Our family has attended the same church our entire married lives. David has gone there since he moved to the area when he was three. My family attended there before I was born, until my dad started a small church in our home town, then when that church closed we went back to our home church. The body of believers there truly are family and we are tremendously blessed to be able to worship together with them. Both of our families attend there, as well as my grandparents which makes four generations often in one pew.
I could go on forever about things I love about our church, like how the beautiful women who used to babysit me and even my dad now get to hold and be a part of my children's lives, but the thing that I am most thankful for these days is the heart of our pastor and his commitment to preach the word of God.
He has been teaching through Galatians these last few weeks and it has been challenging me daily as I think over what he has been drawing out. Mostly, the whole concept of freedom.
Over and over we have been encouraged to watch out for the two enemies of freedom. Legalism and Lawlessness.
Galatians 5:1~ It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:13b~ only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
I think these hit home especially hard for me as I can see them both regularly creeping up in my life. Legalism is a direct affront to the grace of God. Galatians 2:21~....if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died needlessly". There is absolutely nothing we can do to make ourselves righteous before the Holy God. Any attempt to do so makes us guilty of attempting to water down the all sufficient sacrifice of Christ. How I dress, speak, eat, live does not make me any more worthy of salvation then anyone else.
But then we swing to lawlessness. We see it all the time. We see it because we DO it! Because I am free in Christ, does that mean I can do anything I want? Listen to whatever music I choose, watch that tv show I know promotes sinfulness, dress in whatever fashion I choose? I guess that depends on your view of freedom.
Galatians 2:20~ I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who 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 up for me.
The truth is, there is no "free zone". Anytime we choose to live how "we want to live" because "we're free to do whatever we want", we choose to be slaves to sin. When I choose to live for Christ, my choices reflect my love for Him. I choose to dress, speak and live in a certain way, not because I'm bound by law, but because I'm in love with my Savior and I can't bear breaking His heart. How I wish that was true of me every moment of every day!
Obviously these play a role in our big, life changing decisions, but how do we allow them to shape our every day lives? First of all, it looks VERY different for different people. It shows up in little areas we not have even considered. I found that the main reason I was holding onto not getting my ears pierced was some warped sense of legalism and pride, something I wanted no part of. Focus on looking at your own life.
Please encourage me as you can to not run in either incorrect direction, but to joyfully rest in the grace of God and to live a life of love. I'll try and encourage the same in you!
While it's true that most of my days are spent quite happily at home with my wonderful girls, occasionally I find my inner wild side and have a day that surprises even me!
Last Friday my sweet sisters arranged for my mom to watch my girls so we could all go Black Friday shopping. I had never been before and I wasn't quite sure what I was jumping into. But ready or not, Rachel, Anna, exchange sister Jana, friend Tessa, Esther and I headed to the mall at 6:00 on Black Friday. Turns out, 6:00 is actually amazingly tame on Black Friday. Seems we missed the "stay up all night" die hards, and beat the "let's sleep in and then go to the mall" crowd. It was great!
We may look like fun and games, but we're really rather serious.
Esther was a fabulous little shopper and all the extra arms were wonderful!
It really was a day of firsts for me.
Yep. Got my ears pierced for the very first time. It was premeditated though! Now you can all buy me earrings for Christmas, although I wont be able to wear them for 6-8 weeks. Bummer!
There are really only a few times and places my crazies come out. Mostly girl parties at the Thomas' house and late nights with my sisters. Now added to that list, Black Friday shopping with the nearest and dearest!
I've been sooooo excited about this week!!! It's going to be my week of "Rapid Fire Stocking Stuffers!". Here's how it is going to work. Between now and next Saturday, I'm going to post several small giveaways at random times. The person who is the first one to comment on that post, wins! Got it?
See the post with no comments, COMMENT and it's yours!!!!! But check back often, because you never know when another giveaway might pop up! The great thing about this series of giveaways is that even if you never win, all of these items can be found at http://gracenotes.biz/ for $5 or sometimes much, much less. Perfect for stocking stuffers or small gifts!
The first rapid fire giveaway is for a set of these Winter Wonder Mini-cards w/ envelopes.
Be the first to leave a comment and their yours!!!!!
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
In whose hands are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
The sea is His, for it was He who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all! No matter what our earthly circumstances, let us never fail to remember that we are more than abundantly blessed. We serve a great and mighty God, who loves us, died to redeem us, and who is coming back to take us to Him. Every day we live in an outpouring of His indescribable grace on our lives. Praise the Lord!!!!
