Friday, December 28, 2012

Parenting In A Digital Age

There is a part of me lately that wishes I could take my whole family to a cabin somewhere and live unplugged entirely.  Ironically that leades me to the notion that I'd like to rewatch that PBS series Frontier House where they had families do just that.  The irony is that I want to use my TV to watch it.  I want to watch someone else do what I cannot do.
(Warning: high levels of ramble ahead)

See, we were watching the Piolot episode for Star Trek last night (further irony gaining insight from TV) and though it was a load of old television cheese, it was actually quite good.  The aliens though were talking something about creating mental escapes instead of living in the reality.  To the point where that would be preferred   I think that describes our highly plugged in and wireless society.  It describes me, it describes my children.

I grew up in the country.  I was allowed one movie a week after we finally got a tv and then, WHAT!? ..a VCR when I was ten.  Of course I whined about not getting to watch more than that but the answer was no and somehow I'd amuse myself outside or heaven help me, do chores.  We ourselves have had less TV for our kids available than most. The two times we got cable none of us really could pull ourselves away from it.  Rick could watch History all day, I could watch cooking and decor shows, and Nickelodeon was like a suction cup on our kids faces!  We always felt led to get rid of it.  However, the visual means of escape have changed dramatically even in the last two years.  It started with more of the computer issue than the TV.  Now, however they have iPods and the Wii which gives means to games, and apps like Netflix and Hulu.  It almost makes me wish it was TV where you get one episode of what you like and come back later another day or week for the next one.  NOW, we don't have to wait for anything!  Even us last night purposefully vegging streamed four episodes of Star Trek.  Emma was in her room streaming Dr. Who one after the other, and Victoria was texting her brains out over her phone while checking facebook in between.  She has a new boyfriend and I'm actually thrilled he comes from a huge family that lives in the country and has not internet.  He also has no phone so she cannot be obsessed with "talking" to him.  Quite honestly  it's a great way to limit her exposure to him and I think that's good no matter how great he is.

We've become sucked into big and little boxes!  Don't get me wrong, I love my iPhone.   I love that we finally have a humble flat screen, and I love that we can mack-out on what we want to watch now and then.  With these digital blessings though comes the drug of escape and I struggle to know how to navigate myself let alone my children through it.  I truly believe that it leads to depression.

The reason I think it does this is that it goes against all our bodies were created to do.  They were created to work for one.  Work has for sure been tainted by the fall and has become drudgery for us in many ways.  After the Fall, Adam had to pull weeds and till hard ground.  Yet, before it, he still took care of the garden and we get a much more delightful picture of enjoyable work.  Still, it's purposeful, and it feeds our bodies and brains with stuff we need.  Greater still than this though I believe is the need for expanse.  Wide open places, glorious views and breathtaking wonders of nature be they big or small.  Tolkien must have somehow seen this world coming when he started to highlight the simple charms and fulfilling of the simple Hobbit life.  He defiantly paints a picture of simply working to enjoy the simple things like a good meal and pipe.  His distaste for industry is evident in the stories as well.  We have moved even beyond where he could have seen, from industry to technology.  We gift ourselves while we loose ourselves.  The description of Hobbit life makes me crave for that simplicity.  Perhaps if written now, there would not only be industrial nemesis but a crazy tech bad guy as well. lol.

We also have too much of each other and yet less relationship.  I don't know how we have managed it, but it's true.  We are completely socially overexposed.  For someone like me who loves to relate to people this can be disastrous   It is for me at times.  For really, when would you ever sit in a room full of people, or talk one on one to one person have them just silently stare back at you.  No, you would relate. You would converse and share. Somehow, this world of conversing with the option of responding or not is really not how we are meant to relate to one another.  Not that I'll leave it, and not that it is all bad, it's just another weird side effect of this technological age. It's another love/hate issue.

Yet, what are we to do?  There is so much of our world going in this direction   My kids have little to do in their small neighborhoods where they can't wonder very far.  We've made the world unsafe for children to play and the only option seems to be escaping through electronics.

What I'm getting at I suppose is the realization that I can't have the all or nothing cure I want.  I can't just unplug the world they live in.  So, the only other option is intentional planning to control it.  I don't like that thought, it's much harder.  For us being in a place where they can't roam it's going to mean planning hikes and outings more.  Places where they can see the skyline and be awed by something bigger than themselves that feeds their souls.  Something money can't buy and an app can't accomplish.  Today we are limited by money as to how much of the world our kids can get out and see.  I feel that way at times.  Then I ask myself though if I'm doing enough to get them out and see all that they can where they are.  It takes effort and planning and me pushing myself when I'd rather crash as well.

All I know is they are growing up in a world where they may soon forget the adrenaline of a good mountain top view.  They may forget how it feels to have their lungs full of fresh air.  They may get sucked in and never come out of these technological escapes.  I feel called to remind them what they were really made for. If technology increases we may all forget creation all together.  I want them to remember so they can feel the urge to fight it off in their own lives.  I can't even begin to imagine how lost they all may be in a virtual world someday.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Breaking Size Barriers In Fashion

I'm wanting to do more fashion posts in the new year.  I've had lot's of comments lately on my outfits.  I don't consider myself a diva or anything but I've started to love this new hobby.  It is really just artistic expression. I don't have a lot of money to spend on clothes and accessories though and I know a lot of people don't these days so I want to share what I pull off on a very frugal budget.  Years of little kids and just avoiding a run to the store with burp up on me are over now and I'm actually realizing I'm more of a girlie girl than I thought.
I want to share tips like this one I'll share today:

Don't get stuck in your size!!!

When shopping don't always go for your size category   Let the clothes speak to you.  Now, of course some things don't go over your hips and that is that.  Still, other possibilities are out there!  Especially if you are bargain shopping at places like Ross or clearance shopping and especially thrift shopping. I was recently at a thrift store and snagged one sweater I was thinking I'd give to my teen daughter because it was a small small but I was sad because it was an awesome Guess sweater.  I paid $3 for it.  I got home and thought, well, I try it on.  She has a ton of clothes and a new fur lined nice sweatshirt she is attached to.  So, I put it on and it was snug in the arms but it looked great!  Many times sweaters can be used as coverings that remain open and therefore you can wear a size or two smaller and you will get an even better fitted look on the top.  If the buttons do go over your bust, don't freak out!  If it's a style and color you love and it's a frugal find, use it open with things.

