We’ve Moved!

Hi, friends! We’ve loved hearing from you and interacting with you on this blog. You’ve brightened our days, and we’ve enjoyed your posts and encouraging words. However, HomeLife is transitioning its social media. Our content can now be found at the broader LifeWay Women blog at lifeway.com/allaccess. All of the wonderful content you’ve come to love on our blog can also be found there including the devotional calendar. We apologize for the delay in communicating these changes to you but look forward to continuing to interact with you on the LifeWay Women blog. See you there!

November is Here!

In this month’s Family Time column, we talked about making turkey cookies in a jar. Click HERE to make these cookies with your family! Also, don’t forget to check out THIS POST for this month’s Family Time Calendar.

Have a great Friday, y’all!

 

November 2013 Family Time Calendar

November 2013 Family Time Calendar

Tips for Scripture Reading with Little Ones

I like to read Scripture to my children while they eat lunch. This is not Bible “study” time. This is just them hearing the Word (and a little commentary from their mother because they just don’t get enough of that during the day!) I do this during lunch because they are all together, seated, have full mouths and are unable to interrupt. For those of you working outside of the home, you could do this at breakfast or dinner or bath time. Now, before you become too impressed, please know that I have been doing this for several weeks now and we are only on Genesis 16 and this is with me skipping the part about Noah getting gassed and naked because, well, who has time for that?kitchen bible

The fact is that there are days when I get about three verses read before the baby cries or someone steals their sister’s pickle or the 3 year old falls out of her chair. At first, this stressed me because I had this vision in my head of a chapter each day. I am a list maker and a list checker offer, so I have to guard my heart against making Scripture reading just another to-do item to get done.

I started the lunch time reading because I wanted the Bible, God, Christ to not be compartmentalized. Sure, we study Bible during school. But I don’t want it to be just a subject that they have between math and Science. I encourage them to have private time with the Lord during the day. But I don’t want their relationship with God to just be something they do at the end of the day in their beds. I want Christ to be what their lives are all about. I want their faith to be as natural and as necessary as their next breath.

So, I read – and here are some things I am learning along the way.

Tips for Scripture Reading with Little Ones

  • Have a designated Bible that stays in the kitchen.  If you have to run and find a Bible each day, it will never become a lasting habit. At first, I kept one on the window sill. It was a little out of sight, though, so I would often forget. Now, it sits in a bowl in the middle of our table.
  • Don’t have a preconceived notion of how much you will read each day. If you only get two verses read before someone has a meltdown, don’t sweat it. Smile, close it up and know that tomorrow is another day.
  • Point out interesting facts that they may miss. For instance, point out that Abraham was promised a child when he was 75 years old. Issac, however, was not born until he was 100 years old. No in depth study here. Just an acknowledgement that, sometimes, we must be patient as we wait for God’s promises.
  • Don’t be afraid to paraphrase. We are not having seminary classes here. If you think the words or content are beyond your little one’s understanding – use your own words.

Just have fun with it. In twenty years, your kids will not remember that you could not pronounce the name of a city or person. They will, however, remember growing up in a home where God was honored and His Word was read.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

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You may also find these Bible Study Tips for Busy Moms helpful!

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

25 Ways to Refresh Your Spirit

The high today is 68 degrees in Bowling Green, Kentucky. This makes my heart so very happy. I’m throwing the windows open, lighting a pumpkin spice candle and listening to the sounds of children playing in the yard. snowman mug

There is just something about the freshness of a new season that just makes everything, for a moment, seem okay. Those bills piling up on your desk? Yeah, they can totally wait. That to-do list of yours? Not today, my friend. This day is for refreshing your spirit and reflecting on the goodness of your God.

