Tag Archives: faith

The Work of our Hands…

10 Jun

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As my family and I are moving on through 2014 (Can you guys believe that the year is almost halfway over?), it seems be getting busier and busier.  I feel like we are moving into a new season in our lives, and if I think too much about it i feel a bit panicky.

Ove the past 5 years, I have protected our schedule fiercely.  We are homebodies, for sure, and enjoy just being home together, working in the garden and playing with Legos and Play-doh, reading books, and watching cartoons.  Jason loves coming home in the afternoons and having dinner on the deck and just working around the house on Saturdays.  If you come over on a Sunday, there is a good chance you will have to wake the entire family up from a nap.

I have become really good at saying no to people.  We didn’t sign Charlie up for tee ball this year (at Jason’s insistence) even when it seemed like all of his friends were playing, instead opting to enjoy a summer free of weeknight practices and Saturdays spent at the ball field.  Maddie isn’t taking any dance or gymnastics classes, and we practice kicking the soccer ball out in the yard instead of at 5:30 every Saturday morning (Soccer practice isn’t really that early, but it is at a ridiculously early hour.).

We really enjoy our life, and these years have been good.

But I can feel it changing…

Charlie is starting Kindergarten this year.  We have decided to homeschool the kids, and I am really excited about that.  This is, however, requiring a change in our schedule.  I am signing up for field trips and co-ops, scheduling weekly activities that we will HAVE to be at.  Our mornings are now going to be set aside for school, not hanging around the house in our pajamas, or doing housework, or going to the park with friends.

My church is chartering a MOPS, and a friend and I are the co-coordinators.  This is a huge responsibility, but something I feel is really important for our community and definitely feel called by God to do.  Every Wednesday morning will be set aside for this, plus planning and preparation throughout the week.

Then there are our regular activities: Bible Study on Tuesdays and Story Time on Thursdays.

Also, I am considering signing Maddie up for ballet on Monday afternoons in the fall, just so she can have something for herself when I know I will be focusing so much on Charlie.

Then there’s me.  I am still writing for a local magazine and teaching Sunday School off and on.  I am directing VBS, and am in the middle of the planning crush for that. Plus, I want to love and support my husband in all of his endeavors, and just make sure he still gets the best of me and not the leftovers at the end of the day.

Can we do all of this?  Are some things going to have to fall by the wayside? Of course. 

My devotion this morning dealt with the fact that God puts every thing in our life for a reason.  It is all for a purpose: to prepare us for His greater plan for our lives.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;  establish the work of our hands for us- yes, establish the work of our hands.  Psalm 90:17

This is my prayer for my family: that every single thing we do and every moment of our calendar is established by God, that it is meaningful for something.

If there is anything that I don’t need to be doing, I want to release it and leave it to someone else and not feel badly about it.  It could be someone else’s mission, after all.

There is one thing I know for sure-I am going to soak up every minute of this summer!  We are going to go to the pool and read books and be lazy when we can.  And I am really going to appreciate it.

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31 Days Unplugged – Day 28 – Truly Fasting

27 Mar

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Well, here we are heading into our last weekend of the 31 Days Unplugged challenge.  I hope that this month has been as meaningful for some of you as it has been for me.

As we head into the weekend, I am presenting you with your last challenge.

 

Challenge #22 – Spend the entire weekend (from sundown Friday to sundown Sunday) truly unplugged.  Don’t use social media, watch TV, or play any online or video games.  If there is any other aspect of unplugging that you would like to include in this weekend fast, I say go for it.

I am pretty nervous about this, honestly.

What if I get bored?  After the last couple of months of thinking of things to do with my time, I have plenty to do!

What if someone needs to get in touch with me and can’t?  Since limiting my use of social media for the past couple of months, not too many people use that to get in touch with me anymore.  And if someone really needs me, they can just call, right?

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Let’s use this weekend to get closer to our real-life friends and family, to get closer to God, and to get closer to ourselves.

I won’t be posting over the weekend, but I will see you all back here Monday for our link-up.  Don’t forget that if you don’t have a blog to link-up, you can e-mail me your testimony at mommyinbonlee@hotmail.com and I may post it during the month of April.

Have a great weekend!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 22 – A Little Encouragement for YOU!

21 Mar

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We are in the home stretch, guys!  I just want to offer a little encouragement to you today.

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As I have had more time in my days (and have had to go without Instagram, which I LOVE), I have been using my camera more and more.  I snapped this picture of a little trinket that I keep on my nightstand.  It is really inspiring to me and hope that it is to you, too!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 18 – Unplugging Your Family

17 Mar

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As I have spent less and less time plugged in this month, I have become much more aware of other people and how they are spending their time.  I am no longer satisfied sitting next to Jason with both of us glued to our cell phones.  That just doesn’t count as quality time, you know?

