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The Importance of Taking Time To Celebrate

 

Every Monday night I open my home and disciple 4 wonderful middle school girls. They are my discipleship girls (DG girls) and it has been my privilege to be their discipleship leader for the last two years. This past April I found out their middle school was not having a graduation ceremony for their class. I don’t know about you but I was bothered when I found out the news and so I decided to have a graduation ceremony for them and their families at my home. My purpose for having the graduation ceremony was to celebrate each girl individually and have the opportunity to speak words of encouragement and blessing over them….praying that God would use this evening to bless them and encourage them in the years to come.

Join me today over at The Better Mom where I share about that special night……and the words God gave me to speak over them!

What do you wish you were told at that age?

 

Love God Greatly!

Learning To Plan Ahead

She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
clothing is fine linen and purple.
Proverbs 31:21-22

I don’t know about you, but I often struggle with staying focused. There are so many things that I want to do and that the world tells me I should be doing that it is easy lose focus. It is one of the reasons I am so thankful for this chapter of Proverbs. It brings me back to something that is truly important.

This week we see that the Proverbs 31 woman plans ahead. She looks to see what is coming up next and, to the best of her abilities, makes sure that she and her family are prepared. It can be as simple as meal planning and getting clothes out for the right seasons, saving for vacations or other family needs, or planning the education of her children.

But we should take this farther than the everyday care of the family. Every family goes through seasons where life is peaceful and seasons where life is more difficult. The degree of difficulty is different for everyone, but we all experience trials of various kind.

Trials, we must distinctly understand, are a part of the diet which all true Christians must expect. It is one of the means by which their grace is proved, and by which they find out what there is in themselves. Winter as well as summer–cold as well as heat–clouds as well as sunshine–are all necessary to bring the fruit of the Spirit to ripeness and maturity.
- J. C. Ryle

It is important that as Proverbs 31 women we work on being prepared for all of these seasons. We may not know exactly what God has for us tomorrow, but we can prepare ourselves and our families by being in the word and building a foundation of faith so when trials and uncertainty hits we are not shaken.

To do this means we must:

1 Rely on God.

The Proverbs 31 woman is resourceful and prepared, but she knows that she is not working in her own strength nor does depending on her own abilities. Instead she is wholly dependent on God. She trusts his goodness, leans on his strength, and relies on his grace. It is her dependence on God that gives her courage to look ahead, plan, and work.

2. Know Your Family’s and Your Own Tendencies.

How do you and your family tend to respond to smooth and easy circumstances? Do sunny days and times of prosperity lead you to forget the God who gives such things to the undeserving? How do you and your family respond to dark and stormy days when there seems to be little provision and a lot of pain? Do you want to curse God? Or maybe you just forget him in the midst of the chaos. Do you tend to want to roll up your sleeves and fix things in your own strength? A godly wife and mother will know her and her family’s tendencies in each circumstance and will seek to aim the household toward faith in the God who gives and takes away; who is always good, always worthy of praise and always there.

3. Not be afraid.

She is not afraid, Proverbs says, for she knows that come what may God is with her and for her (Rom 8:31-37). He will never abandon her, but will remain with her to strengthen her and bless her. Though difficulty will come, God will come with it. She fears no season or circumstance because she fears the Lord.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)

As we seek to be the godly women God has called us to be we must be ready for whatever lies before us. To be genuinely prepared requires that we are focused on and walking with Christ. This is what allows us to be thankful in good times, strong in hard times, and secure in uncertain times.

Looking to Jesus,

{Giveaway} Special Guest: Karen Ehman on Getting & Staying Organized

Looking at the Proverbs 31 woman’s life, I can see she was a woman who was organized……she had to be to be able to accomplish all she did. My problem…. I’m not the Proverbs 31 woman. That’s not one of my strengths. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not messy….I have places for most of the items in my home but I wouldn’t claim they are organized well once I get them there. For me, it’s time again to declutter…..I need to tackle the playroom, my closet and the ever growing art project/”I made this for you, mommy” bin. For me personally, I have a hard time letting things go. I like to hold on to items……and I can get a little sentimental at times….my husband claims I can get a little too sentimental. Ahhhhh, so reading Karen’s post today really has inspired me and I’m off to tackle the playroom!

Our winner from last week is: Cara Shields!!!!
Congratulations Cara!!! I’ve sent you an email and will mail your book to you!

