Enjoying Home

Hello, friends! We have been settling into our new home for about a month now and I wanted to share a few thoughts about just how thankful I am for our time in South Carolina. I have been reflecting on the good habits I learned while there which have carried over to our new home.

I used to love being out and about, but our move to South Carolina changed things. We moved to a very rural area, and going anywhere other than Walmart involved a 120-mile round trip drive. At first, I tried to make that drive anyhow to visit stores. After a little while I realized it just wasn’t worth it!

Staying at home so often helped me learn the beauty of being a “keeper at home,” as Scripture calls it. While I had been convicted about not taking an outside job for quite some time, I hadn’t seen the beauty of simply staying at home.

Ladies, staying at home is beautiful. We are called to be watchful, and to guard it from worldly outside influences. We are called to take care of it and make it a beautiful place for our families to enjoy. We cannot do these things if we are always leaving it. Even “good” extracurricular activities with our children can quickly become a detriment to our home life if we let them.

As a wife and mother, this is my calling. I’m called to stay home with my family, and to enjoy it! Our homes are a gift from God which He has given us to enjoy!

I was worried that I might revert to my old ways once we moved back to “civilization,” but by God’s grace I have not so far. I actually find myself hoping to get back to our home while we are out!

The biggest help to me has been Scripture and reading books by like-minded women. I’ve enjoyed Living Virtuously by Erin Harrison and The Virtuous Woman from Rod and Staff Publishing. Watching homemaking videos on YouTube has also been an encouragement to me.

Ladies, there is such freedom in embracing our calling. Sometimes doing so is hard. We live in a two income culture where it can be difficult to live on a single income. I do believe there is a hidden agenda, here. Our families are weakened when mamas leave the home, and children are much more easily pliable to accept humanistic thinking when away from their God-given caretaker each day. Mamas, we must reject this! We must step back into our intended roles, even if this means a cut in pay, a smaller home, and less worldly goods. Our children and our children’s children are depending on us. We risk blaspheming the word of God when we are not keepers at home. With the Lord’s help, we can do this!

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Titus 2:3-5

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My Raw, Unfiltered Thoughts About Patriotism

For me, walking with the Lord is sometimes hard. Perhaps you know what I mean. As I grow closer to Him or seek His will on a subject, often I’m surprised by what He asks me to do because it is so countercultural.

I’ve always enjoyed Independence Day and things of a patriotic nature. I’m thankful for the freedoms I have in this country. There probably isn’t another place in the whole wide world where I’d rather raise my family.

But over the past few years, I’ve felt a nudge in my Spirit when it comes to patriotic celebrations and what they entail. If my full allegiance belongs to the Lord, what was I doing pledging it to an inanimate object (flag) with my hand over my heart?

A couple of years ago we gave up Christmas and Easter, but I didn’t think I would need to reexamine any other holidays. But I kept feeling the nudge to dig deeper.

In our country, I’m afraid that patriotism often takes the form of idol worship, just like the sports scene. While “in my heart,” my intentions might not be idolatry, from the outside looking in, what does it look like I’m doing?

A little over a year ago, my family attended a Collingsworth Family concert. They opened with “America the Beautiful.” Wouldn’t you know that this song is what the crowd reacted to most? My husband started to rise, and I didn’t, along with the Mennonites in attendance. He asked, “You know they are going to kick us out of here don’t you?” Ha! Nobody rose in respect for other songs about the Lord…

Speaking of Mennonites, I do find it refreshing how this group does not bow (or stand) to the flag, mainly due to their pacifist stance. Christ’s example is to love our enemies, and to bless those who persecute us. “The Star Spangled Banner” is actually quite a violent song. Through the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air is not referring to fireworks. It is referring to bombs and gunfire killing people. And yet we stand and clap, possibly while putting our hand over our heart.

A few weeks ago, my family visited Stone Mountain to watch the laser show. Two of my girls wore red, white, and blue and we purchased some fun light up necklaces and stickers for them to play with while there. Was that inherently wrong? I don’t know. But after the extremely patriotic show, I couldn’t help but feel like something was off.

