Monday, May 21, 2012

A Mother's Worry

I have been reading through a book my mother gave me, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, By Joanna Weaver.  Its hard to read much with a house full of kids, but am trying to read a little each day since we are on our summer schedule.  It has been a real blessing.  Yesterday I was talking to someone who was telling me about how much she worries about her children and grandchildren.  I know how easy it is to get wrapped up into worrying about our loved ones! {Spiritual, emotional and physical concerns!}  The section I read in the book today directly addressed this exact topic! {Funny how that works!}

Here is an excerpt from chapter 3 under the section titled, "Worry versus concern":

"Concern:                                                    Worry:
* Involves a ligitimate threat                         * Is often unfounded
* Is specific (one thing)                                * Is generalized (spreads to many things)
* Addresses the problem                             * Obsesses about the problem
* Solves problems                                       * Creates more problems
*Looks to God for answer                           * Looks to self or other people for answers

"Pastor and teacher Gary E. Gilley sums up the difference like this: 'Worry is allowing problems and distress to come between us and the heart of God.  It is the view that God has somehow lost control of the situation and we cannot trust Him.  A legitimate concern presses us closer to the heart of God and causes us to lean and trust Him all the more.' {Gary E. Gilley, "think on These Things" newsletter 4, no. 2 (February 1998).}

"Concern draws us to God.  Worry pulls us from him.  I think this distinction is especially helpful for those of us who tend to spiritualize worry, convincing ourselves that it's our duty to fret about such things as the state of the world, our finances, or our futures.  Oswald Chambers put it this way in My Utmost for His Highest:

                   'Fussing always ends in sin.  We imagine that a little anxiety and worry
                   are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indica-
                   tion of how really wicked we are.  Fretting springs from a determination
                   to get our own way.  Our Lord never worried and He was never anxious,
                   because He was not "out" to realize His own idea;  He was "out" to
                   realize God's ideas.  Fretting is wicked if you are a child of God....
                   All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.'
                   {Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (1935; reprint, Uhrichsville,
                    Ohio: Barbour, n.d.), 135}

"That's something we all need to remember when it comes to this issue of worry.  We face legitimate concerns every day of our lives.  But instead of fretting, instead of worrying, we need to focus on discerning what we can do (with God's help) and what should be left entirely up to God.  Even more important, we need to keep our focus on who God is and what God can do." {Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, by Joanna Weaver, Copyright 2002, Waterbrook Press, pages 38, 39}

I am so guilty of worrying!  I mean, I have 8 children to worry about, a husband who is on the road for 60 hours each week, elderly parents who are prone to falling and forgetting important things, quite a number of unsaved relatives....  "What if robbers come in the night while Dallas is gone?  I don't even have a dog anymore to warn me!"  "What if I am not prepared for {fill in the blank!}"  "What if something happens to Dallas and I am left to take care of this family by myself?"  The list goes on, and on, and on.  The list could go on forever!  But I can't think about things like that, but rather, trust the Lord in all things!  Two of the most valuable verses I memorized as a child is Philippians 4:6-7  "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your request be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  I quote these verses to myself often, but not often enough!  I still worry!  This book is such an encouragement to me.  I would encourage every woman to read it!

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spring Cleaning Week 1: Kitchen Results

Things went really well this week.  The kids helped me a lot and did a very good job!

Ta-da!  My clean kitchen, with Leah posing.

No more clutter!

Clean cupboards inside, outside and even above!

All the drawers were dumped, washed sorted and organized.  I threw away every lid that didn't have a container, and every container that didn't have a lid.


It feels so good to have a clean kitchen.  I can't wait to get the whole house done!  It will take about a month... for the upstairs, anyway.  {The basement is a whole other world!  There won't be any "before" pictures of THAT!!}

We also managed to continue with the morning Bible time.  That is not always easy, since the kids are not really used to it yet.  Some days {like today} they were more interested in bothering each other than listening!  {Sigh} Satan is always at work!

