Saturday, June 18, 2011


Just wanted to let you know that I've moved over to Wordpress and have a new address.

Read the new Postcards from the Promised Land .... HERE!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Favorite Speakers from this Year's NCHE

I'm excited to share today some of my favorite speakers from last week's NCHE conference. Sometimes, just even hearing the title of a seminar will inspire and encourage. At the end of the post, I'll let you know how you can listen to all of these seminars on audio yourself!

The Downers - Phil (Dad), Paul (Son), and Anna (Daughter)
Website: DNA Ministries

First off, isn't it great to have a homeschooling family including graduated children speaking for a homeschool conference. The longer I homeschool, the more I appreciate those who have reached the finish line of schooling their children. And these children have turned out pretty well.

Paul (the son) Downer's seminar on parenting the strong willed child (entitled Homeschooling the Strong-Willed Child–I Am One!) was very enlightening. It allowed you to have the child's perspective and yet, filtered through the perspective of maturity. In a practical sense, he mentioned how his parents, and especially his mother reached his heart and guided his steps.

Bert enjoyed sitting in on Phil's seminar "The Keys to Godly Discipline", as well as Anna's (the daughter) seminar entitled "Perfectionism and Grace in the Christian Family".

There were two seminars that we couldn't attend due to scheduling conflicts that we bought on audio entitled, " Teaching Your Children How to Work with Godly Diligence" and The Homeschool Marriage, from Surviving to Thriving!", so I'll share in a few weeks our thoughts on these.

Mark Hamby
Website: Lamplighter Publishing
If you're not familiar with Lamplighter Publishing, they republish classic books from centuries before that teach character and faith. The books are captivating for young and old. This year, we also purchased our first Lamplighter audio story and I was enthralled, along with our children. I was especially impressed with the audio quality - It was like you were listening to a movie.

One of the seminars I sat in on was "The Education of a Child—The Wisdom of Fenelon". Francois Fenelon was the priest who was charged with educating the grandson of Louis XIV. This young man, apparently, was quite the handful. Hamby's words were very challenging on how to win your child's heart.

In a separate seminar, he also spoke on the role of media ("A Great Awakening: the Mind, Media and Moral Imagination") and basically said that TV is turning us into vegetables. The talk was not profound, but a good reminder about the reasons why we don't watch much television.

Tomorrow, I'll share more about writing, nature, and the biology of learning - All topics I learned about at the conference.

In the mean time, if you would like to purchase any of these or one of the many other seminars and key notes from the conference, you can go to Manna Recording and click on their Online Store.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gratitude for Saturday, June 4th, 2011

#141: Sprinklers
#142: Sonlight boxes that turn in to castles
#143: Considerable progress on my grandmother's house thanks to my parent's hard work
#144: A wonderful homeschool conference
#145: Shared time over pizza with friends
#146: Insightful Speakers
#147: An extended holiday to get settled after the trip
#148: Another level of swimming lessons passed
#149: A new pet fish on its way home
#150: A super husband who puts up with me

Read about the original One Thousand Gifts list from Ann Voskamp HERE.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Interesting Links

Since we've been gone to the Homeschool Conference and are still getting settled back here at home, here are some interesting links for you to check out for the holiday weekend!

Extraordinary dams built to save homes in Mississippi

15 fun and frugal ideas for the summer (Thanks to Keeper of the Home)

Teaching Children to Pray (Thanks to the Gospel Coalition)

Teaching your Daughter to make Cinnamon Rolls (Thanks to Homegrown Mom)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gratitude for Saturday, May 28th, 2011

#131: Time with good friends over pizza
#132: Seeing my hubby learning and growing
#133: Spits and gurgles from
#134: Leapster
#135: The discovery of chess
#136: YouTube documentaries on Rembrandt
#137: One of our new favorite restaurants - Red Bowl Asian Bistro
#138: The start of summer
#139: Cuddles with my oldest
#140: Little Lego builders

Read about the original One Thousand Gifts list from Ann Voskamp HERE.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gratitude for Sat, May 21st

Thank you, Lord, today for ...

