Saturday, April 27, 2019

HMJ: Jobs, Updates, and a Word on Driving

How was your Easter?  I took the weekend off from blogging to allow time for soaking up the profoundness of the season.  It was needed because the last 2 weeks have been pretty busy and eventful...
Brooke went on another interview and GOT THE JOB!!!  She started working (training) this week and has quite the full schedule beginning next.  She is soooooooo excited and already plotting her savings plan so she can buy a car ASAP!  I won't complain, currently I am taxi-ing FOUR people with often overlapping schedules.  Hubby's car is down for another week or two but once his is back in commission, I hope he and I can share the load (and he won't be one of the FOUR, though I will miss our commute time together!)

ALL three of the kids still at home are working on their driver's licenses.  Ashley, almost 21 now, was struggling with neurological issues for years so we were all nervous for her to be behind a wheel.  However, we have since finally narrowed down the problem to temporal migraines and have implemented a sustainable maintenance plan so she will be safe to drive.  Brenden, soon to be 19, had no interest in learning until the past year!  Brooke, now 16, however, was determined to get that ticket to independence as soon as possible!!  A Teen Talk pop-out on this subject is at the end of this section.

With a job came her first bank account... Consumer Math in action!  She is VERY excited and even got a sign-on bonus of $30... such perks at a young age!

School is going well.  We agreed to forgo our "spring break" and finish a week early for the year instead.  We are currently plotting May 24th as the "Last Day of School"!  I've already begun planning next year's curriculum in hopes of catching some of the great sales going on right now.  As the details develop I will share them here!

The final stage of all the gas line debacle finally wrapped up this week when the gas company came and removed the front yard pipes.  Unfortunately for our neighbors, we single-handedly held up traffic on this busy stretch of road for almost 2 days!  Yet, even with the gas-line wrap-up, we are not out of the woods major issues.... the fire department was called by our security company in the wee hours last Tuesday morning when a carbon monoxide leak spread through the house.  It would seem all of the stress on our aging furnace as we worked out the gas-line problems may have cracked a heater core.  We are now without heat and heading into ANOTHER cold snap.  Waiting on quotes and work to be done to get us back up and running.

Never a dull moment.

All of this has delayed garnering bids for the roof leak into the walls.  Hoping to have a solid direction on those repairs in the next few weeks.

There is always hope ♥️

__________________________________________


A little side-note on teens and that sticky topic of DRIVING!  At times people are surprised I do not enroll my kids in Driver's Ed.  For the most part, it is a financial decision: the programs are not cheep!  As I have gotten older, there have been times where I wished I could hand them off to someone else with better experience and coping abilities... however, I reasoned that if I can homeschool, surely I can teach my kids to drive.

With my oldest, it seemed easy.  Either, he was just a natural, or, I was younger and more at-ease with the process... not sure which!  With my subsequent kiddos and the age gap between them and their older brother, much more time had passed... and we weren't living in rural Montana anymore where the biggest worry was a wandering deer.  No, we were now in a 'major' city with the highest rate of accidents in the state.  I began to wonder if blood pressure meds were in my near future!!

After a particularly hair raising practice-run on the open road with my 18 year old, I began to search for HELP.  I found "Teach Your Teenager How to Drive a Car" by Hank Wysocki who was a Driver's Ed instructor in NEW YORK of all places!!  I ordered his book along with these magnets and peace of mind began to find it's way back.

The book helped remind me of the order-of-operation in learning to drive.  It is easy for us parents to take for granted that which seems natural at our own stage of life.  It is a process and Hank does a great job of laying out a doable plan of attack with simple-to-follow advice in an easy-to-read format.

The magnets, once on the car, made a HUGE difference.  It takes a while to learn how to hold your speed, stay appropriately between the lines, negotiate turns properly, take care not to break too fast or too slow, execute lane changes and pop turn signals on in a reasonable time... The magnets seemed to alert other drivers that my kids were still figuring these key concepts out and, as a result, I notice the drivers around us become more patient and even gave the kids room (verses riding their tail when they went too slow or honking when trying to turn... yes, these things really happened to us).  

