There's Mail From Mom!

Wouldn't it be nice to have a letter from mom in the mailbox each time you checked it? Here's a place to check your mailbox for a heart-to-heart talk with mom...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Just Had To Try This...

The original shirt!
Last week when I went to get some clothes out of my closet  and one of my husband's shirts was hanging there in front of my clothes.  I couldn't figure out what he wanted me to do with it so I left it there to ask him about it when he got home from work.
  When I asked him he said that he was going to throw it away because the collar was worn out.  He just forgot to do it!  Instantly I had visions of a little dress tutorial I'd seen on  She had made several little dresses that were out of men's shirts and even had a tutorial on how to do it!  It was my opportunity to make something for Halle! (Since the other girls had got twirly skirts and culottes this summer.)
  So I copied off what I thought was essential (since my memory isn't what it used to be!) and began my journey on Monday.  Now Monday was also the first day of school for us so not a lot got done on the dress.  Basically, I got the collar and sleeves cut off! 

  My next step was to find a basic a-line dress to use as a rough pattern to cut the dress out.  I called Niki and got Halle's size, found a pattern and spent the evening getting everything ready for day # 2--cut the dress out and do some sewing...
  I am not a decisive person so it took me a while to get my courage up to cut it out.  I "measured twice and cut once", thought it looked really good, so I made myself a pattern to use in the future with my little special instructions written all over it.

I had looked all over the internet for different people's attempts at "refashioning" or "repurposing" a man's shirt into a little girl's dress and had seen one with these beautiful little Euro ruffles down the front.  That took care of the rest of Tuesday's spare minutes.  I was playing with ruffles for the front of the dress.  After all, if we're going to go on a "design and create" tangent let's go all the way with it and have some fun!

Then I decided we needed another fabric in with the shirt fabric--enter new ruffles to go between the ones out of the shirt fabric.  And then I decided it should probably go on the edge of the sleeves and the tail of the hem.   Somewhere years ago I read a second color of design should always be added by odd numbers.  (put it in one,three or five places but not in two or four.)

On to the next stage...
Since Niki had sent me Halle's measurements I was now ready to add elastic to the neckline and to the sleeves.  That was Wednesday.  My husband made the comment that he didn't know how a quick little thing like making a man's shirt into a dress could be taking all week.  Of course it can--when half the time you're designing and playing and then you sew for 10 minutes between helping with school work!  And we had to have our exercise time, game night (Pictionary), and just plain being silly together!

  Today I was determined to bring my fun to an end--after all, someone has got to stop and do some cleaning around here this week!  So here's the grand finale.  I'm very pleased with it and look forward to having a picture of Halle modeling her Grandpa Gary's shirt turned into the cutest little shirt dress!  So here it is!

  A big thank you to Dana for putting such a wonderful and easily understood tutorial on her blog.  It was a slightly bigger project than I excpected (due to my wanting to stick little ideas of my own here and there) but I loved the cost-$0.00!  Now that makes me want to go to the nearest thrift store and find my next project!
  If anyone else does something like this I'd sure like to hear about it and find out where you learned about it and what you did!



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oxford's Holy Club

The past three weeks or so I've been going through boxes that we were keeping under our house in a storm room.  We found out about six weeks ago that everything in that room was molding!  Not good, since it held the Christmas tree, my fall decorations, all my wreaths and the list goes on. 
The box that upset me the most was my keepsake box.  It's been safely kept in the shed for 13 1/2 years but now it had some mold in it so I've been going through it a little each day.  (It's a big box and mostly letters and papers.)
  I have laughed, cried, and shook my head at much of what I've read.  I've asked myself why I kept every little card given to me. I have laughed at Niki's early, early days of poetry, Alicia's nighttime notes she left her daddy and I and the boys birthday party decorations and special artwork and notes.  I've been surprised to see how much Nathan wrote to people and talked about his schoolwork!  I've enjoyed notes and letters talking about Nevin's love of costumes and playing Civil War, cowboy and frontiersman. 
  I've found letters from friends and church members from long ago that have made me happy and sad.  I've read many letters from my mother and from friends and realized we really don't change much over time.  Those that complained about everything early in their lives are still complaining when I talk to them, those that kept a good attitude and trust in the Lord are mostly still doing it.  I can see my children's strengths and weaknesses.  I've seen all my strengths and weaknesses and laughed ruefully that I'm still fighting many of my early besetting sins--however, I am walking in victory in most of them!  Time (and learning to "put on" the Lord Jesus Christ are wonderful lessons to learn) is a helpful thing in our lives.
  Today I want to quote a paper that I had copied that had been a great help to me when I was a young mother and had just surrendered all to the Lord.  It is convicting but good!  I quote:
   The members of the Holy Club in Oxford in John Wesley's day examined themselves every Sunday on the love of God and the simplicity of their faith; on Monday, they examined themselves on their love toward their fellowmen and submitted themselves to twenty-seven quiestions; and so on throughout the week.  Here are some of the questions:
1.  Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am a better woman than I really am.  In other words, am I a hypocrite?
2.  Am I honest in all my acts or words or do I exaggerate?
3.  Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told me in confidence?
4.  Can I be trusted?

