Grace Prayers!

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Today I have been crying out to God to give me grace in raising my children. Most days offering up grace prayers is the best thing I can do for the kids and myself.

I attending a wonderful weeking of inner healing and teaching about the power of our words and actions with our children. I learned that as a mother I am God agent sent to give birth to and nurture my children. I have the ability to bless or curse them with every interaction we have, verbal or non-verbal. I want so much to bless my little ones to empower them to prosper emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I have decided that praying specifically for each of them throughout the day is very effective!

Here are some of the grace prayer from today: (I have started journaling them to watch God work in them over time)

Lord, help me to remember that washing Mercy’s sheets AGAIN in the middle of the night because she peed the bed AGAIN is not that big of a deal. Help me to remember that I am just tired that is why it seems so tedious. God thank you that I can serve my daughter in this way, I’m glad she will learn that she can always trust you to provide for her basic needs. Help me to give her an extra dose of love today as I know she feels bad for having an accident. Show me how to bless her soul so she knows that I love her for who she is NOT what she does!

Lord, give me grace to deal with Judah who wants to complain about everything I ask him to do. Help me to remember that he is testing my character, and ultimately Lord, you are testing my character. He is testing to see if I am consistent, truthful, loyal to my words, he is trying to determine whether he can trust my leadership and he is building a foundation for boundaries in his own life. God help me to remain strong, help me not to give into anger or the desires of my flesh. Remind me to bless Judah, to offer him choices rather than punishment. I want to our relationship to be my first priority. I know there is something more important than being right Lord, its being free!

God I need your GRACE with Atirah today. Lord I bless her eager, busy, adventurous spirit, that is fearless. Lord I ask for extra patience, kindness, gentless, actually I need ALL the fruits of the Spirit with her. Lord I still an unclear as to your destiny for her life as she is just starting to develop her personality, but I know one thing…she has a determination and strength that will carry her through every obstacle she might face. Thank you God. Thank you for her boldness, her humour, and her life. God give me the supernatural empowerment to care for her, train her and guide her through this life. Lord when I get frustrated and tired, bring peace and rest to my soul. Remind me to cry out for you to help me and not to try to deal with her on my own, she is a gift, thank you for her!

Lord empower me to mother, to nurture and to care. Let me give freely of myself as you gave freely of yourself for me. Let my children always know deep inside that NO one loves them like I do. I pray that they will see this in everything I do and say for them.

May you experience the freedom that comes from complete surrender and obedience in the small things!! May God grant you an extra dose of grace today!!!!

Homemade Tahini

I decided to tackle the art of making tahini. I came to find that it is very simple to make and much cheaper than buying it at the grocery store. Best of all, it only requires two ingredients.

Ingredients:

2 cups Sesame Seeds

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

In a bowl coat the sesame seeds with the olive oil. Spread out the oil coated sesame seeds on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 8 mins. Bake just until they begin to brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool. Put the baked sesame seeds in the food processor and blend until they are smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Tahini is great to use in any hummus recipe.

Have a blessed day!

Homemade Hummus

I don’t know about you, but I have been noticing that the price of hummus has gone up in the past few month!! A few weeks ago I bought a medium sized container and it cost almost $8 with tax!!! I brought it home and it was gone in 3 days! Our family eats a lot of hummus; we use it on sandwiches, as dip for our veggies, on crackers and we mix it with homemade salsa as a dip for nachos. It is delicious and it is high in protein which is important to us because our family doesn’t eat meat. I decided that I didn’t want to be spending that much money on hummus. ($20 a week on hummus is a bit steep) SO….I set out to make my own. It has taken me a few tries to get it the way we like it but I was able to make some and it only cost $1 and it made twice as much as the $8 one I had purchased in the grocery store.

Here is the recipe; thankfully, it is simple and quick.