Thanks everyone for entering the giveaway!!!

I have another giveaway this week because I love Karen’s wisdom and tips so I want to share them with you!

So here’s another one for all my friends who are wanting to learn and grow into being a more organized woman!

{GIVEAWAY}

Karen has written another book called The Complete Guide to Getting & Staying Organized…..

 

The key to good organization is not a one-size-fits-all method. It is a unique plan that considers personality type, lifestyle, income level, and family schedule. Author and speaker, Karen Ehman believes that with her simple step by step process moms can recognize their own personal style of managing their households successfully and develop a unique plan that gives them the freedom to:

  • manage their time wisely
  • de-clutter and organize their homes
  • plan menus, shop more efficiently, and become more comfortable and creative in the kitchen
  • get children involved in pursuing an ordered life and home
  • avoid the trap of overcommitment
  • use practical tools to assist in organization

Getting and staying organized means more time for the important things in family life–concentrating on cultivating a close, personal relationship with the Creator, drawing His word into every aspect of living, and ultimately tying their children’s heartstrings to God.

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Got 30 minutes to spare? I know, we women never have time to spare. So get up early, stay up late, (hey—the Proverbs 31 gal did, right?) or find 30 minutes when you’re on hold with the insurance company. Just grab half an hour and tackle one of the following tasks, some of which can actually be done in less than 30 minutes.

  • Dump out one drawer in the kitchen. Sort the contents into three piles: out of place, throw away, and put back. Wipe out the drawer. Replace wanted items. Put those that are out of place back where they belong and pitch the throw-away items. If you find any items that are unwanted but still in good shape, place them in a box to be donated to charity or sold at your next yard sale.
  • Balance your checkbook. Go online or use the telephone teller to see which checks have cleared and which deposits have been made; then do the math to get your current balance. Warning: If it has been a long time since you’ve done this, it will take more than 30 minutes. If you do this every week or two, it will take much less time.
  • Purge your purse. Dump the contents onto the floor. Get rid of trash. Organize your money. Stash your receipts somewhere where you’ll be able to locate them when needed. And consider getting a smaller purse. If you buy a big purse, you’ll be sure to fill it. Think small! A “clutch on a string” type purse with space for a cell phone should do the trick. You can always keep this inside a larger tote bag or diaper bag if you want. It will be easier when shopping if you keep your main purse small and its contents narrowed down to the essentials.
  • Clean your counters. Move everything to one side of your kitchen counters. Wipe thoroughly. Move everything to the other side. Wipe the second half. Place it all back where it belongs.
  • Disinfect your doorknobs. This is likely the most germ-infested area of your home. Everyone touches the doorknobs, but no one cleans them. Experts say to give them a good rubbing with a disinfectant wipe every so often.
  • Clean out your fridge. Pull everything out onto the counter. Wipe down the inside. Replace only what is not out of date. Pitch the rest. If any items are near the expiration date and not going to be used soon, freeze if possible.
  • Clean out the freezer. Use the same method of attack for the freezer. Discard anything that is out of date and no longer safe or tasty to eat. Can you say “freezer burn”? I knew you could.
  • Mind the medicine cabinet. Check the dates on all your meds, and decide which ones must be tossed. Rid the cabinet of any lotions, shampoos, and products you don’t need. Wipe the shelves down and replace only what you’re keeping. I do this twice a year when the time changes. That’s also when we check our smoke-alarm batteries.
  • Organize the hall closet. While you may not be able to make a dent in a large bedroom closet in 30 minutes, you might be able to straighten up a simple coat closet. Empty it, sweep it out, and wipe down any shelves. Hang the coats back up and reposition other hats, gloves, boots, and such. Consider getting plastic totes to keep like items together, further organizing the contents. Get rid of what you don’t need.
  • Purge the pantry. Remove all canned and boxed goods from your pantry shelves. Throw away what is outdated. Make a pile of what is still good but your family won’t likely eat. Donate this to a local food bank or homeless shelter. Replace items in an order logical to you. Sometimes, see if you can eat for a week with only the items you find in your pantry. I’ve invented some recipes this way. Go online to find recipes that pair items you have on hand. Shop for only what fresh items are needed to round out your meals. You’ll save a bundle on your groceries that week.
  • Fix the fixtures. If you have light fixtures that need dusting and cleaning, take care of them now. If the fixtures have many globes or tulip-shaped glass cups, run them through a rinse cycle in the dishwasher. Dry and replace.
  • Add an address. Transfer any addresses from sticky notes, letter envelopes, and Christmas cards into your address book.
  • Rearrange your recipes. Take a look in your recipe files, and toss any cards or cutouts you don’t use. Rearrange what’s left. If your recipes are in great disarray, this may take more than one 30-minute block. If so, find another friend who has the same problem. Take your recipes, meet her at a coffee house, and have a work session to get your recipes in order. I did this one night, placing them all in a three-ring binder with full-size page protectors for magazine cutouts and pages designed to hold individual photos for the recipe cards. I made sections for main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and miscellaneous. When I’m cooking, if something splatters onto the recipe, it can be easily wiped off.
  • Give a movie review. Sort through your DVDs and pluck out any your family no longer watches. Save old-time favorites for nostalgia if you have a child who is particularly fond of one. Give the rest to another family who would enjoy them.
  • Spit-shine a shelf. Take time to pick through just one shelf in the garage or basement, ridding it of unwanted items and leaving it neat and tidy. If you do one shelf a day, that area will gradually get decluttered.
  • Sort socks. Have a basket or bag with single, lonely socks that have lost their mates. Dump the bag and pair up any matches. Better yet, pay a child a nickel a pair for any matches he can find.
  • Peruse your porch. Take a look at what others see when they knock on your front door. Does your front window need washing? The porch need sweeping? Are there cobwebs that could do with a good knocking down? Take a little time to make the entrance to your home look presentable.
  • Deal with your drains. Pour some baking soda in your kitchen-sink drain. Next, douse it with a little vinegar. The resulting bubbling action will freshen it up. Or pour some clog-removing liquid down the bathroom sink and tub drains to prevent hair clogs in the first place.
  • Fiddle with your files. Remove three or four files from your filing cabinet. Look through them and make sure the contents are still worth keeping. If you find manuals for appliances you no longer own or outdated paperwork, toss or shred them now. Doing this regularly keeps your files up to date.
  • Give thanks. Anyone you’ve been meaning to write a thank-you note to? Do it now. And to make it easier in the future, place some thank-you notes, stamps, return address labels, and your address book in a basket near your sofa or in a tote bag you can take to the doctor’s office or carpool line. Grab it often to jot a note of thanks or encouragement to someone.

