A Mother’s Day Tribute to My Mom

Mom, I reflect on your character and your teachings and influence on my life more than you probably know, particularly (although not at all limited to) this time of year. I often intend to write a letter like this to you, but all too often just think about it and never put it into words. Having awakened at an ungodly hour for some reason this morning, I shall take this as a providential opportunity to express my gratefulness now.

You were the first one to teach me about Jesus. He made me, He is in charge of everything, and all-powerful and loving and knows everything, including what is best for us…  He can do anything he wants to do; nothing is too hard for God. He always sees me. These are the simple terms you used to introduce me to these aspects of His character…  His sovereignty, wisdom, love, power, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience. You sought to teach me early the fear of the Lord.

You embraced “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” and took Deuteronomy 6 quite seriously, putting scripture before our eyes constantly, all over the walls (and curtains and bedspreads and pillow shams and tablecloths, etc.) of our home, teaching it to us and helping & encouraging us to commit it to memory from the earliest age, investing your time and talents into pouring God’s Word into your family, believing it would not return void (Isaiah 55:11).

You were consistent, firm when necessary but always gentle, and I am amazed when I recall your patience and gentleness with us when we were a pack of little kids. I don’t ever remember you yelling at us or being out of control in your emotions. I do remember you involving us in your everyday tasks, using them as teaching opportunities but also creating quality time spent with Mom in the nitty-gritty tasks of life. One such example is the clear memory I have of you letting me sit on the kitchen counter and “help” you make pizza dough when I was probably 3 or so, not only putting up with the delay that my “assistance” surely offered, but explaining the process to me as you sprinkled the yeast on the water and let me stir. That was the beginning of my cooking “career” as you taught me patiently to cook and put up with an awful lot of mess in your kitchen in the process over the years as I took it from there when I was old enough and baked on my own. (Yes, I also remember how you taught me to clean up after myself as I went. I’ve even started implementing that sometimes!)  ;)

I remember you prioritizing one-on-one time with each of us, putting Nate, Josh & me to bed for naps but then calling us out one at a time for “special time with Mom” when you would read to us from Leading Little Ones to God or our favorite Bible story books before sending us back to bed and calling the next one in turn. Several years later, you bought me my first prayer journal and transitioned me into having my own quiet times with God, giving me guidance along the way. (My minimalist husband thanks you for the habit of journaling this started in me and the wooden chest full of my journals that moves to a new home every time we do… ha! ;) … but seriously, I love having a record of my prayers and this visual, written reminder of God’s faithfulness in my life.)  When I was in my teen or young adult years, if I needed to talk, I could always find you no matter how late it was, usually right there reading your Bible in the same corner.

Something that occurred to me the other day is that you didn’t have Facebook or a social media group of moms at your fingertips to ask advice or bounce ideas off of, like we have today. Instead, when you found yourself up against a problem or challenge, no matter how big or small, you sought the answer through prayer and turning to God’s Word, and I am reminded that your way is the better way. We all should be seeking God through His Word and prayer first, not as a last resort.

“The law of kindness {was} on your tongue,” and I remember you randomly calling out, “Everybody say something you like about Kate!” (or whichever brother or sister), encouraging us to be kind too. At other times, you would give the admonition when necessary, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” — another motto that would serve us all well to practice today!

You were industrious (and still are very much so!). I get tired just thinking of the energy you expended in planting (and watering and weeding) our giant gardens back in the day, then harvesting and canning everything we grew, not to mention mountains of laundry, cooking, cleaning, keeping your children alive, healthy and flourishing. You sewed our clothes (till it became cheaper to buy them on clearance). We groaned when you stopped at Piece Goods, but it was to our advantage in the end (I specifically remember the pastel floral dress you made me with the light blue sailor collar of which I was so proud when I was 11 or 12). You kept a nice house for Dad, having us all clean up our toys from the when he was due to arrive home and having supper ready or nearly ready for him. As we got older, you trained us all in the housework and rotated our jobs so we would all know how to care for our own homes one day. Oh, and you taught us all academically speaking. You know, and a few other little things like that. I never saw you meddling in anyone else’s business, but instead looking well after your own.

