Monday, February 20, 2012

Visiting Churches

There are so many things I wish I could tell churches of good things and bad things to do if a missionary visits your church. But I'm afraid it would be taken as complaining or ungrateful, or judgmental. We stop in to churches often on Sunday nights. We try to give the Pastor some warning, and let him know that we don't need or are asking for anything, but that we want to be a blessing if we can and possibly tell about our ministry. Most churches are very gracious and friendly, and some even let Caleb sing and present the ministry. We never expect a love offering!
But then there are churches that act offended that you dared to stop in. If they treat visitors how they treat us, I feel bad for them when they get to Heaven. Just a friendly handshake and smile, a question about our ministry or family, and a God bless you is really all a person needs, right?
I won't go on, because I don't want to complain and cast blame. I just thought maybe I could spread a word out there to church members that a kind word and a smile go a long way!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nothing to Wear!

When Caleb and I got married I weighed 113 lbs and wore a Small in everything. Between having 5 children, going on deputation, and other life experiences, I've been all the way up to a size 16 and everywhere in between.

I've been trying to get healthy again. Not so I can be super-model thin, or even be thin, but just so that I can be healthy and feel good. I also have 2 storage tubs of size 6-8 clothes that I would really like to be able to wear!

But back on topic, I have been counting calories and exercising for about 4 weeks and although I've only lost 1 lb, I've lost several inches in various places. Yay me! But because of this my clothes that I currently have do not fit me anymore, but the clothes I do own that might fit me, are 13 hours away in a storage unit.

So until then, I've been trying to find cute, inexpensive clothes that fit me. This wouldn't be so hard, except I would also like them to be modest. Now I'm not a tent-wearing, don't show my ankles or elbows, nothing below the collarbone kind of person. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm not that strict. I just want clothes that will cover my shoulders (it is Winter, btw), go over my knees -especially while standing-, and allow me to bend over slightly without showing my stuff. I didn't think it would be so hard to find clothes that fit those standards, especially in Winter. But alas, it is proving to be difficult. And even cami's don't help, if your chest is larger than a 12 year old's. They are barely made to cover your undergarments, much less your chest.

Today I found three very cute dresses, in my size, for under $7. I was thrilled! Until I went into the dressing room. One was so tight in the chest, I could barely get it on. The next was so short, it wasn't even worth opening the dressing room door to show my husband. The third was suitable, but still pushing the "too short" category. And those were the 3 dresses out of about 40 different styles that I thought might be acceptable!

What is it with clothes being so short/low/skimpy? I know, we're living in a world where less is better, and showing more is cool and even accepted in a lot of churches. But doesn't anyone want to cover themselves? It's so discouraging to not be able to find anything even remotely modest. And if you do find something modest it's boxy and, well, made for Grandmas. I'm not quite there yet. Maybe in a few years it will be cool to cover yourself and we can find clothes at stores again. Until then, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with the few choices I do find.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Points System

For about 3 years now our kids have had specific daily chores to do, and at each birthday another chore would be added to their list. They have one chore for each year old they are. They've always been fairly good at getting their chores done in a timely manner, with a few reminders and redos. But since the older kids are getting older, we wanted to teach them responsibility with money, saving, etc. We've always taught them to tithe with birthday money and we involve them in offerings by giving them change to put in, but we wanted to step it up a notch!
This is when I came up with the points system. It's quite simple! They get points (in increments of 5) when they do extra chores, or have exceptionally good behavior. Every other Saturday they are allowed to use their points to "buy" prizes out of the prize bag.
This prize bag has things that we collect when we go to dollar stores, walk down clearance aisles, and even things we find at garage sales that are in good condition. We have nail polish, notebooks, cute pens, toys, stuffed animals, small games, etc. We keep track of the points on our dry-erase board in the kitchen.
So on Saturday nights we pull out the prize bag and according to the amount of points they have, they are allowed to buy prizes. We try to do it early enough in the evening that they can play with or use the things they buy. We go in the order of who has the most points gets to go first, and go down the line.
This system has really improved morale around here. They don't get points for doing their daily chores because those are expected of them. They get points for changing a diaper, washing the dishes when it isn't their turn, getting the clothes out of the dryer, fetching something for a parent, you get the idea. We also give points for good scores on test, and other school accomplishments. They also get points for Bible verses memorized.
There are a few exceptions. If they ask how many points they'll get, they have to do the assignment and not get points. And if they earn points and constantly remind us/bug us about giving them their points the said points are diminished or eliminated.
Since we're usually pretty tight with our money, and kids lose money all the time, this system has seemed to work really well. I hope it can give you an idea of how to reward your children for working without breaking the bank!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentine Wreath

This past Fall I got inspired to make a wreath. I think it had something to do with me living 15 minutes from my uber-crafty sister.
But anyway, I made a Fall wreath, then I turned it into a Winter wreath, and today I made a Valentine wreath, and I think it's really cute!

I found the idea on Pinterest from this blog.
I decided to go with a darker gray yarn. And when I went to buy felt to make the hearts, my husband found foam hearts that were already cut and had sticky backs. Saved me a ton of work!
I think it's really cute, and even my girls said it's "super adorable". A mom can't get a much better compliment than that!