Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is Your Fridge Running {Efficiently}?

...or is it overrun with papers, magnets and the like?

For most families the fridge becomes the stop place for all of the memos, spelling tests, invitations, pictures, appointment name it!

In a household our size, and I believe in most households, it can get a bit out of hand! When Isabelle was in kindergarten {before we home schooled}, her teacher Ms. Bowker, had the children do a genius first week project ~ the personal clip magnet! 

 Today I'm sharing some refrigerator renewal with a tutorial of that cute magnet to hold each child's personal paperwork.

Here is what you will need:

Little People Cutouts
 {Mine are for calendars ~ purchased at Lakeshore Learning}
Clothes Pin
Magnet Strip
Hot Glue Gun

After having your child decorate their person cutout to look like themselves, place a strip of hot glue onto one side of your clothes pin.

Then add the the cutout to the glue strip - pressing firmly!

Next, add about 1" of the magnet strip to the back of the clothes pin using the same hot glue method.

We created one for each of our Littles that are home schooled because they are the most likely to put items on the refrigerator!  {The girl second to the left is the original one Isabelle made 3 years ago!}


Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm Drivin' In My Car...

OK!  I totally have to laugh!  Do you know that, next to "Are they all yours?", the most frequently asked question I hear is, "What kind of car do you drive?" {Said with jaw dropping, eyes popping, wonder.}

Honestly, we have driven a number of cars over the years and loved our Chevy Astro Van for most of those years.  Then blessing number 6 was due to arrive, and we no longer could fit our whole family into an 8 passenger vehicle.  So, we moved up to a full size, 12 passenger van.  It is equipped with a "lovely" back up beeper and everything! {Seriously, the warning sound on this thing is louder than most construction vehicles!}

To say it was easy to move into such a vehicle would not be completely forthright!  Besides the obvious challenge of learning how to drive such a large vehicle without rolling the backend over every curb, there was a small amount of pride to overcome!  Many of us know friends who don't want to move to the "mini van" because of their was sort of like that...sort of...

Once I fully embraced my new "look", I learned to have fun with it!  The kiddos affectionately nicknamed our van "Great White!" We began adding fish to represent each arrival of a new baby. {I even had a gentleman at a gas station mention to me that I was driving a "school bus".  Cute!}  I actually find that my negative pride has changed from a focus about my image to pride in my children and the blessing that they are to our family!  And bonus...I don't fit in the parking garage at the mall, so I have to park in the space reserved only for oversized vehicles...a huge benefit at Christmas time!
I often hear, "We'd like to have more children, but we just can't afford a bigger car."   To that I say, "Are you sure?"  "Are there other areas where you could sacrifice?" "Is it a bigger vehicle you can't afford, or can you just not afford a newer, bigger vehicle?"  "Could you sell both of the vehicles you now own and purchase one large capacity vehicle?" Actually, I know a beautiful family that drives two cars when they need to go somewhere...  No, it's not practical or even "green", but it is making due with what they have - trusting that God has a plan for their future. 

In a poignant article by Above Rubies editress Nancy Campbell, she speaks about God's provision for another baby.  In it she points to different aspects of God's provision, but I especially love how she points to the promises God makes with those who will follow his commands in Dueteronomy 7 and 28.  The reminder is on how God provides the blessing in the fruit of the womb in these verses before he blesses the land, crops,  and livestock!  If we truly believe God's word about children, then we believe that He will provide for them!

Oh sure, I dream of the day that Nana drives a cute, little, easy to drive, car...but seriously, by then I'll have so many grandbabies to tote around, I'll need the van to get us all there!  It's a burden I'm happy to carry!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bring Me A Higher Love! {Day 4 ~ Final Lesson of Love Series!}

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I absolutely adore Valentine’s Day!  I love the colors, the hearts, the message!  In our home, Papa takes care of the girls and Mama takes care of the boys.  Traditionally, Papa buys all the girls a single rose and a box of chocolates…as they grow, so does the size of the box!  Our oldest daughter is married and has two children of her own, but Papa still buys her a rose and candy…his way of saying, “You’ll always be my Valentine!”

For dinner, we always have homemade Heart Shaped Pizza! {I was inspired by our local pizza shop one year, when they were selling pizza in a heart shape ~ only it cost $1 more!  That was the year I said, “No way! I can make that myself!”}

Another reason I love Valentine’s Day is that it is fairly easy to lavish a little love on others without breaking the budget!  Just a sweet mid-winter pick me up!