You were not self-indulgent, never demanding “me time” though you carved time in each day for your exercise of choice and time in the Word. Often the last sight I would see as a young child (usually coming out of my room after you’d sent me to bed initially, just because I wanted Mom, and before you sent me back to bed the final time) was the lamplight softly illuminating the Bible and notebook open on your lap as you sat in your rocking chair in the living room, the same chair from which you rocked babies and assigned schoolwork during the day (and probably the only times you ever sat down in the course of a day). You had hobbies, but they usually profited your family or home and they didn’t crowd out your time with your family but instead you often had us join you in your crafting. You sacrificed your own pleasure for ours.

I see emotional strength that God has worked in you as you’ve responded in submission to trials He has allowed to come into your life. You’ve endured disapproval, rejection and criticism from near and far, more so than most will ever know, yet I’ve never seen you be anything but gracious in your response, even at times when I am sure you had to have been deeply hurt. You’ve never been one to wallow in your sorrows or throw a pity party for yourself. I remember you telling me that you had tried feeling sorry for yourself once, but you didn’t like it. I laughed because it sounded comical, but you said that you were serious, you found it discouraging to embrace self pity and didn’t know why anyone would choose to feel sorry for themselves when they had a choice in the matter of attitude/outlook. This conversation has come back to my mind many a time when I needed the reminder to choose joy despite unpleasant circumstances.

You don’t seek your own glory, boast or call attention to yourself or talk about how great you are. You don’t seem to take yourself too seriously, can laugh nearly to tears at your epic miscommunication bloopers, and don’t sit around and fret or worry about things beyond your control — a good lesson for my own over-analyzing self.

When I was 13 or 14, I remember you returning home from the hospital, empty handed except for a birth certificate with tiny footprints inked on it, bearing the first name of only “Baby Boy”, suffering the pain of miscarriage at 5 months. You treated human life with dignity, grieving the loss of a very real life, while acknowledging to yourself and to us that God is good even when we don’t understand, adopting the attitude of “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Little did you know that within a couple of years, you would be practically living at the hospital with your fourth son, now a teenager, as he fought for his life against leukemia, finding comfort in the strength of your steady presence as you fought to keep your tears inside since he hated for people to cry over him. At least every other day I watched you pack your Bible, baby paraphernalia and blankets as you spent as many nights as possible with him despite having a newborn in tow.

This is far lengthier than I intended already, yet I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface of acknowledging how you have invested in my life and in our family (I’m only up to 1997!). Your husband and children arise and call you blessed for sure (though probably not often enough), but more importantly, your Lord has seen every sacrifice made, every tear shed, every heartache unspoken, every prayer you’ve spoken and thought. He has seen the faithfulness with which you have tackled the mundane, for it is His grace that has enabled you and begun the good work in you which He will be faithful to complete until the day of Christ Jesus. I am grateful He gave me a mom like you.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you.

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Taco Meatballs

Need a quick, simple recipe to throw together for a delicious, family-friendly dinner?  This gem of a meatball recipe became a family favorite for us when I was doing the South Beach Diet a few years ago. I kind of forgot about it till this week when I was trying to plan some lower-carb recipes that would also stretch a pound of meat a bit further than just making it into burgers.

I happen to resent food that doesn’t taste good, so I especially appreciate the melted cheese centers and taco flavor of these little balls of yum! ;)

As a bonus, they’re also very simple to make, require only a handful of ingredients, and contain less than 1 carb per meatball. Score!  :)

 

 

 

Taco Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef

  • 1 package taco seasoning mix

  • 1 green onion, finely diced (optional — I omit these)

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 block sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (you may not need this much cheese. . . I use smaller chunks than the recipe calls for so I can make smaller meatballs, thus stretching my meat further.)

Directions

Beat eggs and mix all ingredients except cheese. Mold a tablespoon of meat around a cube of cheese to form a small meatball. Repeat with all meat. Placed on edged cookie sheet or roasting pan. You may want to spray the pan with cooking spray if your meat is very lean. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until meat is done and cheese has melted.

