Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Virtuous Woman...Who Can Find?

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”
Proverbs 31:10

If your anything like me you are striving to be this virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. She is a godly wife and mother who seems to have it all together. I'm not too concerned about having it all together all the time, but I am concerned about being a godly wife and mother. I've realized though that I am a selfish person. On the outside nobody would probably know that, but I can feel it on the inside. I once heard a preacher say that the bottom line of all sin is selfishness. I've talked in a previous post about pride and how toxic pride can be and selfishness kind of goes hand in hand with that. So, to get my mind off self and onto things more eternal I decided to do an in depth study of Proverbs 31. I will probably break it down into several posts, but I thought I'd share with you my thoughts on the chapter and also how I will be applying it to my own life and the results of that. 

“10. A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11.Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 
12.She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”
Proverbs 31:10-12 NIV

Verse 10 is the introduction to the virtuous woman. The NIV version translates virtuous to noble character, which is defined as having good moral character. If this type of wife/mother was hard to find in their day imagine what they would think about in today's society??  

I like the KJV version better of verse 11. It says, 
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.”
I like the words "safely trusts in her". Our husbands should trust us, which for me is never something I really thought about. I guess I automatically assumed he did, but I never have asked. He lacks nothing, which to me translates that we should make sure our husbands have everything they need to be successful. For me that would mean making sure my husband has something to eat and has clean work clothes. Those are probably the two areas that I sometimes lack at (I'm telling you my selfishness is bad sometimes). 
Husbands also have other needs (ahem) that us tired mommas tend to forget about, so let's try to be more mindful of those as well. 

Verse 12 is a big pill to swallow. "She brings him good not harm all the days of her life". I have to be nice to my husband? Everyday? All day? Til I die?!? I'm going to be completely honest, which I've told this to my husband before, but I generally save my "niceness" for when I go out in public or to my kids, but even then it's marginal. Yes, you all I was not kidding when I said this selfishness was bad. Thank the Lord, He is still working on me and hasn't given up on my poor selfish soul. My husband gets the last little ounce of kindness within me and sometimes there's not even an ounce. I can only imagine what it would do to my life and his if I used the majority of my kindness toward him. I'm going to be completely honest. He is the toughest person to be kind to though because he generally only sees me in the morning and late at night which is when I am the most tired and have the least amount of energy and he also isn't the Proverbs 31 husband so we have two really imperfect people who are both full of selfishness. Usually one of us is trying to be kind and do the right thing and the other one is in stuck in selfishville so if we could both get on the same page we would change the world (exaggerating slightly), but I cannot change him that's something only God can do (something I've realized after many failed attempts). I'm only in control of me so change has to start with me, Amen!? 

So, to review these three verses as a checklist of sorts...
A Virtuous Woman:
1. Has good moral character
2. Her husband trusts her
3. She supplies all her husband's needs
4.  She is always kind to her husband

Don't forget! We can't do any of these things on our own strength, so don't forget to pray that the Lord would change your heart and help you to become more like this virtuous woman. Join me tomorrow as we talk about verses 13-15! 

What are your thoughts on verses 10-12? What are you going to do differently today to make for a better tomorrow? 

Love to you all! 



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Parenting in the 1950's


I love and am fascinated with anything from the 1950's. Although I know in realty it was probably not the perfect painted picture that we all think of when we think of the 1950's it still was time where the majority of people lived the lifestyle I live now. The dad goes to work and the mom stays home and takes care of the children. I have always been fascinated with the 1950's since I was a young girl. I always loved the 1950's section of Dollywood and the shows where they sing 1950's music. And I love watching Leave It To Beaver (although I'm sure life wasn't that perfect).
Now as a parent I look back on that time and look at how kids were raised because I always here my grandparents and older people that were children back then say "if I had acted like that my mama would have whooped me". Back then kids were taught to obey and respect their parents and elders. It seems like everyday it is getting worse and worse with children not respecting adults. There were things back then that were no doubt too harsh of punishment, but I'm not talking about that kind of punishment.

