Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Keeping our eyes on Jesus....

Turn on the news and it isn't pretty. Focusing on the economic situation of our country is a sure fire way to work up a case of anxiety and stress! YUCK!! That is NOT for me!!!
I am NOT saying I am going to stick my head in the sand and act like nothing is happening... no, the Bible tells us to be wise and to prepare. However, over and over, God commands us "DO NOT FEAR"!! God will take care of us!!! HE WILL!!! Keep your eyes on JESUS!!!! Have faith in HIM to meet all your needs!

We have been preparing for a while... we have been getting out of debt and building up an emergency fund. We have been watching the spending and focusing on being WISE with our resources. I am going to do a few more things this week to prepare us a little more in case there are shortages at the store. I am going to buy some more staples to put in the pantry... we wouldn't have the biggest variety after a few weeks, but my plan is to have enough for us to live on for at least 2 months without having to go to the store. There are some additional things that we should do here at the "homestead" to prepare us for ever living "off grid" (that would NOT be fun, but we could do it). I do not want to go over board, but I do believe that having an emergency plan to feed my family, heat our home, pump water and do laundry is not being crazy. Are you doing anything different to plan for "emergency procedures" around your home?? Do you know of anything in particular that I should be doing??

I'm not sure what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future!!! God is with us!! Do NOT fear!!!


Monday, September 29, 2008

Five things we do to get ready for winter

"Fall" is officially here, and although we have been enjoying the warmer than usual weather, I know that the snow will be flying soon. We have some "winter preparation" to do around here to get ready. We have started working on these things and need to keep focused.

5 things to get ready for winter:

1) Cut, split, haul and stack 10 + loads of firewood for our wood stove. (We heat 90% of the time with wood. It saves us a BUNDLE.) We try to work ahead a year.. to give the wood time to dry out. This weekend we cut, split, hauled and stacked 4 LARGE truck loads! We had great weather, the kids had fun and helped and it is a wonderful work-out!!!

2) Clean up the garden and flower beds and get them ready for next spring.

3) "Tighten up the Barn" Close up the windows, re-install the side door, close up the back opening, etc.... It really makes a difference on the draft level out there...

4) Put away all the hoses.... go back to using just the hydrant, put away the summer toys, clean out the sand box, etc... get the yard ready.

5) Buy ice salt, make sure that the snow shovels are ready, and start praying for a winter without much snow!! (OK, I think I am in trouble here because my kids pray for a TON of snow!)

What about you? What kinds of things do you do to get ready for winter??


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recipes: Money and Pumking Pie Bars....

If you have watched the news lately you are well aware that we are living in uncertain financial times. Truthfully, when haven't we? Fear is the enemy's favorite way to get us all worked up and get our eyes off of our TRUE provider, JESUS! The enemy's favorite places to stir up fear are in our health, our finances, and in our relationships. If he can cause us to succumb to fear and focus on worries and stress (or lack or sickness) he has had victory in our life! YUCK!
Recipe to PEACE is staying focused on JESUS!

I have recently been challenged in my own personal walk with Christ to focus on FAITH. Whatever circumstance or trouble I face in this world can be handled by JESUS. Where does my help come from? The maker of heaven and earth. Do I have complete FAITH in JESUS? I remind my self (renewing my mind) that in all things "I have faith in the Lord JESUS Christ"!! He will NEVER let me down! He will NEVER forsake me!! He will ALWAYS take care of me!!

Recipe for peace:
Matthew 6:25 commands us "Do NOT worry"!! (Not dwelling on challenges, focusing on the SOURCE of our provision, not looking to the world). Philippians 4 commands us to rejoice, pray and rest in HIS peace! (REST and experience peace that can only come from GOD) We now have the opportunity to share with others how we can be so calm and sure in these challenging times! We hold the secret: With GOD all things are possible!!!