 

Preheat the oven  to 425° F.

Yield: 10-12 servings.

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Red Pepper & Feta Black Bean Dip

Allow me to introduce you to a dip that you can’t stop eating — but it’s so good for you that it’s okay!  It’s also super easy to make and only requires a handful of ingredients.

This scrumptious recipe was given to me by Libby, after I ate half the bowl of it at her house and refused to leave till I had the recipe in hand. (That might be a slight exaggeration…. but seriously, it is soooo good!).

This yummy, fiber-full, colorful dip would be a great addition to your Super Bowl party menu! It’s also perfect as an appetizer before a meal when you have guests… or when (like me this week) you simply feel like eating it as an evening snack.

 

Red Pepper & Feta Black Bean Dip

1 can corn (or 1-2 cups frozen corn, thawed)

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 red pepper, chopped

 

Combine vegetables in a bowl; set aside.

 

 

For dressing, combine the following in a saucepan:

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

 

Bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves.

 

Pour over the veggies in the bowl.

 

When cool, add 1 cup feta cheese …..

 

 

Mmmmmm!!!!!

…….and toss.

 

Serve with tortilla chips.

 

 

 

 

Here’s the uninterrupted-by-photos version:

 

1 can corn (or 1-2 cups frozen corn, thawed)

1 can black beans, rinsed

1 red pepper, chopped

1 cup feta cheese

 

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

 

Combine vegetables in bowl; set aside. Combine oil, sugar and vinegar in saucepan and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Pour over veggies in bowl. When cool, add feta cheese and toss. Serve with tortilla chips.

 Enjoy!

 

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First Snow Day of the Year!

Don’t laugh if you’re from a state that stays buried under the snow for half the year (here’s looking at you, Minnesota!)… but we’ve been waiting for snow, and although we were supposed to get 3-6 inches, this is what we ended up with. A little imagination goes a long way… even if your sled doesn’t!  :)

 

 

 

 

When life hands you scanty snowstorms….. make a miniature-sized snowman!, we decided.

 

 

We think he turned out to be adorable!  The snow was very powdery and not good for packing — except on the areas (i.e., deck stairs) where the sun had started to melt it a bit (built-in science lesson!), so that’s why we built him here. And because he was so fragile, puncturing him with gravel for eyes and mouth wasn’t going to work. So we dipped a toothpick in black food coloring gel and dabbed it on instead.  The tip of a carrot is his nose, impaled on a toothpick for leverage into his face.

 

A little  bit of snow can still be a lot of fun!

 

 

 

…Especially when ended with a little hot chocolate (for her) and a little coffee (for me).

 

 

I love the beauty of snow and the fresh cleanness of its appearance that reminds me of this verse from Scripture:

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.” ~Isaiah 1:18

I also love Job 38 to remind us of God’s power and sufficiency as demonstrated through all of nature, including the snow.

 

This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.   ~Psalm 118:24

 

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Summer Highlights

Can you believe July is almost over and August is nearly upon us?! What happened  to summer?! Because I happen to home educate my daughter, I had this idea that the summer would be a fun, relaxing time without the structure of teaching every day and our typical “school” time free for blissful rejuvenation and opportunities to catch up on things like blogging, planning for next school year, and reading half a dozen books or so. On the contrary, I think this has been the busiest summer of our lives! I have done some planning and a bit of reading, but mainly I’ve been doing… well, I’ll show you some snapshots of what I’ve been doing!

If you follow my Facebook page, maybe you’ve already seen this “before” photo that I posted of my china cabinet. What it doesn’t show is the piece of black trim that our friend added at the bottom (the piece is a built-in that matched the cabinets but I wanted it to be black to tie in the black peninsula we added). He also added the white trim at the top (trim leftover from other projects) which really helped to fill out the piece and make it look like it stands alone (now that it’s all the same color).

Here’s the “after” photo. Black paint seems to take a long time to cure. This took a process of several days to complete all the sanding and painting and letting dry until it was safe to replace my china. But now that it’s done, I’m LOVING it!

