Heart Beats

The sound of a beating heart is one of the most precious sounds in this life. It’s beautiful. The rhythmic beat coming from the body of a little baby cradled close to you, the strong steady beats in the chest of the loved one lying beside you, the hard thumping sound reverberating from a kid who’s run into your arms for safety or comfort… Whenever I hear it, whenever I feel it, I am awed. It is a prized sound that signals life!

My favorite category in my Reflections… blog is “Matters Of The Heart”. It is what most drives me to write. And it’s also what is hardest for me to capture in words. I have one life to live (that’s all you get too!) and the things that matter most are the issues of the heart.heart

Today I’m reflecting back on some of my entries in this category over the past two years. If one of the blog fragments below strikes a chord in your heart, click on the colored words. It’ll take you right to that article. Hope you find one or two that’ll make your heat beat a little stronger this week!

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~ As night falls, I can choose to reflect with true thoughtful contemplation. I can move from the “You can’t be serious!” frustration to a purposeful look for something “good” in that tiring, seemingly unproductive day. I can reflect on what, indeed, was truly “accomplished” even though nothing – I repeat, nothing – was crossed off the ever growing to-do list.

~ Being the receptor of sacrificial love gives you a feeling of smallness that is both beautiful and healthy. In this self-focused world, when you either succumb to the path of the advertisers or battle the temptation to bend to your natural will, it is refreshing and humbling to see people step forward with straight back and joyful heart to spotlight others rather than themselves. To give generously and graciously, expecting nothing in return. To bless others because they recognize how they themselves have been blessed. To live openhanded. It is, indeed, stunning to see such abundant generosity. And it is overwhelming.

~ I’ve always enjoyed being a people-watcher. Now, as a mother, I have learned to become a child-watcher. It really does amaze me that so many people living together under the same roof can be so extremely different! But different doesn’t mean bad and shouldn’t mean annoying! It’s just different.

~ My Dear Children, This is a very important letter.  The purpose of this letter is to try to explain to you one of life’s most important secrets – the secret of death. Very few people understand death.  Most are afraid of it.  Many try to ignore it.  Hardly anyone wants to talk about it.  But God wants you to understand it.

~ A tribute says ‘you are worthy. You have value. You may have failed me, hurt me, and disappointed me at times, but I am taking off my judicial robe and releasing you from the courtroom of my mind.’ A tribute allows you to take a hard, honest look at a person and your experiences together and to recognize the things they’ve done right, the sacrifices they’ve made.

~ Every single person you encounter…has so much more going on inside of them than you’ll ever know. But once you get to know a person, once you get to know their story, you’ll be amazed at how much you like them. Once the external layers are peeled away, you’ll begin to understand that we all struggle and wrestle with a lot of the same things, and once you realize that, it makes a huge difference in how you relate to people.

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Thanks for traveling through the past couple of years with me! I’m going to take a break from blogging for a while, but maybe our paths will cross again sometime in the future. If we’re headin’ in the same direction, I bet they will! May God bless you, friend.

 

Good Livin’

“A good life is when you

assume nothing,life3

do more,

need less,

smile often,

dream big,

laugh a lot,

and realize how blessed you are.”

 

Living “a good life” takes intentionality. We can’t just sit back and wait to see what’ll happen… and then REACT. We must be purposeful.

I enjoy writing about my view of a good life and have dedicated part of my blog to highlighting choices we’ve made to live in a health-conscious way.

After 26 months at Reflections Of A Homemaker, I thought I’d offer some abridged portions of previous posts from the “HEALTHY LIVING” section of my blog.  cropped-beautiful-nature.jpg

If you’re intrigued by any of the samples, simply click on the colored words. It’ll take you right to that article. Hope you learn something new!

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~ Laughter is a wonderful medicine. Research conducted by the UCLA Medical School found that there are physical benefits of happiness… and that laughter and joy are the perfect antidote for stress. Did you know that the diaphragm, thorax, abdomen, heart, and lungs are given a massage during a hearty laugh? Yep. During a laugh, you get a massage on the inside! A hearty laugh is great therapy for the body, soul, and spirit. And it’ll build fun memories with your family, too

~ As the weather gets colder and the sniffles begin, add ‘whole chicken’ to your grocery list. According to Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions, “Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate.” Both delicious and nutritious, chicken stock has been tagged as ‘superior’ to everything else, even more relaxing than Tylenol. ‘Good broth’, says a South American proverb, ‘resurrects the dead.’  Just don’t wait until then to try this recipe!

~ Here is my favorite cleaner for the sink and tub. A year ago, I finished up my bottle of Soft Scrub and replaced it with this totally natural version, Earth Paste. Wait till you see how easy it is to make! And when you read the ingredient list… you’ll love it even more!

~ Perspiring is the pits, isn’t it? It’s just awful! But let’s be honest. We all sweat. Sweating is a natural, normal way for your body to rid itself of toxins… but it doesn’t have to cause you to smell bad. Check out this simple deodorant recipe.

~ Here are some recipes for those holiday leftovers including steps to make the wonderful Creamy Crockpot Turkey Spaghetti.