#121: Encouragement from my dear sweet hubby
#122: Legos
#123: Homemade tomato soup
#124: Crockpots
#125: Land's End swimsuits for little girls - TOO CUTE!
#126: Rolling babies
#127: Unleashing the little mermaid inside my girl
#128: Plans and hopes for a new school year
#129: New mercies (Lamentations 3:22-23)
#130: First babbles from a sweet little voice

I Thess 5:18 (ESV)
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Read about the original One Thousand Gifts list from Ann Voskamp HERE.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Frugal Friday: Dave Ramsey

We are so thankful to have discovered Dave Ramsey. He is a financial advisor who is honest, to the point, and wise. We took Financial Peace about 5 years ago at our church and it dramatically changed the way that we look at our finances. And not only just ours, but our extended families' as well.

You can download Dave Ramsey's radio show through Itunes or find him on the radio in your local area. It will change your life!

Here are the baby steps that Dave teaches to "change your family tree":

Baby Step 1
Baby Step 1

$1,000 to start an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life that you can’t plan for: the loss of a job, an unexpected pregnancy, a faulty car transmission, and the list goes on and on. It’s not a matter of if these events will happen; it’s simply a matter of when they will happen. Learn more
Baby Step 2
Baby Step 2

Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball

List your debts, excluding the house, in order. The smallest balance should be your number one priority. Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt first. Learn more
Baby Step 3
Baby Step 3

3 to 6 months of expenses in savings

Once you complete the first two baby steps, you will have built serious momentum. But don’t start throwing all your “extra” money into investments quite yet. It’s time to build your full emergency fund. Learn more
Baby Step 4
Baby Step 4

Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement

When you reach this step, you’ll have no payments—except the house—and a fully funded emergency fund. Now it’s time to get serious about building wealth. Learn more
Baby Step 5
Baby Step 5

College funding for children

By this point, you should have already started Baby Step 4—investing 15% of your income—before saving for college. Whether you are saving for you or your child to go to college, you need to start now. Learn more
Baby Step 6
Baby Step 6

Pay off home early

Now it’s time to begin chunking all of your extra money toward the mortgage. You are getting closer to realizing the dream of a life with no house payments. Learn more
Baby Step 7
Baby Step 7

Build wealth and give!

It’s time to build wealth and give like never before. Leave an inheritance for future generations, and bless others now with your excess. It's really the only way to live! Learn more

What do we do differently?
We try to "live like no one else so that (in the future) we can live like no one else" (D.R.). Our focus is on purposeful spending and directing of our money now so that we can live purposefully in the future.

On a daily basis, we avoid using credit cards. We have cancelled many that we had (even though they had no balances). We are actively trying to pay off what we have left.

We do crazy things like ...
pack lunches
get water instead of sodas/tea when eating out
Have treats at home instead of going out
Limit gifts for ourselves and our children
Have garage sales
Say "no" to ourselves

Some things that we have learned:

Keep doing the right thing over and over to achieve your desired results.
Right choices must be made daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.
Stuff, many times, is a curse. We are happier with less.

Some other great resources we use or have used:

Crown Financial Ministries

Crown Mvelopes - online budgeting software

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Homeschool: Why Conferences are great


This next week we will be heading as a family to the North Carolinians for Home Education Conference in Winston-Salem.

Why should you go to a conference?

Anyone who has homeschooled through a year knows that there are certain times and points when you need to remember why you homeschool. There are times when you need some new resources to overcome the obstacles. You need to know where to turn. You need to know that your situation is not unique and impossible.

Conferences give you just those things. There are speakers that help you fine tune your purpose and goals for schooling. There are "how-to" seminars that teach you the mechanics of writing, math, history, etc.
There are also classes on running your house in the midst of schooling, maintaining your marriage, and shepherding your child's heart.

