Feb 042014
 

Recently, my husband and I were having a date at a large bookstore, reading and drinking coffee together, and I came across this book.  I have not read the whole book, but skimmed through it and liked what I saw.  In it, author Michelle Singletary talks of taking a 21-day fast from spending any money unnecessarily.

Top Ten Fun Things to Do Without Spending Money www.habitsforahappyhome.com I shared the idea with my husband, and we decided to begin immediately (good thing we had already purchased a slice of cheesecake to split!).  Now we’re on day 9.  Here are a few things that have come up and had to be decided:  Food is necessary; eating out is not.  A new pair of jeans for a growing teenager is necessary; a new sweater for mom (who has several) is not.  A new sheet to replace our torn one is necessary; new lamps for our bedroom are not (phooey).  There are other facets to Michelle’s plan, but we’re just doing the Financial Fast for now.  It’s going to show us, supposedly, where we are unecessarily spending, and how much we can save if we stop for awhile.  I see it as a kind of challenge.

So here are my Top Ten Things to do for Fun Without Spending Money Unnecessarily:

1) Use those empty Starbucks coffee bags!  If you drink Starbucks coffee at home, save the bag!  Return it to Starbucks for a free tall hot or iced coffee.  No need to say “no” to a friend who wants to meet at Starbucks to chat!

2) Pop popcorn and play a game with your family.

3) Get movies from the library instead of renting them.

4) Do something creative with all those pictures that are hiding in a box in your closet, or on your computer desktop!  Use supplies you have on hand.

5) Have another family or two over for a potluck dinner.

6) Enjoy a cup of tea by the fireplace.  Invite your teenager to sit down with you, and really listen to her.

7) Rearrange the furniture in one of your rooms, or move decor objects around from room to room.  I even change my living room and dining room curtains around sometimes!

8) Do a household project you have been putting off… one you already have the supplies for.

9) Walk around your neighborhood, just a stroll to enjoy where you live.

10) One of our family’s favorites:  Set up your own bookstore in your living room.  Put out books and magazines from around your house for each age group in your family, some baked cookies or a simple sliced pound cake, a pot of coffee and tea, and some music.  A fire is nice, too.  Everyone helps themselves to the snacks and drinks, grabs a stack of books, and settles down for a good read.

~ by Kim, The Daisy Muse

Jan 022014
 
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Photo: Free Digital Photos

A while back I blogged about the empty nest and how it shouldn’t be something that we avoid or dread. That as couples, we should almost rejoice when we have an empty nest because it affords us an opportunity to spend time with our spouses alone and to get to know them again on a new and deeper level. It also affords us an opportunity to have a hobby or a second job or to travel. To fulfill a dream that we never had time to fulfill.

For many, especially those with large families, the empty nest will happen little by little and by the time you see your last child leave the nest, you’ve already got grandchildren begging to stay in it. For those of us with smaller families, when the nest begins to empty, you feel it immediately. But no matter what the timing, we usually think the empty nest will begin when our children are grown and go off to college or marry. It’s painful but positive.

There’s a different scenario of the empty nest that often occurs. It’s when you’re not prepared for it. It doesn’t happen with the natural progression of life. This is when a child leaves suddenly in the middle of the night after an argument and never returns. When a child is abducted. When a child chooses to live with your ex. Or when a child dies either unexpectedly or from an illness.

Photo: Free Digital Photos

Photo: Free Digital Photos

One of my high school friends recently lost her only son. He had started college in the fall and a month later was coming home for the weekend, had a blowout, hit a tree and was killed. My friend’s empty nest began with shock, grief, and shattered dreams of the future. She has a daughter at home who I’m sure she’s clinging to and doesn’t want to let out of her sight ever, but her son can never be replaced. She would have never imagined that her child would die just months after signing a scholarship with his dream college. Her dreams of having her son carry on the family name were completely snuffed out in one accident. This hit home with me since I have only one son.