This is another great example.  I apologize for the bad picture.  I had no one to take a full picture of me.  This top spoke to me.  It said "I am awesome, I'm so pretty!  I'm only 16 bucks and on you, I'm a dress!"  See, it's a size 2X.  It is from Forever 21 Plus and I found it at Ross.  It is not my size.  However, the top has small shoulders and an elastic neckline that can stretch for some larger lovely lady or scrunch up for me or frankly even someone smaller.  Which hopefully will be me too at some point! lol  I do try to think ahead to fluxing sizes as we women experience this wonderful phenomena.  The arms are mid length and made with a widening flap that just looks flow-y on me.  It is made to scrunch at the waist with lots of room in the tummy for a larger gal.  For me it made a tube dress.  I paired it with capri brown leggings from Forever 21 for five bucks and my all time favorite winter boots that I wear almost every day in the fall and winter.  I found those at the goodwill.

Cheap accessories (or some nice special ones on occasion) are the other have to.  I have a simple long necklace from Forever 21 that cost $4 and a ring I found there on clearance recently for $3.  A long necklace and a big middle finger ring can really add a punch to your outfit.  I love it anyway.

Of course a nice gold holiday polish doesn't hurt either.  :)

So, come back in the new year if you want to get some frugal ideas.  We all have our own style for sure but I do think some of the tips I've learned can be carried over to what speaks to you.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Empty Box Gift: A Proposal For a New Demonstration of Understanding Grace For My Kids This Year

I was discussing with a friend the topic of whether to reward children at Christmas if they really have not been good.  Especially on an ongoing "in a rut" sort of basis.  It just really got me thinking about something I want to do this year when we all gather around the tree to open gifts.  I'm not sure if I'm right in this, it's just where my thoughts are.

I want to give them a wrapped empty box.

I want them to feel it's emptiness for a moment.

Then I want to tell them my thoughts.

For when we think of gifting as rewards, as all good Santa stories tell, I think we miss one big point at Christmas.  Christ came for the naughty list.  

Luke 5:32
"I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repent"

I'm not saying that we should promote a boat load of naughtiness ..that's not where I'm going.  I do think it's SUCH an opportunity to talk about the state we are all in.  Whether we have stressed our naughty meeter, or we are "doing good" all the day long.

We all needed HIM. 

We all were VOID.

We were all on the naughty list.

That is why He came.

That is Christmas.

Romans 6:23
"For the wages of sin is death, but THE GIFT of God is eternal life through JESUS CHRIST our LORD"

We are the empty box, we are the void.

He is the gift we did not deserve.

The almighty God coming down to give us HIMSELF, knowing full well it was exactly what we needed.

I think I will read them this while they hold their emptiness:
Ephesians 2:1-10

In the past you were spiritually dead because of your sins and the things you did against God. Yes, in the past your lives were full of those sins. You lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God. In the past all of us lived like that, trying to please our sinful selves. We did all the things our bodies and minds wanted. Like everyone else in the world, we deserved to suffer God’s anger just because of the way we were.
4 But God is rich in mercy, and he loved us very much. We were spiritually dead because of all we had done against him. But he gave us new life together with Christ. (You have been saved by God’s grace.) Yes, it is because we are a part of Christ Jesus that God raised us from death and seated us together with him in the heavenly places. God did this so that his kindness to us who belong to Christ Jesus would clearly show for all time to come the amazing richness of his grace.
I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God.You are not saved by the things you have done, so there is nothing to boast about. 10 God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do.










Then I will read this: 

Ephesians 1:7

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,..."

Riches of GRACE...

Children are going to get that feeling of riches on Christmas morning.  That feeling of overwhelming goodness.  We know it's temporary but it reflects a bigger picture.  

We were empty...

We were void...

Grace came...

And made us rich...

So, maybe we are missing the whole point with the "be good or else" thing.  What an opportunity to demonstrate that God wanted to come and give what we surely, intensely, did NOT deserve. 

I just think it's something to think about.  Santa rewards the good kids, Jesus offers reward for sinners.  

Just blows my mind.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Fashion "Cheat"

I thought I'd share one of my little secrets. I don't like a bunch of pant leg down in my boots (unless I have skinny type jeans on which I don't really have right now) so I cheat and use my capris.  Otherwise, on cooler days the capris don't get used as much.
With the new trend of sweater socks, these could look even cuter. So, yes, now you know, I don't look quite so hip underneath there lol.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Good Thats Not Good Enough

My last post was regarding a question I received on whether I thought people were good.  Once I wrote I received feedback that I was not really expecting.  It made me realize there is a lot of confusion on this topic and that one could go on and on discussing one pandora box after another.  Then I got an amusing thought.  God has a pattern with me.  He really does.  He brings up people or circumstances in my life that really get me digging in his truths again.  It's actually quite loving of him because I get (1) reminded of the delight of what He has shown me through the years and (2) broadened in my continued understand of his character and there is no greater delight.  In fact this morning I was thinking of posting on my facebook status (though I never got around to it) that:

One of the most loving things God can do is remind you that you have not quite learned enough yet about Him.   

The amazing thing is that he has an eternity for us to crave more and more of Him and we will never run out of being delighted in learning his character.  Now think about that for a few seconds and hear your brain explode.

Anyway, back to the response.  I'm going to restate it (and I hope the person does not mind) because it is very well thought out and in many cases very true:

" seems if we can't agree on the basic principle that man is sinful and that that sin is complete and there is no good that comes from man or the world at all.  The only good anyone ever experiences comes from the Holy Spirit.  Whether He is in them or someone around them.  Or whether He causes something to come about.  It is never from anything else but Him.  That principle stems from why God requires us to come to Him in the first place.  You can't do ANYTHING good without Him.  Everything you do without Him is evil whether you want it to be or not because you are unable to do good at all.  Once a person realizes this, they understand they NEED God to take control.  Because God is the only way to do anything good at all.  And even when you have the Holy Spirit in you, it's a far cry from what Jesus did as good.  We are so decrepit and broken and lost that there is no possibility, not even remotely that we can bring about anything good on our own."

There was another comment that I will get to on a later post because it dives into yet another topic all together.

There is a lot of good thought here. However, before I dive into responding to it (and as I typed it I was reminded of why I had to sit down to answer and why I believe this post will be long indeed) I'd like to make one thing clear regarding my last post on goodness:

It was not the goodness that leads to salvation.  It does not even touch on salvation yet.  It is just a reflection on the state of man.  

 The reason I was not expecting the response is because I thought that was obvious.  Then I realized that some people have never really gone through these though processes so they may have lumped these together.  In order to address this I will go through the response bit by bit.

