Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to Run a Kitchen That Says, "Love is Cooking Here."

Weekly Contributor, Kim Brenneman

Recently, on a cold wintry day, the children and I were cooking up a storm in the kitchen. A giant chocolate chip cookie baked in a cast iron skillet. Every child under the age of eight had a turn in putting ingredients into the bowl. A slow-cooked roast was in the oven alongside the skillet cookie. I was sautéing onions and garlic to go into a vegetable dish. Potatoes were boiling. So of course with all this stovetop work I had the fan on.

Matt came in from choring and cheerily said, “I smelled love when I walked to the house!”

Contrast this with yesterday when late in the afternoon I realized it was too late to do my original supper plan. What I threw together wasn’t that great and didn’t get done in time. I got out cheese and some other lame things to hold the hungry bellies for another hour. Then the supper was so ill-received that I bribed them with ice cream for dessert if they would just eat the little bit on the plates.

The difference between the two days fell squarely on my head. I didn’t follow through with my plan. I wasn’t in the kitchen at the appropriate times. I rushed and didn’t try to make the food good but simply wanted to get it over with. All this translated into grumpiness all the way around. I was originally irritated at being interrupted from my other work in order to make food. “How dare it be time for supper!” Then I was annoyed that I hadn’t done the prep work for the original meal plan. “How could I be so dumb?!” Hungry people are grumpy whether they are growing or already grown. We were a grumpy growly family. Being served a least favorite food that isn’t cooked well is a recipe for whining. Love was not flowing and only by the grace of God and a heartfelt supper prayer did we salvage the evening.

Today the supper hour is going to be better. You better believe it! I have a plan and I’m sticking to it. There is an herbed roast in the oven, slow and low. The children have choir this afternoon which will put us home late and my plan is to roast potatoes and sweet potatoes when we get back. There is still a good salad in the fridge but I need to make a new dressing for it. Matt will get home before I do and my goal is to have the kitchen clean and ready for me to sweep in and promptly finish the preparations with help from my older children. Supper will be on time and delicious!

I love my family, I want them to eat yummy nutritious food, I want to be happy when I make them food, and I want them to be happy when they are eating my food.

I have learned tips over the years that make kitchen and meal management easier. Here are some of them:
  • Keep a well-stocked pantry.
  • Make a meal plan. Keep it simple. For example: Italian every Thursday, roast chicken on Saturdays, dessert on weekend nights only.
  • Take time every week to go over your meal plan, look at your pantry, and make a grocery list.
  • Every single day: do meal prep for lunch and supper when you’re cleaning up breakfast. Do it again at lunch. Late in the afternoon go to the kitchen and do the rest of the supper preparations.
  • Know your grocery store and save time by making your list so that it corresponds with the aisles in your grocery store.
  • Use your slow cooker as much as you can. It saves you money because you can buy less expensive cuts of meat. It saves you time because generally it is cooking all of your food at once. It saves you mental angst because you start supper early in the day and don’t have to think about supper until right before the meal.
  • Keep your kitchen organized. Like with like. Knives where you cut food. Tea bags near the tea kettle. Glasses near the water. Rarely used things out of the way.
  • To keep your family healthy start with these tips and think about each meal as a multi-vitamin and mineral for your family.
  • Don’t buy boxed and packaged food. It’s expensive and by learning to make things yourself you will save a lot and be serving your family more nutritious food.
  • Buy extra virgin olive oil and only cold-pressed oils. Buy butter instead of margarine. Never buy shortening.
  • Make your own salad dressing and save big time.
  • Make your own vegetable, chicken, and beef stock. It’s virtually free, you've already bought the bones when you bought the meat in the first place.
  • Eat yogurt or kefir for your health. Make your own to save money.
  • The least expensive vegetables are also very nutritious! Buy potatoes, cabbage, carrots, beets, other root vegetables, zucchini, onions, garlic, green like kale and chard, and broccoli.
  • Eggs are brain food and a cheap protein. Serve them daily in some shape or form—they are very versatile!
  • Soups made from your own bone broth and full of vegetables are inexpensive and extremely nutritious. Throw your leftover meat and vegetables into a pot with broth for an easy and yummy soup or stew.
  • “The whiter the bread the sooner you’re dead.” Make your own fresh ground whole wheat bread or buy bread with the least ingredients and the most grams of fiber. Invest in a grain grinder and Bosch mixer. Organic whole grains are a fraction of the cost of their store bought equivalent.
  • Make brown rice, not white. Invest in a rice cooker for perfect rice every time. It will convert those who think they don’t like rice.
  • Depending on your culinary level or place in life. You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. Stop and take a deep breath. You can do this. Print a calendar page and grab a pencil. Write down your husband’s favorite meals spread throughout the month. Then include the rest of your family’s favorite meals. If you are using packaged foods for those meals then make it a goal to learn to make them new and improved in a healthier way. There are many tutorials and modified recipes on the internet that can show you the way. Soon it will be easy for you and your family will be healthier!
  • If you have open days on your calendar then use them for trying new recipes. I recommend keeping it simple and using the slow cooker. Also save the slow cooker meals for days when you have to be out of the house. Put your meal together before you leave, and come home to the smell of supper cooking!
  • Tomorrow, when we’ll be home all day, I have a Kitchen Day scheduled. The children and I will be cleaning the kitchen, cooking up a storm, and making yummy smells flow out of the stove vent that say, "love is cooking here."


Kim Brenneman

Kim is the joyful wife of Matt and the blessed mother of nine children.

When not busy homeschooling and farmschooling, she enjoys writing, gardening, cooking, reading, sewing, and crafting.

Kim lives on a farm in Iowa where her family grows beef cattle, corn and beans, and operates a micro-dairy selling cheese at farmer’s markets. She loves to write and speak about her passion for home and family. She is the author of Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family. She blogs about the same subject at:

If you'd like to leave a comment, visit Time-Warp Wife on facebook: Click here

And you can also find Kim on facebook too: Large Family Logistics

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Free Printable Calendars for February and March

The new printables are ready for February and March! Each one has the monthly calendar at a glance, and the following sections to write in:
  • To Do's - Things you need to do today
  • Hope To Do's - Additional things you'd like to do if time permits
  • Prayer Requests 
  • Reminders 
  • Bible Reading - What you plan to read in the Bible or a verse that comes to mind
  • Groceries
  • Thinking Ahead - Goals or future commitments
  • People to Call
Each page is intended for daily use, therefore I'd recommend printing off several at a time.

And if you haven't checked it out yet, take a look at my weekly housekeeping schedule. It's a great way to get the house clean and keep it looking that way!

If you would like to view or download the printables for February and March,
just click the links below the image. (Originals are full-sized pages).

If you are an email subscriber, and have trouble viewing the links, click through to the website at: Time-Warp Wife.

You are loved by an almighty God,


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What Is It That I Am Looking For ?

Someone, and a very smart someone, I might add, asked me one time "what is it that you are looking for?"  I was going through infidelity and heartache with my ex at the time. I was hurting so much and didn't really think too much about the question until one day after I got tired of crying my eyes out every day, tired of wondering if he was going to cheat again, and sick of spending every waking moment worrying about if he was with HER or not, that I began to wonder if I could actually answer that question. What was it that I wanted ?  What did I want for my future? And finally, did I WANT to be stuck in that situation forever? No, I wanted answers, but I wasn't getting any. My ex did NOT want to talk about it, nor did he want to answer my questions about it. My ex wanted me to forget about what he had done to me and our family and just "move on".  I started wondering if things would EVER change. After wasting many years of my time, the hopes and dreams of our family coming together once again just wasn't happening. My ex wanted ME to work on our marriage, but he didn't want to contribute to helping me, or us. I then began to ask myself that question...what was I looking for? And I discovered the answer.....I wanted peace...I wanted a partner who would want ME and only me. I wanted fidelity. I wanted honesty, and I wanted to not have to worry over what my future would be. It wasn't until I was able to discover for myself what I wanted, that I was able to start the process of moving on with my life, and with my future. I found that I was growing tired of the time things were taking with only me working on the marriage. It wasn't fair, and he wasn't being fair. I wanted a normal life and I wasn't getting anywhere stuck in the situation with my ex. I had to find my answers, and then I had to figure out what I was going to do to find my peace. Do you know what you want in your future? Do you know what you are looking for?