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Spring Cleaning" - Week 1

I know that most people do their "spring cleaning" in early spring.  Since we homeschool, that would be rather difficult for us!  We turned in our portfolios last week, thrusting us into our summer schedule.  Our summer schedule is loose, but busy.  Every year I say we will do school all summer, but don't.  This year I want to try REEEALLLYYYY hard to keep somewhat of a schedule, and keep the kids busy doing things like... NOT watching TV!  From what I have heard, "normal" women take about a week to do their spring cleaning.  Some can do one room per day and have it done beautifully!  {Kudos to you!}  Not me.  Every summer I pour a lot of time, effort and energy into cleaning and organizing the house, top to bottom.  Cupboards, closets.... the basement... {YIKES!}  I even do this over Christmas break hoping that when summer hits I won't have the same terrible mess I had last year.  Except that when summer hits, I have a huge, terrible mess!  {It doesn't help that we have had and "adult" kid living in our basement for over a year!}

Today starts my "spring cleaning".  The goal is to do a little each day and still have time to be a "fun mom" for a while.  Each week through the end of June will have a "focus".  This week the focus will be the kitchen.  I will tell you the week's goals, then check in on Friday, if not before, and update you on my progress!

Monday: Clean out kitchen cupboards 
Tuesday:  Finish the cupboards
Wednesday:  Scrub cupboard fronts, woodwork, table pedestals and chair legs
Thursday:  Clean off the tops of the cupboards and the refrigerator
Friday:  Kitchen drawers

 Overall, messy kitchen.


More clutter!


The other thing I really, REALLY, REEEALLLLLYYYYY need to work on, more important than any household task, is to have CONSISTENT  Bible time with my children.  Doing it here and there when there is trouble is just not good enough!  Today I got everyone up to have devotions {instead of get up to clean their rooms}.  Such a no-brainer... but I am such a Martha.   By the way, today I started the book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, by Joanna Weaver.  I have always been intrigued  by the title, but my Sweet Mama got it, thinking of me.  {She's 86 and can't remember a lot of things,  but I am so thankful she still remembers me!}  We had a good devotion time, using Keys for Kids.  It seems like a great  place to start.


Time to get to work!  Check back on Friday!

Linking Up With Domestically Divine Tuesday   Homemaking LinkUp Wednesday

Monday, May 7, 2012

Kitchen Tips & Tricks #6: Pre-cooked Meat

I have found it very helpful to our schedule to always fry up the hamburger ahead of time, in bulk.  I normally fry about 6-8 lbs of meat at a time.

I use my huge roasting pan on two burners.  (I think there might actually be 10 pounds in this picture.)

I then freeze it into 3-cup containers.  This helps me get a meal on the table in, usually, under 30 minutes.

One container is enough for most of my recipes.  I use two for tacos and tater-tot casserole because we like the leftovers!


Ground beef has become so expensive, I refuse to buy it at the grocery store for $3.00/lb.  Especially with a larger family, it would cost us a fortune!  I try to never spend over $2.00/lb. on meat.  So I would like to share some ideas on how to eat at a lower cost.

Ground chicken!  I know it sounds very strange.  But when chicken breasts go on sale, I buy them, lots of them!  I can usually get a 40 pound box... or two.  I cut the meat off the bone if its bone-in, or just slice it up to fit in my KitchenAid mixer's meat grinding attachment..  I know dealing with chicken is disgusting, but it saves money and it is much lower in fat than beef or pork.  A friend of mine does the same thing with pork, except she takes it to someone who has a meat grinder, pays him a little something, and still saves money.

My other alternative is ground venison.  It's not my personal favorite, but with some good advice from a friend and the grace of God, I can cook so it doesn't taste gamey.  I cook it with bay leaves.  Last fall Hubby {Dallas} shot two deer and his hunting partners shot 3 more.  None of them were able to take home their meat so they gave it to Dallas!  He took three to the locker and gave away two to someone in need.  The pictures in this post are of ground venison.

Today I am linked up atMenu Plan Monday and The Welcome Home LinkUp