"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:4-5

Monday, February 28, 2011

Frugal Meals

I have really been developing a "depression-type" mentality lately.  We are living in hard times, and they could likely get worse.  I want to be as good of a steward as possible with the limited resources that God has given me.  I've been careful to not throw out any food, and I'm reusing bags and containers, etc, not wanting to waste any resources.  Waste not, want not...right?  I've also been working on coming up with more and more frugal meals to make, and I'd like to start sharing them on here.  Below is a frugal meal that I made tonight:

Black Beans and Rice

This is the recipe from the Bush's black beans can, with some revisions by me.

First, get your rice cooking.  I use brown rice because it's healthier.  I put 4 cups of water in a large saucepan, and add a teaspoon or two of boullion for flavor.  Bring the water to a boil, pour in 2 cups of rice, reduce heat and cover.  This has to cook for about 45-50 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed so that is why it needs to be started first!  If you use white rice it is much faster.

While the rice cooks, chop half an onion and half of either a green or red bell pepper (I prefer red).  Put in a large skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil, and saute until tender.  Add a can of chopped tomatoes, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 tsp. thyme, and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar.  Simmer for 15 minutes or so, until there is no more liquid.

Serve the beans on top of the rice, with either canned or frozen corn that has been warmed up.

This is super cheap to make, and is easy to make from what you have stored in your pantry.  If you were out of fresh peppers or onions, dried ones work great, or frozen peppers.  If times were hard and you couldn't buy food, having canned beans, canned tomatoes, canned corn, and rice in your pantry could make you a good meal!

We had a lot of snow  recently, and I had managed to get to the store the day before it snowed and stock up on food.  The verse from Proverbs 31 kept going through my head: "she is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed in scarlet".  It reminded of how it is my job to make sure my family is prepared for hard times/ bad weather/ bad economy or whatever.  It was so good to have everything that we needed and to not have to stress about being snowed in and unable to get out and get things we need.  It's my job to make sure that I am spending food money wisely; being frugal and stocking up for a "rainy day".  I've changed my shopping methods.  I'm now keeping larger quantities of items in stock in my pantry and freezer.  Instead of having one or two peanut butters on hand, I have 8 or 10.  Then when I run out of one, I buy a replacement or two, and rotate my stock to put the newest in the back.  This way, I always have plenty of food stored, in case of....anything!  This is different than I used to do it...having one of each item and replacing the one when it was almost out.

We live in uncertain times.  Gas is going up constantly, and so is food.  There are many verses in the Bible about being prepared.  I believe it is a wise thing to do.  This is NOT to be confused with worry or fear!  We are not to worry about what we will eat or drink, or fear the future.  But, we are to be wise, like the ant.

God bless you!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I have found myself more and more frustrated with the world lately.  When I get online and see the headlines each day, everything that the world is focusing on seems so pointless to me.  Money...greed...fame...which celebrity is doing what...current fashions...what so-and-so wore to whichever party....BLAH.  None of it matters.  It is all so empty and meaningless.  Vanity, emptiness, meaningless.  Yes, I sound like I'm writing Ecclesiastes.  But it's true!

More than ever, I'm wanting to simplify my life and be content with basics.  I want a simple life, as apart from the world as possible.  I don't mean isolation....just simplicity.  Back to basics.  God, home, husband, children, cooking, cleaning, church, schooling my kids, farm animals, garden.  This has always been me anyway, but it's become an even stronger pull lately.  I don't have money, but if I did I would want to continue to be as frugal as possible and give to others.  This is the model of the early church:

Acts 4:32, 34-35: "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need."

I hope this doesn't offend anyone, but I've really been getting frustrated with how much money is spent on entertainment, especially by Christians.  There are a lot of needy families out there (we are one of them).  Is it right for Christians to spend hundreds of dollars on dinners out, vacations, movies, hobbies, etc., when they know there are people who desperately need money and just don't have it?  People that sometimes can't even buy a gallon of milk for their children?  Reading the verse above, I don't think it's okay.

All of that to say...if and when our family ever has money, I want to live as frugally as possible and give to others in need.

Simplicity...it's what I want.  It reminds me of the lyrics to an old country song that I loved:

A simple life is the life for me
Man and wife and a family
The Lord up above knows that I'm trying
To lead a simple life in a difficult time

God bless you, my sisters!

"...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."~Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Simply Happy

I am living proof that money does not buy happiness.  We don't have a cent, and we are barely surviving, but I've got a great life.  I love Jesus, I love my husband, I love having my kids home all day.  I love that I can homeschool, that I have an adorable baby who is WALKING everywhere and is the happiest little guy ever, daughters who adore their baby brother, an older son who is such a great help around the house.  I spent the day painting my kitchen and just felt so blessed.  Life is good.  Everything that is important and really means something in life...I have.  Thank you God!!