Here's where I have trouble being a "1950's parent": back then the world did not revolve around their children. Gasp! One lady who raised children in the 1950's said when she would get together with her friends they would talk about the news, current fashion, knitting, etc, but never about their children. That's all I talk about to anybody really is my children!  Those women who were seen as perfect housewives rarely talked about their children! Nowadays if you have children and you don't talk about them constantly people will think you don't care about them. 

Here's a list of expectations of children back in the 1950's and I would love to instill these manners in my children like standing when an adult enters the room and not leaving the dinner table without asking to be excused. 
"Children had to stand up on any occasion when an adult would enter the room, even if that adult was the child's parent. On the bus, it was expected that boys would give up their seat for a woman or anyone senior in age and also give up their places in line for the bus. You could never leave the table at dinner time without asking permission first. Children had to say "please" and "thank you," and if they didn't use these words correctly, they would be informed by adults that they were being rude. When wearing a hat, it would be suitable etiquette to take it off when going indoors, into a shop or when talking to a lady on the street. A child would be taught to say, "I would like," and was taught never to say the words, "I want." Opening the door for someone, especially a woman or an adult, was necessary, as was letting her exit before the child did so."
Maddox is almost 3 and I already feel like he doesn't respect me as an adult and as his mother as much as he should, so that will definitely be something I will take away from my research into 1950's parenting. 

As far as baby care, back then they gave babies a bath every day sometimes twice a day in the summer! Cleanliness was very important. They also fed their babies Karo syrup mixed with evaporated milk as formula! I remember as some of my earliest memories as a child of my Nanny giving me evaporated milk to drink! I can still remember the taste too...yuck! They used simple flat birdseye cotton diapers with pins which now when you think about modern disposable and cloth diapers they have come a long way and have become much more complicated. Honestly, I have tried just about every disposable and cloth diapers out there and have decided that simple flats and covers are the most effective, simple diapering option out there so they were definitely doing something right there. 

Trying out  flats and pins the old fashioned way. Safety pins-not a good idea! But the same flats with a modern diaper cover works great!
I know things weren't all butterflies and rainbows as they appeared (ahem...Mad Men), but bottom line is that kids were taught to respect their elders and the world didn't revolve around them all the time. Things were also simpler and people used their common sense and didn't over think simple problems as we tend to do today. Once the big shift in society happened around the 1960's we defintiely left some wisdom behind that should be brought back to today's times!

What is your favorite time period or decade?




Sunday, September 20, 2015

Light of the World

I

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16

Have you ever met anyone who just instantly brings light into the room or you would use the phrase "a ray of sunshine" to describe them? I have met a few people like that and by a few I mean very few. Just speaking briefly to them you instantly feel encouraged. Just as it says above in verse 15 "they put it on a stand and it gives light to everyone in the house." Just their cheerful disposition affects everyone in the room.  "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit." Proverbs 15:13. Some character qualities I have noticed that these people posess are compassion, kindness, patience, humbleness, gentleness, joy, basically all the fruits of the spirit. That's the power of Jesus, but sometimes if your like me we don't let Him shine that brightly through us. I've noticed the one I struggle with the most is compassion, so often I just don't think to call someone when they are sick or send them a card or send flowers to someone who has lost a loved one so I am definitely praying that the Lord will help me to be more compassionate towards others. It's not that I don't care I just never put that thought into action.  

I am also guilty of focusing on the negatives in life, often blaming others for the way I feel. When we we allow that darkness to creep in our life it dims our light. I have learned that if we truly love God we can't help but to love others,but I struggle with letting that show sometimes. I have figured out that the reason why I have this love for others on the inside, but don't always show it on the outside is because I had a very low self-esteem. I wasn't content with who I was. I  was very self conscious and that hindered me from expressing love to others for fear of rejection. There's a difference in being self-absorbed & being confident, but for the longest time I saw them one in the same. But really, by not being confident I was being self absorbed. I wouldn't show love or kindness to others at times when I could have because I was too worried about me and if I would make a fool of myself or not say the right thing. When we truly love who we are and who God created us to be then can we show love to others without fear of rejection. Sometimes too who we surround ourselves with affects are attitude. If you are constantly surrounded by people who always focus on the negative or always seem to have something bad to say about others those types of thoughts will infiltrate your mind as well. So it is important to surround ourselves with postive people. People who are going to support and encourage us & who we can support & encourage right back! 

