This is What He’s Put Before Us

Today is The Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year for some. Over the past ten days or so, I’ve been reflecting on my life and ways I can make some changes to better serve God.

We’ve been on quite the roller coaster ride over the past three years.

We’ve moved twice while working towards debt freedom. Our current home is a lovely little cabin tucked into a hillside.

We purchased this home thinking it would be a good investment property. I really didn’t think we would be here too long once our home in South Carolina sold. What I didn’t realize was the conviction I would feel to put our house sale proceeds on this home instead of putting it towards a more “suitable” piece of property. This is what my husband wanted to do, too. Our mortgage now sits at $33,699.

While our mortgage balance may be low, oh how I miss having a larger piece of property. I really don’t like our current parking situation. I have hardly anywhere to garden. I really want to set up a new greenhouse, but where? Our children can no longer ride their bikes. I definitely will need to get creative while living here!

It’s kind of funny, since one of the #1 things I was looking for in a home was a flat yard. Since I thought we would be living here temporarily, I didn’t even take the yard into consideration.

And seeds of discontentment have taken root.

Never mind the fact that the nicer pieces of land that we’ve “owned” in the past didn’t even belong to us. They belonged to the bank and carried a hefty mortgage. I’ve conveniently forgotten how crushing a large mortgage feels.

And ladies, I know just how wrong my thinking is.

Those seeds of discontentment are covetousness. It is a sin that needs to die.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Exodus 20:17

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”

Hebrews 13:5

Looking longingly at home/land packages that I think will better suit our needs will not get me anywhere. This is what He’s put before us. The Father believes this small hillside cabin fits our needs perfectly. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here. And who am I to question Him?

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

Today, on Yom Kippur, I’m asking the Spirit to help me put this sin to death. The Lord has given me all that I need. He has given me a lovely home to care for. He has given us a path to debt and mortgage freedom. If we are here long term, in time we can implement terracing, Lord willing.

The Day of Atonement is all about repentance. I’m so grateful that our God offers His mercy freely to those who turn from their sins.

Lord willing, I will share how we recognize this day with our children sometime soon. I misplaced some of our Feast day things during the move and last night I was left scrambling to put something together for them. The Feast of Tabernacles is coming up and I shared what we’ve done in previous years here.

Blessings, ladies!

A Small Disappointment

Well, our power went out a few hours ago and I’m awake, trying to make sure we have a good plan to get everyone ready for violin lessons this morning. A minor inconvenience at most, really. I thought while up I’d share a small disappointment we recently encountered with y’all.

When we moved back to Georgia, I began looking for violin lessons for four of my children. They had been taking fiddle lessons in South Carolina, and I wanted them to continue.

I found a lovely band/choir program for Christian homeschoolers not too far from home. At first, we were only interested in violin, but two of my children decided they would really like to try choir as well after gentle prodding from the directors on several occasions.

At first, I was a bit hesitant because our faith is messianic in nature, and I knew many choirs focused on Christmas music during the fall. But when I discovered the fall performance took place on November 8th, my fears were relieved. I figured this date was far too early for Christmas music.

However, at the parent meeting, I learned that the children would be singing at the Toys for Tots Kick-Off in downtown Atlanta. I sent a message asking for my children to be excused. A few days later, I received a call from the director stating that the entire fall program was comprised of Christmas music, and this is how the children learned to read music. If my children did not participate in these sessions they would not be allowed to participate in choir during the spring.

While the director was super nice and professional about this, I was a bit dumbfounded and my children were disappointed. Not quite knowing what else to do, I pulled them from the choir program.

Now, I know in the scheme of life this is a little thing. Our family does things differently than most people in the greater American Christian communty. And yet my heart ached for my children, who received their first tiny taste of persecution. (Now, I do hesitant to call this actual “persecution.” It probably relates more to poor advertisement of the choir program.)

Mamas, doing the right thing for our families can be hard. We often feel crazy and countercultural when doing what we believe is the most God-honoring thing. This principle applies to so much…public school, holidays, music, movies, and social media are just a few other examples of things we must navigate for God’s glory.

I would like to encourage you to do what you believe the Lord is calling you to do, no matter what the circumstance may be. Yes, it’s been hard for my children to not participate in choir when their heart was set on it, but this situation has given us ample opportunities to discuss why my husband and I believe the way we do, which has been a good thing.

I hope that your weekend is lovely, ladies. If you’d like to read more about how we generally view holidays, you can find that information here.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

Life in Our Home || October 2019

When I look back at the past month, I see a flurry of activity. As we prepare for the birth of our ninth child, things have been busy! Throw in birthday parties for three children, dropping our first child off at college, and the continual settling into our new home, and I must admit that I am tired.