All of this worked together for a secondary benefit:  Remembering the order of operations, giving grace and driving with bright yellow magnets alerting the world as to our pilot... I had more confidence that drivers around us weren't going to be impatient and foolish, potentially causing an accident through unraveling my new learners.  My stress levels went down and my ability to be a better driver's ed teacher, increased.

Ultimately, I decided to use the removal of the magnets as a reward for consistent improvement and confidence.  While the kids enjoyed the same benefits I did with them on in the early stages of driving, as they improved they were excited to take them off and feel like "real" drivers!

Tips and Tricks I've Picked up Along the Way....
  • How is MY driving?  I've noticed that my kids brake, accelerate, and follow in the same manner I do.  Much like how our attitude as parents impacts their attitude... so does our driving impact theirs!!  (bonus tip.... if your kids aren't driving yet, begin adjusting your own driving now, if it needs it, so that you are modeling how you want them to drive when the time comes)
  • DON'T DRIVE AT NIGHT until they are very comfortable driving in the day.  The road may be well lit, however, other driver's headlights, dark driveways and lit signs actually provide MORE distractions for new drivers.
  • Practice in an empty parking lot.... a lot... before you go on the open road.
  • Hit the open road at lower traffic times of day for those first handful of drives
  • Muster every ounce of patience you can.  An irritable or yelling parent does NOT build driver confidence and, quite frankly, causes them to make poorer decisions, not better ones.  I have learned to literally sit on my hands when they drive and it seems to help me keep from wanting to grab the wheel or freak out!  Remember, IF there is a fender bender, that is what insurance is for.  Quite honestly though, I have yet to have a kid even come close to wrecking.
  • If your kids play video games, especially the racing variety, don't let them play for at least an hour before they are going to drive.  I have noticed that video gaming, particularly racing, directly and negatively affects HOW they drive behind an actual wheel.
  • Keep inside-the-car distractions at a minimum... turn down the radio and discourage talking unless it has to do with driving.... even among other passengers.
  • Pacing has been a GREAT way to teach my kids maintaining speed and proper braking.  Have them follow about 2-3 car lengths behind the person in front, match their speed and break when they break.  If the other person is turning where you are turning, have them follow through the turn as well (when possible).  My youngest was following a mailman through a stretch of round-abouts recently (every new driver's worst nightmare) and it actually helped her gain confidence in these normally nerve-wracking traffic circles.  My 18 year old also found his bearings about driving one day when following a semi-truck down a busy stretch of road.  Pacing with this practical wall helped him focus and find his rhythm.  He hasn't had a single problem with maintaining speed or staying in-between the lines since!! 
Have you found any tips which can help new drivers (and their parents)?  Whether or not you choose to (or can) do Driver's Ed for your teen, just know, you are equipped to help your 'child' learn this pivotal skill!
__________________________________________

How has your school week been?


Blessings,






P.S. I DO keep my Instagram updated if you want to see our latest escapades, especially when there are post delays!  Follow the link in-text.
Are you looking for something to help you organize your curriculum scouting for the next school year?  My newsletter for May contained a FREE downloadable PDF packet of printables designed to help you collect your thoughts!  When you sign up with my FREE e-newsletter I will send you May's issue containing this and other great material attached!  Information below....


*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Come Out of Your Hiding Place


On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
- John 20:19-22

It has been a rough year so far for our family.  Relationship struggles, constant problems with our house, job struggles, financial strains and so on, it is easy to try and pull the covers over my head rather than get out of bed each morning.  I'm afraid of what could go wrong next and add to it all how I'm troubled by personal attacks, I seize up.  If that is not bad enough, I turn on the news and see bleak narratives filling my screen... even if I did go out, what am I going out to?  Persecution?  Attacks? A deaf and wayward world?

