Hearts at Home Living With Less Contest

Jan 28, 2010

I am excited to share a fun opportunity with you!

To celebrate the release of Hearts at Home’s newest book: Living With Less So Your Family Has More, by Jill and Mark Savage, the Hearts at Home blog is launching the Living with Less Contest.

Email Hearts at Home a story or money-saving tip that gives a peek into your daily experiences representing the humor, richness, or spiritual aspects of what it’s like to live with less. They will choose many entries to post on the Hearts at Home Blog during the month of February. On March 1st, they will post the top five submissions including the Grand Prize Winner. Each of these top five winners will receive a copy of the Savages’ new book Living With Less So That Your Family Can Have More and the Grand Prize winner will receive a goodie basket of mom treats from the Hearts at Home Gift Shoppe.

Better yet, blog readers will benefit as many of the money-saving entries will be posted on the Heart’s blog throughout the month of February!

For contest details go here!


Jan 27, 2010

I love worship.  I connect with God the best during song, both when I am singing and when I am listening.  My post a few days ago about "battling the dark side"  had me going back to listen to some of my favorite music.  Frequently when I can't sleep or my mind doesn't want to turn off for the day, I listen to some soft piano music.  Many of the songs are old hymns that I can sing along with in my head and worship while I am falling asleep.  (Did you know you can find inspirational CDs for $1 at Dollar Tree?) Sunday night when I was quietly listening it bothered me that I couldn't remember all the words to "What a Friend We Have in Jesus".  I got up and went downstairs to the piano bench to find an old hymnal we had purchased at a library sale.

I was so glad  I did, because the words were just what I needed to hear, so I thought I would share them:

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In his arms he'll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there.

Written in 1855 by Joseph Scriven, I found these words so encouraging and comforting.  It was a great reminder to me that I need to stop trying to carry the burdens alone.

I've decided to dedicate Wednesdays to worship.  There are so many songs that I just love, and the words often ring so true to my life and encourage me.  I hope you will find the same encouragement in the words as I share them.  I'll even try to place the music on the blog so you can worship right along with me!


General Mills

Jan 26, 2010

General Mills announced a commitment to further reduce sugar in cereals advertised to kids under 12 to single digit grams of sugar per serving. The company has already been reducing sugar in cereals while increasing key nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, and providing whole grain.  The good folks at BlogSpark and General Mills sent me some coupons to try their cereals.  I love how they have made bigger boxes for big families!!


Thirfty Artwork

Jan 25, 2010

I was doing some rearranging in our upstairs hallway.  It needed a change.  We don't have a working closet near the kids bathroom, so their towels are just in a big ol' basket in the hallway.  Tired of that arrangement.  I bought a $20 bookshelf at Target last week and put their towels and electronic toothbrushes on it. (old house--no closet, no outlets in the bathroom!)

So then I decided I wanted to change the decor above the bookshelf.  It had previously been very precious photos of my 3 girls, but from when they were toddlers!!  I looked around at Hobby Lobby for art, and as you know it is really pricey.  So I stole a few ideas and this is what I came up with to make myself.

I bought the wood pieces in the unfinished wood section for $2.99 and $.99 and painted them black with acrylic paint. No need to paint the whole thing since it will be covered with paper--save the paint!

I then rummage for paper I already had. I wanted the names of Jesus and was going to just make my own on Word, but found this cool paper in my stash! I  wanted the cream background a little darker so I grunged it up with Distress Inks. I just lightly rub the pad directly on the paper.

I had another sheet of paper that had the fish on it, so I cut out just one of them and applied diamond glaze to make it look like an embellishment.  I then popped it up on pop dots.

I also wanted the paper to be a little more 3D, so I cut out a scrap piece of cardboard(slightly smaller than the paper so it doesn't show)to place under the names of Jesus paper.  This is much less expensive than using the foam tape.  Then it was on to adhering the paper to the board  I used Mod Podge only on the back of the paper because I didn't want a glossy finish.