On the lock screen of my phone the picture says, "Today I choose joy." I put that there becasue usually when I wake up in the morning I look at my phone to see what time it is. So, the first thing I see everyday is "Today I choose joy" and it serves as a reminder of how I am going to go about my day. Although Jesus lives,rules, & reigns in our hearts when we are saved we are still human & we still have free will. We can choose to have a negative attitude & negative thoughts or we can choose joy, happiness, & postive thoughts. God has so richly blessed me & I have no excuse for having a negative attitude.

I just hope and pray that the Lord will help me to be one of those people who just instantly brightens the room & can encourage others. Truett Cathy said, "How do you know if someone needs encouragement? If they are breathing." Everyone needs encouragement & love and it seems like the number of people who are willing to be the encourager is getting smaller and smaller. 


"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11


Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to subscribe to my email updates! You can also follow me on Instagram :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pride


Pride is a sin that I didn't realize I struggled with terribly until recently. And let me tell you pride is an abominable sin. God hates pride and unfortunately it's a sin more Christians deal with than any other. I'm not an self absorbed person by nature so I just always assumed I didn't have a pride problem, but boy has God showed me otherwise the last couple of months. It all started with me having a prideful attitude with my husband and saying that I thought I could drive better than him and not two seconds after that came out of my mouth I hit crammed the side of our new van we had only had for a week into the side of huge concrete pillar. Talk about a wake up call. And from there I have had little circumstances come up in my life that have really made me reevaluate my prideful attitude. I realized that I've been going through life thinking I had everything figured out. Thinking that I knew up from down, but turns out I was wrong. I don't know it all. I've learned to quit trying to have it all figured out all the time and take life day by day. Isn't that what Jesus said to do anyway?
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34 

I was taking pride in breastfeesing and having judgemental thoughts about others who didn't breastfeed. Only to come down with Bells Palsy & be on medication where I could no longer breastfeed & had to formula feed my daughter.  I was taking pride in being a  "co-sleeper" because that's the only right way. Wrong. My daughter sleeps so much better in her own bed and so do I. I was taking pride in home schooling because your not a real Christian of you don't home school. Wrong! God finally slapped me in the face and said wake up! Your child will be so much happier at a preschool where he could play with kids because that's all he ever wants is somebody to play with. 

God has really knocked the pride out of me & I praise him for that. I can't truly love others if I'm thinking judgemental thoughts about them. And I've seen it play out in my own extended family, if you want to tear your house down be a judgemental Christian. It's not going to turn out pretty, trust me. 

I had set such high standards for myself in my head that weren't even obtainable. If you haven't read the book Real Christianity I highly recommend it. One phrase in the book really got me. It was saying we can never be enough, do enough, pray enough, etc. for God that is the whole point of Jesus! When you quit trying to climb a ladder to God and quit having prideful thoughts about every "good work" that you do, you finally get to enjoy real Christianity. There's no room for judgemental thoughts in real Christianity. There no room for a prideful heart in real Christianity. It's about love. The two greatest commandments: 1. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind & strength & 2. To love others as yourself. When you start focusing on those two things & get off that ladder you start seeing life in a whole new perspective of joy, peace, & life. Before I was doing all these "good works" or what I thought were good works, but I was exhausted, miserable, & bitter. I was jealous of every Christian who I thought was taking the easy way out like sending their kid to preschool or putting their baby to sleep in their own bed. I wanted everyone to be as miserable as I was. I was just going to through the motions hoping that when I got to the top of that ladder I would find this joy, peace, & life everyone was talking about. Life is short & I don't want to get to the end with a big pile of "good works" because it's not enough for God. Jesus is enough.  That's all God wants me to do is to have a relationship with Him not perform for Him. 

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
I did not feel free. I was saved, but I felt trapped still in bondage not of sin, but of feeling like I had to perform God to be a good Christian until I realized that wasn't even biblical! This verse is spot on when biblical truth finally sets in it sets you
 free! 
Now I'm focusing on my relationship with Jesus not a list of do's and dont's. I'm focusing on loving others & being patient and kind. 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 
If your following Jesus and your burden doesn't feel light like mine didn't maybe it's time to reevaluate. It's not us working for Jesus. It's Jesus working through us. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Countdown to Clean Eating Challenge

I am 2 days away from my clean eating challenge. I will be starting Thirsday because that is when I go to the grocery store, but I would love for you all to join me next time you go to the grocery store! 

