Rainbow Crayons

image

My kids loved doing this on a rainy day this past week.  We made rainbow crayons out of broken crayons in our “crayon bag”, which we had an abundance of!

First, we preheated the oven to 300 degrees. Next, we collected all the broken crayons and peeled off any paper that was left.  We then broke up the crayons into smaller pieces and put them in cupcake wrappers, putting several different colors in each cup.  Then, we put the cups in a muffin tin.

image

We then turned the oven OFF and put the muffin tin in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the crayons melted.

image

Next we slowly removed the muffin tin from the oven and set them out to cool.  Last, we peeled off the baking cups and there you have it!  A new creation to color with!

image

image

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Genesis 9:13

Attitude of gratitude

I’ve seen this done before and felt the need to make a list of my own today. It’s so true that remembering what you’re grateful for shifts your perspective and changes your heart.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1

IMG_0055

Truly thankful for this and so much more….especially my salvation through Jesus Christ.  And also want to shout out to my awesome husband…Thank you for all you do for our family!!

Thank you Lord for my many blessings!

Spring cleaning for the soul

FullSizeRender

Spring cleaning!  It’s that time of year!  Doesn’t it feel so good to purge and get rid of all that stuff you thought you had to have?  I know it does for me.  It always amazes me how I can accumulate so much STUFF! I’ve been getting rid of things in waves because, for some reason, it’s hard for me to let go of some things even though I haven’t used or worn them in who knows how long!  I think to myself, “I MIGHT want to wear that again” or “This COULD be useful at SOME point”.  It feels really good when I finally come to the realization that it’s time to part ways and that someone else could get much better use out of this or that.

As I’ve been cleaning out closets, I’ve realized I’ve let some “junk” take up residence in my mind and heart that needs to be cleaned out and purged.  It’s been extra challenging lately as I have been sleep deprived more than normal and longer than normal.  I don’t know what “normal” is because sleep isn’t the same once you have kids, but lately it’s been more than my “regular” sleep-deprivedness.  I have found myself in a bit of a hazy funk lately.  This morning my daughter called my name 3 times before it processed that “Oh, she is trying to tell me something…whoops, I just spaced out for a minute”.

So in this “funk”, I’ve let a short temper, negativity, impatience, pride, and regret visit and stay way too long.  It’s those times when you know you are making the wrong decision or reacting poorly but continue on anyway.  Thank goodness, Jesus meets me in my weary downward spiral.

I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.  Psalm 116:3b-7

My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:20-23

Yes! It’s time for spring cleaning for my soul! It’s time to rid my mind of all the negativity and replace it with these spiritual truths of God’s Word.  When I put my hope in Him, He is faithful to carry me through.  In my quiet time with Him, I bring Him my heavy load and repent where sin has occurred. I feel refreshed and rest in His mercy, grace, and peace. Praise Jesus for making my soul well.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Psalm 62:5

 

I want that

Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4

Isn’t the pure sweet innocence of a child so beautiful?  Lately I have been overcome with emotion at the beautiful innocence of my children.  The Lord is reminding me what a treasure that is in young children: Their wonder and eagerness to learn…Their humble and lowly position…Their dependence and submission to their parents.

I want that.

There are so many things we must learn and grow out of as we grow from child to adult. So many ways to mature, but this is something to keep.  Sometimes when I am busy multi-tasking- cooking dinner, bouncing Libby on a hip, making sure Weston is in sight not destroying anything, and I realize I am not sure where Caroline is…I’ll call out “CAROLINE”, and she’ll say “Here I am, Mommy”.  I don’t know why, but that is such a sweet thing to hear.  It’s so much better than an annoyed, “WHAT?!” (Which happens too sometimes…) To me it sounds like, “Don’t worry Mommy. I’m right here. What can I do for you?”

I think it would be nice for the Lord to hear this when He is calling us to Him. It is so humbling to realize that out of His love and mercy, He is in pursuit of us.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

It is so easy to get sucked in to the world around us–the busyness with worry, stress, pride, envy…  I like to grab the reins and sit in the driver’s seat.  I quickly become a mess when I try to be the boss, instead of surrendering to Him. A way to keep the right perspective is making time to just “be” with the Lord.  Not just in morning quiet time, but other times throughout the day.   Our time to “be still” with the Lord can easily be shoved to the back of the line and get lost or hang just barely out of reach. When this happens, I lose my perspective. I’m in a phase of life where it is so hard to get a minute! I’ve been known to “have to go to the bathroom” for a really long time for a moment of peace!  Being intentional and making it a priority to rest with the Lord is the only way it gets done.  It’s crazy to think sometimes that we have to be intentional to rest.