Monday, January 30, 2012

How Two Become "One" Through Marriage - And a Titus 2sday Link Up!

When reading John chapter seventeen, one can't help but notice the fervent prayer of "unity" that Jesus prayed in the last hours of His death. In particular, these verses have always stood out to me:
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. ~ John 17:20-23, KJV

In reading that we gain an understanding of how important unity is for believers. And the reason it's important is because we bring glory to God when we reflect a unified church. We are a living testimony to the life of Christ and that testimony is strengthened when the body of Christ is whole.

Let's look at the flip-side for a moment and consider a scenario. Say I have a problem with a woman at church and I write about my frustrations openly on my blog. And let's say that this woman talks about it at play group. By doing that, what we are showing the world is a fractured church where members are at war with one another rather than a body that is functioning well. God is not a God of confusion, and neither should we be.

This is how we are instructed to handle disagreements:
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. ~ Matthew 18:15, NIV

Further instruction is given in Matthew 18 for those who can't resolve their problems alone. But I won't get into that today because I'm simply making the point that unity should be achieved behind closed doors.

With that thought in mind consider how this message is a benefit to the family unit. When children see two parents raising them with one heart and mind they see order instead of confusion.

When parents are headed in two different directions, we develop a fracture in the family unit that can be detrimental to our children.

One example is when parents argue in front of the kids. Not only is this dis-heartening to children, it also models a lack of love and respect to our spouse. If we want our children to seek out good relationships when they are older then we must show them what that relationship looks like today. We can start by discussing disagreements behind closed doors. How do we do that? We make an effort to exercise self control.

A second example is dissing our spouse when he's not around, or showing a lack of respect for him when he is absent. I want my sons to find wives that respect them, and therefore I need to show them what that picture looks like today. In the same way I want my daughter to respect her future husband. (and vice versa for both). I must teach them these lessons today, as they're growing before me. That window of opportunity is only open so long.

If you missed my radio interview with Naomi Striemer the other day, you can listen to the podcast here.
Naomi asks me, "What do you have coming up next?" Listen to find out...

You are loved by an almighty God,


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Today and every Tuesday, I want to invite bloggers to link-up any blog posts that will encourage women to joyfully live out their roles as wives and keepers of their homes I'm looking for posts on marriage, parenting, housekeeping, or recipes.

1. Enter the direct link from your post into the linky tool below!

2. Please link back here with the {TITUS 2}SDAYS code (below) so that other bloggers can join in too!

3. Enjoy each other's fellowship, and have fun!

Can I use an old post, or do I need to use a current one?
You can absolutely use an older post if you feel that the post is a great fit for this meme. Have fun!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

17 Things You Can Do Today to Make Your Life Easier Tomorrow

We all know from experience what procrastination can do to our lives. If left unchecked, it can make us late, unorganized, stressed out, embarrassed, overtired, broke, and hungry. I know this because I've experienced these symptoms myself.

Take this morning for example. I was trying to get the kids ready for school when I remembered that I had some important paperwork to take care of. It was already over-due, and it had to be done immediately. So I delayed my shower and sat at the dining room table filling out forms that had passed through my hands several times during the past few weeks. Any number of those times I could have sat down and got the papers in order, but because it was something I dislike taking care of I chose to put it off until the very last minute. As a result, I was thirty minutes late for an appointment that was on my calendar a week ago.

If you're a procrastinator have no fear there's an anecdote for all of us--it's called being proactive. "Pro-action" as I like to call it, is preparing for things before they cause us to react. One example would be washing underwear before you run out--that's always wise! Another might be picking up shampoo when you start running low. Those are are just two examples of proactive things that most of us do on a regular basis without really thinking about it.

If you start to look around, you'll probably see things that you would be better off taking care of now than leaving it for later. In fact you'd probably find several. Before you run off and start doing them--I'll also offer you a list of my own. Here are 17 things that we can do today to make our lives easier tomorrow: 

  1. Pray. Women often waste time over-discussing our problems when going to prayer with them is far more effective.
  2. Make a double portion of your meal and freeze half for another day.
  3. Make school lunches for the next day while you’re cooking dinner. (An idea I got from a reader!)
  4. Clean out your purse and organize it.
  5. Clean out a junk drawer so you can find things easier.
  6. Empty the dishwasher before going to bed.
  7. Grab garbage every time you leave your car.
  8. Pick up small containers to use for organizing and storage. How many times do you clean up loose items in the pantry like crackers or pasta? Storing them in small containers will save you time and keep them fresh.
  9. Make amends where you can.
  10. Take care of a difficult or annoying task that you normally put off. Get it over with today and you'll feel a weight off your shoulder tomorrow.
  11. Pay your bills before they are due.
  12. Eat well so you'll have energy tomorrow.
  13. Never handle a piece of paper twice. Remember what I did this morning?  Paper work is a huge time-waster. Every single time that paper went through my hands I wasted time with it. Open your bills and pay them immediately. Have school notes? Grab a pen, sign them and put them in your child's backpack.
  14. Go to sleep early so you feel refreshed and productive the next day.
  15. Cut veggies up and store them in the fridge so you have healthy snacks on hand. Wash fruit and keep it out on the counter.
  16. Fill bottles of water so you can grab one on the run. 
  17. Take the time to train your children to do a task right. Even if it means standing beside them when they make their bed for the first several times. Having them learn to do it correctly will save you all time in the long run.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. ~ Ecclesiastes 9:10a, NIV

You are loved by an almighty God,


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More of You Lord, Less of Me

You are loved by an almighty God,


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to Find Your Purpose in Life

Dear Darlene,

I used to be a super busy woman, Bible study teacher, involved in many ministries, our daughter was busy too, piano, harp, musical theater, ballet... You get the idea a super (overly busy family). My husband works, but none of us were connected. Our daughter became ill, which brought me into deep depression, then her health tanked just as I was recovering (God's Provision). She increasingly got worse through grade 3 and by the summer she was in hospital more than not. We were transferred to a Children's Hospital in another state. She and I lived in hospital almost the entire fall there, my husband visited as his job allowed. She basically was unable to attend school at all through 4th grade.

I tell you all this as I am under the care of an excellent Christian counselor. Admittedly, for the past year, I have simply endured my life or lack thereof. I know longer am able to participate in really any activities outside of our home. I'm not reliable I cancel things all the time, because if my daughter gets sick it is my responsibility.

I have failed to grasp the life God has given me, I wanted something more, something bigger more significant. I am an attorney by trade, however I don't work. I have been challenged in my thought that God must not think much of me to leave me here.

We only have one child. I have had to confess I think I am better than this life. I'm ashamed and yet, I still am grasping that by doing for my family I am connecting to them, contributing to the family, and it feels good. I do have purpose.

Clearly, I'm only able to articulate only a piece, but all that to explain, I stumbled on your blog & I'm trying to learn. I saw somewhere you said to put some of the schedules into a binder? Do you have a layout for how to get started on truly being an engaged Wife & Mom? I have downloaded The Good Wife's Guide eBook, though haven't started it yet. I printed out the housekeeping schedule, but when I tried to get the schedules on how to clean a bedroom & bathroom, I couldn't find them.

