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Archive for August, 2008

Here is a great recepie that I learned from watching Jon & Kate Plus 8. 

You will need:

 

Peanut Butter

Powdered Milk

Honey

Flour (just a little bit for consistency) 

Combine equal parts of peanut butter, powdered milk and some honey together. (I’m thinking 1c Peanut Butter, 1c Powdered Milk, 1/2 c honey.) 

You want it to be the texture of play dough. Add enough flour so that the dough will stick together when you’re making things with it.

 

 On the episode where Kate shared this idea, she didn’t tell her children that the play dough is edible, she let them play with it and figure out that they could eat it.

 

This looks like lots of fun and I can’t wait to see how Grace does with this playdough.  It’s wierd because I keep telling her not to put things in her mouth, and the point of this activity is to be able to eat the dough…..we’ll see how it goes.

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Tonight as I was putting Grace to bed, she asked if she could have her Bible in bed with her.  She usually takes a book to bed with her and looks at the pages as she’s falling asleep. (The hall light is on so she can see without hurting her eyes.)  I said, “No honey, let’s leave your Bible on the shelf so you can take it with you to Sunday School tomorrow.”  “But Mom…..” Grace started whining “I just want to see what the Lord has to say.”  I chuckled to myself when she said this.  It was so sweet and innocent.  “OK, but don’t take it out of the cover.” I said as I handed her Bible to her. 

I replayed her words in my mind and I realized that I haven’t shared a favorite scripture verse with you in awhile.  I have so many favorites, I especially like the Psalms.  King David is so transparent with us as he writes.  Here is the passage I’d like to share with you.

Psalm 61:2 “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  (I added the italics for emphasis.)

David, the King of Israel was not afraid to admit that at times he gets overwhelmed (If I had to live David’s life, I would have been more than overwhelmed……) But his secret is that he cries out to God when his heart is overwhelmed and goes to the Rock that is higher than he is.

David gives up and stops trying to do everything on his own and fix everything the way that he thinks it should be, he realizes that God is higher and bigger than he is and has a much better plan than we as humans could ever have.

This reminds me of the old hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”  one line of the song says “Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” 

Sometimes because of our human nature, we try to do things on our own and we resort to prayer after we’ve tried everything else.  I am always amazed when this happens in my life.  I leave God out, make a mess of things and ask Him to fix it.  I am amazed that He does fix it for me even though I should have gone to Him FIRST, and things end up so much better than I had imagined in the first place. 

I’ve been trying to remind myself to take things to God BEFORE they become a problem and BEFORE I try to do anything to resolve the situation myself…..when I remember to pray FIRST, things go much smoother.

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As I mentioned in an earlier post about affirmations I often use the affirmation, “Lord, keep my focus on you.”  when people are getting on my nerves or are trying to upset me.  I got that simple prayer from the title of this song that I’m going to share with you.  “Lord, Keep My Focus on You” is written by Darcy Stanley and is published by the WILDS.

Lord, Keep My Focus on You 

Sometimes I live my life just as You’ve planned.
Other times I struggle to obey your commands.
Choices I make each day determine if I’ll obey,
and follow You, trusting You.
Guide me I pray.

Lord, keep my focus on You each day,
though I am tempted to go my own way.
Help me to trust in You,
to live my life to honor You.
Lord, keep my focus on You.

Trials surround me Lord, I cry in despair,
though I know you’re with me and You hear every prayer.
Open my eyes to see that You know what’s best for me.
You’re ever near. Calm my fear. This is my plea.

Lord, keep my focus on You each day,
though I am tempted to go my own way.
Help me to trust in You,
to live my life to honor You.
Lord, keep my focus on You.

Even though the theme of this song is a prayer to keep our eyes on Christ through the choices we make each day and when hard times come, I find it a very appropriate prayer when people do things that make me mad, or do and say things that are hurtful.  When this happens, I conciously forgive that person, and say “Lord, keep my focus on You.”  This helps me not to dwell on the situation all day (or all week) and brings my focus back on the Lord.

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Right now, our family is just Grace and I.  I’m not dating anyone, or even trying to date someone.  Grace is my #1 focus and priority.  Not only that, but I’m very hesitant to date right now.  Previously, I never thought that I’d be in an abusive relationship and it was just me that I had to look out for.  Now, I know the reality of being in an abusive relationship, and it’s no longer just me.  I have to look out for Grace too. 

What was it that drew me to this person?  Why didn’t I see the warning signs of abuse early in our relationship?  Will I be drawn to another abusive person in the future?