There are vendors that have resources that will jump start your kids. Speakers and vendors come from around the country to you. You can see products in person and purchase them, many times at a discount.
You can talk with representatives from the vendors that are knowledgeable about their material and using it.
You can find fun "extras" that make learning exciting and engaging.

Time to reflect on your year - the success and failure. Time to renew your vision and plan it out for the following year. Time to rest.

Conference is always a great time to meet up with other families who homeschool. There is time to go to dinner, sit and chat, and get to know them better. At our state-wide conference, there are even activities for children including a sports and chess competitions, as well as a talent show and graduation.

Some favorite vendors from conferences past:
Doorposts - character training material for children
Lamplighter Books - classic books for your family
Sonlight Books - the particular curriculum that we use
Miller Pads & Paper - great prices on the basics
Artistic Pursuits - art curriculum
Simply Charlotte Mason - Charlotte Mason resources
Vision Forum - books and products for purposeful living/teaching
Well Planned Day - the organizer that we use for school
YWAM books - missionary books and resources

Some favorite speakers from conferences past:
Norm Wakefield - pastor, father, homeschooler who speaks on purposeful relationships in light of the Cross
Jennifer Schmidt  - mother, Blogger who speaks on frugal living
Sonya Schafer - Charlotte Mason writer and speaker, homeschooler
Jim Weiss - artist who narrates fabulous stories for children

If you are outside of our area, here is a link to a list of homeschool conferences across the US.

Here is the link for the NCHE Conference.

Monday, May 16, 2011

In need of a Mini-Retreat?

Have you ever wanted to go to a great national conference, but can't find the time? or the money?

Some of the most memorable moments for me have been listening to the great speakers and teachers of our day and age. They have changed my faith and my understanding of walking out the Christian life.

Well, thanks to the Internet, now you can go and enjoy the best speakers from the comfort of your own home.

No travel! 

No hurry - listen as you can!

No cost!
Here are just a few of the great links out there! Many of these include audio and video for the main speakers and break-out seminars!

True Woman - Fort Worth 2010 featuring Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Crawford Lorritts, Kay Arthur, and Mary Kassian

True Woman - Chattanooga 2010 featuring Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Voddie Baucham, and Jennifer Rothschild

Desiring God National Conference 2010 featuring John Piper, Francis Chan, Tullian Tchividjian, and R.C. Sproul

In fact, here is the link for every single Desiring God conference (of any type) for the past 17 years right HERE.

Ready for a Mommy time out? 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Gratitude for Saturday, May 14th

#111: Growing Gerbers and geraniums
#112: Fresh Produce in the Kitchen (Thanks to Lee's Produce!)
#113: Everybody loves Asparagus!
#114: Time with our precious relatives
#115: Safe travels back and forth
#116: Time with young cousins
#117: Laundry done while on vacation
#118: Great memories of time together at the zoo
#119: Wonderful Mother/Daughter Tea with AHG
#120: Hopes for the summer

Read about the original One Thousand Gifts list from Ann Voskamp HERE.

Monday, May 9, 2011

10 Daily Essentials from Dr.Oz

Still getting things back in order from our vacation ... but I wanted to share something helpful that I ran across. These steps from Dr.Oz are so simple that everyone can do it!

Here's the original link for the article from Dr.Oz's website.

To make life simpler, Dr. Oz has whittled down his top 10 daily essentials, starting at number 10 and building toward the single most important thing you need to do on a daily basis to achieve optimal health.

Dr. Oz’s Top 10 Daily Essentials

10. Eat a Hard-boiled Egg
Eggs are protein powerhouses that provide 13% of your daily protein and only 4% of your daily calories. These excellent, inexpensive protein sources fight frailty. Rich in choline, they also reduce inflammation in the brain, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s. Cook up a week’s worth in advance and take them with you on the go. If you’re not a fan of hard-boiled eggs, eat one a day scrambled, poached or any other way you like it.

9. Check Your Poop
First, your poop should never appear white. If this occurs, it could mean lack of bile, indicating a blockage or a problem with absorption. Second, keep in mind that the range for bowel movement occurrence is very broad – anywhere from 3 times a week to multiple times a day is considered normal.