" seems if we can't agree on the basic principle that man is sinful :"

I do agree with that point.  Goodness was first, then sin came upon humanity.  Yes, man is sinful.  The fact that man can reflect good (originated in God) is merely an element of his being made in the image of God.  When we speak of the "image of God" we mean like him not just in appearance but in characteristics.  God is good, he is just, he is creator, he is personable, relation driven etc.  We are reflections of those things.  Man can be sinful and still have a sense of justice, a passion for it.  That is because we are made in His image.  The creation is scared and marred, not erased all together   It groans for restoration but it is not obliterated.  God's glory shines still in creation and even in the character of man itself.  This is true even of the unsaved, which leads to the next point....

"... sin is complete and there is no good that comes from man or the world at all."

This is partially answered in my answer above but there is more.  Though man is in a state of sin, and the creation is under the curse, there is still good.  If there was not, we would truly be in hell all ready. As Randy says: "Earth is the closest that believers will get to hell, and it is the closest non believers will get to heaven".  I always find that a sobering thought.  This is what I mean when I say even Christians don't realize sometimes how much good is reflected on earth and in people even now.  God's sovereign will holds back evil in so many ways even though we pretty much feel it is rampant.  There is good that comes from man, for He is still made in the image of his creator.  Is this good able to save him?  No.  Yet, one cannot deny that tons of people who don't give a hoot about the saving blood of Christ, have done good things.  Now, that good is still flowing from God himself and this is where I think this person in conversation with me does not realize that we actually agree.  This will become more evident as I respond more.

 "The only good anyone ever experiences comes from the Holy Spirit." 

This is true and yet it is not.  It is true in the sense that "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God".  Jesus is the Word, and he was there at the moment of creation.  The Holy Spirit is the spirit of Christ and the bible says that His very spirit hovered over the waters.  His spirit is the fingerprint of himself in man and in creation.  All good in humanity and on earth has it's origion in God.  HOWEVER, many who do good do not have the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ dwelling and working in them. They may benefit from the blessings of a good God creating them, but that does not mean that Christ is alive in them.  The good that God bestows on man in creation is really a given.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made etc.  The good that we do is only because of His original goodness alive in our reflective image of Him.  YET, (and this is where the difference lies) it is not a good that saves.  It is a given, it's a freebie to speak casually.  It is not a ticket into heaven, and it is not a cleansing from sin.  It is a benefit of creation before God leaves it entirely and his Spirit is departed from sinful man forever.  That is where I think this individual needs to see the difference in these types of goodness.  This goodness is what God calls "filthy rags" when it comes to getting us reunited with God.  Compared to his righteousness, it is nothing and quite frankly, it is both used for his purposes and even at times stemming from our own desire to feel great about ourselves, but that is another blog post all together.

 "Whether He is in them or someone around them."

Now, there is a lot of potential problem in that comment.  Salvation does not work like a good disease.  It does not rub off on other people.  However, I do understand what is meant by this.  The fact though is that God's spirit is in the world still, moving and working and man is benefiting from it's presence as I've all ready stated.  This statement actually highlights the difference in these two "goods".  If it were the goodness of salvation, it could not "rub off" on another, every man is held accountable for his own response or lack there of to Christ and His work.  If it is meant in the goodness that is in creation and reflected as image bearers, then yes, it is in others on many different levels.

" Or whether He causes something to come about.  It is never from anything else but Him. "

Not much to say here, I agree with that.  I have all ready stated that even the basic goodness of God's character reflected in creation and humanity has it's source in God alone.

"That principle stems from why God requires us to come to Him in the first place."

Not necessarily.  God does not require us to come to Him so we can do good.  He requires it so that our sin may be removed by the work of His son, Jesus Christ.  So that we can fellowship and have a relationship once again with the Father (which will produce good works out of a responding love not just as a reflection of the creator alone). Yet, this thought and response will be completed as I move to the next line:

"You can't do ANYTHING good without Him."

Ah, here is where they split again into a true yet not true statement.  Can the unsaved do good things?  Yes.  Though even they are unaware that their good comes from the image of their creator.  They also may fail to realize that their good is being performed out of selfish motives (again...another post).  Is there good however of any value to God?  No, not toward salvation and certainly not allowing relationship with God.  It is however accomplishing the purposes of His will on the earth.  So, perhaps a better way to so say this (and feel free anyone with more thoughts to chime in on comments) is that we can do nothing good to help our, or bring about our salvation.  "For without me, you can do nothing"

"Everything you do without Him is evil whether you want it to be or not because you are unable to do good at all." 

Once again we are saying the same thing though it appears different.  The difference is in the fact that both the saved and the unsaved reflect the good of their creator.  Both bring glory to God because he orchestrates both.  He uses unsaved people to accomplish His purposes in the story of humanity.  The source of anything good them do is STILL HIMSELF.  Yet, they may not have accepted His gift of salvation.  The fact is, nothing can really be done without God being as the author of it all.  This is the great mystery of the sovereignty of God through out all the good and bad in the story of man.  SOOOO many more posts on that could be written and I highly suggest anyone curious about the topic read Randy Alcorn's "If God Is Good" book.  It helped me so much.
So, if a man who does not accept the gospel of Christ, repent and be saved, throws himself in front of a bus to save another man is that evil of him?  Is he doing evil?  No he is doing good because he reflects the image of his creator.  Is he saved, sadly  no.  The unsaved are certainly able to do good, again, they just don't realize the source of their goodness.

"Once a person realizes this, they understand they NEED God to take control."

Yes, this is true in the salvation sense.  Yet more specifically what people need to realize is that the good they do does not save them.  The fact that most people do not realize this about their own goodness is what keeps them from realizing they need God.  In fact, this somewhat proves my point.  The very fact that people are capable of good makes them think they don't need God.  They just hope their scales tip toward good in the end.  It's not that the good they did was in fact evil (though in some cases it may very well be like giving to charity for the sake of pride or so on) it's that their good is not good enough to save their souls.  Only Christ's work can do that and that is what they need to realize.  Most people are not wanting God so that they can perform more good.  They do not look at him and say "oh, I need you to take control so I can do better"  if they do they are coming to God for the wrong reason anyway.  If this were true, Christians would be producing nothing but good works also and we all know that isn't true.  (I apologize for the real rabbit trail nature of this topic and my writing because the fact is, one thought leads right into one million others, all valid but making it so hard to stay on point.)

" Because God is the only way to do anything good at all."

If by this you mean that all good comes from God, then yes, absolutely   Yet God himself calls the goodness of man filthy rags when compared ( and noting that there is a comparison is important because we like to compare it to pure evil and call it good, God compares it to His perfect righteousness) to Himself.  Again, it's goodness reflective of Him, but not producing salvation.  Anything more would be redundant here.

