Comfort · refreshment at home · Women's roles

Five Routines That Will Help During Difficult Times

Maybe with all the stuff going on in the world you’re having a bit of a hard time getting motivated in your home. I want to encourage you today about how helpful it is to keep moving forward especially during these difficult days.

If we can’t have the confidence that home will be a constant place of comfort, where will we go?

If we are also at odds with our loved ones because we are stressed, who else on this earth will love them?

Therefore…

This was supper one night this week. I moved a small side table in front of the fireplace so we could have the ambiance at our simple spaghetti supper.
  1. Keep your normal routines going at home.
    Get up and get dressed.
    Make the bed.
    Do the laundry.
    Vacuum the carpet.
    Sweep the floor.
    Make the bathroom shine.
    You have control over yourself, so be disciplined.
  2. Keep mealtimes delicious, engaging and special.
    Cook good food. That doesn’t mean you have to fix gourmet food.
    I do think there’s great value in fixing a supper meal at home, in involving your family in setting the table, and helping with clean up. While at the table, turn off the television and make effort to create conversation, even if it’s just you and your spouse.
    Turn on some relaxing music in the background.
    Light a candle.
    Set the table.
    Linger after the meal.
    Have a small dessert and coffee and take time to enjoy it all together as the gift it really is.
    It’s hard work being a homemaker, but if you don’t do it for your family, who will?
  3. Be present for your spouse and children. In all that’s going on, it’s so easy for people to feel disconnected.
    Children are certainly feeling some hard things and may need to ask questions or share any fears they may be experiencing.
    What a great time to point them to God’s Word with answers.
    Stop and pray with them over any anxious feelings they may be experiencing.
    My husband and I quoted Bible verses to one another one recent evening as we were drifting off to sleep. They were verses of comfort that did much to stop my worry!
    No one can take your place in the home. Your presence is imperative and irreplaceable.
  4. Make home the best place to be. Create a warmth that draws your family back.
    Plan for game night with popcorn and hot chocolate.
    Keep the house tidied up so it feels welcoming.
    Get that last bit of Christmas decor put away and the tree needles swept up.
    Light a new, fresh candle.
    Make comfy places for people to sit and read.
    Maybe this is the time to change the furniture around for a fresh look in your living room?
    Home is a gift, and the woman is the one who sets the tone.
  5. Make sure you’re spending greater time with the Lord each day. If we ever needed direction and comfort from His Word, it’s now.
    Pray.
    Spend time giving Him your burdens.
    Learn from Him.
    Write down what you learn.
    Stay close through the day by listening to godly podcasts.
    Meditate on God’s Word through Scripture memory.

If you wish to know God, you must know His Word. If you wish to perceive his power, you must see how he works by his Word. If you wish to know his purpose before it comes to pass, you can only discover it by his Word. ~Spurgeon

Without a relationship with God, we can do nothing that is effective for eternity.

These five things will not change the world, but they can change the people that live inside your home…including you! I pray that these simple steps will help you bring some joy from the home that our loving God has entrusted to you. You can make a difference, dear friend.

Refresh the atmosphere of your home,

Comfort · Coronavirus

Suffering At Christmastime?

This is a re-post from 2012 when my mother-in-law was suffering with cancer and under Hospice at Christmastime. I thought it was appropriate for this year of so much difficulty.

The hissing of the oxygen concentrator is steady, and lulls my mother-in-law to sleep.  I slip in and pull the sheet over her shoulders and turn off the light.  Then lying down in my bed, the monitor in both our rooms in the “on” position, I hear the machine’s hissing, and also her breathing and frequent cough.  I whisper a prayer for her comfort and a good night’s rest for her.  These are the sounds of Christmas in the parsonage this year. 

Some say, “What a terrible time to have a loved-one so sick, here at Christmas.”  I’ll admit that Christmas in the parsonage is usually filled with a different kind of activity – the celebratory kind.  It would include parties, a hot oven putting out all kinds of confectioneries, and a calendar crammed more full than a New York subway at rush hour. 

I also admit that this year will be a different sort of Christmas in the parsonage.  Already it hasn’t been the normal routine of Christmas movies, cantatas, drives through the country to see the lights, or even baking sugar cookies with colored sprinkles.  Instead it’s been about giving our time to my mother-in-law, who has little time left. It’s not been about what I want for Christmas, but about what she needs. Instead of harried schedules, we find ourselves taking time to sit and chat, to ask questions of her, for our own memory’s sake.  “Remind me again how you and Dad met.”  “Tell me about the day you trusted Christ as your Savior.”  We talk about heaven, the things we know from Scripture, and the things we imagine will be waiting for us there.  We sing, we read, we laugh, we cry. 

