I hope you are enjoying the music that accompanies the Christmas season! What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Now that it's socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music, my son and I have been enjoying dancing around the house to our Christmas station on Pandora. If I had to narrow all the songs down to a few of my favorites, as of 2013, this is what my list would be (as always, use discretion when viewing ads or reading comments on YouTube):
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The more time I spend surfing the blogosphere, the more I realize that there are an endless number of blogs out there, many of which look very inviting. But if I were to add every single interesting blog to my RSS reader, I would without a doubt become very overwhelmed (and with a toddler to take care of, I just don't have that kind of time!). So, after I have taken some time to thoroughly check out a blog, what makes me decide to follow it or not?
1) The Author Takes Time to Communicate: My biggest motivation for blogging myself is for the sense of community. I value interaction with my readers, and therefore appreciate it when another blogger takes time (no matter how delayed) to respond to comments I leave on their posts. The same holds true for emails.
2) I Know the Author: I'm not gonna lie: if I know you in person, I will likely put your blog at the top of my "blogs to check out" list.
3) I am Learning Useful Information: There are a few blogs I follow because I have learned valuable information. One particular blog gave me the idea of going gluten-free to resolve some health issues -- so far with great success. Other blogs I follow because they post good recipes or homemaking tips.
4) Taking a Moment for the "Little Guy": I can think of at least one blog that I follow mostly because the author took the time to check me out, comment on my Facebook page, and even gave me the opportunity to guest post for her site. It's nice to see the occasional big blogger who remembers what it's like to be a small blogger, and who takes a moment to reach out to the "little guys." (If this blog ever takes off, please don't let me forget this, okay?)
5) Humility: I really appreciate it when bloggers remember that they aren't infallible (only God is). It is easier to respect a blogger who can graciously deal with criticism, and even admit to mistakes. After all, most of us (myself included), are just regular people.
Blogs that don't make the cut, but I still find the occasional intriguing article on, I follow via social networking. That way I can see when those blogs are updated, but I don't feel compelled to check out every single post.
Just in case you're wondering, here are some things that turn me away from a blog:
1) Poor Grammar/Spelling: Now, I'm not expecting everyone to be able to write perfectly (I'm talking about chronic errors, here), but if you're typing on a computer you probably have access to spellchecker. Use it if you need to. Or better yet, have someone else proofread your posts before you publish them.
2) Hard to Navigate: I like to read through a blog for a bit to help me figure out if it's worth following or not. If the archive is hard to figure out (or even find), I often won't take the time to look for it.
3) Icky Content: Call me closed-minded, but I won't read blogs that bash my Savior (or that promote blatantly unbiblical material), or that contain inappropriate content (including the advertisements).
4) Haughty Tone: No one likes to listen to a "know-it-all" -- at least I don't. While I enjoy learning from others, I don't enjoy listening to (or reading from) someone who thinks they are above correction. Yes, hold firm to your convictions, but please realize that none of us are perfect this side of Heaven.
What makes you decide to follow a blog?
Saturday, November 30, 2013
When I was pregnant with my son I never went through a nesting phase. It might have been because we lived in an apartment at the time, and my son shared a bedroom with my husband and me. But even after we moved into our house and our son got his own bedroom, I still never decked out the nursery. I just have a hard time justifying putting money (not to mention time and effort) into something that in a few years, my son won't want in his room any more. And so, his room stayed pretty plain.
Sigh. After a while that started to bother me, though. If I could give you a tour of my house, you'd see that I don't like plain. I love having pictures on the walls. I love being surrounded by things that make me happy and are reminders of the relationships God has blessed us with. One of my favorite parts about moving into our home was decorating it. But still, money and effort for something that really won't last very long....
So I decided to put one of my son's coloring books to good use and make some simple wall-hangings out of them. That way, when my son wants something a little more sophisticated, I won't have a problem with tossing the baby decorations. And the money and effort? It was practically free, and all I had to do was spend some time coloring. Not bad.
First, I decided on a page. My son likes trucks, so that's what I started with.
Then I colored it.
On the back I attached a large piece of card stock to keep the page from folding in on itself. I also cut a hole in the top to hang the poster from.
After I finished two more of these, I hung them up using an old rope I had laying around the house (just to reduce the number of holes I had to put in the wall).
(Shhh... I may have cheated and used a little tape on the back to make them lay flat on the wall.)
Sure, they're not the fanciest things out there, but they add some color to the room and the two-year-old likes them.
Did you go through a nesting phase? Do you have any creative/frugal nursery decorations?
As of 12/2/13, this post is linked to Babies and Beyond.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I shouldn't have been surprised. With the ever increasing commercialization of holidays, retailers are pulling out the seasonal merchandise earlier and earlier. But when we walked into Costco about a week before Halloween and saw Christmas displays already up? Come on people -- we need to have Thanksgiving first!
