Don’t Fall Into the Trap!

This is an interesting looking trap isn’t it? It’s brightly colored, ginormous, and even though is clearly a trap, it looks almost like a huge toy on a playground. No matter how interesting it looks, it is still a trap. If something sets it off, it is going to get crushed.

The enemy is constantly trying to tempt us with fun and intriguing things. Lately, he’s been trying to lure me into his trap. He’s been trying to get me to give up and give in. There are days, when I’m so weary of doing what is good and right that I am almost willing to fall face first into that trap.

I am tired, exhausted, burned out, weary of being fighting for what is right…of being peculiar. It seems like the influence of the world is constantly pulling at my family and friends. The enemy is using the pull of popular culture and society to try to pull me and my loved ones down into the trap.

As a parent, I set rules and boundaries for my family to keep them grounded in God’s word and family values. However, there is the constant pull from television, radio, magazines, books, and other people who contradict those values. There is even the pull from within to be complacent or lazy by spending more time watching tv than reading the Bible. Electronic devices are addictive and have more temptations than we can possibly count.

Televisions and devices can be turned off, unplugged, or even taken away to prevent temptations. Relationships are another story. Well meaning friends and family just don’t understand why I don’t want my television on 24/7. They think we are being too conservative or sticks-in-the-mud for not allowing our children to watch popular television shows. They say everyone watches it. It’s just things they see every day on the street. What’s the difference? They don’t understand why we set time limits and curfews on devices.

First of all, just because things happen in our world every day does not mean we should inundate our children with those activities. We shouldn’t desensitize them to them, making them believe that the immoral and reprehensible are the norm. Think about it–murders happen out on the street every day, but we don’t sit our children down on the street corner in front of criminal activity with a bag of popcorn and a soda and call it family entertainment. That’s essentially what we are doing every single time we turn on the boob tube.

We are called to be a peculiar people. We are NOT called to be like everyone else, to fit in, to become the social norm. This is, however, what the world will tell you. If you are like me, you struggle for so long pulling toward God in this tug of war against the enemy. He pulls so hard and for so long and he even sends those closest to you to roll their eyes, argue, and entice you to give up the fight and fall into the trap.

I have to be honest with you. I am soooo tired of pulling on the rope trying to keep my loved ones on God’s side, and I am sure you are too. BUT as The Lord has reminded me lately a little hard work and dirt from digging in my heels is a small price to pay compared to falling into the trap, especially when I think about the fact that my loved ones will fall into the trap with me.

We have got to stay diligent and consistent. The cost of giving up is too great. I just want to encourage you today to remain godly “peculiar”. Don’t let the enemy make you feel like you are alone in the fight. You aren’t alone. There are so many of us out there who are freakishly conservative as the world may call us.

We are called by God to be a peculiar people–peculiar in how we are entertained, peculiar in how we treat and respect others, peculiar in our speech, thoughts, and actions, peculiar in how we wisely we spend our time. The enemy wants us to believe being peculiar is strange, weird, and complicated. Guess what? It is all of those things, but at stake is the eternal destination of ourselves and our loved ones. There should be no question as to where we stand. Hang in there. Do not fall into the fight. You are not alone. Keep moving closer to God.

Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”

Deuteronomy 12:6 “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth”

1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world”

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Shielding Your Family from This Season’s Germs

As a family of six, whenever we are exposed to viruses we try to take as many precautions as we can to prevent the spread of germs. We have our routine preventative measures, but we also employ extra methods to prevent the spread of germs. Otherwise, it is going to run its course through our entire home and can take a month or more to leave us.

One thing we do on a regular basis is keep our toothbrushes covered with those plastic covers. I use natural toothpaste that is white and my toothbrush cover is also white so when I see it looking a little dirty, it disgusts me. I disinfect and clean it often, but I always worry about germs that may be lurking on it and jumping onto my toothbrush. I mean, that kinda defeats the who purpose.
toothbrushes

Recently, I was introduced to IntelliDent Toothbrush Shields. They are made of breathable material that allows your toothbrush to dry. These sleeves simply slide down right over the head of your toothbrush. They are actually disposable, so you don’t have to take the time to disinfect them.

My children really appreciated not having to try to turn they plastic covers a certain way to lock them into place. There is no wrong side of the toothbrush shields, so they are able to just slip them over the toothbrush and go.

They are tested and proven to be effective for up to seven days, so you don’t have to use a new one each day. They are compact which makes them easy to store in our already crowded bathrooms, and they work well for travel.

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy it when I am able to let go of some tasks and worries. It’s been nice to not have to clean my old plastic toothbrush cover. It’s been even nicer not to worry about germs that might be trapped or growing on the plastic holders and as a result all of our toothbrushes and into our bodies.

They also have mouthpiece shields that work well for retainers. My oldest wears a retainer every night. She attends college and works in the food industry. She brings home lots of germs, so having a mouthpiece shield gives peace of mind as well. Plastic retainer keepers containers can be disgusting.