The blog has been quiet as of late. We have been laser focused on paying off our mortgage, which involves me (by my own choice) accepting a lot of Etsy orders. I feel like it is time to wind down, with baby being due in early November. This has been a struggle for me. We have come such a long way, and I’m ready for this chapter to end! We started off with $293,000 worth of debt in November 2016, and are now at $33,699 left on our mortgage. My sweet husband has been working a lot of overtime and overall, we try to live a fairly simple life. Downgrading our home twice has also helped our cause.

I think one of the reasons why I am having a difficult time slowing down is because I place a lot of the blame of our debt on myself. My husband has always been more steady and smart with finances than me, and I was usually the one who wanted the new house, car, or camper. I was the one with student loans. We are in a totally different place now, thanks to God’s mercy. But I still take the words “Owe no one anything but love” in Scripture very seriously and I’m trying very hard to find the appropriate balance. I think my focus will shift to frugality even more so once our baby arrives to counteract any losses in Etsy income.

Life has been different without our oldest daughter here. I believe this has been the hardest part of parenting so far. This life change has made me cherish the moments with my other children even more so. Children are such blessings and gifts. I am truly blessed to be expecting our ninth at age 39.

The pregnancy has been going well except for some nerve pain in my leg which puts me out of commission at times. My family has been so helpful and I’m very grateful for them.

We celebrated the Feast of Trumpets a few days ago, and I’m looking forward to celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles soon! How I love His feasts and this time of year!

I hope you ladies have a lovely October. Oh, and I would love to quickly share a head covering article that was a blessing to me which I recently stumbled upon. Blessings!

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.

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!

Thoughts about Working from Home + Etsy Shop Free Shipping Sale

If you regularly read my blog, you probably are aware that I feel very strongly about the importance of mama’s presence in the home. Home is where it’s at! Our work here is so important, ladies.

At the same time, I believe that we have been given the opportunity to create and sell things within the sphere of our home, so long as our families are not being neglected. This is a skill which I hope to teach my daughters. My three oldest girls have opened Etsy stores, and I would like to share them with you!

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My daughter Morgan’s store is called Pansy Lane by Morgan. She loves flowers, and she loves to crochet! She makes hair accessories like bun covers, among other things.

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My daughter Maddy loves photography. Her prints are matted, and are quite lovely in my opinion. I can’t wait to see if she decides to further pursue this art once she graduates our home school. Please take a look at her Maddy Crone Photography shop!

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My oldest daughter Melani also enjoys crocheting and sewing. You can find bun covers and book holders in her shop. She recently became active on Etsy, and plans to list more items soon!

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I have been an active Etsy seller under the shop name Joyfully Made for 10 years now. It is such fun to make personalized outfits for little ones. I also have a Ready to Ship section with some good deals. This is where I list my Craft Show Destash items. Everything in my shop is shipping for free this week!

There is such a delicate balance when taking on a work-at-home endeavor. Our families must always come first. I have been encouraged and blessed by the Proverbs 31 woman. While she did sell fabric and purchase a field, her home and family was obviously her top priority.

I hope everyone has had a blessed November thus far. The Father has been so good to us. We mostly have had a slow month at home, which has been perfectly lovely! Also, I would like to quickly share a blog post which I found so encouraging about a week ago. As the author so aptly states, wives and mothers were made to make home our life! Please take a few moments to read Called to be Different: Keeping Home + Living Quietly.

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.

Hebrews 13:15

Blessings!

Finding Joy in the Small Stuff (Fall Edition)

With the time change and pending election, I’ve let myself get into a bit of a funk. I’ll admit, I’m totally in the wrong. I am beyond blessed with anything and everything I could ever need. I should be focusing on my blessings, and not insignificant hardships.

I’ve been reminded that renewing our minds with God’s Word on a daily basis is so important, mamas. Honestly, to be at my best, I need to renew it every few hours, at the least. I’m so grateful that the Lord has given us a lifeline in His Word.

Today I would like to share some wonderful things about fall that help to lift my spirits. Instead of seeing the short days as a bad thing, I need to remember that the Lord is offering us sweet rest in these next few months.

We can look at this time of rest with joy, knowing that we have more time to grow closer to Him. More time to study His Word. More time to pray. More time to enjoy our families. Speaking of families, I shared my family’s testimony which was featured in Above Rubies last week on the blog. You can find it here.

There is so many simple joys to look forward to during the fall.

