Monday, April 30, 2012

Marriage Monday: Regarding Our Husbands {Link Up}





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For the last few weeks, we have been considering the greatest need of our husbands -- which is to be respected and admired.  We are learning from Ephesians 5:33:


"However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]."

I really like the way the Amplified version gives us a clearer picture of what it looks like to respect our husbands.  Over the next few weeks, I plan to define and consider each of these words, one at a time.  Last time, we focused on the word "notice."  This week, we are moving on to the word "regard."

To regard means:
 1. to have or show respect or concern for
 2. to think highly of; esteem.

So, our goal for this week is to learn how to regard our husbands.  That means we should treat our husbands with kindness and respect, show concern for them, and think highly of them. We should also esteem them as more important than ourselves.

Whoa!  I bet some of you bristled at that last statement!  I am not talking about esteeming them as better than ourselves because they are men and we are women.  God created men and women with equal value, even though He assigned them different roles! Actually, all Christians are commanded to esteem others as better than themselves!  A marriage is the perfect place for living out Christian principles of laying down our lives for one another!

Have kindly affection one for another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.  -- Romans 12:10
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself. - Phillipians 2:4
    
So, what are some practical ways that we can regard our husbands?

First of all, we can treat our husbands kindly and with respect even if we disagree with them or think they are being ridiculous about something.

We can speak to our husbands kindly and in a respectful tone of voice, rather than snapping, yelling, belittling or speaking sarcastically. 

We can "care over them" when they are sick, showing concern for their ailments (real or imagined!)  ;)

We can esteem their sleep as more important than our own, when we have a fussy baby or a child wakes up sick in the night.

We can focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses.


These are some of my thoughts.  What do you think?  How can we show regard to our husbands?  Please share your ideas.  Also, I'd love for you to link up your blog post on marriage here!  Please copy and paste my blog button (or a link to my blog) in your post!  Thanks for joining up!








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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is Your House being Remodeled??





"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right, and stopping the leaks in the roof, and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably, and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to?


The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of -- throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Shameless Bragging!



So Excited and Proud of Joe, who is now the State Champ in the 800 meter event!  He runs again today in the 400 meter race!  


He just started running Track for the first time this spring -- but that long stride must give him the winning edge!  :)


Way to go, Joe!!!  :)







Make Me a Blessing: Writing Notes of Encouragement {Revisited}

Do you remember my recent post on blessing others by Writing Notes of Encouragement?  

Not long after publishing that post, I discovered an interesting column in our local newspaper, entitled, "A Few Thoughtful Notes Will Help Keep the Mail Comin'."  This piece was written by Rhonda Rich, syndicated columnist and expert on all things Southern.




She is a great storyteller and I always enjoy reading her columns! The point of this article was to encourage her readers to help keep the postal system alive and delivering mail six days a week by writing and mailing more letters.  She offered wise words of advice based on her personal experience:

"We need to mail more letters such as handwritten, thoughtful notes that cheer a person's day or remind them how much they mean to us."  
"Now, trust me on this:  Not one of your children or grandchildren is going to print out a typewritten email and lovingly save it for years.  Or put it in a fireproof box.  When they move on to another computer or laptop, your emails will most likely be lost.  That means that you need to sit down now -- don't delay -- and write a letter of love and admiration for each of your children and grandchildren." 
"Send a card to encourage someone."  
"If you're looking for an edge in courtship, try a love letter.  It's cheaper than a dozen roses and lasts a lot longer."  
"The point here is this:  We can bring love, family history, gratitude and cheer to others and, at the same time, save the postal service.  Let's get busy writing."

I thought her column dovetailed nicely with my recent Make Me a Blessing post on the value of writing notes of encouragement.

Then, to make it even sweeter, I learned that SendOutCards is the largest consumer of first-class postage in America!  Now, isn't that an interesting coincidence!!  ;)  In fact, SendOutCards was awarded the Mail Innovation Award by the United States Post Office on April 2, 2012 for "demonstrating creativity in the use of the mail to drive significant business results and mail growth."  You can read all about it here!  It was amazing to read about this award --

This award comes after SendOutCards spent over four years working with its customer base, its distributor base and the United States Postal Service to create a new first-class postage piece called picture postage. As the largest consumer of first-class postage in the United States, SendOutCards was chosen by the postal service as the first to ever use this innovative postage.



