Thursday, October 24, 2013


I just got back from a Women's Retreat our church had this past weekend. I am so fortunate that Tad really pushed me to go; not that I didn't want to go, but the thought of spending the money and finding someone to watch the kids is a little stressful. But he really thought I should go, and his sister came from out of town to watch the kids while Tad was at work. The Lord has been doing such amazing things in my life. Which is so comforting because it reminds me that He hasn't given up on me, despite all my faults. Things have been tough lately, I'm not gonna lie, but God has a way of reminding us of Himself, reminding us that it's not all about us, and directing us back to Him.
The retreat was such a time of refreshment, relaxation, a time to get away from the normal distractions of 3 little ones that always need my attention, and a house and a slew of other things that need my attention, and to just breath. And think. And pray. And to be with other like-minded Christian women to laugh with and talk about spiritual things with. It's not like retreat can happen all the time, but when the Lord blesses us with it, we can appreciate it all the more.
The theme of the retreat was "You are His Treasure" and the messages were powerful. The speaker was this amazing missionary who spends most of the year living in Sudan, where there is no electricity or running water. Her messages were vibrant with her passion for the Lord spilling over. I wanted to catch her passion! She talked about so many amazing things. She said that we are so resistant to change that we settle for less, and we are getting jipped. She said the more broken we are, the more eligible we are for service, and the more love can leak out. I was pretty broken on retreat, and I think that I needed to hear that so that I didn't go away thinking I was a failure, or ineligible. That is what Satan wants us to think. But when we feel like we are nothing, when we have nothing left to give, when we feel like we couldn't possibly do anything for Jesus, that's when we are in the perfect place for Him to use us because it needs to be Him working His amazing power in us. When we are prideful, and feel like "we got this" and that we have "arrived" in our spiritual walks, then we have all kinds of walls built up around us, and it is hard for God to use that. I have to keep remembering this. How often do we think that we have to just try harder, do better, memorize some more Scripture, get up a little earlier, attend one more church service, and then God will be more pleased with me? That's the way the world works, so that's how our mind assumes that God works. But God is bigger. He is bigger than our stuff, and our best efforts. And He is here to radically change our lives. Now!! Not just in heaven, not just for eternity, but He is offering us new life, that we would be a new creation, and I am begging you all to take hold of what He has for you! Even if you are already a believer, He has more for you! More of His power, more of His Spirit, more opportunities, and each day is a new day of grace, opportunities, forgiveness, growth, evangelism, and surrender. We must surrender our all to Him, so He can work with all of us. Don't hold anything back. And you will not be disappointed.
She also talked about our sword, the Word of God, and knowing it well. And how the stronger the Spirit gets, the weaker our flesh gets. And one big thing that stuck in my mind is that, "our life's hurts are temporal-they will pass away." Such perspective. What are we going through right now that is menial compared to the greatness of our God and the things that matter for eternity? And how many of those things are we letting into our hearts to sabotage the work of the Lord? Are we quenching the Spirit in our lives by roots of bitterness? She also said, "The more I realize that I am the Lord's treasure, the more He will become my treasure." It reminds me of 1 John 4:19 which says, "We love because he first loved us."
The speaker also said, "we don't have to be able, we just have to be willing." Are we really able to do anything without the Lord? "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3
"Each time we die to ourselves, a little bit of us dies and a little more of Jesus takes over." Humility. Such a tough thing for us prideful human beings who always want to be right, have the last word, not let anyone speak out against us. We can be ruthless. But what does God want us to do? What did Jesus model for us? To be servants. To be humble. To not return evil for evil, but to overcome evil with good. To love our enemies. To do good to those who hurt us. Easier said than done, but when we let go of ourselves, and let God work in and through us, we will start to see more of Him, and less of us.
So, really, I could go on and on, but those were just some of the highlights from retreat. And if you are a momma who just can't get away on a retreat, then see if you can go on a mini-retreat! One blogger goes on a prayer/planning retreat every week! On Sundays, she gets away for a couple of hours while her husband keeps the kids, and she gets her week planned out and spends time alone with God, getting refreshed and renewed. I think we need to be recharged and rest every once in awhile so we can be the best mommies we can be to our kids. We need that daily time with God, our daily bread, but we also need some extended time every now and then, however we can get it, to rest and reflect, and to really hear what God would have for us at that time. I hope all of you are encouraged and excited about what God has for your life. Don't get stagnant! Ask for God to fill you to overflowing with love, passion, surrender, willingness, and humility! Don't waste your life on anything less than Him!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Berry Coconut Steel Cut Oats

image credit

I am a huge fan of steel cut oats. They are so much better (and healthier!) than regular oats. And so far, we have been giving Madelynn oats and such and they don't seem to bother her. A lot of gluten-free people stay away from oats altogether; they are not considered a gluten-free food, but hopefully they aren't doing any harm to Maddy's system since they don't seem to be making her sick! This recipe comes from a great website, that I've used before, called Super Healthy Kids, and they have so many great recipes for kids to have for snacks, meals, to help make in the kitchen, to sneak in fruits and veggies into their diets, and things that are good for the whole family to eat! So check them out!