8. Make Vegetables Half of Every Single Meal
Vegetables are chockfull of vital nutrients and most of us do not get enough of them. Make them half of every single meal. Get your veggies in the morning by tossing them into an omelet. At lunch and dinner, eat more veggie-based salads and soups; divide your plate into two halves with your main course, say chicken or fish, taking up one side and vegetables the other. Click here for more suggestions on getting more vegetables into each of your meals.

7. Take Half Multivitamin in the Morning and the Other Half at Night
A multivitamin serves as an insurance policy, guaranteeing your body gets everything it needs. However, your body can’t absorb all these nutrients at once, and you wind up eliminating a portion of them via your urine or bowel movements. To maximize absorption, split your multivitamin in two and take half in the morning and half in the evening. Better yet, try and purchase a brand that offers a daily dosage in various pills. Click here for Dr. Oz's Ultimate Supplement Checklist.

6:  Supplement With a Bone-Boosting Cocktail
To protect your bones, a multivitamin is not enough. You need a bone-boosting cocktail comprised of:
  • Vitamin D3, 1000 IU
  • Calcium, 600 mg
  • Magnesium, 400 mg
Today, most drugstores now sell this combination all in one pill, and here’s why you need all three combined: Vitamin D aids calcium absorption to keep bones strong. Magnesium also counteracts blood vessel constriction and constipation caused by calcium. Click here for Dr. Oz's Bone-Boosting Plan.

5. Get at Least 7 Hours of Sleep
A brand new study shows that people who don’t get enough sleep are not as sharp the next day and most alarmingly, they don’t even realize it. Here are 4 ways to help you sleep better and get to sleeper faster:
  • Read a book before bed. Reading acts as a soothing balm that helps you fall asleep.
  • Instead of an overhead light, which stimulates the brain to wake up, use a reading light.
  • Turn your alarm clock away from view so it won’t stimulate the brain’s pineal gland, which senses light.
  • Use an eye mask to keep light out and increase sleep quality.
Click here for a list of foods that help you snooze. For more help on getting the quality sleep you deserve, take the Ultimate Sleep Challenge

4. Have Sex
You already know that a healthy sex life with your partner helps you stay bonded and also provides a good workout. Now a new study shows that sex is also good for your brain, leading to improved interconnections in the brain and stress reduction.

3.Breathe and Stretch for 5 Minutes
Five minutes of breathing and stretching each day creates a powerful stress buster that can add years to your life. When you wake up in the morning, try the “hippie” stretch: Reach down and try to touch your toes. Relax your hips and let your head go loose. Now alternate relaxing your left and right knees and walk around a bit. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Five minutes later, you’re loosened up and good to go. For Dr. Oz's 7-Minute Workout, click here.

2. Eliminate Simple Sugars
Simple sugars are the reason behind America’s obesity epidemic. If it’s white or processed, you need to eliminate it. In addition, practice reading labels and avoid products containing “hidden sugars” such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), evaporated cane juice and brown rice sugar. For a list of the other foods you should elimate, click here.

1. Sit Less, Move More
Groundbreaking research shows that for every hour a day you spend sitting, your risk of death increases by 11%. Even small movements throughout the day, such as fidgeting, can add up to major health benefits. Dr. Oz recommends getting 10,000 steps a day. To do this, invest in a pedometer so you can keep track of each step you make toward optimal health.
Which step do you want to work on?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

One Thousand Gifts for Sat, April 23rd, 2011

Gratitude this week ...

#101: encouraging words from my hubby
#102: Starbuck's - a never fail little pick me up
#103: new discoveries on the Internet
#104: mornings - they always remind me that there's new mercies, new starts to be had
#105: an avid reader in a daughter
#106: a super family picture to enjoy for years to come
#107: Easter
#108: Reese's eggs (YUM-O!)
#109: preparing for vacation
#110: safe travels for all family returning home

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Thousand Gifts for Sat, April 16th

This past Saturday, our area experienced 25 separate tornadoes. Our neighborhood was just out of the main line of destruction. Around us is severe damage and loss. There truly is much to be thankful for!