Now, isn't that cool?!?  So, you have the perfect opportunity to encourage or bless someone in your life, help out the struggling US postal system, and support the #1 consumer of US first-class postage by sending cards via SendOutCards!  (Have you signed up to send your free card yet??  Remember that everyone who creates a free account before next Thursday is entered in a drawing to receive a free package of gourmet brownies!)




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Friday, April 27, 2012

TGIF! {Link Up}






TGIF






Welcome to my new link up -- Thank God It's {Family Fun}  Friday !!

I want to encourage you to create memories, build family traditions, and have fun with your family!  Because children grow up faster than you think possible . . . 

Many families look forward to having a Family Fun Night on Fridays.  Is this something your family does?  Tell us about it!  What are your favorite Friday night activities?  Do you plan special activities on weekends?  What do you do for Fun with your family??  How do you create memories?  Please share any of the above by leaving a comment or linking up your blog!










Making Memories While Sick



While some families ban the sick child to his/her room to suffer alone, we generally allow the sick child to bring his/her pillow and blankets and rest on the couch in the family room.  This allows the sick child to still feel a part of the family, and makes it easier on those who are ministering to him/her.  (We have tried forcing the sick child to stay in his/her room to prevent the spread of illness, and have not had any better outcomes.  Maybe it's because we've always had between two and six children in any given bedroom, so the germs get around anyway!)   

So, this has been one of those weeks where we transform the family room into a hospital ward with sick children laying on the couches.  (The best investment we ever made was to purchase leather family room furniture!  Spills and accidents can be cleaned up without leaving stains and it is easy to disinfect!)

With sick and recovering children laying all over the family room, we have been going through our video collection!  It is sort of cozy to lay around the family room with the blinds drawn and movies playing.  Last night, we watched one of our family favorites that we haven't seen in awhile -- Newsies.



Today, I might finish reading the book that we've been reading aloud -- Through My Eyes.


Even when illness strikes, we can create cozy family times and memories of being loved and cared for.


Your Turn to Share
Link up to my blog and join the fun!  :)  You can link up any past or present blog post that shares ways to create memories, build family traditions, or have fun as a family!  Just be sure to link back to my blog or add my blog button to your post! 


TGIF














Thursday, April 26, 2012

Joe's Senior Prom


Here are the pictures I promised from Joe's Senior Prom.  Unfortunately, I wasn't home Saturday evening to share in the excitement or to take lots of fun pictures, but Abby's Mom did an excellent job!  I can't wait to share these amazing photos with you!  In fact, it was hard to narrow it down to just my favorite dozen!  ;)


Joe told the florist exactly what he wanted for Abby's wrist-corsage, and we were all pretty impressed!  He did a great job designing it, didn't he?



They had a beautiful photo session out on the golf course behind our house overlooking the marsh!


Don't they look perfectly color-coordinated??



A typical crazy Joe face!  :)


I know I'm a little bit prejudiced -- but don't they look absolutely amazing??  :)



Unbelievably, this is their third prom together -- they attended Abby's senior prom back in Albany, Joe's junior-senior prom, and now his senior prom!

Joe can pull off the serious look too!



One of my favorite poses!  I love the way Abby's dress is blowing in the breeze!







OK -- I LOVE this picture!  Handsome young man plus beautiful young lady plus picturesque location equals one Stunning photo!  :)  Don't you agree??





Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Whirlwind Weekend

Crowns for Prom Queen and King




What do Joe's senior prom, having Abby and her Mom here for the weekend, serving the food for a wedding reception, inviting guests to go to church and join us for Sunday dinner, a whirlwind visit from my daughter - Ashlyn and her best friend - Bethany Cook, and hosting a lingerie shower for Kristi at our house all have in common??


The answer -- we squeezed every one of those activities into this past weekend!  And then topped it all off with a stomach virus!!


Yes, it was one busy, crazy, fun, exhausting weekend!  