 

Shortly after summer began, we enjoyed a week-long lake vacation with Kevin’s family.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed our time with family and friends, boating and tubing, swimming, miniature golf (for the first time in my daughter’s case… she didn’t quite understand the rules of the game, but enjoyed herself and her own version immensely), board games, sunshine, an ice cream boat that patrols the lake daily selling frozen confections (which we patronized quite often), sunsets and moonlight and a campfire complete with S’mores…. mmmm!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we returned home, we hit the ground running for a wedding week. One of my dear friends asked my daughter to be her flower girl, so I had a few last-minute items to procure to complete her outfit; plus I was asked to make her wedding cake.  In the meantime, a surprise birthday party was planned for my sister, and I was elected to make cupcakes for that occasion as well. I used a recipe she’d given me earlier for these delectable delights for which, at some point, I must share with you the recipe because I really believe it yields the best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted in my life.

 

 

Two days later, it was time for more cake baking and icing making! I do not make wedding cakes as a rule but have made two exceptions for a couple of very dear friends over the last few years. This cake was almond flavored with almond buttercream icing.

 

Transporting the cake is the worst (i.e., most nerve-wracking) part. I was happy to be able to set it up the night before and breathe a sigh of relief as it left my hands (figuratively speaking).  I was honored and happy for this chance to help out my faithful friend who has invested much in my life over the years.

 

Friends! (Me and Little L with the bride while helping to decorate for the reception the night before the wedding.)

Here’s a picture of the flower girl. She got to wear cowgirl boots with her dress… and couldn’t have been prouder!

 

I know the flower girl and the ring bearer aren’t the focus of a wedding… but these two were so cute they threatened to steal the show!

The bride’s sister arranged all the flowers for the wedding, including those she added to the cake. Such gorgeous blooms!  I loved the rich purples and blues of the hydrangeas and other flowers.

 

Road trip! Soon after the wedding, my little sidekick and I took a quick trip to visit my hubby’s family — a fun summer tradition we started last year so she gets a chance to have some summer fun with her cousins before they go back to school. This year’s trip included, among other things, a fun day at an amusement park (this little girl is a serious rider!).

 

 

 

 

This is me at the top of the flume in the boat with my daughter and two of my nephews. We’re probably screaming (and definitely about to get wet).

 

 

We came home to a lovely surprise from my sweet hubby who must’ve missed us — he had a dozen roses waiting for each of us (in our respective favorite colors) and candy and Starbucks gift cards and a sweet note!

We also enjoyed visits with out-of-state relatives and longtime friends; and on the days that it wasn’t raining (it rained a lot this last month!), we were loving the chance to take advantage of our pool membership with friends. On the days that it did rain, I was thankful to get some much-needed household organizing and purging done and hope to do more before the summer expires.

We have also been tremendously blessed by the summer teaching series our church has held on the topic of marriage and I can’t wait to pass along some of the highlights of that to you in a later post as well!

Despite the fact that the summer has been much busier and less “productive” than I had planned in my trusty notebook (I didn’t even get a chance to finish planning what I was supposed to plan!), I am thankful for what God has ordained for these days and that He is helping me to realize that life is less about my to-do list and more about relationships with the people He has created and allows me to do life with, for ministering and for mutual encouragement as He continues His sanctifying work in us for His glory.

And there’s still a few weeks of summer yet to go!

What memories have you and your family made this summer?

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Strawberry Pizza Pie

Today I want to share with you a recipe for this scrumptious dessert that is very nostalgic for me. When I was a kid, my family eagerly anticipated the arrival of strawberry season, whether we grew our own or enjoyed those grown by our green-thumb neighbor, or found a pick-your-own farm — and this was one of our favorite recipes to make with our harvest. (In addition to tasting delectable, its name also struck me as rather fun to say.) I just made it yesterday with my daughter since we had berries needing to be used from our trip to the strawberry farm, which made me wonder why I don’t make it more often. YUM! And my hubby, whose sweet tooth usually has a “take it or leave it” approach to desserts, is raving about this one — so you know it’s gotta be good!

