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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mid-Week Motivation

Starting Your Day Out Right!
Scripture, Short Devotion

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” ~2 Peter 3:18
Last week we talked about the Spiritual milk we all need at the beginning of our faith walk; that simple, child-like faith that allows us to place our trust for eternity in the capable hands of God, our Creator. This week, I’d like for us to consider our rate of growth. Not each of our growth rates will be equal. After all, the Bible does indicate that more will be required of some than others. What we should all be striving for is true growth though. I believe just as this verse indicates, it begins with getting to know our Savior. How do we do that? We can start by reading about His life on earth. Back in 2005 I wrote how “Jesus was a radical” and challenged that:
“If we’re going to carry out the great commission, we’ve got to get in touch with this radical, born of a virgin, healing, truth speaking, loving, sacrificing, Son of God Almighty…If we don’t get to know our Savior, how can we be called His followers much less believers in His Name?”

I’d like to challenge all of us as believers to start this year with a fresh reading of the life of Christ. Pick any of the gospels and begin today.

(Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)

Is Your House in Order?
Cleaning, parenting, marriage, organization tips, etc.

Did you keep your sink shiny all week? What about most of the week? If you’ve got this habit under your belt, it’s time to take the next step to re-claiming your home. According to the FlyLady, we now need to come up with our “morning routines”. So, take a moment and brainstorm about some things you can do each morning after you wake. Here’s an example of a morning routine:

Make Bed
Prayer/Bible Study
Review Goals
Prepare Breakfast

Get your routine on paper and begin doing it tomorrow morning. This week, your only focus toward re-ordering your home is keeping that sink shiny (that's tough to say) and working your morning routine. You can do this!

Afternoon Pick Me Up
Writing inspiration

How is your one sentence summary from last week coming along? Did you get it all fleshed out and on paper? If you did, I’ve got your next assignment. This week, turn that sentence into a five sentence paragraph. The first sentence should give an introduction to the piece. The next three should tell about three distinct areas of the piece (acts, major disasters/conflict, and points). The final sentence is how it will all wrap up.

You’ve got all week, but you may find yourself writing and re-writing not just your paragraph but your sentence summary also. That’s ok because things tend to change as the piece goes from merely an idea to a living, breathing work of art.

Source: The Snowflake Method

What's For Dinner?
Quick dinners, crock pots, etc.

This week I’d like to go a little more into detail about the first two steps to freezer cooking. It is a several day process, but since we’re still “baby-stepping” through this thing, let’s begin with “planning”.

Step One: We Plan!
“Set Dates for Planning, Shopping and Cooking” – My first session took me days to complete. Most of that was due to inexperience. It took me about six days altogether to get from zero to 17 entrees in my freezer. I’ll tell you that it does get faster as my last session producing 83 entrees took me less than 4 days. At first, expect it to go slow and if it goes faster you can be pleasantly surprised rather than frustrated.

“Take Inventory” – This is time consuming but I really think it is necessary (especially the first time) to take a FULL inventory of what you already have on hand. This will be helpful knowledge when you’re choosing your recipes. Now that I know what I’m doing, I typically only check the items I’ll use in my recipes.

“Choose Your Recipes” – I purchased the 30 Day Gourmet book but you can convert most recipes to a freezable version with a little knowledge. I wanted to go easier my first time out so I used their book. Try to only pick about 3-5 recipes your first time and do several of each. Look for simple and know that as you get better at it, you can get more and more adventurous later on.

“Plan Your Containers” – This is important actually. When you’re deciding what to store your food in you need to consider space and safety. I personally use a lot of one gallon freezer bags. I used the kind with the zippers because they were easier but I’ve also found that they tend to leak (not safe) more often than the double seal ones. If you use rigid containers (like I do for the lasagna & meatloaf recipes) you’ll need to factor in space as well. Be sure to realistically consider the amount of room you have in your freezer. After my second session my husband surprised me with a chest freezer for the garage. Before you make huge investments in rigid containers and freezers though, give it a try with freezer bags and what you already have to see if this is something you really want to keep doing. Another tip, ALWAYS buy more freezer bags than you think you’ll need. Inevitably I usually end up with something I need to store in the freezer (like extra cheese or sauces).

Step Two: We Shop!
You’ve got your lists and you’re ready to go. To save more money, you can clip coupons for items on your lists and check store ads for bargains on bulk items. You can also do some “bulk” shopping at places like Costco. Plan a day for this. When you go, be sure to take a cooler with you if you’re hitting several stores and the weather is warm. Do not do your shopping any more than one day prior to preparation day. Here's a great tip from the 30 Day Gourmet site:

"Before you go, clean out your refrigerator and freezer. You will need as much room as possible for all of those groceries and you won’t feel like doing it after you drag all of that food into the kitchen!"

So, that’s the first two steps in the process of freezer cooking. It may seem overwhelming but once you get them down, it really does go fast.

Source: 30DayGourmet

A Restful Night's Sleep
Scripture for a restful sleep

"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

This is the beckoning of our precious Savior. He wants to know us. Invest some time in Him and you’ll find that He longs to give you rest. Just last night, I couldn’t sleep so I lay prostrate on the floor and told God all that worried me. He traded yokes with me as I prayed and read scripture about His strength and help. Tonight, when you crawl into your warm bed, tell Him what you are wearied and burdened about. His yoke is indeed easy…it is light. Don’t forget the importance of “learning from Him” though. I trust you already have plans to continue reading one of the gospels tomorrow, but for now, “find rest for your soul” in Him.

J. Blair Lane, founder of the child-loss support site, A Treasure In Heaven, is passionate about faith, family and writing. A resident of Texas, she travels with her husband of eleven years, Erik and homeschools their four living children. You can visit her blog at Scribblings by Blair.


pandacanup said...

Great post, Blair! I especially liked the "Scripture for a restful sleep" piece...Oh, wait a minute, I wasn't supposed to read that yet, right?! Thanks for sharing some great thoughts.

Blair said...

LOL - thanks Chanda!

ckb said...

Baby Steppin' - what a delightfully refreshing idea. At my age of 54, I have tried many things to get control of the out of control areas of my life. It seems that now everywhere I turn the Lord keeps giving me the same message - a message of balance and taking back my life bit by bit rather than my usual do or die approach, which has always ended in the fizzle and die sooner than later. Thanks for being God's conduit for reinforcing His simple but profound message to me.

Blair said...

Hi CKB - I'm typically a "do-or-die" gal too. The Lord is working on me in the "baby-stepping" area as well. Thanks for dropping by and thank you for the kind remarks!