I highly recommend IntelliDent Shields. If you’d like more information about them, you can contact them directly at info@toothbrushshield.com or on their website.

To prevent the spread of germs, we use preventives and immunity boosters through essential oils and other natural sources. We always keep a safe distance from anyone in our home who is sick. We make sure we keep our children home when they are sick and don’t share germs with others.  We don’t eat or drink after each other. We don’t eat off of the ground or floor. I know everyone says a little dirt never hurt anyone, but that is just disgusting. Do you realize how much animal feces and bacteria we step on outside and then bring inside our home from our shoes onto our floors. You can get hook worms and other parasites from these nasty practices and many times not know it until you become very sick. These can also be spread to your family members. Ultimately, we try to provide a clean environment for our family to prevent as much sickness as possible.

I pray you and your family practice good hygiene, take measures to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs, and that you have a healthy season!

*I have not received compensation for this post, but I did receive IntelliDent Toothbrush Shields to review.

Peanut Butter Cookies – Low Carb, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, THM S

A sweet aroma is in the air… Well, love is in the air too since it is Valentine’s Week. Today, I’m sharing a new cookie recipe I’ve been making for my sweet valentines lately. It’s a delicious peanut butter cookie recipe that is healthy, sugar free, gluten free, and low carb. For Trim Healthy Mamas, these cookies are a satisfying S that shows how much you love yourself and your family.

pb cookies 1

Peanut Butter Cookies, low carb, sugar free, THM S

½ cup butter

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup Gentle Sweet and 1-2 tsp for garnish

1-2 doonks pure stevia extract

1½ cups Trim Healthy Mama Baking Blend

½ tsp mineral salt

¾ cup sugar free peanut butter

2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

*optional ½ cup Lily’s Sugar Free Chocolate Chips

Using mixer, cream butter, gentle sweet, and stevia. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Mix in peanut butter. Add baking blend, baking powder and salt. Stir in optional chocolate chips. Scoop tablespoon-sized amounts of dough and roll into a ball and place on prepared cookie sheet or stoneware. Gently smash down with fork and sprinkle each one with gentle sweet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

Enjoy!

Encouragement for “One of Those Days”

One of Those DaysEver have “one of those days”? Lately, I’ve been having them often. Attempting to balance homeschooling, taking care of my family, and now a business, is taking its toll on me some days. Running a business is a full time job in and of itself, but it’s not my primary calling. Some days I feel like a stretched out piece of elastic that has lost it’s elasticity. I can’t bounce back enough to benefit anyone.

How do you possibly do everything on your list when you have more tasks than there are hours in a day? Other than starting your day with The Lord, giving Him control of your day, and prioritizing, I really don’t have the answer. That’s okay…sometimes there isn’t an immediate and tangible answer. Sometimes we just need hope and encouragement to help us persevere.Keep your quiet moment appointments with The Lord. Read and pray on the scriptures below, and rest in their wisdom and promises. Remember God always keeps His promises.

  • I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
  • The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
  • God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  • Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22
  • I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
  • So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Hebrews 13:6
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
  • Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
  • In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5
  • For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear.  I will help you.” Isaiah 41:14
  • He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Hang in there, my friends! Remember, God is faithful!

Names of Jesus Ornaments with Christmas Devotions

christmas-ornaments-watermarkedIn years past we’ve used a Jesse Tree and devotions during the Christmas season.  A few years ago I was pinning some of my favorite Christmas crafts I came across a picture of some beautifully crafted glass ornaments with the names of Jesus on them.  I repinned the post and read later (like most of us do when we are short on time).  I really liked this idea, because I ADORE anything that reminds me of all of the names of my precious Jesus.  I also liked the idea that each of my children could make their own set of ornaments to celebrate the advent season.  Not only could they use them to decorate their own trees in their rooms, but they could also keep them over the years and share them with their children.

I began researching and found an awesome Names of Jesus unit study here from the Easy Fun School website.  It teaches 24 names of Jesus, scripture, handwriting pages, word searches, and activities for each subject which are tied to the lesson.  The study actually includes a list of all of the names of Jesus so you can study even more. We did this study and made these ornaments years ago, but my children still use these today and they plan to use their ornaments in their own home some day.

To create our Names of Jesus ornaments and Bible study, I went to my craft closet and gathered all of my supply bins.  I purchased sets of fillable glass ornaments for each child (and one for myself).  I would get extra in case some break.  You can also purchase acrylic ornaments, but they are more costly.

You could utilize paint pens in black, gold and silver to write the names of Jesus and the scripture reference on the outside of the ornaments or you could purchase vinyl decals here.