Today..... I'm realizing that Saturdays were not the best days to plan on changing out my giveaways. I think I've missed every single one! Last week's winner was...... MARSHA!!!! Please e-mail me at email@example.com and I will send you your Candy Cane Sugar Scrub.
Today..... I'm deciding to wait until next Friday to start my final giveaway (it's going to be TONS of fun so when you're making leftover turkey sandwiches, make sure you drop by and check it out!!!)
Today..... I'm enjoying my beautiful Bethany and remembering five years ago when she was born. In fact, right now I'm still wrapped up in a blanket and my pj's, getting ready to pull the coffee cake out of the oven for our pajama tea party birthday breakfast/brunch.
My birthday girl!!!
Today..... drink some tea, smile, paint some toes, give loads of snuggles, or whatever else you can think of to enjoy this amazing life God has blessed you with. Remember to be thankful for the incredible grace poured out on lives through Jesus!
I'm a sucker for commercials. We don't have TV hooked up, but back during the '06 Olympics, we pulled out our bunny ears and watched. By the end of that season I couldn't believe how brainwashed I had become. Suddenly I knew which shampoo I had to try because the of the silk like hair of the woman in the Pantene commercial (regardless of how Pantene has ALWAYS left my hair in the past!). That new lotion I knew would instantly transform my dull skin, and that miracle stain remover would transform my laundry forever.
I like to think I've grown in wisdom slightly since then, (although I wouldn't trust myself too much!), but it's good for me sometimes to buckle down and figure out WHAT REALLY WORKS!!! I decided to start with my stain removers. I've soaked, sprayed and rubbed through the years but always with doubt of which would work better, so I decided to put it to a final test.
Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, it just covers what I happened to have on hand (plus one borrowed from my mom). I started with six contestants......
And two formidable foes....
and grass stains!!!
Numbers 3-6 I treated by spraying or rubbing in, while numbers 1 and 2 soaked for 30 minutes.
While I would love to say the results were simple and clear, I would be lying. (The results also did not photograph well so bear with me!).
The grass stains varied from no stain left at all......
To hardly noticing it had been washed.
Cleanest to dirtiest it went~
OxiClean Gel Stick
The tomato sauce differences were not as stark. They all faded significantly, but some still clearly showed a stain, while others faded almost entirely. I inverted these photos because it helped them show up better!
Here is the clean one with no stain left.....
The order for the best tomato sauce cleaner went~
OxiClean Gel stick
Overall, I think I would stick with PreSpot which is a natural and non-toxic cleaner. I'm definitely NOT soaking for grass stains as that did not work at all. And I guess I'll have stop trusting Shout for my food stains. Maybe this study wasn't completely conclusive, but I will feel more confidant in my stain fighting choices from here on out!
Don't forget!!! Boiling water for berry stains and jello. Cold water for blood!!!
This week's giveaway would make a perfect gift for just about anyone, or of course you are more than welcome to keep it for yourself and simply enjoy! This week I am giving away an 8oz. Candy Cane sugar scrub (that's the big one!). Not only does this stuff smell delicious, it is actually good for your skin and leaves it unbelievably soft and luxurious.
We're going to shake it up a little this week. To enter simply~
1. Leave a comment letting me know you are a follower of my blog.
2. Leave a comment letting me know what you favorite $5 or LESS item on our website is.
3. Make a donation of any size to help the Ochs Family bring Elvira home. Leave a comment simply saying "Elvira" (not donation information). (5 entries)
The Ochs family is in Russia RIGHT NOW visiting Elvira (I'm just so jazzed!).
I will draw a winner next Saturday!!! Spread the word!
Sorry! It's been a crazy weekend and somehow I missed drawing my winner and setting up the new giveaway yesterday. I'll be posting about this week's giveaway tomorrow so be sure to check back, but for now, the winner of their choice of tea and an Organic Reusable tea bag is......... Sarah S. !!!!!
My Boppa is a hero. A real life hero. He was a navigator in World War Two. He fought for our freedoms. He put his life on the line to serve his country. God protected him in miraculous ways. But his heroic journey didn't end there.
My Boppa is a hero every day. He gives his life to love his family and those he is around. He is one of the most generous people I know. He never sees a need without stepping in. At ninety years old, he cares about every detail of all of our lives. Making us smile is what he does best, and what he does all of the time. His arms are always ready to be filled rocking a crying baby, or reading to a little girl, or making someone's favorite dish (and all of our favorite dishes come from him!). He faithfully pours out his love on his beautiful wife of fifty-nine years. He faithfully pours out his love on each of his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren (in fact we're down right SPOILED!!!).