I'm am trying to learn how to not get overwhelmed by the cleaning. I do laundry, however, meals are my biggest weakness. Our daughter isn't able to eat, though we are working to be able to give her a few foods, but it is severely limited. My husband can & enjoys cooking, so I have deferred to him, but I really don't grocery shop either. I just don't know what to get & with only 2 people eating I find figuring out portions hard.

Please advise or direct me to any resources that would help me to get a better handle on this. I know the journey we are on is a long one, and I know God as me here for a reason. I also hope you aren't offended by my clearly misguided views. God is gently working with me. Thank you in advance for anything you may be able to offer to help me.

Enduring Life

Dear Enduring Life,

Thank you for your letter, and your transparent heart. I'm glad to hear that you have a copy of my book because I suspect that it will be a big encouragement to you. The cleaning schedules that you are looking for (the ones you mentioned) are in the eBook and so I took them off of my website. I'll be putting up different types of schedules in the future, and Kim Brenneman often shares those types of posts too.

The big thing that I think you will glean from the book is that so many women struggle to keep it all together, while many of us suffer with "June Cleaver Syndrome." We think that everyone else does it so much better than we do. There are seasons in everyone's life, and this season of your life sounds like a struggle as you are taking care of a sick daughter, and the stress of it all. 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1, KJV

I had to take care of my dad last fall. He died of lung cancer and his brain was full of tumors. I slept in the same room with him helpless as he desperately struggled to breathe. Needless to say my housework suffered while I was dealing with this season of my life, and my kids enjoyed pizza more than they should have.

Bottom line is this, all you have to handle is what God has given you at this very moment. And if that moment is filled with you standing by your daughter's side encouraging her along, then you are fulfilling your God-given role of a mom. Purpose isn't found on a sparkling countertop, or beneath the cushion of a well-vacuumed couch. And in your case--nor would it be defined in a law office away from the home--it's defined in those moments when we give of ourselves for the glory of God. That looks different for everyone.

Here's what a friend of mine told me the other day. Her daughter had just thrown up for the umpteenth time, and so she started a bath for her, just as the dog started to whine. Running to the kitchen she stepped in dog poop--seriously--but that's not all. She put the dog outside, and as she was hustling back to the bathroom she slipped in dog pee and landed flat on her back. Anyone walking into her house could have taken one look at the mess and judged her accordingly. But the sad thing is that WE are often the ones who are busy judging ourselves.

God sees into your heart to where the sacrifices are made, and while He does He's not looking to find perfection. I'll tell you why...

When Jesus died on the cross, He said, "It is finished." The law that condemned us was complete and fulfilled through His sacrificial death. We are made perfect through Him. And so we will fall and we’ll fail, because we struggle against the flesh, but there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who walk after the Spirit.

So, I ask you to first and foremost forgive yourself for your shortcomings. Don’t give up on your desire to please God and your family, but do it in peace without expectation.

You said, “I have failed to grasp the life God has given me, I wanted something more, something bigger more significant.”

I’d like to ask you to start grasping that right where you are today. Ask yourself this question. What has God given me to handle today? Then take that one step and see where He leads you. That where you'll find your purpose.

One of my favorite pieces of advice was given to me by my dad last year when I spoke frankly with him about my shortcomings. And let me assure you—they were SHORT!

Dad said this, “God doesn’t care what you did yesterday, He wants to know what you’ll do today.”

I’m praying with you as you grasp the life God is giving you now.

And finally you asked for a resource, in particular the area of cooking. I have a good one for you! Check out Comfy in the Kitchen. Janelle is an amazing cook who is truly gifted from God. Unlike you and I she thrives in the kitchen. Her motto is “Step-By-Step You’ll Get it Yet.” Her tutorials are so easy to follow and she makes delicious recipes! I love this chick, and I think you will too!

You are loved by an almighty God,


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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weekly Chores for Life and a Free Printable

Weekly Contributor, Kim Brenneman

What do you think about while you do your work? Where are your thoughts while you’re washing the dishes? Folding the laundry? Vacuuming the floors? Today I stumbled upon this in my stash of good stuff to read. I think it deserves to be printed on nice paper, framed and hung in a place of daily viewing.

You can view and print a ready-to-print copy here: Click to view printable or copy and paste to your own document.

Author unknown

Monday - Wash Day
Lord, help me wash away all my selfishness and vanity, so I may serve you with perfect humility through the week ahead.

Tuesday - Ironing Day
Dear Lord, help me iron out all the wrinkles of prejudice I have collected through the years so that I may see the beauty in others.

Wednesday- Mending Day
O God, help me mend my ways so I will not set a bad example for others.

Thursday - Cleaning Day
Lord Jesus, help me to dust out all the many faults I have been hiding in the secret corners of my heart.

Friday - Shopping Day
O God, give me the grace to shop wisely so I may bless my family with contentment and happiness and all others in need of love.

Saturday - Cooking Day
Help me, my Savior, to brew a big kettle of brotherly love and serve it with clean, sweet bread of human kindness.

Sunday - The Lord's Day
O God, I have prepared my house for you. Please come into my heart so I may spend the day and the rest of my life in your presence.

When we go about our work we must not see it as a horrid chore...

“Grin and bear it.”
“Grit your teeth.”
“Just get it over with.”

We should see that work as an opportunity to talk to God about life.

I really don’t like to do laundry. I like it done but I don’t like the process of doing it. When we have to do the unpleasant work we should use it as a time of prayer and thanksgiving. “Lord, help me wash away all my selfishness and vanity, so I may serve you with perfect humility.”

Every day and every minute of every day we should be praying. It is the will of God for us to do that.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

How do we do this? Is it practical? I say, yes. It is a habit of the mind. Instead of talking to ourselves, talk to Jesus. When you have a question, ask Him. If you run into a little problem, “Help me please.” And always, “Thank you Jesus.”

Do you know someone, or are you this person, who is caught up in a cycle of depressing thoughts? Perhaps it is about an event or maybe a series of bad things that are a part of her history but she has a litany going on in her head of these bad things. When she opens her mouth it all comes spilling out, rehearsed in her head a million times. She’s stuck in a spot, a habit of “Poor me.”

Or, a person or place can trigger a series of unpleasant memories that start to roll around in our mind. Anger builds yet again at that person. “Help me, my Savior.” “O God, give me the grace.” “Dear Lord, help me.” Talking to Jesus, giving it to Him, turning our thoughts around is the way to overcome habits of the mind that bring us down.

When we’re having a day when it all seems to be going wrong, everything we touch falls apart, we say, “O God, give me the grace.” He will help you. He will show you His mercy. He will bless you through someone else. Your problems may not be instantly solved but you will know His presence with you when you start talking to Him.

Sadly, drama sometimes finds its way to our front door. Family, neighborhood, church, work—drama seems to happen everywhere. “He said,” “She said,” “Can you believe...” “And then...” “She did?” Add to this some “analyzers” and you get all sorts of diagnoses and names for the sins in the drama and why the drama unfolded.

Then there are the players that tweak the drama a little bit higher with some wide eyes and “I heard...” “Did you hear?” “It’s terrible!” “Can you imagine?” “Lord help us all!” The “ambulance chasers” feel the need to “help” in some sort of sick reflected glory sort of way.

How do you stop thinking about and getting sucked into the titillating sordidness?

Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. 1 Timothy 5:13

Stay home (including the internet and phone).
Be busy at home (get busy in a home and family project).
And renew your mind.

But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:20-24

In reading the rest of the Ephesians passage we learn what the focus of our renewed mind should be on. When we focus on good we can’t be thinking about evil. The two are not compatible. There can be no darkness where there is light. Where the light of Jesus shines there is agape love.