  "And even when you have the Holy Spirit in you, it's a far cry from what Jesus did as good."

When you have the Holy Spirit in you, it IS what Jesus is doing as good.  You are however, still in the sinful flesh, walking in a sinful world.  Jesus was sinless, we are not sinless.  We are saved from our sin, but we are not without sin and opportunity to sin.  The bible does however state that a true believer will be unable to continue on and on in a state of sin because of the Holy Spirit.  That span of time may however vary.  Oh, boy, streaming into another topic again.

" We are so decrepit and broken and lost that there is no possibility, not even remotely that we can bring about anything good on our own."  

It's very true, we are decrepit and broken.  However we are able to produce good in the world.  That is self evident.  This good does not save us though so we can do nothing to save us.  Also again, even the good we do outside of salvation is sourced in God and used by Him for his purposes.

So, I thought they were some very good thoughts.  It's honestly a real brain bender, the whole thing is.  We have to remember that if the world was void of the goodness of God in creation and even in humanity, this would be hell.  It will be that way one day very sadly.  In fact, understanding even remotely what removing the Spirit of God from the earth and humanity would be like is in when we finally start to get what hell really will be.  Alcorn talks a lot about this in his book as well. So, though we reap and reflect from His goodness, it is not the goodness that is enough to save us.  Christ is the only good that is good enough.

I hope that makes sense and I hope it helps.  The fact is, God says man's good does not please him.  This makes sense when we realize that our goodness is just a reflection of Himself in us.  Why should he be impressed with something coming from him reflecting back to him?  That takes nothing from us.  What he wants is for us to choose to trust the work of His son, when we didn't have to.  It comes back to not being "Stepford Wives".  We will spontaneously be good because we are made in the image of God.  We will sin because we are under the curse of the fall.  These come as a given.  What is not a given is the choice we will make regarding the work of the Son.

Insane Beauty Tip I'm Trying

I've hated my skin since the middle if seventh grade. The minute my face started to break out my fix- it dad got right on it, or so he thought, setting up a regiment for me. Unfortunately, though he meant well, his methods were the opposite of what my skin needed and it got worse. He had me hot soak for many minutes and then wash (even with Lava soap at one time which makes me cringe right now) and then cold soak.  The result was that my skin would explode with oil and break out more.  I suppose I should thank him for helping me develop a deeper sense of security and lessening the attention of boys at that age lol, but still I kind of wish I could go back ESPECIALLY NOW.

So, It's been a battle for me.  As I've gotten older I have even more combination skin.  It's a visious cycle of getting rid of oil only to have the dry parts of my skin get too dry.  I also have a severe low immunity to the cold sore virus and can get it on my cheeks, lips and chin when my skin gets mad enough either from dryness or extreme temps.  Add to that I have olive skin and scar so easily and you can see my battle.  Now that I'm 35, I'm starting to react to the sun with sun spots or age spots or hormone spots, whatever you call them, they are annoying.  About two years ago at a church camp out I got badly burned because it was so cold and windy, I did not think of being careful.  My forehead has been scared badly from the sunspots that gave me every since.  Another symptom of age it would seem was the red lines on the side of my nose.  I hear they are broken capillaries.  I've had those for about five years that I've noticed anyway.

I'd kind of settled though.  I mean, what do you do?  I've tried all kinds of products including Proactive which really ticked off my skin.  I've stayed away from anything with the word oil in it, on it, or around it lol.  So, imagine my surprise when I see a link for something called the "Oil Cleansing Method" on Pinterest as a cure for skin problems of all kinds including acne.  I was of course completely floored.  Especially because you actually wash with straight oil.  The before and after pictures however were amazing and the more I researched it, the more it seemed to work.  It seemed to be this hidden natural beauty secret. 

Honestly, at any other time in my life I'd not have been brave enough to try it.  I mean come on, I've been avoiding oil for upwards of 25 years!  Still, when you have tried it all you may as well try something new.  So, a week ago I started.  See the links for info on the details and recommended ratios but this is what I've done:

  • 75% Caster Oil and 25% Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Quarter size in the palm of my hand, rub it into my hands and all over my face and upper neck.  (I cannot tell you how scared I was the first time I did this!!!LOL)
  • Rub for a min or two
  • Heat a CLEAN washcloth very hot, ring out and lay on face.  Let sit for about a min.
  • Re-heat washcloth and gently wipe off oil, heating again as needed till all the oil is wiped off.  You are not supposed to scrub but gently wipe.
(I'm now placing the hot cloth on my face for a few seconds before the initial wash)
    The science behind it is that oil removes oil. So you open your pores, and use good oils to clean out old oil and dirt and hydrate your face all at the same time.  Your face won't have to work hard to produce more oil and your skin can rest in a sense.  Caster oil is a natural healer and cleanser.  Read the links for more. (pics are make up free)
    The first time I did it, my skin felt awesome afterwards and looked better all ready in the morning.  However, by day three I had a few breakouts.  I looked it up and read that some of the bad oils and dirt will need a few days to work out of the pours so though I was scared again and wanted to stop, I decided to stick with it.  I've been doing it for a whole week and this morning I really noticed a difference!  Even the little breakout from the clarifying process is healing so fast! 

    The red capillaries on my nose are going away!  The sunburn scars on my forehead are looking better. 
    The pores on my skin look healthier. My forehead is smoother than I've ever seen it. This is me right after waking up all no makeup.

    I took some outside in the van because that light is usually the least flattering.

    On the left you can see what is left of the sunburn scar. It is so much better though! I've been trying to cover it up for a long time when I put on foundation.
    Somehow there is an even glow in my skin that I've never seen quite honestly. It's astounding.

    I'm still a little scared but I'm going to keep it up for a month and then add using an apple cider/water astringent as well.  I want to give this enough time to see just what it will do. 
    I'll try to update how it goes.

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    Do You Believe People Are Good?

    I was asked this question recently.  I was told it was a simple question, begging a yes or no answer.  I stated that it really isn't.  Immediately the words starting reeling around in my mind as to why that was and of course, I had to come and write.  Unfortunately I wrote half the post and lost it a week or so ago and became deflated to start again.  Yet here I am. 

    I want to say first that most Christians would have an obvious answer: "For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God" etc.  However, that does not answer this question believe it or not because that is saying that man is sinful, it is not addressing his goodness.  Besides, I'm really never into the obvious answers lol.