It is for all this and all other kinds of suffering that our Savior came.  He was born a babe in a manger in order to give us hope for eternity – for what lies ahead that we cannot see.  We know that heaven’s shore is just beyond, and for that we rejoice.  This is why we have Christmas.  This is why Jesus died – to redeem us and give us a relationship with God.  He makes sense of all the suffering in our lives. 

So, really, perhaps Christmas is the best time to suffer.  We have all around us the reminder that Christ came to prevent our eternal suffering, and to keep our current suffering in perspective. 

Looking into my mother-in-law’s room and watching her sleep, I remind myself that this (suffering) is why He came.  It will be worth it all when she sees Jesus.  And just think, she could see Him very soon!  Yes, this is why He came.  Merry Christmas, Mom C.

Refresh your heart with this truth if you are suffering this Christmas.

Comfort · Family life · refreshment at home · Tablescapes

Mealtime Is What YOU Make It

Every Monday I share a recipe or two with you because I love to cook good food for my family and those I serve in my home. I enjoy it because of what a good meal does for a family. It makes memories and traditions. It binds us together. As our stomachs are nourished, so are our hearts. But there’s a whole other dimension to food that plays into each of those blessings. It’s the whole presentation.

At Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter our dinner tables look like they’re competing for front cover of Southern Living Magazine. The tablecloth is spread out with careful, smoothing strokes. Everyone gets a matching napkin and the centerpiece is well thought out and gorgeous. But what did your lunch look like this past Saturday? Maybe it was just the leftover pizza from your family time the night before, but how was it served? Or even think about Sunday dinner…

  • Did everyone have a real plate?
  • Were there napkins for messy fingers?
  • Where did you sit?
  • If you sat at the table, did you have any kind of covering on it, like a placemat or tablecloth?
  • Was the blessing said?
  • Did you use glasses?
    In regards to the evening meal…
  • Did you add anything special to the dinner table like candles or flowers?
  • Did you all eat at the same time?
  • How was the conversation during the meal?

Good, nourishing, healthy, delicious food is important, but just as important is the way we share it together. I’m not talking about the Pinterest Perfect Presentation of holiday meals – I’m just speaking about making it obvious to the ones we’re serving that we put thought into it. It’s doesn’t have to be fancy or fussy. We don’t have to pull out the china for Sloppy Joes, but I’d encourage you to consider…

  • Plates – Give everyone a real plate – not paper, not a paper towel, but a plate. It doesn’t take that much more effort to wash the plate and they’re more economical, as well as easier to cut on. Pull out those pretty dishes! Use them, rather than saving them for special events. Make today special by putting them on the table for your family!
  • Silverware – For supper, put out a knife, fork and spoon. At lunch you can just make sure the adequate silverware is out.
  • Napkins – I love to use cloth napkins at every meal. One reason is because they’re so much sturdier! They’re also pretty AND economical. I have a collection I’ve gathered over the years, but you can make them easily if you have a machine, or find good deals at places like TJ Maxx.
  • Table cloth or place mats – Eating on a bare table feels cold, in my opinion. You can add a cute place mat or a cloth tablecloth to add a layer of decor and warmth to the table.
  • Centerpiece – For something pretty in the center of the table, you could add fresh flowers from the grocery store in a simple white pitcher or make a seasonal display on a tiered stand.
I have a base platter and outdoor greens from my yard on it, then a small cake stand and a lit candle for a simple centerpiece for a recent Sunday dinner.
  • Glasses – Call me snobbish, but I prefer to use glasses on the table, rather than water bottles. There is one exception, and that’s our favorite carbonated beverage that tastes best in glass bottles! So, everyone has their own preferences, but if I want the table to be a little more special, I like everyone to have a pretty glass.
  • Serving bowls – Putting the food into bowls, rather than setting pots and pans on the dinner table is another way to keep things a little more special.
  • Atmosphere – Playing some soft music in the background is a way to set the tone. Keep conversation pleasant and encouraging. Maybe a “Please leave your phone on the counter” rule would help. 😉 Call everyone to the meal by giving them a heads-up about ten minutes beforehand so they can finish what they’re doing, get washed and to the table.
  • Blessing – We have so much to thank the Lord for! My grandsons pray for the meal by telling God thank you for what they see on their plates. It’s so sweet. Every meal should start with our gratitude for God’s provisions.