But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Psalm 131:2

 

White Wash Fireplace

I finally tackled a project that I have had on my “to-do” list for a while, and I am so happy with the results!  I’ve never been fond of the color of our brick fireplace…I thought white washing it would give it a rustic look and brighten up the room.  This past weekend, I was feeling motivated and my husband offered to watch the kids, so I decided to act on this opportunity!

Here is a before picture:

IMG_7285

I mixed together 50/50 white latex paint and water in a small bucket.  I taped around the edges of the fireplace as well as around the mantle.  I kept a rag and wet paper towels handy since it was drippy and got messy.

I had a little helper to help me get started :).  It was tempting to go with her suggestion of painting the fireplace all different colors so that it would look like a rainbow.  We discussed it and decided white wash would look best :).

IMG_7291

The project was finished just in time for dinner!  After the first coat, I  had to go back over a few areas to even it out.  It was messy, but not too difficult!  I liked how it turned out with a little bit of the brick showing through.

Final result:

IMG_7294

IMG_7303

Daniel Fast: Brown Rice Greek Salad

Here is another tasty Daniel Fast recipe that we liked making 🙂

IMG_7258

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, roasted (drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper,  and roast in oven for 30 min at 400 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 Avocado, diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • a couple mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a bowl, combine rice, chickpeas, tomatoes, scallions, avocado, corn, and kalamata olives.  Then mix in lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, mint, garlic, and salt and pepper.  So simple and delicious!

Daniel Fast Recipe: Brown Rice and Veggie Medley

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4

My husband and I started off the New Year with the Daniel Fast and I wanted to share a couple of our favorite recipes we enjoyed during this time.  The first being a delicious brown rice and vegetable medley!

IMG_7134

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 3-5 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cabbage head, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • olive oil and sesame oil
  • coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9×13 baking dish with coconut oil.
  2. Heat olive oil in large skillet or pot over medium heat.
  3. Add carrots, onion, celery, green beans, and bell pepper and cook about 3 minutes.
  4. Add sliced cabbage (and some additional oil) and cook until cabbage is to your liking.
  5. Stir in mushrooms, sage, paprika, and oregano.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together cooked rice, cooked vegetables and tablespoon of sesame oil.
  7. Pour the rice and vegetable mixture into the greased baking dish.
  8. Spread diced tomatoes over the top.
  9. Cover with foil and bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove foil and bake additional 10 minutes.  Serve warm! Yum!

 

Surely goodness and loving-kindness

Wow, I am amazed at the patience of our heavenly Father. I have learned what an incredibly slow learner I am. He has shown me how weak I am in being patient, when I actually thought patience was something I was pretty good at…(that darn arrogant pride). How is the Lord showing me this? -Through the efforts of teaching our kids obedience.  Simple tasks become enormously difficult and stressful! You just want to scream, “JUST DO WHAT I ASKED!!” I mean really, “JUST DO IT!”

I am reminded of what high importance obedience is to the Lord.

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22.

Saul lost his place as king over Israel because of disobedience to God.

“Noah did everything that the Lord commanded him” Genesis 7:5.  “By faith Noah, after he was warned about things that had never happened before and motivated by godly fear, built an ark to deliver his family. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” Hebrews 11:7.

So by obeying the Lord, Noah became an heir of righteousness which blessed his descendants and many generations to come.  Noah blessed his future generations with his obedience to the Lord, while Saul hurt his family with his disobedience.  His son lost his chance to become king because of his father’s disobedience.  I want to bless my family with obedience to the Lord!

In teaching my kids obedience (without complaining!), I’m convicted to examine my own heart and life with the question, “Am I living obediently to the Lord?”  I can think of many times I reason in my head to convince myself that I am doing “the right thing”, but am I really doing what I have been asked to do?

Another thing brought to my attention through the exercise of teaching the importance of obedience is our real struggle with sin/flesh and the compassion our Father pours out on us.  When I see one of my kids melt down at the request of a simple task, it breaks my heart.  MELT DOWN: collapsing to the floor, thrashing about with arms and legs, whining, crying, or yelling.  It’s a scary sight! But we’ve all been there, right?  Sure, it is incredibly frustrating, but I look again and see that struggle, that fight against ourselves, our own flesh robbing us of joy and peace, separating us from our Creator.

But oh that wonderful HOPE!  We have a Savior ready to HELP us.  “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.  That is such GOOD news I want my kids to hear!  A lot of times, I know the correct response to things and I try by my own might to “behave” correctly and to my surprise, it just doesn’t work out.  I mean, again, I am such a slow learner!  Trying by my own might ends up a big fail.  Choosing to ask for the Holy Spirit to help me in those times is not always easy but is so worth it.