I guess that is why, while reading in the after-math of Resurrection day this week, tried and true passages began to POP out at me.  Here are the disciples, locked up in a room, essentially hiding out from the Jews who were presumably the religious leaders responsible for Jesus' Crucifixion a few days earlier.  Doors locked and Scripture tells us they were "in fear".  In this state: Jesus appears.

He comes and stands among them and what is the first thing He says?

Peace be with you.

We could assume this is a greeting, the customary "Shalom" which Jews often exchanged upon encounters, however, a mere greeting, to my thinking, would only be needed once..."Hello, Shalom, I am here, look at me, how are you?"  But he doesn't say it just once.  After showing them his scars, John tells us the disciples were "glad" to see Jesus and then Scripture goes on to record how He said to them again, “Peace be with you."

Locked in, hidden, and afraid... the disciples are suddenly encountered by Jesus, who just pops right on in and then says PEACE be with you.  No small talk is recorded, just peace and presence which seems to imply a call for them to stop being afraid.  As a matter of fact, he doesn't just dispel their fear, no, the second time he adds that He has a mission for them.  As if to say, 'stop being afraid and hiding out, BECAUSE there is work to do.'  What is this mission?

As the Father has sent me.... I am sending you.

Well that is not a very detailed mission... or is it? "As the Father sent me...", what is this "as"?  We don't have to go far to find out...

Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
- John 18:37

God sent Jesus to bear witness to the truth.  Then, in this locked room, He tells them peace be with you and As the Father sent me, I am sending you.... I was bearing witness to the truth... now you bear witness to the truth.  I did it to the point of persecution and death... you do it to the point of persecution and death if you must.  These are marching orders, intended to be carried out despite their fear.

But how?

It is a scary world out there.  Sure, peace.  Sure, mission.  But HOW can they find strength and focus to carry it all out?  How about with a breath of fresh air?  No, literally!  He breathed on them... why?  to impart the Holy Spirit... the POWER to do what he had asked them to do.  Much like God did in Genesis, breathing life into the lungs of man... now He breathes new life into those who see Him, who are truly glad in Him.

I never paused long enough to really SEE this before... to soak up the 3-point truth here:
  • TWICE, Jesus says "Peace be with you", earlier in John He would explain how His peace is not a worldly peace but rather, it is something more tangible and sustainable.
  • AS God sends Jesus, through good and bad to bear witness to Truth, so He sends us with that model
  • He doesn't just command us but He also equips us with the greatest Power-source, the Holy Spirit
Life is scary.  Plain and simple.  Sometimes more than others.  We may long to hide under the covers instead of getting up and facing the day.... we may even avoid going out or certain activities to dodge challenges or persecution... But God calls us to GO, to claim His peace, bear witness to His Truth and to remember we are Equipped with a Powerful force and purpose.

I pray you would join me in not letting insecurities or fears hold you back from peace and the call of Christ.  We can muster strength from the Spirit within and experience Victory in the end for he hasn't only given purpose but He has also breathed LIFE!

Blessings,








A new Bible study for the month of May is coming out in the next newsletter which is set to hit email in-boxes first thing tomorrow (Thursday, 4.25.19).  Be sure to sign up for your FREE copy, info below....


*Are you subscribed to my FREE monthly newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Priestly Prayer and a Common Call to STAND OUT


I re-dedicated my life to Christ when I was 26 after a long hard fall away.  As excited as I was to feel ALIVE, and even though I had my beautiful children to look after, I longed to be done with this hard place called 'life on Earth'. I couldn't understand why God wouldn't spare me from the brokenness.  Surely, now that I had Jesus in my heart, I was ready to go... right?  It didn't take long for God to deal with me on humble service and shining His light!

In the final hours before Jesus' arrest He takes time to leave His followers with words of hope and encouragement... and a powerful prayer, one I look to often when my strength in this broken world fails me.  One part in particular speaks loudest in my heart:

But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
John 17:13-18

 Jesus doesn't wait till heaven to encourage them, no, he speaks to them in the world and why?  That they may have His joy fulfilled in them... right at that moment, not to be delayed.  But Jesus' Joy isn't the only thing planted in the hearts of His followers, God's Word has been seeded as well.  This implanted Word has set them apart, profoundly...

