Monday, April 30, 2012

Radical Love - What If?

Today's Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday post is going to be related to a Sunday School discussion again. We have a lot of good discussions in our class and I usually leave with something that I find myself thinking of numerous times throughout the week.

The word radical came up. 

There are times when we see, sometimes personally face, evil so radical we cannot understand it. We cannot wrap out minds around such a deep evil. We are not that way and we cannot understand it. It is evil beyond our comprehension. It exists in this world and we cannot deny it. We saw it on 9/11. I doubt anyone reading this post can comprehend the kind of radical evil that would cause those people to do the things they did that day.  

And yet, as evil, and almost overwhelming as this is, we know we serve a God even greater than this radical evil. And He is radical too. But a totally different kind of radical. His kind of radical is shown through love. Love of all humankind, love so deep that it was willing to give the ultimate sacrifice to save us from certain destruction.

What if all of us who make the claim to follow Him, to be His children through Jesus, were to live lives so truly radical that those around us would be astounded? They would wonder what it is that makes these people behave this way. How can they love the unlovely, forgive the seemingly unforgivable, go not only the extra mile but many more, not only for their neighbors and friends, but for their enemies? If we were truly ready to live a life of radical love, what would it look like? Would those around us be able to comprehend this love? 

If I truly believe that the God I serve is a God of love, and that in the end this love will conquer all, than it is time for me to start living out what I believe. 

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Monday April 30, 2012

For Today

Outside my window . . . today has been cloudy, sunny, cloudy, partly cloudy. It must be Spring.

I am thinking . . . that today has gone really smoothly, especially for a Monday.

I am thankful . . . for calm days like today.

In the kitchen . . . I made pizza sticks for lunch and a potato and sausage casserole for dinner. 

I am creating . . . still working on my second braided rug. Twenty to thirty minutes a day on a braided rug don't get me very far. But it's fun and every little bit counts.

I am going . . . This afternoon I took Michael to his physical therapy appointment. He was excited to go after missing last week because his therapist had to cancel the appointment. Later I'm going to pick a friend up from work and take her home. 

We are reading . . . during circle time this morning we read The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow and Lady and the Tramp. Yesterday I started reading Minding Your Own Business by Raymond and  Dorothy Moore. I love this book and it's one I reread about once a year. The subtitle is A Common Sense Guide to Home Management and Industry. There are so many helpful ideas and sound principles in this book that it's worth rereading often. 

I am looking forward to . . . our vacation in two weeks. It's going to be an at home vacation but a change of pace will be really nice.

We are learning . . . our videos for circle time this week are - The Phonics Song, Numbers 123, Square, Triangle, Circle - Learning Shapes for Kids, and Birds Video for Kids

Our memory verse for this week is Proverbs 15:1 - A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

I am pondering . . .  Job's Redeemer

A favorite quote for today . . . Flowers don't worry about how they are going to bloom. They just open up and turn towards the light and that makes them beautiful. ~ Jim Carrey

One of my favorite things . . . green tea. I've been making a pitcher of it each morning and we've really been enjoying it.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . it looks like a pretty quiet week. I'm hoping to get a lot of cleaning done and some more seeds planted in the garden.

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Morning Musing Over Coffee - Job's Redeemer

credit: Michelle Meiklejohn

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. ~ Job 19:25

Job had just love everything - his health, his wealth, his children, and the love and respect of His wife. Now his friends were telling him why it was his fault that He had lost all these blessings. 

And Job's reply - I know that my Redeemer lives. What a statement of faith! To look around it certainly didn't look much like there was a living redeemer. And if there was one, it was hard to see why Job would call Him "my Redeemer." But Job chooses to have faith in something, Someone, beyond His sight, but no less real and true. 

What an example of true faith. And what a wake up call for me. If I have a bad day of the normal variety - the kids spill their cereal, the dog gets out and we have to chase her all over the neighborhood to get her back, it's raining outside when I want sunshine, I lose my keys (again!) - I'm tempted to feel sorry for myself and ask God why He's letting me have such a hard time. 

And yet, Job, in the middle of loss I cannot (and don't want to try to) imagine, refuses to rail at God, and instead says "I know that my Redeemer lives." Job knows where his redemption lies and how the story ends. Of course, he had no way of knowing then the many ways that God would once again bless him here on earth, but he did know that in the end all the earthly sorrows and trials would be overcome. 

And God rewarded that faith by giving Job back more than he had at first. God delights in rewarding faith and has always proved Himself faithful. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Morning Musing Over Coffee - A Mission

credit: Michelle Meiklejohn

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. ~ Luke 19:10

And if, as a Christian, I have accepted that salvation and am following Christ, which is what it means to be a Christian, than I to must be seeking the salvation of the lost through Christ.