The cute little cross I found on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $3. And here is the finished large piece.

For the two smaller pieces, I followed the same procedure for place the paper on the board.  I added two really cute drawer pulls I bought at Menards.  They were the most expensive of the entire piece at about $3.50 each!  I think I spent about $14 total for all 3 pieces.

Yes the color of the wall is hideous and is on my "to-do" list for Spring Break!!

I have linked up today to the following blogs:

Making your home sing Mondays  The Girl Creative


Battlefield of my Mind

I feel bruised and broken. It has been going on for weeks…..a raging war within my head, a spiritual battle for my mind. A literal battle of choices between what is right and what I should be doing versus what I want to do.It sounds very familiar: “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”Galatians 5:17

I’ve been here before, so why did it take me so long to identify this battle? Why did I not feel the breath of Satan down my neck in an obvious assault? Why was I not seeing his subtle maneuvers? His movements are slow and deliberate. He blindsides quietly and precisely. He builds strongholds one brick at a time over many years, and we don’t notice.

This battle has been about motivation, about serving my family, about laziness, about sleep. Every morning Satan assaults my mind with reasons that I should go back to bed. They always sound legitimate and I can justify every single one of them. Then when I awake, and half the day is gone, the assault continues about my worthlessness and my laziness. I become paralyzed in inadequacy and self-doubt.I get very little done before my children are home from school. Then Satan insults again…house unkept, no laundry done, dirty dishes still on the counter.

And he wins………..I feel discouraged, worthless.

I have forgotten who I am:

A child of God    John 1:12
Friend of Jesus   John 15:15
Chosen   Ephesians 1:3-8
Free from condemnation    Romans 8:31-39
Born of God   1 John 5:18

I must take back what Satan has stolen from me. I must proclaim and live who I am in Christ. My light must shine. I must claim my victory through Christ’s victory.

I must remember who I am in Christ.


Longlasting Help for Haiti

Jan 21, 2010

The destruction and suffering in Haiti is beyond belief.  Truth be told, it is a country that has suffered in silence for centuries.  Haiti now has the world's attention, and I pray we as the human race will do right by them.

If you remember, my church had several people in Haiti when the earthquake hit.  We had 16 staff and church members who were in Pillatre(pronounced pea-yot) to celebrate 25 years of partnership with Haitian Christian Ministries.  (This is near the northern city of Cap Haitian)We have helped them build a medical clinic, a feeding center, a school, and now most recently a new church.

The first church that was built had become too small, so it is now used for the feeding center. In this photo, the church is to the left, and the feeding center is closest to the right.

The church is absolutely beautiful and brings people from miles and miles away each week for services.

There are about 750 children who attend school at Pillatre.  For only $25 per month, these children are sponsored and receive one hot meal a day, a vitamin each day, a school uniform, medical attention if needed, and their school supplies.  This is the future of Haiti!  The church is the only hope for Haiti!  Their government will not change this country, it will be us, the christian community, that will change Haiti through the grace of God.

Our pastors are passionate about Haiti.  Our Senior Pastor, Mike Baker, went to seminary with Manno, the founder of HCM.  We have been sending mission trips to Haiti for 20 years.

This is a photo of the 5 pastors from our church who were at the 25 Year Celebration recently in Pillatre.  Our Senior Pastor, Mike, is in the red tie.  A very good friend of ours, Mark,is the Executive Pastor, and  is on the right end.  Others are Jim Probst, our small groups minister, Tyler Hari, our Missions pastor, and Jason Smith, our children's pastor. 

The need is great in Haiti, almost unfathomable.  We all need to be donating to the organizations that are helping on the ground right now.  But I challenge you to think about supporting Haiti on a long term basis.  The children of Haiti are the future of their country.  We can send them in the right direction by providing them an education and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Let's do something together that helps families escape this abject poverty, where they live in homes made of sticks and cardboard.

The children attending school through HCM have hope.  And that HOPE is from Jesus Christ.  You can see it on their faces!