5.  Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
6.  Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
7.  Did the Bible live in me today?
8.  Do I give it time to speak to me every day?
9.  Am I enjoying prayer?
10. When did I last speak to someone else with the object of trying to win that person for Christ?
11. Am I making contacts with other people and using them for the Master's glory?

12. Do I pray about the money I spend?
13. Do I get to bed in time and get up in time?
14. Do I disobey God in anything?
15. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
16. Am I defeated in any part of my life, jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
17. How do I spend my spare time?
18. Am I proud?
19. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisee who despised the publican?
20. Is there anybody whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard?  If so, what am I doing about this?
21. Do I grumble or complain constantly?

22. Is Christ real to me?

Whew...I don't know about you, but a few of those stung!  I am adding them to my current event book of things that must be deal with.  Thank You Lord for reminding me of those things that I need to change.
Applying these truths to our lives will definitely help bring revival in our lives. 
Let's each pick the one we need to work on the most and begin to take steps immediately to remove or add to our life what the Holy Spirit desires to enable us to obey in!



Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to "Home" School!

I'm 55 years old and have the pleasure of having grandchildren (17 to be exact with #18 coming right about Christmas time) and also still having "at home" children. Asher graduated last year which was sweet, wonderful and sad all at once!
However, I've still got Cierra (who is a 9th grader this year) and John (a 5th grader) so my days of homeschooling are still here for me. It has been a wonderful adventure that I wouldn't trade for the best private school available in town.
When we began homeschooling it was pretty much unheard of. Our local librarian introduced me to Raymond Moore's books telling me that she thought it fit my philosophy of mothering. I brought the children into the library at least twice a week on our daily walks and my children LOVED library books! (They loved books in general, but our personal library was rather small at the time!)
I soaked in what I read and took it to heart. Niki was already forcing me to teach with "What letter is that?" "What does it say?" She was reading well at four years of age, but in all truth I had to explain (when people exclaimed what a wonderful teacher I was to my four year old) that she pretty much taught herself by asking questions and applying my answers. It certainly wasn't any kind of planned schooling!
That's part of what turned the lightbulb on in my head. I taught my children almost every skill they had (good and bad:). I potty trained them, I taught them manners, hygiene and right from wrong. I had taught them how to talk and I had read to them so much that they had a huge library in their heads already! So, why did I think I couldn't teach them school?
(I've had more than one mother in my life tell me they couldn't possibly teach their children at home and then go to college and get an education and guess what they are now? Yes, you guessed it! They're a teacher! Teaching 20 or so of someone else's children.)
True to my personality I got on the bandwagon in a big way. I began researching, contacting others who had schooled their own children and finding out everything I could about this new thing called "homeschooling". My husband, who was a Christian school teacher and principal, wasn't quite so enthusiastic.
We had made the decision when the Lord gave us children that if we had to sell the furniture out from under us we would not do two things in our marriage. I would not go to work outside of the home and our children would get a Christian education--not one from "Caesar".
Although Gary thought it was a good idea he also felt it would appear like we had a double standard in our life if he worked in a Christian school and then homeschooled his own children. He also felt it would appear we were disloyal to our pastor's decision to have a Christian school at our church. (Because he was on staff.) I didn't agree but I knew the Bible taught me to obey my husband so I simply began to pray about it.
The year that Nathan was to go to Christian school I felt heartbroken. It would just be little Nevin and I at home and my husband and children were going to be at the Christian school.
Many people had suggested I come to work at the Christian school and I began playing with the idea that someone had planted in my mind that the church was simply an "extension" of the home.
The year Nathan was to go to first grade there wasn't a teacher available as our teacher's mother had developed cancer and she had made the decision to be with her mother. I cannot tell you how excited I was that anyone with a K-5 child needed to make other arrangements! Nathan had his first year of school at home! Nevin sat on the floor and listened and learned as he played with his matchbox cars.
The next year Nathan went to school with his sisters and his dad and I taught Nevin K-5 at home. So much fun!