Friends, we are called to be citizens of heaven. Yes, we should respect our rulers and be grateful to God for all He has given us. I’m grateful to live in this country! But I can’t bow down to it. I never thought that I had, but I feel like my blinders have come off and I need to repent for pledging my allegiance to anything other than God.

The Babylon Bee wrote a post a few weeks back titled something like,”One Day Jesus is Going to Burn All of the Flags Everywhere.” It was meant to be funny, but it’s true! Biblically, America is not a favored nation which will stand against God’s wrath. We must keep this in mind.

I hope I didn’t rain on your Fourth of July parade, so to speak. Again, I’m grateful for the country we live in, but I’ve realized I can’t idolize it. Christianity and American Patriotism do not go hand in hand. American flags shouldn’t be prominently displayed in pulpits around the country. We do not worship a flag, or a country, but the Lord.

May your day be blessed, everyone.

Downsizing, Again?

Hello, friends. As I type, I’m sitting in the living room of our new-to-us cabin. We have downsized, yet again. This time it’s more in the manner of land instead of house size. We now live on 1.5 acres instead of 6. The land is both hillside and rocky, not at all usable like our last home.

The inside of our home is about the size of our last one, if you don’t count the garage conversion we completed last year. I honestly didn’t know if our furniture would fit. But joy upon joys, it does. Our living room fits our new-to-us furniture well. We didn’t pay a dime for any of it, praise God. Our kitchen is awfully tight, but we have plans to convert our screened porch into a sun/dining room one day. Our master bath boasts a single sink and the washer/dryer. Surprisingly, I don’t miss our previous master bath at all! I do miss the privacy our previous place offered, though.

Instead of two baths, we now have three, which is wonderful news for our family of ten! We are also now spread out between three levels instead of one. The noise reduction is a huge plus.

The past few years have been an exercise of embracing the simple and learning to be content with the abundance the Lord has set before me. Most everyone living in America lives in abundance. A yearly income of $33,000 puts you in the top 1% of wage earners worldwide.

Those of us living in America and other industrialized nations (myself being one of them) often forget how abundantly blessed we are if we have clothing to cover our bodies and food. That’s it. We are taught in Scripture to be content if we have these things. But how often do we chase the next car, the season’s must-have accessory, or the upcoming family vacation? We tell ourselves things like, “You only live once,” or “It’s more important to make memories instead of paying off debt quickly.” Again, I’ve been there and am still there at times!

Free fun at our library.

God has changed my heart like only He could. Our mortgage debt now feels like such a burden and I want to be rid of it. I have been deeply convicted about our debt. I have no business taking lavish vacations if we owe the bank a huge debt. In this abundantly blessed place that we live in, there are so many free and inexpensive opportunities for fun and recreation right under our noses. People in other places of the world only dream of the opportunities we have.

Our new living room.

So yes, we have downsized again, and I’m embracing it. My daughters and I planted a small container garden today, which was lovely. The cabin is cozy, and well just about perfect when it comes to my preferred decor style. We are sitting on two mortgages at the moment, and prayers are appreciated for our out of state home to sell quickly. My husband’s new job necessitated a quick move, which is why we still (or the bank, ha!) still technically owns both homes. Once it sells, Lord willing, we will be completely mortgage free fairly soon.

Thank you so much for stopping by! Feel free to read my thoughts about motherhood here, and connect with me on Instagram.

So Many Changes

Have you ever felt like so many changes were happening around you that it was difficult to catch your breath? Well, that’s how I feel right now. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about!

Two big life changes are taking place right now. Change #1 is that were having another baby! Our baby boy is due in November and will be our ninth child. We are so excited. After three girls in a row, it will be a fun change to be having a BOY! I’m tired, and am so grateful to be in my second trimester, especially since my nausea has subsided. What an honor it is for God to partner with us to bring His image bearers into the world, mamas.

Finding out that we are expecting has led to another big change. We decided to move back to our home state of Georgia. We are so grateful for our time in South Carolina, especially since the Lord has done wonders with our finances while there. We paid off $117,000 worth of debt while living in South Carolina from September 2017 through May 2019.

