Wednesday, September 30

my thoughts. . .

I am obviously very excited about the book Barb chose for this year since it is about my theme. Before I share my thoughts on the first chapter, I thought I would share an experience I had this week that shows how I am trying to be aware of my theme on a daily basis.

Last week I had my regular yearly physical and the doctor discovered a lump on one of my breasts. She was not overly alarmed but referred me to a specialist to have it looked at and have a ultrasound. Truth be told I was not very worried since my mom has very cystic breasts and has had to have these exams for many years. I just figured I am to the age where they start looking more closely at these things. I was really fine up until when the specialist looked at the lump and said she wasn’t overly alarmed but would feel better if I had an ultrasound AND a mammogram. Okay, now I was worried. A mammogram at 37-it must be something bad. My doctor had only thought I would need an ultrasound, why was this doctor requesting a mammogram? As my mind went right to the worst possible scenario my first thought was if I am given x amount of days to live, how would I live those days? What, if anything, would I do differently from this moment forward? While the obvious would change-I would not clean my bathrooms again and I wouldn’t care how many bags of peanut butter M&Ms I’d consume, I thought to myself, I wouldn’t change much. I would more than likely have a better attitude toward my family and a lot more patience in my parenting, but I would continue being present and intentional as my role as a wife and mother. While I never want to give the impression that I have arrived and have no room for improvement (just ask my family and they’ll tell you I have a lot to learn) I do want others to know that I am a person who thinks about the choices I make on a daily basis and I own up to those choices. I don't ever want to make excuses for them. As I lay on that table, I felt a peace. A peace knowing that at this moment I was were God wanted me to be. He was helping me make the choices that lead me to be at peace. If I was given a short amount of time to live, I would spend that time with my family, doing the things I am doing right now. I believe that is what living an intentional life truly means. I am pleased to say that the Lord is not calling me home anytime soon (at least to my knowledge) and all the tests came back negative. It was a really good learning experience to help me once again focus on my theme to be intentional.

Again in no way am I saying that I have arrived. I have so much to learn when it comes to being the wife and mother God desires me to be, but I feel like I am on the right track. I do not have regrets. I want a life of no regrets. I want a life lived on purpose and life lived that if at any moment the Lord decides to call me home I can hold my head high and say, “Okay Lord, I’m ready. I have used the time you have given me on this earth to the best of my ability and as wisely as possible." I want to live a life with intention!

Announcing Our Newest Homemaker!!

Heidi had her baby!!

Audrey Lynn born September 29th. 8+ pounds, that's a big baby for little Heidi. More details to follow:)

Tuesday, September 29

Are You a People Pleaser?

You are either living your mission or you are living someone else's. Which shall it be? (Laurie Beth Jones, The Path)

Benefit #3, in living an Intentional Life, is to Concentrate on God's Idea for ME, not someone else's.

This perhaps was the biggest reason I began my search to be intentional years ago. Pleasing others and comparing myself to others was a constant struggle. Not until I began taking responsibility for my choices and behavior did I start to break free from this battle.

My self confidence increased as I made decisions I was ready to be responsible for.

The key reason for living intentionally is to glorify God by being the person He created me to be. By celebrating my uniqueness, I could let go of trying to conform to other people's standard and continually try to please them in areas where I wasn't gifted.

I thought that I would 'grow into' being intentional. That years of living would teach me how to live. It didn't. I had to embrace living intentionally and start doing just that.

Even as I write, I know there are areas in my life that need pruning and improvement. I still need to focus on being intentional, it never becomes second nature because life keeps changing. New people. New demands. New choices. New responsibilities.

This year in Homemakers we are focusing on The Intentional Woman. We'll share now and then what we are learning.

Join in, it may be your first step as an Intentional Woman.

Monday, September 28

Living Intentionally

Joan Webb, co-author of the book, The Intentional Woman, defines intentional living:

"If I live intentionally, being true to my own personality, serving out of my God-given giftedness and calling, I no longer feel a need to envy anyone else's career, marriage, ministry, talents, or mission."

Who wouldn't want to become an intentional woman when it is defined in such a way! What freedom comes from being an intentional woman.

Carol Travilla, the other author of this book spoke at a woman's conference at our church when my kids were little. I still remember the impact she had on me with the questions she asked. When I discovered she had written this book, I was excited to share it with Homemakers.

Living Intentionally means I am proactive in my habits and responses. I respond rather than react to life's circumstances because I have a clear focus on where I am going.