There are lots of options for decorating the ornaments:

  1. You could pour a small amount of paint into the inside of the ornament, cover the whole and shake. You can also swirl a few colors into the ornaments to give them a marbelized effect. Then be sure to turn the ornament upside down and put it into a bathroom sized paper or plastic cup to drain for a day or two.
  2. I love the look of glittered ornaments, but glitter on the outside is extremely messy. Polycrylic is a clean and beautiful way to glitter ornaments. Simply pour a little polycrylic into the ornament and immediately turn the ornament upside down into a cup to drain out the excess. Then sprinkle a little of your favorite color glitter into the ornament and slowly turn the ornament around in your hands to coat the entire inside with glitter. Add more if needed. Then turn the ornament upside down into another cup to allow the excess glitter to sprinkle out. Then you can immediately put your top back into your ornament. You can pour your excess glitter and polycrylic from your cups back into their respective containers. e of the ornaments, squirt small amounts of paint inside and shake.  You can swirl more than one color inside as well.
  3. Fill ornaments with trinkets that pertain to the scripture reference. For example, for “Bright and Morning Star” we filled our ornament with star confetti. We didn’t completely fill our ornaments with trinkets as sometimes that makes the label on the outside difficult to read. You can also see the trinkets better as well.

You can easily fill ornaments with sweet trinkets. However, I found that it could be quite pricey to fill them completely so I only fill ours half way to be thrify. It also makes it easier to see the trinkets when there is still room inside the ornament. Be creative with your trinkets. If you need some inspiration, here are some ideas:

1. Alpha & Omega–fill with cutouts of the Alpha & Omega symbol.
2. Wonderful Counselor–fill with paint or glitter or beads or filler.
3. Mighty God–fill with cutouts of barbels or gold ball filler or beads.
4. Everlasting Father–fill with artificial pine needles or paint green for evergreens.
5. Prince of Peace–fill with dove confetti or cutouts of doves or crowns or artificial snow filler.
6. The Firstborn of Every Creature– Fill ornament with birthday candles or birthday confetti.
7. The Unspeakable Gift–we made cutouts of gifts using small construction paper or gift-shaped confetti or little bows.
8. Lamb of God–fill with cotton or fiberfill.
9. The Good Shepherd-fill with cutouts of shepherd staffs or mini candy canes.
10. Bright & Morning Star-fill with star-shaped sequins.
11. Messiah–glitter or paint.
12. Immanuel–another filled with paint, glitter, sequins, or beads.
13. Holy–glitter or paint.
14. Light of the World–mini light ornaments or mini light bulbs (just be sure they will fit in the hole of the ornament).

15. Dayspring–glitter or gold, pink, orange paint to represent the colors of a sunrise.
16. The Word–In small font, I printed John 1:1 on paper, cut out multiple, curl, and put inside ornament or Bible confetti.
17. Servant–I printed a small picture of Jesus washing the disciples feet and put inside ornament or paint/glitter.
18. King–Fill with gems or crowns.
19. Rose of Sharon–Fill with real or silk rose petals.
20. Lily of the Valley–Fill with silk lily petals, paint or glitter.
21. Friend–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.
22. Savior–Fill with cutout crosses or cross shaped beads
23. Shiloh–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.
24. Ancient of Days–Fill with paint, glitter, sequins or beads.

When your ornaments are all dry you can store them in their box or put them in a bowl, etc.  You can begin utilizing them in whatever fashion works for your family.  We started on December 1st and will follow the study daily for 24 days as a family during our night time devotions, but this is a unit study so you could actually use it during your homeschool day.  During our devotions, we study the name and verse.  We have chosen activities from each day to do together as a family.  Then we close in prayer and each of us puts our ornament of the day on the tree.  Sometimes we put them on the tree. Other years we put them in a crystal bowl or wooden box on our table so we can reflect on the names each time we pass through or sit down to eat in the heart of our home.

If you need simplicity this Christmas season, you can purchase a set of 12 Names of Jesus ornaments here. They come with printed scripture reference and prayer focus. I pray your family is able to utilize this and other ways to enjoy celebrating Jesus throughout the Christmas season.

Encouragement for Women Warriors

This is a long read, but please hang in there. These are thoughts and enouragement I just had to get out there ASAP:

Women everywhere are offended and discouraged by the results of the election. Believe me, I completely understand. I am not a Trump supporter. He can be offensive, not just to women. No one wants filthy language hurled at them. No one wants to be demeaned and degraded into a piece of meat. No one wants to be treated like they are inferior. No one wants to be treated like their feelings and beliefs don’t mean anything. No one wants to be treated like they are worthless.  No one wants someone trying to usurp their power, trying to conquer them. No one wants to be treated like a trained dog. No one wants to be given a disrespectful nickname. No one wants to be patronized. No one wants the important issues in their life to be treated with a double standard. No one wants to be ignored. No one wants to be regarded as nonexistent. Am I right, ladies? You bet I’m right.