Strawberry Pizza Pie

Crust Ingredients:

½ cup powdered sugar

1 cup real butter

2 cups all-purpose flour

 

Filling Ingredients:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

9 ounces Cool Whip+ extra for garnishing if desired

 

Topping Ingredients:

2 pints strawberries, divided

1cup sugar

4 Tablespoons cornstarch

4 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tsp. red food coloring (optional)

Crust: Combine first 3 ingredients; mix well and press onto round pizza pan.

(Photo credit: My daughter took this picture of my hands pressing out the dough. Not bad for a rising first grader!) :)

 

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

 

Allow crust to cool completely.

Filling: Whip cream cheese and 1 cup powdered sugar. Fold into Cool Whip. Spread over chilled crust and chill while preparing topping.

 

Topping: Crush 1 pint strawberries and add sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and water. Bring to a boil and add food coloring. (I omitted the food coloring this time — I figure we have enough artificial stuff in our food already, don’t need to add to it — and the berries made it sufficiently and perfectly red on their own.)

 

 

Cook until thick and clear (about 1 minute).

 

 

Slice another pint of berries and add to cooled topping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread this over cream cheese filling and cover with dollops of Cool Whip.

 

Garnish with whole berries. Chill. Slice into thin wedges.

Yield: approximately 16 servings depending on how large you cut the slices.

Enjoy!

(We didn’t make it to the dolloping and garnishing part… we just skipped to the slicing and eating part.)

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How Spray Paint Saved Me Hundreds of Dollars, Part 2

We’ve been in the process of overhauling our kitchen for a couple of years now and the plan for it evolved as we went. I always knew since buying the house there were certain things I intended to replace as soon as finances allowed (the kitchen floor, for instance), but then there were urgent items that demanded immediate attention (refrigerator showing signs of its age, etc.). We replaced the refrigerator and stove first, and the clean steel doors of the fridge and black stove immediately gave an updated look over the mix-and-match colors of the appliances that were original to the home. (Actually the clean steel doors were an unexpected free $100-value upgrade due to a mistake on the store’s part — meaning we ended up with the fridge we actually wanted at a lower price — a blessing for which I am very thankful!) Unfortunately, the feel of newness they brought to the kitchen only accentuated the old, murky look of the off-white/ecru stove hood. (“Things” never quite satisfy, do they?)

(This is my sister standing in front of the stove hood which I hated it so much I became an expert at NOT letting it appear in hardly any of my photos. Oops. Notice my cabinet knobs pre-spray paint also. Oh, and my pretty sister.)

 

Here you can (somewhat) see “clean steel” fridge, black range, ecru hood. ‘Nuff said.

Little things like that can bother me for a long time before I figure out what to do about it. Again, my friend encouraged me to spray paint it, using an appliance epoxy rather than regular spray paint since it is specially formulated to adhere to appliances. That made me VERY nervous! I was afraid I would ruin it, and then be forced to spend money on a new hood that was definitely not a planned expenditure.

But it continued to drive me to the point of desperation and I finally decided that even if I did a poor paint job on it, possibly it would still look better than the original color.

My husband and I don’t like messing with electricity because… well, it’s kinda scary. But my brother had some experience working with an electrician, so he agreed to come and disconnect the hood for me (and a chandelier, which I’ll show you in a later post). Once the hood was down from above the stove, there was no going back! I degreased it thoroughly with Dawn dish detergent and hot water, let it dry and then… deep breath… embarked upon my project.

It took a few coats, and I had learned from previous spray painting attempts as well as repeated exhortations from Libby that it is much better to use multiple light coats of paint than to try to cover it all in fewer coats which then ends up being splotchy and uneven. It didn’t look great after the first couple of coats, but little by little it took on the look I was hoping for.

In the end, it wasn’t perfect. If you crane your neck at an uncomfortable angle and look up in the depths of the interior of my stove hood, you can tell I spray painted it. But if you don’t think to do that — which you never would until now as I write a blog post about it :) — you would never know. And the more you practice with spray paint before hand, the better your most important projects will look. (Start on the items of least importance first if you haven’t done much spray painting before!)

