How long can you go without thinking negative thoughts?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

Not everyone’s life is perfect.  I think if we are completely honest with ourselves, we can all admit that there are one or a few things that cause negativity in our lives.  It may be a spouse, a child, a situation, an illness, or maybe a friend.   They may be intentional or unintentional but nonetheless they are negative.  Negativity can spread like wildfire unless you get it under control.

When you are faced by a negative person or placed in a negative situation, your first response might not always be to remain calm.  Your first reaction might be one of counter productivity.  You may feel that you need to defend your situation or your side.  You may leave that person or situation and then mull over it in your mind again and  again.  Meanwhile Satan is having a field day because you are allowing him to control your thoughts.

The Bible says to think on things that are pure and lovely.  Negative thinking is NOT pure and lovely.  How hard would it be to go an entire day and never once think a negative thought? Do you think we could train our minds to think only on those things that were going to be helpful to our walk in life?

How could we do that?

Be aware.  The Bible says that our adversary is prowling around watching to see when he can devour someone.  He waits for opportunities to get you further away from God.  He will use situations and people to help pull you away from God’s truths.  He will especially do this as you are diligently seeking the Lord.  He wants to distract you and keep you from pursuing God’s truths. If you are aware of what is going on, you can learn to discern and realize who you are against.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

Become an observer instead of a participant.  When you are faced with negative people or situations in your life  look at the whole picture and realize that this is not about you.  Normally when you are faced with negative people whether it be friends, a child, or a spouse most of the time that person is hurting inside and they are trying to deal with their own fears and you may get the brunt of them. Realize that when you are being attacked, it is not about you, it is about them and what they are going through.  Learn to look at the bigger picture and see it for what it really is instead of taking it personally.

 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

2 Corinthians 10:4

Learn who to direct your negativity to.  When you are faced with negative situations in your life instead of going to people and trying to get advice to help “fix” it, do as God says and turn to Him. God wants to help us in our situations so that we can grow in our faith to learn to trust Him more.  When we learn to rely on God, He can do a far better job than we can ever do to help fix our situations.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Philippians 4:6

Are you ready to take this challenge for the day?  Can you go ALL DAY long and not give a second thought to negative thinking?  As soon as it comes up in your day, be aware, realize it is not about you, and give it to God.  Sometimes it is easier said than done. But if we don’t try, we will never get away from dealing with negativity.  Be blessed today as you take a step out and learn to fight against our enemy!

Ways for Mom’s to cut back on your power bill

Since we are on this talk of being diligent this week, I thought, “what are some ways that I am diligent in helping our family cut back on our power bills?”

We live in the south.  When you live in the south, there really isn’t a whole lot that you can do to avoid a higher electric bill because air conditioning is a necessity.  Our electric bill through the spring and fall is relatively low.  For the most part you can have your windows open all that time.  We only have a couple of months that we need to have the heat on so that helps a lot.  But come summer time, we see how long we can go before we put in the air conditioners.  I think that if I had central air I would probably run it more as it would just be built into the home and it is easier to just set the thermostat at a certain temperature and leave it.  But this home that we live in has window air conditioners.  We just put them in last week as it was getting to the point of children being too lazy because it was just hot.  That is when we put them in.

Get a family swim pool.

At our old home, we had a large quick set above ground pool.  When we moved to the mountains, we do not have any flat land so an above ground pool would not work here.  I was thankful for the lake right down the road that we can drive to and swim in everyday that was nice for last year.  But when you get home it was still a short car ride and then you are still hot.  We got the 120 x 72 inch Intex pool from Amazon. It fits all the children and they have a great time splashing in it.  We fill it up and usually don’t have to empty it but every three days.  This has been a huge cool down for the children (and myself).  We set it up on the deck, have a large umbrella over top of it, and they can swim when it is 100 degrees out and enjoy it.  This helps them cool down and when they go inside without the air, they stay cool for awhile.  Who doesn’t enjoy a late night swim when it is dark outside?  The children love it!

Install a clothesline and hang your laundry outdoors.