But the new school year was coming and then I was going to be in an empty house--no hubby and no children. All of them at the church. I began dwelling again on just going to work at the Christian school and thinking of it as an extension to our home. I approached my husband and got an emphatic no! That decision had been made and it was not negotiable! Back to praying.
In my times when I am the very closest to the Lord my praying is simply talking to Him and pouring out my heart just like I was talking to a friend I could trust with my deepest secrets. So many times in our conversations He shows me where the problem I'm telling him about has me as part of the solution. (Or should I say that I am part of why there's a problem!) I had a lot of things to learn.
That year my husband accepted a pastorate in Tennessee and when we moved there we were free to homeschool all four of our children. Wow! The first year of homeschooling all four was a year of lessons! Although I loved every minute of it I quickly realized that if I had tried starting with all four I might have ended up being a homeschool dropout! I had no idea how much time was involved in four compared to one! The Lord gently worked me from one to two and then to four! Praise the Lord for a husband who operated by principles and obeyed them. Praise the Lord I truly believed in obeying my husband and trusting the Lord to work it out if it was truly His will.
When we first began homeschooling all four of our children I asked the Lord to give me a homeschool "core curriculum" passage from the Bible. He gave me II Peter 1:5-8. I realized that first we needed to diligently teach our children that the Bible was the final authority for our lives and they needed to place their faith in Christ and His Word. Then we needed to diligently work to develop godly character in their lives (virtue), and after those two things we needed to add the knowledge (facts) , temperance (self-control), patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity. It's the best curriculum plan I've seen out there and I lay it beside every curriculum I find and many of them fail on the first item! (faith)
Now we're to the year 2010 and I'm a homeschool veteran. I'll be 62 years old when John graduates from high school. I wouldn't have any other life. I always catch myself in August getting that little thrill back of the new school year about to start.
Do I have days I wish I could pack them in the van, drop them off at the nearest school and tell them I'll be back in two days or two weeks or maybe even two months? You better believe it! My motivation is to please and obey my Father and nothing else and that's what gets me through the days (and sometimes weeks!) that are overwhelming with their duties.
On the whole however the Lord has made our homeschool journey a wonderful trip. I still go through old papers and old photo albums and get tears in my eyes. I still love looking at the new year with its new books (or computer program) and feeling a little thrill of what the adventure of our new year will be.
I pray that you have seriously looked at your home, your family, your children and seen the priority that God gives to our giving our children an education that is Christ-centered and that in the end will give Him glory. We're spending our life on what we treasure and I can't think of anything better to invest in than sitting, walking, standing and teaching our children! (Deuteronomy 6)



P.S.- Dr. Raymond Moore recommended that you make a philosophy of education plan and put it into words to read and re-read on a regular basis to keep yourself focused and on course. Here's ours. We haven't changed our minds (or hearts) about it since it was written in 1982 or "83.
"As Bible-believing Christians we believe and accept for our life standards the perfect Word of God. God's Word is the final authority for our lives.
Based on this, we believe God's Word teaches us that we are responsible for the provision and care of our children. We believe that we are accountable to God for the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical care of our children. (I Tim. 5:8)
We also believe that God commands us to teach and to train our children. God's Word qualifies us to be their teachers and we believe what He calls upon us to do, He also equips us to do. (Deut. 4:9, Deut. 6:1,2,6,7, Deut. 11:18,19, Exra 8:21, Ps. 78:1-7, Prov. 4:3-5, Prov. 22:6, Eph. 6:1-4, I Thess. 2:11,12)
We believe the Bible offers a plan of education in II Peter 1:5-8. It is our personal goal to lead each child into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, (salvation by faith), and to build onto that godly character, (virtue), and then add to that pertinent facts, (knowledge). We believe knowledge without character or Christ will produce a child that is a detriment to society.
Our homeschool is set up with the father as the final word and the decision maker and with Christ as his authority. (Eph. 6:22-33) The mother carries out his wishes and has the role of teacher. (Prov. 6:20, Prov. 31:1) The children have the responsibility to listen to and obey instruction. (Eph. 6:1-3, Prov. 6:20, Prov. 4:1-4)
We carry out our teaching according to Christ's example in Acts 1:1--do and teach. What we require and instruct we also teach by example.
It is our goal to produce children who know Christ as their personal Saviour, who live their live by character and principle and who are well-trained in basic academic skills.
Psalms 127:1-5 and Psalms 144:12 express our heart's desire for our home and children. we desire children to go out as arrows into a dark world and to make a difference.