When the last guest left about 9:30 pm Sunday night, all I wanted to do was go to bed -- but I started cleaning up the kitchen and washing a huge pile of dishes.  However, even before the last dish was washed, Matt started crying with his little belly hurting.  He said it felt like Tay was sitting on his tummy!  :)  Poor guy!  Within the hour, he was emptying the contents of his tummy . . . and then about the time I got him cleaned up and settled in on the couch, Hannah joined the "fun!"  It ended up being a long night for the three of us -- and Joe, who was up all night writing a paper!  I dozed off every now and then on the couch, but basically rotated between Matt and Hannah throughout the night.  


Finally, about 3:30 am, I crashed!  I just couldn't seem to hold my eyes open any longer. At one point, I heard Hannah getting sick, but couldn't seem to pull myself out of sleep to go check on her.  Then, I heard Joe say, "Don't worry Mom.  I've got it."  He proceeded to attend to Hannah and even rinsed out her container. Isn't that sweet?  Now, how many 18 year old boys do you know that would do that??  I am so blessed!!


Since then, the sick ones have been camped out on the couches in the family room, while the well ones try to position themselves upstairs, as far away from the germs as possible!  ;)  They just come downstairs for the essentials of life -- like to eat, or to take Vitamin D3 and Tummy Tune Up, or to check their Facebooks!  ;)




Stay tuned for pictures from the weekend.  I will post some pictures of the prom and the shower when I receive some from those who took pictures.  I'm trying to wait patiently!

Marriage Monday and Tummy Toning Tuesday  will return next week, Lord willing and the creek don't rise!  ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012

TGIF!! {Link Up!}



TGIF



Welcome to my new link up -- Thank God It's {Family Fun}  Friday !!

I want to encourage you to create memories, build family traditions, and have fun with your family!  Because children grow up faster than you think possible . . . 

Many families look forward to having a Family Fun Night on Fridays.  Is this something your family does?  Tell us about it!  What are your favorite Friday night activities?  Do you plan special activities on weekends?  What do you do for Fun with your family??  How do you create memories?  Please share any of the above by leaving a comment or linking up your blog!


A Recent Family Fun Day --

One spectacular Saturday morning in March, Alan and I were headed out to run a long list of errands and had a sudden inspiration -- we had been wanting to drive down to St. Augustine and walk around the town.  Realizing this was Amber's last weekend with us, we quickly changed our plans for the day -- demonstrating that we were still Youthful, Impulsive, and Flexible!  :)  We turned around and went back home, quickly gathered the family and headed for St. Augustine!  :)

Amber, Luke and Hannah in the "White Elephant" headed for our St. Augustine Adventure . . . 



Checking out the Visitor's Center . . . 







Exploring the old fort there -- Castillo de San Marcos.




It was Very Windy!




Possible sleeping arrangement for a large family!  ;)









The St. Augustine Adventure provided a good opportunity for another favorite family pastime -- taking crazy pictures!  Like these, for example . . .














Don't you love Amber's "mustache??"  :)



It was an Epicly Fun Day!  :)


Link up to my blog and join the fun!  :)  You can link up any past or present blog post that shares ways to create memories, build family traditions, or have fun as a family!  Just be sure to link back to my blog or add my blog button to your post!



TGIF


















Thursday, April 19, 2012

Make Me a Blessing: Writing Notes of Encouragement

"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one for another. Love each other as brethren, be sympathetic, be courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing, knowing that ye are called thereto, that ye might inherit a blessing." ~ 1 Peter 3:8-9




One simple way I've found to be a blessing to others is by writing notes of encouragement.  


This has been a perfect ministry for me, because I enjoy writing, I'm motivated to encourage others, and I've been able to reach out without leaving my home and taking time away from my family.  (This was especially important during the years I had babies and toddlers!)  Therefore, through the years I've written and sent many, many cards of encouragement to overwhelmed mothers, lonely widows, discouraged pastors, those who were injured or sick, and others that the Lord laid on my heart.  






Recently, I sent a note of encouragement to a lady I've never met.  A friend told me that her mother was really struggling after the death of her sister, so I offered to write her a note of encouragement.  I didn't really know what to say, but I asked the Lord to guide my words and to give me a passage of scripture that might encourage her heart.