I start my laundry for the day early in the morning.  I usually do a load of towels and then one load of clothing.  I hang out the towels and most of the heavier pants and skirts.  I put all of the hang up shirts on hangers and hang them on the line as well.  I put a small load of underwear, socks, and shorts that go in the dryer.  I do all of this before I turn the air on in the morning.  At one time when I had less children, I would hang this all on a drying rack.  We just have so much of it now, that it is easier to just put one load in the dryer each day.

Do your cooking early in the morning.

When I first get up in the morning, I start my dinner meal.  I try and cook things out on the grill, but that isn’t always feasible.  When I need to cook something in the oven, I do it early on when it isn’t so hot.  I then am able to just keep the oven on low or  keep the food covered and heat it up slightly before dinner time.  If I know what type of meals I am having I try and economize and cook a couple of meals in the oven to avoid having to use it too much.  Today I made bacon in the oven while I was cooking some oven fries for dinner.  This we will eat for tomorrow on sandwiches with our soup.  Look for ways to utilize and be more efficient in cooking.

I also plan a day for baking and  leave off the air.  I might do this late at night when I can have all the windows open to cool the house or early in the morning when it won’t be so warm.  I had a day where it was 100 degrees outside but the children swam in the pool all day and I baked  a LOT of banana bread, pumpkin muffins, and chocolate zucchini cake.  I stuck them in my freezer and I  always have one on hand.  This works great, it was hard, it was hot and sweaty, but I was diligent and just got it done.

Get a mini refrigerator.

In our household, my children can open the door to the refrigerator a bunch of times per day to get out their water bottles.  I know if you have a smaller family, it probably is not an issue.  In our home we have 8 people going to the refrigerator multiples times per day.  I saw an episode of Jon and Kate once and she had a mini refrigerator installed in her new kitchen and I thought that was genius.  I had been on the lookout for one and found it at our Goodwill for about $50.  I keep all of our drinks in it.  As well as milk and my coffee drinks.  There is no need for anyone to open our big refrigerator during the day unless they are preparing a meal for someone.  This helps cut down a lot in cooling costs.

The practical tips

Shutting off the lights in your home, especially when leaving a room. I try and teach my children that after reading some study done in a large corporation and how they saved thousands of dollars per month by having their employees turn off the lights in the room when they weren’t occupying them.  Every bit helps.

Close the blinds and curtains to help cut down on cooling costs in your home.

Keep the door shut to avoid cool air from escaping and hot air from entering.

Run the dryer early in the morning or late at night.  Same goes for vacuuming.  Do it early on or later at night.

Shut off TV’s, DVDs, Wii’s, printers, and any “not normally used” computers when finished.

Keep your freezers full as it uses less energy to cool a full freezer than an empty one.  Remember to keep your freezers defrosted to avoid having it work overtime in staying cool.

Unplug stuff you rarely use like treadmills, etc.  They still draw power as they need to be remotely active.  It takes just a minute to plug them in when you use them.

Shut your air conditioners off

Let’s not get crazy, as I KNOW It is hot! What I am saying is, instead of running them nonstop on energy efficient, set them on the timer and let them shut off after an hour throughout the day.  Turn on some fans and let the air blow throughout the home.  If you are going to be away from the home there is no sense in cooling it.  I set our timers to have the air come back on right before we are to arrive at home.  If you have central air, set your thermostat a little higher.  It is okay to wear less clothing and have a “little sweat” on your body.  Use a fan that helps hugely, especially if you are not going to be doing much but sitting around reading books, or playing with children.  I get that if you have have little ones they need to be cool. But if their skin is cold and you need to put clothing on them to be warmer, it is time to raise the temperature.

Hope this helps encourage a mom to help cut back on their families power bill.  If you have any other ideas, please add them in the comments.  Have a blessed day, as you think about shutting off the lights when you leave the room!

What it means for a stay at home mom to be diligent

I was thinking about what I posted yesterday on being able to achieve your goals only through being diligent in your efforts.    I was thinking ….what does it mean to be diligent as a stay at home mom?  Not all stay at home moms can have a ministry outside of the home, in fact their number one ministry should be IN the home.  But what about for the mom who is home all day long with lots of little ones or even perhaps one little child with not a whole lot of outside interaction?  What does being DILIGENT mean for her?