Mr. and Mrs. Gary Neal

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In Memory of My Father-In-Law...

My first real memory of Charles was at my husband's 16th birthday party. I only remember that he was very nice to me--I was too nervous about meeting Gary's parents to remember much else!
Little did I know that in the next 36 years I'd spend more time with this man than with my own father! (Because of my father being a missionary and living in another state.) He became a very real and wonderful part of my life.
I could divide our lives with Charles into "before salvation" and "after salvation". They were like night and day. Although he was a wonderful father-in-law and a fine man before his salvation, after he was saved he became so precious to me as my second dad.
I remember Gary inviting him over for me to cook him a "real southern meal" during the early years of our marriage. (Remember, I'm from the north originally!) I was a nervous wreck. He seemed very happy with my pinto beans, fried potatoes, and corn bread. He did let me know the beans could have cooked a little longer! :)
He was delighted with each grandchild's birth and always came to see me after they were born. He loved his grandchildren and was very, very proud of them.
When Charles was 50 years old he gave us the greatest gift a man can give his family--he trusted Christ as his Savior in July of that year. What a change!
After his salvation, he and AllaDean spent Sundays with us till he moved to Tennessee. He retired two weeks after his salvation and moved to his home state. What memories our children (and Gary and I too) have of visiting him at his cabin he was building! Niki has posted a picture (on Facebook) of the kids riding on the lawnmower with their grandpa on one of those visits.
We made a trip down there to make sure he found a good church so he would get grounded and grow. We watched with joy as he threw away the old life and grew by leaps and bounds in his new-found faith. Our children would spend at least a week or two each summer with Grandpa Charles and Grandma AllaDean. Each time we came to get them they had learned something new. He and AllaDean invested their lives into our children.
Then Gary took the pastorate at the church where Charles was attending! For 8 1/2 years their lives and our lives were intertwined almost daily. What a blessing they were in our church. What a blessing they were as grandparents to our growing brood! What sweet memories we have of our days together at that pastorate.
During that time God blessed our home with Asher Obadiah. Charles hadn't been able to spend the time with our older children like he had wanted and he saw Asher as God's little extra blessing from heaven.
From the day of Asher's birth he and Asher bonded. (Grandma AllaDean was just as close a bond!) We've never been quite sure if Asher was ours or if he was half ours and half theirs! :)
Asher was his Grandpa Charles' shadow. If Grandpa was cleaning the fellowship hall he had a toddler behind him "helping". Many a time Asher's grandpa rocked him to sleep while we finished our duties at the church.
Then came the sad day our pastorate ended and we had to say good-bye to the days of daily interaction. Grandpa Charles didn't let that end his wonderful relationship with our children.
He and AllaDean moved to Jamestown and built another cabin and our children have sweet memories of campovers at Grandpa's during their college days.
When the Lord gave us Cierra and John he welcomed them with open arms and was the same wonderful Grandpa he had been with the other five children. More children meant more joy to Charles--he loved having his home full of them!
He still kept an active involvement in our lives and continued living a consistent Christian life. I've only met one other person that I thought witnessed to each and every person the Lord gave them an opportunity. That other Christian is my own dad.
Grandpa was at each and every important event in our lives and the lives of our children. He was a faithful visitor when anyone was sick. When I was so sick two years ago one of the few memories I have of the first night was Charles standing at my bedside and patting my arm.
What a role model he has been for our children (and for me). What faithfulness and love he has always had for family. What a burden he has had for those who don't know the Lord or aren't where they should be with the Lord.
One of my favorite memories of Charles was pulling into their drive and seeing him sitting on the porch waiting for us. When we left he always followed us out and didn't leave the porch till we were out of sight. I'll never pull away from their house without seeing him in my mind's eye waving as we left. I wish I had a picture of it, but I've got a mental snapshop that will never leave.
Oh, dear "second" dad I'm going to miss you so. Thank you so much for loving me, being patient with me, teaching me, and being a part of my life. You'll be missed each day that we have left on this earth till we meet you in heaven.
I love his note he left in his Bible, "I'll be waiting in glory for those of you who love our Lord Jesus Christ." Till then Charles, I love you!

