They're Baaaack!

My crew is home! Just as I mentioned, I jumped right back into fifth gear with first-born's basketball game last night. I thank God for bringing my family home safely - He really didn't have to do it. Hubby came home sick and was sick the entire time. Yes, I'm playing nurse-maid (smile). My prayer is to maintain this renewed love for my family and not tire of the things I'm called to do as a wife and mother. When I begin to feel the threads of frustration, I know it's time for a mini-retreat - time for renewal - time for a break. Taking care of me helps me better care for my family.

Much Needed Break

I've always appreciated my family, yet it's funny how I REALLY appreciate them when they're not around. There is some truth behind the statement of not missing your water until your well runs dry. My family has been out of town all week and it was a much needed break for me. I've been able to renew my mind in a special way. I've heard myself breathe for the first time in months and I also took a couple of undisturbed, much needed naps. I haven't cooked a full meal since they've been gone. They'll be returning home today and I almost feel like I have a renewed love for them. I can hardly wait to see them and DO for them. Hmmm...did I say that? I needed a break from them and I'm sure they felt the same way about me. I thank God for this renewal of my mind, energy, and love for my family. We all love our families, yet we also need a break from from time to time. It makes for a better woman, wife, and mother. Whew! I exhaled and it felt GOOD!

On Vacation

My family has been out of town and I'M THE ONE ON VACATION. I really need them to come home because I don't know If I'm actually lazy or just taking advantage of this down time (smile). I haven't washed anything except my body - no laundry and and I've washed dishes only once. My goodness, I can get comfortable with this! Thank God they'll be coming home tomorrow because I need to be reminded that I'm a wife and mother. There are clothes to wash, meals to prepare, dishes to wash, toilets to clean....Hmmm....when did I say they were coming home. I sorta like this vacation thing! I'll enjoy it while I can because when the crew comes home, I'll jump right back into fifth gear - right now I'm in neutral...and loving it!

The New Me

Theatrical – this is the word for my experience this weekend. I was asked to play the part of a high-profile, gospel singer and what a transformation I went through! The glamorous wig, dress, and make-up were necessary for the part, yet beneath the surface; I was still me – Plain Jane. The young lady that applied my makeup and wig did such a wonderful job that a little boy who hugs me every Sunday in church didn’t recognize me at this event. I wondered if this is what Jesus wants when we accept Him as our Savior. He said we would be new creatures in Him – not reformed, but new. Do people see Christ when they see me? Do others know I’ve been changed? Do they meet Christ for the first time when they meet me? Although I can’t carry a musical note well enough to capture anyone’s attention, the performance was fun. As I changed into my own clothes, hair, and face, I was thinking of how good it felt to be me - the new me – the new creature in Christ. Theatrical? No. Life-changing experience? Yes! One of my daily prayers is for the Lord to cover and consume me with His Spirit, so others don’t focus on me. It’s the Jesus in me that I want others to see, be drawn to, and enjoy being around. Now that’s a transformation and it requires no make-up or a wig! Have you become a new creature in Christ?

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

The Day Begins

I've done more this morning before 6 a.m. than most people will do all day. The Lord keeps reminding me to plug into His power source and to not think for a minute that I'm doing anything in my own power. If I do, I will quickly grow weary and tired. Thank God for Jesus! This sure helps to keep my mind on Him. Every step I take, every breath I make is because of my power source - my Heavenly Father. Hold me up, Lord!

What Will I Do?

Just yesterday, I was talking to my sister about needing some extra money. My cake business requires money and there are a few other things I'd like to do without touching the house money. The owner of the restaurant I sell my cakes out of told me yesterday he is looking for a cashier. Hmmm...I was trying hard to think of a dependable person for him and later in the evening, my husband said, "You're already there, why don't you take the job?" WHAT?! Officially go to work?'s a few more hours than the hours I already put in, but he's right...I'm already there. I might as well get paid huh? I take the job or not?

Fourteen Years!