Here is my meal plan for the week:
I left Monday open because usually at least once through the week we eat at my mom's house or someone else's house. 

Here is my grocery list for the week:


The items that have red balloons beside them are items I plan to buy at Target and the other items I'll buy at Kroger. The only not so clean things are the cream of mushroom and cream of chicken because I have really been wanting a good casserole, but I'll definitely be buying the most healthy option of those. Everything else I will buy organic if it's the same price or close to the same price as not organic, but if it is double the price or my budget is tight I will buy whatever is cheapest. The cereal will be for my husband and I always get Maddox some frozen organic pancakes because they are quick and the ingredients are good.  I also plan to do some meal prep ahead of time hence the baggies.

I'm also going to make sure I'm getting enough food everyday by using my "diy 21 day fix container system". I'll be using just plain measuring cups instead of their special little containers. If you've never heard of Beach Body's 21 Day Fix basically it gives you a formula to calculate how many calories you should eat a day and then how much of each category (protein, veggies, fruit,etc) you should eat to reach that amount. So you measure out your food each meal to make sure your eating the right proportion. I know very little about meal portioning so I'm hoping this will help me learn how much food I should be eating everyday. 

I am in the very small percent of people who are actually trying to gain weight. Most people don't talk numbers about their weight, but I'm not going to be shy about it because it could help someone else. My ideal weight for my body frame is around 115 lbs to 120 lbs. Right now I weigh 101 lbs. I weighed 135 lbs right before I had both Maddox and Natalie then two days later after birth I weighed 117 lbs. This is usually where I get the "you lucky dog" comments, but what has happened after both of them is I lose weight pretty rapidly in the post partum months. When I became pregnant with Natalie (Maddox was 15 months) I weighed 98 lbs! I felt awful physically and I'm sure I looked as scrawny as I felt. I'm not sure exactly why I was losing so much weight, but I know for sure I wasn't eating enough to keep up with the calories I was burning by breastfeesing and I know I wasn't drinking enough water. Now I'm almost back down to under 100 lbs so that why I am trying to take charge and eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Eating healthy is good if you want to gain weight or lose weight by just adjusting portion sizes, so if you are unfamiliar with meal portioning hopefully we can learn together!

Join me on Instagram (Instagram.com/naturallybeingmommy) using #nbmcleaneating and let's share our clean eating pics and encourage one another to reach our goal of a healthier lifestyle!

-Hannah

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Clean Eating Challenge for Beginners and On a Budget!


Confession time: I have fallen way off my clean eating "diet". You know why? Because I was treating it like a diet and diets don't last. It has to be a lifestyle change to last. So I wanted to start a Clean Eating Challenge for beginners and on a budget! There are so many clean eating "programs" out there that are so intimidating and expensive! I would try those meal plans only to realize I didn't like half the food on the meal plan and the rest of it was so expensive we were going into debt trying to buy it. I grew up on a heavily processed foods diet so I can't eat hummus or drink coconut water without wanting to gag! Most of the recipes on these said meal plans involve ingredients I've never even heard of. So, I was trying to jump in feet first and was quickly burnt out.

Then, it dawned on me as I was eating some Cheetos (yes, I know, terrible.) that clean eating does not have to be an overnight change from Cheetos to hummus. The key to clean eating in the beginning is less ingredients, not so much organic or crazy healthy. Ask yourself can I pronounce all the ingredients in this product or do I recognize all the ingredients in this product? If the answer is no chances are it's probably not good for you. Now let's be real. I have small children so I need convenience foods. Are all foods in a box bad? No, at least not for me. As long as I can recognize the ingredients then that's good enough for me (I.e. Those squeeze pouches of applesauce or baby food, baby puffs, etc.).  