And when we’re doing our work we ought to be in prayer for our husbands, our children, our extended families, our church, our friends and neighbors, our community, our country, on and on... When something comes to mind, turn it over to God and pray about it. The thing that comes to mind does not have to be a problem in order to pray over it. It could be a thanksgiving or blessing.

Pray that we would be a blessing on all those we serve everyday with the work we do day in and day out. And as we work let’s pray that God would work on us.


Kim Brenneman

Kim is the joyful wife of Matt and the blessed mother of nine children.

When not busy homeschooling and farmschooling, she enjoys writing, gardening, cooking, reading, sewing, and crafting.

Kim lives on a farm in Iowa where her family grows beef cattle, corn and beans, and operates a micro-dairy selling cheese at farmer’s markets. She loves to write and speak about her passion for home and family. She is the author of Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family. She blogs about the same subject at:

If you'd like to leave a comment, visit Time-Warp Wife on facebook: Click here

And you can also find Kim on facebook too: Large Family Logistics

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Have you picked up Darlene's new eBook, The Good Wife's Guide yet? Get your copy at: TheGoodWifesGuide.com

Fighting Loneliness with Sushi?

 Photo used under Creative Commons from avlxyz

by Nigel Lawson

I've read all the articles and blogs dealing with loneliness after divorce. I'm up to my neck in self help books, actually reading some for the second time. I have friends I go out with on a regular basis.  I have plenty of hobbies, so I don't really need a new one. I stay busy with work and community organizations. So, why am I still dealing with loneliness 4 years after my divorce?

Lately it's become a chore to even  leave my apartment.  I literally have to scold myself,  "Hey, get off the couch, go somewhere, and do something!"  I'm simply going through the motions of life, and that's not living at all.  Many people get caught up in the notion that loneliness is a disease of the mind.  Science tells us otherwise.  We know physiology plays an important role in mental health.  It affects the mind and vice versa.

My severe loneliness drove me to do a little research on the affects of a healthy diet and exercise routine on loneliness.  As a result, I've come up with one of those annoying, but sometimes helpful, blog list of  ways to combat loneliness through diet and exercise.  Here it goes:

Sushi Anyone!
When we talk about loneliness, we might want to include depression which often accompanies it.  The cycle of loneliness and depression can be debilitating. "I'm feeling lonely, and now, I'm depressed.  I'm depressed and don't want to be around anyone, so I'm lonely again!"  We all know by now that eating foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, and herring raise serotonin levels in the brain and reduce depression. These deep-water fish are staples at Sushi Bars.  I recommend setting up a sushi night with a group a friends.  It's a great way to stimulate your brain with good company, good conversations, and Omega- fatty acids!

Cut the Coke and Cut the Coffee !
High amounts of stimulates can throw off your brain chemistry. I thought drinking an extra cup of coffee could lift my spirits.  Caffeine and sugar may only provide a temporary lift of energy and mood.  In the long run, it may cause insomnia, irritability, and more depression!  Hang out at a juice bar instead of a coffee shop.  You'll still be surrounded by people, but without the caffeine.

Getting Back to Nature!
A great way to fight loneliness and depression is with exercise.  Group nature hikes are a three-fold remedy.  First, exercise produces that "runner's high" through the production of endorphins.  Secondly, hiking in a group fosters the opportunity to interact and meet new people.  Finally, studies have shown nature having a positive effect on the brain, reducing stress levels.

I plan on trying these suggestions out this week.  I'm hopeful, so wish me luck.  If any of you have tried these remedies for loneliness and depression or plan to try them out in the next couple of weeks, share your comments below.

Looking Back At Infidelity

I look back at the hard times that I went through infidelity with my now ex. Times were hard. We were both working and the kids were young. Today I breathe a sigh of relief that the pain and suffering of his cheating is behind me. I will never forget what he did to me, to our family, and to my self esteem....however, I can honestly say that I walked a very long way to get to where I am today. I learned that I do not have to put up with that ever again. I am much more cautious than I used to be. I know WHO I am today and no longer suffer with low self esteem. I no longer have to hear him put me down, say ugly things to me or my friends, and I no longer need to feel unloved. Today, I love MYSELF for who I am, feel stronger for what I have been through, and thank GOD that I have family and friends who love me. Living a life through infidelity has got to be one of the hardest things to have to go through. But you DON'T have to feel as though your partner doesn't love you anymore. You need to sit down and decide if you want to start off new, which means starting all over again....hard but you CAN do it, or....you can work things out with your partner/spouse ...but this means BOTH of you working on it, not just YOU alone. Partnership if for two people..not one alone, or three. But most of all, you must take time in thinking things through before you make any decision.

Cancer Fighting Lifestyle

Healthy behaviors could prevent approximately half of all cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
Here are some lifestyle changes that can increase the chances toward off cancer. The following tips disclosed Dr. Anne McTiernan, a cancer prevention researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, United States, as quoted by LiveScience.

  1. Do not smoke or use any products made from raw tobacco. According to the National Cancer Institute, smoking causes a number of cancers such as esophagus cancers, lung, mouth, throat, stomach, and pancreas. Smoking is also a major cause of premature death. Should have been prevented. If you've tried to quit before, do not despair!
  2. Perform testing (screening) for cancer regularly. This test tests can detect colon cancer, breast, prostate, cervix, and skin (ask your doctor how often can be done and at what age could begin testing this). Even if we do not have any symptoms, found as early as possible allows the opportunity for treatment and healing. The test includes the testing of physical examination, blood tests, radiological, and genetic testing.
  3. Limit and or better to leave alcohol consumption. This means should not drink more than two drinks for men and one drink per day for women. Alcohol drinkers had a risk of mouth cancer six times greater than people who do not drink alcohol (American Cancer Society study).
  4. Protect your skin from the sun. Ultraviolet light can damage the DNA of skin and cause genetic mutations that cause skin cancer. Use sunscreen every time you go out of the room (preferably with an SPF of 30 or higher that protects against UVA and UVB). Use also brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  5. Physically active. People who are active have a lower risk of colon and breast cancer than those who did not exercise. It is not necessary to be a super athlete to benefit from sport. Try just doing a cheap exercise such as brisk walking, cycling, dancing, or whatever sport that increases heart rate and makes you sweat.
  6. Maintain a normal weight according to height. That means keeping a body mass index (BMI) 25 or less. Increased BMI may be associated with endometrial, gall bladder, esophagus, kidney, thyroid, and colon cancer. Stay for the stable in the range of 1-4 kg since weighed at age 18, so the researchers suggest.
  7. Avoid using hormone replacement therapy to treat menopausal symptoms. The use of hormones increases the risk of uterine cancer, according to the American Cancer Society study. If you do need hormone therapy, limit its use less than five years.
  8. Consult with your doctor. Consider using what type of treatment to reduce cancer risk. There are some drugs that have been tested and found to be effective to reduce the risk of cancer. For example, drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators to help women with high risk of breast cancer, can still cancer-free.
  9. Avoid exposure to cancer-causing substances. Exposure to radiation and some chemicals known to cause cancer. For example, radiation from gamma rays, high energy UV rays, and X-rays can cause cancer of the lungs, skin, thyroid, breast, and belly.
  10. Diet foods can reduce the risk of cancer. Namely plant-based diet of vegetables and fruits reduce the risk of cancer, especially colon cancer. Also advised to keep your intake of red meat no more than 100 grams per day, avoid processed meats such as sausages, eating at least five servings of different kinds of vegetables and fruits every day, minimizing the intake of sweet drinks, like juices, desserts, candy, bread, bagels , or chips.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Joy of Marriage & Motherhood - And a Titus 2sday Linkup!

I put a question out to the ladies on the facebook group the other day, and as the answers began to roll in I started tearing up. I was so blessed reading each and every one of the comments, and if you haven't seen them yet--I think that you will be too.

