Monday, August 30, 2010

No Thanks "Normal"!

When spending time with my girls, one of the comments I hear the most is, " Wow! They actually enjoy being together!".  And they do.  But let me get this straight right now;  THIS IS NOT AN ACCIDENT!!!

I firmly believe that the loving family is one of God's greatest gifts to us.  I also believe that it is being viciously attacked by our enemy.  I believe that it is vitally important that we pray for a wise a discerning heart in all areas of life, but especially as we seek to raise our children.  Remember, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got".  If we continue to think, act and plan the way things "are always done", how can we expect to get any different results from the world around us.  Divorce, rebellion, estranged relationships are rampant.  What kind of lives are we setting our children up to live?

How do we teach our children to love each other?  Little by little by little by little, every day of each one's life.  Once again, keep careful watch for the "normal" issues that "all children" go through.  Remember, all children are selfish.  But that doesn't mean we cater to their selfishness!  It means we are careful to train it out of them. 

"Normal" issues include things like "The new baby is born so naturally the older sibling is going to go through a rough time", "I have to make sure my kids have time to themselves away from their siblings", "My children will need their own individual friends so they don't feel smothered by their siblings".  This way of thinking is a sure recipe for the classic,  "My siblings drive me crazy!  Why can't they leave me alone!  I'm always stuck with them!".  But isn't that normal?  Absolutely!  Do I want normal? NO THANK YOU!!!

Remember that our children don't come to us spiritually neutral.  They have a sin nature as real as you and me.  And while we don't look at violence, lying and stealing and say, "It's very normal and understandable", why would I say that about a selfish attitude towards their siblings.  So what do we teach them?

These are the things our girls hear multiple times every single day.  "Oh Ella, look at your big sister taking such good care of you!", "Havilah, have your sweet sister help you with your shoes.", "Remember to tell your wonderful sister thank you and give her a big love!", "Look how Ella is smiling at you!  She loves you sooooo much!", "Isn't it so wonderful that God gave you sisters to play with?", "Our girls are our most precious treasures!", "Sisters are the best buddies in the whole world!", "Won't it be fun when Ella gets bigger and you can all play together?", "Aren't you so glad you get to sleep with your sister?".  And they always respond with a resounding "YES!!!!".  And they mean it!  I just went and asked my three older girls who are sitting the couch together, " Do you girls love each other?", and they all yelled "Yes!!!!!".  "How much?" I asked.  Lydia said, "As big as our house" while Bethany and Havilah gave each other a huge hug.

This is not fake.  They really do adore each other.  Every single one.  But we live a very real life.  They do fight.  They do seek their own pleasures rather than thinking of each other.  But we strive to take each situation and not only address the wrong actions, but the selfish heart that is behind it. 

 The Bible tells us to love one another, over and over and over.  It is one of the most important things I am to teach my children.  And the blessings that come from it are limitless.

Don't let the world tell you what is "normal".  As I say over and over, God is good and His ways are good!  When we strive to do things His way, we will have bumpy days.  We will feel incredibly discouraged at times.  We will realize that we have a real enemy.  But we will also experience amazing blessings!  Blessings that will make us wonder why we would ever want to do things the way the world tells us to!  Blessings that will make us marvel even more at how good our God is!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Do I? Don't I? HELP!!!

I'm in serious need of an outside opinion here!  I'm desperately hoping that all you wonderful blogging buddies can jump in here and give me your two cents!

Here's the story;  I'm a very boring sort of gal.  If you ever take me to McGrath's (my ABSOLUTE favorite) I will always order "Bay City Salmon" without the cream sauce.  Always.  In the last seven years of going there I have never ordered anything different.  Why?  Because I found what I love.  Why try something else?  To me "Bay City Salmon" without the cream sauce is perfection!  Beautifully cooked salmon filled with cream cheese and artichoke,  grilled together to make a combination that simply.............  Sorry about that!  It's been too long!

Anyhow,  I'm that way in many walks of life.  Hence why 90% of my clothes are blue, brown or black.  This brings me to my blog.  While many of you may laugh at this, I actually really like this template!  The brown and off white seems to match anything you throw on it!  I never have to fret about what my pictures will look like on that background.  It feels so safe and comfortable.