It is going to be different for every mom.  We can’t look and think that our homes all have to be organized perfectly, or that our meals have to be all made from scratch,  or even all our children’s clothes have to be hand made.  What works for one situation doesn’t always work for another.  Being diligent isn’t always about working nonstop throughout the day with no time for rest.

What do we do?  We seek the Lord.  We ask Him.  What is it that He wants us to work on.  Has your husband been complaining that the grocery bill has been too high?  Can you research some ways to make some of your meals homemade to save a few extra dollars while shopping?  What about just cutting back by buying store brand over name brand items?  What about helping cut down on the clothing budget by buying second hand or shopping at garage sales?  Can you plan some “free” family activities to do on the weekends instead of spending money?  Do some research and look up ways to help cut back on spending your families paycheck.

Even though you do not work away from the home, you can help bring a paycheck by not spending all that your husband brings home by finding ways to save.  Even though you budget for certain amounts, aim to cut back on some of those.  I know there are tons of ways to save….use cloth diapers instead of disposables—–what???? Yes you are home all day long, it is okay and worth the extra effort to wash diapers instead of throw them into the trash.  Save disposables for when you go out.  Make your own coffee drinks instead of buying them—that $5 adds up over time.  What about your schooling if you homeschool?  Can you look for ways to cut back on what you purchase?  Can you buy used?  Do you really need “name brand” for the extras like history, handwriting, and science?  Your child can get a well rounded education even without you spending hundreds of extra dollars on curriculum.

Look for ways to make a separate income from home.  Is there something that you can do that won’t take away from you taking care of your children?Don’t do what everyone else is doing….seek the Lord to look for ways.  I know for myself when He introduced me to the world of blogging, I was like, “make money from this?”  I didn’t for a couple of years, but the Lord gave me opportunities to make money to help pay for it through other resources.  He allowed me time to do it and I ENJOY doing it—that makes all the difference.  It isn’t something I HAVE to do, I  LIKE to do it.

This diligence will be different for everyone.  Five years ago, my diligence was just taking care of babies. I had a 5 year old, a 4 year old, a 2 year old, a 1 year old, and baby on the way.   My diligence was just making sure that I had everyone fed, laundry was done, and that I had a meal on the table for when my husband was home.  Diligence will change over time.  The key is to work towards something.  When I started having my children be more independent, there was more time for me to do things.  I started exercising.  I worked on getting my body back in shape.  No, it did not happen overnight, but through diligence I was able to drop  a lot of weight.  Now I am glad that I had done that.  It took time but I was diligent in doing it.  Right now, I have discovered that I really enjoy a Coke to drink.  I have never enjoyed that in my life, until now.  I found myself drinking one everyday.  It made me feel yucky and I knew it was not in my best interest to start drinking it regularly.  So I had to be diligent in not having it.  It takes time.  It took a few days of having an inconvenienced headache from not having it.  But after a few days, I am better.  Sure when I see one I want one.  But I know that right now I am working on losing my last bit of weight and having that Coke is not going to help.  I want my efforts of being diligent and exercising to count and work so I must stop the Coke.  I can have one once in awhile but for now, I need to avoid.

That is just my little life of diligence.  Avoiding Cokes–smile.  I would love to say I am diligent in every area of my life….but I am a human and I am working at it.

Is there something that you can do today to start becoming more diligent in your life?  Take some time to evaluate things you want to change or things that the Lord has been prompting you to do and DO IT!

Be blessed today as you start thinking about what you can be more diligent at in your own life.

Diligence…..the key to success

Has the Lord ever put into your heart a desire or a purpose for your life?  .  The Lord gives us those thoughts and desires so that we can ultimately become part of His bigger plan here on the Earth.  So that you, in your little town of “middle of nowhere” can influence and be a light to those around you.

I know for myself, God has shown me the “goal” of where he ultimately wants me to be.  Right now, in my current situation that goal seems very far off.  When He first gave it to me, I was excited.  I thought, “This is great!”  I was hoping big opportunities would open up, and this and that would happen, and things would run smoothly.  I started searching on my own opportunities and plans, only to have those doors close quickly.