#101: Our family is safe
#102: We have power restored finally!
#103: Seeing friends jump in to serve in the aftermath
#104: There wasn't greater loss of life
#105: Family that was traveling to be with us was safe
#106: Beautiful, cool weather while the power was out
#107: Sunny, dry days for the clean up
#108: Tree shredders
#109: Fast roof repair companies
#110: Grace in the midst of hardship and loss. Easter week is especially meaningful in light of the fallenness around.

Read about the original One Thousand Gifts list from Ann Voskamp HERE.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Homeschool Styles and our pick, Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason (1842-1923)

There are quite a few styles of homeschooling. I never knew there were so many until we actually started schooling. Here is a great quick link to give you an idea on the Styles of Homeschooling .

We follow the Charlotte Mason style of schooling in our house. Click HERE to learn more about Charlotte Mason, the teacher and writer.

Now, let me start write off by telling you that we haven't gotten this all down. We are still very early in our schooling journey and are trying to work out the day to day.

How did we pick CM?

When I read about the different styles of homeschooling and I read about Charlotte Mason I instantly "clicked" with it. I agreed with almost every facet completely. You will find one that fits you as well. It perfectly combines our reasons for homeschooling, along with my gifting and experience as a teacher. I know of families that "unschool" and that is perfectly right for them. Another family we know is using a more traditional approach. Each family has to find their way of doing school that works for them.

Some unique parts of the Charlotte Mason style that we focus on?

** Living Books: CM heavily prioritizes reading first hand books, even to young children, that make learning come alive. Biographies, First hand accounts, rich artwork.

** Character and Habit Training:  I feel that this might be one of the most important parts of what we do at home.

** Nature Study: CM celebrates and honors God through learning about His creation first hand.

** Fine Arts: CM encourages regular study of artists, composers, poets, etc.

** Narration: Challenging our children to be able to remember and express their thoughts on what they learn will help them so much in life.

Why is style important to know?
Because at the end of each year, it helps to know what you are shooting for. It helps to remind yourself at the start of the year what kind of school you want to have. It helps you to find resources in line with what you have already decided is important.

Some my favorite CM websites:
Simply Charlotte Mason : Sonya Schafer, head of Simply Charlotte Mason, is usually at the NCHE Conference. Don't miss their talks, even if you don't CM.

Ambleside Online has so many resources, from a full curriculum to pages on artists, composers, poetry, etc.

Handbook of Nature Study Blog

Karen Andreola's Blog: Karen is one of the foremost CM writers.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WFMW: Plan your Funeral

In memory of Juanita Arnold Albertson VanGorken Winegar

The commercial says "Life comes at you fast!"

It does!

My mother and I talked in the car after my grandmother's recent funeral and she said,"When it comes to my funeral, just do whatever comforts you. I'll be gone!"

When my mother dies, I will feel profound grief and loss. There will be many details of funerals, arrangements, wills, etc. I gently encouraged my mother to go ahead ... now and write down the details of her funeral service. What a great blessing this will be when I can just pull out her notes and pass them on to the funeral home and church staff. That will be one detail taken care of.

Some of you may be thinking, as I do, sometimes, that I have plenty of time ahead for that. As David reminds us, we don't know how long we have and there are many who die unexpectedly.

Psalm 39
4 “Show me, LORD, my life’s end
   and the number of my days;
   let me know how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
   the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
   even those who seem secure.[b]

Even those of us who are younger would do well to jot down a few notes and bless our loved ones with some thought on their behalf. Even if you just take a few minutes to jot down your wishes and email them to a few family members or close friends, you will have helped.

Here are some great links to help you get started:

Funeral Planning Checklist

This Wall Street Journal article helps outline the important documents you need to have in order ... TODAY. (A Living Well, Healthcare Proxy, and Health-Care Power of Attorney).