So here's the first challenge for clean eating. Next time you are at the grocery store only shop the outside aisles. This would be produce, bread (we personally don't eat much bread), meat, and dairy. Also, frozen fruits/veggies are good if you need something quick. If your like me and need some convenience foods make sure you can read/recognize every ingredient. This doesn't mean everything in your cart needs to be organic, free range, grass fed, etc. But just shop these aisles and pick out things you know your family will eat and don't worry if it's not the most healthiest option. We are just going to take it slow. 

The only trick to this is that most of these foods aren't just a pop it in the microwave type food, so this is where meal planning comes in really handy. I personally just meal plan dinner because that's our biggest meal of the day, but you can be as detailed as you'd like. Also, remember to stay within your grocery budget. Buy off brand or store brand items, look for clearanced items, or use coupons to keep you within your normal budget. 

So if you want to join the challenge with me I'll be on Insatgram  posting my weekly meal plans, grocery hauls, and meal pics! I'd love to see your clean eating pics as well so if you are joining the challenge use #nbmcleaneating so we can encourage and support each other to a real life style change that works for your life and your budget! 

I'm also looking into meal prepping and freezer meals that you prepare ahead of time so if anybody has any advice on that let me know!

Friday, July 10, 2015

How To Avoid Gossip




Gossiping is an area of my life that the Lord is dealing with me about right now. Anything I say in this post keep in my mind I may have one finger pointing at you, but I have three pointing back at me. Thankfully through much prayer, bible study, and grace I feel like I have better control of my tongue now than I did before. So I want to share some tips with you on how to avoid being caught up in the middle of a juicy gossip conversation or even being the person to start a gossiping conversation.
Webster's dictionary defines gossip as "a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others".  That word habitually is what got me. Gossip is habitual is it not. Once you start talking about somebody it seems to spread like wild fire!

The Bible says this about our tongue:

"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Proverbs 18:21
"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. " James 3:9 (Can I raise my hand and say guilty right here?!)
"Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity." Proverbs 21:23
"Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark." James 3:5 (Think wild fire!)

"The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18
And there are many more verses similar to these as well. 

So in short we can see how dangerous and hurtful such a small part of our body can be if used carelessly, but at the same time it can be used for encouragement, healing, and building each other up.
We all know that situation. Your with a group of friends and they bring up the latest scandal about so and so and you've got a piece of gossip that will trump everything they know about this person or the person they are talking about has done something hurtful to you so you know it will feel good to say bad things about them as some sort of punishment for what they've done to you.  What do you do? Do you give into to the temptation? The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." 

What are the ways we can endure it or escape that temptation?

  1. Say something good-The person they may be talking about may be somebody who has hurt you and you really want to say something bad about, but don't. Instead find one good thing about that person or one good thing they have done and share that instead. You may have to dig really deep, but with a forgiving heart I'm sure you can find at least one good thing. I guarantee that will stop the bad mouthing pretty quick once they realize you aren't going to participate.
  2. Leave the conversation-If you are sitting in the same area as others that are gossiping just get up and leave before you say anything. Excuse yourself to the bathroom or to get a drink, etc. that way you won't have to hear the conversation and be tempted.
  3. Change the subject- If you are in the same area or talking on the phone with others who are wanting to gossip, simply change the subject to anything else (except somebody else) besides the person they are trying to bash. My opinion, the crazier thing you change the subject to the more likely the people you are talking to will get the hint that you do not want to gossip.
  4. Tell them of your gossiping conviction-This one is a little harder especially if you are in a group of non-believers because they may not understand what a conviction is, but just tell whoever your talking to that the Lord has really been dealing with your heart about gossiping and that you are trying to break the habit so you'd rather talk about something else.
Just like with anything for us to really change a characteristic about our lives it has to be a heart change, not just a "in my head" change. So how do we change our hearts to not want to gossip anymore?

  1. Prayer-ask the Lord to forgive you for gossiping and ask Him to change your heart to not have the desire to gossip anymore.
  2. Reading the Bible-Here's a couple good verses in this subject:
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29

"You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart." 1 Peter 1:22

So here is my challenge for you and for myself: See how long you can go with only saying things that are good, helpful, encouraging, or would build somebody up.


I hope this is an encouragement to you as I know the study was for me! :)


Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to subscribe to my email updates! You can also follow me on Instagram :)