October 31, 2010

Gracious Essential Four: Tame Tongue

"None of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. " - James 3:2 (The Message)
This used to be one of those areas that I felt I was really getting the hang of.  I tried to be mindful of every word I spoke, taking the scriptures quite literally:
"And I tell you this, that you must give an account on judgement day of every idle word you speak." - Matthew 12:36 (NLT)
My husband can confirm, I was crazy about it!  I went as far as trying not to say "whatever," because it seemed a word with no real meaning.  Of course I stayed away from the typical curse words and even some harsh-sounding words.  But as of late, I realized that I haven't been quite as diligent in watching my idle words. Want a good wake up call?  Have a 2 year old and a 4 year old follow you around for a few days.  They start repeating things you didn't realize you even said...to your friends, parents, random people at the grocery store...
Most of the parents I've talked to agreed that having toddler-aged children is what made them realize they needed to get their words in check, quickly. So, I'll take it as a blessing, having my every discussion and discipline on repeat for the world to hear, because I really want to do my best to tame my tongue.  Why?
"A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything - or destroy it!  A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.  By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos...with our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women He made in His image."  - James 3:5-6, 9 (The Message)
If this is the one area that could help us keep the rest of our lives in check, why isn't this our focus!?  I know that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34), so I first must fill my heart with Truth and then I will begin to see a change in my thoughts, actions and words.
One of the best ways I know how to do that is memorizing scripture.  Then begin re-evaluting your life and what you are putting into your heart: friendships, conversations, music, movies, books...what do you find yourself meditating on?  (What do you find yourself daydreaming about?)  Pour truth and life into your heart and it will pump it throughout your spirit, body and soul, so that when you open your mouth only truth and life will come out if it.  And remember, there are times when we just need to keep our mouths shut! (Proverbs 21:23).
Also, be mindful of your inner dialogue.  "Fat talk" applies to how we talk to ourselves about our physical appearance... but we can "fat talk" ourselves into fear, insecurity, distrust, or depression by unhealthy thoughts about ourselves, and God.  We need to keep our inner dialogue positive and watch everything we are putting into our hearts and the wise words will follow!

Starts in the HEART - Aligns the MIND - Brings corrections to your ACTIONS -  TAMES your TONGUE!

Why not start setting your mind on the Word with these scriptures: (I'm using the New Living Translation, unless otherwise noted)
  • "Listen to His _________________ and ______ them in your ________. (Job 22:22)
  • What does God say about changing our hearts? __________________. (Ezekiel 36:26)
  • "________ in me a _______ heart..." (Psalms 51:10)
  • What happens when you control your tongue? ___________________.  (Psalms 13:3)
  • "If you claim to be __________ but don't control your tongue you are just _______________." (James 1:26)
  • "If you want a happy life and good days ________________________. (1 Peter 3:10)
  • "Set a _____ over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the ____ __ __ ____." (Psalm 141:3 NIV)
"Gracious speech is like clover honey - good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body." - Proverbs 16:24 (The Message)

October 18, 2010

This week...

Well some wonderful things have happened this week!  DJ (my hubby) had is 28th birthday!  It was a wonderful time of celebrating him with a few friends and family, BBQ, cake and a Ranger's game of course!  (I love you honey, and I'm honored to spend life with you!!!)
Of course Ranger Mania has arrived here in Texas...we are 1-1 in the ALCS - which for those of you who don't know, is history in the making!  The Rangers have never made it to the American League Championship Series...and if they can beat the Yankees they will make it to the World Series! (whoa!) So we are spending many family birthdays and get togethers celebrating the Rangers and watching their games as well.  =)  Josh Hamilton, one of the Rangers, attends our church, he has an awesome testimony!  If you haven't heard it, check it out!
Also this week, Brooke Fraser's new album Flags came out!  I love her singer/songwriter/indie feel in all her own written songs.  She is an inspiration to us songwriters!  Check out some of her music!