Your "first" daughter,

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where Has This Been All My Life?

Yesterday I clicked on a link for a website called Just a Pinch Recipe Club at While looking through their recipes I found a recipe for Muffin Tin Eggs. It had the most wonderful idea for making eggs given by a lady named Jane Louise. She said she got the recipe from an Amish woman.
You simply take your muffin tins and spray them with cooking spray and then put a little butter (or margarine) in the bottom of each tin. You break an egg in them and pepper and then bake them in a 400 degree oven that has been preheated for 10 minutes.
This seemed absolutely wonderful! Her picture showed these perfectly rounded eggs on an English muffin with meat and cheese. She said you can bake them a little longer to use the eggs for egg salad and that she spices things up by adding goodies to them before baking them. (like bacon bits, salsa, or shredded cheese.
Well, I decided today was the day to give this idea a try. I could just see how convenient these would be on a day with a houseful of company to make them into egg sandwiches, etc. I mean--wow- you could do 24 eggs in 10 minutes!
So, my visiting grandchildren and my own children got to be my guinea pigs. I stuck them in the oven and while they were baking I warmed some deli ham lunchmeat and toasted the thins.
When the thins came out of the toaster I popped an egg on them, put three slices of deli ham on them and a piece of Velveeta cheese. They were an absolute success. Sorry to say I didn't take pictures of them but they looked as good as they were!
The kids liked their McMommy's sandwiches along with a pretty sherbert dish full of fruit for breakfast. I liked how simple it all was! I found myself asking "Where has this idea been all my life?" and caught myself dreaming about how it would work in cutting the time down and making a larger round of egg (for the thins since they're bigger than an English muffin) if I used my large muffin tins....hmmmm....that's for another breakfast!
Anyway, thought I'd pass this wonderful breakfast idea along. Enjoy!


p.s. She doesn't say anything about giving the eggs a stir to mix the white and the yolk but I thought the kids would like it better that way so I did. Here's the link to this wonderful website. You also can explore Jane Louise's recipes--she's my kind of cook!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Tip (or two) for mommies...

This morning as I was making my bed I was thinking about (and missing) the days of having a toddler on the other side of the bed "helping" me. Then I got to thinking about those early motherhood days and some of the comments or helps I got that really changed things for me as a young mother.
One of those "lightbulb" moments was on a day when I was tired of disciplining again and again over getting the kids to do what I told them.
You know, "Come here and pick this up." "Go get in the bathtub." "It's time to eat lunch." "Time for bed." and the list goes on. and on. and on....
One day I was listening to James Dobson and he was talking about taking some of the stress out of parenting and he talked about how so many times we give a command and we don't give our children time to "switch gears".
He asked how we would like it if we were deep into a project and someone came in and made us immediately stop and go do something. Well, I instantly could think of being in the middle of a sewing project and my husband making me stop that instant to go do something else. I wouldn't like it!
He then told how when it involves something that isn't an emegerncy. You know, like "Get out of the house, it's on fire!" that we should give them some time to switch gears. If they are having a wonderful time playing something you should start maybe 15 minutes before and say something like, "In 15 minutes it will be time for bed." Then in 5 minutes give them the 10 minute warning, then in 5 minutes give them the 5 minute warning and have them begin to pick things up and then it's time to go do what it wanted.
I implemented that and it helped so much! I wasn't fighting irritation and they were so much more compliant. To this day I use that. Just tonight I began letting John know his computer time was running out 20 minutes before it did. No hassle when his time was up!
I learned little by little as a young mother that several of my problems I was creating myself! I thank the Lord for sending the right person with the right message at the right time!
I hope that you're enjoying the precious short time that you have little ones. You look back on it and realize how wonderful a time it was. Children don't require fancy or expensive items to have a good time. They love having you at their side and can turn a tin can into a toy. (or a sink full of bubbles, or paper and scissors.)
With this said, let me give a couple links that I found that John, Cierra and I are going to try out! These are not "christian" links so I can't say rather everything on them is good, but I love, love, love it when I get one more idea for the "little-to-no-cost" craft file!