I asked them, "What is your greatest joy in being a wife or a mom or both?"

Mine is the comfort of home. There is nothing like it. Knowing that I have a place where I can be "me" and I'm loved. Praising God for His gift of family!

Now, here is what my readers had to say,
Knowing that I am married to a man of faith, who prays for me and loves the Lord. ~ Ida

Knowing it's exactly where God wants me!! And all of your statement, too! ~ Arron

Welcoming my husband back into our home after a long deployment. I love making our home into a retreat of sorts for him (well...a retreat with art projects toys and bedtimes). ~ Juliana

In addition to your comment, I'd have to say the smiles and cuddles from hubby and kiddos. While it can be exhausting at times, it makes the late nights and hard work worth it to see them happy and taken care of! ~ One Small Town Girl

Knowing no matter how badly I think I've failed, I have a husband who loves and supports me and beautiful children who are true blessings. The good days are easy....this gets me through the not so good ones. ~ Melissa

Laughing together. God gave me the family I didn't have as a child. ~ Just Jules

What you said! ~ Anita

Snuggling with my kids-no matter how hard the day was or how many times I might have felt like I was losing it, when I get to cuddle with them before bed, those precious moments make it all worth it. ~ Noelle

Having a man who loves me and I know it and don't ever have to wonder about if he loves me or not. Being a Mom it's being able to be home with them, tucking them in at night etc. Loving the life God has given me. ~ Mary Beth

They are both wonderful, being a wife, mom.... love being surrounded by my family (insane as it may be at times).... but being a grandma - now that just pulls it all together. A lapful of grandkids - and kids and spouse all around. A full house. ~ Claudette

Getting chocolate faced kisses and jelly covered hands hugging me tight. I love when my husband comes home in the evenings, puts his arms around me and kisses me! It truly is the simple things for me!!! ~ Stephanie

I think Just Jules said exactly how I feel also! Making the memories with my children that I never had in childhood! Wonderful! ~ Hailey

The love from my amazing children!!!! Best feeling ever! ~ Rachel

I agree with what u said. Beautifully put! Somewhere I'm accepted even when I'm not perfect. I hope I make my family feel the acceptance in our home that they give to me! ~ Amy

I love my eight children but when my husband comes home (he works out of town currently) and hugs me and takes a deep, deep breath and says, "I'm sooo glad to be home"...that makes me feel like I am the center of the universe. The man loves me:-). ~ Generational Womanhood

Amen! Home Sweet Home, there is no place like HOME…My family loves the Lord, and I have great JOY. We Homeschool our children and my husband loves coming home, I am blessed. ~ Hilda

It's amazing.... it's the same stuff that makes us all tick and that make us *sigh* that happy, content sigh. I've been married 20 years, and I still *love* that moment hubby walks through the door, hugs me and sighs, 'Oh, it's soooo good to be home. Like Generational Womanhood (above), I feel I'm centre of the universe. And my kids - right up to my 18-year-old boy - turning to me for no apparent reason and saying, 'I love you, Mum'. I wouldn't swap my world ....for the world! ~ Homeschool on the Croft

My greatest joy in being a wife is the feeling of being a part of a team - of everyday waking beside my love and knowing that by God's grace we will be able to make a difference in someone's life. My greatest joy in being a mom of grown kids is to see God working in their lives - to see them put God at the center of their lives, see them serving Him, and know that all the times I messed up as a mom, HE covered it. All things are grace. ~ Encourage Your Spouse

“Just Jules” hit the nail on the head! Making memories and creating traditions with my boys. Knowing my husband loves me, the broken me. No matter what. Looking back, recognizing the He orchestrated it all, and everso thankful. ~ Carrie

Laughter and making memories. ~ Amy

Wife - Mom, both but in that order... My Jim-dear loves me no matter how ugly I am for that time. I have been known to act quite ugly, I don't want to but I have... Sigh. He loves me any way just like HE loves me always. ~ Cynthia

Greatest joy being married for almost 18 years to the man God gave me, loving each other more and more every day, Growing together in the Lord. Loving our children, and watching them grow, and loving us back, and loving the Lord. There is so much more! ~ Kathleen S.

Knowing that I'm doing God's will. Before I was married, before I learned that being a wife and possibly a mom were perfectly acceptable ways to "spend" one's life, I was seriously confused by my feminist upbringing. After I graduated from college, I seriously considered going to law school and even running for public office because I wanted to have a positive impact on the world. I figured I could only do that if I was out there effecting some political change in favor of the "oppressed." But, deep down, I really just wanted to be a wife and mom - however, I truly felt that God would be disappointed with me if I didn't do more, something more visible. I then met my husband-to-be and began attending his church where I learned that being a wife and mother are the highest and most noble callings a woman can have. There is true joy in knowing that I'm right in the center of His will when I live purposefully to help and support my husband and rear the five children He so graciously gave me in a redemptive, Christ-centered fashion. God is so good to make His will known to us through His word and then give us the grace, the enabling, to carry it out. ~ Kathleen D.

My greatest joy is creating a haven for my family. A place of comfort, whether it’s in our home or just my arms, they know they have a place to go for comfort, somewhere warm and inviting that's always available and open. ~ Stephanie

It is the same for me. ~ Autumn Lee

Mine is knowing I am exactly where God wants me to be. So many people are looking for their place in this world and I know exactly where mine is - at home. ~ Happy Wives Club

You are loved by an almighty God,


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Today and every Tuesday, I want to invite bloggers to link-up any blog posts that will encourage women to joyfully live out their roles as wives and keepers of their homes I'm looking for posts on marriage, parenting, housekeeping, or recipes.

1. Enter the direct link from your post into the linky tool below!

2. Please link back here with the {TITUS 2}SDAYS code (below) so that other bloggers can join in too!

3. Enjoy each other's fellowship, and have fun!

Can I use an old post, or do I need to use a current one?
You can absolutely use an older post if you feel that the post is a great fit for this meme. Have fun!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Are You Strong Enough to Be My Friend?

Dear Darlene,

I am not good at this but I am going to try anyways – I am lost, confused, scared and FULL of bitterness and resentment.  I am afraid that I will lose my husband over all of this. 

I cannot keep my life on track, I fall back into my old ways of being lazy and selfish and out of control.  I want a better life for myself and my husband, unfortunately I have no idea where to start or what to do.  I am   a blueprint type person, where I need specific instructions on how to do something.  I like structure and schedules... but life is not necessarily like that.  I have been searching for so long to figure out what is missing in my life, however I think I have come to the conclusion that I am missing God and I am living a life I want and have no regard for making my life one based upon God. 

I need to know how to start living a life that is God-based, not self-based. I would like for someone to help guide me as to where I need to start and what I need to do. I believe in God, but I do not think before I act or before I speak.  I have become “rotten” to the ones I love and I fear I have become the worst version of myself.  

Do I need to read the Bible every day?  Do I need to attend church?  How do I stop myself from being upset?  How do I become a good Christian? 

Any advice you can provide me with would be so very much appreciated.  I need to get my life right with God and I need to know the detailed steps to take on a daily, almost minutely basis. 

Thank you,

Lost and Confused

Dear Lost and Confused,

Think of yourself like a fire. What do you need to get it burning? You have the spark and that is incredible, I love that. But yes I'd say that in order for us to know and understand God's will for our lives the Bible is a vital part of growing. It's the fuel that keeps the flame alive. Sermons, books, and blogs are wonderful to help you along but I look at all of those things as being spoon fed. So many people go off track because they are fed the wrong message. So while you can enjoy those things and grow from them, see your relationship with God as precious enough to read the Bible and bring it to prayer so that you can ensure the teaching is right.