 

My stove hood isn’t perfect. It’s still an outdated shape and has outdated buttons with outdated logos and fonts. But it cost me less than $6 and looks WAY better than it did before… and ended up being one of my favorite spray painting projects ever!

 

How I did this project:

-Have an electrically-knowledgeable person remove the stove hood and detach all wires

-Degrease thoroughly using mixture of Dawn original dish detergent and hot water. Repeat degreasing process as many times as necessary to remove all grease. Degreasing this project may take longer than other projects due to the fact that it’s right above your burners, absorbing grease from everything you cook. Persevere and ditch all the grease! The paint will not adhere properly otherwise

-Cover all sensitive areas (fan filter, etc.) with cardboard, painter’s tape, etc. so no spray paint can infiltrate

-Evenly spray paint lightly on all areas. Remember you will be able to see some of the back and sides even from a normal standing position in your kitchen, so spray it all! Allow to dry thoroughly. Repeat until desired coverage is reached. Dry thoroughly and examine from different positions with different lighting to make sure your paint job is satisfactory.

-Have electrically-knowledgeable person reattach wires and reposition stove hood once it is thoroughly dry.

Savings: Cheapest stove hood I could buy in town new is $78. I could spend as much as over $3,000. Instead I bought appliance epoxy spray paint for roughly $4-5 and have a new look that I am completely satisfied with!

 

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Reflections on a Mother’s Prayer with Kristyn Getty ~ Part 2

I’m excited to treat you to part 2 of a Mother’s Day feature with Kristyn Getty, complete with a couple of fun surprises!

This month, the Gettys released their very first music video — and it just so happens to be “A Mother’s Prayer,” one of my favorites of the songs they’ve written, and just in time for Mother’s Day! Take a moment to enjoy this sweet video and lyrics that beautifully verbalize the prayers of every godly mother’s heart.

 

Kristyn has also shared with us a link to a beautiful Mother’s Day e-card that you can customize and send to the mothers in your life! And, as a special thanks to anyone who shares the e-card, the Gettys are giving a 15% discount on all purchases over at GettyMusic.com!  Here is the link to the e-card. It is very simple to fill out, then after sending you can retrieve the promo code for the discount. (Thank you to the Gettys — the card is beautiful and the discount much appreciated!)

Lastly, in case you haven’t cried enough watching the video, :) you have the privilege today of sneaking a peek into Kristyn Getty’s journal! Kristyn shares with us excerpts from the heartfelt prayers she has journaled on her motherhood journey, which I trust will be an encouragement and blessing to you no matter where you find yourself today as we look forward to Mother’s Day this weekend.

Kristyn Getty’s Mother’s Day Prayers/Journals

I noticed an older journal of mine amongst the debris of an Eliza playtime around my bookshelf and sat down to leaf through it. Before the sickness and tiredness of pregnancy, in the days when I had time in abundance and thought I was ‘busy’,  my most focused and best devotional times were always when I journaled.  To my shame, through pregnancy, and even now I have not managed to be anywhere near as consistent as I’d like to be or need to be. But in this newly discovered old notebook I read through a few prayers I had scribbled pre and post baby and remembered again God’s continuing faithfulness through the transitions of new life, chapters and all the unknown days ahead. It also inspired me to really focus on journaling again! I noted some of the prayers below – they’re nothing grand!- but I hope they might help someone in someway…

 

December 26th 2010 (10 weeks until baby comes)

‘Lord, help me not be afraid’

 

January 4th 2011

Father in heaven,

What a miracle it is that a little one is hidden inside of me and that You are weaving her together piece by piece, inch by inch; that You know all her days before they come to be, her abilities, her struggles, her humor, her disposition, the color of her eyes, the shape of her feet.  Such knowledge is too marvelous for me. I praise You for she is fearfully and wonderfully made.  Lord please protect her within my womb…’

 

