Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Adventures in Frugality

One of my goals for 2013 is to find new and exciting frugal replacements for everyday costly items. I am trying to adapt to 2 of these each month. But trial and error so far had me at 50% success...

This week's tip: Homemade Frugal Granola Bars 

They were and still are a huge hit!!

That has saved me considerably on my grocery bill which I am trying to keep around $100 a week. At $3++ a box for the cheap ones and $4++ a box for the quality ones - that is a HUGE savings for us each week. 

I make a double batch of bars and it lasts about 2 weeks. Frugal and tasty! I never liked granola bars before I tried these. I found these to be a treat to eat and so versatile. They can be different every week - you choose the mix-ins, be creative and use what's in your stockpile or on sale:)

Be sure to send in your mix-in ideas and experiences with them.

Next weeks frugal adventure - fabric softener alternatives...

What is frugality to the Proverbs 31 woman?? 

It is the safe keeping of the Lord's blessings.

fka (formerly known as): Waste not, Want not:)

She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness. ----Prov 31:27

Frugality as per wiki:  the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the use of consumable resources such as food, time or money and avoiding waste, lavishness or extravagance

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The making of all things small

As I ponder the day, I look out the window at the new fallen snow- in awe of the artistry of our LORD. I wake up early, it's still dark, there is not a sound in the house, I begin to pray and I note how small I am in a world created by my God. 

We are merely moving shadows 
and all our busy rushing ends in 
nothing.--Psalm 39:6

I take time away from the busy rushing to dive head long into His world. 

Breathing Yah-Weh, Yah-Weh. 

My mind clears and the focus can be on the only thing that matters. How infinitely small I am and how infinitely HUGE my God is.

Every day presents a new challenge. As Proverbs 31 wife, mother, daughter.... I am continuously challenged with a changing of hats. 

My daily challenge---- 
'the making of all things small.'

It's a concept I developed to help my family deal with things they think are big. They come to me with their Goliath and I encourage them with the 'stones of Truth' (God's Word) until their giant is microscopic.

God does that...

                                He takes big things and makes them SMALL

We learn repeatedly that His thoughts are not our thoughts. It is ever so clear when we face our Goliaths. What we think are so BIG...He makes very small.

I took this thinking for myself and thought I could turn it around again. 

If God helps me by making my Big things small... what will happen if I make a conscious effort to make all HIS small things BIG?

What if I notice the snowflake rather the snow, the leaf rather than the tree, the ant rather than the hill, the mustard seed rather than the shrub (the smallest seed which grows to be the biggest in the garden, by the way)

What if I focus my attention on the small and make it big....
the griever rather than the grief, the child rather than the adult, the sinner rather than the sin (yes, that sinner is much smaller), the nail rather than the cross.....

To do this takes practice but it is worth every minute. 

Extraordinary things happen when we 'make BIG' what the world 'makes small' and 'make small' what the world 'makes big'...our thinking aligns with God's and Goliath shrinks. 

My encouragement today is: 

       slow down,  

                  take time to notice things differently

                                        give thanks, 

                                                    see what God sees and you will be blessed.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bone broth

this is so practical you'll wish you tried it years ago!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Plan 'B'

Psalm 5:11 "But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You, 
Let them ever shout for joy, 
because You defend them; 
Let those also who love Your name 
Be Joyful in You. 
For you, O LORD, will bless the righteous; 
With favor You will surround him as with a shield." 
What are you doing today that requires FAITH? 
Is there something gnawing at your soul. Are you at a point where you feel hopeless about a certain situation. Are you ready to give up on God's plan and opt for Plan 'B'? 
Why is it we feel like we need a back-up plan when it comes to reliance on God? 
In times of stress it may seem that to sit back and do nothing is just that... do nothing--
But nothing could be further from the truth when it come to God. 
When it comes to reliance on God 'nothing' can mean endurance (James 5:11), 
patience (Psalm 37:7), 
rest(Psalm 127:2), 
or reliance (John 14:1).

This is a time when you need to dig deep, to push away the stored-up layers of self-reliance, impatience, and fear. Dig until you find the you only God knows. Find that you and sit there a minute. It may feel uncomfortable at first-- it's different, it's raw, but it's clean. 
This is the you that Christ died for. This is the you that God proclaimed - This one is my Chosen, I can do great things with him. 
Are you more comfortable yet?? 
It takes some getting used to. It's not a side you are ready to share-- it's too bare, it's too-- vulnerable
But it's the you that He can make the most of. It's the one that says,  
"O Lord my God, in You I put my trust" (Psalm 7:1).  
It takes fear and turns it to falsehood. It takes restlessness and turns it to peaceful slumber. It takes a dirty wretch and makes him righteous before Him.