Lord, please work in the hearts of my children as well as mine and Phil’s to be obedient to your will for our lives.  Soften our hearts, that we may carry out your will with happy hearts full of thanksgiving.  Increase our faith and help us know you more.  Thank you for your surely goodness and loving-kindness.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Caroline and West on our recent family hike

Caroline and West on our recent family hike

 

 

Ministry of Motherhood

It is so great to get good, helpful mom advice from more experienced mothers.  My mom and aunt are a great source for child-rearing wisdom.  My aunt recently shared some great scripture/motherhood wisdom that greatly encouraged me and spoke to my heart. I want to share some of her wisdom and my take-aways.

Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24

Wow! This is the essence of the call to motherhood: death to self to bring life to another.  How beautiful! How challenging!  Yet, this is how the Lord calls us to live.  Often times much of my day does not pan out how I intend, haha. That’s life though, isn’t it?   His blessing comes though, as I take the focus off me, myself, and I, and use my energy to care for, teach, and love someone else.  In this challenge, I’m thankful for His words, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” and His promises in Psalm 23 to “lead me beside still waters, to restore my soul, to guide my path in righteousness for His name’s sake.”

What a great privilege and responsibility we have in raising our children!…to join Christ in shepherding each precious soul he entrusts in our care.  I pray for God’s word to be hidden in their hearts (Psalm 119:11).  My aunt said it well when she said, “We must labor to inscribe His love, His mercy, His grace, His goodness, His forgiveness, His faithfulness, His holiness, ALL of Who He is, upon the tablets of our children’s hearts…and we do this through our day to day mothering.”  Scripture has great guidance for us to do this.  Deuteronomy 6: 1-9 says,

Here O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

We must be intentional to do this every day!  In other words, sing, read and memorize Bible verses, read Bible stories, talk about Bible characters, etc as you walk, run, skip, mosey, picnic, bike, hike, swing, color, paint, bake, do laundry, pick up toys, put away dishes, take baths, and rock babies…we must purpose to bring God into our everyday life and make Jesus the very “breath” of our home-life.  It is important to let our children see God and His love for them, through His creation, His Word, His Son Jesus, and His redemption for us.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “pray without ceasing“…we need to pray with our children.  Pray with them and for them.  This helps them learn that even though we can’t see God, we can still pray and talk to Him.  It teaches them a humble dependence on our God and builds their faith when prayers are answered.  My aunt shared, “My children heard me pray for them, and this was a great encouragement to them…so teach your children to pray, not only for themselves, but have them pray for each other.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  Make time for snuggles!  These moments are so special- the hugs, kisses, and smiles throughout the day…even when you don’t feel like it.

Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1)  Teaching obedience with a smile is something we are working on right now!

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:29)  What a great way to show our children Jesus.  Forgiving each other and humbling ourselves to ask forgiveness when we offend is a great way to draw others to Christ.  It is in this humility people are drawn to Jesus not in our perfection.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)  This is so good because words are so powerful!  Proverbs says that life and death are in the tongue.  We have to remember to use our words to build each other up and encourage and not tear down, speaking kind and gracious words and words of truth.

So as we “mother”, let’s remember there are many ways to “mother,” but only one way to eternal life.  This is a great reminder to use every opportunity to share God’s redemption story with our children.  It’s so easy to let our view shift from the eternal to the temporal which will pass away.  I’m so encouraged by these Scriptures and this reminder of the gift we can be to our children.

His grace is sufficient for this task! Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

IMG_6554

Recent trip to Navarre Beach

 

Bench Seat Cushion

IMG_6484

When we bought our house a couple years ago, my daughter’s room came with these awesome built-ins.  I have been saying that I will make a bench cushion for the window seat in this room for over a year now, and I FINALLY did it!  It was so easy and fun!

Here is what you need:

  • fabric (I got mine from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft)
  • Foam (I got a 2 inch thick firm foam sheet off Amazon)
  • batting
  • plywood
  • staple gun
  • craft glue (optional)

First measure your bench:

IMG_6472

Next, pick out and buy your fabric.  At Jo-Ann’s, you pick out your fabric and they cut it to the size you need.  I also bought my batting at Jo-Ann’s.  I bought my plywood at Home Depot, and they cut the length you need at the store as well.  I ordered my foam off Amazon, because it was cheapest there.

Ready to get started!  First, I had to cut down the length of my foam just a little.  I used one of our heavy duty kitchen knives for this task and it got the job done.

IMG_6473 IMG_6474

I then used some craft glue to attach the foam to the plywood.  Next I placed the fabric face down on the ground and layered the batting followed by the foam face down and plywood on top.

IMG_6477

I then pulled the fabric tight (but not too tight) on one of the long sides and folded it up over the plywood to staple it to the plywood.

IMG_6479

After both long sides were stapled, I folded the ends like wrapping a gift and stapled them.

IMG_6482 IMG_6483

And that is THAT!  DONE!  One thing I might suggest is to iron your fabric first if there are creases.

IMG_6489