 

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Karen Ehman

Through her daily blog, writing ventures and many speaking events, Karen’s passion is to provide women with creative inspiration and doable ideas to help them live their priorities and love their lives. She is the Director of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team and is a contributor to Focus on the Family’s magazine Thriving Family.

A popular presenter at Hearts at Home moms’ conferences, Karen is also the author of five books including The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized, A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others and the recently released best-selling ebook Untangling Christmas: Your Go-To Guide for a Hassle-Free Holiday.

She has been a guest on national media shows including The 700 Club, At Home Live, Engaging Women, The Harvest Show, Moody Midday Connection and Focus on the Family. The mother of three, she and her college sweetheart Todd just celebrated their silver anniversary. You can find her blogging at http://www.karenehman.com

 

 

 

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{Week 7} Live Beautifully…WIWW Link-Up Party

So far in Proverbs 31 we have seen how this godly woman of noble character brings good and not harm to her husband, selects and works with eager hands, gets up and provides for her household, considers her purchases, opens her arms to the poor and now this week we see she doesn’t fear the “cold weather” but rather she clothes her family, her home and herself beautifully.

I love that God put verse 22 in the long list of who and what the Proverbs 31 woman is like. Have you noticed yet there has been no mention of what the Proverbs 31 woman looks like? We don’t know if she is tall or short, we don’t know her “size”, we don’t her hair color, eye color or skin color though we can guess based on the area of the world she is from for the last 3. What we do know from her appearance is how she is clothed. We learn about her appearance in verse 22 and again in verse 25. Verse 22 focuses on the actual garments….fine linen and purple.

We know from the previous verses this woman is good with her money. We see that in verse 16 where we read “she considers” a field before she buys it out of her earnings. She doesn’t just rush into her purchases. We also see she is a generous woman, in verse 20 we are told “she opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” Now in verse 22 we finally get a glimpse of how she is dressed…….beautifully. Her clothing reflects her inner beauty. For me personally when I think of the Proverbs 31 woman I picture a woman like Audrey Hepburn or Jackie O……not in how they lived their lives, but in how beautifully each woman dressed. Both women are known to be elegant in the clothing they choose to wear.