I mean, women are worth more than this. Women are supposed to be worth more than rubies according to the Bible. Women are strong warriors. We are survivors. We take responsibility for our actions. We “man up” (no pun intended). We are the glue that holds everything together, right? We are hard workers. We give more than 100% and we selflessly sacrifice our desires for others. We believe we deserve equality.

So how many of us are willing to admit that we have ogled a muscular guy? How many women are willing to admit they have treated a male like an object of our desires? How many of us have treated the men in their lives like buffoons? How many of us have disregarded the desires and wants of the men in our life, batting our eyes, stomping our feet, slamming a door to get our way, or shed a tear or lowered our neckline to get out of a ticket? How many of us have nagged and complained about what our husband doesn’t do without ever acknowledging what he does do?

How many of us demand that “me time”, forcing our husbands to work all day long and then come home and take care of the kids, fix the broken appliances, clean the dirty house, pretty much take care of everything, because we feel like we are “entitled” to all of that treatment all because we stayed home for eight hours alone watching the children that God gave us? Think about it…Your huband has just worked hard for at least 8 hours, if not more. He comes home and jumps right into rescuing you from your responsibilities. Then He takes on more responsibilities after that. While you get a break for hours, for some women multiple times a week or even repeatedly for weekends. I know many husbands who don’t get a break at all or may get an hour here and there per week, but that is it. I’m not saying husbands don’t need to get involved and help, but it shouldn’t be one-sided. You want equality, then start giving it!

How many of us have made the statement, “I trained him well” or the like, meaning we have our man trained like a dog? How many of us have taken the leadership role away from our man because we think we can do it better? How many of us refer to our husbands with disrespectful nicknames instead of respecting and revering him as the husband and man that he is? How many of us have manipulated our man with the silent treatment? How many of us demand our way on a regular basis disregarding what is best for our man? How many of us are willing to admit that we feel and treat men like we are the superior to them?

Well, respectable, honest, warrior, equal women that say we all are, how many of us have “manned up” and answered “yes” to any or all of these questions? How many of us are willing to admit we have treated men, children, and society in this demeaning, disrespectful manner? How many of us are actually woman enough to admit we hold a double standard?

When it really gets down to it women are supposed to be crusaders, but who are we really championing for? What is our motivation? I’d like to believe that we are striving for equality for all people no matter their age, race, size, or gender. But, for most of us that is not the case. Think about it… If some woman treated our sons, brothers, nephews and grandsons this way we would claw their eyes out.

Yet, we are okay with using our feminine wiles flaunting them to get what we want. Then we say it’s wrong for men to be attracted to us. These disgusting women who walk around flaunting their body parts and actually wearing images of them on their heads…they just don’t get it. What they are championing for is the right to be vulgar and disgusting, yet when a dirty old man treats them with vulgarity then they cry victim. NEITHER behavior is acceptable. We are okay with listening to or using foul language but then we fault a man for doing the same thing.

Unfortunately, feminism has taken a nasty turn so much so that many of us don’t even want to be associated with the movement any more. Where are the women championing for the real victims? Women and children victimized by sex trafficking, rape, and abuse? I’m sorry but your idea of victim is a lot differnt than mine these days. A victim is an innocent person who has been abused or compromised in some way. A victim is not a woman who gets paid $2 less per hour than her male counterpart. A victim isn’t a woman who is being told to keep her sex life private and stop subjecting us to it and making us take responsibility for it. Those of us who are being exposed to the vulgarity–we are the victims. Our children are the victims.

God created us to be selfless, and the women who championed the feminist movement when it first began were selfless. They didn’t want to give up their responsibilities for more power. They didn’t want to do less. They wanted to take on more. They longed to be appreciated and regarded as equal not superior. They still wanted to fulfill their God-given duties. They still wanted men to treat them with kindness, respect, and chivalry, because they truly loved and respected men. They understood that God created men and women differently. Men have shortcomings that women complement with their strengths. Men have strengths that complement the shortcomings of women.

Those powerful women were willing to die for their children, and they took responsibility for the consequences of their actions. They didn’t look for an easy way out. Oh, I’m sure there were some selfish women in the bunch but by and large there were respectable women who were warriors for everyone, not just themselves.

Of course, we still have a connection to a woman of old: Eve. Eve didn’t want equality with Adam. She wanted equality with God. She wanted to be able to play God. She wanted to be like God. That isn’t equality. That is power-hungry selfishness. And that is the platform of the feminist movement today. Those of us who haven’t learned anything from Eve’s destructive hunger for power–we are inferior because we have learned nothing!

There is truly a double standard because if we are open minded and honest as we ask the world all around us to be, then we have to admit that we have committed those same sins in my earlier questions, and those are the same sins we are accusing of Donald Trump.

We have taken it upon ourselves to decide whether or not a child lives or dies. We have taken God’s blessing of healing away from us by making decisions to take a life rather than have the faith to believe God will perform a miracle. We have justified sin rather than taking responsibility for it. We have held men to one standard and manipulated our way into a double standard.