When I was researching health and diet for Reshaping it All I discovered the power that the subconscious mind has when it comes to mirroring the behavior of others. For example if your friend orders dessert, you're likely to order it too. If your friend pushes her plate away and says, "I'm stuffed." You are more likely to do the same than not.

That's not a serious issue when it comes to things like an extra brownie or a chicken finger, but when it comes to the more serious matters of faith and family, we need people around us who are strong enough to sharpen us and encourage us to grow even in those moments when we don't notice that they are doing so.

You know what I did? I was going to a good church out here--still do--but at the time I didn't feel like I was fitting in so well. I wasn't making any connections with women that I could call up to just go for a coffee or get my nails done. (Some of us women need that! *wink*) So I took a brave step and sought out a friend. I called a pastor's wife from another church that I felt a connection with and asked her to go for lunch. And being the open kind of person that I am I told her I need someone in my life who will sharpen me. I don't need her to be my BFF (although she probably is by now) I just need someone who I can fellowship with over a bowl of soup or a tear stained Kleenex. I need a woman who is strong enough to be my friend. Sounds like the title of a song—ha!

Another way I used to get connected was through a ladies morning out group. My son was about two at the time and the other women had young children too. It was through a good church and we did weekly Bible studies. I developed relationships with those women and they were there to encourage me as a mom, a wife, and a growing Christian.

If I lived in the US, the first place I'd try is Calvary Chapel because I know so many awesome women who attend, and it seems to have a solid doctrine. We don't have Calvary Chapel up here because I'm in Canada and only a few provinces have them. If that doesn't work, feel free to write me again with your location and I'll try to help you find a good church in your area. If you have children or plan on having children getting them connected with other believers that they grow with is such a gift that I've seen in some kids who are now twenty and thirty-years-old. They are so comfortable in the church because they grew up with these people.

And I'm also going to recommend a free online devotional to you. I loved this devotional long before it was free. I'd suggest reading it daily, and then taking the scripture reference that they provide and reading the entire chapter in its context. It's called God Calling.

Or you could start by reading a Psalm a day. But I will tell you where my personal favorite place to start is: Galatians. Here's why: that book and the ones following it are all short, so when I read them I feel like I've accomplished much! And most of the books following Galatians are also letters of conduct and encouragement written to the church.

Now you said, "I cannot keep my life on track; I fall back into my old ways of being lazy and selfish and out of control." Dear sister, that statement reminds me of the apostle Paul, who said of himself "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst." And, wow--I too can relate to that.

Paul also said this, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer myself who do it, but it is sin living in me." ~ Romans 7:15-17, NIV

Paul was talking about his sinful nature that is at war with the flesh. It’s the heart and the passion of man that wants to overeat, oversleep, yell at our children and husband, lie, steal, facebook our ex-boyfriend, and the list goes on. It’s a struggle that we all face in the flesh.

But there’s good news, and it’s found in Romans chapter eight where Paul explains that life in Jesus Christ sets us free from that. It’s not always an automatic thing where you give your life to Jesus and your sinful desires fall away. For most of us it’s the process of renewing our hearts and minds through prayer, the Bible, and fellowship, while we take up our cross and fight against temptation. The more that we follow the Spirit and understand God’s plan for our life the less we desire to follow our lazy, self-centered flesh and the more we desire to live righteously. The first step is to repent of our sin, then we start walking in faith with the help of the Holy Spirit.

One more thing about the fellowship: remember that an ember alone will burn out much quicker than one that is placed close to the fire. Your goal is to keep that fire going strong!

I hope I have encouraged you in your walk.

If you want any more information about steps to peace with God, check out the link in my left sidebar and it will lead you to an article by The Billy Graham Association.

You are loved by an almighty God,


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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Build a Good Diet Early!

Parents are the most important influencers for children, including the food. Site owned ChooseMyPlate.gov Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion USDA featuring 10 tips for a good example to children, especially in the growing culture of good eating. In the statement, disclosed that many things that parents do to help children understand the importance of diversity of food and nutritional balance. Such as cooking together, eating together, discussing preparing meals, and so on. Here are 10 tips that are recommended are:

  1. Be a good example. For example, to explain the importance of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains-be an example with a well liked and eating these foods.
  2. Go shopping together is one way to provide experience for the child. Discuss about the origin of these products and nutritional value. Educate them to choose wisely the goods to be purchased.
  3. Creative in the kitchen. Encourage your child to participate in the kitchen. For example, by forming foods with funny, and give them the opportunity to name each one.
  4. Provide the same meal. Cease to discriminate food. Plan a menu that is suitable for all family members, including children.
  5. Give rewards with attention, not food. Show your love with care, like a kiss or a hug. Do not give a reward in the form of candy or other snacks. This can lead to the perception that the food is better than other foods.
  6. Caring with each other when eating. Make mealtime as a means of improving communication and release workload. Turn off the television and the telephone when you're eating with the family.
  7. Listen to what children say. Every child has aspirations. If they are hungry, offer a healthy snack, though not yet entered a meal. And when will prepare a menu, you should ask what they thought earlier. For example, "a vegetable dinner, ananda prefer broccoli or spinach?".
  8. Limit your time watching TV or playing digital games. Invite them during commercial breaks of physical activity.
  9. Encourage physical activity, for example by scheduling a joint exercise on a regular basis. Get used to walk to school, if the distance is near.
  10. If creating a new recipe, describe taste, texture, and aroma as well. Select the preferred child. Do not force them to eat something that is not preferred. Offer new recipes to eat early, when children feel hungry.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Introducing My eBook Trailer...

Here's my book trailer for The Good Wife's Guide: Embracing Your Role as a Help Meet. Hope you like it, and if so please share!

You are loved by an almighty God,


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Positive Suggestion For Children When Sleep Toward

Hypnoparenting techniques, consciously or not, was not new. Your parents may have already put it into practice. Perhaps you remember, first, mother or grandmother gently stroking your hair when you lie down on his lap. Then, they say the words of hope at the same time praying for your child to grow into a healthy, intelligent, virtuous or any other expectation.

Care for and educate children with love, this is the basis of a written hypnoparenting techniques scientifically, but practical and applied by Dr Dewi Yogo Pratomo, MHT, a writer who also works as a teacher, lecturer, speaker, human resources consultant.

Positive words this is what affects growth and development of children, even to overcome the difficulties faced by parents when caring for children. It is the duty and responsibility of parents to give positive suggestions to the child using this hypnoparenting technique.
Tantrums in public places, this child's behavior often makes it difficult to deal with parents. Even when the child wet the bed when he was already no longer a preschool, this also happens because of causes. "Usually the child has specific concerns that make it wet, it is necessary to find why, and something that happened to a child can be overcome with hypnoparenting techniques," explains Dr. Goddess at her book launch in Jakarta, some time ago.

Various problems faced by parents when caring for children can be resolved with hypnoparenting. Children who have trouble sleeping can be overcome by the method of hypnosis is practiced his parents. The mechanism by giving a signal in the subconscious, said Dr. Goddard.

"For children, the key words, affectionate and smart. Hypnosis to tame 'dinosaur brain' that exists in everyone. What do you say to a child that is prayer. Say positive suggestion repeatedly, because hypnosis is repetition. Easy to implement methods of hypnosis anyone and for all layers, "he explained.

HypnoParenting book written by Dr Dewi even explain in great detail this method of parenting. You will be helped to make the script a positive suggestion and how to practice them to children. To understand the methods of hypnosis, this book also includes an audio CD so that parents can learn techniques hypnoparenting more leverage.