Four Benefits come from Living Intentionally:
1. Develop confidence and self-respect
2. Gain focus and direction
3. Concentrate on God's idea for me, not someone else's
4. Avoid burnout

It doesn't take long to see these benefits appear in my life when I am living intentionally. It is a discipline that I need to be aware of daily, however.

What benefit of intentional living interests me right now? I would say number 4.

Avoid burnout.

My life is full and I enjoy it all but to truly benefit from all that I have going on in my life right now, I need to be intentional in what I choose to do and what I let go. It has only increased my enjoyment of what I find myself doing.

Which benefit of Intentional Living interest you right now?

Friday, September 25

Daily Bread

My theme for the year is Daily Bread. How I have approached my theme has looked different in every season of this year. Early on in the year i met with the Lord and poured out my heart to Him when I found out I was expecting. This past summer I petitioned the Lord when I was tired and having a hard time keeping up with my son.

As I type today (with my left hand while holding my new, sweet baby girl with my right), and have two kids under one, Daily Bread has taken on a new meaning for me.

I need to meditate on Scripture and recall words of truth but HOW I do that varies each day. Some days it means sitting in the tub praying to the Lord and reading a devotional book. Other days it is praying as I feed, change and play with my little ones. Sometimes it means reciting the Scripture I have memorized. I'm trying to seek God in the quiet moments and cry out to Him in the 'not so quiet.'

I had no idea my theme would look so different in every season of the year - and every season of my life this year. But I am so thankful that God is faithful to meet me whenever and wherever.

Thursday, September 24


My theme this year is hope and I find myself asking what I put my hope in. The security of my husband’s job, the health of those that I love, the appropriate development of my daughter? I am guilty of relying or hoping in all of these circumstances far more heavily than on the hope that the Bible talks about. All of these circumstances are good things BUT, when I am rooted solely on the security of these things I am setting myself up for extreme disappointment and discouragement when something goes wrong.

The Bible talks about putting my hope in the Lord for He does not disappoint. He is the firm foundation that does not shake when circumstances are not what I would like. This kind of hope is not merely crossing my fingers and hoping things turn out all right. This is a firmly rooted belief that God is in control and the only place worthy of all of my hope. This is the the kind of hope I want in my life.

Wednesday, September 23

Betsy's Theme

I began 2009 with a desire to be more intentional. That is my theme: be intentional. I know that I bit off more than I can chew with this particular theme (it is more like a life theme than a yearly theme), but it truly is one of my greatest desires. I am not sure where I heard it, but there is one quote I keep coming back to when I think of life choices: “the good is the enemy of the best!” I am a firm believer in this quote. I think one of Satan’s best deceptions is to keep all of us Christians doing good things so we are distracted from choosing/doing what is best. And I am no exception. I can get distracted with the best of them and more often than I would like to admit out loud. My hope was to be more intentional about my choices and how I use my time. I must admit this is a difficult process that I will only be able to scratch the surface of this year, but I feel like I’ve made a good start. I also believe I can only truly be intentional with God’s help. If left to my own I will turn on the TV and waste time doing this or that or I will be intentional for the wrong reasons.

Even though I agree that having a yearly theme to focus on is a good idea, I struggle with keeping my theme on the forefront of my mind. One day while out shopping I just happened upon a ring with the phrase “live with intention” etched in it. I have been wearing it on my finger ever since. I would actually love to do this every year. I feel like it is a constant reminder for me to be thinking about being intentional. I must admit at first it made me feel guilty about some things; should I really be spending my time running this errand or watching this TV program? I know that I could be doing better things. But slowly I am realizing that being intentional does not mean not being real. I think it is much better to say I am going to set aside this time on this night to watch this show than to just turn on the TV and flip through channels and waste twice as much time. It truly is what it says, be intentional. It has more to do with thinking through my decisions and choices instead of just letting life pass me by. I believe my life is made up of the choices I make and how I handle the choices of others. I have realized I have no control over others choices, but I do have control over mine. That is both a freeing feeling and an overwhelming one. My prayer as I finish out this year being focused on being intentional is that God will etch this on my heart so that my choices and ultimately my life will glorify Him. I am so glad that we have a gracious God and that He will walk with me through the choices I make and teach me how to be more intentional about them. I know that through His strength I can live a life with intention!