However, Blogger has now opened up a whole variety of free templates.  Should I try something different????? Please help me!  I feel completely at a loss.  I'm happy where I am.  I think I could type away on my nice little brown and off white for the end of my days.  But several times I've tried something different only to see how wrong I was where I was at before.  Should I change?  Should I?????? 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 4 Winner Is.........


Thank you all so much for entering my giveaway!  I had so much fun!

For those of you who are entirely sick of herbs, I will be getting back to my regular blogging very soon!  For those of you who loved herbs, I'm sure I'll be popping in here with my latest herb discoveries quite often!  Either way, have a truly blessed day and please stop by often!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 3 Winner Is..........


Congratulations Grace ! Still up for grabs are 1 muscle salve, 2 healing salves, 2 sleepy teas and 1 mother's milk tea.

Tomorrow is the last drawing!!!!  One more chance to throw your name in again!  Leave one more comment here , for a final chance to win!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day #2 Winner Is...........


Congratulations Johanna!  There are still two days left to win!  If you're entering for the first time, or you want to throw your name in for a third chance to win just leave a comment here .

Monday, August 23, 2010

Seven Months!!!

It's that time again!  Our sweet Ella Joy is seven months old!

What more can I say that I don't say every month?  Ella is an absolute delight.  Every moment with her is precious.  She is now sitting, creeping, eating food, sleeping in the "girl's room" and leaving behind her baby days much faster than I would wish.  God has blessed us so richly with this precious treasure!

Oh, and it's official now!  Her favorite thing in the whole world is...... Daddy!  She is as in love with him as the rest of us!

Day #1 Winner Is..........


If you didn't win today, remember to enter a second time  here for a double chance to win tomorrow!  If you're just now stopping by, feel free to enter for the first time here as well!

Have a fabulous day!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Herb Giveaway!

Okay!  This is going to be short and sweet!

To Enter~ Simply leave one comment below!  You don't have to be a follower or tweet or anything! 

On Monday I will draw one winner.  If you are not drawn on Monday, you can come back here and comment again (so now you would have two chances to win).  On Tuesday I will draw again.  If you are not drawn, you can come back here and enter again (three chances to win now!).  This will be repeated Wednesday and for one final chance to win Thursday.

I will have~
2  2 oz. healing salves
2  2 oz. muscle salves
2  mixes of sleepy tea
1  mix of either mother's milk tea OR the red raspberry leaf tea.

Each winner will choose which prize they would like to receive!  Have fun!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Farewell to herbs!

We're wrapping up herbs here for awhile.  As you can see, my knowledge and experience is still very limited!  I hope if anything, this encourages to you to get out and try something!  Drink some tea!  Pour your own salve!  Go plant some herb seeds!  If I can, believe me when I say, YOU CAN!!!

Here's just a brief smattering of some of the herbs that I have begun to grow around my house.  The best thing about growing herbs; for the most part, the deer leave them alone so they can actually grow!

(Please don't laugh at my baby herbs!  They are still very young and sensitive.  Give them some time!)

Some herbs were given to me as plants, such as my echinacea.
Echinacea is a powerful infection fighter and is a great natural antibiotic.  It is also excellent for the immune system. Whenever we were sick growing up, out came the echinacea!  It is a contact healer as well (which is why it is used in the healing salve!)  The leaf and the root are used, although the root is the most powerful.  Echinacea should not be taken regularly, only when needed.

Yarrow is excellent when used for fevers or the flu.  It also helps to stop bleeding.  (It also is used in the healing salve).

Catnip is wonderful to use with children.  It is often used as a remedy for colic, gas or indigestion. It also helps to sooth the nerves and is helpful for colds or flu.  We use it in our sleepy tea and tincture.

Rosemary isn't only good with meat!  It's also great for your hair! 

Of course there's  peppermint.  It just makes the whole world better!  It helps with digestion, headaches, nerves, fever etc.. Plus it tastes sooooo good!  Beware though! Peppermint is a bit prideful and thinks that because it is so wonderful, it should take over wherever it is planted. Plant it in a pot or somewhere that you don't mind it growing EVERYWHERE!