Regarding when the right time to give positive suggestions to the child, Dr Dewi explained, "Perdengarkan CD while reading the script that is in the book, when the child half-asleep. Before bedtime, when the eyes of a child starting weight, did not answer when asked, this is the most appropriate moment to insert a positive suggestion. "

What kind of positive suggestion for children? Of course this is dependent needs and problems to be solved parents. Dr Dewi pointed out, if the child's main problem is difficult to get up early, then give a positive suggestion, saying to him before bedtime, that he could wake up tomorrow morning to get ready for school.

"Perform 11-12 repetitions of positive suggestion consecutive times, 10 minutes before bedtime, twice a day and closed with a hug," advises Dr. Dewi added for children with autism let them heard audio CD for an hour once a session.

This technique can be done by anyone, including parents who tend to be quiet or difficult expressions reveal to his children. "The child is the product of his parents. Quiet child who is a product of parents who are quiet. The boy was skilful imitator. It is time parents introspection while practicing the method of hypnosis to overcome various problems of parenting, "he explained.

Positive suggestions given to children may differ between parents with each other, said Dr. Goddard. You are free to give any suggestion. "Hypnosis is like a speech, opening and closingnya same, namely, breathing deeply. The suggestions can be dismantled pairs according to the needs of parents and children, "he explained.

Read fairy tales

For educators and scholars, Komaruddin Hidayat, parents already practicing ancient techniques hypnoparenting. "Once, when my grandmother Koran, he stroked my forehead saying I'll hoe with a pen, and so on. What did the grandmother, after I read the theory, is the method of hypnosis. Parents in the village have done it and it's effective, "he said during a book talk sessions at the same event.

Suggestion can also be done when the child was whining at the mall for example. "Squatting, equate you and your child's eye level, use a sound stomach, face eyes, take a deep breath, and speak to him a positive suggestion, and end with a hug. Children will know the real parents are giving it affection, "said Dr. Goddard.

Positive suggestion is a form of parent-child communication. No matter how small children must get used to communicating. "Do not educate children to be manipulative. If the child whines and parents responded by giving what was asked, this will become a habit for him, "he said.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ladies, We have a Choice...

(image from Pinterest, photographer unknown)  
Marriages, like a garden, take time to grow.
But the harvest is rich unto those who
patiently and tenderly care for the ground.
~ Time-Warp Wife

I go through the same cycle every couple of years. I finally get my hair to the length that I want it and then I start to wonder why I grew it out. It's lifeless, drab and all I ever seem to do is pull it back into a ponytail. I become "The Pony Girl" for about a year until I make the call.

I want volume. I want layers. And I want them today. So I go see Justin at the mall and I tell him that I want big hair--the biggest hair he can pull off. I don't care if I need to add a sun roof to my little red car, I just want volume.

A centimeter is added to my stature, the new facebook photos go up, and I'm thrilled with my hair for a few days, maybe a few weeks...

Then one day I get up, look in the mirror and say to myself. "What in the world have you done, Darlene? Didn't you learn your lesson the first bazillion times you made this mistake? Do you know how long this takes to grow back?"

Finally after forty-six years I realized something. My hair style isn't the problem, I am. For one, I'm not content, and two, when I take the time to wash, blow dry, and style my hair it looks awesome, when I don't put the extra effort in, it looks drab. Period. Long or short I deal with the same scenario every time--I think that a new hair style will make the difference when the change is right at my fingertips. I'm just to lazy to do what it takes.

So it is with many marriages. We may wake up one morning, take a look at our spouse and start to notice that life has gotten a little drab over time. We need proverbial volume in our lives, and we want it today. Unfortunately many marriages end because people get caught up in the cycle of discontentment. Just look at Zsa Zsa Gabor who was married nine times, Liz Taylor married eight times, Larry King married eight times, Linda Wolfe from Indiana married 23 times is looking for 24, and the list goes on...

There's a lot of discontentment in this world.

Take a look at this piece of scripture:
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. ~ Matthew 12:43-45
What we learn from this is the difference between a moral transformation and a spiritual one. When we see something in our lives that requires a change, whether it be a bad habit or something as big as a troubled marriage, we need to handle it in a spiritual way. We could eliminate the problem, but that desire for more will only come back again and again unless we fill that space with the contentment that comes to those who walk in the Spirit.

Contentment is vital, but some work is also required to those who seek change. Marriages, like a garden take time to grow, but the harvest is rich unto those who patiently and tenderly care for the ground. 

And so ladies, we have a choice. We can live in discontentment wishing that we had a better marriage, a cleaner house, polite children, and a good meal on the table, or we can put in the extra work that it takes to be a loving wife, a nurturing mother, and a faithful steward of our home.

That's what we can do, but there's so much more that God can do.

Things might not fall into place the way that we want them too. In fact nobody can predict what tomorrow will hold. But I can promise you this. If you pray asking God to work in your situation, and trust Him with your life He will be at work, because godliness with contentment is great gain!
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-8
You are loved by an almighty God,


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Winners of the eBook Chosen and 2 New Chances to Win!!

Thank you to everyone who entered to win a copy of The Good Wife's Guide. I appreciate each and every one of you!

I chose two winners from each draw using the tool at random.org. Here are the results:

The Email Draw (readers shared the link with friends-thank you!)

Chasta Poole
Heather Wolcott

The Draw through the Facebook Group for The Good Wife's Guide:

Barbara Jean Negley Sheffer
Linda Beyer Martin-Culet

Two More Chances to Win!

And now I'd like to introduce you to two of my friends who are both giving away copies as well!!!!

Karen Ehman has been described as profoundly practical, engagingly funny and downright real. Her passion is to provide women, wives and mothers with creative tools and doable ideas to help them both simplify life and glorify God. She is the Director of the Proverbs 31 Ministries national speaking team and is a contributor to Focus on the Family’s magazine Thriving Family.

Visit Karen's blog for details and enter to win by Sunday night, January 22, 2012.

Jamerrill from Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling says that her great desire is to encourage fellow mothers as we run towards the finish line for Jesus. I love her love for the Lord!

While you're at Jamerrill's blog, also check out her own eBook called 100 Indoor Activities for Kids: Television Not Included. I love that title (and it's free)!

Visit Jamerrill's blog for details on The Good Wife's Guide giveawayGiveaway ends Saturday night, Jan. 21, 2012.

You are loved by an almighty God,


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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Chocolate And Infidelity

Sometimes in the middle of dealing with infidelity, we MUST stop and take a little bit of time out for ourselves. There became a time when I was just so tired of dealing with the pain that I didn't think  I would ever come out of it all....but I did.
How does one come out from such hurt and heartache?  It's hard, and it certainly takes time for our heart to mend. Having someone to talk with about what your'e going through also helps tremendously.  Doing something for yourself, starting up a new hobby helps too, oh, and   chocolate !!!  Chocolate can most certainly help in your moment of grief, if just for a few moments. I don't know what it is about that sweet, savory taste, but I have had my moments.
Time, time time !  That is what it takes to get you through this pain. But most of all, remember that you don't have to make a decision overnight. Take the time to think things out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Your Master Bedroom - The Heartbeat of the Castle

Weekly Contributor, Kim Brenneman of Large Family Logistics

The work that a home creates can become mundane and exhausting if our attitudes are not in tune with what the Lord has called us to do. We need to remember to not only care for our family and their dwelling place but we must also take care of ourselves. A physically rundown wife and mother does not have the energy to care for her home and family. Her home is one of disorder and dirt. It may not be that she is truly lazy but that she is simply worn out and does not possess the energy to move forward and do the next thing. She needs care.

At these times it would be nice to have a wife or mother for ourselves wouldn’t it? We as women must remember to take care of ourselves in order to do the work the Lord has called us to do. Along with good food and exercise, part of taking care of ourselves is creating a peaceful retreat within the home for us. We need rest, not necessarily sleep but a little bit of rest and relaxation.