If nothing else, teach your kiddos how to cut out paper hearts {you could add a lesson on symmetry}, give them great big hugs and love, love, love! 
For our final lesson in love, I’m going to touch on the topic of Eros Love

Eros love is physical love…where our word erotic comes from! 

I believe it is a natural part of the beginnings of a relationship between a man and woman.  God designed us this way!  But where would I find a scripture reference?  Read the whole book of Song of Solomon ~ one of the greatest love stories ever written, and it is full of Eros Love!

Unfortunately, this is the foundation that many couples build their relationships on!  While it is a good magnet of attraction to draw two people together, we must use caution to discern between our feelings and true love!

Eros love will fade if the foundation of a relationship is not based on the other two loves I’ve already spoken about!  In fact, my experience has been that as the Agape and Philos love grows between Ken and I, then the Eros love tends to stay intact…maybe because it morphs into the others…

A few final words… 

By now, you have discovered that only True Love can come from The One who is love!  Whether you are married or single, your quest to fill that void in your heart will never come from a worldly relationship!  Yes, you may feel temporarily fulfilled, but eventually it will fade… 

That void in your heart was created by The One who created you…so that you would yearn to fill it with Him! {Ecclesiastes 3:11}

The problem is that we are a selfish people, filled with sin.  Not one of us is good enough to be in the presence of a Most High God!  {Romans 3:23}  

The good news is that He sent His Son to take on the punishment for that sin, so that we may be in His presence. {Romans 5:8}

We don’t have to get our acts together or clean ourselves up before we can go to this God who promises us fulfillment in Him.  We simply have to confess that we are sinners, we’re not perfect, but we desire to turn from that “old way” and want to “put on the new” ~ which, through Christ, becomes our righteousness! {Acts 3:19}

Then we seek to grow in our knowledge of who He is!  He will do the transforming work…we just have to obey!

This Valentine’s Day, love on the people whom God has given you…but, Choose Him to be your Forever Valentine!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

PS ~ If you’re finding your heart yearning to be eternally filled, but don’t know where to start, please feel free to email me, and I will give you some resources to get you started on your journey! If you simply have questions...I'll do my best to answer, and get you going in the right direction!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Want to Know What Love is...{Day 3 of Love Series}


~Brotherly love ~ a love based on friendship~

Incidentally, Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love, based on this word!

 “For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” {John 16:27}
In this verse, the Greek for love is Philos…basically, in scripture, when God is entering into a relationship with us; He uses the Philos type love to describe that “brotherly/Fatherly” love.
 Think about the most solid relationships you have in your life…they are usually based on a deep friendship. Of course for our spousal relationships, this is the best place to start!
So, a few weeks ago, I was doing some volunteer work for our church, when a wife of one of the Pastors stopped to chat with me.  God, in His perfect timing sent her to speak some truths into me that day!  One thing she spoke was, regarding seeing her husband as her “brother in Christ” when she prays for him, not just as her husband! 
This actually became a “light bulb” moment for me!  If I am praying for my husband as my brother in Christ, I tend to pray solely for his growth and benefit. On the contrary, when I pray for him as my husband, I pray {though not intentionally} with a personal outcome in mind.  “If this changes in him, it will benefit me.”
One thing I want to point out…God loves us both with an Agape type love and a Philos type love – they are not necessarily exclusive of the other.  We are to emulate His example, so strive for both and ask Him to fill you with both in your relationships!

Now for the Giveaway!
{Drum Roll Please…}
The winner of the diapers is:

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What is Love Anyway? {Day 2 of Love Series}

There are three types of love:




Over the next few days, I am going to try to unpack these three different types of love and how they relate to our relationships.

I'll begin with Agape!

Agape love is an unconditional love!  This is the love that the Heavenly Father lavishes upon us ~ being the very nature of who He is!  {1John 4:8} It is sacrificial love ~ clearly shown in Christ's death on the cross for an undeserving world. {Romans 5:8}

Agape love is choosing to love with no expectation of receiving anything in return!

This, my sweet friends, is the type of love that God calls us to extol upon our mates!