I started this chamomile from seed.  It helps to calm the nerves, settle the stomach and also with digestion and gas.  It has a pleasant sweet taste. Oh, and you use the flowers of this plant. (This is also used in our sleepy tea and tincture).

The calendula also started from seed.  It is great for all sorts of skin problems as it fights bacteria, fungi, inflammation and viruses. Again the flower is used here. (And again this is used in the healing salve!)

Some herbs you just find everywhere!  Recognize this little guy?  This is plantain, and it can be found just about anywhere you go here in Oregon.  It is also powerful astringent which makes it great for bee stings, bug bites or any wound that you want to draw poison out of.  It of course is used n the healing salve!  But, if you don't have any salve on hand after a surprise bee sting, simply chew up a leaf or two and put your goo on the sting. It doesn't taste that great, but it really helps!

This of course is a very limited list of things you can grow and how they can be used.  Do some research!  There is so much to learn and like I've said all along, it's really fun!

And it's not rocket science!  I'm sorry but I really don't have any "recipes" for you!  The list of ingredients I've given for the teas, tinctures and salves are all I've had to go by.  Experiment!  Figure out what you find to work the best! 

So here's the question;  Anyone interested in a goofy herb giveaway?  Leave a comment if you'd be interested and I'll see what I can gather up!

Thanks for sticking with me!

Monday, August 16, 2010

My favorite herbal adventure~ Salves!

Salve making has been the most enjoyable part of my herbal adventures thus far.  I'm not sure why.  I just find it super fun! 

The first salve I'll be making here is a healing salve.  It is to be used on burns, cuts, scrapes, bug bites, bee stings, diaper rashes or any kind of skin irritations.  It contains echinacea root, echinacea leaf, plantain, comfrey, calendula, yarrow and rosemary.

We've been using this salve on EVERYTHING with pretty good results!  My greatest discovery with this is that it has solved my ring problem. Ever since I was pregnant with Havilah, my wedding ring has caused great irritation to my finger. A rash breaks out and I have to stop wearing my ring for a good week or so before it finally clears up.  I tried just putting a little salve on my finger and putting the ring right back on and it healed it right up! Every time it starts to feel irritated, out comes the salve!

Step 1~ Once again, stuff your jar 2/3 of the way full with the herbs of your choice.

Step 2~ Fill jar with oil of your choice. I've used coconut oil and olive oil.  I found the coconut oil to be much too stiff but have had wonderful results with the olive oil.  I only use it now.

Step 3~  Just like with the tinctures , place the closed jars on a wash cloth in a crock pot. Fill with water until just below jar rims. Cover and turn on low for 3 days.

Step 4~  Strain herbs out of oil.  For the salves I've found that a canning funnel and a coffee filter work wonderfully!  Make sure that you strain it right away however as the oil thickens as it cools.

At this point you have infused oil which is wonderful when used for massage or for a wound that you don't want to have to rub anything into.  I try to keep some of this in oil form.

Step 5~ Weigh out and add your beeswax.  You want about 2 ounces of beeswax for every 8 ounces of oil.  If it's too soft, add more beeswax!  If it's too firm, add more oil!

 Add the beeswax to the oil and warm slowly.  Add approximately one drop of Vitamin E oil for every ounce of oil to act as a preservative.  If you add the vitamin E oil, it should last for 5 years!

Step 6~  When melted, quickly pour into ready containers. 

Make sure to scrape out the hardened bits from the pitcher, pot and spoon.  It's all good salve!  You can melt it down again or just add to your container.

Step 7~ Wait a couple of hours for your salve to harden.  Now you've done it!  You've made your very own salve!!!!!  I got 2 ounces of infused oil plus these four containers from one pint of herbs and oil.

The other salve I've made is designed for sore muscles.  It contains St. John's wort, arnica, comfrey, lobelia, peppermint and cayenne.  This is one that my husband actually asks for!

One more post to come on just a few more random herb stuff and then back to our regular posts!  If you have any questions ask now and I'll try to cover them!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Here come the tinctures!