...and the world hated them because they are not of the world...

It is so easy to strive for the acceptance of those around us, but that isn't God's plan for the implanted word and Joy from Jesus... no... it is that we should STAND OUT, and they aren't alone: Jesus set the example as he walked and lived counter-cultural His entire life!  Not once in Scripture do we see our Savior attempting to fit in, say the right thing, or be accepted.  His eyes were on the Father, walking the path He laid, regardless of what the World wanted of Him.

Having walked in all the hard places, endured all the ridicule, spoken boldly for the truth and persecuted as a result... all the broken places.... He prays not that they should have early leave, but rather, that God would keep them from evil for as long as their time should continue here. He calls on God to sanctify them in Truth and then.... he sends them.

Easter is on approach, resurrection season is coming to a triumphant close... I should be celebrating.  But week after week this year has brought trials and strife.  Going Home looks so good in this moment but this is where I am to stay... not to sit and absorb like Zacchaeus the Tax Collector pre-dinner with Jesus... no, to shine and issue and give back like Zacchaeus the Redeemed post-dinner with Jesus. 

Jesus didn't let the world get Him down: He didn't quiet His living, He lived OUT LOUD.  Jesus didn't blend in, He STOOD OUT.  And a few short days later, he didn't stay in the grave, He ROSE AGAIN.... for us.  For redemption, yes, but also to blaze a trail we may follow so that the world may see and join our ranks.

To read more of Jesus' prayer for His followers in John, visit chapter 17.  It is beautiful and powerful and I pray you may be encouraged as you walk through a troubled world.  Yes, look to the cross this week, but also remember the empty grave and be strengthened: you can overcome the World because Jesus went before you. He doesn't want you to blend in... He calls you to STAND OUT.

Blessings,










*Are you subscribed to my FREE monthly newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!

 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Devotedly Reviewed


I love pouring over compilations of old journals and letters popped out of pivotal moments in history.  I will never forget reading a portion of a book series containing the well chronicled diaries of westward women.  One particular set of entries recounted hikes among sandstone cliffs along the Platte River, not far from Fort Laramie in what is now Wyoming, and the women carving their names in the soft stone as a way to say "we were here!".  This region was a milestone for these early travelers, a brief respite and refueling junction before laboring through the towering Rockies.  The concise collection of day-to-day scribblings was further embedded into my memory when I was blessed with an opportunity to visit the Wagon Rut State Park in Eastern Wyoming and found myself walking in their very footsteps, seeing where their wagons rode, climbing those same cliffs and seeing their names amongst the countless others etched for eternity.  These women's diaries, though mundane at times and occasionally lacking in desired details, always seemed to fall into place and bring to life the re-telling of their stories in a way which never felt incomplete or lacking but was instead as trans-formative as it was informative.


When I had the opportunity to read Devotedly, The personal Letters and Love Story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot as compiled by their only daughter, Valerie Elliot Shepard, I jumped at the chance.  As with the westward women's journals, I was excited to discover greater details and relive the treasured history of these two Christian icons: one remembered for his martyrdom, the other for her unwavering grace and faith. I had not read any of their previous books or compilations, though I'm well aware of how revered Elisabeth Elliot's work is.  I have watched a few documentaries on their lives and, as we prepared for missions work some years ago, a portion of our training was done through a video series taught by Steve Saint so I am very familiar with the background and context.

With all of that said, hopefully my thoughts on this title will make some sense...


... as I read Devotedly I had mixed feelings.  It began quite well and made a declaration to use the Elliots' story for the purpose of highlighting what good, Godly relationships should look like, as the author feels substantive Godly relationships are lacking today.  My hat's off to her for this thesis.

The 'story' sets into motion with the couple's final years at Wheaton College in Illinois where they met and recognized their first sparks for one another.  It moves forward with each chapter centering around the consecutive years ranging from this point in 1948 all the way until their nuptials in 1953.  Jim and Elisabeth's story is chronicled with excerpts from both journal entries and letters they exchanged.  Images of some of their correspondences and pictures are included as well. 