I was analyzing this the other day, and what I can tell you is that I don’t want to make the same mistake twice.  I want to be smarter, and wiser about my next serious relationship.  I heard one time that being in love creates a chemical inbalance in your brain.  It causes you for TWO years to magnify the other person’s good qualities and diminish (overlook, down play) their negative qualities in your mind.  Then once the chemicals in your brain are back in balance two years later, you wake up one day and you can’t justify why you are with this person or what drew you to them.  I don’t know if this is true, but I think it’s a good thought to keep in mind so that you don’t rush into a relationship. 

In my quest to figure out what drew me to a person who has abusive behavior, and how to not fall into the same thing again, I’ve discovered two books that have been helpful. They are both by the same authors.  The first one is “Avoiding Mr. Wrong” (and what to do if you didn’t)  10 Men Who Will Ruin Your LIfe.  The second one is “Finding Mr. Right” (and how to know when you have)  they are by Stephen Arterburn and Dr. Meg J. Rinck. 

In the first book, “Avoiding Mr. Wrong”  there is a quiz in the front of the book for you to take to discover if you are in love with Mr. Wrong, and  the book covers 10 types of men that all women should avoid, the signs that someone may be developing into one of these men, what kind of women they are interested in, what women fall for them and why, what are the chances that one of these men will change, and what can you do if you are in a relationship or are already married to one of these men. 

The book covers 10 types of men to avoid:

1.  The Detached Man
2.  The Control Freak
3. Mr. Wonderful
4. The Cowardly Lion
5. The Angry Man
6. The Mama’s Boy
7. The Deceiver
8. The Addict
9. The Eternal Kid
10. The Ungodly Man

In the second book, “Finding Mr. Right” (and how to know when you have) there is a quiz in the front entitled “Have you just about given up on looking for Mr. Right?”  The topics covered in this book are:

1. Only one Mr. Right?
2. Being Ms. Right first
3. What YOU must do to find Mr. Right
4. The woman every Mr. Right is looking for
5. Identifying Mr. Right
6. 10 Warning signs that Mr. Right could actually be Mr. Wrong
7. What makes Mr. Right, Mr. not right now
8. Right for you may be wrong for me
9. 10 Mistakes you must avoid (and what to do if you make them)
10. Once you have found Mr. Right
11. How to destroy Mr. Right and your chance to be with him
12. Twelve ways to make Mr. Right even better

These books have been eye openers for me.  After reading them, I wish that I would have found them years ago, and maybe I could have avoided some serious mistakes.  I hope you can find them at your local library, or bookstore.  You may also be able to find them at CBD.com

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Here is another one of my favorite songs.  This one is written by Mac Lynch and is published by the WILDS.  This song is such a reminder to me when I feel like things are falling apart, that it’s not me.  It’s not my strength that gets me through each day and each trial, it is only by His strength that I am able to make it through each day with a smile on my face and a kiss for Grace.  You can click here to hear this song.

He Is My Strength

Though the road ahead may be uncertain,
Though the path we travel be unknown,
Our God has given an assurance,
We can have peace, we can have joy, we can be strong.

He is our Strength, He is our Fortress,
We can be sure we are secure within His hand,
He is our Joy, our Hope of Life Eternal,
He is the Rock, the Solid Rock on which we stand.

Even when I cannot see tomorrow,
His Word is like a Lamp unto my feet,
and when the laughter turns to sorrow,
In His embrace, we find His grace when we are weak.

He is our Strength, He is our Fortress,
We can be sure we are secure within His hand,
He is our Joy, our Hope of Life Eternal,
He is the Rock, the Solid Rock on which we stand.

And when the storms of life surround me,
And when the winds of sorrow blow,
I will hold on to the Rock of Ages for I know, this one thing I know.

He is my strength, He is my fortress,
I can be sure I am secure within His hand,
He is my Joy, my Hope of Life Eternal,
He is the Rock, the Solid Rock on which I stand.

He is my Joy, my Hope of Life Eternal,
He is the Rock, the Solid Rock on which I stand.

He is the Solid Rock on which I stand.

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Today was a good day, every day this week has been a good day…..as a matter of fact, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a “good day.” 

Growing up, I had many days that started out to be “good days” that went from bad to worse.  I finally came to the realization that having a “good day” is a choice not just something that happens to us.  So have I had bad things happen in the last year?  Sure I have.  Does everything go the way I want it to go? No way!  Is everyone nice to me (um, no) Is every day a beautiful sunny day, of course not. 

Bad things happen, people treat us unfairly, people say things they shouldn’t say.  Things don’t go according to plan, accidents happen, traffic gets backed up, Grace gets crabby, money gets tight, bosses get demanding, but it doesn’t have to ruin our day. 

Let me explain……a very wise woman I knew growing up (we’ll just call her “Mom”) told me MANY times over the years…..”Beth, you have to choose to have a good day.”  I would cry because my friend was mean to me……”Beth, you have to make the choice to have a good day.” I would be crabby because my sister was picking on me……”She’s making me have a bad day!” I would whine……” Beth, you have to choose to have a good day, no one can make you have a bad day unless you choose  to have a bad day.” came mom’s reply. 