The next step in my "herbal adventures" came in the form of tinctures.  This sprung from some semi-failed attempts in the tea department.  As I mentioned in my tea  post, I tried the "mother's milk tea" to help increase my nursing supply.  I always struggle with having enough milk so I hoped this would help.  The problem here was, I really didn't like the taste!  It wasn't a horrid taste in and of itself, but it tea form I just couldn't didn't like to drink it.

We also tried what we call "sleepy tea".  It's a calming tea that is supposed to aid in helping your body relax and we found it helpful in putting the girls to bed. 

(Confession time~ I even used to make Havilah a sippy cup full to take to church.  It made a huge difference in her wiggling, squirming, restlessness!)

The problem with this tea was, give the child a glass right before bed and the sheets would be wet the next morning.

Not wanting to be stumped by either of these problems, I remembered what my friend had shared about tincture making.  I read up on it a little and decided to give it a go!  Here's how it works.

What you need~
              Herbs of choice
              Vegetable glycerin (food grade)   (I ordered my glycerin from Azure Standard. Cheapest I've found.)
              Jar with lid and ring

Step 1~ Stuff jar 2/3 full with herbs of choice. (I'm making sleepy tincture here. I always seem to over stuff my jars, but it's not a huge deal!)

Step 2~ Fill jar with glycerin leaving 1/2-1 in. head space.  Put lid on.
Step 3~ Leave jar in a sunny window for 2 weeks (or so) OR.....

... place a wash cloth of the bottom of your crock pot.  Place jar(s) on cloth and fill just to rims with water.  Turn on low and take out after three days, refilling water as needed.  (The lid of the crock pot needs to be on. Just removed for picture!)

Here is the contrast of the two jars on day three.  They were both started on the same day.

Step 4~ Assemble your high tech tincture making equipment.  The cloth is just a t-shirt rag.  However it is only used on herbs and is not found cleaning the toilet in it's spare time!

Step 5~ Secure cloth over pitcher (or jar) with a rubber band.  Pour contents of jar carefully onto cloth and wait for the tincture to strain out.  At the end, remove rubber band (the trickiest moment of this whole process! Beware!) and squeeze the herbs for any remaining liquid.

Now you've done it!  You've made your very own tincture!

You don't need to keep it in a fancy little bottle ( we just used it in spoonfuls at the beginning), but it is fun!

We found that taken straight, the stuff is pretty potent!  We mix four dropper fulls with about 2 tablespoons of water.  The girls LOVE it!!!  They never forget to ask for it at bedtime. 

So why tinctures?  You can get a much more concentrated dose in a much smaller form and it can change to taste!  Glycerin is very sweet without affecting blood sugar.  So my mother's milk tea made into a tincture, mixed with a small amount of water, is actually very tasty!  I've been using it regularly and have noticed a great difference in my milk supply.

Tinctures can also be made with Vodka and Apple Cider Vinegar.  Personally I'm just going to say a great big no thank-you to those and stick with my glycerin, but I thought I should let you know.

Mother's Milk Tincture

2 parts red raspberry leaf
2 parts fennel seed
2 parts nettle
1 part fenugreek
1 part dandelion
1/2 part blessed thistle

Sleepy Tincture

Lemon Balm
Passion Flower sells these combinations pre-mixed, but it is much more economical to buy the individual herbs and mix them yourself.  Have fun!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gardening in life

While I wait for my tincture to finish so that I can blog about that, I thought I would share what else I've been thinking about these days.

These have been busy garden days!  My spinach and peas have already come and gone.  The lettuce is tall and beautiful.  The green beans are daily being stored away in the freezer.  I harvested my first cabbage two days ago (it was huge and beautiful! I couldn't believe it!).  Oh, and the zucchini has started.  We have fourteen hills of squash this year.  If you didn't laugh out loud at that statement, you've never planted squash before.  Trust me, it was an accident!  My seeds got left out in the rain so it was either plant 'em or toss 'em!  Anyone need zucchini?  Come on by!