  • Studying Scripture
  • Family time
  • Colorful leaves
  • Long walks
  • Warm blankets
  • Crackling fires
  • Hot chocolate or coffee
  • Pumpkins
  • The harvest
  • Craft festivals
  • Good books
  • Fall decor
  • Dried herbs
  • Sweaters
  • Boots
  • Baking
  • Apple Cider
  • Candles
  • God’s Appointed Times (Feast of Tabernacles, Trumpets, etc)
  • Time to plan the new year
  • More sleep to reset our bodies
  • Fall scented essential oils

The Lord is good, all of the time. All of nature speaks of His goodness, and fall is such a beautiful time to get outside with our families.

I’ve come to realize that the little things in life aren’t so little. Simple joys equal big time happiness. Let’s take the time to see the little blessings that surround us today.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

A Christian Feast of Trumpets Celebration

Ah, we had such a blessed little Feast of Trumpets celebration in our home earlier in the week, and I can’t wait to share it with you! I meant to post earlier, but Hurricane Florence has been quite the distraction. We do not live in an evacuation zone, but we still have been weighing our options as to whether the kids and I wanted to leave or not. I have decided to stay put, especially since my husband works along the South Carolina coast for an electric co-op. He is on stand by, and it looks like our home will experience tropical storm force winds, tops.

Okay, so where do I begin? With the desire to grow closer to the Lord, my family started slowly celebrating/honoring several of the Biblical Feasts a couple of years ago after we stopped celebrating Christmas. This has been such a blessing to us! 2018 marks our first ever Feast of Trumpets celebration. I fully intended on honoring this feast last year, but our move to the low country threw me off. But this year it was a go!

I’m linking our first experience with the Feast of Tabernacles here. Our desire is to celebrate the Feasts of the Lord in a Biblical way, while trying to avoid man-made traditions when we can. I must admit, I was a bit confused by the overlap of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Teruah (or, the Day of Trumpets). We did not want to celebrate the Jewish New Year, since we believe the Biblical calendar begins in the Spring. I started going with an apple and honey theme, and then I realized these things were tied to Rosh Hashanah. I kind of went with it, but next year I plan to fully focus on being called to repentance and the second coming of Christ. We believe that our Savior did not come to “do away” with any of the commands of His Father, but instead, to make them full. Yom Teruah is all about Him!

The Feast of Trumpets is mentioned in Leviticus 23:4. “On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of Sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts.” This day is known as “the day that no man knows,” since it begins with the new moon at the start of the month of Tishrei. Historically, appointed watchman would sound the ram’s horn to notify the people that the new moon arrived when they first saw the sliver of moon appear.

This corresponds with the Lord’s second coming. He will return with a great blast!

For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

This feast lends itself perfectly to some deep discussions about the future resurrection with older children. On a slightly different note, I might share my faith testimony with you here someday. My oh my, how the Lord has led me to a new and closer walk with Him over the past year! One of my views which has changed involves heaven and the afterlife. I came to my husband weeping as my beliefs began to shift. In that moment, it honestly felt like the rug was being pulled out from under me as doctrine upon doctrine that I thought was solidified in my mind was changing. I’m so thankful for his encouragement, and now I am grateful. Letting go of the doctrines of man and looking fully to the Word of God *in context* to come to conclusions is hard. But at the same time, it is needful and wonderful too.

For our younger children, we planned several fun activities, and they loved it. We talked about repentance, and our need for a Savior. We talked about sounding the trumpets and calling ourselves and others to the Lord. I used several worksheets from Bible Pathway Adventures Fall Feast Activity Printable Pack. I highly recommend them!

I was so excited when I found a cute megaphone/trumpet craft for the kiddos at Hobby Lobby that read “Speak God’s Word” for us to decorate. We read the story of Jericho and reenacted the last day, marching around our homes seven times in the dark before blowing our party blowers. (The little kids thought this was great fun, by the way.) We also spent extra time on a few other Bible crafts and making a cake. Since it was a Sabbath day, no schoolwork for all! Our shofar came in just in time as well. We had great fun, and the kids cannot wait until the Feast of Trumpets next year.

As a mom, it warms my heart to see my little ones embracing the Biblical Feasts. We are now talking about the Day of Atonement, which will be here soon. I pray their hearts begin to understand their need for a Savior, and the importance of casting off sin. We will begin to weave the story of Jonah in our studies over the next several days.

This is such a joyous time. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to teach my children that Yeshua (Jesus) is the fullness of this time of feasting. He is the Father in the flesh, and He is coming again one day!

Thank you so much for stopping by! I would love to connect with you on Facebook. I’d also like to invite you to my Mary & Martha Facebook Page, or to look at beautiful and inspiring Mary & Martha home decor. It is a such a blessing to serve you!

By the way, I also have a new line of mom tees in my Etsy shop. I hope you enjoy them!

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