Berry Coconut Steel Cut Oats

2 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup frozen mixed berries

1. To make this, bring the first 4 ingredients to a boil in your saucepan.
2. Add the steel cut oats. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.
3. Add the mixed berries, bring to a slight boil, and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, covered.

Super easy, right? It was yummy! If you need some added sweetness, you could add some raw sugar or other sweetener like honey, and we also added some coconut flakes to the top of ours! It makes about 4 servings, and you could make a double batch and have breakfast ready to warm up each morning! The possibilities really are endless with oatmeal! Just add whatever ingredients you like into your oatmeal! Peanut butter is amazing, let me just say! Here's to brisk, fall mornings and warm bowls of oatmeal!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It's Been Awhile!!

My friends! It has been so long since I have put out a blog post! Our computer died, and so we spent the summer without a computer, but since we have gotten one, we have been so busy with school (and Judah is doing preschool at home this year!), Classical Conversations, swim lessons, church, and life with 3 kids! I'm sure some of you wondered if I fell off the planet or something! I have missed putting up my favorite recipes, blogging about homemaking, tips I have learned, life, and stuff that makes my life interesting! I have so many things to share as I get back to blogging. In April, I got into a weight loss group on Facebook and have lost about 15 pounds (give or take what day it is!) I would love to share about that! Also, I am in my second year of tutoring (teaching) Maddy's class at Classical Conversations. So I have the children that are mostly in 2nd grade. This year is going great!
Another cool thing is that God has been doing some awesome things in my heart, and I have finished a book that I want to share about that was really awesome! There were 2 things that I realized at the beginning of this school year that have really helped me in my everyday life. The first thing is that I realized I needed to get up earlier than my kids in the morning. I used to do this before I got pregnant with Ruth, inspired by the blog "Inspired to Action" where there is a whole "movement" to Maximize Your Mornings (link on the right hand side of the blog). When you are not in the habit of getting up early, it may seem like an impossible feat. But once you start, and you realize the amazing quiet before the kids get up, and that quiet time you can spend with God, you will get addicted to it! The other thing I realized, with my quiet times seeming boring and not drawing me closer to God, was that I really needed to spend quiet time with God. Not just time before my kids got up, but time where I wasn't doing anything else. Where I could just listen to worship music. Or just sit in the quiet. Or where I could "be still, and know that He is God." (Psalm 46:1) And then, randomnly, I picked a book off our bookshelf (I don't know where we got it, or how long we have had it), and decided to use it during my devotion time. It is an oldie, by A.W. Tozer, called "The Pursuit of God." And boy did God drop that in my lap at the right time. It was about the very thing I had been missing in my walk with God. That sweet fellowship and intimacy that comes from pursuing God and seeking that quiet time of drawing near to God that we all too often miss out on. And when we just read the Bible (check), pray (check), and do all our church duties (check, check), it can start to feel dull. And we can start to get resentful. And feel like we are wasting our time. But when we can turn off the distractions, and actually let God do the talking, when we can just listen, and be thankful, and draw near to Him, He will change our hearst. And it starts to feel different. And new. And amazing. And you will be fed. And as mommies of little children who need us for a million different things all day long, we need to be fed or we will burn out. And we can just feel overwhelmed with a million different to-do lists that seem like they have no purpose. Things that get undone 10 minutes after we do them. And the other reason I felt like it was so important to get up before the kids, was so I could also plan my day right after my time with God. Know what I want to accomplish for the day, check the account and be on top of the finances daily (something I was slacking on), know what we are having for dinner and how much prep time I will need, look at the calendar, and just be prepared for the day.

Before I got up early, I would wake up with kids who needed something, I would be groggy as my husband left for work with minimal breakfast, I had no idea what was for dinner, how much was in the account, or what I was doing that day. And that's when my life was feeling overwhelming and I felt like it was out of control. But with my new plan in place, I was getting fed by God first thing in the morning, having relaxing, quiet time with God to start off my day, and knew what my chores were for the day, and what the plan for the day would be. These 2 things have really helped me a lot during this crazy, hectic season of homeschooling 2 kids, preparing for CC each week, and a load of other responsibilities.

I hope everyone is well. I hope to hear from some of my regular readers from before, and hope to encourage some new moms as well who are in the thick of it, busy but satisfied staying home with little ones. Maybe we have homeschooling in common, our relationship with God, Classical Conversations, being a stay-at-home mom, or a love for cooking, but whatever it may be, I hope this blog will encourage you and give you some new ideas for how to make your life easier, more fun, or at least make your house smell yummy with some new recipes to try! Happy Fall!!