Something else I don’t like seeing is this:

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Not that they aren’t the cutest things ever, but there are so many other things I would rather see them doing!

I have never been a fan of phones at the table, or the person riding next to me in the car scrolling through their newsfeed, but now I am aware of those things more than ever.  Honestly, I find it very rude.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 tells us, “So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.”

God gives us many pleasures in this life: our friends and family, our jobs, our churches, nature.  The list goes on and on!  Is your family taking advantage of these gifts from God, or are you allowing technology to rob you of those joys?

In this verse, King Solomon tells us that mealtimes in particular are meant to be a time of joy.  We need to take full advantage of those opportunities to sit around a table with our families, talk, laugh, and enjoy food and drink. Whether it’s a homemade meal or McDonald’s, in this busy, fast-paced world, God means for us to slow down and enjoy our meals together.

Challenge #14 – Today, I want you to pay attention to how your family uses technology.  Stop letting anyone use technology while a meal is taking place.  Use that time instead to talk, laugh, and find joy in each other!

 

31 Days Unplugged – Day 16 – Turn Our Eyes

15 Mar

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Challenge #13 – Memorize Psalm 119:37. 

This is a great verse to have memorized for those weak moments. Also, it is a great reminder that spending time in God’s word is more beneficial that anything we could ever do online.

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Have a great Sunday, everyone!

 

31 Days unplugged – Day 12 – A Word About Pinterest…

11 Mar

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When Pinterest entered my life a couple of years ago, it was a dream come true for me.  What a great idea-a place to house all of the crafty DIY’s and recipes and home decor ideas that I found online.  I spent hours, DAYS of my life scrolling and pinning and scrolling and pinning.  What was even better-all of my friends were doing it, too!  It was like a never-ending craft-fest!

Now, I wasn’t one of those people who pinned and pinned and never used any of the cool ideas.  I found tons of  crafts to do with the kids and new recipes to try out.  Pinterest has been very inspiring to me over the years.

I started to notice, though, that all of the things I was being inspired to do was stressing me out a little.  The kids can only do so many crafts, and Jason is only willing to try out so many new recipes (a good many of which were flops) before he longs for a good old-fashioned hamburger or plate of spaghetti.  In my quest to create the Martha Stewart-like home that is emulated so much on Pinterest, I was becoming a little crazy.  Plus, I was wasting a lot of time at night (time I should have been spending with my husband when the kids were in bed) looking at Pinterest until my eyes were burning and watering.

Pinterest put an unnecessary burden on me and my family.  It has a wonderful place in our lives, a place where I can store and organize good recipes and nice activities for the kids, but I realized that it should not be a form of entertainment for me.  It places unnecessary stresses on me to be something I just am not.

I have a long Bible passage for you to read today.  It is about a woman who would have loved Pinterest, I am sure!  What I love about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she knew how to balance it all, and that is what we all have to find: balance.  Most importantly, she put the Lord first, and because of that everyone around her flourished as well.

10Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
16She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.
19Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
21She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm clothes.
22She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
28Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
30Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
Proverbs 31: 10-31
Challenge #9 – If you are a Pinterest-fan, examine its role in your life.  Is the time you spend on Pinterest useful to your life?  How can you better spend that time?  Limit your time on Pinterest to 10 minutes a day and delete the app from your cell phone so it isn’t as much of a temptation.  (Don’t worry-all of your great recipes will still be on the Pinterest website!)

31 Days Unplugged – Day 11 – The Witching Hour

10 Mar

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We have made so much progress over the last week-and-a-half!  I hope that, like me, you are finding it easier to go through the day without the distraction of social media, games, etc.

There is one particular time of day I would like to address, a time that I have always referred to as the witching hour. After talking with other stay-at-home-moms, I know that this is a problem for most of us.  I am sure that for those of you who work outside of the home, you also have this struggle. I know I did when I was teaching.

The witching hour is the hour or two in the afternoon that is simply difficult to get through.  I get tired and sluggish, easily bored, and just can’t focus on anything well.  You know, when you feel like this:

Need a nap, anyone?

Need a nap, anyone?

For me, this usually occurs anytime from 2:00-4:00 in the afternoon.

It is during this time that I would usually zone out on my phone or computer.  The kids are napping or resting, and what should be a productive time for me turns into a wasted time period.

Now that we aren’t turning to our electronic devices for entertainment, how can we get through the witching hour and make better use of our time?

Here are some suggestions.  These are things that I have found helpful as a stay-at-home mom.  They will have to be tailored according to your circumstances:

1.  Get outside.  Play tag or kickball, go for a walk, or work in the garden.  The kids and I love riding our golf cart around the yard (I’m sure people think we’re crazy.)!

2.  Do something easy on your to-do list.  This will make you feel accomplished and make you want to continue on.

3.  Take a quick nap.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Cuddle with the kids. (But be careful-I know that if I nap for more than 15-20 minutes, it messes up my sleep that night.)