January 8th 2011 – 8 weeks and 2 days till baby comes

‘Thank you for this little child within my womb – may she very early in life add her praise to the great song of praise and that those looking on might see Your goodness and strength through her young voice.  Help us teach her Lord, inspire her, make known what is right and how holiness is always beautiful…’

 

The same day -

‘I think today of those ladies I know who long to be mothers remembering my own heartache and how hard it is to wait and not know.  Father, please enable them to conceive and carry babies full term.  Help them to get through each day fulfilling what it is you have called them to for that moment.  May their greatest delight be in You and if children do not come move in their hearts by Your grace that they may not be lost in the distraction or disappointment but know Your healing and purpose for their lives.  You know the pain – draw near to them this day’

April 8th 2011 (Eliza is 5 and a 1/2 weeks old)

‘Father in heaven, thank You for this new morning and safety and rest through the night as Your unsleeping eye watched over us.  Thank You that all our nights and all our days are known and measured by You.  Thank You for the joy of family and that You love and care for each member of my family more than I ever could.  And yet the love of a mother is both fierce and gentle, strong and tender – thank You for our beautiful baby.  Forgive my anxious thoughts, worries and any idolatry in my heart.  She is Your child and may I love and serve You well in loving and protecting her to the best of my ability.  May I love and honor You by loving and honoring my husband well.  Thank You for Your care of me in these last weeks’

 

First Mothers Day – May 8th 2011

Today is my first Mother’s Day as a mother – thank you Lord for enabling me to be a mother and for the precious gift of Eliza in our lives.  Help me be a godly and gentle and hardworking and loving and joyful mother to the glory of Christ. May He be first in our hearts as we pray He will be first in Eliza’s heart.

 

 

 

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Reflections on a Mother’s Prayer ~ Kristyn Getty

My husband and I have been blessed by the music ministry of Keith & Kristyn Getty over the last several years. Often as I am going about my day, running errands and doing housework, I have their music playing as my daughter and I sing along and soak up the scriptural truths contained in their songs. God has taught and encouraged me countless times through His truths masterfully put to music by the Gettys. We were privileged to have spend a bit of time with them last year when they were in concert at our church. A workshop with Keith gave insight into their songwriting process (each song begins as the equivalent to a 4-page theological paper which they then condense down into one song’s worth — no wonder the lyrics are so rich!) and brief conversation with Kristyn was encouraging as she shared her heart and just chatted with us as fellow moms. It was refreshing to find them so genuine and with such a heart to serve the church through writing modern hymns, many of which you’re probably already familiar with (such as “In Christ Alone” and “The Power of the Cross”).

I first heard their song “A Mother’s Prayer” at a time when I was sifting through fears of the future and what the world will be like when my daughter is older. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to this song that so eloquently portrays the sentiments my heart couldn’t articulate so clearly, and it has been a favorite since. Moms of all ages will surely identify with and be blessed by this lullaby prayer for our children. I’m delighted to share with you some thoughts about this song from one of its writers, Kristyn Getty. I’m grateful to her for allowing me the opportunity to share this with you, and I hope you will be tremendously blessed by her this week before Mother’s Day. Enjoy, and check  back later this week as we will be sharing the Gettys’ first music video (also featuring this song) and a couple other fun Mother’s Day items!

~Kate

 

Reflections on A Mother’s Prayer
~Kristyn Getty

In the spring of 2008 I first prayed for a baby, and in the spring of 2011 God answered
that prayer with the birth of our beautiful daughter. My joy was full but so were the fears
I wrestled. In some ways I felt like a baby Christian again, caught in a whirlwind of
emotions, learning and applying what I have known and trusted into a completely new
life – I know I’m definitely not the first to feel that!


Friends of ours had given us a card when their first son was born; it was full of prayer
requests for his little life, a prayer for every day of the month. My prayers were not quite
as coherent as those, especially at first, but the urgency of the moment drove me to my
knees. “Help her, help me” baby prayers at 3am; prayers as I heard the baby monitor
light up in the morning; prayers when I thought of her safety, her soul, her future; prayers
with my husband; prayers while Eliza listened in.