Tuesday, September 22

My Theme

I began 2009 with the intent to fill my mind with the Word of God. I was going to memorize Scripture. It seemed pretty straight forward...except I found I had to do alot of 'house-cleaning' before I could find a place to put God's Word in my mind.

I have spent the better part of the year 'bringing every thought into captivity' and clearing out baggage of self-talk, self-deception and lies.

Probably the most poignant thing I have learned about 'renewing my mind' this year goes way back to original sin.

A surprising element of Eve's interaction with the serpent is that he never urged her to DO anything. He simply asked her to THINK.

"Did God really say?"

Doubt was planted...and that was all it took for her to lose sight of who God was.

I wrestle with what comes first. Clearing out space for the Word of God in my mind or hiding God's Word in my heart when random thoughts and lies seem to distract me so easily?

I have found that God doesn't want me to 'hide His word in my heart' to be a better person. He doesn't want me to bring my thoughts into captivity so I can say I mastered my theme this year.

He wants me to renew my mind, whatever it takes, so it changes me. So I become more like Him.

Soren Kirkegaard said, "Our life always expresses the results of our dominant thoughts."

Everyday of 2009, I have had to evaluate my dominant thoughts. Everyday I have had to renew my mind. It's a process. It is supernatural.

Monday, September 21

2009 Theme

I have learned alot this year about myself because of my theme. I chose 'renewing my mind' as my theme in hopes of understanding what 'bringing every thought into captivity' means for everyday living.

I learned it is supernatural to be able to do this.

The average person speaks at approximately 200 words per minute but THINKS at more than 6 times that speed--1,300 words per minute. At this rate we produce approximately 45,000 thoughts per day according to an article written by David J Pollay.

45,000 thoughts per day...and the Bible says I am to bring EVERY thought into captivity (2 Cor 10:5)

I can't begin to RENEW my mind until I take stock in what I am thinking. This has been a real challenge for me this year.

Every year I think I will get a handle on my theme by the end of the year, only to find out I have just scratched the surface of the theme, but I have learned not to get discouraged. At least it has awaken me to new thoughts and insights each year.

Did you pick a theme for this year? Has it made a difference in your life?

Are you recording what you are learning?

Are you accountable to someone? Is your 'theme' measureable?

Finish out the year with a focus on what you want to learn about God and about will help you define 2009.

Sunday, September 20


Here's a Special Weekend Posting!

My husband and I watched a great DVD last night. It's not often we both think a movie is noteworthy.

Gifted Hands is the name of the movie. It is based on the life of Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon. I read his biography awhile back and this movie really captures alot of what he had to overcome in his life to become who he wanted to be.

Pay attention to the strong women in his life.

Let me know what you think when you watch it.

Friday, September 18

Home Improvement

This week we welcomed Stacy's new homemaker, Lauren Ruby as well as two contributing Homemakers, Betsy and Heidi! It was a random week on the blog but a good kick-off to our new season.

As we get into all different topics in the weeks to come, spend this weekend re-evaluating your kitchen. When I considered 'my favorite gadget' to share at Homemakers, I found several broken and unused utensils that I threw out. That made my search even more productive.

Clean a kitchen drawer this week.

Weed out your utensil crock.

Give away unused placemats, napkins or other items that have taken up space in a kitchen drawer.

Clean out your refrigerator.

Pack up your picnic tableware:(

If you still have energy, climb up and see what you are storing in those cupboards that are too high to reach.

While you are at it, figure out what your favorite kitchen tool is and share it with us!

Happy Homemaking

Thursday, September 17

Our Favorite Kitchen Gadgets


I must admit I have a few favorite kitchen gadgets: my magic bullet, automatic ice maker, fridge smart containers, Kitchen Aid mixer. . .but the more I thought about the gadget I could not live without it would definitely have to be my kitchen scissors. As a mom of young kids my scissors are used numerous times a day for various reasons. I just used it to cut the crusts off toast for their breakfast. It can be used to cut sandwiches in half, french toast into strips for easy dunking; I even bring it with me to a local pizza place that has the best pizza with a tougher crust to cut. It is no match for the scissors. If truth be told I have 5 kitchen scissors so that if one is in the dishwasher I always have one available. I guess that should have tipped me off to my favorite-who has 5 of anything in their kitchen?