We have decided to take on the role of leadership causing our husbands to feel they have no worth, treating them as if they have no purpose to the point that they just sit around like couch potatoes. Then we complain about how lazy they are. What else do we expect them to do? We have only ourselves to thank for creating that monster. It’s time to take responsibility for it. We won’t let men do any of the things God has called them to do. We can do everything they can do, but better anyway, right? (I HATE THAT OBNOXIOUS SONG!) We have beaten them down, taken away their warrior status, chewed them up and spit them out while we use a double standard to whine and belly ache about the fact that they don’t do anything.

Speaking of whining, how does whining, kicking, and screaming exhibit power? It doesn’t. It’s like a two-year-old who doesn’t get that candy at the store. Why are we whining and crying, tearing our clothes, burning the flag, and basically having a temper tantrum over the election results? I thought we women wanted the world to hear us ROAR. Lately it sounds more like “I am woman; hear me whine”. We are not even outraged about anything but what affects us directly, things that really don’t have an eternal consequence. We are outraged that we don’t make as much as a man. Where is that going to get us in this life? There is always going to be someone who makes more than us or is better than us. This is a power struggle that human nature can NEVER win. So we have made that our life’s mission fighting against the natural order of things. It’s like trying to defy gravity…

Why not fight a battle we can actually win. Champion for those who don’t have a voice? Why not crusade for the unborn women who are killed each and every day? Why not crusade for the women who are being taught to risk their eternal souls for their own comfort and convenience? Why not teach women that they are worth more than a pile of dirty dollar bills, life without purpose, and stressful selfish ambition?

Do we not understand that eternity in hell is a lot worse than any lack of comfort here on this earth? I would much rather be unhappy and not get everything I want here on earth than spend an eternity separated from God because I made choices that sent my soul to hell. And believe me, I’ve sinned plenty in my life, but by God’s grade He has delivered me and forgiven me more times than I deserve.

So, here’s a tribute to Christian women who exhibit Biblical womanhood. They are the ones who crusade and protect every single soul not just their own personal agenda. They are the ones who are the hands and feet of Jesus. They are the ones who give up all of the comforts and luxuries of this blessed country to travel halfway around the world, risking their lives to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and save lost souls, carrying water and supplies and hugs to children and letting them know they are valued not thrown out like yesterday’s garbage. They are the ones who endure parasites, diseases, persecution.

They teach their children academically, spiritually, physically. They don’t shirk their responsibilities as wives, mothers, and daughters. They don’t expect someone else to do it all while they have their me time, rights and freedoms. They don’t feel entitled to have their way. Instead they sacrifice their desires putting others first. They live a life of gratitude acknowledging and counting each and every blessing they have. They spread their joy instead of division.

In return God blesses them beyond any higher paycheck, any life without responsibility, any earthly desire this old world holds. When they slip and fall or make a mistake, they humbly admit their wrongs, ask for forgiveness, and allow God to help them become a better woman. They strive and work their fingers to the bone without selfish gain. They have minds of their own choosing to follow and uphold righteousness instead of blindly following a party or popular culture. They have minds and preferences of their own and no one can sway them because they stand firm. Those are the true warriors and women whom we should emulate and respect.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand you are frustrated and devastated. That is how I felt when obama (not a typo) was elected. However, some of you were quick to point out that I needn’t get so upset and to dust myself off and move on. So let’s practice what you preached.

I know this post is coming off a little harsh. I am a passionate person, so I apologize for abrasive nature. I really do want to encourage you. We want equality, freedom, and someone to take on some of our burdens. There is nothing more freeing than turning your life over to Jesus Christ. When He comes into your life, He takes on all of your cares and burdens and brings you peace and comfort. He makes promises and actually keeps them. You can trust Him with your life, health, and family. He isn’t a magical genie who gives you everything you want, but if you trust Him he works everything out for your good and His glory. He fights for you when you are worn down and burned out. He holds you in His arms. He loves you despite all of your flaws and sins. He accepts you for who you are, and adopts you as His daughter.

I know it seems like all is lost, but it isn’t. Life will go on. When things don’t go our way, we can’t spend our days whining and whimpering. If we choose to be a daughter of the King, then we are choosing to be warriors with Him in this life. We can conquer anything within His will. So allow Jesus to open your mind to truth molding you, shaping you, and being your everything. Your life will be forever changed, and more importantly, you will have the hope for which you long. Let’s show the world how strong, resilient, and open-minded we really are. Let’s stop following a movement, a party, or candidate, and let’s follow God. Let’s stop being Women Whiners and let’s be Women Warriors.

***This post was originally posted prior to the Women’s March on Washington, but I stand by my statements as I have seen little to no reports that real women’s rights issues were represented there, only a select group of women and their own selfish agenda while they excluded other women from participating. And don’t tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about because I have researched. I have also encountered many, many women of all ages who believe following God’s Biblical plan for womanhood is demeaning. Many have been brainwashed into believing that the only thing to live for is their own selfish desires and careers. They look down on me and women like me who choose Biblical womanhood. They believe women’s rights are about their rights to do whatever they want to, whenever they want to in reference to their sexuality. This is not a crusade for the rights of women. This is a crusade for vulgarity–plain and simple.