We thought my mother in law would be moving to our area, which never happened. We never really got connected with the community, and when I became pregnant, I really wanted to move back towards home. I do feel badly about the move at times because my husband left a really good job to move us back to Georgia.

Everything has fallen into place, and we’ve moved into a really cute little cabin. I thought it would be way too small for us, but surprisingly, we fit well and I really love it. I do miss our land so much, though. Privacy is very important to me, and our cabin is much less private than our South Carolina home.

Our SC home is currently on the market, and we are praying that it might sell before long. Once it sells, we probably will reach mortgage freedom within a year. HalleluYah! I have felt such conviction about becoming debt free over the past two and a half years. Lord willing, the end is in sight.

We are settling in and love our new mountain town. It seems like a lovely place to raise a family, which is very important to us.

Oh, and our oldest daughter is preparing to attend college out of state this fall, and was just gifted her first car from her grandfather. This has been hard on my mama heart!

I hope everyone has had a nice beginning to your summer, and I also hope to pop on here more often. I’m so grateful to God for the many blessings He has given to us.

New Blog – Finance & Frugality

Good morning, friends! It’s been a minute. I hope everyone has had a wonderful spring thus far!

I wanted to pop on the blog to let y’all know that I have started a new blog called Finance & Frugality. I’m using this new site to chronical our financial journey. Since November 2016, we have paid off $152,000 of debt, with most of this amount being our mortgage.

I do plan to still write here as well. 2019 has been both busy and blessed for us. We are preparing for our oldest daughter to attend college in the fall, we have another one graduating this year, and more exciting things are in the works.

If you would like to follow the financial side of our journey, please take a look at the new site here.

Blessings!

An Ordinary Life

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Today, my son turns nine. We’ve blown up balloons, and are excitedly looking forward to when daddy arrives home so a few presents can be opened. Bookshelves have been organized, and my oldest daughter took the little guys on a picnic outside.

Yesterday, I spent a bit of time planting a couple of climbing roses and seed potatoes. We did some school work in between a trip to the grocery store and violin lessons.

The day before that, we worked on our lessons and worked through our chores. The day was gloriously warm, and we spent some of our day outdoors!

I have quite an ordinary life. I’m a house wife and stay-at-home mom. My days are usually pretty similar. Once upon a time, I used to wonder if what I did truly mattered. After all, I’m not a “boss babe,” or “mom boss,” or whatever the hip thing to call working moms is nowadays. Sure, I have an Etsy store, but that isn’t my job. My true calling in life is to be a wife and mom.

I encourage. I kiss boo boos. I teach children how to read. I organize. I sometimes fail or get discouraged. Then I get back up and do it all over again.

I’ve realized that working diligently within my role as a wife and mother is glorifying to God. It honors Him when I joyfully accept my lot in life. My lot is to be a wife and mom. And it’s a good one. Having a small part in raising children for the Lord is a big deal. They are His handiwork, created in His image. They deserve all of my time and attention.

Being a suitable help meet to my husband is also a big deal. Our marriage is a picture of the Father’s love for the world. Putting my own needs aside and serving my husband is an offering to God, and mirrors the service the assembly is to offer Messiah.

All of the little moments in life spent serving our families form into a beautiful picture of God’s love for us. So relish the little moments, mamas. Enjoy the ordinary.

Paul David Tripp says, “Our lives are comprised of 10,000 little moments and maybe only three or four dramatic ones.” How much we would miss if we skimmed over the ordinary, hoping for a glimpse of a “big moment.” God is present in the ordinary. God is present in the little things we do for our families.

Being a housewife and stay-at-home mom isn’t a sacrifice. It is a glorious honor, bestowed upon us by the King of Kings.

So yes, I have an ordinary life. I wouldn’t want it any other way. How about you?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the LORD, not for human masters,

Colossians 3:23

Thank you for stopping by, ladies. It has been such a blessing to chat with you.