My Boppa is my hero. And I love him with all my heart!
There are three things we talk about in our home daily. As in every, single, day. They are our big three. In school, in play, in work, in fun, in service in any area, these three make any situation enjoyable and doable. Without them any situation easily feels overwhelming and frustrating. These things are.....
Love~ Not just affection. Choosing to do what is best for one another. Choosing to see the good. Laying aside our own desires for someone else. Obedience is also included in this one. Just as God tell us that love for Him means obeying His commands, as a parent, my girls show me their love by choosing to willingly obey.
Diligence~ Any job can be handled. Any job can seem like a bear. The difference is diligence. Even the most daunting of tasks can be steadily chipped away at with some intentional diligence. My girls are always so excited when they see their diligence pay off.
Joyfulness~ Joy takes any situation in life and makes it just a bit better. A day sprinkled with joy is bearable. A day where everyone is determined to have joy is delightful! Encourage your family to apply joy to every circumstance.
These are our big three. First for ME. Then for my children. We all remind each other regularly and when we succeed with these, the difference is clear. What are your big three? What things turn the outcome of your day?
I know, right?! Five months?!?! Esther is our little spoon full of sugar. Life is busy around here. Mornings are full of Mommy trying to help three little girls with school, while keeping one wild child out of trouble. Everyone is busy doing what they are supposed to do. Then enters Esther. The whole world stops. BECAUSE WE JUST CAN'T RESIST HER!!! There is a reason she naps during school. Every smile, every squeak, every goofy face, we all have to stop and admire and gush over her!
She's sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, but she's got a goofy side too!
I could go on and on, but there is only so long I can look at pictures of her before I have to stop what I'm doing and go kiss her!!!
Since we've been sick again this weekend, I thought I would kind of throw everything together here in one giant post.
First order of business, don't forget that everyone who comments on any of my Heart For Home Thursday posts are automatically entered into a monthly drawing. October's winner is....... Dearhoneybee. This month she will win $6 as well towards any jewelry purchase on our site, gracenotes.biz .
The winner of the other $6 jewelry giveaway is........ Theresa S.
This week I'm continuing my "Gift Idea Giveaway". ( Week 2 of 4 if you're wondering!) This week I'm focusing on our tea products.
Our Organic Reusable Teabags are our #1 top sellers on our site. If you enjoy loose teas, these are a must have! They are so cute too!
We also carry four different tea flavors.....
Lavender Lemongrass is 100% Organic. This light tea is calming and refreshing.
Peaceful Moments is made to be soothing and relaxing. The mix of Chamomile, Spearmint and lemongrass blends together for a very comforting taste.
Mint Harmonies is a simple mint medley. If you enjoy mint tea, you will LOVE this one!
Vanilla Rooibos is also 100% Organic. This rich and satisfying tea is DELICIOUS! I love mine with a little milk and sugar. Completely caffeine free, it's hard to believe this is not only one of those "bad" teas, it's actually good for you!
Can't decide which one to try? We have our tea sampler to help you out! It comes with two reusable tea bags and a sample pack of each flavor.
This week I'm giving away a full size tea (42 servings!) plus one reusable tea bag. Same entry rules apply as before!
1. Leave a comment here telling me what tea flavor sounds the best to you on gracenotes.biz
2. Like gracenotes on facebook (or let me know that you already do)
3. Blog about this giveaway (3 extra entries!)
Please leave separate comments for each thing you do!
Have I mentioned I love Fall? Maybe I have. Today my girls and I have making and putting up our favorite fall decoration. We look forward to making the garland because it is fun, cheap ( okay, mom likes that part!), and PRETTY!
First send out your little leaf gatherers!
Have them look for different shapes and colors, not ripped and not too crispy dry.
Dry them in a book for a couple of days.
Of course they are pretty just like this, but come on, we have a houseful of girls! Glitter always wins!
Mom does the glue at this house,
Just rub a thin coat all around with your finger.
The girlies did the glitter (while Ella sat with Daddy. She wasn't quite ready for this project!).....
Collecting the leftover glitter along the way.
So pretty! Now they just need to dry for a couple of hours.
To hang them, a little raffia and hot glue does the trick great!
I'll love looking at this for the next month! (Only to be removed for CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!!)
Total cost for the glitter, raffia and hot glue I figured came out at about 10 cents. Total. Being generous!