After the initial introduction I must confess to struggling with reading the bulk of this text because I felt too many critical details were being left out while various redundancies occasionally carried on.  Often only parts (not entireties) of the couple's letters and journal entries are included leaving gaps of information and making it difficult to discern what exactly is being said or intended.  Mrs. Shepard seems anxious to communicate memories, summaries and translations... which can be helpful at times as her parents seemed to write in King James style (!) but can also be inhibiting to the flow of their story.  I feel more could have been discerned by the reader if full letters and journal entries had been included and, when further explanation was required for un-written nuances, commentary could be inserted at their close.

If you are a huge fan of the Elliots and have read ALL of their previous works, this book will likely be a wonderful supplement to complete their 'story'.  If you are new to the couple, the deepening of their faith as it pertains to their relationship is still inspiring.  Mrs. Shepard's devotion to her parents and desire to share the key points of their story is apparent in her writing.  I felt as though I was sitting across the kitchen table from her as she pulled out pictures and letters and shared tidbits of the lives of these two people whom she loved and admired so much.  She gives an insider's scoop to a story often reported on from the outside. I only wish I could have jumped in and asked a few questions from time to time!!

As for me, I do like more details and first-hand accounts with minimal commentary.  It is a personal preference and nothing against the author of this book.  Reading the title, I expected more of Jim and Elisabeth's voice so I will admit, I should have switched gears in my expectations upon realizing the actual context.  Still, I did feel too much time was spent on the tumultuous early years and not enough time was spent on the blooming points of the later.  However, Devotedly IS a good book and I would recommend it to anyone interested in knowing more about Jim and Elisabeth Eliot or the trials and tribulations of walking out a Christ-centered relationship.


Blessings,






I received a complimentary copy of this book from Lifeway in exchange for my review. This review is my opinion alone.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

HMJ: Impromptu Changes

I want to thank those who popped over to encourage me last week as I fumbled with plugging ahead on these regular "Journal" entries.  I will try to check in as often as I can just for you!! 

We have been reviewing our budget lately and, upon talking things over with Brooke, we have decided to plan on only one or two classes  at the local Christian college this next school year.  Currently she is hoping to pursue a full degree there when she graduates. In the mean time, even at the discounted rate she can enjoy as a high schooler, a full-slate of classes is quite spendy.  Also, this coming fall, they are only offering two of the classes she needs to complete her high school graduation requirements (it's a very small college).  Not sure if they will add the others in the spring, however, to be on the safe side we have decided to switch gears.  Surprisingly, Brooke was actually excited!  The plan....

College campus:
Speech
College Writing

Home Campus 😃:
History/Government
Economics/Civics
Music Appreciation
P.E.

I need to double-check if this list will cover all the requirements remaining.  Only History/Gov is a full year class, the rest are one semester.  She has decided NOT to take French senior year and, naturally, would prefer Speech on campus with peers.  After doing Speech with her brother and sister just at home, I agree with Brooke... more people would make the class more fun!  Also, if we can keep going with a minimum of 2 classes on campus for spring, we will look at College Writing II and Psychology as these will be good basics to have out of the way as she launches full time in fall 2020 when she will qualify for the FAFSA.  (She is looking at studying Biblical Counseling)

This week we unexpectedly declared "NO SCHOOL" in sight of our gas-line problems.  If you haven't caught some of our Instagram feed and other articles on the site here, we were without gas for 8 days while a leak was repaired.  Each day was wait-and-see mode hoping THAT would be the day the job was done... very difficult to get any schoolwork done with the buzz.  Brooke proposed the week off, which I was reluctant to oblige since it would put us behind in finishing some subjects before our designated "last day of school" at the end of May (can you believe that's NEXT month already???) BUT, she also proposed we forgo our 4-day school weeks and add the missing days back in with 5-day school weeks between now and the end of the school year!

Done.