25 Ways to Refresh Your Spirit

  1. Warm some apple cider on the stove.
  2. Open all of the windows in your home.
  3. Listen to the sounds of nature.
  4. Eat lunch outside.
  5. Visit a pumpkin patch.
  6. Stretch out on the ground and watch the clouds.
  7. Play some music.
  8. Light a candle.
  9. Rearrange the furniture.
  10. Write in a journal.
  11. Count your blessings.
  12. Read.
  13. Bake some bread.
  14. Take a walk.
  15. Just breathe.
  16. Go to a park and sit on a swing.
  17. Sing an old hymn.
  18. Write a note to an old friend.
  19. Take some silly pictures of your kids.
  20. Take some silly pictures of yourself.
  21. Cook something you normally only make on special occasions.
  22. Tell someone that you love them.
  23. Take a break from social media.
  24. Pray.
  25. Have ice cream for lunch.

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Pastor Appreciation: 5 Ways to Say Thanks

With apologies to Gary Chapman for playing on his well-known Five Love Languages theme, I asked 24 pastors how a church member might speak to each pastor in his own love language. Though 24 persons don’t constitute a massive survey, I was amazed at the consistency of the responses.

To fit the theme of five, I determined at the onset that I would only report the top five responses. To my surprise, there was an obvious break between the fifth and sixth most frequent responses. Thus, the five love languages were a natural fit.

So how can you speak a love language to your pastor? Here are the pastors’ top five responses in order of frequency. I offer a representative response from one of the pastors for each of the five.

Express Your Gratitude

Books. “I have a limited family budget, so I can’t just go out and buy a bunch of books. But I sure do love books. One year a deacon gave me a $200 gift card to a Christian bookstore. I was estatic! Now the church gives me a $300 book allowance each year. I know it’s not much for the type of books I get, but I sure am grateful.”

Encouraging notes. “I treasure every word of affirmation I get. It helps to soothe the pain of the criticisms. I keep all of my notes of encouragement in a box, and I sometimes read many of them at one time to remind myself how blessed I am. I particularly appreciate handwritten notes. I know the church member took time to write that to me.”

Time guardians. ” My most encouraging church members are those who try to help me protect my time. They do everything they can to make sure I have enough time to prepare for my sermons and spend time with my family. They’re able to speak to other members about my time constraints in a way I am not.”

Compliments about children. “There are times I feel sorry for my three kids. They’re good kids, but they aren’t perfect. They live in a glass house, and any wrong move they make usually gets the attention of a church member. But I have a few church members who go out of their way to tell me the good about my children. One sincere compliment about one of my three kids makes my day.”

Defenders. “You know, I deal with critics, and I realize that in any leadership position, there are those who will judge. My greatest hurt takes place when my supporters remain silent in the face of intense criticism toward me. They’re more afraid of rocking the boat than speaking the truth. But I have one church member who always speaks a defending word for me unless he thinks I’m wrong. Then he speaks to me privately. I could use a dozen church members like that.”

Church members, do you speak any of these love languages to your pastor?

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Thom S. Rainer serves as the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys in life are his family: his wife, Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainer publishes a daily blog at thomrainer.com and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Printable Scripture Word Art: Isaiah 35:4

Scripture Printable

Scripture Printable Oct 2013

Inviting Guests to Your Nest

I have just finished cleaning my house in anticipation of some overnight guests. I just love opening up my home to friends and family. I’m reminded of another time when I was preparing my nest for guests.goody basket

I was, as I tend to be, overly concerned with what people might think of me or my home. So, I had worked myself up into a tizzy. I felt fairly good about the way my house looked until, at the very last minute, I noticed the microwave. Inside that thing was leftover splatters of innumerable meals. Don’t look at me like you don’t know what I’m talking about.

There was just no time to clean it. For the life of me, I could not think of any reason why we would need to use it that night. It was gonna be just fine.

Our company shows up and we’re playing games and we’re laughing. Good times were being had. Then, I’ll be darned if one of the ladies did not reach into her diaper bag, pull out a bottle, turn to her hubby and say, “Darling, could you just heat this up in the microwave for a few seconds?” I may or may not have audibly gasped.

Everything moved in slow motion as he walked over and pressed the button that opened the door to all my shame. That poor man looked back at his wife and I’m pretty sure he was trying to blink a message in Morse code. He slowly put the bottle in, closed the door, and seemed to pray that the Spaghettio’s that were stuck to the top of the microwave would stay in place for a few more seconds.