Women, Women's Movement encouragement ruckusandrubies.com

Why Are Women Their Own Prince Charmings?

knight
Nowadays, everywhere I turn I find a woman who is worn and weary, burned out beyond anything they can possibly bear. We are trying to be everything to everybody and it is just IMPOSSIBLE. Many women these days feel as if they are being thrown to the wolves into this treacherous and despicable world.

In many ways that is true, as women are burdened with carrying the load of more than God intended. We weren’t meant to be the breadwinners. We weren’t really ever meant to put in more hours at our career or job than we do at home. In fact, helping financially was supposed to be an afterthought, something we did after we took care of all of our priorities. Priorities were supposed to be spiritual growth and relationship with God, marriage, children, home, church, community in that order.

Unfortunately, society has pushed the roles of men onto women. Women are just as much to blame as men or society, because many have decided to become present-day Eves. They are hungry for power, hungry to be like God, and they have fallen into satan’s trap.

These women aren’t the only ones suffering, though. All women are suffering whether they have this hunger for power or not. Many women desire to fulfill God’s call in their lives, but they are stuck in the vicious aftermath of this disaster society has pushed upon us.

The world has taken away the responsibility of man, his leadership, his power, his strength, his courage, his ingenuity, his initiative. Society has taken the warrior God created and turned him into a more subservient type of being while women have been forced to become something they were never meant to be: the Prince Charming, the hero, the warrior, the rescuer, the knight in shining armor.

Now that’s not to say that God did not mean women to be warriors. He did, but not in the same way that He planned it for man. Husbands and wives were meant to support one another, to complement the other, to be the strength when the other is weak, to lift each other up spiritually and physically. They are equally important in the eyes of God, but He did not create them to be equal in every way. Women have strengths men do not have, and men have strengths women don’t have.

I’m grateful there are still marriages that model God’s plan. Those are rare and beautiful marriages. Unfortunately, I am seeing in many instances that the wife is the spiritual leader, leading the family in Bible study, worship, and prayer. It’s the wife who spends her nights on her knees before The Lord praying for her family, fighting the enemy for their souls. It’s the wife who is making most of the family decisions. It’s the wife that is picking up the slack.

Married and single women are struggling to balance everything on their plate. I don’t even think we can call it a “plate”, can we? Plates fit neatly in our hands and are usually fairly manageable even when we fill them to overflowing at an all-you-can-eat buffet. Many of us are beyond carrying a couple of plates. We are carrying the plates God has equipped us to carry. Then we are struggling to scoop up boulders God never meant us to carry. And in many cases society is encouraging or even forcing us to do so.

I’m willing to bet this is similar to what your todo list looks like:

todolist

Sometimes I get up earlier too. Notice there’s no exercise or “me time” on the list. And of course the sad thing is that is not everything…

I would just love to say thank you so very much to all of those women who have passed down this idea and this burden, who have emasculated our men, and trained them to be passive and give up their leadership roles to women—EXTREME SARCASM. You are the ones who have buried women in an avalanche of stress, pressure, and burden. Forgive us for not expressing our gratitude…

You have taken away heroes, Prince Charmings, and have trained men to give up their God given roles in the home and in society. In this human world, you have thrown yourselves and your gender to the wolves.

There are a few warriors and Prince Charmings left in this world. I pray they do not grow weary in the roles God has given them, and I pray they will be protected from this destruction.

Thankfully, Christian women have someone bigger than Prince Charming, more powerful than any hero.  God is our refuge, our ever present help in this stressful world. He is our King, who leads, guides, protects, directs, comforts, and rescues. He is the one to which we should ultimately turn.

Do not lose heart, ladies. Turn to The Father. Make a relationship with Him a priority. Let Him rescue and free you. It won’t mean you will not have to balance the busyness of life, but you won’t have to do it alone. You will have someone to walk beside you when you feel like you are on your own.

When I feel overwhelmed, I tend to curl up in a shell. For some reason (probably the work of the enemy), I tend to draw away from encouragement. I don’t always share with my prayer warriors. Sometimes I don’t even draw near to The Lord, but this is what the enemy wants. He desires for me to be so bogged down and overwhelmed that I cannot fulfill my God-given calling and role in this life, which has a ripple effect on my family and those who look up to me.

Don’t make this mistake. This is where God does use you as a warrior. Defeat the enemy by leaning on The Lord and seeking His will before taking on new tasks. Pray and study His Word for the roles of yourself and your husband in your family.

