Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Challenge #6: Proverbs 31:16

My Time as a Proverbs 31:15 Woman:

So, as you know, this verse was a struggle for me! It fell on the 2 weeks my kids were sick and I didn't get much sleep - making it even harder to get up earlier! But, I DID get up before the kids a few days last week and was able to get myself ready and enjoy some time downstairs reading my Bible and praying before they woke up. I felt so refreshed and ready to start my day afterwards. Usually, I try to squeeze my devotionals in sometime during the day, but now I realize how important it is to do it in the morning! This is something that I am definitely going to continue to work on.

In the morning when I rise, help me to prioritize all the thoughts that fill my day.
Before my schedule tells me that my day is full, before I'm off and on my way.
I want to praise You, I need to praise You.
Let the first song that I sing, be praises to my God and King.

- Sara Groves, "First Song That I Sing"

In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.
- Jeremy Camp, "Give me Jesus"

Challenge #6: Proverbs 31:16

"She considereth a field and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard."

There are three actions the Proverbs 31 Woman uses in this verse. First, she considers, then she buys and lastly she plants. Let's take a look at what these actions mean to us.

Action #1) To Consider
(to think carefully about, contemplate, reflect on)
This godly woman has thought carefully about purchasing this field. She doesn't do it rashly or on a sudden impulse. Instead, she first thinks about her family and goals for them before purchasing something for herself. She does her homework - she considers the value of the property, she considers what her husband thinks, she considers the state of her family's finances, she considers the time commitment and she considers her priorites. Her family is her primary area of ministry and responsibility, so she wisely considers whether working on the field will threaten those priorites.

You know when you pass a store and you see the big red sign - the CLEARANCE sign?! For me, it is so tempting to go in there and buy a lot of stuff (that I really don't need) all because it was a "great deal"! Sure, you can find some good deals once in a while and that's okay - we should be frugal! But its important that we don't just buy something without considering if we really need it or if we should be spending our money on it. You (and/or your husband) work hard for that money and God has given you that money to provide for your family.

Consider what is important when shopping. Do you really need it? Can it benefit your family in any way?

Consider what is important when you have free time. Is there something you can do for someone else? What can you do to benefit your family?

Consider what is important as you look through your finances. Is there something you can cut out that will allow for more money to benefit your family? Is there some extra that you could give to someone else to benefit their family?

And most importantly, consider what your husband has to say on the matter. You are a team, and you need to be making decisions together.

Action #2) To Buy
(to acquire the possession of by paying in an equivelent)

After much thought, the Proverbs 31 Woman decides to purchase the land. The fact that she buys the field indicates that she was involved in the financial decisions of the family. This woman's efforts - her financial management, her hard work, her going without some of the things she might have wanted - all paid off so she can acquire this land that she wanted to buy to help provide for her family.

What about you and me - how can we apply this action to our lives? We need to be ready and looking for ways to help provide for and better our families. We can start by sacrificing things we don't necessarily need but that we really want (such as new shoes, a new purse, home decor, the list could go on and on) and instead use that money to build our families up and care for them.

When an opportunity comes to better care for and provide for your family, we need to be ready and able to do so. We don't want to be thinking "If only I'd saved that money for this...".

Action #3) To Plant
(to put or set in the ground for growth)

Lastly, she plants. The purpose of the field was to plant a vineyard to provide for her family and others. Her choice of crops was wise. Her land was dry and water was scarce, grapes and wine were staples. Everyone needs fluids to drink, so by owning her personal vineyard she takes care of her family and whatever is left over she can sell to others.

We have a small garden right now but we hope to make it bigger within the next year or so. But man, it is a lot of work! After finding where you want your garden, you have to frame it out, dig up the dirt, put fresh dirt down, then the corresponding fertilizer to each plant you've chosen, then actually plant all your seeds/plants, then you have to water it and care for it on a daily basis! Okay, I don't actually do all that - my wonderful husband does! But, he offered and he's good at it so I'll just let him handle it. Anyway, that's just a small garden - imagine how much labor it must have required to care for a vineyard!

Simply put - we need to be ready to work. Once we've considered what would benefit our family, then we've taken the opportunity into our hands by aquiring it, we need to be ready to maintain it. We need to be good stewards of what the Lord has blessed us with.

This Week:

*Ask the Lord to provide you with:
- Patience: so that you will wait before you act when opportunities arise.
- Prudence: so that you will carefully think things over while you are waiting.
- Prayerfulness: so that you will seek the Lord's wisdom while you are waiting and thinking.
- Petition: so that you will willingly consult your husband (or parents) after you've waited, thought and prayed.
- Purpose: so that God will guide your heart in the right direction.
- Perseverence: so that you will do whatever it takes to make your dreams for your family come true.