As one of my husband's co-workers put it: "I'll take one holiday at a time, thank you!" And so, with it being November, my family has slowed down to enjoy Thanksgiving and the days leading up to it. I have a few fall decorations up (Christmas ones won't come out until after Thanksgiving), and we're working on our Thankful Poster. And we'll be spending Thanksgiving Day enjoying a meal and fellowship with family.
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Th 5:16-18)
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving day!
Monday, November 25, 2013
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11)
Earlier this month we had the water tank at our rental property die on us. About a month before that our refrigerator went kaput. And then a couple weeks ago our dishwasher breathed it's last breath.
Phew! "When it rains, it pours," right?
Since the dishwasher didn't have to be an immediate fix, we spent some time shopping around. We contemplated getting a used or refurbished one (like we did with our washer and dryer), but we're just so tired of used appliances dying on us. So we decided on this one:
|Complete with toddler hand prints. :-)|
Stainless steel was the same price as the white one, and since we prefer the look of stainless steel (but never buy it because the price is outrageous), we figured we'd go for it this time. I don't really like black in my kitchen, but I do appreciate how the blank control panel hides dirt. Oh, and it's huge!
The silverware sits on the inside of the door, freeing up space for more cups and dishes. Both racks are nice and deep so I usually don't have to play Tetras trying to get everything to fit.
And I know this is a "first-world problem," but it's so nice not to have to do dishes three times a day by hand! Now I can use that time to play with my little guy. :-)
Sunday, November 24, 2013
As I've been attending a ladies' Bible study this year, I have been convicted about being more intentional about sharing the Gospel. Trying to figure out how to do that while being a stay-at-home mom (and all the responsibilities that come with that title), has been a bit perplexing. I've been praying over that conviction and God has given me one answer.
A few weeks ago I had two Mormon ladies show up at my house. They looked like two high school girls so I felt comfortable opening the door. As much as I wanted to talk with them, I couldn't just drop everything (especially with a two-year-old running around) and have a deep theological discussion with them. So I got their phone number (if they're really serious about converting you, they should be willing to give you some sort of contact information -- and in this case, these ladies had a phone number just for missionary purposes), and arranged a time to talk to them on the phone after my son went to bed.
Now, I wouldn't recommend answering the door to just anyone (I personally won't open the door for any men I don't know), but this is just one way we can reach people for Christ while being workers at home. So, if you ever have Mormons (or Jehovah's Witnesses) come to your house, here are some verses you can share that point to the deity of Jesus Christ (several of these were suggested by a friend of mine who has developed a flyer that she hands out when people come knocking on her door):
Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Mark 2:5-7: When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven you.' And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 'Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'
Luke 5:20-21: When He saw their faith, He said to him, 'Man, your sins are forgiven you.' And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, 'Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'
John 1:1-3: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
John 5:18: Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, Making Himself equal with God.
John 10:30: I and My Father are One.
John 20:28: And Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and My God!'
Colossians 1:15-18: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And he is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Colossians 2:9: For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily...
Titus 2:13: looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ...
2 Peter 1:1: Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus ChristI figured if God brought them right to me that I couldn't let them go without sharing His truth!
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
It's no secret to our friends and family that my husband and I have been trying for our second baby for almost a year now. While we do wish for God to give us more children, so far we're pretty content with knowing that His plan for us is better than what we think we need. I would be lying if I said I never get bummed out, because when another month goes by and I'm not pregnant, sometimes I do. But there was a time when I thought I wouldn't have any children, and God blessed me with a sweet baby boy. And so, I am resting in His sovereignty.
I was discussing all of this with a friend a while back, and "the phrase" came up. I'm sure you've all heard it too: "God knows what you can handle." It's a phrase I usually don't give much thought to anymore because it's thrown around so much. But the context of this conversation -- a friend telling me that God knows what I can handle in terms of how many children He will give me -- made me think about the phrase more than usual. Actually, it's been rolling around in my head for a few weeks, now.
Because I think that phrase isn't completely accurate.
I think "God knows what you can handle," implies that we have some innate ability to tackle the trials and circumstances of this life. But when I read Scripture, I see a completely different message:
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seek after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. (Romans 3:10-12)
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
It looks like to me we're all on the same playing field. While from a human perspective it may look like some people are better at handling stressful situations than others, it is the grace of God that empowers them to do so.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)Even so, we shouldn't be comparing ourselves to each other in the first place. We should be keeping our eyes focused on Christ.
So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:12-17)
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:6)As of November 25th, 2013, this post is linked to Babies and Beyond.