We can’t be surprised that our lives are utter chaos when we our gender has completely disregarded His will. We don’t want to pass these burdens on to our children. Life is hectic enough without messing with God’s natural plan for things. Our daughters and sons deserve better. Give our sons back their warrior status, and give our daughters back their Prince Charmings. Let’s turn things around by prioritizing, leaning on God and our sisters in The Lord, praying for our families, and teaching future generations to turn back to God and His plan for our roles in this life.

Frugal DIY – Screened Porch Makeover

Several years ago, my sweet husband built a screened porch on the back of our home. From this peaceful porch, I enjoy the songs of birds, the laughter of my children, the rippling of our pond and fountain, peace and tranquility.
DSCN2789

Unfortunately, it became a catchall for yard shoes, pool toys, gardening tools, and pet stuff. Turning it into a comfortable outdoor room was on my to-do list for the future when it fit into the budget. In fact, it’s still on my wish list for the future.DSCN2787It just isn’t in my budget to makeover my porch. However, with a little creativity and frugality, I was able to spruce it up a bit recently. Here are some of the simple and frugal things I did:

I found some old throw pillows and added them to a few of our corner chairs to make them more comfortable.Porch makeover 4

We had an area rug we weren’t using, so I utilized it under our patio table and chairs. It’s a little small, but it works.Porch Makeover 3

We save jars so I have a nice collection for crafting. I made some lanterns utilizing the jars and LED tea lights.Porch makeover jar lanterns

I made a cute chalkboard and sconces with more jars.

Porch Makeover Finished Cabinet

The biggest dilemma was was the shoe rack–it was such an eye sore. I knew I needed to get rid of it. I searched our home for a cabinet or a piece of furniture that we could use to store the shoes. We really didn’t have what I wanted–all I could find were a few old bookshelves. A low buffet style cabinet would have been the perfect fit, so I headed out to Goodwill to see if I could find one. There were no treasures for me that day.

Disappointed, I went back home to the pile of shoes and the shoe rack in the backyard. I really dreaded putting them back in the porch. Then I settled for one of the bookshelves.

With help from my sweet husband, the bookshelf was primed, repainted. Porch Makeover Shelf

Doors and hardware were added along with some distressing, and now we have an adorable little cabinet for shoes and outdoor games.porch cabinet makeover

Sprucing up my favorite place, cost just around $30. Sometimes we just don’t have the resources to bring our ideas to fruition completely, but that’s okay. My porch is lovely. It makes me smile and provides a peaceful atmosphere for me and my family. It’s might not look quite like my dreams, but it is a step in the right direction! Now to enjoy my hummingbirds (please excuse the screen in the picture)… 

porch makeover bird

Trim Healthy Mama on Vacation

Trim Healthy Mama on Vacation

Sunsets, waves, sand, and shells – our family vacation was a restful and blessed getaway. Returning to reality was not so restful, but that’s okay. I am slowly, but surely easing back into my routine with just a few weeks left before we resume homeschooling.

Vacations are moments when you can take a break from the madness or mundane and set off on an adventure. I’m all for a good long lapse in my busy, everyday schedule, but I’ve learned the hard way that there are some things you just don’t want to break from–time with The Lord is one of those things and my healthy lifestyle is the other.

weight loss before and after

I’ve worked too hard to flush my progress down the toilet. After being on plan for over 2 years, I’ve also come to recognize those aches, pains, and moments of just not feeling right are usually contributed by a risky and foolish veer off course. My best friend and I both decided that if we were going to alter our THM lifestyle during vacation that it would probably be best just to allow ourselves some crossovers instead of going off plan.

Since I committed to stay on plan during this vacation, before our camping trip to the beach I began planning a menu and a shopping list. Planning ahead and preparing comes naturally to me. I know it isn’t that way for everyone, but anything worthwhile that you purpose to do in life takes some amount of planning. If you expect to keep everything on course without following a path or a map, you’re going to fall apart when the enemy distracts you–and you know he will.

Depending on the location of your trip and the resources available to you, you may be limited but you just have to get creative. Taking a Saturday or an evening or two of your time to plan ahead will make your trip so much more enjoyable. No one wants to return to reality at the end of vacation, but you’ll be able to handle it better if you’ve stayed the course. Returning from vacation feeling sick, bloated, fatigued, or guilty isn’t going to help you.

Here are some things that I don’t leave home without when we go camping:

 

EATING OUT

We don’t eat out much whether we are at home or away from home. Between the expense, my children’s food allergies, and my food intolerances, it’s just not something we do often. If we do plan to eat out, I research restaurants before I even leave for the trip so I can scope out the menus for things we can eat.

COOKING

We do a lot of camping, so my sweet husband cooks on the open fire or on a portable grill. I do most of the cooking at home, but when we are on vacation he does most of it. Well, we are a team. I prep and he grills. I usually enjoy cooking, but this does give me a much-needed break.