Many of us will experience the empty nest in unexpected, uncomfortable, unwanted or unfamiliar ways. As a surprise or a shock or an earth-shattering disappointment. For me, my nest began to empty sooner than and not at all in the way I thought it would. Thankfully, it was not because of a tragedy.

I homeschooled my children for fourteen years. I raised them with the help of a homeschool group made up of like-minded families. My kids had a nice little cluster of friends to hang out with when they were younger. It was easy to dream of what the future would look like. Cookie-cutter and perfectly planned out.

Having taught our children about purity and about not dating until they were smart enough to pick a godly person to go out with, I thought that there’d be a nice sweet courtship of my daughter from a nice proper appropriate homeschool boy. Of course, this boy would be the son of one of my friends. But that never happened. When my daughter first started dating, she did date a homeschool boy, but it wasn’t someone that our family knew. It didn’t take long for us to learn that he had some major issues. As a result, he broke her heart. And that is the last homeschool boy my daughter has ever been attracted to.

She enlarged her territory, made new friends, and learned that there was much more to life than our small town. My free-spirited child very quickly became dissatisfied being in our nest. This child, if she were an animal, would be a butterfly or a blue bird. She desired to know more and more people and it became evident quite quickly that God did not create her to only have a small handful of safe friends.

Kayla in Paris this fall

Kayla in Paris this fall

Your plans for your children and your careful guidance to make them “not like others in this world” doesn’t change who they are or the desires God put in them. Yes, you’re able to shelter and protect your children for a while, to help direct their desires toward godly desires instead of worldly desires and help them make wise decisions. But if you have a child that’s a free spirit, that child is going to be a free spirit even if you keep that child at home for school.

So my empty nest began almost two years ago with my daughter deciding to move to Atlanta. That didn’t settle well with this mama at first. It wasn’t that I wanted to keep her from exploring the world. Really and truly I just wanted to keep her safe. Period. I wanted to help her keep her purity and that would be difficult if she set out to explore the whole world as a single woman.

The beginning of the empty nest didn’t happen the way I had planned it. But God is bigger than ME and His ever-watchful eye has remained upon her. The dreams I once had for my daughter at eighteen wouldn’t have satisfied her long term. She’s not the same person she was then and God has shown her that what she once desired was not His desire for her. She would’ve been a restless soul had she married that young. In her heart there’s always been a desire to explore and to see what else is out there. She’s learned a lot about herself and the type of man she wants for a husband. I believe God held back that part of her life until she had time to become the woman He wanted her to be.

One benefit that has come out of her exploration of the world beyond our little bubble is that the more people she’s encountered, the more she’s seen she’s very unique. The more she sees that her roots run deep. Most people that she’s met were not raised with the same ideas of purity and they are blessed by her commitment to it. Although at times, this has become a burden for her, it’s also been a great testimony to God’s faithfulness and His protection.

The emptying of the nest is unpredictable. You may have one child gone and one child still at home who may not be at home for very many hours of the day. You may lose a child suddenly like my friend did. One thing is for certain: Without a doubt, the empty nest will come. One way or the other.

This is why it’s important to raise our children according to God’s Word and to teach them how to follow Him. To teach our children to desire to serve Him. To desire to honor God with their bodies, their minds, their hearts and with everything they do in their daily lives.

We can’t dictate the futures of our children.

The wonderful thing about all of this is: when you seek God and realize that some of the things you’ve wanted for your children might not be what God wants for them and you’re able to let go of your ideas of the future, that’s when God steps up and says:

“Let me WOW you. Let me surprise you. Let me give you treasures that you could have never imagined you’d have. That you’d never have asked for because you couldn’t fathom them.”

That’s when God does wonderful things with your children and for your children. That’s when He blesses your marriage even more. So the empty nest may come sooner for some of us than it does for others and it may not come as we expect it to. The key to all of this is: trusting God in every facet of your parenting from the very first day that your first born appeared in your belly to the day that your last child leaves the nest. Remember, don’t let your feathers get ruffled over things that won’t matter in eternity.