One practical way to do this is to rid yourself of what I like to call "Stinkin' Thinkin'"! {I know I didn't come up with that term originally, but I currently can't recall where I first heard it.}

"Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ!" {2 Corinthians 10:5}

Years ago, my husband and I were part of a small group of fellow church attenders.  We met every week, and went over a Bible study that we were all doing. Occasionally, the men of the group would get together and have some fellowship time without the wives.  One particular night, they met at a local restaurant.  My husband had agreed to be home at a reasonable time since we had not had any personal time together due to his heavy work and school load.  As the night continued, he was not home. Hour after hour passed, and I began feeling more and more discouraged in his lack of consideration for me!  Let's be honest...I was pretty angry!  As bedtime approached, I was having very harsh thoughts around not speaking to him, or giving him "what for".  My own personal Stinkin' Thinkin' kicked in, and I was having thoughts like: "He doesn't love me!" "He has never cared about me more than himself." "He never puts me first." "He never follows through on his commitments to me." "We are hopeless." But, the Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit and reminded me of the verse, "Do not sin in your anger." {Eph. 4:26}

"Wait! What?"

"Do not sin in your anger!" can imagine I was blindsided...yep, blindsided by the Word of God!  In that moment I started changing my thinking..."I am disappointed, but he probably has a good reason." "I will give him grace and listen." "I will not sin in my anger!"

What came of that situation?  Well, he came home full of apologies.  I didn't let him off the hook though. {I'm not saying this was right or wrong.}  What I did do, was tell him how disappointed I was.  I told him how his actions made me feel unimportant to him.  I said these things with grace, a gentle spirit, and love.  Not because I wasn't angry, but because I was choosing to love him whether he deserved it or not!  I could only take responsibility for my part!

Don't let your own Stinkin' Thinkin' come between you and a beautiful relationship with your loved ones!  Take those thoughts captive.  Give the other person the benefit of the doubt!  Choose to love them, whether they deserve it or not!  Love sacrificially! Show them Agape love!

Usually the effect is you become irresistible. They become "won over by your gentle and quiet Spirit." {1Peter 3:4}

Come back tomorrow as I unpack Philos kind of love...

{Oh, and finally give away those diapers!}

Thanks for stopping by! Be Refreshed!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What's Love Got To Do With It? {Day 1 of True Love Series}

With Valentine's Day approaching, we are deep in the "Season of Love"...only how many find themselves disappointed by their lack of:  

  • a spouse/boyfriend who really knows them enough to buy the right gift, flowers, etc.
  • "Sweet Nothings" spoken in loving adoration
  • "I would walk 1000 miles" kind of devotion
  • a spouse or boyfriend at all!
This is only a limited list of why Valentine's Day can be such a disappointment if we don't have a true understanding of what love really is!

I tend to really dislike "chic flicks" because they portray relationships in a Hollywood light where unrealistic expectations are sold to women as the norm to strive for! 

So what is love? 
How do we have right ideas about it?
How do we find True Love in a fallen world?

First, we should start with what True Love isn't!

True Love is NOT a feeling!

While it is true that one can have emotions around loving someone, it is not the source of our love.   Just because I felt butterflies when I first met my husband, does not mean I was in love with him. I get butterflies when I ride roller coasters too and while I do love a good roller coaster ride, I'm certainly not committing my life to one! {Well, maybe in one sense, but you know what I mean!} So often I hear, I just don't have that "loving feeling" anymore!  But really, those first feelings are immature and not the stuff to build lasting relationships on!

 True Love is NOT words!

"He doesn't tell me he loves me anymore!"  "He used to compliment me and build me up!" "Maybe we're just not in love anymore!"  Ladies!  If this is you...stop right where you are...I want you to focus on the object of these statements. It is Me!  Me! Me! Me!  Only God can be your true source of love, get in His word - know how He feels about you - be filled by Him - when you are, your spouse's words won't define you anymore!  {I am not saying that hearing an "I love you" from our spouse isn't an OK desire, but don't dwell on it too much.}

True love is NOT self serving!

What is the Golden Rule?  Love your Neighbor as Yourself!  This is also one of the greatest commandments with, Love your God with all your heart, mind and strength! {Luke 10:27} Again, I am back to what the focus of who our love should be ~ others!  This actually means putting your spouse and their desires above your own! Practically this could simply mean asking your spouse what he wants to do with your spare time, money, talents...then doing it!

True Love is not found in a mate!

Simply ~ God is love!  We will never find our long term satisfaction anywhere else!
{I will elaborate on this point in a later blog, but if you are single or in a lonely marriage this series applies to you too!  Your true source of everlasting satisfaction will only ever come from the One who pours out His love by the Holy Spirit!  Trust me - you want this kind of love!}

I hope I am not leaving you disappointed...I can feel the "but, what is love, how do I get it..." thoughts.  Hang in with me...come back...I pray you will be fulfilled!

Thanks for stopping by! Be Refreshed!