*Devote yourself to God's goals - and that means FAMILY comes first! Your goal is to build your house, build an honorable name for your family, and build up the next generation. Never mind what you're going to get in return. Selfless service is a great virtue.

*Be creative! As you continue to set yourself aside and serve others, God will show you ways to creatively provide for and encourage others.

(some thoughts taken from "Beautiful In God's Eyes" by Elizabeth George)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Addison

Yesterday - July 21st - my little baby girl turned ONE! The poor little girl was sick though, she had a high fever all day and just wanted to be held. Thankfully she is feeling much better today (although now her sister Tori has a fever). I can't believe how fast that first year went, I wish she could stay a baby forever - but also be able to sleep through the night too! :) I am posting some pics of her first year for you. If you have a little ones of your own, don't forget to stop and love on them today. It goes by so fast and we need to cherish EVERY moment we have with them.

To My Little "Addie Babe"...

...I love that you gave me a good easy and short labor. I even got to take a nap!
...I love that you slept through the night as an infant. Even though it didn't last too long, it was still so much appreciated.
...I love watching you play with your brother and sister. Ever since you could move you've found a way to be next to them - either snuggling, climbing on them, pulling their hair, etc. But they don't mind, they just turn around and say "Addison!" and give you a big hug!
...I love listening to you sing. When the music is on, or if you are listening to me sing, you just chime right in and sing a long.
...I love that you get so excited to see me everytime I come home from being away. I always miss holding you when I'm gone.
...I love how you grab a hold of my leg and hold on tight when I walk by you, forcing me to stop and look at you or pry you off so I can pick you up and cuddle you.
...I love you even though your first words were "Hi Dada" on Mother's Day!! Would it have been that hard to say "Mama" instead?! Oh well, it was still SO cute and I know your Daddy loved it!
...I love how you yell "Mom!" in your high-pitched little voice whenever you are looking for me.

I am so thankful for my beautiful daughter, God blessed us so much when he surprised us with you Addison!

Happy 1st Birthday to my sweet Addison Olivia!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Before The Day

So, I've been really trying to do my best at this Challenge #5 where we are encouraged to get up early and get ready for the day by spending time in the Word. I knew it was going to be difficult but, oh man, I am having a hard time! My kids are usually good sleepers, but this week Addison has been up a lot during the night and the motivation for me to get up early is NOT there! I was feeling discouraged at the fact that I have been unsuccessful so far at rising early. I have still been doing my devotionals, but not with the quietness that I was looking forward to when I started this verse's challenge. But then yesterday at church, someone sang a song called "Before the Day". The words are just beautiful and it really spoke to me.

I posted the video below, please take the time to listen to it. It starts with a man saying a few words but the song starts right after that. **Don't forget to turn off my music on the right side of the page before you start the video.**

I hope you were encouraged by the song, I know it really left me feeling refreshed when I heard it at church. I look forward to getting up early now so I can tell my Father in Heaven how much I love Him and how thankful I am for all He has done for me and all He continues to do.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Proverbs 31:15

My Time as a Proverbs 31:14 Woman:

"She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar."

I enjoyed challenging myself with this verse and I think I did a fairly good job at applying it too - of course there is always room for improvement! My sister-in-law Shannon did a GREAT job at applying the "bringeth" part of the verse. Remember we were supposed to gain something with effort? Well, she took the kids to Mendon Ponds and went berry picking and then she made a pie with the fresh berries she picked - way to go Shannon!

Well I wasn't that adventurous; but, I tried to be more concious of what I was feeding my family and made sure that I wasn't wasting any of the food we had here. I tried a new recipe, and found some other healthy and low-cost ones to try later on. The kids and I used up some old bananas and made banana bread too. With the warmer weather around, I haven't been as good about creating a menu for the week and keeping tabs on what we need for groceries. But this week I was able to create a diverse menu and I got everything we needed for groceries AND stayed in budget - that doesn't always happen! haha

Anyway, I think this verse was very rewarding and I hope you were able to apply it and reap the benefits as well!

Challenge #5: Proverbs 31:15

"She riseth also, while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens."

When I first read this verse I thought to myself "Oh, I've got this one covered! I already get up before dawn to care for the baby or the kids when they are having a rough night!" Sure, we (as Mom's) need to be willing and ready to take care of our kids at night - but that's not what this verse if referring to.

So, what does it mean? It means that we should be getting up early to prepare ourselves for the day. She is up before the sun, idleness and laziness have no place with her. I'm not saying I'll be up before the sun everyday but I'll do my best to get out of bed earlier than usual.

There are great benefits to rising up early:

1) Its a quiet time, free from noise and distractions of the day.

2) Its an ideal time to spend with the Lord in prayer and devotion. What a perfect way to start your day - communing with your Creator!

3) It allows you to get a good start on your day. If you sleep in late, it gives you less time to accomplish things during the day.