With love,

1) The first is paper flowers. My how I remember making these with my grandmother. We had tissue paper flowers in every vase she owned! So many of the beautiful crafts I see made by Martha Stewart and other websites are things that I made with my grandmother or mother, they've just used things that cost more money on them. However, our kids don't care! Cierra and I are going to make the beautiful pink flower covered wreath to hang over her bed as a home ec project!

2.) The second is teaching little hands to use motor skills. My grandmother had a box of lace up cards for us to play with. She used cards but you can use even poster board that you glue a coloring book picture on or you can sketch a picture yourself (like my mother did). It was on a rectangle and then the picture was put on it and holes were punched evenly around it.
Next, you had a blunt needle and some yarn put in it. You simply went in and out of the holes. So fun! I remember my grandmother keeping me happy with a needle and thread and having me go through her button box sorting colors and then threading them together! No wonder I wanted her button collection when she died. Sweet memories!
This lady is awesome with her ideas! She shows here how to use Dollar Store shelf liner that you sketch a picture on and then let the kiddos sew on it. Take a look. While you're there take a look at her music wall--oh, how I would have loved it! and many other cute ideas for kids!

3) And how about paper? My mother taught me how to make a doll house from an old catalog. We took a piece of typing paper and then I cut out my favorite couch, chair, lamps, etc. from the catalog. Then I layered them with my own design. That was my living room! We did it with each room of the house and then bound them (with a hole punch and yarn) into a book! I played with them by the hour.
She also took poster board and made me a house with upstairs and downstairs. She drew (my mother was a very good artist.) each room and my oven door opened (cut out with a piece of cardboard glued behind it.) my beds had slits and the cardboard people went to bed and got between the covers.) and my little people were made for me in their nightgowns (for bedtime), I had a dad with a suit (for going to work), I had a baby that slid into its high chair, and a mom in her dress and apron for stirring the little pot that sat on my stove! I was such a blessed child!
I remember sitting with the little store she made me in a closet and singing my heart out to the song, "Thank You Lord for saving my soul...." as I played with my little cardboard store and watched my mother working in our kitchen.
Here's a place where you can make beautiful colored necklaces out of paper. We've made them out of gift wrap, magazines and leftover church bulletins. Kids love making them!
The How About Orange blog shows how to make beautiful bows for packages out of magazine pages, how to make paper medallions, how to make paper lanterns, and beautiful 3-D paper ornaments. Most of them even your 3 year old can manage!
4. Carboard boxes. My mother could turn a cereal box into a darling couch for an 11-inch doll. She made a cocoa box into a kitchen sink for my doll! She turned a wood block into a tiny radio!
Cardboard boxes are so, so fun! We've turned refrigerator boxes into boats, forts, and houses. The ideas are endless. You can make castles out of cardboard boxes, you can make huge blocks out of cardboard boxes. Little ones love stacking them! Go to fifthwizardy's blog and see some of the cute ideas she has for cardboard boxes!
John and I are working on turning a coffee can into a mailbox (complete with flag) for his treehouse. We're also trying to find crafts and experiments for this month. So, may I encourage you not just to look at these ideas--pick one and get the supplies and cover your table with newspapers and do it. Schedule a time and let nothing else take over that time-you've got a date with the kids!
Got any websites you love and use? Got other ideas or tips on crafts with kids? I'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


