Archive | April 2013

Blooming in Christ: Praying

Hey y’all! Jenn here with my first post in a series that will, hopefully help me bloom in Christ! I am also hoping you will join me in this growing process.

If you missed the start of this it was a post titled Am I Blooming In Christ? Are You Blooming In Christ? And what I have realized is that I was not blooming in Christ so I have begun working on that. I made a list of the things I was doing when I felt the most growth to compare to what I am doing now…..so I can address the things on the list and correct them!

Well when I realized that I was not blooming I immediately prayed….I prayed for forgiveness and I prayed for help to grow. Then the first thing that was different hit me:

MY PRAYER LIFE

Prayer is sooooo important! Have you ever thought about what is happening when we pray? When we are praying we are talking to God! To GOD! And He, the creator of all things, is stopping to listen to us. It is sometimes hard for me to fathom that God is listening to me. He is listening to my request, He is listening to my heartaches, He is listening to my joys, He is listening to ME! I never did anything to warrant that attention, but because I am His, He freely gives His undivided attention to ME! And not only does He listen to me, but He wants and expects me to talk to Him. What an amazingly beautiful thing to know!

I have never been the best at praying on any type of schedule….actually I am not the best at doing anything on a schedule…..I dislike routine very much. But I am going to try to get in a better prayer routine. I currently pray daily, but not like I should. I tend to pray more when I am upset or asking for something and I seem to pray when it is expected (before eating)…..that is certainly not enough!

So what are my steps to improve my prayer life?
1. Return to writing in my prayer journal everyday.
2. Pray before I get out of bed every morning.
3. Pray before I go to bed every night.
4. Pray before meals (currently when it is just my daughter and I she says the prayer and I don’t)
5. Pray when I see an ambulance, police officer, fire truck, or solider.
6. Pray when ever I think about our country.
7. Pray whenever a child in my life crosses my mind.
8. Pray whenever I start to feel discouraged, angry, upset,or that I am slipping away from God.
9. Pray when I am happy.
10. Pray when I think of all my blessings.

1. I LOVE my prayer journal! A friend told me about this a few years ago and I instantly was in love. I have always been better at writing my feelings down than speaking them and this allows me to write down my innermost thoughts and feelings while talking to God about them. I just took a notebook and started writing. I always write the date of each prayer and I sometimes even use it as a journal also. I used to write in it everyday…..I would write in it after my little girl fell asleep. (I stay with her until she is asleep). I also sometimes would take it with me and write in it during my lunch break at work. It is really neat to look back and see what you prayed for and see how God answered those prayers with either yes, no, or in a little while. I can look back at what I prayed for and really see God working in my life. I can see where I prayed for patience or comfort and received it. It is so wonderful to do a prayer journal, not only to help pray more or in more detail, but also to look back at and see God working I your life. I have recommended a prayer journal to friends, our ladies class, and my middle school girls! But even with knowing how wonderful it is I have fallen off on writing in it….so I am going to pick that back up and I recommended you giving it a try!

2&3. I do not always pray as soon as I wake up or before I go to sleep at night. This is something I want to improve also! I am going to start praying as soon as I wake up, or I may try to wait until my little one wakes up and we pray together first thing….actually I think I will pray on my own once I wake and then pray with her when she wakes, because that will help her learn to pray when she wakes up. I also fail at praying every night…..I pray with my daughter when I put her to bed, but I don’t always say my own prayer. I want to improve this and the prayer journal writing also helps with this.

4. Currently when it is just my daughter and I eating she says the prayer and I usually don’t pray, hers is the only one said. I want to change this, and pray after her so that I am praying more and so that she hears her Mommy praying.

5. Pray when I see a fire truck, ambulance, or police officer. This idea is something I heard of at a ladies day. She recommended praying when you see different things to help improve your prayer life. She specifically recommended praying when you see a police officer, ambulance, fire truck, and a school. You pray for their safety, their salvation, and anyone who may be injured. I thought this was a great idea! But to be honest I have not done a good job adding it to my prayer life. I have been teaching it to my daughter and she now prays when she sees a police officer, ambulance, or fire truck…..but I have failed at applying to myself. So I am going to start using this for myself and add school buildings to the list (I forgot about her saying those until I started writing this post).

6. Pray when I think of our country. We often talk about the direction of our country, but how often do we pray about it? You may do a better job the me, but I am going to start praying whenever I think about our country and where it is going.

7. I am going to start praying when a child in my life crosses my mind. If you are like me you love kids! I love my child, my neice, my nephews, my friends kids who are like a neice and nephew, kids I have at preschool, kids I have taught in Sunday school, kids in our congregations…..I think about different kids all the time. I am going to start praying for them when they cross my mind. I intend on praying for their health, happiness, future, Christian spouses, and most importantly their salvation.

8. Praying when I am discouraged, upset, angry, or feeling like I am slipping from God. If you are like me you sometimes struggle with thinking of God when you are angry or upset or when you don’t feel especially close to God. These are times that I need to lean on Him even more. It is so easy to let negativity pull you from God. It is so easy to wallow in a sad state instead if leaning on God. I want to do better at clinging to Him when I am in a low state.

9. Praying when I am happy. You have probably heard it said that we need trials to bring us closer to God because when things are going great we tend to not lean on Him. I think this is so true. We, or at least I tend to sometimes not lean on God when things are “all good”. I fail to thank Him for those wonderful times. I want to do better at praying and thanking Him when things are going great! Thanking Him for all the happiness I have from His blessings!

10. Pray when I think of my blessings. I don’t think I thank God enough for all he has blessed me with. I take for granted my health, my way of life, my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends, the talents He gave me, the things we have because of Him, my salvation, the list goes on and on. But without Him I wouldn’t have those things, and I feel that I need to express my gratitude more often to God for all He has done for me.

There is really no end or any set list of things to pray for, these are just some points that I am going to try to improve on and I hope that if you struggle in any of these this list will help you to.

As I was writing this I thought about how many scriptures there are about prayer. Online I found an article that said the word prayer or expressions of prayer are found in 61 of the 66 books in the Bible making close to 1,100 distinctive references to and about prayer. That’s A LOT!

I wanted to share a few:

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13

He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. Psalms 91:15

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; Colossians 4:2

There are many more and you can find your favorite!

I hope that you find this helpful in your quest to bloom in Christ. This has really helped me start working on my blooming.

Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!

Until next time!

Love,
Jenn

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Am I blooming in Christ? Are you blooming in Christ?

Hey y’all! Jen here!

Over the past few weeks everything around here has come into full bloom! (My entire families allergies can prove it) The trees are getting leaves, the flowers are opening up, the grass is having to be mowed (more than my hubby likes), and the flowering trees are BEAUTIFUL! I was admiring the ones in front of our church building the other day

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……and the thought, hit me like a ton of bricks…..am I blooming in Christ? Am I growing and blooming and producing fruit like all the wonderful plants are in the process of doing?

I have to tell you I was very scared when my answer was NO! What! When did that happen? I have always been so excited to learn and to grow and to do things for God and His kingdom…..when did I start to get stagnant? I stood there in the parking lot, talking to myself out loud, and I got scared. I do not think there is anything more dangerous for your soul than when you stop growing in Christ. We should grow everyday, we should produce everyday!

I was standing there trying to figure out when it happened (like that was going to correct the problem) and I realized…..DUH….it doesn’t matter when or why, all that matters is that I realized it and now I can correct the problem!

I don’t know if you have ever experienced this problem or not, but it is a serious issue! Do not ever take it lightly if you stop growing, learning, being excited, or doing things for Christ! Christianity is a growing process, that is something I love so much….the learning, the growing, the new understanding of scripture, the new appreciation of what God has done, the new appreciation for your favorite person from scripture….it should never stop.

Well, I immediately started getting on the defensive or is it the offensive…not sure seems as though you sometimes are playing both sides. I started thinking about what I was doing when I felt like I was growing in Christ the most and then comparing that to what I am doing now, that way I would know what had changed and where to started fixing the problem. I am going to take some time over a few post to share these things with you. You may not struggle with any of these things, or just maybe we can bloom into beautiful servants of Christ together!

I hope you will share in this experience with me as I strive to bloom in Christ!

Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!

Love,
Jenn

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Enjoy your child now….tomorrow is not promised.

Hola y’all! Jenn here.

I had been thinking about this topic for some time now and it really hit home for me with recent events.

Do you ever feel like you are just going through the motions with your child? I was starting to feel that way recently and it was really bothering me. I was feeling like I wasn’t taking the time to enjoy all the little things and the little moments with her. Judge me if you want, but I felt like life was happening and getting in the way.

We wake up and immediately start doing things: Eat, get ready, pack lunches, make sure we have everything, take out the dog, make beds, clean some, rush out the door. Then come home from preschool and immediately start doing things. I don’t like it! I don’t like not taking time to just stop and enjoy the little things.

Don’t get me wrong we still were doing things together like playing with toys, going for walks, going to the playground, pretending…..but sometimes while doing these things I would be thinking about other things and not really paying attention (listening) to my daughter. Or have you done this: taken your child to do something fun and then spend the whole time fussing at them for some little thing or rushing them so they don’t really get to enjoy it.

As I pondered these things I felt a heavy heart…I don’t want to be that way…..then my daughter had a seizure….I was so scared! What if something had happened? What if she is now going to have them frequently? What if the seizure had caused some sort of permanent damage? I want to enjoy every moment with my child because I am not promised another moment.

So hear is my advice to myself and you: Let’s try harder to really play and enjoy our children! Take the time to go on walks, picnics, go to the library, read to them, pretend with them, surprise them with ice cream, turn off the tv, have family game night, family movie night, ride bikes, take them to the zoo, take them fishing, take them on trip/adventures, teach them about God, truly listen to them when they talk, hold them, hug them…..you never know if you will have another chance to do those things. Take time for your children and let it REALLY be time for THEM! It’s amazing what you as the parent will gain and imagine the relationship you will have when they know and experience how much you love and care for them!

There used to be a saying that its not the quantity of time you spend with your child but the quality. I heard someone speak about how bad that quote was and it was quantity that was needed. I think it is both. We can’t be with our children every second and parents need time alone, but I think our children deserve as much quantity of us as they can get and that quantity of time should be quality time. It is the same as your relationship with God…to have that right relationship you need a quantity of quality time.

Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today.

Bye for now,
Jenn

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Eye Makeup Remover-DIY

Hey y’all! Jess here with a beauty product DIY that is sure to save you time and best of all, money!

I came across a pin on Pinterest one day for a DIY eye makeup remover and instantly pinned it, with every good intention of making it the next time I ran out of my store-bought remover, which I certainly did! I scanned the list of ingredients, and to my surprise, there were only 3 ingredients listed! That’s way less than what’s in my store-bought remover, and as a bonus, I already had them on hand!
To make your own eye makeup remover, you’ll need 1 cup of water, 1 1/2 Tbs. baby shampoo (I used Johnson’s brand), and 1/8 tsp. of olive oil. Whisk together and pour into a medium-sized bottle or two. This recipe makes enough to refill my old remover bottle, and about half of a travel-sized bottle I bought. That’s definitely more quantity than you’d get at the store, and you can’t beat the price! A bottle of remover costs me about $5 to buy premade, but to make my own, about half as much. And I think it works great! It even cleans off my waterproof mascara easily.
For all you ladies who wear eye makeup daily like me, this DIY eye makeup remover is a like a dream…for your eyes and your pocketbook!

To see more beauty pinspirations, feel free to follow me on Pinterest!

Until next time!

Page-Turning Mondays:”Princess Penelope Takes Charge”

Hey all! Jenn here with another page turning Monday installment 🙂

I do not have a craft to go with this book, but I wanted to share this book with you because it has changed a common prayer in my house and it may help you someday.

The book is titled “Princess Penelope Takes Charge”. Written by Todd Mack and illustrated by Julia Gran.

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This is such a cute book about a little girl named Penelope who has everything, well almost everything…..the only thing missing is that she wants to be a big sister. So when she find out she is going to be a big sister she is SUPER excited! She, of course wants a sister so when she finds out she has a baby brother she pouts around and doesn’t want to play with him. Then she slowly comes around and realizes having a brother isn’t so bad, and she now has a little prince, so she is truly a princess who has everything.

This book is soooo adorable! I am sure this an issue for a lot of little girls because if they are anything like mine, a baby sister is/was the only option. My daughter has been praying for a little over a year now for God to specifically give her a “baby sister and not a baby brother”. We have explained to her that if we are blessed with another child we can not pick if it is a boy or girl, but she of course still was praying specifically for a sister. But the first time her daddy read her this book she said “awww, a baby brother wouldn’t be so bad.”. Now when she prays she prays for a baby sister OR a baby brother.

Hope you enjoy the book and maybe it will even help one day to change your little princesses mind about a baby brother 😉

Don’t forget to do someone to make someone smile today!

Bye for now,
Jennifer

DIY Days: VINEGAR: who knew?

Hola y’all! Jenn here with a DIY day.

So I titled this VINEGAR: who knew?…..well apparently everyone except me 😉

As I have shared with you I am trying to change my eating and drinking to more all natural….well that has progressed now to my lotion(which is a post for another day) and my household cleaners which is today’s topic.

I have a girlfriend who has talked to me about her love of vinegar for a long time, but I never gave it much thought. I Iike the smell of clean I get from the store bought cleaners and I like the convenience of them. Then one day I was cleaning my bathroom and I really began to think about all the chemicals I was breathing in, what my 4 yr old was breathing in, and worse what chemicals my family may be picking up from the kitchen counter! I then laughed, called my friend an informed her she broke me! Don’t worry she knows I love her 😉

I then immediately started pinning all sorts of natural cleaners and imagine my surprise to learn that all I needed was water, vinegar, and alcohol! WHAT! It’s that simple and cheap!! I was floored and so excited to tell people….that’s when I realized I was apparently the only one who didn’t know this already.

Today I want to share with you some of my favorites that work great! These cover windows, floors, bathrooms, and my granite counter tops!

The first is simple!

1 cup Vinegar
1 cup Water
-put in spray bottle and clean!
-use on hardwood floors(I have a Cedar spray mop so pour straight in and clean)
I use this to clean my granite counter tops, my bathroom counters, my toilets, the tile bathroom floor, and my hardwood floors (mine have a super shiny finish and this makes them shine)

The next is a DIY Windex.

1 cup Water
1 cup Rubbing Alcohol
1 tblsp Vinegar
-put all ingredients together in a spray bottle and be amazed!

I LOVE THIS! It works so wonderfully! You would never know by looking at my windows or mirrors that I use a DIY product! I also like the smell of this one-smells clean!

I have used this on my floors and it works great, but I did it by accident and I have not seen any cleaners using alcohol on hardwoods and I have not researched to see if it could mess up my finish. So not recommending it as a hardwood floor cleaner. (I Grabbed the wrong bottle and poured it into my spray mop.) Oops!

Really simple, cheap, and no worries about chemicals!! I can clean and not worry about what we are being exposed to. Love it! Makes Mommy Happy Happy Happy!!

Hope you enjoy! More to come on being more natural/going granola and how great/fun it is to live that way!!

Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!

Bye for now,
Jenn

Page Turning Mondays: “Have you seen birds?”

Hola All! Jennifer here with my first ever try at a Page Turning Monday post. Jess asked me if I would like to help with these last year, but I said I needed to wait until we had moved….well that was in December and this is the first one I have gotten together…..sorry for the delay!

My little girl LOVES birds! She used to sit on the front porch with her Granny and they would watch the “birbs” when she was very little and that has turned into a true love and interest in birds. So imagine my happiness when we were given a some books and one was titled Have You Seen Birds? The book is written by Jane Oppenheim with Barbara Reid. It is a very cute book that has pictures of different types of birds and each page will ask if you have seen this type of bird. The book does not have the name of the bird, but rather a picture of the bird and characteristics that are unique to that bird. We have fun reading it and learning about traits specific to different birds.

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We sat outside on Saturday and read this book and talked about the different types of birds, who made the birds, and what day they were made on, then we had some fun! We refilled our bird feeder. Our bird feeder is a simple craft that you could do with your little one. She made this in Bible class and it is so adorable! It is simply the base of a flower pot and is written on with sharpie (you could write whatever you like) then they used sponge brushes in the shapes of birds and put birds on it. Obviously, the sponge birds shapes are cute, but you could have them paint anything they would like, or draw. Whatever you prefer and works best for the little one.

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After that we made something that I found on Pinterest. You take yarn and cut it up into pieces small enough for a bird to carry away in their beak and then put that yarn into that green wire thing(I have looked for name and can’t find sorry) that hangs near your bird feeder. And supposedly the birds take these pieces of yarn and use them when making their nest :). Kaitlyn enjoyed picking out the yarn (she chose pink of course) and cutting it into pieces.

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We then worked on one last project. While I worked on lunch she made a bird feeder out of peanut butter and a pinecone. This was messy but awesome! Just take a large pinecone, let them smear peanut butter all over it, sprinkle birdseed over it (it sticks to the peanut butter) then hang outside!

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I still have a few other bird feeder ideas pinned to try at a later date…..so hopefully you will get to see those in a future post with a different bird book 🙂 If you don’t want to wait then you can check them out on my Pinterest Jennifer Donovant under the boards “Must Make” and “Crafts for Kids”.

I hope you have enjoyed my first ever Page Turning Monday post! I enjoyed writing it! And what’s crazy is that I have done this entire post while sitting in the waiting room of a doc office waiting to be called back! Hope they call me soon 🙂

Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!

Bye for now,
Jenn