4.  Do some stretches.  I love doing this short yoga video that I posted on Saturday.

5.  Have some fun with the kids.  If you have more than one child, this can be valuable one-on-one time if some are napping and others aren’t.  Get out the play-dough or bake something simple.  *I know for me, the witching hour is not a good time to read books or put together puzzles or try to teach the kids something-I just don’t have enough energy or patience!*

The kids and I made some cheerios bars during the witching hour today!

The kids and I made some cheerio bars during the witching hour today!

Maddie loved them!

Maddie loved them!

 

6. Put on some make-up.  For some stay-at-home-moms, it is hard to even get a shower, much less put on make-up!  However, it instantly makes me feel better and gives me a little boost.

7.  Dance.  I am so glad that no one is videotaping me during the witching hour!  The kids and I love dancing around the kitchen.  Our current song of choice is Pharrell’s “Happy”.

Basically, anything you can do to get up and move during this time is good.  We have to work to create new habits in our daily routines. If you are struggling, remember to go to God!  If you pray for energy and persistence, He will help you.  

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

Click here for the recipe for the Cheerios bars!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 9

8 Mar

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If you haven’t noticed, every Sunday during the 31 Days Unplugged challenge we will be memorizing scripture.  This is a way to keep us focused on our ultimate goal-to live our lives as God wants us to!

Challenge #8-Memorize 1 John 5:22

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What an important reminder to guard our hearts and minds. Have a great Sunday, everyone!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 5 – What to do with all that time?

4 Mar

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Welcome back!  We are on day 5 of the 31 Days Unplugged challenge.  At this point, we have unplugged from all forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) during the day.  We are still using these things after the sun goes down, but we are dedicating our days to God and enjoying the abundant life he has promised to us.

If you’re like me, you are finding yourself with some extra time on your hands.  By cutting down on time in front of the computer or staring mindlessly at my cell phone, I have lots of time to do other things, even some things I have been putting off by saying I just didn’t have time to get to it.

Throughout the month, I (and some great guest-bloggers) am going to be giving you some inspiration for things to do to fill up the time that you will inevitably find throughout your day.

Challenge #4-Do something you have been putting off for awhile.  This could be cleaning or organizing, calling someone, writing thank you notes, ironing clothes, whatever it is you have been procrastinating.  You know, the thing you think about every day, but never seem to get done?

I have been wanting to organize my jewelry box for weeks, ever since I got a wonderful new (to me) jewelry box that was my grandma’s.  I have been keeping my jewelry stuffed in a drawer in our bedroom, and it was so messy that I could hardly open the drawer, and a lot of my jewelry was turning into a tangled mess.  I didn’t even want to wear any of my jewelry because it was such a hassle to get to it!

This is my messy drawer full of jewelry...

This is my messy drawer full of jewelry…

...and my beautiful, organized jewelry box!

…and my beautiful, organized jewelry box!

I feel so great having this done, and all I had to do was take 15 minutes I would have otherwise wasted scrolling through Facebook.

Ephesians 5: 15-16 says “So be careful how you live.  Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.”

So let’s spend our new found-time wisely!

31 Days Unplugged Day 3

2 Mar

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I have a new challenge for you today. It is a tough one, but totally worth it.  I think you will find that it will add so much meaning to your entire day!

At this point, we have cut out social media during our day and replaced it with prayer time.  Now, we are going to take it to another level. If you’re like me, you are rushing to check Facebook and Instagram before the sun rises in the morning!

Challenge #3-Do not use any form of social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) in the morning.  Instead, establish a routine of spending your mornings with God by completing a daily devotion of some sort.

When I cut social media out of my morning routine, I found that my days began much more peacefully, and the entire household ran more smoothly.  I am no longer trying to scroll through my news feeds while brushing my teeth, fixing coffee and juice, getting morning cartoons going, etc.

I now treasure my mornings, and actually look forward to getting up early to spend some quiet time with God then watch the news with my husband.

I have some great suggestions for you if you are looking for a good resource for devotions.  My favorite is She Reads Truth.  This is a wonderful community of women offering daily devotions and conversation.  They dig deep into the word, which I appreciate.

Another wonderful resource is You Version.  You can choose from hundreds of different devotions to complete, so you can find one that is just right for you.

I have recently discovered Biblia, a great online Bible.  I love it because it accesses a good online commentary.

If you would rather have a book to hold in your hand (or if it’s too tempting to have your cell phone or computer out), you can head to any bookstore or even Wal-Mart and pick something up.  Your local library probably has something, as well.  The amount of Christian resources available is almost overwhelming!

1 John 5:21 warns, “…keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”  What better way to follow this instruction than to begin our days in fellowship with God, instead of with something that has no meaning whatsoever?

See you tomorrow!