My God-given priorities are these: (in order of importance)
1) My relationship with the Lord
2) My relationship with my husband
3) My relationship with my children
4) My home
5) Other activities
After making sure the Lord has my day and my plans agree with Him, that He has the preeminince in my day and that I am spending time at His feet I should be giving my husband the attention he deserves.
Remember the old tv shows where you could see that the entire home was run to take care of dad? The chair, slippers, a hot meal almost ready, the clean, shiny home--all there for dad who was working to provide the needs of the family.
Today's media ridicules that notion and the woman who runs her home and honors her husband that way is mocked and ridiculed by the mainstream media. That's all right. Heaven has always wanted the woman to minister to her husband and family and if God is pleased we shouldn't care what the world thinks. To be friends with them is to be at enmity with God. (I Jn. 2:15-17)
Every so often I have to do a rethinking (renewing my mind) on where my priorities are and how I'm doing on meeting my husband's needs. My flesh is not concerned about this so it takes the Holy Spirit reminding me. (and sometimes my husband's irritation!)
OK, so it's check-up time. It's not the big things, it's the little things. The first question I ask myself is--"If my husband could change anything about me right now what would it be?
I usually immediately can think of a few things that need adjusting in their importance for me.
They aren't big, they're usually small things. You know, how much time I'm spending with other people instead of him (and yes, that includes the telephone, computer and tv).
Or making sure that he doesn't have to ask questions like "Are we having a meal around here tonight?" or "Do I have any __________ clean in this house?" Those are questions that the seasoned wife should see to it her husband never, never asks.
Every man has his little frustrations. Am I making sure that they're removed? My husband's is having to pick his way through anything on the floor. He doesn't care if the dish drainer is loaded but he does care if he can't get through the living room because John has his matchbox racetrack from one end to the other!
I have found that the more I've been consistent with running this household as the "KING of the House" wants it, he is more concerned with making sure the queen has the equipment she wants (not needs) and the more often he is standing at the sink with me helping with the dishes so he has me to himself in the living room or on the front porch sooner! It pays you back!
If you asked your husband this morning, "What can I do to help you today?" What would he say? Are you scared to ask him?
The Proverbs 31 woman is my ultimate role model. I've worked at emulating her for 36 years now and I still don't have all her skills down--but I'm sure working on it! She had won her husband's heart! "the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.". Can your husband honestly say that he can safely trust that you won't do one thing today to spoil (make him a prey, a victim, ruined)him? Is he proud of you or embarassed? Is he proud of your housekeeping? Does he feel like he's first in your life or is he running against your friends, your children or even your church?
I am commanded as an "aged woman" to instruct the young women to love your husbands. (Titus 2) I am watching young women making their husbands worse than an infidel (by trying to be the breadwinner of the home), of competing with their husbands in ministry (by thinking they are to have a ministry outside of being his wife, the mother of their children and the keeper at their home), ruling their husbands, (by always knowing better what should be done concerning everything!) and spoiling their husbands (by talking about him, correcting him, neglecting their duties while doing his).
I heard Eleanor Page say one day something to this effect. "Why don't you young ladies learn from the strange woman in Proverbs? She had everything prepared for the man she was going to seduce, she ran out to meet him and told him she had good things waiting on him inside, she was excited to see him, she made him feel good about himself.
Now Mrs. Page made it clear she was up to no good, but she knew how to get him! So today--why not take some time with the Lord and prayerfully ask Him what you need to "lay aside "that's weighing down your being the wife God designed you to be!
I can tell you this--every time I do this the fruit I reap from it makes me know that it's "a good thing".
"teachers of good things"
Titus 2:3b



Monday, August 2, 2010

Strawberries From Heaven....

In May I love buying strawberries and making strawberry jam. This year we had just made a move and didn't have any income at the Neal household. Strawberries are definitely a luxury especially when I had a freezer with raspberry and blackberry juice in it that could be made into jam if we were totally out.

But I decided to pray. I asked the Lord to please supply me with some strawberries. Well, strawberry season came and went and we had no strawberries given to us and no extra money to spend on them! I decided that it must not be the Lord's will for me to have strawberries this year and began making jellies and jam out of my juice and berries in the freezer.

So June passes and July is passing and I've forgotten about strawberries! Then lo and behold, our beloved UGO begins to have strawberries for $1.00! We bought some so the children could have fresh fruit and everyone was enjoying them.

One day my hubby came home and he had bought $10 worth of strawberries! He remembered that "yours truly" had really wanted to make strawberry jam. So I chopped them up and made strawberry jam. I put the extra strawberries (chopped up) into bags in my freezer.

Every so often he would bring home $2 or $3 worth of strawberries and my freezer began filling up. I now have made several batches of strawberry jam and have enough in the freezer for about 3 more batches. (Some which I plan to make up this week!)

I was standing at the sink after cleaning up the last batch thinking of how wonderful it was that the Lord gave me a "love pat" from heaven by sending me something that I didn't need but I did want. I also thought how far above He is from our small thinking. I thought the answer was "no" and really it was "yes"--just not the way I envisioned it.

Isaiah 55:8 came to mind--"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." Oh, how true that is! How thankful I am that my God is so much greater than I am and that I can trust Him to plan my life perfectly.

Thank You Lord for my strawberries and thank You for your perfect thoughts and perfect ways!