Ingredients:

1 clove of garlic (or more if you really like a garlic taste)

19 oz of chickpeas (you can soak your own for 24hrs in water and drain or used the canned chickpeas, drained)

4 tbps fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp homemade tahini (if you used store bought use 2 tbsps, the homemade has a much strong taste)

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Mince the garlic into the food processor. Add chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, oil and salt. Blend until it is creamy and well mixed. If you want to thin the mixture, add a small amount water until you get your desired consistency. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Proverbs 31: Preparation or Perfection?

If you are a woman, a wife and especially a mother I am sure you have heard this verse in the Bible numberous times; Proverbs 31:10-31. It is a verse that I have heard many people debate over. I have heard some woman joke about how impossible this is to attain and I have heard others who make it their life mission to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

So what does it mean? Is it literal? Am I supposed to spin by own wool, purchase land and sell it for a profit? How does one learn from this verse and apply it to her life?

Here is my understanding…

I believe that the Word of God is written on purpose and is intentional. I know that God allows everything in the Bible to be put there for a reason and I believe that there is much that we can glean as woman from this passage. In my opinion is was not put there to make woman feel badly about themselves nor do I think that it should cause us to strive for perfection in our lives, or make our outward apperance look perfect in the eyes of men but rather it should inspire us to trust God in everything. I believe that we NEED to focus on the many character traits of this “Proverbs 31 woman” and apply those traists to our lives.

The first trait I recognize is that she is a woman who is intentional. Everything she does is done on purpose. She plans ahead and organizes her life so that her family is taken care of and have what they need. That may look different for different woman depending on your personality, ability and life skills. But whatever you do make sure that you do it on purpose! (usually this involves planning and forethought, but not always:)

Secondly, she is a woman of wisdom. She knows the times and seasons in which she lives and chooses to plan her life accordingly. Because of this wisdom she profits from her various tasks, she isnt’t prideful about it, she is providing for her family.

Thirdly she is family-focused. Everything that she does centers around her husband and her children. They are her priority and the reason behind all of her labour. Obviously our relationship with the Lord needs to be our first priority but after that our family comes first. Are the decisions you make and the time you spend being invested in your family?

Forthyl, she is a strong woman. I believe this is emotional, spiritual and physical. Because of her faith in the Lord and her willingness to serve her family she can bear the weight of her work. She can handle their complaints, she can physically meet their demands and she can guide them spiritually to their Savior. Remember joy = strength. To be a woman who is strong you must be joyful. The enemy is always trying to steal my joy as a mother. The meanial things that happen or small accidents that take my joy off of mothering my little ones to the clean up agenda. I need to continually remember that if the enemy steals my joy he also steals my strength and I am left weak and powerless. I sometimes wonder if this is why so many mothers are so weak and defenseless in battle, we have lost our joy in the Lord. GOOD NEWS: choose to get the joy back and it’s yours!!! Joy is not an emotion it is a choice. Simply remembering who you were before you made God the leader of your life compared to who you are now should send joy shivers down your spine:)

Finally, a Proverbs 31 woman is led by vision! She has a vision for her family and it guides her life. Having vision gives us a road map to navigate our lives. It enables us to get from point A to point B easily and effectively.

Reading this passage of Scripture is not about; kniting our children’s clothing,  stayed up all night, purchasing a vineyard, made our kids bedding, and feeding the poor? NO!! It is so much more, however if you want to do the above go for it!! We need to glean what we can from her character and apply that to our lives. I believe that this woman is a picture of what is mean to completely rely on God in every area of her life and as a result profit greatly. (not just monetarly. We need to realize that we are called to be women, wives and mothers who are strong and intentional, who are wise and family-focused, who are vision-led followes of Christ whose mission is to raise our families to follow Him. It is not a standard of perfection it is a call for preparation! I believe it helps us to plan and prepared to be all God has called us to be.

Ask God what His vision is for your family and be intentional about seeing it through till the end.