When people found out that I was pregnant one of the most frequent comments I received
was how my creativity would discover a whole new vista of inspiration as I became a
mother. So, when Eliza came I was anticipating a fresh flow of profound poetic thought,
but instead I was swept up in the constant flow of changes and feedings and “Old
MacDonald had a farm!” I was expecting full sentences, but I was blubbering looking
at my beautiful girl! I actually wondered if I’d ever be able to write again. I just about
tucked some thoughts away to ponder later when my brain would start to fit itself back
together again (still nowhere near a completed process!). As I continued to learn the
wonderful balancing act and privilege of mothering, homemaking, writing, traveling and
singing, Keith and I began to write a song for Eliza choosing this theme of praying for
her, and the end result was “A Mother’s Prayer.”

My parents have faithfully prayed for me my whole life, and I remember when I was
younger my mum met with other mums to pray for all their children – a “Moms in
Touch” group in Belfast. Even just the knowledge of that helped me, and I want Eliza to
know we are praying for her and trying to guide her in this context that reaches to the call
and purpose of her whole life and an understanding of the Lord’s grace and faithfulness.
We’re now in the toddler stage and some of the prayer needs are shifting. We wanted
the song to reflect the different seasons – ones we had discovered and then those still to
come. We also wrote it to remind us of our promise to pray for her through all the years
we’re given. We hope this song for her – and even more our praying for her – might
catch her ear and help guide her heart as she grows up.

 

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Tackling Clutter Without Taking Tons of Time ~ Part 3

Spend 15 minutes every day on an organizing project.

It can be a kitchen cabinet, drawer, linen closet or pantry… whatever needs attention first.

When your 15 minutes are up, you’re free to stop. Repeat the next day. This gives motivation to fit in a small amount of time each day when you might not have time to do the entire project, but little by little the job gets done. When you complete your first project, start on the next and keep your new habit going! This is, again, a tip from a friend who received it from an older lady in her church (I love learning from wise women who are ahead of me in this journey! Thankful for how God prescribes for the older women to teach the younger in Titus 2!)

Keep your kitchen sink empty.

One dirty glass placed in the sink somehow seems to reproduce itself with an army before you know it. As dishes are dirtied, immediately put them in the dishwasher to await the next time you run it. Quickly wipe the water drops off the sink and faucet. Once I considered such things unnecessary time wasters to the point of being almost crazy. Now they help conserve my sanity just by giving me visual calm in that area of the kitchen (my neatnik husband is responsible for this new development in me). If I see a clean, calm area, it boosts my mental energy to tackle a not-so-tidy area.

Get in the habit:

When you wake up in the morning, make your bed immediately.

I recently read an article showing how much more productive people feel when their bed is made first thing (I am not very familiar with the author or the website so I’m not endorsing either, but it’s definitely an interesting article). It also gives you a neat corner of the house to see and encourage you that you’ve already accomplished something small that adds to the overall tidy feel of your house and motivate you to go ahead and cross another task off your list.

If you’re a mom, teach your kids this habit too and require them to make their beds first thing in the morning. Try to keep stuffed animals and dolls on the bed to a minimum and find a better (maybe out of sight) place for them instead. Abundance of these cuddly critters can complicate the process of teaching a little one to make their own bed, and finding a different place for them to belong can help teach “a place for everything and everything in its place.”

Getting into a morning routine is so helpful in maximizing your day. As seasons change, you’ll need to re-evaluate it and change it accordingly and it’s sometimes hard to transition into a new one, but keep at it till you find the morning routine that works for you. Chronic illness, the birth of a new baby, moving, new jobs and other significant changes dictate flexibility. We are in a “re-evaluating” season now as we are nearing the end of our home school year and making a plan for the summer, and I’m reminded as I’m considering the factors I need to account in creating our new plan just how crucial it is to:

Get to bed at a decent hour the night before in order to maximize your time and productivity the next morning.

Nothing like getting sufficient rest to boost your energy level and mental concentration throughout the next day!

What is your favorite tip for tackling clutter without taking tons of time? Are you working on developing new habits in this area? Have you learned any shortcuts or tips you can share with us?

 

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