    To get an idea of the complexity of this question and it's answer let me tell you something on the side.  If I were asked "Are your children good?"  what would my answer be?  I know my children can do good and are very capable of it so I could answer "yes".  However, I also know my children can be bad and are capable of bad, so I could say "no".  Since I love my children and hold out affectionate hope for them, I would never define them however as bad.  We feel the same for our own humanity.  Do you see why the answer is not simple?

    When I was a teen, I loved the book "The Diary of Anne Frank"  and I enjoyed the old black and white movie as well.  At the end of the movie though, Anne says something that really irritated me even as a teenager.  As the sirens were going off and they became aware that the trucks were stopping right in front of the home they were hiding in, she states to Peter that she believes man is truly good at heart.  I always want to scream at that part!  Growing up in a Christian home the words came to my mind "No, evil!  Sinners!  You are so wrong!"  Yet, there is part of Anne's annoying words that are true.  I will get back to what that sense really was that she had.  You may even come to it yourself as I continue. 

    Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a fan of Randy Alcorn, in a big way.  In Randy's book "If God Is Good", I learned a new concept that I'd never considered before.  That goodness, was proof of God Himself.  Many atheists will say that evil is proof that there is no God but Randy points out that they have no answer to the source of goodness either. 

    "We have no logical reason to take good for granted; it's existence demands explanation." 

    He goes on to say that the fact that we don't question good's existence affirms we consider good the norm and evil the exception.  So when we see bad things happen, it's news because for the most part, evil is not the norm.  "Our shock at evil testifies to the predominance of good." 
    "Some of the world's goodness can be described only as supernatural, since from a naturalistic viewpoint we should all ruthlessly step on one another to survive."

    From here our thoughts should take us back to the beginning when God created and He himself called it "good".  At that moment, like a Father, God looked at man and He Himself defined Him as good.  We are fortunate and live in more blessing than we realize when we notice that predominately there is still more good in this world than evil and there is still more good in man than evil. As Randy states: "Yes, there are truckloads of evil, but there are also boatloads of good."
     However, we have to note the predominate fact here that:

    Goodness has it's source in God himself and without Him, there is no explanation that fits it's existence.

    "Without God, the world would be amoral, with no objective goodness or evil. 
    Where does goodness come from?  How could it come from nothing?  Why would people have such a strong sense of right and wrong?  Why would the powerful sometimes sacrifice their lives to save the weak, handicapped, and dying?"
    "Evolution can explain greed, selfishness, insensitivity, survival-preoccupation, and even a certain amount of ruthlessness; but does anything in the blind evolutionary process explain demonstrating kindness, putting other people first and even risking your life to help a stranger?" 
    "What should surprise atheists is not that powerful people crush those weaker than themselves- that would be entirely natural.  The surprise is that powerful people would sacrifice their welfare to aid the weak." 

    So, though Alcorn is talking more along the lines of goodness proving the existence of God, I think it adds to this discussion because we are so quick as even Christians to forget the dominance of good in the world and in people.  There are plenty of people who don't have a single inclination to follow God who do amazingly good things.  They may even lay down their very lives. 

    Therefore, I believe what Anne was feeling at that moment was a hope that things were not settled yet.  They was something innate in her telling her this was not as it ought to be. Man was made good and he is capable now of evil.  She was linking back to the very intentions of God to make things right.  We were created for good and all things beautiful.  She was picking up on that and quite frankly, it was the very evil she was experiencing from man that was causing a contrast analysis in her mind leading to the truthful conclusion that man was meant for good.  He was not as he aught to be. 

    We cannot ignore that fact though that man cannot possibly be defined as good on the whole.  If the definition is to be complete, no, man is not good.  My children are not good.  Is man bad?  Are my children bad?  See, that is not true either.  Both realities must be recognized together to answer this question.  Man was meant to be good, sin has tainted him.  To say that man is sinful is incomplete though because even in a state of sin, man can have amazingly strong characteristics of good!  So when we say that alone we miss the optimism of the very reflection of our Creator in humanity to this day.  Is your head spinning yet?

    Therefore, in conclusion I answer the question of "Do you think people are good?" with this:  People are intended to be good.  They are made for good, and they were declared good by God himself.  They are incredibly capable of good, and they reflect goodness every day.  This is reality, as it is with my children and I should of course acknowledge this in them.  The other reality I have to recognize is their need for a savior.  For, they are indeed goodness that has been tainted.  The very fact that they can be bad and reflect evil, is also a reality I have to recognize (and thank God for the solution!).  It's the same with humanity.  I cannot stick my head in the sand and say man is good, not realizing that his goodness is marred and scared.  I also should not label him as bad, for he was made good and that is a great awe producing thing. 

    Or shorter still:
    Do you believe people are good?  Yes
    Do you believe people are bad?  Yes
    Does this answer the question?  No
    What does?  The original intent of man.
    Which was?  Good
    What happened?  Sin
    How can it be fixed?  Faith in the work of Christ.

    Or simpler still:

    If we were to take a great painting, say a lovely Renoir who I happen to adore, and we were to dash black paint in a few strides over it.  Fist of all we would be devastated.  We would have such a strong feeling of wrong, of destruction.  As we looked at that painting would we now say it was good?  Yes.  Why?  How?  Because we know what it was!  We know how it was intended.  Is it still good?  Well, sadly no!  Yet, we hold out such conviction that it is, because we are aware of what it really is under there!  What is bad is the black stain!  The marks that ruined such greatness.  To say that it was good still would be to not only ignore the problem with it, but to deminish it's origional excellence as well. 
    It's as simple as that. 
    Thank God he has a way to restore what has been lost. 
    No one is more convicted of the perfection of His masterpiece than God Himself, and therefore, no one is more passionate to see it's coming restoration.

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Why I'm Considering Just Culinary Blogging

    I've been really thinking a lot about blogging.  So many times I want to write about my convictions and my thoughts on world and life issues and lately, I keep feeling led not to do so. I'm starting to realize that my convictions are best shared with people close to me in life, face to face.  Those who know me and can hear me, speak back to me, and pick up conversation built upon relationship.  I've wanted to blog about my convictions on some very hot topics now days in politics and religion, some family topics, and many personal topics.  Every time I feel the Lord leading me not to.   I've also realized lately that my life has become quite unbloggable!!!  Things going on with my kids are becoming more and more personal for them.  They are no longer little toddlers of whom I can report successful potty training without them knowing they should be embarrassed their name and potty were used in the same sentence to the world lol.  Many of my thoughts regarding my closest relationships are really not bloggable either.  That is not to say they are bad, but they are very personal.  The little reports on our family, and pictures shared are just fine on Facebook.  I may post that my daughter started High School and show a cute picture but I'm not going to tell you all about her new little guy friend unless you want to talk to me in person!  lol
    Many things too I feel are just becoming soap boxes for me.  If I were to blog about them, I'd just be pushing my point of view.  The greatest convictions are the ones you don't have to prove are right to others.  There are some who are called to that mission, but I'm not one of them.  So, if you ever want to come by or message me, I'd love to have some great discussion as to my convictions but I'm not led to blog about any of it.