I had the opportunity to see my ministry role model, Beth Moore, in person at one of her TV show tapings! It's the second time I've been a part of a recording of hers and it's just like a mini woman's conference!  It's always giving me something to think about, and helping to keep life in perspective a bit.  I'm excited to start my next BM Study this week: Esther!  I'm sure it'll keep me growing, thinking and learning ... so I should have some gems to share with you soon!  What has God been doing in your life this week?

October 11, 2010

Autumn Inspirations Under $15!

I love Fall!  Definitely my most favorite season of them all!  Growing up in Vermont, Autumn came in the beginning of September with crisp mornings, leaves changing into bright, fiery colors, and picking apples in the orchards!  I have wonderful memories of piling leaves in the front yard and getting to take the day off from school (even though I was home-schooled) and jump in the piles. 
Things have changed a bit since those younger years.  In Texas, Autumn comes sometime in mid-late September for a day, then leaves again and doesn't stick around until late-October/mid-November.  The leaves only change one color: brown.  The grass is that color too by then.  And I haven't seen an apple orchard yet...but maybe I'm not looking hard enough? 
Either way, no matter where I am, I am inspired by Autumn!  I love the cozy scarves and sweaters, cool boots and cinnamon-pumpkin candles.  Here are a few of the fall-ish things that have caught my eye this year... all $15 or less!!!

1. Colored Flour Sack Towels.  I read a great article on flour sack towels before i ever started the transition to a greener-me.  I have a few of my own, but they are white.  These beautifully colored towels really bring the changing season straight into your kitchen! ($9.99 Amazon.com)

2. E.L.F. All Over Color Stick.  This is my new favorite "go-to" piece in my makeup bag.  This product gets a "3" on the CosmeticsDatabase, which is the highest ranking I like to buy when replacing old toxic items.  I purchased the "pink lemonade" color and it blends in smoothly on cheeks, eyes and lips!  It's even better priced at $1!!! ($1 at drugstores and grocery stores or online)

3. Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo.  For those of you grasping at the last days of blazing sun and summer beaches, this is a pleasant reminder that leaves your hair soft, healthy and smelling sweet!  ($6 at Walmart, CVS and other stores)

4. P.S. I Made This: Embellished Shoulder Pad.  This is quite a statement-making accessory!  I haven't tried this yet, but I can't wait to make it myself and add a fun finishing touch to t-shirts, blazers and sweaters!  (a few $ for items you don't already have)

5. For Every Body Soy Candles.  I have a tiny obsession with sweet-smelling candles!  Especially this time of year, it adds such warmth to every room in your house.  These are a new find that I'm enjoying very much, soy based candles with lead free wicks!  I just learned how much cleaner soy candles burn than regular ones.  ($5.99 at Kohls - currently on sale!)

6. Raw Apple Crisp (I will still be making the original version this year!).  I L-O-V-E Apple crisp, the bubbly, sweet, baked dessert brings back beautiful memories of happy childhood days.  I thought I would give this raw version a shot in effort to get healthier (inside and out)!  (a few $ for ingredients, many you probably have on hand already)

7. Long-sleeved Lace T-Shirts.  I love how lace can add a little femininity to almost anything! It's a great choice for all the layering you'll be doing this season, under summer dresses with some boots, or over a tank top with a cute blazer or sweater in hand when it cools down in the evening.  Dressy or casual, definitely worth the small investment! ($15 at Charlotte Russe) 

8. Chocolate!  Chocolate is always inspiring!  I feel right no matter what the weather, with a good chunk of dark chocolate!  But this kind is a little extra special because it is made in my hometown in Vermont, called Lake Champlain Chocolates.  Dark Chocolate has some great properties, and it's yummy too! ($2.70 LCC)

9. Leaf Place Cards.  I love dried leaves!  What a great idea to turn them into name cards for your holiday events!  You may choose to place them on the napkin or table rather than in drinking glasses. ($0)

10. E.L.F. Mineral Makeup.  I just made my first online purchase of ELF mineral cosmetics.  Sign up for their newsletter to get many good deals.  They just had a 50% mineral makeup purchase, so I was able to stock up on eye shadows, blushes, eye liner, lip gloss and a few other items for less than $20 (including shipping)!  I have tried each item and I'm sold.  Great products, without the harmful chemicals to look out for, and amazing price!  Bring on the sunless skin, I've got enough color to make me blush!  ($3-8 at elf.com)

October 5, 2010

October is here!!!