Couple: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/the-couples-summer-vacation-photo-p179707

Nest: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Birds_g52-Hand_And_Nest_p53539.html

Dec 302013
 

Based on your reading, these are your favorites for 2013. Some of these are all-time classics from the archives!

Favorite Habits of 2013 & Building Habits in the New Year www.habitsforahappyhome.com

Plus, we are including those, below, we feel are important to develop in the new year.

Your Favorite Habits of 2013

1. Three Gifts for Christmas  (pin it)

2. The Ultimate Guide to Housekeeping Habits  (pin it)

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3. How to Be Your Husband’s Wife and Not His Mommy (pin it)

4. Planning to Be Spontaneous – The Household Notebook (pin it)

5. Flylady- Tools Not Rules (pin it)

6. Love in a Lunch Box (pin it)

7. How to Plan Individual Time with Multiple Ages (pin it)

8. 10 Habits for the Family Table (pin it)

9. How to Get Started Homeschooling – 10 Steps to Success (pin it)

Top 10 Clutter Busting Secrets

10. 10 Clutter Busting Secrets (pin it)

And this guest post from our friend Paige was very close to making the top 10! How to Make a Month of Breakfasts for the Freezer.

What is YOUR favorite?

SGIBuilding and Developing Habits in the New Year

Have you started to think and pray about developing some habits for your home in 2014? Here are a few we’ve selected that we feel are always important to focus on.

First we build our habits; then our habits build us. ~author unknown

The Habit of Kindness – Let me say when you stop and apply just these two little words to your home and life it will really make a difference.

Early to Rise – A simple habit and a way to start the day with little ones – with the Bible! Before all the Moving. Talking. Running. Crying. Playing. Questioning. All. Day. Long.

Water and the Word – Let me encourage you to get your Bible and take a BIG GULP before this day ends. It will quench your thirsty soul!

Time… (How to Make a Schedule) – This is to be a flexible guide that will help us use our time in a way that will bring the most glory to God.

Habit Formation – I think Habit formation should be a very important part of child training. I truly believe that God created us to be creatures of habit because having a good habit just makes things so much easier for us. Once something is a habit, you don’t even have to think about it, you just do “it”.

Let Your Light Shine – Oh, Friends! Let us remember why we are here. We are called to be a light in the darkness. We are called to point people to the Light, not the darkness. Yes, things are bad and getting worse in our nation and around the world. But God is GOOD! Let people see and hear about the wonders of God rather than the mistakes of men.

Help for Building Habits at Habits for a Happy Home

10 Helps for Building Habits – a great round up of how tos for baby-stepping towards those habits!

Perspective Can Change Everything – Let us be in the habit of keeping a God sized perspective.

Our Pinterest board full of encouragement for Developing Habits!

Thank you for reading in 2013 and we pray your 2014 will be blessed! Please keep in touch…

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Unequally Yoked

 Posted by on September 17, 2013  1 Response »
Sep 172013
 

Are you married to someone who does not share your faith? Maybe they have never known Christ or maybe they once did, but have drifted from Christ. Whether you married an unbeliever or are married to a prodigal spouse, being unequally yoked can be is a challenge for your marriage.

Unequally Yoked at www.habitsforahappyhome.com Although challenging, I believe God is calling us to be faithful and remain in our marriages. Continue reading »

Apr 092013
 

As homeschool moms, we’re used to taking charge of our households during the day, managing the kids, their schooling, the pets, and the telephone all while juggling a laundry basket on one hip and a laptop on the other. When we finally sit down, we’ve got a school book in one hand and the Bible in the other—trying to improve as a teacher and attempting to live out the walk of the Proverbs 31 woman all at the same time.