    So, really, my passion or hobby if you like, is food.  I love learning about food.  The thing I love about it is that it's a passion that blesses my family.  The last few months that I've been working I've had a hard time caring for my family in this way.  I resolved a little while back to get better on that and I have.  I love that my husband likes watching food programs with me like Gordon Ramsay because it's a way for him to get excited about it too.  He has become quite the food critic when we go out!  I love that.  I realize there are soooo many food blogs out there but perhaps anyone I know would like to see what I share personally.  I love taking pics too and this will give me energy to do that as well.  I guess you could say, I've decided to put more energy into this productive hobby that I can love, and my family can love enjoying.  Or at least I hope they can enjoy it.  There will be nights where the gaspacho is too spicy and all I get is funny faces.  At least it keeps me energized to engage my talents toward those I love.  If anyone benefits or has fun just looking at possible ideas, I'd be happy.

    So, since this blog has a domain that will not fit my goal.  I will be changing the blog address. I was really excited this domain was not being used.  It was the title I wanted for my blog put right into the address.  I'm amazed it was avaliable!

    Go to:  The Passionate Palate 

    Do me a favor...KK?  Can you post here if you are at all interested in following this journey of mine?  I'd be encouraged to know who would be interested.  Thanks!  

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    Kid Bento Lunch Day 1

    So, today I finally did the kids all a Bento. Like I said, in my first and previous post, this is a new adventure for me.  I'm starting very simply.  Bento can get real cute and what I won't be doing (unless the urge hits me) ...FANCY.  Just google Bento and be amzed (or  I don't like eating creatures, I never have.  That makes me NOT want to eat, and what I'm going for here is getting the kids excited to eat well.)

    So, these are the silicone muffin cups I purchased at the Kitchen Collection from our local outlet mall.  They were a total of about ten dollars I believe.

    Then, like I said, I got these divided containers at the dollar store.  These come with lids that have a fork and knife which is another bonus for us. 

    Then, I give each of the kids a color scheme.  Primary is all I have for now but I place those in knowing in my mind what I'm going for. 
    Then, I fill them with today's Bento Menu!  
    Creamy Parmesan Chicken Pasta
    Red Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes 
    Cucumber and Watermelon
    Boiled Egg
    Cheerios Granola Bar  

    I adorned each Bento with an umbrella toothpick for looks and using on their small bites if they wish.  When I was a kid, I LOVED these!  They were always for the adult drinks but I always wanted one!

    Now, of course I could just throw the granola bar in with it's wrapper, but Bento is all about cute!  So, I made them smaller and lined them right up. 

    Once completed, these containers will stack well in the fridge as well.  All ready to go! Ceadmon: Blue, Emma: Yellow, and Victoria: Red.  

    I used all the large muffin cups on their food so I had to get creative with mine.  I went vintage on my Bento. A retro tiny mug for my pasta, and an old Pyrex fridge dish for my melon and cucumbers. 

    I made sure I got an umbrella too! 

    The mug was easy to remove if I wanted to heat my pasta.  

    My vintage Tupperware lunch box was quaint but a little challenging for Bento. It's a little deep.  One thing you have to be careful of is not having too much room where the food will fly around everywhere.  This is a little scary for that.  

    But, the vintage part was also fun.  

    Tomorrow it's Daddy's first Bento day too.  So, we will see how manly I can make this lol! 

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    The Bento Adventure Begins....Um Humbly Lol

    First of all let me take a moment to have a heart attack...that I'm....BLOGGING!  Honestly, I've had thoughts of giving up the last few weeks feeling like I'll never have time for it again. I have to make sure not to make such rash decisions though so, I'm here!  Yeah!

    Bento!  I was introduced to Bento by our lovely former librarian (who I miss :(:::).  She has a lovely blog here that is all Bento (she has other blogs that are great too!).  So, what is Bento?  Well, come now, don't make me do your homework for you!  Go here to find out (It's okay to educate yourself still, you have a few seconds..come now :)  Or watch this fun You Tube. Unlike my teenager, I'm not into oriental culture at all (though she has me finding it charming now and her enthusiasm is contagious, something I love about her), but hey, I'm into food!!!!  I'm into healthy, and I'm really into presentation of food. I truly believe that presentation of food can increase the fun and appetite to eat it.  When working with getting kids to eat healthy, this can be a great asset.  It also takes my dreaded chore of lunch packing to an artistic, creative and enjoyable level.  I do like to make things pretty.

    Unfortunately however, I had a very busy holiday weekend.  I had a full and packed time doing a lot of nothing.  Enjoying time as a family, playing games, taking naps and seeing friends.  It was wonderful!  We needed the break.  School starting for the first two two weeks ago, and for our new High-schooler one week ago turned out some very exhausted people!  Doing nothing though has major drawbacks, and we were NOT ready for the school return this morning.  All three of my kids got hot lunch, no Bento for them yet.  I did manage to pull off one for me though.  It's a very simple, humble, and some may feel interesting beginning to my Bento adventures.

    My very first Bento Menu: 
                                                                     Sardines w/ Mustard
    Whole Wheat Crackers
    Green Salad w/ Feta

    I realize I probably ruined the whole energy of my first Bento with the word Sardines.  I however, love Sardines w/ mustard.  Not only does it keep me full all afternoon with it's protein boost, the B Vitamins and Calcium are a huge bonus!  

    So, tomorrow I'm hoping to get a little more into it.  I also want to share what I'm using.  I don't have much money for real Bento products, so I did some research to find out what I can start out with.  I purchased three of these divided food containers (in the picture) at the Dollar Tree and I bough large and medium silicone muffin cups at the Kitchen Collection.  These are used to separate food inside the containers.  They can be used in some many cute ways. I'm really looking forward to doing more and I'll keep you posted!  
    Oh, and my lunch was yummy!

    Monday, August 6, 2012

    On Sensa, Dinners, School and The Dog

    I'm really just lacking time to specifically blog so I'm doing a very random post!  Yeah!