We changed our plan on painting, and instead of white beams, we did everything green.  I am SO glad.  It looks great, and it was much less time consuming, as I want this project DONE.  I hope to get the second coat done tomorrow and get the annoying paper off the floor (paper to protect the floor from all the paint splatters).  I did all the painting myself today, and was quite proud that I really did a good job.  Yay me!!

Well, we've got a busy weekend ahead.  Tomorrow night is a valentine dinner date at our church with hubby, Saturday is my dad's birthday lunch and my sister's baby shower, Saturday evening/Sunday is baking and Monday is a valentine party.  We're looking forward to it all!

God bless!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Are We Done Yet?

Lately a lot of people have been asking me the same question: "So are you done having kids?".  There was a time when that question sounded perfectly normal and valid, but not anymore.  The Lord has completely changed my thinking on children and birth control, and now when I hear that question I actually feel confused! 

Are we done having kids?  How in the world should I know?  Am I God?  Why do people ask me that like I am all-knowing and I SHOULD know?

THAT is how I mentally respond to that question now.  I don't know.  I can't know.  It is not my call.  I am not in control.

The word "control" is the very problem of the term "birth control". We as humans--especially control freaks like myself--want to be able to control everything. This is not of God. There is no peace in that. As Christians, we are to submit ourselves to God and His will for our lives. We're to take our hands off the controls and give them to God. "Trust in the Lord with ALL of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6 I think that means all areas of our lives, don't you? I don't think I can say I trust in the Lord with all of my heart, and then say, "okay God, I'm just having 3 kids, alright?" Who are we to just TELL God that?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have come a long way in this area.  After my first three kids, I was adamant that I was done having children.  I never wanted to become pregnant again and I was even afraid of the possibility.  I believe that my exact words were, "if I ever find out that I'm pregnant again, I will jump off a cliff!"  Ha ha...I did end up pregnant again and I am still here, so the cliff jumping never happened.  Baby number four was a HUGE surprise and shock, and boy did God do a work in me through that pregnancy!  He taught me so much!

He taught me to surrender everything.  There was a time that I thought I had fully surrendered to Him, but the truth was that I had surrendered everything except childbearing, which I had tucked away in a little private pocket that I thought God wouldn't see.  I hid it and kept my tight little fingers on it, and wouldn't give it to anyone, ESPECIALLY not God!  But one day, He made it very clear...I was to give up birth control and trust HIM.  He is the one who opens and closes my womb, and He will decide when my womb is done bearing children.  The amazing thing was that I hadn't even said anything to my husband, and the next day he told me basically the same thing...that we shouldn't use birth control anymore.  What a confirmation!!

I am not pointing a finger at you and telling you what YOU should do.  I am just telling you what God has taught me, and what He has told me to do.  Everyone needs to seek the Lord for their own families, and we definitely need to follow the lead of our husbands.  Pray, give this area of your life to the LORD (that is the hardest part), ask your husband what he feels is the right thing to do, and submit to his decision.  This is God's way, my sisters, and it is good.  He has set it up this way because He loves us and it is best for us!

Now I'll finish up with a couple of things for you to consider.  Consider first what the Bible says about children, and then consider the history of the birth control movement.

The Bible says that children are a gifts and blessings. "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them..." Psalm 127:3-5  

I recently started studying the history of the birth control movement.  When you are born in a time like ours, it is easy to be accustomed to the way that things are done, and to forget that things were not always done the way that they are now, and that not all things are being done God's way.  Nowadays, it is just the norm to assume that everyone will use some form of birth control.  People plan when they will start having kids, how many they will have, what they will accomplish before they have them.  Well, this has not always been!  It wasn't until the feminists emerged with the women's rights movement that there was a major birth control movement, and the introduction of the birth control pill.  This not only caused the outlook on childbearing to change, but it also made promiscuity much easier!

I believe that feminism is one of the greatest reasons for the downfall of the family.  When women decided that they needed "rights", and that staying home with their families was not enough, they went to work and abandoned their posts.  The family has fallen apart, health issues are on the rise because healthy meals are not prepared at home, crime is rising because children are not supervised.  It's a mess!

Below is some information about the birth control movement that I found online.  Read it, read the Bible, pray, and God will guide you.  Much love to all of my sisters in Christ!

The birth control movement began during the women's rights movement in the United States during the 1910s. Leaders of the movement advocated women's rights to control reproduction and lobbied for public education and distribution of contraception, despite stringent anti-obscenity laws. It took more than 50 years until women could obtain contraception legally.