I did not hear back from this lady, and have no idea whether my note ministered to her or not.  However, many times I've learned that my handwritten notes were sources of joy, inspiration and encouragement to their recipients.  I also know that I have a basket full of cards which I've received through the years from friends that took the time to encourage and bless me!  So, I write in faith, trusting God to use these notes to bless those who receive them.


However, I must confess that there have been many times that God brought someone to mind, and I thought to myself, "Oh, I should send them a note of encouragement."  And yet, I never followed up on it.  I failed to obey that prompting.  I missed an opportunity to be a blessing.  :(


Recently, I learned of a new, super easy way to act on those promptings to encourage someone with a greeting card.  Send Out Cards is a unique business that allows you to select a card online, custom design it, type in the address, and have it sent to the person you want to bless for under a dollar a card!!!  That's right -- you select and personalize the card, and Send Out Cards does the rest -- for less than you would pay to buy a card at the store!  


It sounds too good to be true, but I was given an opportunity to select and send out a sample card, and I found that it was easy and fun to do and the card was high quality and appreciated by the recipient (my husband!).


Now, my friend and Send Out Card Distributor, Teresa Baine, is giving you the opportunity to try this out for yourself!  Just click on Send Out Cards and then click on Send a Free Card.  If you need a little help, you can choose a helpful walkthrough, by founder and CEO of Send Out Cards, Kody Bateman.  That is what I did.  It didn't take long and it made the process very simple.  You might also want to watch the short video on the home page that explains how to send a card.  


I encourage you to go to Send Out Cards now and send your FREE card!  


If you send a card within the next two weeks and set up an account with your correct contact information, you will be entered into a drawing to win a FREE box of gourmet brownies which will be delivered directly to your door!!  These are delicious and will help with your chocolate cravings (but not with your weight loss goals!)!   ;)  


I'm excited about Send Out Cards, because it provides a quick, cost-effective, convenient way for busy moms to have a ministry of encouragement!  Think about it -- you don't have to make a special trip to the store to buy a card!  You don't have to endure "windmill torture" when trying to pick out a card at the store with a buggy full of little ones who are grabbing the cards faster than you can put them back!  ;)  You don't have to drive to the post office and stand in line to buy stamps.  You don't have to wonder if the price of postage has gone up again since the last time you bought stamps and whether or not your stamps are still adequate.  Send Out Cards solves all of those problems!  You can select and customize a card from the comfort of your own home while your children are constructively occupied, and Send Out Cards prints out your card, applies postage and mails it for you -- all for less than you would normally pay for the card!  Give it a try today!  :)








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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What's Cooking? {Baked Buttermilk Chicken}

If you're like me, you're always on the look out for new ideas for relatively simple, inexpensive, nutritious, and delicious family dinners.  Chicken is an obvious choice, as it fits into all four categories, and is usually enjoyed by children and adults alike.  Here is a winning recipe for some satisfying Southern chicken that will have you smacking your lips!  ;)








Baked Buttermilk Chicken


4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups buttermilk (full fat)
1/2 cup flour (whole wheat or white)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup butter
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup (or healthier homemade version, such as this one.)




Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the butter in a 9"x13" baking dish and let melt while oven preheats.


Put 1 cup of buttermilk in a small bowl.  Mix the flour, salt and pepper in another small bowl. Dip the chicken breasts in the buttermilk; then roll chicken in flour mixture.


Place the chicken pieces in the baking dish on top of the melted butter.  Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.


While chicken is baking, mix together 1 cup of buttermilk and cream of mushroom soup. Set aside.


Turn the chicken over and bake for 15 minutes.  Then, pour buttermilk and soup over chicken and bake for 15 minutes more.


Remove chicken from pan and place on a serving platter.  Either pour gravy over top or serve in a gravy boat to pour over individual pieces of chicken.


Serve with white rice or mashed potatoes and vegetables of your choice.


Note:  I double this for my family.




Recipe adapted from Mrs. Wilkes Boardinghouse Cookbook -- a classic book revealing the secret recipes that made Mrs. Wilkes' Boardinghouse a famous and extremely popular eating establishment in Savannah, GA since its beginning in 1943.  Just add a dollop of southern hospitality, if you hope to re-create these mouth-watering recipes!  ;)




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