    Sensa Update:
    Okay, so I'm going to be on this three weeks come this Thursday.  I still am at a 4 (sometimes 5) lb. loss.  I made some bad food and beverage decisions this last week though and have seen it slow down.  The product still works but sometimes better than others.  In a week and a half, I will be changing over to the month two tastants and that is supposed to kick my brain back into gear.  The tastants change each month so that your brain does not get too use to them and they stop working.  I really need to stop having wine at all.  We have an event in August at our winery that I want to go to but besides that, I'm going to abstain the rest of August just to give this a better chance to work.  The fair did not help either.  I also have not been exercising much but will be kicking that into gear here in the next week as well so I'm hoping the Sensa will have more of a chance to push my goal reaching.  Over all, for two and a half weeks, it's still a good number for loss.  Two lbs a week is a healthy number and this is close.

    School Starting Soon!!!
    Two weeks from today my youngest two start school.  Everyone is finally ready for this (Emma was reading day two of summer break).  I just don't like that they have to ride the bus on the windy road out to their little school in the heat.  It's great to have them out there at this small wonderful school, but the road is long and curvy.  We are really excited about Emma's teacher this year.  We were hoping Caedmon would get the great fourth grade teacher that Emma had but it looks as though he is not.  However, that class would be a 4/5 combo and he was in a combo last year.  I'm glad on that account that he is not again this year.  Also, it would be pushing him a bit.  He really needs to take academics slow till his brain develops a bit more.  He is really needing lots of boyish wiggle time right now.  He is always the largest kid in the class but he is actually one of the youngest.  This teacher he did get is a pretty tough, and it's a guy.  I think that could be good for him but a little shocking as well.  He will be a little more militant and perhaps that is what God knows Caedmon needs.  I decided I would not fret at all about this years teacher placement but would trust God to put him where he needed to be.  It's not what I would have chosen but how often does God follow my plan anyway...:)
    Victoria starts High School in three weeks.  This is going to be a really big change for us.  Right now it looks like I will be able to take her in which she is relieved about since the bus leaves our town at 7am and she would be having to get up so crazy early.  This way also, I can take her in, go workout, and go from there to work.  It will motivate me to make sure I do that. So, it's a good deal for both of us. I'm hoping she does not have to ride it home but we don't know yet.

    Foodie Update
    I was really excited about this post Money Saving Mom put up about a lady who had structured five frozen assembled dinners for the crockpot.  The crockpot is a working mothers friend.  I get so tired when I get home and it's so hard to push myself to get right into the kitchen.  Then, add the triple digit days and I'm really dragging.  So, I told my friend Michelle about it and she had a great idea!  We should get the stuff and get together to assemble packets together.  It worked out really well.  I highly suggest doing this.  We are cooking the Hawaiian Chicken one today in the crockpot.  I'll let you know how it comes out.  This lady did test these though and the comments on the post seem to indicated great applaud.  She is working on coming up with another batch of these.  I personally don't need them to use five nights in a row but to use on days I need the help.  All I have to do today when I get home is put rice in my awesome Pampered Chef rice cooker in the microwave and in 20 min dinner is ready.  Perhaps a salad tossed up as well would go well with it.

    I am also in research to discover some different "egg on top" recipes.  More on that once I find some....

    The Dog
    So, the dog made it through his trail.  He is ours now.  He is really doing well.  However, he is trying to pee in the house every now and then.  We are working with him on it, and I'm so glad I don't have carpet in the main part of the house so we can clean it up well but I'm not happy about it.  He seems to really know now when he has done wrong.  I try to remember he may have been out on his own for a while.  He is great with the whole family but get's a little too excited when kids come over who have dogs at home.  He get's confused and want's to marry them if you get my drift.  We are working on that too.  Oh, and the kids named him Angus.  He really took to the name so I'm fine with it.  I think he is a perfect fit for our family though.

    Friday, July 27, 2012

    A Foodie Mission To Learn Risotto

    I've watched a lot of Gordon Ramsey the last two him.  Come to think of it, I need to like him on facebook like a good fan should!  BRB!


    His cooking is so natural and perfect.  I don't like his mouth but I think a lot of that is show.  There are many sides to him that you see on different shows so if you only know him from "Hell's Kitchen" please look around for more of his stuff.  My friend Laura told me to watch his show on Hulu "The F Word".  I was immediately not sure with the title but the F word is "food".  Yes, he knew it would draw attention, or someone in his marketing did.

    Anyway, I have been wanting to try to make risotto for the longest time.  It's just an Italian way of making rice but it's a little complicated in that you add the liquid one ladle at a time and have to really baby it as it cooks.  One of the most popular risottos are with one of mine and Rick's favorite ingredients, mushrooms.  It also contains one of our other favorite ingredients, Parmesan cheese. So, I'm gong to try to make a basic mushroom risotto.  I got really inspired when I found a five lb. bag of Arborio rice, used to make risotto, at the grocery discount for three bucks.

    I hear it can be a little tricky to make.  I liked this video that showed it step by step.

    One his show, "The F Word", Gordon adds a spoonful of creme fraiche to the risotto.  I have always wanted to know what this and I not only found out but found out a cheaper way to make it here:
    I'll let you know how it turns out.  Has anyone tried it and had success?

    Thursday, July 26, 2012

    Blowing Up A Weight Loss Myth

    I've always held to the idea that you should NEVER buy bigger clothes when you want to loose weight.  I've held to that idea for years.  The thought is that if you are uncomfortable, you will not eat as much and you will get more serious about weight loss.  I recently was forced into a situation that led me to find this not true, and had some other revelations about myself along the way.

    As I've said lately on my Sensa Weightloss posts, I'm the heaviest I've been outside of pregnancies.  So I was really feeling awful the last few months in my clothes, especially jeans and pants.  I was forced to do what I dreaded doing and buy that darn next size up.  What I discovered amazed me and blew a huge myth out of the water for me....

    I felt fabulous!!!

    I did not expect this.  I've not really let myself do it before.  Suddenly, I felt like I looked right in my clothes.  Now days I see women everywhere cramming themselves into clothing that causes all manner of unsightly bulges everywhere.  I have a pet peeve for bulges, I avoid them at all costs.  So what I would do is wear my soft pants or yoga pants until I felt better.  This time I worked out and worked on it and was not feeling better.  In fact, what I was wearing was depressing me more and making me feel defeated.  When you feel defeated you have a major disadvantage....

    you don't want to move at all, not to mention get out and get going!

    Now, mind you, there is always the problem that you will just forget all together about your goal for change but I noticed that when I felt better, I was MORE motivated.  I felt like I'd made immediate progress (of course I'd not but it was mentally just as rewarding to feel good in what I wore).  It finally occurred to me that this was true when I was watching a Fly Lady video yesterday about getting up and getting dressed head to toe when you start your day because feeling good motivates you.  That is exactly what this was.  I felt I could get out, go do, accomplish instead of feeling painful and uncomfortable and way frumpy in my outfit. My clothes not feeling good made me want to hide and it made me feel so discouraged.