So, wow.  Plugging ahead, 7 more weeks (minus a possible pre-planned week where we will be gone at the beginning of May).  THEN... senior year.  Wow.  I'm actually relieved we can't afford the full slate at the college this coming fall.  Is that bad?  I'm looking forward to one more year to wrap-up and find closure with the exit of this 25+ year stage of my life!  I feel hopeful for what lies ahead.
 
As for the rest of miscellany tidbits from the past week...
Brooke logged a bunch of drive time last week as we explored the outskirts of our county for "406" day.  It's a Montana thing!  One of only a few states with a singular area code, 406.  Many locals geek out in celebrating April 6th (4-06) as "Montana" day and we joined in the fun!!  Her driving has improved sooooo much.  I'm actually planning a blog post for later this month with some tips on teaching teens to drive if you don't want to/or can't afford to put them in Driver's Ed.


Went to see a play with her sister and a friend at a local college in it's 80+ year old playhouse!  The production was an ancient Greek themed play and these were all the pictures I took because, well, it was an experience only needed ONCE.  The actors worked hard but the content... well... like I said, an "experience"!

I'm going to miss our coffee shop hangouts when her life post-grad takes her away.  For now, I enjoy every single minute even when I am on here writing and she is in a cozy chair across from me drawing or doing some other crafty thoughtful thing!  These have become our Tuesday night norms while her older siblings are at an adult church group hang-out!

How has your school week been?


Blessings,






P.S. I DO keep my Instagram updated if you want to see our latest escapades, especially when there are post delays!  Follow the link in-text.



*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!

Five Minute Friday: Lack


It has been a challenging week.  We spent a total of almost 8 days without hot water or heat due to a gas leak requiring our pipes to be shut off and re-ran.  Apparently 1940 pipes and fittings don't hold true to code in 2019... hmmm. (yes, that is sarcasm... and the price you pay when you buy a very dated house!).

The blessing in the midst of the storm was the gas line insurance the good Lord laid on my heart to purchase 2 years ago.  Something in my spirit pressed me then saying this would be a good and profitable idea.

Yet, even with the peace... and extra space heaters during a subsequent cold snap... nerves ran raw what with missing hot showers and the ease of washing dishes and clothes without boiling water.  Everything coming to a head Thursday morning when we learned, after hand-washed wet clothes sat in the dryer all night, that our dryer had gone out now too.

Hubby blew a fuse.

It was a difficult day, emotions for everyone were high with the pitfalls of life lately.  Yet, at my core I could hear a whisper:  peace

I knew, somehow, when irrationality wanted to take over, that I needed to keep my eyes on Jesus.  I needed to endeavor to be solutions-based, not self-destruction trapped.  So I laced up, lifted a prayer, and set to making it all work as well as I was able. 

As I mustered, hubby called: I'm sorry was spoken from his heart. 
As I kept walking, the gas company showed up on the heals of line repair: I'm here to light the pilot and heat began to issue from vents and faucets again.

I'm reminded how those who wait on the Lord lack nothing.  Not peace, not hope, not possibility... all are given in full.  It felt spiritually gratifying to come to the other side of these 8 days and say: my hope was in the Lord and so I know I will not lack.


...those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
- Psalm 34:10b 

Blessings,







This has been a Five Minute Friday Post where writers tap away for 5 minutes, un-edited, on a predetermined topic.  Check out other great posts by visiting:
http://fiveminutefriday.com/


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Choose Peace


As this article posts we are entering day number SEVEN of no gas which equates NO hot water and, more importantly in the chilly Montana spring, no heat.  Overall, I have found peace and focus in glorifying God through how I handle it all, however, truth be told, my nerves are running thin at times.  I'm grateful we discovered the gas leak before worse side-effects came of them (yes, "them",more than one leak was discovered in our almost 80 year old, out-coded pipes before the gas company shut them off for safety)... while I'm also daunted by the process since old lines need to be dug up and new ones laid.  Engineers, insurance, hurry-and-wait....