This Mayo Clinic page guides you through those documents and why you need them. Very helpful!

Neptune Society : Helps provide reasonable cremation services around the country.

And if you want to get an interesting picture of the problem around the world, here is an article from USAToday about the burial crowding issue in China.

Bless your family today with thinking ahead!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Saving water is really Do-able!

We've been trying to be water conscious in our house this Spring!

Back in February, I let you know that our water consumption was at 206.3 avg gallons/day.

Well, I'm thrilled to let you know that we have made a considerable dent!

In March, we lowered it to 187 avg gallons/day. Great progress!

In April ...

We have gotten it down 154.8 avg gallons/day.

That's a reduction of about 25%!

And guess what? We've actually lowered our bill even more than that because water usage, at least in our area, is on a tiered basis! The less you use, the lower your rate!

It feels great to know that little changes on our part are helping not only our family, but the world around us as well.

What did we do differently? Here are five simple things that we have started doing ...

#1: We just thought about it. We tried to be aware of water and using it.

#2: Stop the running water. Running water is the greatest waste of water, in my opinion. I've tried to not let the water run. At all. I fill a pot, then wash it. Then rinse it. I don't let the water run.

#3: Fill up the laundry loads. We don't run small loads anymore.

#4: If you know that you're going to have a lot of dishes, fill up the sink partially and rinse with the same dirty water before you put it in the dishwasher. It saves rinsing each individual item.

#5: Soaking. Let dishes soak before you scrub them to save water. You would be amazed at what will come off easily if it just has a little time to sit and soak.

The challenge ahead is the summer - when we take more baths and have a yard to tend, but I know we can do it!!

What are you ready to try?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Mom Sites

Here are some great sites for your Monday to help you Moms out there!

Meal Planning
Check out e-mealz. For $5/month you can get your meal and grocery list planned out for you. Lots of options (gluten-free, low-fat, etc.) and you can pick your family size even!

Food Inspiration
You can always get some great recipes from Giada (de Laurentiis). Flavorful, usually healthy, and hearty all around.

A Little Pick-Me-Up
The ladies over at (in) courage always have an uplifting word. It's a collection of great writers all together in one place encouraging all of us.

Great Outdoors
If you're a homeschooler and are looking to get out and enjoy some of this finer weather we are starting to have, look at the Handbook of Nature Study Blog.

Just for Fun
Ok, sometimes you just need a good laugh to lighten up the day! Check out cakewrecks and feel better!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

One Thousand Gifts for Sat, April 9th, 2011

Dear one on his first day of life ... 5 years ago today!

Ten things that I'm thankful for in my little man (for his 5th birthday)

#91: His beautiful long eyelashes
#92: Learning from him the preciousness of a great stick
#93: Great love from one little guy for his big sister and little brother
#94: The flash of his smile
#95: Sweet cuddles while reading books together
#96: A little voice singing. What sweetness.
#97: A healthy little guy, after starting out so sick his first few years
#98: He devours fruit and healthy food
#99: Sweet gentle kisses at bedtime for all  
#100: Getting to watch him grow up!

Read about the original One Thousand Gifts list from Ann Voskamp HERE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crazy Love: Profile of the Obsessed

Challenging quotes from Francis Chan in Crazy Love ....

People who are obsessed with Jesus give freely and openly without censure. Obsessed people love those who hate them and who can never love them back. (p. 132)

People who are obsessed with Jesus aren't consumed with their personal safety and comfort above all else. Obsessed people care more about God's kingdom coming to this earth than their own lives being shielded from pain and distress. (p. 133)

People who are obsessed with Jesus live lives that connect them with the poor in some way or another. Obsessed people believe that Jesus talked about money and the poor so often because it was really important to Him (I John 2:4-6; Matt. 16:24-26) (p. 135)

Obsessed people are more concerned with obeying God than doing what is expected or fulfilling the status quo. A person who is obsessed with Jesus will do things that don't always make sense in terms of success or wealth on this earth. As Martin Luther put it, "There are two days on my calendar: this day and that day" (Luke 14:25-35; Matt. 7:13-23; 8:18-22; Rev 3:1-6) (p. 136-1637)