4) You can exercise!! I have been wanting to start running again but with our busy lives and the kids it is easy to make excuses. SO...I hope to get up early and go running this week. Hopefully this challenge can get me motivated to get in shape.

5) Make breakfast for your family. When they wake up, greet them with a smile and be ready to serve them and make them a delicious breakfast! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we need to make sure that we and our families get off to a good nutritional start.

Her maidens are her female servants. Now, if I had servants living with me, then I would probably make THEM get up early and prepare a healthy breakfast for me and my family. But not the virtuous woman. She is kind and thoughtful. She demanded of others only what she was willing to do herself. There is no doubt that her maidens respected her for her willingness to "get her hands dirty" and serve them when she didn't even have to. What about us? Are we willing to, once again DIE TO SELF, and serve others and show them love - even when we don't have to?

I hope you are able to challenge yourself with this verse over the next week or so. I think it might be my toughest one yet. But, I will do my best to get up early and spend time talking with the Lord, exercising and getting things ready for the day. Good Luck!!!

We need to begin our days the right way...Refreshed and Renewed.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Since I focused this week's verse on eating right and preparing healthy meals, I decided I'd share some of my favorite low-cost meals with you. They are easy to make and taste absolutely delicious! Once you finish writing them down in your cookbook, why don't you share one of yours with me in the comment section? I look forward to hearing from you and can't wait to try your recipe!!

Baked Lemon Chicken - 255 calories per serving

3 tbl butter, melted
2 tbl lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 C breadcrumbs
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

- Combine butter, lemon juice garlic, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in butter mix, then coat with bread crumbs. Place in a greased 13x9 baking dish. Drizzle with remaining butter mix. Bake at 350 for 25-30 mins.

Italian Pork Chops - 123 calories per serving

4 boneless pork loin chops
1/4 tsp pepper
4 tsp butter
1/3 C chicken broth
1/3 C italian salad dressing

- Sprinkle pork chops with pepper. In a large skillet, brown chops in butter over medium heat. Add broth and salad dressing. Cover and cook for 10-12 mins. Remove pork chops and keep warm. Bring cooking juices to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 C. Serve with pork.

Smothered Chicken & Green Bean Skillet - 270 calories per serving

4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 C frozen green beans
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese

- Heat large skillet on medium-high heat, add chicken and cover. Cook 5-7 mins on each side or until done. Remove from skillet. Add beans, soup, 1/2 C water and thyme to skillet, cover. Cook 6 min, stirring often. Return chicken to skillet, cook 1 min or until hot. Top with cheese.

Now...don't forget to leave me one of yours!! :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Challenge #5: Proverbs 31:14

For some strange reason, I can't get the spacing to work. Sorry that it is all crammed together, I hope its okay for you to read.
"She is like the merchant's ships, she bringeth her food from afar."
Proverbs 31:14
This verse is a bit different from the previous ones, so its taken me a little longer to figure out how to apply it to us as women - married and unmarried. My sister-in-law Shannon and I talked for a while about what it means and came up with some good ideas. But if you have any other suggestions or insights about what this verse means to you, PLEASE share - I'm interested to hear what you have to say about it.
bringeth - to go in, to attain to, to gather, bring to pass
What can we learn about the word bringeth? It is an action word. It requires work. In order to have something to bring, you need to go out and attain it - gain something with effort - and then you can deliver it. You have to complete a task in order to say you "brought something."
The verse says the Proverbs 31 Woman "bringeth her food from afar." Just think about what it would have been like back then when they had to use different ways of providing for their families. The women couldn't just climb into their car and drive to Wegmans or grab something from the drive-thru to bring home for dinner. These women probably had to get up early to walk to the market (most likely with the kids), harvest food from their gardens and make a healthy and delicious home-cooked meal for their family. Could you even imagine?! AND they didn't have any of the modern ways to cook food either - ugh! This verse challenges me to remember to be smart about what I am feeding myself, my husband and my kids. We need to take care in providing the right kind of foods for ourselves - remember the old saying "You are what you eat." Our kids needs to see us making healthy choices too, they follow by example. The Bible even says in 2 Corinthians 6:19-20 "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." God gave you that body, you need to take care of it!
I don't want this portion of my duties as a wife, mother and individual to take a backseat to whatever else it is that I am doing during my day. Like the merchant's ships, I may be a bit slower but I want to take the time to prepare nutritious home-cooked meals for my family. This is also yet another way to show honor and appreciation to our husbands: by taking the time to plan a menu so I don't have to throw away any food and make light of his hard work for our family. I want him to know that its important to me that I don't squander our money with something I can easily manage with lots of prayer, planning and perseverence. And for you unmarried ladies who are reading this...its never too early to start eating healthy and being frugal with your money.
- "The trait not to settle for mediocre is portrayed by a woman who goes the extra mile for quality items."
- Strive for quality - while being frugal
- Make the time to take care in providing for your family