Gardening makes me think of life in so many ways.  When my husband built the high and strong fence to keep the deer out it made me think of the ways we need to protect our children from dangerous outside influences that will attempt to trample and chew up the good that we are seeking to develop in their young hearts.  As we cultivated, nourished and tilled the soil it made me think about all the truths and godly disciplines we need to be cultivating in our own lives to make ourselves ready for what the Lord wants to be doing in us.  As we carefully planted the seeds the verse from Galatians kept running through my mind. Galatians 6:7~ Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.  The whole concept of planting a bean seed and expecting a bean plant.  Planting good things in our lives and expecting a good return.  And of course vice versa.  Weeding is such an obvious one.  Constantly removing the subtle evils that are constantly creeping into our lives and threatening to choke our life. 

A new concept struck me this week.  It had to do with my very least favorite part of gardening.  Thinning.

It always feels so tragic to me.  Pulling up these perfectly good vegetables that have all the potential in the world to grow big, strong and healthy.  But if they were all left, they would be so crowded that they would never have the ability to grow any bigger than a pencil.  So the necessary evil must occur;  some are pulled out to make way for some to grow strong and healthy and actually produce something worth having.

This thought really struck me now as this is exactly were we are in life.  There is lots of "good" going on right now.  We are busy with many different people doing many different things.  Much potential.  But it's beginning to be at the expense of some truly important things (such as enjoying our daughter's childhood years) being choked out. 

This is really hard!  In some regards it feels like "weeding", but it is completely different.  We're not talking about throwing out the bad, we're talking about uprooting some of the "good"!  It just feels unnatural and wrong.  But just as we know that you can't grow so many carrots so squished together so they can't grow, we know that too much good isn't really doing any good at all. 

Please pray for wisdom for us as we seek the Lord for direction in how to properly "thin" our lives, and to carefully nourish the places that we know that He is calling us to.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Infusions! Or as we say arounds here, Tea!

I honestly had no interest in herbs.  Not that I really had anything against them personally, I just really had no interest.  It sounded complicated.  It sounded too "earthy".  I didn't want Isaac to call me a "naturalist" (long story!).  But one day I went to one of our Titus 2 meetings and a dear sweet lady that I greatly respect was sharing what she had learned about herbs.  For the first time in my life it sounded simple!  It sounded interesting!  And most of all, it sounded fun!

I'd better admit it right here at the beginning.  I do my "herb stuff" mostly for the fun!  There is something so satisfying about making your own natural remedies or filling that little tin with the freshly made salve.  Sorry to sound so shallow, but honestly, it's fun.  That's what keeps me interested!

My first dabble into the world of herbs was when I was a few months into my pregnancy with Ella.

(Rabbit trail here~ That is one of the really great things about herbs.  It's a dabble here and a dabble there.  You are learning new things here and there.  Start small and see what works for you and what you actually use!)

Ahem, as I was saying, my first dabble consisted of a tea that I drank throughout my pregnancy.  I knew that I should start with a tea because I actually drink tea.  And it's super easy.

This was my pregnancy tea~ Red raspberry leaf, Alfalfa, Nettle and Peppermint.

Some of you will hear that and think "Gross!!!" just like I did.  Some of you will think, "I don't have to go buy herbs! I have raspberry tea in my cupboard already!".  To answer the second imaginary comment first, there is no actual red raspberry leaf in your bright red raspberry tea.  Check it out.  Tell me if I'm wrong.  To the first, the most beautiful secret I've discovered about teas is this; Peppermint covers a multitude of not pleasantness.  I'm serious.  Please believe me when I say, I'm really quite a wimp when it comes to what I taste or smell.  Very, very wimpy.  This tea tasted great!  I would boil a pot full in the morning, stir in a spoon full of honey and drink it all day long.  Listen to the benefits of this tea.

Red raspberry leaf~ Strengthens the wall of the uterus, alleviates morning sickness and nausea, it's a preventative for hemorrhaging, it tones the uterus to help with delivery and recovery, increases lactation.

Alfalfa~ It's very high in Vitamin K which is a blood clotting vitamin and greatly assists the bleeding after delivery. It's also used for allergies, appetite, digestion, nursing, anemia, and it's very high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and protein.

Nettle (Yep, the good old "Stinging nettle". But with no sting)~ It helps to strengthen the kidneys, diminishes leg cramps, reduces hemorrhoids, and is very rich in iron, calcium and protein.