~ Last winter when my six-year-old-sweetie began coughing and coughing and coughing, I grabbed for the Vicks Vapor Rub. When I turned it around to check for an expiration date and found, instead, an ingredient list that included petrolatum and turpentine*, I decided to check into making my own. Here are the instructions for a homemade vapor rub.

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Until next week, be intentional about living the good life

by realizing how blessed you ALREADY are!

 

 

112

Last week I published my one hundred and twelfth post!

If you’ve been following me for long, you know that I write as a simple homemaker, recording some of my personal reflections on

* “HOME LIFE” (the things that affect the way we live together),

* “HEALTHY LIVING” (tasty food, natural cleaning and self-care recipes) and

* “MATTERS OF THE HEART” (that part of you that plays into every other area of life).

As a wife and homeschooling mother to our 5 children, it’s the stuff I’ve discovered, practiced and implemented in our home (though certainly not perfected!). There’s nothing super special about my musings, but it’s a way for me to record my own journey, my thoughts and passions… and a way for me to have a ‘hard-copy’ of things I’ll want to hand off to my own kids someday. I also hope that it’s found useful, encouraging or enlightening to YOU, dear reader!112

I can hardly believe that it’s already been a little over two years since I started on this blogging journey. But since I’ve remained fairly consistent about posting each week, that means that I have about 37 entries in each of the above three categories! I thought I’d spend the next few weeks highlighting some of my older posts.

Today, I’m showcasing a few of entries from the category “HOME LIFE”. If any of the snippets sound interesting, simply click on the colored words. It’ll take you right to that blog post. Check them out! May they be a blessing to your day.

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~  Whatever I own, ultimately owns me. As I press forward, as I re-evaluate this fall, I want to keep this in mind. I want to be content with simplicity.

 

~  Is he actually saying that by being overly committed, over involved outside of home, that I may lose what, in fact, is most important to us? Our family?

 

~  You don’t have to have answers. You don’t need to make things appear sunny and bright. Life is hard. Things happen that we don’t understand, that we can’t explain, that we don’t like. The uncomfortable is uncomfortable… but not unbearable when you’re in relationships.

 

~  I thought I’d share some of the money saving tips that we’ve used and benefited from. If you find one or two that can help you and your family pinch pennies, I’ll be just tickled!

 

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Next week, we’ll browse the category “HEALTHY LIVING”. Looking forward to it! But for today, make your home and family a priority. You’ll not regret it!

Trail Time

Scenic drives and nature hikes. I don’t think there’s a better season for those things than autumn.trail1

Fall officially began on September 23 this year and over the past two weeks the weather has been absolutely glorious in my neck of the woods.

As part of our schooling, we aim to go on an outdoor adventure once a week. It’s a right in the schedule book. But because it’s been so beautiful lately, we’ve gotten in a few more walks than normal – and I’m L.O.V.I.N.G. it!

A hearty hike will often lead to a hearty appetite, and I found a recipe for “Trail Mix Cookies” in my mother’s recipe box. They’re scrumptious and are a perfect way to end a walk in the woods.

If you need a new cookie recipe, maybe you could give this one a try. And if you need a new outlook on life, maybe you could try a scenic drive or a nature hike. There’s nothing quite like enjoying God’s creation to give a person a fresh outlook on life!

 

Trail Mix Cookies

1 c. sunflower seed butter

1 c. sweetened coconut flakes

½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips*

½ c. dried cranberries

½ c. dates, chopped

¼ c. brown sugar

¼ c. sunflower seedstrail2

¼ c. maple syrup

1 large egg

½ t. vanilla

½ t. baking soda

¼ t. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well (using a stand mixer).

Drop by generous tablespoon full on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake 12-14 minutes or until set but still soft.

Cool on the cookie sheet.

Store leftovers in a covered container.

Can be frozen.

 

*Warning: Most chocolate chips contain soy and some contain dairy. Read your labels.trail

However, if you use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips you’ll have made a cookie that is

gluten, dairy, corn and soy free! And your food-allergy friends will LOVE you!

Remember…

Remember when your hope is lost and faith is shaken
Remember when you wonder if you’re gonna make it
There’s a hand stretched out through your deepest doubt
We can’t pretend to see the ending or what’s coming up ahead
To know the story of tomorrow
But we can stay close to the One who knows

We can trust our God
He knows what He’s doing
Though it might hurt now
We won’t be ruined
It might seem there’s an ocean in between
But He’s holding on to you and me
And He’s never gonna leave, no
He is with us, He is with usHe is with us
Always, always
He is with us, He is with us
Always

We believe there is purpose, there is meaning in everything
We surrender to His leading
He wants nothing more than to have us close

We can trust our God
He knows what He’s doing
Though it might hurt now
We won’t be ruined
It might seem there’s an ocean in between
But He’s holding on to you and me
And He’s never gonna leave, no
He is with us, He is with us
Always, always
He is with us, He is with us
Always

Our faith is sealed
Our hope is real
Come what may
We’re not afraid
Our faith is sealed
Our hope is real
Come what may
We’re not afraid
We’re not afraid

We can trust our God
Always, always

Our God is with us
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Just going over the lyrics to this powerful song by Love and The Outcome today. Just talking to myself.