Our friend, Mark(surrounded by the children at recess), told many stories of the awesome ways God is working at this christian school.  If you'd like to help our church continue serving Haiti, you can review our action plan here.  You are welcome to join us in this eternal effort!!!



Jan 18, 2010

You are the One, You are holy
You are the One, You are worthy
You are the One, You are the One everlasting.

You are the One I will worship
You are the One I will serve all my days
You are the One, You are the One everlasting
You are the One.


Scripture Challenge - Hope

Jan 16, 2010

It has been a long time since I did any scrapbooking, so I decided I needed a challenge!  I found Triple the Scraps and decided to jump in with her challenges.  I think the time-table is every other week for a new word, so we'll see if I remember to share my work with you!


My husband was kind enough to help me build our own stand out of wood scraps he had around the garage.  It only took us about 15 minutes!  I am not usually patient enough for painting, so I cheated and just used spray paint!  :)


Birthday Celebrations

Jan 15, 2010

My littlest is notorious for stealing my PJs to cuddle with, even though I had just received them as a gift!



Jan 14, 2010

I'm not one to usually care much about my birthday.  After all, as a woman those increasing numbers are never a good thing!  But today, on my birthday, I am celebrating.....not just my birthday, but the fact that all of my family members are healthy and back to school!  Whew, what a week! 

So how did I spend my day?  Shopping!  I wish I could say it was all for me, but it really was groceries and errands to get caught up from this crazy week.  But I did find a fun trinket at Goodwill for $1.96!

A cardholder someone probably donated after Christmas.  But I wanted it to hang in my office/scrapbook area for some of my favorite cards  I have made.

I'll show you something else tomorrow that I snagged at Goodwill as well.  You just never know what kind of bargains you can find!  I love a bargain!!



Jan 13, 2010

Please be sure to keep Haiti in your prayers after yesterday's earthquake.  My church had 16 members there for a mission celebration, almost all of them pastors or staff of our church.  Many were able to fly out Tuesday morning before it hit, but we still have several  there as flights were not going out.  Unfortunately, our Senior Pastor is one of them!!  Thanks for praying for their safe return home.

UPDATE:  All of our staff and pastors have now safely returned home.  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

What can you do to help Haiti?  We immediately went and donated to Compassion International.  Any dollar amount you can spare will help!!


Multitude Monday (on Tuesday!)

Jan 12, 2010

holy experience

Our home was hit with the flu over the last several days, so I am a little behind!  Hubby, K and A-3 down, and hopefully no more!

26.  Quiet moments reading to my babes in the middle of the night through sickness.
27.  I am not sick.
28.  Fresh start to a new year.
29.  The temperature is finally above freezing!
30.  The whisper of my sweet Savior.
31.  A new digital SLR camera for Christmas


Love Letters

Jan 11, 2010

There is no better example of Love Letters than those found in the Word of God for us to savor.  It is a precious God-breathed, God-inspired instruction manual for living.  What else can we ask for?


Jan 9, 2010


Transperancy is Vulnerability

Jan 7, 2010

2009 wasn't the best year for me.  Anyone looking in from the outside wouldn't see it, but I did.  It was deep within my soul....unrest, frustration, wanting.

1.  My priorities were completely out of sync.  I had become selfish with my time.  My husband and my 3 girls took the back seat to many projects, work, and hobbies.

2.  Despite the deepest desire to spend time with my King, I had a pitiful and shameful attendance record spending time with him.

3.  I have a part-time work-at-home job that has seasons of craziness, and during those seasons I mismanaged my time (with selfish desires-see #4) and my family felt the brunt of the consequences.

4.  I have slept far too much in place of keeping my house running smoothly.

5.  I have allowed myself to become as disorganized as I have ever been in my life, and my entire family has suffered.

6. As a result of  all of the above, our finances are a mess.  

Why do I care to share all these dirty little secrets with you?  Confession is soul cleansing.  Accountability is necessary.