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Redeeming Our Time

This morning, I sat down and stared at the list before me. While I simply adore planners, I sometimes do not use them to my advantage. But these last few weeks I have done so much better with the $7.95 planner I picked up at Walmart. (Frugal mom win! Believe me when I say I really wanted a Happy Planner.) Anyhow, I looked at my list, and got right to it. Today, I have helped my children with a bit of their school work, am on my second load of laundry, have cleaned our travel trailer in preparation of our upcoming weekend getaway, and have completed some gardening chores. Yesterday I actually found the time to clean our entire laundry room from top to bottom.

This is not normal for me. I am not incredibly organized, and it is by God’s unending grace that I get anything done at all. But I’ve felt a tug at my heart to use my time more wisely, and I’m trying my best to improve my time management skills.

I have been “pondering the path of my feet.” I pray that my feet and hands are not slothful, and instead, nurture the blessings our Heavenly Father has put in front of me. Our eyes can easily and quickly lead our feet astray. I found such encouragement from “A Virtuous Women” by Ruth Mast, and I wanted to share a short passage with you.

Proverbs 4:25, 27 admonishes us, “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee… Turn not to the right hand nor to the left.” We need to set a goal, chart a course, and then keep our eyes on the goal lest Satan distract us. Have you noticed that when you are driving down the interstate and you look off to the right to see what is happening in a field, you automatically begin driving in that direction? We tend to go where we look.

When the Lord was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, He commanded Lot’s family, “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee” (Genesis 19:17). But Lot’s wife did look back. Did the life of Sodom draw her to the extent that it hurt to leave? Was her heart still among her ungodly friends? Did she hanker for the pleasures she left behind? Did she entertain misgivings about the journey to the mountains where evil might overtake them? We remember Lot’s wife as the wife who looked back. What a legacy to leave a family! (pp.44-45)

What legacy are we leaving, mamas? Are we redeeming the time for our God? Are we redeeming the time in a way which will benefit our families?

For most of my life, I stayed tied up in apparent good things, which actually detracted from the best thing. Oh, this is so easy to do. But I believe the Father will bless us if we instead seek His face and His will in all things and walk in His path as we raise our little ones. There are distractions all around us, and the evil one often comes disguised as an angel of light. We must use discernment by studying God’s Word. Like Proverbs 4:25 and 27 says,  “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee… Turn not to the right hand nor to the left.”

Redeeming the Time

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Ephesians 5:15-16

A wise woman looks at the day ahead of her and redeems that time for her Savior. Redeeming the time means that we use the hours in the day wisely. Oh, how I fail at this often. But I’m learning that we will be led along by the Spirit if we remain in His Word. How wonderful this is!

Even the smallest acts that we do with our hands and feet for our families are acts of worship to our Lord if we act willingly and with a joyful spirit.

Redeeming our time is a beautiful way to honor God. All it takes is a bit of reflection, planning, and prayer. I hope you are blessed today, ladies.

Thank you so much for stopping by! I would like to invite you to take a peek inside of my Etsy shop. Blessings!

Living Simply and Intentionally This December

Hello, friends! It has been a minute. I have been concentrating on accomplishing a few 2018 goals before the year ends, and have been busy!

What a blessed year it has been. It has been a year of growth for me, for sure. I’ve grown closer to the Father as I’ve learned more and more about His truths.

I’ve been stretched as we have strived to live more simply. I’ve also been stretched as we have squeezed our finances to pay off our mortgage as quickly as possible.

As we end the year, I would love to encourage you to live more simply and intentionally. Just yesterday, I learned that while the United States contains only 3% of the world’s children, these same children own 40% of the world’s toys. This statistic is mind boggling to me.

Our children need things like a secure home life and a present mother to grow into happy and healthy adults, not an abundance of toys. I am now doing my best to encourage our children to embrace the simple and important things in life. But please believe me when I say I didn’t always used to live this way. I’m so thankful to the Lord for the work He has done in my life!

We all can do our part to fight the consumerism monster. Even in December, it can be done!

I hope to begin posting again more regularly in the near future. I am on Instagram almost daily, and you can find me there at redeeming_home.

Be encouraged, mamas. You are doing the Lord’s work!