I cannot believe Autumn has arrived in Texas!  "Woot!"  Along with the cool weather, fringe scarfs and football, are some great celebrations and deals in the month of October.  I thought I'd do a little research for you so you can take part if you want!

October is...
Pastor Appreciation (2nd Sunday of month)
State Fair of Texas (until October 17th)
Cupcakes for Life (October 9th) - ProLife
Harvest Festivals (Halloween alternative - check your local church or Gateway Church FF)

Red Hot October Deals...
Dr. Seuss Books $2+ at Walmart and ships free to local store!
LifeWay Christian Bookstore $5 off $20 purchase (planning to use this to save on my Esther Workbook for an upcoming Beth Moore bible study!!)
$10 off $25 purchase at Yankee Candle
Amazon Mom (FREE 2-day shipping for 3+ months, and you don't have to be a mom!)
Walgreens Game - play daily to win $25, $50 or $1,000 gift cards!
Know of any deals/events going on?  Share them in the comments below!

October 4, 2010

White Beans, Noodles, Kiddos...Oh My!

I just found out a sneaky little trick to help add some protein to my girls noodles!  White Beans blend in perfectly with whole wheat macaroni!  Add a can to your tomato sauce and pour over your WW macaroni for a little "hidden" fiber and protein!  Do you have any sneaky tricks of your own?

Benefits of White Beans (Navy, Cannellini, and Great Northern Beans):
Low in Calories
High in Fiber
High in Protein
Curbs Cravings
Increases Energy
Easy to mix with pasta in sauces and salads, mash into bean dip and hummus, stir fry, add to soups....the possibilities are endless!!  Have fun!

October 2, 2010

Green-Fruity Breakfast Smoothie

I have really enjoyed making these smoothies for breakfast about twice a week.

Handful of Kale, Spinach, Collards or Lettuce
Juice (or water)
Protein Powder (optional)
Green Powder (optional) - Veggies, spirulina, etc.
Frozen and/or fresh fruits
Flax Seed

I don't have any amounts labeled because I eye everything by texture.  If it seems to thick, add more juice or water; too runny, add more frozen fruit or ice; too ice-y, add more yogurt to make it creamier!  I usually make enough for two full glasses with a little extra, and it fills almost the entire blender.  So if you are just making one glass for yourself, I would fill all ingredients up to the half way mark, and make adjustments as you go!

I throw whatever raw greens I have in the blender with some juice (any kind is fine) and chop up until blended.  Then I throw in the powders and blend some more.  Next is the frozen fruits.  May need to add more liquid to blend throughly.  Then the flax seed, honey and yogurt (and any other ingredients you feel like adding).  Blend until smooth and drink immediately!  Enjoy the creamy, fresh, fruity taste and healthy, green benefits!

October 1, 2010

PS I Made This!

PS I Made This is an INCREDIBLE site I've just discovered that teaches you ways to be eco-chic!  Filled to the brim with easy projects to reinvent current items you (most likely) have into creative, beautiful articles of clothing, accessories and decor for your home!  Check out the archives page for all of the projects and the book here for under $13!

... and here is my version:

The dark blue is my favorite, much longer, thinner and edgier cuts than the sea-green scarf which has shorter and thicker cuts.  I threw a pin on that one just to see what it would look like.  I also used the top half of each tank top to make my girls little scarfs of their own.  I especially love the tiny stripes from the shirts, too cute!  Share your DIY adventures!
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