Relying on your own understanding will weigh you down. Trust in ME absolutely, and I will make your path straight. Isn't that what we're all longing for in our confused, human state? A Straight path.

Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; 
Make Your way straight before my face. Psalm 5:8
Don't give up. He will lead you. Hold on. Find the you only He can see and hold on to that trust in Him. He will never leave you. He's just waiting for you to draw near to Him. Be faithful and He will do wonderful things with you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's for dinner tonight?

Classic Pot Roast

Sharing one of my go-to recipes today. As it simmers away in the crockpot I can't help but thank God for my senses. 
 Psalm 46:1 
God is our refuge & strength, a very present help in trouble.

Instead of imagining how you might respond to terrible things that "could" happen, draw your mind back to the present and take refuge in His presence.

Participating in the game of what-ifs or could-bes is never productive. 
It hardens the heart and exhausts the soul.
The great deceiver invites us to this game every time we dare to trust FAITH rather than CHEAP fortune. 
To rely on the guidance of God is to disregard self. 
To seek Him is to know He will answer. But you must learn to go to Him first, before others. 
Don't ask all you friends first, don't write to Dear Abby...
Dear reader, if you get a general consensus then try to match it up to what you think God is telling you, you will always be wrong. God doesn't work that way. He will will not play second to anyone and to ask Him to do so will only bring you pain. Have you felt that pain??
Trust begins by making Him first.

Get into the habit of seeking Him first. More on to communicate with Him continually and His thoughts will come into your mind.

Draw near to God, 
and He will draw near to you.--- James 4:8

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Confident Peace

Psalm 21:1 
In You, O LORD, I put my trust.

Learn to hide in the secret of His presence. Sarah Young in Jesus Calling brought this phrase to my heart today. Think about it, meditate on it for a minute, let it sink in.....

Learn to hide in the secret of His presence.
 As Christians we have the pleasure ----make that the privilege-- to hide in the arms of our Father. 
I can remember times when my kids would run up to me and hide their face in my lap. They felt safety knowing my arms were around them. Their faces hid in my lap, covering them from what ever was bringing them fear. 
You have that privilege as a Christian. To run to the Father anytime, 
bury your head in His Holy lap and know He will protect you. You are safe, feel His arms around you and know that:
He is both with you, and
      Within you.

In Him you may have confident peace. That is what I wish for you today, dear reader. That you may have CONFIDENT Peace in Him who loves you more than you know.
Come to His lap, lay down your head, and rest in that Confident Peace.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Homemade Jam

Today was a day to make more homemade jam. We ran out early this year and boy is it good!

Homemade Jam
Yield: 8 jars

Assorted berries (1 ½ quarts strawberries, mashed up, 1 bag frozen raspberries,
 and 1 bag frozen Wyman’s blueberries) which will equal 5-6 cups when mashed
1 box Sure-gel
½ tsp butter
7 cups sugar, measured and ready

  1. Mash fresh berries to 5-6 cups; do not mash frozen berries. Put these in a stockpot; mix in the box of Sure-gel, and butter. Heat on high to a rolling boil (this means you stir it and it keeps boiling). Be sure to stir it as the frozen fruit melts so it won’t burn. When it reaches a rolling boil, add the sugar all at once and stir to mix thoroughly. Keep mixing and bring up to a rolling boil again. Cook at a rolling boil for 2 minutes (1 minute if all the berries are fresh). Remove from heat.
  2. In the meantime, bring a small pan of water to a boil. Turn off burner and add your lids. Be sure to separate each lid in the water; don’t leave them in a stack. Let these sit while you’re making the jam.
  3. Also, wash glass jars and metal rings. Put in a very clean sink submerged in the hottest water you can get.
  4. When the jam is done use a glass measuring cup to scoop out the jam. Be careful this is VERY hot! Pour jam into HOT glass jar to within ½ inch of edge, wipe clean the edges, place a hot, dry lid on top with a magnet rod, and then screw on metal ring. Place upside down on towel. After about 5 minutes turn jar right side up you should hear the jars popping (sealing) within a few minutes to an hour.
  5. Let the jars rest for 24 hours before storing. Tighten lid more, if necessary and store in a cool, dry place.

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