*sigh*

It all seems a fitting exercise in light of the passage I have been studying this week to prepare for the next installment of Jesus' final teachings in our series here.  It comes from John 14, is among my favorite encouraging verses, and will be quite familiar to you as well...

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:27

It isn't just this verse though, it is the great big context of the chapter itself...

John 14 begins with the same message v.27 preaches:

Let not your hearts be troubled.  [You] Believe in God; believe also in me.
John 14:1

We know, when God repeats Himself, well, we really should sit up and take notice!  My ESV has "[You]" in the footnotes while other translations carry it expressly in the text.  Simply, one could translate it to say; since you believe in God, then believe also in Jesus!  That belief is the core of the power which helps our hearts to not be troubled!  Any doubt?  He goes on to say:


“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
John 14:15-17


"If" statements... wow.  Always notice those!  Have you ever said that to someone in your life?  "IF you love me you will..."  Well, Jesus does, which makes it a pretty big deal.  "Yes, Jesus, I love you, how can I show you?"  Simple: keep His commandments.

This isn't a "works-based" gospel here, it is a simple fact of life.  When you love someone, you don't consistently and deliberately break their expectations and best hopes and plans for you.  If you did, they would begin to doubt your love and loyalty!  We don't keep commandments to earn Jesus' love, we had His love to begin with.  We keep them to show our love for Him... I would expand that to say: we keep the commands to show our love for Him TO the world at large!  While Jesus may know your heart, He desires that others should see your heart for Him by how you walk: in a way that honors Him.  How do I know this?

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 14:13

We could go into an entirely separate discussion here on prayer, however, what I want to focus on today is why God answers prayers.... that He may be glorified.  

This 'Him glorified' thing is kind of a big deal.  Such a big deal that God doesn't want us to be alone in figuring it out. So, we keep His commandments and He sends a helper.

The string-along is something like this:
  • Let not hearts be troubled (v1)
  • Lift all in prayer (v13)
  • Show you love Jesus by keeping his commandments (v15)
  • If you do keep His commandments out of love for Him, a "Helper" is sent (v.16)
What does this "Helper" assist us in?

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:26-27 (emphasis added)

Following those first points through v.16 cultivates prime real estate in our hearts for the Holy Spirit in-dwelling and, as He moves in, He will teach us things and help us remember what Jesus has done and said.  As a result.... PEACE!

I do believe peace can come unexplained BUT, most often, I see it occur more quickly, more completely, when we have taken steps to draw the Spirit into our heart preemptively.  

One thing which stood out about that last verse as well:

Let not your hearts be troubled NEITHER let them be afraid  

No trouble
No fear 
we can CHOOSE NOT to (or to) walk with a troubled and/or fear-filled heart!  But we shouldn't.

In all honesty, this last passage is technically, I believe, referring to v.28 when Jesus (in part) was saying, "You heard me say... I am going..if you loved me, rejoice... because I'm going to the Father..."  It would seem his words in the end of v27 were intended to encourage them as He prepares for something HUGE and, quite frankly, scary and earth-shattering!  However, we can still apply this concept to our own "huge" and shaky struggles.  We CAN still draw strength and peace which the world can not understand yet God so richly provides.

If that is not enough, notice how this chapter closes:

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. 
John 14:30-31a   

The ruler of this world has no claim on Jesus... which is great news for us as it means he has no hold on us either!!!  So why, then, does Jesus take the path he does?  So the world may know that I love the Father.

It is easy to spout, "Peace in Jesus", yet it can be hard to walk it out.  As I was tossed around from phone associate to phone associate and contractor to contractor this past week I knew they were doing all they could, I knew this fix would be a process, but even when I was tempted to loose my cool and get upset, I remembered my greater call: So the world may know that I love the Father.

Suddenly, peace in Jesus was possible.
Suddenly, He was teaching me what I needed to know for that very moment.
Suddenly, these problems seemed trivial because Jesus' greatest commandment wasn't "loose my cool with utility representatives" but instead it was "LOVE".  Love God, love others, love all completely and without cause.

Peace in Jesus.