A person who is obsessed with Jesus knows that the sin of pride is always a battle. Obsessed people know that you can never be "humble enough," and so they seek to make themselves less known and Christ more known (Matt. 5:16) (p. 138)

People who are obsessed with Jesus do not consider service a burden. Obsessed people take joy in loving God by loving His people (Matt. 13:44; John 15:8). (p. 139)

People who are obsessed with God are known as givers, not takers. Obsessed people genuinely think that others matter as much as they do, and they are particularly aware of those who are poor around the world (John 2:14-26). (p. 140-141)

A person who is obsessed thinks about heaven frequently. Obsessed people orient their lives around eternity; they are not fixed only on what is here in front of them. (p.142)

A person who is obsessed is characterized by committed, settled, passionate love for God, above and before every other thing and every other being. (p.143)

People who are obsessed are raw with God; they do not attempt to mask the ugliness of their sins or their failures. Obsessed people don't put it on for God; He is their safe place , where they can be at peace. (p.144)

People who are obsessed with God have an intimate relationship with Him. They are nourished by God's Word throughout the day because they know that forty minutes on Sunday is not enough to sustain them for the whole week, especially when they will encounter so many distractions and alternative messages. (p.145)

A person who is obsessed with Jesus is more concerned with his or her character than comfort. Obsessed people know that true joy doesn't  depend on circumstances or environment; it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God (James 1:2-4). (p. 146)

A person who is obsessed with Jesus knows that the best thing he can do is to be faithful to his Savior in every aspect of his life, continually saying "Thank you!" to God. An obsessed person knows there can never be intimacy if he is always trying to pay God back or work hard enough to be worthy. He revels in his role as child and friend of God. (p.147-148)

Visit Francis Chan's website HERE.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

One Thousand Gifts for Sat, April 2nd, 2011

#81: Adventures and plans through the unexpected
#82: A husband who enjoys detours
#83: Droid phones (They come in darn handy when you're in need!)
#84: The Greensboro Children's Museum
#85: Umbrella friends
#86: Learning from Moms who are ministering through cooking (Mom on a Mission)
#87: Extra hands from friends
#88: Grace to start again, each day
#89: New Sonlight catalogs
#90: The hope of a new week - time with friends, warmer weather, preparing for a little man's bday

Read about the original One Thousand Gifts list from Ann Voskamp HERE.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Free Water Summer Science Kit

In keeping with encouraging learning and conservation ....

PUR is giving away Safe Water Science Kits to help you teach how water is cleaned and purified for drinking in developing countries and disaster relief situations.

Each Summer Activity Kit contains:
  • PUR™ Purifier of Water packet
  • dirt/contaminant
  • stirring spoon
  • 2 liquid containers
You’ll also be able to download all the lessonss you’ll need to complete your research from the site.
Each Safe Water Science Lesson:
  • Addresses scientific and societal issues related to global safe drinking water problems
  • Teaches a method used to solve these problems
  • Helps students develop an awareness of safe drinking water issues in our world today
  • Addresses National Science Standards
  • Contains hands-on activities, cooperative-learning experiences, multi-media resources, and research opportunities
  • Uses inexpensive, everyday materials
  • Explores social action extensions, allowing students to apply the science they learn to the world in which they live

Thanks to Saving Dollars and Sense for this link!

Frugal Friday: PFTPL Pantry Challenge

This week, for Project Simplify, we've been working on our fridge, pantry, and freezer.

By about Tuesday, though, I realized that what I needed was not a new organization ....


Do you know that we have 6 boxes of cereal in our pantry. Six!

Most of us Moms have noticed the price of groceries these days.

How much money is sitting in my pantry and fridge?

Paid for.


So, in an effort to save money, AND clean out our stockpiles .... We're going to start living out of the pantry and fridge. Let's see how many days we can do it! We might be having cereal for dinner, but are we going hungry? NOPE!