Breakfasts

For breakfasts I usually make a batch of muffins or coffeecake at home before we leave for the trip. This makes the first morning of vacation chore free so my husband and I can relax. I save at least one serving of these goodies for the last day of our trip as well, which makes the morning we pack much easier and there isn’t much to clean up.

I bring pancake mix or all of the dry THM ingredients in a zipper storage bag rather than bringing all of my separate containers of ingredients. We also eat lots of eggs, bacon, and/or sausage. For our last trip, we also brought cereal and stovetop granola from the THM cookbook. We were able to sprinkle it on our yogurt or eat it with milk. This made a good snack for the beach as well. I also made packets of dry ingredients for the muffin-in-a-bowl recipe. This is a good FP snack, dessert, or breakfast.

Adding all dry ingredients to zipper storage bags is a great way to plan ahead for hot drinks and smoothies. All you have to do is add liquids and/or ice.

Lunch

For lunches, we usually eat leftovers from the dinner before. We also bring sandwich meats, sliced cheese, fruit, veggies, and bread. I make the Nuke Queen bread or Bread in a Mug recipes from the THM cookbook.

Snacks

Snacks are usually packed for the beach pretty quickly by using zipper bags or storage containers. I pack a variety of things like cheese, nuts, raw veggies, greek yogurt, fruit, deli meat. I make THM pudding, gummies, superfood chews from the cookbook before vacation. Of course, I can’t go on vacation without my chocolate! The Skinny Chocolate recipe from the THM cookbook is made from coconut oil, so it melts easily. That isn’t always practical for vacation depending on where you are going and your resources. Even regular chocolate will melt quickly on the beach, so I save my Lily’s chocolate bars for the nights around the campfire when the rest of my family makes s’mores. You could make on-plan s’mores with any THM S cookie recipe, THM marshmallow recipe, and the skinny chocolate. I have done this before, too. I make the cookies ahead of time before I leave for vacation. Josephs pita crackers or any THM cracker recipes from the book are delicious treats as well.

Dinner

Dinners are pretty easy if you stick to meats and veggies on the campfire or grill. We’ve gotten a little more creative and made these yummy meals:

Pulled Pork and Cole Slaw THM recipes – For our first night of vacation, we like to have an easy meal so that we don’t have to cook while we are trying to set up and settle in. On the day before our trip, I put a pork roast in the crockpot and cooked it all day. I packed a prepackaged bag of cole slaw veggies and packed ingredients to make dressing. All we had to do when we were ready to eat that night was mix the dressing and slaw, and warm up the pork in a pan on the grill.

Pizzas on the grill  with side salad – We simply use Joseph’s Pitas, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and our favorite toppings. For my gluten free and soy free children, we used gluten free and soy free tortillas.

Sloppy Joes with veggies – We made the sloppy joe recipe from the THM book by cooking it in a cast iron skillet and had veggies on the side. You could easily make a bun or bread before the trip, but I just had the filling with no bread.

Burgers – I brought a pre-made bun for the burger my husband grilled, and I topped it with a tomato slice, pickles, avocado, and lettuce. Veggies on the side are great, but the burger by itself is pretty filling.

Grilled chicken and veggies – I seasoned chicken with my favorite rub recipe Fiesta Chicken Rub and we had grilled veggies on the side. If you have the room, you could even bring tortillas and your favorite toppings for chicken wraps or tacos.

Salads – If you have refrigeration, you could easily make salads in a jar using Ball jars. Since the jars seal well, the salads stay fresh for days. You could prepare all of this ahead of time or you could simply make salad on a plate while on the trip.

I know this seems like a lot of preparation, and it was, but if you start early and plan ahead you can make it work. A few weeks before your vacation, you could plan to eat a few of the meals you will have on the trip, double them, and freeze them. Or simply prepare it the week before you leave so that they can safely be stored in the fridge for a few days up to a week before you need them. Be sure to research food safety and storage rules for and check expiration dates.

Making good choices is work no matter how you look at it. Sometimes we’re tempted to take the easy way out and give it to cheating. It’s worth it to take a little time to plan ahead. You deserve to treat your body with wholesome and healthy foods that your bodies needs to rest, relax, and enjoy your vacation.

Well, it’s going to be a while before our next trip so I’m off to enjoy some summer time activities with my children. Then I need to start planning for our next school year. If you are getting read to head out on a getaway with your sweet family, I pray it is a safe and blessed trip. I hope this vacation tips help you stay on plan!

10 Tips for Making Your Home a Sanctuary

10 Tips for Making Your Home a Sanctuary #homemaking #sanctuary #faith www.ruckusandrubies.com #raisinghomemakers

Sanctuary…

The simple utterance of that very word makes your eyes close, your head lift, and your lungs take in a deep breath of air. A sense of tranquility and peace washes over you.

Today I’m sharing 10 tips for making your home a sanctuary over on the Raising Homemakers blog. Take a minute and stop by for a visit: 10 tips for Making Your Home a Sanctuary – Raising Homemakers.