It looks nothing like the counterfeit peace the world sells, and Jesus' peace brings rewards both deeply and eternally gratifying.

I CHOOSE peace.

Not trouble or dismay.

Just. peace... powerful, beautiful, spirit teaching peace.

I pray you choose peace in those hard to fathom places this week.  Jesus gives it freely, we only need to accept.


Blessings,






Post Note: I have come to know some of the most helpful people this past week and even had an opportunity to share my Hope with a representative as a result of the Peace in Jesus I claimed ♥️

To see last week's post in the series, visit this link in text.


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Monday, April 8, 2019

Gettin' Crafty with Easter Garland


Here in south-central Montana, spring is beginning to make its presence more evident.  Easter is a few short weeks away and Pinterest is alive with a plethora of creative ideas.  One I have frequently seen is bunny and/or egg garland. 


While visiting the Dollar Store recently I saw the cutest sparkly egg garland but it seemed to need a little something more.  Suddenly all that Pinterest inspiration came rushing in and I snatched a set to dress-up when I got home!
I forget to take a picture of the entire strand before I started the project, these are screen shots off of the video I took!


Here is how it went down:

I designed a bunny template which is available in my FREE monthly newsletter (you can see details for sign up at the end of this post.  If you decide to register, I will try to send this month's edition straight to your in-box within 48 hours).  I printed my template on card stock so it would be sturdier.

I've been collecting scrapbook paper for years and happened to have a sweet set of prints perfect for spring.  I chose a few which seemed to reflect the colors of the egg garland well and gave the line some variety.



I cut my bunnies out in blocks to separate them and then secured them with a small strip of tape at their 'bottom' on the WRONG side of the scrapbook paper (you will see why in a minute).  I cut them out in this way.

 Once I had all of them cut out they seemed a bit plain.  I remembered the current trend of bunny pom-pom tails so I checked my craft supplies and found a vintage pack of the white fluffy sort.

I used my crafter's tape, applying two small swipes where the "tail" should go and then pressed each pom-pom into place to be sure it was secure. 

PSA:  I LOVE my crafter's tape... it is quite affordable (I bought mine in a multi-pack on Amazon) and it works like a charm (no more waiting for glue to dry!!)

With cotton tails in place, I began to position them along the line in order to verify their desired placement.  Then, I used my handy-dandy crafter's tape along all of the edges and adhered each rabbit into it's respective position. The card stock backing helps the bunny stay upright and creates stability.

Viola!  Ready to hang!

I like this garland because, not only are the eggs in an assortment of beautiful colors, but each is separated by a clear bead which can be slid along the line.  I created a pattern of: egg, bunny, bead, egg.....  However, you could actually un-string all elements of this garland and re-string them differently if you wanted.  Me, I wanted something quick and easy!! 


I filmed the entire process which is still available in saved stories on my Instagram account.  If I hadn't been filming, this project could have been easily done within 30 minutes!

What Pinterest inspired (or self-inspired) Easter decor projects have you tried lately?


Blessings,






You can follow this link in text to visit my Instagram and watch the video.
You can see what I am pinning by following me on Pinterest as well!


Did you like my bunny templates?  They are available as part of a printable set in this month's newsletter.  Info on how to subscribe for your FREE edition is below.  The latest issue will make its way to you when you sign up!


You can click here to see some of the great blogs I am linking up today ...



*Are you subscribed to my FREE monthly newsletter?  You might want to be.  Why?  Well, the newsletter contains bonus material you won't find on the website... not to mention, in those busy months when I can't get regular blog articles up, you can count on this periodical popping up in your email in-box each last Thursday with all new content!  What exactly does the newsletter contain?
  • Encouraging articles on Faith, Home(making), and Homeschool
  • Free printables under different themes each month
  • Insider info on the latest goings-ons with all things on my blog and writing related
You won't find all this great bonus material on the blog so be sure to sign up so you don't miss out!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter" with a  picture of the "Faith and Home Times" logo above it?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!). You should receive a confirmation email from me.  

I look forward to sharing Faith and Home Times with you!!