After reading many New Year's blogs that have everyone focusing on a word for 2010, a scripture verse bounced into my head.  I don't do well with resolutions, and even some of the chosen words I read made me cringe.  Not because I didn't like them, but because they cut too close to the heart.

I have determined that if I meditate on and follow this verse, all of the above shortcomings can be resolved!

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving."  
Colossians 3:23

So in the last few days I have done the following:

1.  Bought a 5 subject notebook to begin using as a prayer journal, one section for each member of my family.

2.  I have chosen Stormie Omartian's The Power of Praying Through the Bible as my devotional.

3.  I stayed off my computer for 2 days while I cleaned K and A's rooms from top to bottom.  I took out all the half folded clothes from their dressers, reorganized, and put them back.  K still had summer clothes in her dresser :(.  Rearranged K's room to give her more floor space and desk space.  Washed sheets in both rooms and cleaned their closets.

4.  Began making a Control Journal from The Fly Lady to create a cleaning routine.(this is long past due as cleaning is my least favorite thing to do!)  Also started Control Journals for my kids to handle their chore responsibilities on a rotating basis.

5.  I have created "office" hours for when I will be working at home, and it will not include any hours when my family is home from school. (Hubby is a teacher)

There is still much to do, but I know a year's worth of backsliding cannot be corrected in one week.  However I am feeling a great anticipation of things already beginning to change, and my heart is feeling better.


When it Rains, It Pours!

Jan 4, 2010

Remember sick "trooper" youngest child from a few days ago?  Well she ended up with an ear infection.  That was good news so we could get her on antibiotics.  Bad news, we were headed to the Wisconsin Dells on New Year's Day to an indoor waterpark with lots of family.  Dr says no swimming.  Husband says she is swimming.  So off I went on New Year's Eve to find ear plugs in the dead of winter!  Luckily I found them at the sporting goods store.

So we had a great time on vacation with family, even though the temperature for the weekend in Wisconsin was only 3 degrees!!  Youngest daughter did fine with the ear plugs.

More bad news...finally arrived home on Sunday to a house that was only 37 degrees!!  Not what our family needed after a 5 hour drive home!!  Girls all huddled on the floor in front of a space heater with electric blankets while husband went to the basement to investigate.  Teenager decides to not hang around for this drama and heads out to hang with friends.  Husband finds no gas to either the furnace or the water heater.  Call in the gas company.  They see no problems, but between husband and repairman jiggling a few things, both seemed to take off running.

Too cold for the dogs to be outside for long periods of time, so they have to come into the kitchen for awhile to warm up.  Did I mention husband is allergic to the dogs?  That's why they are outside dogs.  Creates a little conflict just amongst ourselves! (I'm a softy)(He sneezes a lot)

By 10 pm our house had warmed up to a balmy 43 degrees!  Did I mention I love heating blankets?  Husband was sure it would catch up by morning.  Awoke this morning, temperature read 57 degrees....seriously?  Still no hot water to the kitchen.  All others seem to be ok.  Back to running the ceramic heaters.  Furnace repairman is on his way.  Went to fix lunch for the girls, microwave goes crazy.  I promise I am not making this up!

My head is swimming, I send two little girls to a friends to play in a warmer home.  Maybe with a little quiet (while the repairman is banging on my furance) I can get my head on straight for this New Year!

Kids go back to school tomorrow!!  Husband is back at school today for institute.  Tomorrow starts normalcy again!

Calgon take me away!



Jan 1, 2010

I did it!  What do you think of the new blog look?  I made it all myself!!  WOO HOO!!  Oh I need your comments.  I have been pulling my hair out with all the tweaks it took to get everything lined up correctly.  Thank goodness I know some HTML!!

Hope you all like it!!

Happy New Year!


I'll be Back

Unfortunately I have had to leave this half finished blog while we are celebrating and traveling.  Off to Wisconsin Dells today for a couple days with family.

Be back next week when the kiddos go back to school!

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