I hated to hear that.  Whenever I was having a “bad day” growing up, I felt very grouchy and angry about it.  I didn’t want to hear that I could consciously do something about it.  I wanted to sulk, to be grumpy, to wait until something “good” happened so that I could stop having a “bad day”

Years passed, I moved away from home, I was in my early 20’s and I worked at a marketing firm as the Assistant Branch Manager. It was a good paying job, but very high stress and very long hours. 

 One day, I walked into work not feeling very well.  From the moment I walked in the door to a stack of messages, a full in-box, a full calendar, a line of employees waiting to talk to me and a boss who wanted me in his office ASAP, I felt overwhelmed and sick to my stomach from all of the stress. This was going to be a bad day, I could already feel it. 

I sat down at my desk to get my bearings, not sure where to start (well, I knew that going to my boss’s office ASAP would be a good start…..) “Beth” I could hear my mom’s voice in my head, “you have to choose to have a good day, bad things happen during the day, but you can still choose to have a good day.”  I had about 3 seconds to make a choice and get in my boss’s office before our meeting started.  I had never tried my mom’s advice on choosing to have a good day, but I figured, what could it hurt?  The day couldn’t possibly get any more stressful.  “OK” I thought to myself, “This is going to be a good day.”  I took a deep breath and walked into the meeting.

That was one of the BEST days I can ever remember having in a long time.  “Wow” I thought “this really works, mom knows what she’s talking about!”  My day turned out so well, that I decided to start choosing to have a good day every day.  For the next few months, every time something bad would happen in my day, I would stop and remind myself, “Beth, don’t let it ruin your day, even though something bad just happened, you can still have a good day.”

I began having “good days” so frequently, that now, I don’t even have to remind myself to make the choice to have a good day, even when bad and stressful things happen, it just comes naturally to me now to have a good day despite the circumstances.

One thing I noticed once I started following mom’s advice, is that before, when bad things would happen and I was having a “bad day”  my day would go from bad to worse.  Once one bad thing happened in my day, it was a downward spiral.  Now since I started making the choice to have a “good day” even though bad things happen, I’ve noticed that when something bad happens, I deal with it, move on and it’s not a downward spiral.  I don’t feel grumpy or crabby for the rest of the day because of it anymore.  I LOVE having “good days” every day, and it’s all in how you look at it.

Thanks Mom, I had a very good day today!

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Ever since Grace turned 2, these words seem to come out of my mouth multiple times a day.  Grace is getting whiny, she cries about all kinds of little things, she doesn’t listen when she doesn’t want to, she wants to be the center of attention, she wants to do things that aren’t safe like run through a parking lot.  She wants EVERYTHING she sees, and EVERYTHING her friends have…….

There are days when I feel like I’ve just about had it.  My patience only goes so far, there’s only so much whining, crying and selfishness I can take before I say “Grace, get on your bed and take a time out.  DO NOT get up until the timer rings!” (I set it for 2 minutes and 30 seconds since she’s 2 now.)

Tonight, things were kind of rough…..I am a planner, and I plan things out with mental timelines and I like to stay on schedule, no waisting time.  Well, things didn’t go according to my schedule tonight.  What could go wrong did go wrong, and on top of everything Grace was crying because her movie was over.  “Does she have to cry about every little thing?” I though  while I was trying to take care of everything else that needs to get done and was falling apart in our house tonight.

I don’t generally stress out about things, If things don’t go as planned, I use plan “B” or “C.” 

I run around all day taking care of things at work, run to piano lessons, run errands, run to go get Grace, we come home and I literally run all over the house while dinner is cooking to start a load of laundry, put away the dishes and clean things up…….when things don’t go as planned, I sometimes become impatient with Grace, I get whiny…..I want things to happen the way I have them planned…..Then I had a thought…I wonder, what does my Heavenly Father see when He looks down on me? 

Does He look down and see His Child listening to Him and obeying Him without whining?  Does He see His Child wanting to be the center of attention? (OUCH!)  Does He see His Child crying over “little things?”  Does He see a child who impatiently wants to have everything that she wants?  ….Beth, you need a TIME OUT! 

I think that’s what God meant when He said “Be STILL, and KNOW that I AM GOD.”  We get so busy doing things our way.  When we want something, we impatiently buy it instead of waiting for God to bless us with someone giving it to us or finding it a much lower price.  We try to do everything in our energy instead of in His strength, and then when things don’t go as we planned them, we sit around and cry about it instead of waiting for God’s plan……….this week, I’m going to focus on being STILL and letting God be God……I’m on TIME OUT!

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