Today is my 14th Wedding Anniversary! Last night I read a few pages out of an old journal to my husband. I went waaay back to when I first met him. I'm so happy I journaled those days. My sons were listening to my thoughts and saying, "Ahhhhhh." It sounded like a romantic story. Do I still feel that way? No, my feelings are much stronger, secure, and solid. Couples go through life and experience hardships and challenges together and it only makes a more solid foundation. Fourteen years is a long time and we've actually known each other longer than that. It's by the grace of God that our marriage wasn't separated, yet strengthened through the years. I consider some of the older couples I know who've been married many more years than I and think...there is hope. Just keep on keeping on and keep on looking over each other's faults and loving each other in spite of shortcomings and irritating habits (smile). Love conquers all. Happy Anniversary to me!

Spoiled Rotten

My father reminds me often of the importance of rewarding my sons for good behavior and performance. He says sometimes children need an incentive to do the right thing. It’s funny how parents change when they become grandparents. As a child, I was expected to do the right thing and my reward was the absence of a butt-whipping. Nevertheless, I found Daddy’s counsel to be correct as I examined my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father. My increasing desire and determination to live a life of obedience has offered God’s favor and blessings above and beyond what I ever imagined. I am spoiled rotten and I stand in awe as I watch God work in and through my life. I’ve taken my father’s advice and my boys have a growing desire to perform in excellence – sometimes. I too, am drawn closer to God with a greater yearning to be set apart and walk the straight and narrow.

My obedience was tested this morning as I struggled with the decision to exercise. Hmmm…dare I pick and choose when and how to be obedient? God wants complete obedience - in every area of my life, even exercising my temple. When I thought of His goodness; I didn’t hesitate to complete my daily temple maintenance. God’s favor on my life deserves more than I can ever give back, so I give God my life – a life of obedience. My blessings are distributed according to my level of obedience.

Joshua 1:7 (NIV)

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

My Purse

If my purse is any indication of my life, no wonder it's a mess right now. I throw everything into my purse and can never find what I need. My son saw an advertisement for a purse that had a pocket for everything. He asked me if I would like to have the purse. I told him it wouldn't do me any good because I wouldn't take the time to place items in their assigned places. Who has time for that when you can just stuff it in your purse and go on about your business? Actually, it would only take half a second to put things where they belong - in a purse or in a home. Rush, rush, rush has made disorganization my middle name and it's time to stop the madness. Today I spent some time cleaning a few mess piles I had here and there in various corners and I will also boldly attack my purse. Hmmm...maybe I'll find a few things I've been looking for!

Three Figures

My husband shared with me that he told his co-worker I'd be making three figures if I wasn't married with children. I've had so many business endeavors and so many creative ideas that require time and energy. Over the years and with each endeavor, I've had to weigh what was important. Although my husband has supported me through it all (the best he could), it always causes friction when the home is neglected. Whether it's with the husband, children, or a woman's own conscience, something just isn't right unless the family is put first. A dollar is not worth putting my family on the back-burner. Yes, the immediate gratification is wonderful, yet the long term effect making a dollar has on the family is dangerous. My cake business is going great, yet I'm not trying to take on more than I can handle and my goal sure isn't making three figures! Where I am right now is just fine. Maybe in a year I'll be able to hire help, so I can continue focusing on my main business and priority - my family.

A Cracked Plate

Shhh, please don't tell anyone, but the one thing I've tried hardest to avoid has happened....I'm extremely busy. If I place one more thing on my plate, I know it'll crack. I attended a Women’s Conference this weekend and a few ladies put on a skit sharing the importance of running the race for Jesus. Can you imagine running a race and feeling exhausted only to find out you ran the race in vain? Have mercy! I don’t have the energy and I sure don’t have the time to do anything just for the sake of doing it. On the last morning of the conference and my last opportunity to sleep in, I was led to wake up at 5 a.m. to find the gym and do some temple maintenance. Afterwards, I found a quiet place to commune with God and renew my mind. One good thing about my busyness is I’ve realized my mind is my greatest gift and it should be given back to God entirely. Trying to plan and complete tasks on my own only makes me an absent-minded, impulsive thinking, distracted wife and Mother running a worldly race – yuck! In order to keep my plate and my mind from cracking, I must keep my mind on God – not my to-do list or my circumstances. This spiritual focus makes a huge difference in my busy days and the race isn’t so exhausting when I keep my mind on Him. When things don’t go as planned or unexpected trials try to shake me, my mind is already in the right place. Wife, Mother, daughter, sister, teacher, and Peace Baker are just a few of the duties on my plate and I thank God for this unusual season of busyness. Busyness isn’t such a bad thing when we keep our mind on Him.

Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."

Where Do They Learn?

I had a conversation with a Mother about raising children. She asked where I thought children should learn to be adults. After giving what I thought was an obvious answer, at home, I asked if she agreed. Her answer was that children will learn to be adults from other adults they are around - in various settings and situations. She didn't exclude home training, yet her answer removed some of the responsibility of home training. I guess both our answers are correct to an extent, yet I will stand firm on my conviction that I must give my children a firm foundation of Godly morals, values, and standards of living before they go into the world. This conversation put another plug into the need for MOMSWEB. Not all Mothers believe or understand the providential, influential role of the Mother. It truly is THE HIGHEST CALLING.

Warm Oatmeal

I sat on my sofa this morning and listened to the wind, rain, and distant thunder while enjoying a bowl of warm oatmeal. The house was quiet (boys still sleeping) and I was reminded of how the simple things in life make me happy. I don't ask for much - just a little peace and quiet every now and then and to be able to enjoy a bowl of warm oatmeal ALONE from time to time. Moments like this help carry me through the day. A little pouring into myself helps me continue to pour into others because as soon as the little people wake up, they will attempt to exhaust me of every ounce of energy I have (smile). Life is good and it's even better when you can take the time to enjoy a bowl of warm oatmeal or whatever your pleasure is. Be good to yourself today.

Just Do It

Yesterday was jammed packed with things to do and by the grace of God...I did it! Where would I be if I didn't have His strength to draw from? Where would I be if I didn't have His direction to lead me? I had no choice but to pray without ceasing yesterday because every minute was filled - every minute. I met with a group of Mothers who also have home businesses and it was comforting to hear their lives are just as busy if not busier than mine. Scaaaary! How does a woman do it all? We just do! My Mother told me a long time ago to not think about what I have to do, just do it. It sounds so simple, yet it sure helps. Why ponder over what you have to do? Why complain? Why discuss it with someone else who can't help you? JUST DO IT and somehow, it gets done.

I Can't Resist!

While preparing strawberries for strawberry shortcake yesterday, my pre-teen stood next to me craving and admiring his favorite fruit. I knew he wanted one by his sounds and expressive comments of how big, juicy, and red they looked. Just as I was about to share one with him, he said, “Mama, I can’t resist!” Wrong words for this Mama! I told him one day he would feel the same way about girls. Looking confused, he asked, “Really?” I explained to him how men will sometimes admire a woman’s body and looks and forget about the awesomeness of God’s creation and a woman’s purpose. I shared the importance of keeping our emotions under control and resisting temptation from flesh enticing items. Poor little boy, he just wanted a strawberry, yet I had to take advantage of this awesome opportunity to share - especially since my number one temptation is food. Yes, I am very familiar with the struggle to resist popping a brownie or cookie into my mouth. When did food start talking? It sure talks to me as it lures me in its presence to partake in its pleasure. It is only through the power of God that I can bake and actually have some to share once I leave the kitchen. It is only through the power of God that I can pray and fast and still prepare a meal for my family. It is only through the power of God that I can resist any temptation from my fleshy desires. I am weak; yet remaining prayerful and Christ-controlled gives me the power I need to resist. - there is no other way. Did my son get a strawberry? No, yet he had more than his share of strawberry shortcake and he'll never look at a strawberry the same!

Mark 14:38 (NIV)

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."