Peppermint~ It is good for morning sickness and digestion, plus it tastes so good!

There are many other benefits and uses for these herbs, I mostly stuck with the "pregnancy benefits" here.

Did I notice a difference using the tea?  Yes.  I felt amazing my whole pregnancy.  Really amazing.  Was it the tea?  I have no idea!  Ella was pushed out in 1 1/2 pushes.  Recovery was seriously a piece of cake. Now, I've never had too hard of recoveries, but this one was BY FAR the easiest. I can't say the tea made all the difference.  But I sure think it helped and I will drink it again in a heartbeat (in fact I should be drinking it now as these herbs are VERY beneficial for all times of life!)

The two other teas that we have used are these;

Mother's milk tea~ Red raspberry leaf, fennel, nettle, fenugreek, dandelion and blessed thistle.

"Sleepy tea"~ Chamomile, passion flower, catnip and lemon balm

But more on these later!!

Lately I've been making a pitcher of peppermint and horsetail/shavegrass tea in the morning and drinking it iced throughout the day.  (Horsetail/shavegrass is very high in silicone and is great for hair and nails.  Lydia and I both have thin and brittle hair so were hoping it helps!)  Again, this tastes just like it's just peppermint!

Here's how I make the tea. (If this seems complicated, ask me to explain it again because IT'S NOT!!)

~Put a couple of tablespoons of herbs in your pitcher or tea pot.
~Fill with boiling water.
~Let steep for a few (5-?) minutes.
~Strain out herbs

Here's my peppermint and horsetail/shavegrass tea steeping.


I use a hand held strainer that I picked up at wal-mart.  It cost less than $2.  Any fine mesh strainer will work!  Sometimes I will strain the entire pitcher into a separate one, or sometimes I simply strain each cup at a time.

So, that's how I started out in herbs.  If you have questions, please ask!!!  I'll probably ask someone else to get the answer, but that's the beauty of this all!

(I have bought all my herbs from or just used what is growing in my yard!) 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I admit it! I'm crazy about.......


Those of you who are herb lovers yourselves, you will probably have a hard time understanding my hesitancy in just coming out and saying it!  I'll try to explain more later!

Those of you who have already tuned out, stick with me!  I promise not to turn this into a herbology blog.  I just want to share what I've learned, what I use and how much fun it has been!

Believe me, I am not even going to pretend that I really know what I'm talking about!  I think that's the beauty of it though.  You can start small, try just a little and see what you do and don't like and what does and doesn't work.  I'll be taking some time in the next week or so to explain what I do and how I do it.

On the agenda~

Infusions (Teas)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My secret weapon!

When we got married I thought that (of course!) life would be easy.  I was marrying my best friend.  Not only were we madly in love with each other, but we had a pretty good understanding of what real love was about.  We knew everything about each other (sarcasm added!).  And I was excited to submit.  It was going to be great!

Fast forward three weeks and a new unwelcome feeling entered our home.  I was hurt.  Often.  Mostly I felt unimportant to my husband.  Every time he chose to go hang out with the guys, work late, or just wanted us to do something other than just stay home, I felt hurt.  Unloved.  Like I wasn't interesting enough for him.  At that point I was perfectly happy to spend all of my days curled up in his arms (okay, so maybe I still am!) and the thought that sometimes that was "boring" for him hurt me.

I still wanted to be the best wife ever.  After all, I had been ingrained with the philosophy of "You don't have to act the way you feel".  A very sound and important way of thinking!  However, there seems to be only so long you can go on acting one way when you feel very differently.  Shallow?  Yes. True?  I found it to be.  When your heart feels like crying, there is only so long you can go on smiling.  And the ugliness began to pour out.  There were all the classics.  The deep sigh.  The pursed lips.  The sullen face.  While my lips might have said, "Sure Babe, go ahead.  Have fun."  my whole body was shouting "Go if you dare!". 

"I can't change the way I feel." was my mantra.  He hurt me.  I felt hurt.  I did my "best" not to act hurt, but there's only so much a body can do.  These were not fun days.  The poor husband was trying his best to balance loving his wife (who at times was and is a little difficult to understand) and living a life that is responsible.  The wife in the meantime was taking every questionable action and turning it into "He doesn't care about me. I'm hurt.".