Mealtime is a time to gather, to nourish hungry hearts as well as hungry bellies. In this unsettling, strange time, how blessed is the family who can look forward to a simple, yet special time together at your table. The atmosphere is truly up to us, ladies. It will be what we make it. Let’s take the high road and the extra work to create a place where people are thankful to gather for yet another meal.

What area challenges you the most?

Refresh others at your table,

Comfort · Encouragement · Home school

What To Do When You Feel Like You’ve Blown It

Recently on Facebook I read ~

I‘m not gonna lie and say that working a full time job from home and doing full time virtual kindergarten is easy. It’s not been a rose colored glasses world for us. In fact, it’s been hard on ALL of us. And at least 2 of us have shed tears more than once in the last 2.5 weeks (and I’m sure there are more to come). I have felt like a failure as a wife, mom, daughter, teacher, friend, and coworker.#ButGod

Then was this response:

I cried just reading this I think all of us dealing with this feel the same way. Everyday brings it’s own challenges. These last couple of weeks it seems like there’s no give in the stress of trying to maintain some kind if balance. I completely understand where you’re at right now.

Wow! Have we not all been in this place before…multiple times?! I sure have!

Whether it’s homeschooling, marriage, parenting a toddler or a teenager, starting a new job or trying to live the Christian life, Satan wants us to be defeated and he get us there by feeding us his lies:

  • You’ve blown it!
  • No one has done as poor a job in your position as you have!
  • You might as well give up, cave in or quit!
  • You are worthless.

As a wife, mom, leader, homemaker, daughter, friend and home school teacher I have believed every lie listed above. Let me share one memory that stands out vividly in my memory.

It was the first ladies’ retreat where I was invited to come and be the speaker. I had prayed, prepared and perspired over my preparation. I was excited to go and share the Truths God had taught me and I had spent hours and hours studying and praying over each session. Finally the weekend of the retreat came and I flew to Indiana to speak to a precious group of women. God gave me joy in my obedience, and I loved the opportunity that was before me.

Then after the first session, I went back to my hotel room for the night and the attack from Satan came so heavy it brings tears to my mind even now to recall the feeling of defeat that it caused. I stood with my head against the wall and I listened to his lies and I believed every one of them. I swallowed each one like a starving woman on a deserted island. I felt so discouraged and defeated that I wasn’t sure I could go and finish the other two sessions the next day.

It was then that I dropped to my knees, crying out for God’s forgiveness if I had failed Him. Any area of pride was confessed and the understanding of my need for Him overwhelmed me. The Spirit of God then comforted my heart with TRUTH.

My Word will never return void.

I will not suffer your soul to famish. I will give you exactly what you need tomorrow.

Your work will never be perfect. All I ask is faithfulness.

I will do the through you.

I got up, washed my face and went to bed and slept peacefully. The next morning, I took those truths with me as I humbly and gratefully stood before that group of women to again share God’s Word with them.

I have no idea if anyone was helped by that weekend, but the Lord taught me precious lessons that I’ve had to return to over and over again.

  1. Each day I must surrender myself and obey what He tells me to do. I cannot conquer the world, but I can do what He calls me to do. Philippians 4:13
  2. God will fill me with His Spirit and give me exactly what I need at each moment as I walk with Him. Proverbs 10:3
  3. I won’t do anything perfectly, but I am to be faithful and obedient. Proverbs 20:6, Proverbs 28:20, I Samuel 15:20
  4. God can take my feeble words and actions and accomplish great things because He is God. I Corinthians 1:27

Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.

Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown-and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ Name.

Friend, if you’re feeling like you’ve blown it, or that you’re inadequate for the task before, you, talk to the Lord. Admit your inadequacies to Him. You CAN”T do anything without the His help, but HE promises to strengthen you and help you if you will call to Him to do so. Then what is accomplished is all for His glory and none of our own.

You didn’t blow it – you just fell for the enemy’s lies! Start believing the truth instead. Now you can wipe your tears and go in God’s strength to do what He has called you to do.

Click here for more “mom” encouragement! If you could use some “back to school” ideas you can go here, and if you are struggling with the empty nest I’d encourage you to read this post.

Refresh your heart with the Truth,