(photo credit)

(photo credit)

So what can we learn from verse 22? I believe our “take away” is that it’s okay to make things beautiful and wear clothing that is beautiful! In verse 22 we see she is making coverings for her bed……and that she wears fine linen. I personally feel sometimes in our Christian culture it is looked down upon or seen as “unspiritual” if a woman has nice furnishings in her home or wears beautiful clothing. I think God is showing us that it is okay to dress beautifully and have nice things in our homes……we just need to be balanced.

I love how this verse comes after we learn about her money management skills, her work ethic and her generosity. She is not a woman of leisure. She is not a woman who “shops til she drops” and spends all her money. She is not a woman who hoards and only thinks of herself.

She is a woman who is balanced.

She wisely invests in others and also invests in herself.

God has created women with the desire to make things beautiful. It’s okay to want to make our homes beautiful and to wear beautiful clothing…..we just need to be balanced in how we do those things.

In Ezekiel 16:10-14 we read how God clothes His beloved wife, Israel:

“I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry. I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth”. …declares the Sovereign Lord.

Looking at how God “clothed” Israel and how the Proverbs 31 woman was clothed, we can see that it’s okay to have and wear nice things. The problem occurs is when we begin to worship the “things” instead of the one who gave them to us.

I love this quote from Elizabeth George talking about the Proverbs 31 woman.


I love how Elizabeth George describes the Proverbs 31 woman as a “godly, queenly woman”…..want to know something? You are too! Embrace your adoption as a daughter to the King of kings and live beautifully……..both inside and out! Living beautifully isn’t about your wealth but rather the beauty you produce through your life as you take care of your home, your family and yourself!

How are you investing beauty in your life?

Love God Greatly!

 

 

 

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Women around the world are IN THE WORD!

Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

 

 

 

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The Proverbs 31 Woman – Week 7 – Shopping for Clothes!

Photo Credit

Alright ladies – this week the Proverbs 31 woman is getting dressed and dressing her family!

We are up to Proverbs 31:21 & 22:

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

I have been battling laryngitis for 7 days – so I drank lots of hot tea and honey before this video and eeked it out! I apologize for being so croaky :(

(If you are reading this post in an email – click here to view the video.)

In the video, I mentioned how I like to “Clothes Swap” with my friends! Here’s a few pics from our last clothes swap and you can find the rest of the details on this blog post here.

Each girl chose a section of the room to display their clothes.
Clare from Peak 313 Fitness scored my Easter 2009 dress! It fits! Hooray!
Look what I found! Gorgeous! (although once I tried it on it didn’t fit and went to my sister)
Becky has on a new t-shirt, necklace and shoes (plus an arm full!)
My $6 outfit!
Here’s what I wore to church the Sunday after the swap – my brand new blue shirt and new necklace – free from the swap! And a $6 skirt from a resale shop! (minus the boots – which are Payless!)
I also love to shop at resale shops and here’s a video I made a while back titled “How to Shop for Feminine Clothes on a Budget.”

(click here if you can’t see the video)
This Week’s Challenge: Plan and prepare now for Fall. We all know the kids are going to need back to school clothes – watch the clearance racks for winter clothes on clearance and stock up now. Don’t forget it’s garage sale season – I love a good garage sale and have clothes in my closet and in the kid’s closets from garage sales too!! Be sure to share your children’s clothes that you are done with. My kids have hand me downs from their cousins – we love hand me downs! And all my clothes get binned up and passed on to two other Christian families who have kids just one size below mine. Share :) and Happy Shopping!
Do you have a special way you prepare clothes for your family? Share it in the comments section!

Walk with the King,

, WomenLivingWell.org

**To find the Proverbs 31 Bible reading plan – click here and begin Week 7 today.

***If you would like to receive the Proverbs 31 eBook that goes along with this series – subscribe to Women Living Well. At the bottom or every email you receive from WLW will be the link to the ebook. If there’s been a gliche in the system and you have not received your free ebook – please DO NOT leave a comment below but rather email me at Courtney(at)womenlivingwell.org and I will email you the direct link within 24 hours. :) Thanks!
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