    Thankfully, I found a few good deals on Gap and Levi jeans at the Goodwill as well as a few tops that I love.      Otherwise, yes this could be very expensive so I would not recommend putting much money into it, after all, the goal is to be out of those clothes soon.  On that note though, it made me think that I was going to change something else about my attitude regarding my weight.  I was going to.....

    be okay with my weight wherever it was.  

    That is not so say I was not going to set goals to loose, but while I was wherever I was, I wanted to be continually content with it.  It sounds like I'm contradicting myself but I'm not.  It's the same concept as being content with your finances yet still saving up more.  Being okay where you are for the time you are there while you work to make it to another place.  I'd never thought of this before and my clothes were a huge conduit to how content I was with my body.  One practical way I'm going to do this is to stop getting rid of my "big" clothes.  I've done this before, tossed them out!  Somehow I thought doing that would make me never go back where I was.  You know what though, life and my waistline are always changing!!!  I need to be okay with it and always work to make it better all at once.  So, I'm going to keep a tote of "big" clothes just as I have the one I have called "too small" in my storage.  Honestly, this concept is very freeing to me.  I'm not sure what all the psychology is behind it but it's been a powerful revelation.

    For the fact is, and this also I've noticed lately, women of all sizes can be stunning.  They may not be meat market sexy in temporal terms, but why should that by my goal anyway?  The meat market is an unhappy endless discontent.  Even the gorgeous ones don't feel like they are, we all know that.  It's really a focus of getting male attention at that point.  That should never be my goal.  I want to do the best with what I have always, and get the attention of one man.  Do you know what wonderful thing he said to me too????  When I was telling him these revelations I've had and told him the crazy number the scale has me at right now he said "You really wear it well".

    What a man.  I knew we both needed to be honest that we noticed my situation, we agree that I need to make goals to change it, but he was truly content with me as I was.  I've never let myself be that, for myself.

    So, I highly recommend going on a chubby shopping spree and getting stuff that makes you want to live your life!  Set goals and work for them, and love it all along the way.  I don't want to always miss my life shooting for something that will come and go.  My life does not have to come and go with it. My drawer and my storage should be ready to make me feel good at any size.

    Perhaps some people all ready get these things....I'm probably just dense.  I'm happy to have realized it, and I just hope this encourages someone else feeling the same way.  I guess we live in a culture that makes it hard to see the more true obvious things.

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    Mom's Balancing Work and Home

    I was completely at home for nearly 14 years.  When we got married I worked for an organization that did day programs for the disabled.  Specifically, they worked with brain damaged adults, many who were born normal but injured in their late teens when the brain is very susceptible to permanent damage.  My first job ever was actually in this field as well.  I was sixteen when I became a supervisor on an assembly line of piece work jobs for the disabled.  I grew up with a disabled brother so I was able to get the job by experience and connections.  I was also homeschooled at the time so I was able to work and do my schooling as well.
    I quit working when I was pregnant with our eldest mainly because the road to work was so windy, I started my work day by puking and that got old fast.

    I've done some childcare for friends and worked at a day care but did not really take on part time hours till last summer.  The economy has pushed yet another family into having to do this.  I don't mind and I'm thankful for the good job I have but my heart is definitely in the home.

    One of my big struggles and convictions is that if I work, my home and family has to come first.  This is so hard to do!  I was working 24 hours a week but am now down to 18 for a while.  Just being out of the home makes it hard to be motivated when I am there.  I only have so much time before I go and only so much when I get back.  I don't know how other mom's feel, but it's a challenge for me to keep up.  Here are a few things I've learned and am learning still:

    • Don't be a perfectionist:  Making the home the main goal does not mean it has to be perfect all the time.  Don't worry if the whole job does not get done perfectly, be prepared to do it in segments.  Eventually it will get done. 
    • Don't get distracted:  I actually have some computer time at work right now as we are in our down season but I try to stay off screens at home to stay productive.  Sleeping in (especially with the kids home for summer), tv, or piddling are something I am trying to weed out.  I try to do something while watching shows or do things on commercials if we watch anything. 
    • Keep the kids organized (as much as possible):  It takes me having it together to tell them to keep it together.  When school is on, it's not so hard.  Right now they are home while I work so they need to be kept on task to keep up while I'm gone.  There is nothing like coming home to a pig pen after work.  My kids are GREAT about getting things done when I leave a checklist.  They are awesome at it and I'm proud of them.  They have had to learn to do somethings for themselves this last year, and work out some stuff between each other without us there and it has really matured them.  Sometimes God uses your not so perfect circumstances to do those things and it encouraged me.  
    • Make days home count:  I have to really have a plan for my days home.  Sometimes that plan is to do something fun with the kids or as a family.  Other times, it's to really catch up on the housework or errands.  I have to not let them just slip through my fingers.
    • Capture the tiny times and tasks:  I'm really learning to do things 15 min at a time.  To shoot to do one thing and get it done fully no matter how tiny it is.  That way, there is the sense of accomplishement.  For instance I could say I'm going to "clean my whole room" which would sometimes be overwhelming on a work day, or I can say I'm going to put my goal down as "put away all clean clothes today".  That is far more doable.  A big deterrent is thinking you won't get it done so you don't start.  Doing one load of laundry a day is also a big help.  Regular lists of small things that can fit in to keep up are helpful.  
    • Do what I can while at work:  I know not everyone can do this.  I have some time at work to think about menu's or make plans for the week.  If there is any research I need to do or info to keep up with online, I can do some of that at work between answering phones.  At my previous job I had down time too and would take my organization notebook with me to do what I would sit down to do at home, while I'm away.  For some this may mean doing some of that on a lunch break.  I've done that before too at busier times.  Right now I'm reading up on for some help once I'm back at home.  
    • Take a break:  Sunday is my big goal of not letting myself try to catch up.  I want to spend time with God, family and friends that day.  My husband and I enjoy going to our favorite winery to listen to the live music once or twice a month on Sunday afternoons.  I need those breaks.  Getting away also makes me not want to work on things at home.  We have had to spend a few Sunday's catching up for the sanity of the family and I know how that is, but I make a goal to guard that day as much as I can.  

    I'd love to hear how other working mom's accomplish this.  Or, if you are doing a work at home job or homeschooling, how you fit in all those other tasks.  What are your motivators or secrets?
    Here is a link to some great printables to help you out with organization as well: