Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 31 of 31 Days of Peace

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Numbers 6:24-26
“‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’ 

All month we have devoted time toward how we are to try to gain self control and guard our mouths to help regain peace in our homes.  We have considered how we are to model the peace we desire to see.  The above verses, however, remind us of the most important way we are to gain peace.  Each verse tells us something about how peace comes to us.   The following verbs are used "give", "fill", and "leave".  These are active verbs.  Someone is giving us His peace, filling us with peace and leaving us with peace.  

We need to go to Him who gives peace and request the gift of the giver.  We need to daily take captive our thoughts and tongues.  We need to make the effort necessary to achieve the goal.  But mostly, we need to ask the gift of the Giver and be willing to do the work necessary to unwrap the gift.  

As we close this month of "Peace" take a moment to review in your mind the verses we've read.  Choose the one or two that speak deep to your soul.  Begin to pray those words back to God as you seek His help in establishing an environment of peace in your home.  No situation is too great of the grace of God. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day 28 of 31 Days of Peace

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.  Against such things there is no law.

One cannot do a series on peace without including this well-known and well loved passage.  Peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit.  Peace is not really optional, if you look at it in this sense.  We are supposed to seek His Spirit.  We are to develop the Spirit in us to resemble Him more each day.  Part of that "resemblance" is peace. 

Each day, choose peace.  Choose to conform your Spirit to His and grow the fruit that shows that we belong to Him.

Day 27 of 31 Days of Peace

Jude 1:2
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

This is the opening of a letter to " those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ"

How often do we really pray this for ourselves and our families and our brothers and sisters of the faith?  For as often as we whine, roll our eyes and complain about the lack of peace in our homes, how often do we come before our Lord, Jesus and ask him for the mercy, peace and love that He desires us to have in abundance?   

Today, take that time and pray.  Pray for the peace.  Pray that the verses we have been reading will penetrate first your heart and allow you to overflow with peace and joy to change the environment in your home.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Homemade Play Dough

My kids take random bouts of interest in playing with play dough.  I rarely buy store bought play dough, but occasionally the kids will get interested so we whip together a batch of "Kool-Aid Play Dough"

2 packages Kool-Aid
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
mix dry ingredients together

Add 2 cups boiling water and
3Tbsp vegetable oil

Mix together to form a ball.  Sprinkle table with flour and knead dough.  Be careful, it will be HOT!

Once kneaded to desired consistency, play.  Can be stored in zippered bags for several weeks.

Day 26 of 31 Days of Peace

Today's verse is Isaiah 32:18, but I wanted to include the entire passage.

Isaiah 32:17-19
17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace;
    its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.
18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
    in secure homes,
    in undisturbed places of rest.
19 Though hail flattens the forest
    and the city is leveled completely,

This passage shows us what God intends for his people:  quietness, confidence, peacefully dwelling places, secure homes, undisturbed places of rest - regardless of circumstances.  I desire all the good things God has for me and my family.  Do you believe these blessings can be yours?


6-8 Large Tomatoes (chopped)
3-4 Green Peppers (chopped) Zucchini works also
2 Onions (chopped)
4 Cloves Garlic
3 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Package Taco Seasoning Mix
1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Parsley
1 Tbsp Cilantro
2 Limes (don't leave out) zested and juiced
1/3 cup
jalapeno peppers (optional)

This is the recipe as I was given it. I made a few (slight) modifications.  I added extra lime juice.  I was freezing the tomato, peppers, etc. mix because they were going to go bad before I could get the limes and jalapeno peppers bought.  I forgot to add the parsley.   I only used 2 oz (per batch) of jalapenos.  I doubled the recipe and got 5 pints of salsa.  Even my children, who don't generally like salsa, were eating it!

I must admit, it took a while.  I'm not a fast cook.  I blanched the tomatoes to make peeling easier.  I stood and chopped for a long while.  I don't have a food processor, I'm not sure how well it would have worked.  

I was very pleased with how my first batch of salsa turned out.  After it was heated for the canning process, I was less pleased with the flavor, but it had been very runny before and was much better after. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 24 (and 25) of 31 Days of Peace

One of the greatest difficulties in this series, besides doing it daily, has been finding my own words to add any measure of understanding or reflection upon what God says in His Word. So today I offer to you two verses from God's Word about being a peacemaker and ask you to reflect for yourself upon two questions:  Am I a peacemaker?  How can I become one (or a better one) in my home?

Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

James 3:18
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 23 of 31 Days of Peace

Proverbs 12:18
The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
 but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

We read previously about the healing power of words.  Again this verse tells us that words are powerful.  They can be destructive or healing in power.   Why do I keep harping on our words when I'm talking about the peaceful homes? 

In my experience, it is words that most disrupt the calm, peaceful attitude of the home.  It is the spoken word that upsets children, causes mothers to get irrational and fathers to get frustrated.  Any scuffle is escalated in intensity by the verbal reaction of the parties involved.  A well placed spoken word can reduce the intensity, returning all involved to a state of relative calm rather than creating an environment of hostility. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 21 (and 22) of 31 Days of Peace

Okay, wives, I"m not letting up on you tonight.  Wish I could, but it seems pretty clear that this is an important issue in creating an environment of peace.  

Proverbs 21:9
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Proverbs 25:24
Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

No, that is not a typo.  You read that correctly.  Twice in the book of Proverbs we have the same passage.  Not just pretty similar idea, the same.  Admittedly, I haven't read it in the original, if you have please let us know, but when you check the different versions, they still match.

If the previous verses we discussed on Days 19 and 20 say it is better to live in the desert than with a nagging wife and compare a nagging wife to a leaking roof, and twice we read it would be better to live outside on the roof than in a (many translations indicate large) house with a nagging wife, can we really deny the need to address this in ourselves?

Remember, moms, what you model becomes acceptable to your sons.  Would you be happy to hear a daughter-in-law talk to your son like you talk to your husband? 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 19 (and 20) of 31 Days of Peace

Some of us had better hope our husbands don't read these verses too carefully.

Proverbs 21:19
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

Proverbs 27:15
A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm.

I've been focusing most of my thoughts of how to bring about peace in my home toward my interaction with my children and their interaction with each other.  But it is equally, if not more, important to have a peaceful interaction between husband and wife.  I'm not a husband and don't feel qualified to give much advice to them.  But I am a wife and have struggled through the above verses, and can share my experiences to encourage other wives. 

The Bible, the book that we as Christians look to for advice on how to live a full and rich life, mentions nagging quarrelsome wives, not once but multiple times.  Perhaps we ought to take a look.  A look at ourselves.  Are we nagging?  Quarrelsome?  Show of hands time, who here has had an argument in your head with your husband while he's gone at work which ends with him coming home in trouble for "his end" of the argument that he wasn't even part of?  I knew I couldn't be the only one!

I once had a pastor ask whether we would rather be "right" or "in relationship"?  That is not to say we never have opinions, never voice concerns, never disagree.  But there are many arguments in marriage that are simply about being right.

"Turn left.  It's the fastest way to get there this time of day."
"No, going straight is faster."
"No, I'm telling you, turning left will save 2 minutes with traffic like this."

And on and on this discussion goes until one party is mad that the other didn't listen to them and they arrive at the restaurant two minutes later than they would have.  Both spouses are angry and a nice dinner is ruined because we care more that we are right about the traffic than that we enjoy a few minutes with each other.

While that argument sounds silly, I encourage you, look at your interactions with your spouse.  Have you ever, upon retrospect, had an argument over things that are of similar importance?  Things with no eternal value?  Does it matter which way the towels get folded?

Share your experience, what is a ridiculous argument you felt justified in participating in, knowing you were "right" that you now realize was of no lasting value?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 18 of 31 Days of Peace

Proof positive that I am not yet wise:

Ecclesiastes 10:12

Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, 
but fools are consumed by their own lips.

 I often wonder if I will ever learn to manage my tongue and not become consumed by my own lips. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 16 (and 17) of 31 Days of Peace

Proverbs 15:26
The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked, 
but gracious words are pure in his sight.

This verse equates thoughts with words.  We need to take our thoughts captive and use gracious words to honor and please the Lord.  

Proverbs 16:24
Gracious words are a honeycomb, 
 sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Here we see that gracious words are healing.  How often do we damage and destroy with our words?  Are we using them to heal, to build up our friends and loved ones?  Our enemies?

Now that we are half way through our 31 Days of Peace, I want to encourage you to review the verses we've studied so far.  What do they say to you about creating an environment of peace by controlling the use of our mouths?  What practical ways can you use words to further the peace in your home?  I encourage you to choose a verse and begin to recite it to yourself, I personally like Proverbs 16:24 above, to help you begin to develop the habit of speaking kindly and carefully to your loved ones. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 14 (and 15) of 31 Days of Peace

How do we foster an environment of peace in our homes?  We've been looking at verses from the Bible that teach us that our actions, and more specifically our words, are what create the environment in which we live.  Below are two more verses about our mouths:

Matthew 12:34
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil 
say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Proverbs 36:3
The words of their mouths are wicked and 
deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good.

We are plainly told that in those who are evil reside mouths that are evil.  From that, can we extrapolate that in those who are good reside mouths that speak good?  "The mouth speaks what the heart is full of."  What is coming out of your mouth?  Are you speaking good in front of your children? 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 12 (and 13) of 31 Days of Peace

My apologies for missing yesterday.  As I sat down to write, my wrist ached too much, forcing me to postpone.  When I pulled up today's verse, I was amused to see that, much to my surprise, it was pretty well the same as yesterdays.  So I will share them both here:

Matthew 15:11 "What goes into someone’s mouth 
does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
Matthew 15:18 "But the things that come out of a person’s mouth
 come from the heart, and these defile them."

This entire passage, Matthew 15:1- 20 deals with the Pharisees coming after Jesus for not following "traditions", specifically ceremonial hand washing before meals.  Jesus retorts that they break God's law to uphold their tradition (please read the entire passage for better understanding).  Then He explains that which we put in of our mouths isn't the problem, it's that which we spew from our mouths that shows our true heart.  

One can eat all the right and good things, but that will never make them "good'.  It seems to me that this is a comparison of works versus faith.  Relying upon what you put into your body to make you holy and pure is tantamount to relying upon works to make you pure and righteous.  But that can never change our heart.  We must receive a heart change in order that we can put forth good and pure things from our mouths.  

We are defiled by what we speak, the words that portray the inner heart that we try to hide.  Ask yourself, have I defiled myself with my words recently?  Pray for the heart change necessary to change the words of your mouth.   

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 11 of 31 Days of Peace

Proverbs 20:3
It is to one’s honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.
Do you ever feel the need to bicker, argue and fight to defend your "honor", your pride?  Ever feel like if you can just get one more word in the world will see that you are right and revere you for the amazing genius that you are?  Me neither.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10 of 31 Days of Peace

Proverbs 15:18
 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,
    but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
I don't know that there is much I can add to this.  We must choose which disposition we desire to put on ourselves, hot-tempered or patient.  We must practice patience, failing often but picking up and trying again at every opportunity.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 8 (and 9) of 31 Days of Peace

2 Timothy 2:23-24
Don’t have anything to do with arguing. 
It is dumb and foolish. You know it only leads to fights.

The two verses we are discussing today are taken from the New International Readers' Version, designed to make more sense to kids.  This is the version my kids are memorizing because the NIV says "stupid" and my kids aren't allowed to say that, so they were happier with this version.  This verse comes directly before the verse I blogged about on Day 5.  But it relates well to the verses we were discussing on Days 6 and 7.   If the verses so far have left any doubt, this surely does not.  "Don't have anything to do with arguing.  It is dumb and foolish."  Well, okay then. 

James 4:1   
Why do you fight and argue among yourselves? 
Isn’t it because of your sinful longings? They fight inside you.

This verse is not fun.  Instead of just telling you not to fight, it makes you look into yourself, look at your heart.  I don't know about you, but often when I do that, I find that I don't like what I see.  This makes sense in light of the verses admonishing us to drop our quarrels.  If, in fact, our fights and arguments are based upon sinful longings, then we out to be willing and in fact eager to take each opportunity to take captive those thoughts and yearnings and drop whatever is causing divisive, sinful feelings. 


Monday, October 8, 2012

Days 6 (and 7) of 31 Days of Peace

Proverbs 17:14 & 19
14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
    so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

19 Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin;
    whoever builds a high gate invites destruction.

I love how verse 14 says to drop the matter.  It seems so simplistic, "so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out." The verse after this one says that God hates for the guilty to be acquitted, so it seems clear that God isn't speaking of just letting other people do bad things to you all the time.  It seems to me He is speaking of those silly useless quarrels, which we all have, over trivial things.  

Ever fight with your spouse of toothpaste?  Or who had to get up and turn the light off last night?  Those quarrels, bickering silliness, truly can be like breaching a dam.  Suppressing those feelings of frustration is just as bad, as that is what causes the dam that is breached to be so damaging.  

No, God doesn't want us to be victims.  And he doesn't want us to hold back years of frustration to pour forth upon the unsuspecting loved one when we can hold the dam no longer.  He does want us to "drop the matter".  Drop does not imply hide, it means let it go.  Stop making it an issue.  So many little issues between my kids would not exist if they chose to drop them, let them go.  They wouldn't even care in five minutes.  

The same is true for many marriages.  Many marriages are lost of trifles. 

Verse 19 relates to verse 14.  "Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin".  Some of you  think, "Who would love a quarrel?"  But a few of you out there are like me, or like I used to be.  You deep down love a good argument.  It gets your blood pumping, adrenaline flowing.  It leaves you feeling quite satisfied, dare I say - proud.  But God says loving quarrels means loving sin.  That's harsh.  Or is it?  God clearly shows us in His word that quarreling isn't what He has in mind for His children.  We need to seek first His will, His kingdom.  Or we are first seeking the world and sin.  

God made provisions for what his people should do should a dispute arise.  Clearly He knew we would have disagreements and miscommunications, as fallible humans.  We can see from His love and care that He has ways to settle these disputes and issues, therefore when He tells us not to quarrel but rather let it drop, we can trust that He knows what is best for us and understands the difference between a need for justice and a selfish need to be right.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 5 of 31 Days of Peace

2 Timothy 2:24
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome 
but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
Today's verse brings in two new ideas we haven't discussed before, yet are so true in the lives of my children:  the ability to teach and the idea of not being resentful.  Having a larger family, my children are called upon to teach one another in many ways, not just academically.  I believe in varying ways we all teach, regardless of the family size.  But I can see many times when one of my older children gets so upset because "How can you not know that!" 
Am I guilty of that?  Only too often.  I fume and fuss because they didn't know, which is because I failed to teach.  We instruct intentionally, and unintentionally, continually.  We teach with our lives, our actions and our words.  We need to show love, kindness and patience when we teach our children or anyone God places in our lives.  
He also tells us to not be resentful.  How often do we outwardly perform these tasks He has commanded, yet inwardly sulk and scowl, complaining at the lack of worthiness of those to whom we are showing "love".  Not only are we called to behave in a certain manner, we are to reign in our emotions, control our feelings. 

How contrary this idea is to that which the world would have us believe.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 3 (and 4) of 31 Days of Peace

Momma's mood, temperament and manner of speech set the environment of the home.  This is a painful reality as I wonder why my children speak so unkindly to one another.  I have, unwittingly, fostered this environment and now, with the help of this 31 day series on peace, I begin the process of changing the verbal and emotional atmosphere of my home.

Ephesians 4:2 -
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
The above verse speaks of being patient, treating each other gently and being humble.  This idea of being humble as related to how we treat one another was new to me.  I hadn't considered that part of the problem lies in our pride, in our belief that we are, in some way, superior to the person toward whom we are behaving poorly.    

But the following verse really impacted me, and I believe my kids as well:
Hebrews 5:2 -
He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness.

Oh, my.  Relating to others in light of the fact that we are weak, fallen creatures who should treat other as gently as perhaps we would like to be treated.  

I realize that I need to employ these verses in my manner and speech more than I expect in that of my children.  How do I speak to them when they are making poor choices, being disruptive or in general annoying me?  

All I need to do to find out is to listen to how they treat one another in the same situation.  Then I see clearly how I have spoken to them for way too long.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 2 of 31 Days of Peace

Titus 3:1-2 says
"Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good,  to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone."

We are going to focus today on verse 2:  "to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone."

I have found lately that my children seem to look for reasons to fight and bicker.  They will be happily playing one minute and a shrieking match will ensue the next.  This verse in Titus helps us see some basic ways we can each work to restore peace in our environment. 

Slander is the spoken word used against someone, in an attempt to malign them and their character.  Most of us would like to say we don't do that.  But do we?  I know I am guilty as charged.  I've been known to feel the need to be sure that others know what he did or she said, you know, just the facts.  But again the bible shows us that our words are important and under our control.  It is not up to us to be sure others know what wrong someone has committed. 

Then I look at the next phrase "to be peaceful and considerate".  That statement brings to my mind a pictures of a sweet, serene, lovely lady.  I've known some of these.  I'm willing to bet you have, too.  Are we born naturally that way?  Do we have control over behaving in a peaceful, considerate manner?  Clearly we do, as God commands it of us.  He wouldn't tell us to be peaceful if it was something that only the naturally born peaceful people could achieve.   We must actively decide to behave peacefully, not trying to "stir up anger" as yesterday's verse suggested. 

"Be gentle toward everyone."  Did that say just those you like?  Just those who are gentle toward you?  Just those who can help your career?  Your ministry?  No.  Everyone.  This includes your siblings, your spouse and *gulp* your children.  Everyone.  

The more I look into bible verses that encourage and help us develop our character, the more I see it as an active work.  Despite our natural inclination, we must work to achieve the character we admire.  Those gentle, serene ladies are not that way by birth or inclination, but by years of cultivation.  Let me cultivate that gentleness in myself and lead my children to do the same.  

Check out the other 31 Dayers here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 Days of Peace

In the blogging world. many people are using this month as a 31 Day Challenge.  I was inspired by a blog I love, A Slob Comes Clean, to create a 31 Day Challenge of my own, focusing on a single topic for 31 days.  I am not a consistent blogger, so this is a challenge in more ways than one for me, but it nicely coincided with a challenge I've given my kids to begin to speak peacefully in our home.  So I opted to combine the two and find a verse or famous quote to study every day and write a post around it.

So here goes:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  Proverbs 15:1

Take a moment to really reflect upon the words.  A gentle answer - to me that implies a response, not just speaking gently but answering or responding to someone.  Stirs up anger - this makes me think that the anger is existing but the harsh word stirs it, increasing its potency.

When someone comes at you with angry words or is upset, you have two choices.  A gentle answer or a harsh word.  The result of your words can diffuse or escalate a potentially already tumultuous situation.  You have no control over how someone approaches you, nor the attitude they express.  You do have control of, and responsibility to demonstrate control of, your own tongue.  This verse reminds us, as we have all experienced, that how we respond can make a big difference.

I'm linking this and the following posts of this series to The Nester's 31 Day Challenge.

Holiday World 2011!

Holiday World 2011!

Baby # 6

Baby # 6
Welcome to the world and welcome to our crazy family!

Fort Benning

Fort Benning
We finally made it to Georgia!!!

Just a day at the park!

Just a day at the park!

My Hero!

My Hero!
I don't do dead things. Fortunately for me, God gave me boys!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!
Daddy and Grandma make Jammies every year for the kids, They love it!

Christmas in PJs

Christmas in PJs
Don't I just have the cutest kids?

2010 Jammies

2010 Jammies
Once again Daddy pulled it off. They look cute!

Round 2 birthday parties

Round 2 birthday parties
Cake number 1 of 3 done. I am so not an artist, but I think it came out pretty well!

My Girls

My Girls
Borrowed dance clothes, my girls sure look cute.

Couped up

Couped up
More images below showing the children feeling a bit "couped up" from the long winter!

Chickens: Take 2

Chickens: Take 2
Cute chicks!

The robot cake. I am glad my kids' standards aren't as high as mine!

Tree Climbers

Tree Climbers

Summer Fun!

Summer Fun!
Hi Daddy! Hope you are having fun at work!

This one is so bad, I had to label the cake so you would know it's not a cow!

Dressed for Church!

Dressed for Church!
Come as your favorite Bible character night!

Too cute for words!

If the boy wasn't so tall, I could get a picture of his face!

Establishing the pecking order!