If you stopped by and joined me, thanks! He is
I know I’m not alone on this journey. And you aren’t either.

To listen to “He Is With Us”, click HERE. It’s fabulous!

And REMEMBER… “We can trust our God;  He knows what He’s doing.”

Blessings, friend.

Sixteen Truths

Sixteen Truths:

1. True beauty is not of the face, but of the soul. Without true beauty of soul, a pretty face is a dangerous gift.

2. Learn God’s truth, and refuse to believe the lies Satan whispers in your ear.16b

3. God doesn’t need you (or anyone else), but He wants you. Join Him and experience His blessing in life!

4. Your life’s work is very important. But your heart is what defines you…not what you do (your profession, etc).

5. Keep the upward trajectory. You’ll never be perfect on this side of heaven, but we should be becoming more like Jesus each year of our life.

6. Give thanks in all things. It is impossible to give thanks and feel fear at the same time.

7. Take care of yourself. You are His temple. Keep on exercising, eating right, sleeping well, etc. No one can do that for you!

8. Each day is a gift. God owns tomorrow. We are responsible for our use of today. Don’t waste time worrying.

9.The way we live ought to manifest the truth of what we believe. A disordered life speaks loudly of disorder in the soul.

10. Have a cheerful countenance. Master the art of being sunny – even under the shadows (trials) that come your way. Keep God’s perspective.

11. Be able to make up your own mind, to make decisions, to be sure of yourself. If you choose wrong, turn back. None of us are perfect!

12. Be responsible. Evasion of responsibility is the mark of immaturity. To do right will often cost a struggle, but it is always worth the effort. What ought I do?

13. Christian love is action. Keep on doing what is good. You are preparing now to be a wonderful wife and mother as you minister at home as a daughter and sister.16

14. Be sincere. Learn to be honest with yourself and others, though it may be costly and difficult.

15. Fight selfishness. Saying yes to happiness often means saying no to yourself.

16. Keep studying God’s Word and learning from Him. Go to Him for strength and wisdom. He is your only hope.

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I wrote this list for a precious young lady on her birthday.

16 truths for her 16th birthday.

It’s a list that I could put on my nightstand and read repeatedly myself.

 

You know what they say? “You can’t change the truth, but the truth can change you.”

Keep the truth always in front of you, friend.

It will set you free! (John 8:32)

Faith Focus Friday

About six months ago, I shared a bit about the ‘Soul Work’ that’s been happening in me. If you missed that blog post, you can read it HERE.

Guess what? Six months later, I’m still working on the same thing – the work of trusting God… having faith in the One who’s very name is Faithful. And I’ll tell you why. It’s because it seems like we’ve been in ‘the waiting room’ for so long.faith2

The very hardest thing for me is the WAITING. I realize this is partially because I live in such a speed-lane driving, fast-food eating, breaking-news sort of culture. But it’s also simply because the longer I wait, the more I have to work on trusting.

So as sit in the dimly-lit waiting room, I resonate with what one author says.

 

“Waiting may be the hardest single thing

we are called to do.

In the Bible, waiting is so closely associated with faith

that sometimes the two words are used interchangeably.

It is frustrating when we turn to the Bible

and find that God Himself,

who is all-powerful and all-wise,

keeps saying to his people,

‘Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for him…

Wait for the LORD, and keep to his way,

and he will exalt you to inherit the land.’

Forty-three times in the Old Testament alone,

the people are commanded,

‘Wait. Wait on the LORD.’

-John Ortberg

 

Here’s a thought… maybe what God is doing IN me while I wait (the molding and shaping, the training of character, the pruning, the growing) is JUST AS IMPORTANT as what it is I think I am waiting for. Hmmmmm…..

So I’m calling today “Faith Focus Friday”. Here are a few quotes on ‘faith’ for reflection:

 

“Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led.

But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading.faith3

It is literally a life of faith, not of understanding and reason –

a life of knowing Him who calls us to go.”

-Oswald Chambers

 

“An example of faith was found on the wall of a concentration camp.

On it, a prisoner had carved the words:

I believe in the sun, even though it doesn’t shine,faith1

I believe in love, even when it isn’t shown,

I believe in God, even when he doesn’t speak.

What eyes could have seen good in such horror? There is only one answer:

Eyes that chose to see the unseen.”

-Max Lucado

 

“What is faith? It is total dependence on God that becomes supernatural in its working.

People with faith develop a second kind of sight.

They see more than just the circumstances;

they see God right beside them.

Can they prove it? No.

But by faith they know He’s there…

Faith alone is the trigger that release driving power.”

-Jim Cymbala

 

“True faith means holding nothing back.

It means putting every hope in God’s fidelity to His Promises.”

-Francis Chan

 

“Waiting means that we give God

the benefit of the doubt

that He knows what He is doing.

It must be patient trust –

trust that is willing to waitfaith

again and again

day after day.”

-John Ortberg

 

That’s exactly what I have to do, over and over again. I have to continually, presently, actively believe that God is trustworthy. That He is worth following… even when I don’t understand where, how, why… Because He is God and I am not.

So I continue to wait… and trust.