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation." ~ Mark 16:15

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Friday April 27, 2012

For Today

Outside my window . . . Today has been a beautiful sunny day. I love all the wildflowers and grasses growing in the fields and meadows around our house.

I am thankful . . . for all the wonderful people in my life - family, friends, kids and online friends. 

I am going . . . taking Lauren to and from preschool, making a stop at the grocery store and taking my friend Jennifer to and from work today are what I'll be out and about doing. 

I am wondering . . . if I really grasp how very blessed I am to live in a country full of opportunity and freedom. Yes, we are facing challenges, but we are also still blessed beyond measure. 

Around the house . . . Doug and Michael have gone to do some yard work at our pastor's house, CJ, Mykalin and Cayson are playing in the playroom, Amanda is in her room, and Aaron and Austin are upstairs playing video games. Dinner is ready and we are waiting for Doug and Michael to come home so we can eat. 

A favorite quote for today . . . Maybe a person's time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food. ~ Frank A. Clark

One of my favorite things. . . bread machines. I love the convenience of being able to put the ingredients in the machine and having a fresh loaf of bread. And there are so many wonderful recipes to choose from.  I really need to order the paddle for mine - it disappeared and I can't find it anywhere.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . tomorrow Amanda's cat has vet appointment and she also has her volunteer time at the SPCA. I'm sure CJ and Michael will want to go to the store. Austin has a friend coming over this evening and staying the night and then on Sunday he's planning to go to another friend's house. 

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Not Enough Time? Or Not Enough Focus?

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. ~ Life's Little Instruction Book, compiled by H Jackson Brown, Jr. 

I say it all the time. There's just not enough time in the day. I wish I didn't have to sleep because I could get so much more done if I had those hours available to me every day.

But, it's true, I do have the same number of hours in my day as all the people who accomplished wonderful things had in theirs. I also have the same number of hours in my day as those who squander away their lives on useless pursuits. 

So what makes the difference? Why do some people accomplish so little while others manage to accomplish so much? I believe it's focus.  And focus is hard for me so that means I have to make a conscious effort to make sure I stay focused on the important things in my life.

And what is important? That answer will be different for each person, but it needs to be answered. 

For me the answer looks something like this. 
1. Growing in Christ
2. Family
3. Church
4. Work
5. Writing

The first two priorities on this list are fixed, the other three fluctuate in order of importance depending on what is going on where, but they are all very important to me. 

Knowing what my priorities are and what order they come in helps me to make sure that I am spending my time on the right things. When the first priority is given the proper attention, it is much easier to give the needed time and attention to the next one on the list. And when the first two are cared for, I am free to work on the other things on my list. 

Knowing what my priorities are also helps me not to waste time on unimportant things. Anything that does not help me in these areas needs to be looked at carefully to see if it is a waste of my time. When these time wasters are cut out it's amazing how much more gets accomplished in the areas of importance. But when I forget to make sure how I spend my time lines up with what is truly important to me, I find myself drifting aimlessly and wondering why nothing is getting accomplished. 

What are your priorities and how do you make sure that you stay focused on what is truly important?

Morning Musing Over Coffee - By Grace

credit: Michelle Meiklejohn

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. ~ Romans 12:11,12

There is so much packed into these two verses for me to live up to! Zeal, fervor, service, joy, patience, and faithfulness. Wow! What a tall order!

I know there is no way I can do all this on my own. And these are just two verses in the middle of a long line of verses filled with similar instructions. 

But when I looked closer at this whole chapter I noticed something in verse 3. Paul says "For by the grace given unto me I say to every one of you:" and then he proceeds to give a whole list of instructions. I think Paul understood that it was only by God's grace that he was able to follow Him, and that it would only be by God's grace that anyone else would be able to as well.

I am not meant to live this Christian life on my own and neither are you. We are only able to do so by God's grace, which we receive through His Son, Jesus. Without this we are completely inept, unable to do any real good, or to live a life pleasing to God. 

God never asks us to do something that He will not equip us  for and help us to grow into. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Thursday April 26, 2012

For Today

Outside my window . . . 63 degrees, sunny and breezy.

I am thankful . . . that Austin's eye doesn't seem to be getting any worse. I think it's just allergies so I decided not to take him to the doctor today. 

In the kitchen . . . Stir fried cabbage with sausage and onions. This is one of Doug's favorite foods.

I am going . . . nowhere today. I'm enjoying having all day at home.