Then one day I heard a thought that literally transformed our relationship!  Many of you will laugh at the simplicity of this, but to this day it is the greatest tool that the Lord uses to shape my attitude as a wife.  You CAN change the way you feel!

What?!?  I don't believe it!  Hadn't I spent countless hours willing myself to feel differently?  It doesn't work! When I was sad it didn't matter how much I said "Be happy.  Be happy.  Be happy." I still was sad.  But here was the secret;  While it may be impossible  very difficult to change the way you feel, our thoughts determine the way we feel.  Don't believe it?  I didn't either.  So I had to test it out.

The Lord graciously provided the perfect opportunity that very night!  David called that afternoon telling me what time he would be home for dinner, 6:00, adding that first he was going to stop by a friend's house to install his new truck radio.  I was determined to think correctly. "I have a wonderful husband. He works so hard for me every day. He actually called to tell me when he would be home! Wow do I love him!". I set about preparing a wonderful dinner to welcome him home with, feeling quite great.

Time passed.  6:00.  Dinner was hot.  Table was set.  I was ready!  No husband.  6:30.  The thoughts started bickering.  "He's late. He doesn't care enough to pay attention to the time. Something must have come up that was outside of his control."

7:30.  Dinner was cold.  The thoughts were arguing by this time.  "Why would he even bother to say he's coming home at a certain time if he's just going to ruin my plans?  I'm sure that he is as upset as I am that he's not home.  He could change his circumstances if he really wanted to, he is a grown man after all.  I'm so thankful to have a man who is faithful and reliable in all that he does, not only to me but to others."

8:30.  Dinner was in the refrigerator.  The thoughts were in an all out brawl! "This is just like him!  This is why I always feel like this.  He really doesn't care!  Everything else is more important than I am!  He probably hasn't even considered how I feel.  I don't mean anything to him!  My husband is a good man.  My husband shows me that he loves me in many different ways.  My husband cares for me diligently.  I would rather be married to my husband than anyone else in the world."

9:00.  He calls.  "Hi Babe. I'm so sorry that I'm not home. I can't believe this radio installation is taking so long.  I really miss you and can't wait to get home.  I love you so much!".  By the grace of God I was able to say with my whole heart, "That's okay!  I'll heat dinner up whenever you get back.  I hope that the radio works out for you and I can't wait to see you!". 

I knew this was the moment for me to decide.  What am I going to choose to think?  I decided to plunge in with both feet.  Circumstances aside, I decided to go for the truth. "I am married to an amazing man of God.  It is such a privilege to be his wife.  I am so blessed to make his dinner, clean his home, give him a kiss and a smile.  This is exactly where I've always wanted to be.  I know that he loves me.  Even if me doesn't completely understand me, he tries his best to honor me at all times.  He is the hardest working man I know.  I respect him more than any man I know.  He is the most handsome man alive!"

These were the thoughts that kept me company that night, and as 11:00 rolled around and my husband finally pulled in the driveway, I was ecstatic to see him, kiss him and serve him his reheated dinner.  We had a fabulous time together.  My heart was filled with love for this man who was five hours late.  Believe me, it felt so much better than the hurt, loneliness and self-pity that I usually felt.  Circumstances hadn't changed at all.  But everything was different!

2 Corinthians 10:5 ~  "We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

The Bible tells us that this is one of out greatest weapons with which we can demolish strongholds!  Taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ. 

I'm telling you now, this really and truly is the key that frees my heart from being consumed with my rights, my feelings and my disappointments.  And let me stress, this is only by the grace of God.  Why am I writing about this now?  Because I could use the reminder!  I can use this reminder every day.  And this applies to so many areas of life for me.  Whenever I feel unappreciated, annoyed, or hurt, I can almost always trace it back to my thought life and what I choose to dwell on.  I fail.  Embarrassingly often!  But when I fail, I know what to do!

Remember to seek the truth my sisters!  Remember to be thankful in all circumstances! And please remember to remind me as often as you can!