I bless you to possess all the character traits of a Proverbs 31 woman. I bless you to listen to the Lord and obeys His leading, as a result, natually, your children WILL arise and call you BLESSED and your husband also and your life and theirs will be a testimony of God’s greatness on the earth!!!

Proverbs 31:10-31

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Tiny Tithes!

This past week I taught my children the principle of tithing. We gathered our piggy banks, a Bible and some coin rolling papers. We started off with the notion that everything that we have belongs to God and that he askes us to give back to him 10% of what we have. He is giver of every good and perfect gift, it is a joy to give back to Him. I taught them about the principle of tithing (giving a tenth) from a Biblical perspective, in kids terms of course:) God says if we test Him in this He will bless us for our obedience. (Malachi 3)

We used fishy crackers to demonstrated how 10% actually isn’t really that much and how God could have asked us for 90%:) We counted all their money in their piggy banks and they decided that it was time to give God back the tithe. It was surprising to hear Judah say, “a tenth isn’t actually that much mommy, I still get to keep all of this?”!

Fishy crackers were a great teaching tool!

It was a such a joy to teach them this principle, something that they will impact them for the rest of their lives and that will bring blessing and opportunity to give even more. I look forward to all of the other money principles that we will talk about; “the love of money being the root of all evil”, “being good stewards of our money:,” the joy of giving”, “God’s plan for us as believers to mobilize the gospel”…there is so much that I can’t wait to impart into them! I cannot wait to see our children, Judah and Mercy, bringing their tithe to our church and giving it back to the Lord!

Have you take the time to impart important principles into your little ones? It’s never too late:)

What are some other principles that you think are important to teach?

One thing I have learned about family and children is that we need to be intentional about what we do! Be sure to mark it down when God gives you ideas of what to teach them. I believe He tells us specific things at certain times because these are windows of opportunity. Take advantage of these windows.

May you be blessed today, May you have the grace you need to be all that he has called you to be!!!

From our family to yours:)

Making Homemade Cream Cheese

We experimented with another recipe a couple weeks ago and despite my skeptism, the outcome was amazing! We decided to make our own cream cheese, it was simple, inexpensive and it tastes amazing! I don’t actually eat much cream cheese but my kids like it on bagels and crackers for snacks.

What you will need:

– 1 large bowl

– cheesecloth

– 2 cups organic plain yogurt

– string

– pinch of salt

– dried herbs such as basil or dill

How we did it:

1. Place the cheesecloth in the bowl and pour the yogurt onto it.

2. Lift up the corners of the cheesecloth and tie the string around the top. Hang the bag on a kitchen cabinet over the large bowl. Position it so that the liquid from the yogurt will fall into the bowl.

3. Let the yogurt drip for at least 24hrs, the longer you leave it, the drier it will get. (we hung ours for about 30 hours)

4. Remove from cheesecloth and place into a clean bowl, mix in salt and herbs, if desired. Spread on crackers or bagels and enjoy!

This activity was again really fun for the kids to participate it and it was an added hit because it was edible:)

May you be blessed today! May you recieve the grace you need to be everything He created you to be!

Making Homemade Butter

This is  a fun hands-on activity to do with kids. We are studying the pioneers/early settlers in our homeschool unit study and this activity fit right in! We all took turns shaking the jar and it was fun to watch it begin to coagulate, turn to buttermilk and then into butter.

All you need is:

– 1 cup organic whipping cream at room temperature (we bought organic to try to get the more pure form of cream, if I you have a cow you could use its cream…but unfortunately most of us do not have that option)

– 1 Mason Jar with secure lid

– 1 bowl and wooden spoon

Here is how we did it:

1. Pour 1 cup of organic cream into a mason jar, tightened the lid and began to shake. (of course it would be much easier to put it in the electric mixer but it was an activity to show the kids what it was like for the early settlers to churn their own butter)

2. After 10 minutes or so of shaking you’ll notice the cream has seperated in to a bluish-white liquid (buttermilk) and yellow clumps (fat). The longer you shake it the more clusters of fat will stick together and soon it will be a large lump in the jar.