Our Favorite Kitchen Gadgets


My favorite kitchen gadget right now is without a doubt my knock off Magic Bullet from Target. Thanks to Betsy my world is now brighter. She introduced me to this brilliant invention on a scrap booking weekend in August. Every morning I am able to whip up a delicious strawberry-banana smoothie with as little effort as possible. All of the parts are dishwasher safe, which saves me the time of cleaning up. Honestly what could be better? It is good for my body and for my taste buds.

Wednesday, September 16

What's Your Favorite Kitchen Gadget?

My favorite kitchen gadget is Tupperware's Fridge Smarts. They come in different sizes and they keep fruits and vegetables FRESH forever!

Clean strawberries and slice them up and the berries are great on your breakfast cereal for over a week!

Lettuce stays crisp indefinitely.

Other berries don't get squishy.

Peppers don't get slimy. Cauliflower and broccoli will be good to use even a week later!

The tupperware has 2 holes that regulate the air that escapes from the container and that must be the secret. I don't know how it works, I just know I buy and clean alot more fruits and vegetables for my family since I discovered these keepers!

So what is your favorite kitchen gadget?

Tuesday, September 15

Introducing another homemaker

Betsy has been in our Homemakers with Hope group since the very beginning. She will be contributing to the blog on Wednesdays.

About Betsy:

I guess it is my turn to introduce myself. My name is Betsy and I absolutely love being a wife, mother and homemaker. My heart’s desire is to be the kind woman that God wants me to be. I have been married for 14 years to my very best friend, Jeff. I feel so blessed to be married to a man who truly makes me a better person. We have been blessed with two beautiful young girls, Abigail, age 8, and Maddie, age 3. Yes, there are 5 years between them by choice - as you get to know me you will realize that I am a very organized and planned person. As one of my friends stated after having my second daughter, “You were able to maintain order in your home while the rest of us had to let that go.” I think that sums it up pretty well. Besides organizing I also enjoy scrapbooking, entertaining, and going to the movies with Jeff.

One other thing that you should probably know is that I am not a fan of writing. I have no trouble talking and sharing my opinion; I am just not a writer. By the time you read this it will have been re-written 10 times and proofed by my husband at least 12 times. I am self-conscience about my writing so this will be a challenge for me, but I am confident that it will help me focus my thoughts and share my passions which is always a good thing.

I have been a Christian since a very young age, and my greatest desire is to have my everyday life reflect my relationship with Jesus Christ. I want to be a Christian who makes God look good - which is not always easy being an imperfect person. All I know is that a life without Jesus is something I cannot fathom. I look forward to seeing how God uses this to draw me closer to Him and His plan for my life. I hope that it will encourage and challenge you in your walk with Jesus as a wife, mother, homemaker. . .woman after God’s own heart. Thanks for joining me in this journey. . .happy homemaking!

Monday, September 14

Our Brand-New Homemaker...

Lauren Ruby May was born early Sunday morning 9/13/09!

She weighed 8#8oz and was 21 inches long

She has dark hair and blue eyes

Proud Parents: Stacy and Ryan!

Big Brother: Samuel

Stacy will post some pictures when she gets around to it. Thanks to all of you who prayed for Lauren's safe arrival and Stacy's endurance through labor. God is so good.

Friday, September 11

Home Improvement...Write It Down

So many women say they 'can't write', but actually all women write to some extent. Shopping lists, thank you cards, recording memories in albums or taking notes in church.

This year in Homemakers we are going to focus on our written words as well as our spoken words because I think it makes us think more succinctly when we put our thoughts on paper. If we measure our words when writing, we may measure our words when speaking.

A wise woman measures her words.

Wm Faulkner said, "I never know what I think about something until I read what I've written."

We discover ourselves in our writing.

This weekend for Home Improvement, discover alittle bit more about yourself.

As soon as you have an important thought, write it down. Even if it is on the back of a receipt, write it down. Later transfer that thought into a journal, your Bible or send it in a note. Share it on this blog or tell your husband.

You may find you don't have any thoughts that are worthy of writing down! No worries. If that is the case, spend a few minutes Sunday afternoon and send a thankyou note to someone. Just thank them for being in your life. It will be the start of expressing yourself in a very meaningful way and you will be blessing someone with your written words.

Thursday, September 10

Introducing Another Homemaker

Heidi has been in our Homemakers with Hope group for four years. She will be contributing to the blog on Thursdays.