Then by circumstances and things coming against me, it seems that it was coming to a stop. Satan is very clever, to come against you over and over again, to start making you “think” that this was all made up by you.    I could have very well, just gave up on that “dream” because it was never going to happen in my situation.  That was for the “other” people who had the ability to do that.  Trust me—I did that for a little while.

Thank goodness to get encouragement that can only come from the Lord.  The Lord has been encouraging me through my bible reading and daily sermons all on diligence.  Diligence is what gets you to where you need to be.  There isn’t some “magic” formula to help you achieve your goals.  It comes through faith, diligence, and a desire to achieve them.

You have to begin with faith.  Faith to trust and believe that God is going to help you every step of the way.  Your job is to daily trust that He is guiding you and directing you.  Satan is going to come against you where it bothers you the most.  It may be through a family member or through a situation.  He will come against you and make you doubt all that God is showing you.  But you do not have to listen. You need to rebuke him and get over it real quick.  Don’t dwell on the circumstances or the situation.  Keep trusting God.


The Bible says to be careful for nothing…………

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

……….we don’t need to be bothered or stressed out when things start looking like they are not working out. We are to have the peace of God.  That is our witness to the world.  They won’t understand how you can remain so calm and not get frazzled when things are going awry.  But you can remain at peace because you have the faith that God has a plan.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Philippans 4:6-9

We are to think on things that are pure and lovely.   Not things that cause us stress and  negativity.  Don’t dwell on bad things when they happen.  When someone comes against you and it bothers you, let it go right then.  Don’t constantly dwell on things after the situation occurs.  Think on things that are lovely.  It is our jobs to prepare our minds and our hearts to be aligned with the Lord.

Our Pastor preached on this scripture on Sunday:

I will not leave you or forsake you.  Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.  Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you.  Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1

God doesn’t just put dreams and desires into your heart so that you can “hope” to achieve them one day.  God puts those desires into our hearts because they ARE achievable.  We need to be strong and courageous.  That is what will help you achieve your goals and your purpose in life.  Only through faith, diligence, and expectation will all that happen.

We need to be strong and have courage in every situation in our lives.  If we stand and remain where God wants us—even when things come against us—we stay on that path.  We continue moving forward and God will give you the peace to be content through it all.  If we go off that path and on our own, get sidetracked, get knocked down, or listen to negativity, it shows nothing.  By remaining courageous and strong through it all—will get you to the end and it will be better than anything you have ever expected.  It is a promise that can only come from the Lord.

We can’t just sit around and wait for that one big thing to come to us.  It will never happen.  We can’t complain that God isn’t using us liked we hoped for.  We always want the big business,  the big ministry,  or we want to be at the top. How do you think people get at the top?  Through faith, patience, and diligence.  You have to begin somewhere. We can’t make excuses that God isn’t using us.  He will use us in everything, but we have to lay aside our own pride and let it happen.  We have to stop making excuses that we never get the big breaks or that because of our situation it will never happen.  Those are all negative thoughts.  Negative thoughts do not come from the Lord.

Start by doing something, today.  Do something for someone else.  If you are a stay at home mom and don’t get out of the house—encourage your spouse, write a letter to someone, bake a batch of extra treats for a neighbor.  If you work at a job, encourage a coworker by being positive when they are negative.  Smile more when you go out today. Do something that gives a positive impact to those around you.  Don’t look for the big things in life—those will come.  It begins with how diligent you are in the small.

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

Luke 16:10

Be blessed as you go about being diligent in your week.

6th grade reading list and comprehension

Here is the reading list that I am going to have my 6th grader read this year.  I will also have him read other books that are enjoyable, but these all have comprehension questions so I know that he is paying attention:)

Most of them are PDF from online resources, I chose which pages to print as I didn’t need all of the extras.  Enjoy and be blessed!

6th grade reading comprehension

Bud not Buddy

The Cay

where the red fern grows

kidnapped

prince caspian

autobiography of ben franklin

the adventures of huckleberry finn

the adventures of tom sawyer

sadako and the thousand paper cranes

the lion and the witch and the warddrobe

the sign of the beaver