    Post-Suffrage Movement

  1. After the suffrage movement resulted in women gaining the right to vote in 1920, the women's rights movement began focusing on obtaining additional equal rights for women. According to the National Women's History Project, the birth control movement began as a way for women to gain freedom over their bodies, sexuality and lifestyle choices. The movement not only focused on public education about birth control methods, it also intended to prove that modern women could choose to live fulfilled lives without becoming mothers.
  2. Comstock Law

  3. According to the National Women's History Museum, the birth control movement was held up by an anti-obscenity law, the Comstock Law. Drafted by politician Anthony Comstock in 1873 as a way to curtail premarital sex and lewdness, the law legally banned contraception and deemed informational pamphlets on birth control as the distribution of obscene materials. During the 1910s, advocates of the birth control movement wrote articles and gave out information on contraception and were continually tried and convicted under the Comstock Law.
  4. Founder

  5. According to the National Women's History Museum, New York nurse Margaret Sanger is considered the leader of the birth control movement. Sanger published articles and pamphlets on birth control in the 1910s and opened a birth control clinic in 1916. It was open only nine days before Sanger was jailed for 30 days for distributing contraception. She founded the American Birth Control League in 1922, and the organization opened the first legal birth control clinic in 1923. It was allowed to distribute condoms and diaphragms only to married couples.
  6. Eugenics

  7. According to PBS's series "The American Experience," the birth control movement joined with the eugenics movement in the 1920s and 30s to gain support for the cause. The eugenics movement in America focused on selective breeding to maintain a perfect society and wanted to limit "unfit" classes, such as minorities and the handicapped, from procreating. Margaret Sanger publicly endorsed the use of birth control for eugenics, though she may have done so only to gain public acceptance of the birth control movement.
  8. Supreme Court

  9. Though the birth control movement began in the 1910s, the Supreme Court didn't make the distribution of contraception information legal until 1936, reports the National Women's History Project. In the United States v. One Package to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, doctors were given the right to inform patients about contraception. Although the first birth control pill was developed in 1960, it wasn't until the 1965 case, Griswold v. Connecticut, that the Supreme Court ruled that the right to use contraception was a constitutional freedom.
Read more: History of the Birth Control Movement | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5052080_history-birth-control-movement.html#ixzz1C1ZybqE5

Here is the history of the birth control pill:  The birth control pill was developed and tested in the 1950s by a team of U.S.-based scientists, whose work was funded by the women's rights advocate Katharine Dexter McCormick (1875-1967). The first human trials were conducted in 1956 in Puerto Rico, and resulted in approval of the pill by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1960. The freedom the pill provided to women by allowing them to control when and how often they became pregnant greatly influenced the women's rights movement of the 1960s. By the beginning of the 21st century, dozens of varieties of the birth control pill were on the market, and were used not only for contraception but also to regulate the menstrual cycle and to control acne.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's Sunday...

a day of rest.  We went to church, and since then I've been leisurely hanging out in the living room working on "paperwork".  I spent some time correcting papers and working on entering 1st sememster grades into my high schooler's transcript.  Now I've been spending quite a bit of time on my menu plan and shopping list.  I normally do this on Friday, but this week I wasn't able to do my shopping until Monday morning, so I'm getting it done today.

Menu planning can be so complicated at times for various reasons. I'm working hard on trying to cut back on how much I spend each week, so I'm trying to make cheaper meals, but I also want good taste and variety. The meals need to be healthy.  We need to have lots of fresh fruits and veggies.  My husband can't have salt, my oldest daughter and I can't have gluten, and my youngest daughter is sensitive to sugar.  This presents a challenge with meal planning and money!  I also think it is prudent to keep a stocked pantry in case of hard times, so I factor that into my shopping list also.  So much to think about!

The kitchen work is going well!  We have the first coat of green paint on the walls, and hubby and I worked together yesterday putting the first coat of primer on the beams.  Ummmm...if you haven't been to my house, we live in an a-frame, and there are beams supporting the walls...and ceiling.  My hubby had the great idea to paint the beams white, and it is going to be soooo cute!  After that, the framing on the windows and doors will be painted white also.  White tile is going on the countertops and backsplash (whenever we happen to have the money for THAT, which may be never.  I am praying.  It's the only expense we have for the kitchen, as everything else we have gotten free.)  There is a square of entryway that is ugly right now and has nothing on it; that is going to be tile also.  It's leftover tile from a customer...honestly I don't know what it looks like but I don't care...welcome to remodeling when you're poor!

Here are some pictures of the work in progress.  KEEP IN MIND: this is during remodeling/painting AND mealtime, so that is why there is such a mess.  Normally I am neurotic about keeping a sparkling clean kitchen!:

The slanted wall on the right will have the green, and the beams will be white.

Facing the slanted wall that will be green...
Corner where the fridge is.

Here's my sweet baby covered with cheese, carrots, and applesauce.
Entryway where the tile will be.

Anyway, it's hard to tell from the pics, but it is going to be super cute when it's done!  I will post pictures again when it is complete, but it may be awhile.  I also will find some pictures of it before any work was done.

On another topic, Adam's accomplishments the past couple of days are: he is mostly walking as of yesterday, he got his second tooth today, and he is getting curl in his hair!  What a joy he is!

Well, I am off to finish my shopping list and partake of a cheap, healthy meal: split pea soup.  May God bless your week!