About Heidi:

I must admit ... I never imagined myself contributing to any blog, let alone a blog on a topic I myself am still trying to figure out! That said, because of my desire (emphasis on desire!) to avoid spiritual complacency, to be a loving and encouraging wife, and to be a nurturing mother ... I am willing to try my hand at it! Here's my attempt at welcoming you into my life ... I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have a beautiful little girl - and in a matter of a couple of weeks, that little girl will have a sister! Our family is quickly growing, and with two babies under the age of 2 ... life will be busy in our home! In my spare time I enjoy scrap booking, shopping, and dates with my husband. I truly believe that walking with the Lord is my greatest blessing and above all else I want my girls to see the joy that comes from a relationship with Jesus.

Wednesday, September 9

New Season

As we wait for Sweet Baby May to be born, we are continuing on with Homemakers with Hope and it's new season!

A group of young moms meet monthly to talk and learn about the whole gamet of relationships, homemaking skills, personal growth and our walk with the Lord. This will be our 8th year.

Some faces have changed but the content has continued to build on itself and we are still growing together as we build our homes. (Proverbs 14:1)

Anyone who lives anywhere with anyone can benefit from this blog! It means you are a homemaker, needing to have the support of others as to how to keep it all together and more importantly, how to get along with others in your lives.

Stacy and I have shared in this blog some of what goes on at our meetings, but this year we are going to be even more intentional in sharing with you.

Two more 'Homemakers' are going to be posting their thoughts and insights on this blog. I hope this will prompt interaction from readers.

As we stated in the purpose of this blog, "We'll provide affirmation, encouragement, and from time to time something that challenges you to pursue excellence."

Let us know what you are learning as you build your home. We are all in this together and the more we can encourage each other to 'stay the course' even when things are hard, the better it will be for all homes and families in America.

Tuesday, September 8

No News Yet!

We are still waiting to meet Sweet Baby Girl May! No action over the long weekend so we will see what this week brings.

Please keep Ryan and Stacy in your prayers. The doctor says they will schedule Stacy for induction next Tuesday 9/15 if she doesn't go into labor on her own. Ryan and Stacy really want to avoid that if possible.

Keep checking...hopefully, it will be soon. Thanks for all your notes, prayers and support for this new little miracle.

Friday, September 4

Home Improvement...New Tradition

Stacy, I don't think you will be planting bulbs with Samuel this weekend as you wait for your labor pains to start. Here's an idea you already have in place, just continue it for many years to come:

I once read about a woman who had six children. They were all in school, ranging from first to sixth grade. She said if she had it to do over again, she would say to each child the moment he awoke, from the very first day;

"You're terrific, You're marvelous, You're fantastic!"

She would say that every day, a hundred times a day, for six years.

Then, she said, maybe that child would be ready for first grade!

What a great way to improve any home this weekend and prepare all those babies for their first day of school in years to come!

Happy Labor Day to all and especially to Stacy:)

Thursday, September 3

Hide and Seek

A great fall tradition to begin with little ones is to plant bulbs in the garden. Many bulbs are very hearty and makes this tradition almost fool-proof!

Buy a dozen bulbs, all the same or a mixture of daffodils, tulips or crocus'. Buy them now and wait until the weather becomes abit cooler. The nursery should be able to tell you when to plant them.

If your kids are old enough, take them out to the garden and dig up a small plat for them. If the kids are too young, try it yourself so you will be ready when they are!

Prepare the soil (these bulbs aren't too fussy!)

Plant the bulbs with the pointy side up.

Plant them in groups, rather than in a long line

Cover and wait for the long winter to begin. You will have a spring tradition just waiting for you!

Tuesday, September 1

fall traditions

Today is September 1st! Fall is just about here. In Minnesota the days are warm and sunny, the nights cool and crisp. A beautiful time of year!

Samuel isn't yet going to school, but in Minneapolis school starts today. I've been thinking about the day Samuel goes off to school....and hoping it's decades away!! Since school isn't yet a 'tradition' in our home, I am pondering what fall traditions we could implement in the next few years.

Decor around the home changes to fall colors. Little accents here and there remind me that the seasons are changing. My baking and cooking changes as I want to pull out my apple crisp, apple bars and soup recipes that have been tucked away for some time.

But I would love to create one or two fall traditions with kids that we could do as a family this month. Next month will be pumpkins, but for now, any ideas or suggestions on celebrating and acknowledging the change of seasons?

I'd love to hear what your family did growing up or what you do now to mark the passing of summer and welcoming fall with open arms! Please share!