I am not even exaggerating when I tell you that I barely breathed the rest of the evening. I. was. mortified.

What’s my point?

Clean your microwave.

And, don’t worry so much about what people think. Hospitality isn’t about perfection and it has nothing to do with what you do or do not have. You can bless people with whatever God has given you.

Also, clean your microwave.

5 Tips for Preparing Your Nests for Guests

  1. Have a goody basket wherever the guests will be sleeping.Sometimes, we all get the munchies at night. Most folks are never, even if invited, going to help themselves to your pantry. Granola bars, peanut butter crackers, etc. Maybe a couple bottles of water.
  2. Place a couple of magazines or light reading material and a low wattage lamp in the sleeping area. Crossword puzzle or word find books are also a good idea.
  3. Keep extra toiletry items in your main bath (disposable razors, tooth brushes, body wash, etc.) Then, make sure your guests know they can help themselves to any of it. This saves the guest any embarrassment over forgotten items.
  4. Don’t plan elaborate meals. Fruit and muffins for breakfast. Chicken salad croissants and chips for lunch. Something in the crock pot for dinner.Spend more time in fellowship than you do in the kitchen.
  5. Clean your microwave. Come on. You knew I was going to say that.

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom

You are Loved (and Here are Some Links)

Blogging is a funny thing. A person pours their heart out onto a keyboard and people across the world read. For just a moment, one can catch a glimpse into the life of a stranger.coffee

Sometimes, I wish it could be different. I wish I could get to really know you. Yes, you! I wish I could swing the front door open and invite you to sit on my couch. We could sit, drink coffee and get to know one another. For instance, you would learn that I always have coffee. I may run out of milk or toilet paper, but never coffee. Priorities, people.

You would see that my floors are littered with toys, I’m way behind in my laundry and it took an impending visit from my mother to make me finally clean my crock pot. I do not enjoy cooking, am too high strung and, at this moment, am trying to decide if I can go to the grocery store without washing my hair because I am just stinking tired this morning.

If you could see me now, you would see that I am human. I am just like you. In this internet, social media, blog world, it’s important that we remember there are real people on the other side of the computer screen. It’s important for readers to know that the writers are real people with real feelings and to show wisdom when commenting and critiquing. It’s equally important for writers to remember that there are real people reading the words and to weigh each one to make sure it will be used to build up and not tear down. Grace needs to flow both ways.

I don’t know why I felt the need to say that this morning. Maybe I’m just doing a little self preaching. It is important to me, however, for you to know that I see each of you. Y’all are not just a bunch of faceless statistics. I care about where you are right at this moment. That is the message I want you to walk away with today. You are loved.

I better go now. I’m pretty sure my one year old is eating out of the trash can, again.

 

Also, here are some links for your Friday. Have a great day, y’all!

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom

A Godly Rhythm

A Bible teacher used a dancing analogy and, suddenly, it’s always in my mind.  Quick, slow, slow.  Quick, slow, slow.  That’s the rhythm of a godly life.

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quickto listen, slow to speak andslow to become angry. – James 1:19

It’s not the way of the flesh.  Flesh wants to strike out when wounded.  Human nature wants others to hurt when we hurt. All too often, we look for ways to share the pain.  That is not God’s way.  Quick, slow, slow.  Quick, slow, slow.

And, sometimes, the slow is painful. The keeping silent while others rage. The decision to not return anger for anger. It takes effort to train our hearts in the steps of this unnatural dance.

No dance is successful unless one leads and one follows.  We would be best to stand down and let the one who created the dance lead the way.

The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. – Exodus 14:14

Quick, slow, slow.  Quick, slow, slow.

When we allow ourselves to be taken over by the godly rhythm, this dance of life is a bit easier and softer. We find that there is beauty in the brokenness. We begin to recognize others who are learning the same moves and we can appreciate the effort it takes.

Then, instead of judging or misunderstanding or lashing out, we can smile and nod because we understand.

We understand the dance and we recognize those awkward movements.  We give grace to those still learning the steps.

Quick, slow, slow.  

Quick, slow, slow.

 

 

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.