May we as mothers fight with all our might daily to pray for them and to teach them about the ways of the Lord, warning them about the ways of the world. May we be modeling for them what it looks like to live a life of faith and TRUST. "... death is not your greatest enemy. Death brings a temporary sadness, a time of great loneliness, but in Christ there is always hope. Your greatest enemies are those vying for your child’s soul."-Debi Pearl

What are you modeling for your children? What holds your heart captive? Are fears making you feel like you are drowning whenever the flu season comes around?

Mediate on truth, not on your fears.


"In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:10)

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)

Monday, September 8, 2014

My Top 10 Mothering Tips

I do not consider myself an "experienced mother". I have four children with one on the way. The ages of my kiddos are: 7, 5, 4 and 1.5. Even though I have only been at this for 7 years I would love to share with you the top 10 things I like to remind myself of on this beautiful journey called motherhood.

#1 Tell them how you feel about them. Scott and I have encountered MANY grown adult men and women that are still upset and hurt by the lack of love that was communicated to them as a child. I am not sure what it is that prevents us from verbalizing positive things to our children OFTEN but we need to stop it! When your son opens the door for you thank him and compliment him for being such a gentleman. When your daughter wakes up in the morning wrap your arms around her and tell her how thankful you are to have another day with such a special lady. When your toddler is proud of something "little" they have accomplished encourage them with a "good job sweetie!". Don't underestimate the importance of saying good things to your children out loud. And while you're at it, accompany your praise with a gentle touch, hug or kiss on the cheek. Children crave not only words of affirmation but physical affirmation!

#2 Look for ways to teach them about their Creator. They can't hear about their God enough. They can't hear about His love for them enough! Especially in a world that is seeking with all it's might to teach them there is no God and that they were certainly not created! If our children don't hear about the Lord from us they will hear plenty of negative, anti-God, anti-creation, anti-bible hoopla from everywhere else. There is a battle for your child's soul, be sure to stand in the way of the enemy winning!

#3 Live out what you preach. Children start to grasp at a young age if a parent's words aren't matching what they are preaching! They are learning from you what it means to be honest and have integrity. If you tell them God wants us to be content with what we have then you better practice contentment. If you tell them to be thankful for what they get then you better be thankful

when you don't get what you want. If you tell them there is a loving God that cares for them then you better demonstrate your faith in Him when the going gets tough. If you tell them it's important to read your bible make sure you are reading it often. If you tell them it's important to follow through and keep their commitments then you better be consistent and do what you said you would do with them. If you teach them to trust God in all things demonstrate your trust in God by entrusting your children to Him. Don't say it if you don't want to live it! p.s we all mess this one up... when you do, be quick to recognize it in front of your children and apologize.

#4 Have fun! For goodness sakes, don't be a stick in the mud! Who wants to live with a fuddy-duddy-grumpy-head? I don't! It's hard for me to remember sometimes in the midst of dirty laundry, dirty diapers, dirty dishes and dirty floors to be happy but if I don't remember then I am simply training my children to not be happy in the midst of day to day life as well. Feeling down? Crank up your favorite worship music and sing praises to your King! This will speak volumes to your children when they see that you are tempted to be in a bad mood but you CHOOSE to worship instead. Run through the sprinkler with them. Tell silly jokes. Play with them outside. Read to them. Their life with you is their life, make it enjoyable.

#5 Be good to their daddy. The power we have to bring our children joy through how we treat our husband is amazing. The power we also have to bring our children sadness through how we treat our husband is sobering. There have been many "decent moms" that destroy their witness by how poorly they treat their husbands. One of the very best things you can do for your children is to treat their daddy well. Respect him. Honor him. Submit to his leading. Verbally praise him in front of the kids when he is around and when he isn't around. Give him a kiss and hug when he leaves

for work and gets home from work. Look for ways to bless him WITH the children. Present a united front, let them know you are a team. Put him first. You can't separate how you are as a mom from how you are as a wife. Be a blessing to him and you will in turn bless them.

#6-Remember to keep what is important important- It is so easy to misplace our priorities. We can slip into the pattern of making things more important than people without even noticing! For example, when your child breaks something, do you act like it's the end of the world? Do you say harsh things over something temporary? Worldly people can have nice, clean, orderly homes (not that there is anything wrong with those kinds of homes! I strive for that to some extent) but they will never have Christ-centered homes! Our homes should be filled with fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That's what we want our homes to be overflowing with! If we want our children to grow up with an eternal perspective then we have to have one ourselves. Meditate on and memorize 2 Cor. 4:16-18 and Col. 3:1-2 as a family. Remind your children that we are just pilgrims passing through and that our true home is with the Father. Make the things the Lord says are important important in your home. Be more of a Mary and less of a Martha.

#7 Discipline them BEFORE you get angry- I really stink at this. I tend to want to spank my children when they should have been
spanked long before that and then I feel guilty because I feel like I am training them to misbehave and not listen to me until I get "really mad". Discipline your children when they disobey. Don't teach them to disobey by delaying discipline. And remember, discipline IS the loving thing to do "Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them." Proverbs 13:24

#8 Spend QUALITY time with them- It's easy to think that just because you're in the same room as your kids that you are spending time with them... the question is what kind of time? Just because time is passing doesn't mean you are spending quality time with them. Spending quality time with our kiddos takes GREAT intention and sacrifice. Honestly, I don't like to play. I am not a "playful" kind of gal. I don't like games. But this is such an important way to communicate to my kiddos that I love them. All kids enjoy quality time with their parents.

#9 Be approachable
- Your kids are going to have lots of questions as they grow up. Questions about girl and boys. Questions about their faith. Questions about their bodies. Questions about marriage. Questions about sin. We must ask ourselves: "Am I approachable? Do my children feel comfortable coming to me with their struggles and doubts?" If we are not approachable
then our children will look for someone or something that is... the internet for example. The last place we want our children going with their questions is the internet. Make it clear to your children verbally, with your demeanor and your responses to their questions, that you are approachable.

#10 Be who you want them to remember- Do you want your children's memories to be filled with images of you losing your temper? Do you want them to remember you nagging their father constantly about not doing things your way? Do you want them to remember you on your phone or computer more than you were with them? Start living today what you want them to remember when they grow up and leave the home.

All of these are difficult. All of these are areas I fail in. We need the Lord's help to train our children in the way they should go and to love them as He has loved us. Oftentimes when I think of motherhood I think of this verse:
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Cor. 10:13) All moms all over the world are tempted to "lose it" with their children, to take for granted the time they have with them, to nag their husbands and to be lazy in their parenting BUT God is faithful and He will provide a way out from all those temptations. Be in the Word, sing to Him and pray.

What about you? Leave some of your top mothering tips in the comment section below!