1380931_68482931Some days, we’re rockin’ and a’rollin’ like we’ve got super powers and other days we’re hiding in the bathroom hoping no one remembers that there’s supposed to be a wife or mommy in the house. Too often, we try to do it all or at least act like we think we can and inadvertently we get things around the home out of balance. We become of the boss of everything and everyone and then no one wants to help us when we need them.

One relationship that often gets out of whack nearly as easy as your back—and becomes twisted like your neck when there’s a crick in it—is the relationship you have with your husband. When you spend all day bossing (I mean, directing) kids around, it’s kind of easy to do the same thing to your husband when he comes home at the end of the day. It’s sometimes second nature to tell him to pick up his socks or to put his dishes in the sink, just like we’d tell our children. Then when we all of a sudden feel like mommy to not only the kids but to our husbands, as well, we start to blame him and wonder where in the world our manly man we married all those years ago went. We wonder why he won’t step up and be a man.

Just like when your immunity is low and you’re exposed to toxins and viruses and bacteria, forgetting the God-ordained order of your household will cause serious illness in your family and maybe even in the future generations. The best cure for this “disease” and the way to have a happy home is to remember that while we cannot change our pasts, we can direct the future and make a difference. We can make sure our households reflect the Biblical model. 549466_10150920471056213_35500123_n

How can you show your husband that he’s “the man” and not your child? How can you make sure you’re not showing your kids (and others) that you’re your husband’s mommy and not his wife?

Respect your husband. Keep your words and attitudes toward him and about him kind, gentle, and loving. Avoid speaking in harsh tones and being condescending to him.

Encourage your husband. Proverbs 16:24 says: “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Tell him how thankful you are that he works hard to provide for your family. Make special time with him without the kids. He wants to feel like a “grown-up” with you. Although words of affirmation from co-workers and bosses mean a lot to a man, those encouraging words spoken by his wife are priceless to him.

Be his helpmeet. Sometimes we do things for our husbands because we think we can do them better than they can. And then we complain because we have to do everything ourselves. Be a helpmeet without doing everything for him. He is a man, after all. He is quite capable of doing things.

408839_10150468673946213_730756276_n Stop complaining. If you complain that you have no help around the house or complain about how he does things, it makes him want to help you less. If he doesn’t know how to do what you need him to do but he desires to help you, then show him how. Tell him how thankful you are when he helps you with the kids and around the house.

Kids will do things halfway so you won’t ask them to do them again. Is your husband doing things halfway? Maybe he’s trying to get out of helping. Maybe he feels like you’ll go behind him and redo it. Let him fold the towels his own way. Believe it or not, there really isn’t a right way to do it. Let him see that his way is okay too and that you appreciate his efforts. Make sure he knows how valuable his help is to you.

Children naturally want to rebel against what mommy tells them to do. They want to play first and do chores or schoolwork last. If you treat your husband like your child he will not want to help you. He will not want to be with you. He will find something to do elsewhere. He won’t feel like a knight in shining armor or superman.

A word of caution: Check your motives before you lavish your husband with words of affirmation and make sure that you are not showing him false respect and pouring empty words out on him just so he will do things for you. Philippians 2:3-4 says: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.Remember a marriage and a family is a team.

As the mother of a girl, I want to exemplify what a Biblical woman is like and I want to show her how she should treat her husband. As the mother of a boy, I need to show him how he should want to be treated. I do not want my daughter to take charge of her husband like she will her children. I do not want my son to buckle underneath the badgering of a strong-willed woman. I want him to be respected in his household by his wife and his children. I want my daughter to be blessed with a man who knows he’s the one who provides for and protects her.

As helpmeets and wives we help our husbands tremendously when we don’t treat them as children. When they know they have a wife who loves them, respects them, honors them, and desires their leadership in their lives, men exemplify God’s original design for them.

Photos: Wedding photo and couple hugging photo courtesy of http://www.kaylajohnsonphotography.com

Milkmaid: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1380931