If you dare .... join me ....

The 1st Annual PFTPL Pantry Challenge

The details:
** Leave a comment on this post letting me that you are participating
** Live on less than $20 in groceries per week (think milk, bread, etc)
** Use your $20 to buy staples and items that you might need to finish off another food
** If you do not spend all of your $20 each week, then you can roll the change to the following week.
** Fresh fruits and vegetables are excluded. Eat all of those you want!
** Check in on Fridays and comment on the post that I will make for those participating.

The prize:
** The person who can go the longest eating out of their pantry/fridge will get a $5 Starbuck's gift certificate sent/delivered to you.

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Project Simplify: Pantry/Fridge

Now that we're back in town, I'm jumping back in to the Project Simplify for this week. After the first week of cleaning out our Master Closet, I'm thoroughly convinced. I still get this moment of joy just peeking in to our closet and seeing it organized.

So, this week's project is the pantry and fridge.

I'm thoroughly convinced that the best way to clean out the pantry is ..... just eat the food. Do you realize how much money is sitting in there? How much food just waits from week to week to be eaten?

So, I'm challenging you to join me in doing some .... EATING! and cleaning!

Click HERE for all the info from Simple Mom about the Project Simplify challenge.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture

The daffodils are blooming. The tulips are peeking out their heads. The signs of Spring are all around.

Spring not only means warmer weather and beautiful scenery, but fresh food! This is the best time to get a refresher course on where to find the good stuff!

Have you started to think about how you will seize the opportunity for fresh, healthy produce this Spring and Summer?

One of our favorite places in the past has been the NC Farmer's Market downtown. There are also now markets at North Hills (starting April 16th) and in North Raleigh (starting May 1st), though, you can find them where you are, too. Click HERE to find them across the country.

One of the best times to go is on NC Farmer's Market special days. They have samples of the chosen fruit or vegetable, recipes, and discounts. It's great fun for kids!

If you are more of the rugged kind, you can start planning now to go pick your own produce.
Pick your own NC guides you to farms that allow you to pick your own. It won't be long before strawberries are ready!

This year, we are trying Lee's Produce. This service will be bringing us a box of fruits and veggies each week right to our doorstep. Boxes range in price from $21 to $25. First boxes start arriving April 8th, so I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 28, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: (For) Saturday, Mar 26th, 2011

With an unplanned trip and funeral in recent days, our days have been busy, but not without their blessings ....

#71: A joy-giving, organized master closet
#72: A healthy bundle of answered prayers in little baby Jacob
#73: Answering machine messages from friends
#74: My loving husband who picks me up when I'm down
#75: The new Whole Foods N. Raleigh
#76: Time with my brother and sister-in-law
#77: Wisdom from experienced friends (Thanks Auntie Linda!)
#78: Being home
#79: Tax returns
#80: Swagbucks

Read about the original One Thousand Gifts list from Ann Voskamp HERE.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Frugal Friday: Swagbucks

One more way that I've found to help our family financially is Swagbucks. Swagbucks basically works on a chain premise. You go through their website to find deals, coupons, etc. and they make advertising and referral dollars that they then pass on to you in the form of points (called "swagbucks").

Swagbucks allows you to earn points that can then be used on useful items like gift cards (restaurants, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Travelocity, Southwest Airlines, etc). By signing up alone, you almost have enough for a $5 Amazon gift card. In just the past few weeks, I've earned enough for two $25 Travelocity gift certificates that I'm going to use for our vacation.

I have earned super Swagbucks by purchasing a Living Social deal, which I would have bought anyway. I've also earned for logging in, answering a daily poll, etc.

I've earned Swagbucks for using coupons that I printed through them from (Another website that I would use anyway).

And yet another way that you earn Swagbucks is by telling other people about .... Swagbucks. When you signup through me, then both of us earn SBs.

All those little points add up to some great ..... FREE stuff!

Click HERE to sign up for Swagbucks!