The home is a retreat from the world for our families. Our role as nurturer of the family places our primary work in the home. We care for our husband and children in one way or another 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our homes are where our hearts are. Caring for children, cooking meals, cleaning rooms, and the never-ending pile of laundry keep us in constant motion.

We also spend energy taking care of the emotional and educational needs of our family. We as women need a retreat within the retreat.

We take a God-given delight in feathering our nests with color, art, handiwork, and furnishings that express our Christian values of home and family. Come along with me and add some extra soft touches to the nest. We’re going to work on the Master Bedroom and make it your special place! We’ll make it a place in the hills where you can be alone to pray. We’ll create a retreat from the world where you will want to spend time with your best friend--your husband.

"We’ll make it a place in the hills where you can be alone to pray."

Close your eyes and think about what it looks like right now. Is it cluttered? Has it become a catch-all place? You need to find a different spot for all of the unnecessary and unsightly things. This is now the room where you get re-energized. It is the last place you see when you go to sleep at night and the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning. Let it be a place of rest and peace that will give you motivation for the coming day. Get your Goodwill box and a trash bag and do the de-cluttering.

Now, give it all a good cleaning. Take down the window coverings for cleaning. Then wash your windows and blinds. This will let in the light and show you where the dirt is hiding. It also changes the perspective of the room and will help you get some new ideas on what you want your retreat to look like. Finish doing the cleaning (cobwebs, dusting, and vacuuming) all the while thinking about what you need in a retreat.

When you’re done cleaning, make a list of all the cleaning chores and divide it into daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. Slide this paper into a sheet protector and post it on your door to remind you until you have it memorized and can do it without thinking. Make yourself some rules, i.e. only ten things allowed on your bedside table, including reading glasses, drink, book, Bible, etc. Maintain this one place in the house to be pretty and peaceful and it will be a bright spot in your home and life. This refuge will keep your being more healthy and energized for the rest of the work.

Give thought to these words while you seek out ideas to implement:

  • reserved
  • rest
  • retreat
  • recluse
  • relax
  • refuge

Think about the purposes of the master bedroom and write down decorating ideas. Ask yourself how to create privacy, ease, convenience, and beauty in your master bedroom. This has to suit you and your husband so think about your favorite things, what favorite objects do you want to surround yourself with?

Make a list of things that define you and your husband. For example, I love quilts. I love the connection they have with the past. I love the art and handiwork of them. I also love flowers, the color pink (I use it as an accent), writing paper-journals, the sun, lace, dark chocolate, books, and the list goes on. Think about what defines you and use those things to surround yourself with in your retreat. These things are part of your God-given personality, and they typically are things that God has blessed us with at some point in life that taught us to appreciate some wonder of his creation. Express yourself and your marriage, with these definitions, in your retreat.

What about your bedroom do you dislike? Fix it ASAP. Anything that grates on you will be the antithesis of retreat. Maybe it’s an eyesore that simply needs to be hidden. If it can’t be hidden, then put it behind you by moving the bed or your reading chair. Move things so that the eyesore will be out your line of sight.

Create ease in your room by moving the furniture to create flow. You do not want to bang your shin on the same thing every night when you get up to feed the baby. Create ease by adding cushioned seating, pillows, or a soft rug by the bed.

Move the chair that you use as a clothes rack to force a new habit of putting clothes away. Write down on your list of daily bedroom chores to put clothes where they belong.

Create ease for eyes and mood by painting the walls blue or green. Both are colors that have been shown to promote relaxation. Think of all the blues of the sky and the sea. Nearly all the plants of the field are some variant of green, and you'll see that God used them predominately when he created the earth. When we stand still and behold the beautiful outdoors we are overcome with the splendor of it. We find rest in our souls when we rest our eyes on God’s artwork. Bring some of that inside by choosing colors that bring on a peaceful mood. You can find myriad of blues and greens at the paint store. From dark to light, warm and cool, there will be a blue or green that expresses you and your idea of tranquility. When you bring ease to your retreat, as soon as you walk in the door your body will say, “Ahhhh” and you will relax.

Make your room convenient by having bedside tables with reading lights, paper, pen, and the Bible. Keep tissue and a waste basket handy if you’re allergy prone.

Use good light blocking blinds; dark rooms promote deeper, more restful sleep.

If you like to write or do some sort of handiwork, then create a place for that in your bedroom. For some people that might be bringing work into the bedroom and for others it’s bringing a restful activity that promotes a quiet spirit. Be sure to put a good light in the task area.

Put a CD player in your Master Bedroom to play peaceful music or whatever suits the mood of you and your beloved.

To make my room more convenient I have an old sofa draped with quilts that I use when nursing the baby, reading, and when we have a sick or scared child at night (with nine children, there is a limit to who fits in the bed). I also have a soft light if I need it at night.

Put your bedroom lamps on a timer to turn off when you need to sleep and come on with your alarm clock in the morning. This one convenience has improved my sleep routines immensely.

Add beauty with art, pictures of you and your husband, fresh flowers, or other expressions of who you are and the things that you enjoy. Try to create a harmony of favorite things expressing all of the senses. What fabrics do you like to feel? What do you like under your feet? What do you want to wrap up in while you sit and peruse a new magazine? When you want a peaceful setting what do you want to hear? Guitar music, ocean waves, the breeze in the trees outside, or silence? What do you want to smell? A favorite flower, a mug of hot chocolate, the night air drifting in? What do you want to see? Blank walls, art, photography, wallpaper? Lots of drapes and luscious fabric or simple, straight lines? Dark or light? Warm or cool? Simple, elaborate, or somewhere in between? Think about these things. Get some magazines and books from the library or visit Pinterest.com to collect ideas. Don’t copy a photo of someone else’s idea of beauty. What my Master Bedroom looks like will not be the same as yours. It should be an expression of who you are and what you have available to use. Spend time in thought, with pen in hand. What is beautiful to you and why? Do what defines who you are and your needs for a restful retreat. What are the simplest things that give pleasure and rest for your soul? Bring these pieces of beauty into your master bedroom.

Put things in your Master Bedroom that express who you are as a union with your beloved. Include photographs and mementos that reflect your history together. Create ambience through soft lamps or candles for your evenings together.

Embrace your femininity and dress that way in your bedroom. Throw out the old T-shirts and boxer-shorts, this is not a college dorm room. Throw out the ratty bath robe and tattered gown of yesteryear. This is your master bedroom--the place where the heart of the family finds a restful haven. It is the heartbeat of the castle. Wear what enhances the romance and makes you feel like the queen. Create it to be a place of honor to your marriage.
The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old, which I have laid up for you, O my beloved.
Song of Solomon 7:13 ESV
It is natural how God created  females to feather their nests. Every mother in nature does it. We were born to nurture our families and part of this is by creating beauty in our homes. 

When the stress of constantly being needed by your family weighs heavy on you, go to your nest within the nest and spend time with the Lord of all. Take your cares to Him. Slipping away for a break in the day to read the Word, quiet your thoughts, and pray in your retreat surrounded by your favorite things will inspire you for the rest of the day. Prayer and rest bring healing to our innermost beings. We need this to remain healthy Christian women. Jesus gives rest to the weary. Go and create a haven of rest. Make it a place where you meet your Helper who enables you to be a helper to your husband.
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23, ESV


Kim Brenneman

Kim is the joyful wife of Matt and the blessed mother of nine children.

When not busy homeschooling and farmschooling, she enjoys writing, gardening, cooking, reading, sewing, and crafting.

Kim lives on a farm in Iowa where her family grows beef cattle, corn and beans, and operates a micro-dairy selling cheese at farmer’s markets. She loves to write and speak about her passion for home and family. She is the author of Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family. She blogs about the same subject at:

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