Now that we aren't focusing on fearful things we have time to COOK! Yeah!
I made these this week for the first time and they were GONE in a flash! They taste just like pumpkin pie (a personal favorite of mine), but are bars you can pick up and eat! YUMMY I found this recipe on a blog... when I remember where I will give you the link. I did make some changes... my specialty... just because I can't follow anything exactly! LOL!! I am posting it as I made it.

Pumpkin Pie Bars
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
(I'm sure you could just use 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)

Pre-heat oven to 350
Grease a 12x8 pan OR a pie pan (I used the pie pan because I don't have a 12x8 pan)
Ina mixing bowl, beat eggs. Stir in sugar, oil and pumpkin mix well. Stir in flour and spices. Bake for 20-25 minutes (until set in the middle)
Cool (or eat warm like we did). They will hold their shape very well and are easy to eat! We ate them with cool whip on top! YUMMY!!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Simply Life: 5 ways I use my timer

What are you cooking??
Well, true I could be cooking something (I am often doing this), but I actually use my timer more for other things!

5 Ways that my timer helps keep life simple:
  1. Borrowing from Flylady, I can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes!!! When I feel overwhelmed by a mess or task I don't enjoy I set the timer for 15 minutes and work my heart out and then STOP! I love to see the progress that can be made in a simple 15 minutes. I am often able to finish the task!
  2. Fussing over a toy is stopped when the timer is set for 5 minute turn takings. My little ones automatically ask me to set the timer when they both want to play with a toy at the same time. They know that their own turn will come! Less fighting!!! Teaches concept of time.
  3. Keeps me on track. When I have to leave the house I will start setting the timer to keep me on time. For example, I will set the timer to ring when the kids need to get their shoes on and head for the car. My older ones use the timer to signal "time to watch for the school bus".
  4. I use the timer to help me practice hospitality. Every week there is a group of like minded ladies that meet at my house for a "mom's group" Bible study. I set the timer to ring 15 minutes before the arrival time. When the timer goes off I know that I have 15 minutes to finish anything and I start the coffee pot for fresh coffee. My little ones will often be anxious for their friends to arrive and they will ask me to set the timer for when their friends will be here (It keeps me from the "mom, are they almost here?").
  5. I set the timer when I start the washing machine. I can't hear when the laundry is done, so the timer keeps me from forgetting the clean clothes in the washer. This helps me get more loads of laundry done in a day.
How do you use your timer to keep life simple??? Without my timer I would be lost! My kids just automatically ask "What does that mean?" when they hear the timer in our house. I am much to scattered to live without my timer. Now, I NEED to implement the timer when I am on the computer... time has a way of slipping by!


Monday, September 22, 2008

This afternoon I was working in the kitchen while the little ones slept away and the older two were still at school. I had a lot of "rescuing" to do in the kitchen after a busy weekend. I was washing the dishes looking out my back door... I just stood there taking it all in. Savoring the moment of quiet, listening to the birds, the rooster, the dog and the silence of living way out here. I just thanked God for the moment of peace and felt my heart swell with gratitude for the wonderful simpleness of my life.

There was a gentle breeze making the swing sway to and fro, the flowers by the fence (the picture taken on the left was from the spring and now there are tall Zinnias growing along the fence) were dancing in the wind and the freshness of the air was kissing my face. The shade trees made a patchwork of sun on the grass. I could almost feel the warmth of it.

Peace. Arms in the dishwater. Peace. Taking moments to "smell the roses" (or dish soap in my case) really put things into perspective for me. It is easy to get caught up in everything that needs done that I miss out in the beauty and simplicity that surrounds me.

I thank you, Lord, for the beauty you give us in our everyday life. Thank you for creating color, flowers, birds to sing, dogs to bark and wind to kiss our face! Thank you for a family to make dirty dishes, for a family to cook supper for. Thank you for a husband that works so hard and gives me the opportunity to stay at home and focus on our family. Thank you for the simpleness of our life, for the moments of peace. Please help me to share in these moments more often!