I am reading . . . so many good blog posts today. Here are some of them - 
{teach} Strengths-Based 
Obama: Video Games Better Than Farm Chores
How to Generate a Sustainable Income Without Working Nine-to-Five

Around the house . . . Doug is in the garage working on our pastor's lawnmower, and CJ and Cayson are watching NickJr. Austin, Amanda and Michael are gone this evening. 

A favorite quote for today . . . You cannot plow a field by turning it over in your mind. ~ Author Unknown

A peek into my day . . . Doug brought some wood home from work today and Michael wanted to help unload it. 

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

We tried something recently that some of my family had serious doubts about ended up (for the most part) really liking. It's definitely going to be making a reappearance at our table. That something is Cauliflower Pizza Crust.

I've seen several different versions of this but here is how I made it.

2 cups cooked, mashed cauliflower (I just mashed it with a fork)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 eggs
salt to taste
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons parsley

Mix first four ingredients together and spread on a large, greased pizza pan. Sprinkle with oregano and parsley. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 - 20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. 

Remove from oven and top with sauce, cheese and other toppings. Return to oven and bake until cheese has melted. 

This crust was a little softer than some pizza crusts and we ate some of our pizza with our forks. But the texture and flavor were wonderful! 

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Morning Musing Over Coffee - Our Intercessor

credit: Michelle Meiklejohn

Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. ~ Hebrews 7:25

It is so wonderful to know that Jesus is constantly interceding for us. No matter how hard we try we will fail but Jesus is there on our behalf, to secure our forgiveness and to give us the strength to get up and try again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Wednesday April 25, 2012

For Today

Outside my window . . . 57 degrees and dark. I loved having warmer weather today and tomorrow will be even warmer.

I thinking . . . that it's been a very busy week so far.

 I am thankful . . . that I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow.

In the kitchen . . . sandwiches for lunch and dinner at church this evening.

I am creating . . . I worked on my second braided rug for awhile this afternoon. I love seeing all the colors go together as I braid and sew. I do not love sore fingertips but I can't seem to get the hang of using a thimble when I sew. 

I am going . . . I went to church this evening. I had ten five and six year old in class this evening but it went well. I also have a wonderful helper and that makes all the difference in the world.

I am wondering . . . if Austin has pink eye. His right eye has been getting redder all day and now it's starting to move into his left eye. I guess if it's not better by morning I'll have to call the doctor.

I am hoping . . . That he does not have pink eye.

 I am looking forward to . . . eating lettuce from the garden soon. I got a handful of radishes from the garden today and ate them all for a snack. I also hoed five rows in the garden while I was out with the kids this morning. 

We are learning . . . about nature. On our morning walk we saw some deer tracks in the soft ground.

This afternoon Lauren and Khristian found a slimy slug that they enjoyed watching.

In his workbook Michael has finished the section on same and different and started working on the section about rhyming words.

Around the house . . . it's very quiet. Everyone but me is either asleep or doing something quiet in their room.

A favorite quote for today . . . He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. ~ Henry Ward Beecher

A peek into my day . . . Here Michael is trying to hook the trailer up to his bicycle.

Benefits of Outdoor Play for Kids With ADHD and Mood Disorders

Kids have lots of energy. Kids with ADHD have even more energy. And when you mix in a mood disorder with the ADHD and multiply that by two because there are two kids dealing with the same things, it can really get interesting. 

One of my favorite ways to deal with this is to get outside. Get outside and move. A lot. For hours. As often as possible. Spending time outside is simply part of our routine and it is expected. It is non-negotiable. If the weather is nice we are going outside. And when the kids get used to the idea it becomes a welcome part of the day. As you can see from our schedule here we currently have around four hours a day scheduled to be outside. This varies with the seasons of course but as much as possible we try to get out of the house. 

Being outside offers a lot of benefits for a child with abundant energy and the need to move a lot and make a lot of noise. There are fewer restrictions to constantly have to be reminded of. There is room to run and jump and throw things and climb things. There is freedom from the constant reminder to "use your inside voice." For a child who is struggling with remembering all the rules while dealing with all the erratic brain signals this can be very freeing. 

Many children with ADHD and mood disorders may also benefit from the neurotransmitters and endorphins that are produced in the brain during exercise. The neurotransmitters dopamine, neurepinephrine and seratonin are lower in children with ADHD. These substances can also benefit those with symptoms of mood disorders. So all that running and jumping and throwing and riding has not only the benefit of burning off some energy but also producing some pretty important substances in the brain. 

Studies have also shown that some children's ADHD symptoms are milder after playing in green spaces. There is something about being out in nature that seems to quiet the brain and help control the random impulses that are so problematic for children with ADHD.

And all these benefits are free for the taking. Just open the door and head to the backyard or nearest park or playground and have fun!


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