3. Pour the butter and buttermilk into a bowl. Carefully pour out the buttermilk, wash the butter with cold water and press against the side of the bowl.

4. Taste the butter and work in a bit of sea salt if you like:) I love the taste of this butter, it tastes pure and doesn’t contain all the additives in the store bought stuff! We don’t really eat butter that often but occassionally use it in baking. Hope you have as much fun as we did!

 

They were pretty proud of their creation:)

Healthy Baked Apples

Pre-cooked apples

I baked these for desert a couple weeks ago and they were a hit! All you need are5 or 6 large apples and some baking ingredients for the filling. I hope you enjoy! They are perfect on a cool fall day. WARNING – bake them well in advance of when they will be eaten, especially if you are giving them to little ones, they take a LONG time to cool!!!!

Ingredients:

5 or 6 large apples, cored and peeled at the top

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 maple or brown sugar

1/4 cup multi-grain flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup coconut

A handful of mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Combine oats, and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter and stir until it is well mixed. Add the rest of the ingredients and using a small spoon fill the inside of all the apples.

Bake at 350F for 40 minutes.

Allow time to cool.

Enjoy!

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

Mmmmm…good!

Here is a wonderful recipe for pumpkin muffins. They are moist and delicious. I doubled the bath and froze half of them for snacks.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup coconut sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin (either canned pumpkin or homemade puree)
2 cups multigrain flour
1  1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
Cream together butter and coconut sugar, beat in eggs, stir in pumpkin.

In another bowl combine dry ingredients. Then add to wet ingredients and mix well. Put in greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!!

Enjoying the ride!

As a mother, do you ever find yourself getting so caught up in ALL the activity in your home that you are not able to just sit back and enjoy the days with your little ones? Sometimes I find myself doing so many little things in a day that I forget to take time to really enjoy my kids. It seems strange seeing as I am home all day but it happens!! As mothers we need to be intentional about making time to spend with our kids. There are days when I get to the end and realize I haven’t really spent much quality time with them. It’s easy to be present in their lives but to set aside undivided attention is essential to make those strong relational connections! Life with little ones is definitely a unique, fast and unexpected ride; one that I really want to enjoy!!

I have found it helpful to set aside time each day to  focus only on the kids. Now ideally, it would be amazing to set aside all my time for them but that is just not realistic. I need time to run our household and they need to learn that Mommy has things she needs to get done in a day so that our family can be provided for. I have chosen specific times each day to devote to only them. When we wake up from 8am until 11am my attention is undivided. This is when we do homeschool, play games, go outside, read books together, play dress-up, go on a little field trip, etc. It is a time when I am not answering my phone, not doing laundry or dishes, not sweeping or doing anything other than making them my first priority. From 11 until about 3, we eat lunch and then everyone has their nap or quiet time and THIS is the time when I spend cleaning up, doing dinner prep, sweeping the floors, journaling, reading doing whatever needs to get done. Once everyone is up again from about 3-4pm we spend more quality time and then they take time from 4 until daddy gets home to play together or go outside. This doesn’t happen every single day but when we are home I try to stick to this schedule.

I have found that it makes such a difference when I take that uninterrupted time for them, we get more accomplished and we are are able to sit back, relax and enjoy each other. I find that time already flies and my children are growing up so fast, the last thing I want is to look back and regret spending quality time with them. Some of my favorite time are; listening to their stories, watching their puppet plays, playing pretend salon, battles with knights and dragons, having car races, eating all sorts of fun creations from their play kitchen, playing Mr. potato head, colouring together, and talking about God.

What are some ways you could rearrange your schedule to ensure that you are maximizing your time together?

May your connection with your children deepen this week. May you sit back and enjoy these simple and sweet times together and may you give thanks to the One who gave you these precious little lives!!!