*DEAL* Zaycon Chicken

Now, I’m not a *DEAL* blog.  However, as a wife and mama of 4, feeding my family on a tight budget requires effort.  THIS deal doesn’t take much effort but saves our family a bundle!  I just placed our THIRD chicken order with Zaycon.  I be picking up our case of boneless, skinless, chicken meat on February 21st.  I was able to purchase this 20 pound case for $1.69 per pound.

Ever heard of ZAYCON??  I learned about this growing company about a year ago.  We have been extremely pleased with both the quality of this FRESH chicken a  well as the price.  The meat comes FRESH.  I package it up into freezer bags and stick them in my chest freezer.  It is so nice having a stocked freezer…. and I enjoy knowing I’m supporting farmers directly.

You can watch the Good Morning America news clip about Zaycon below.  IF you purchase from Zaycon using THIS link I will receive a $5 referral fee that I can apply to my next order.  I thank you in advance for using this like!

A glimps into my life…. Vintage Blogging!

Want to get to know me better and have a glimpse into my life?  Modern blogging is fine…. but the thing I miss most about “vintage” blogs is how people used to share their lives.  The “realness” factor is missing in most modern blogs.  Everyone seems to have such glamourous lives…. mine is just normal!   Now everything in the blogging world is so polished and magazine like.  My goal with this blog is to share life…. real life, not just fancy magazine quality blog  posts.  I’m calling these VINTAGE, Old-School Blog posts.  I hope you enjoy this peak into my real life.  🙂

So, what is my real, every day life like??  My days vary from day to day, but one thing is constant.  We home school our middle son, 13  year old Ethan, so each day a chunk of my time is spent with him.  This is our first year home schooling him and he is THRIVING!  I’m glad we stepped out in obedience and listened to the voice of God leading us.  Our other three kids are in public school.

I’m sure this is unusual to have 3 in school and only one at home…. but it is what is working for us right now.  Our oldest two are seniors in High School.  No, not twins, but in the same grade due to our oldest, Wes, becoming a year behind in school due to his long battle with leukemia.  My husband will joke with people when he gets asked if they are twins…. “not real twins” he replies, “but if you look at their blood they are identical”!  What??  Robyn was Wes’ bone marrow donor in September of 2015 and so Wes’ blood is identical to his sisters.  She says he better not ever do anything illegal because it would all trace back to her!  LOL!

Speaking of High School…. This past weekend was Home-Coming for basketball season.  Our daughter, Robyn, was given the honor of being crowned Home-Coming Queen!  And I just LOVE our small rural community school for choosing to honor their down syndrome classmate with the King Title.  He was SOOOOOO excited!!!  It was indeed a special night.  I have also been enjoying her flowers!  They are in a vase in the kitchen and they smell so good (as well as being beautiful).

Sunday we were finally able to do the Children’s Christmas program…. a bit late due to weather causing church to be cancelled on the originally scheduled day.  However, celebrating the birth of Christ is never out of season!  The kids did GREAT!  Our youngest boys, Ethan and Nate both had readings to do.  Ethan was particularly nervous…. but they both did great!

I just LOVE our church!!  My “Little House on the Prairie” heart just can’t get enough of our building.  We are a new church plant using an OLD, 1872 church building.  The building is so special, but it is the people that fill it and the word we are taught that makes it so wonderful.  Blessed.  I couldn’t resist taking this picture as we walked into church on Sunday.  The day was just beautiful (the ice stayed farther south of us) and my heart was just so full of God’s love!

If you are a local friend of mine and would like to visit…. just let me know… we would love to have you.  It is exciting being a part of a new church and seeing God piece together all the pieces.  Small group ministry along with men’s and women’s ministries are getting started.  So much coming up.  Lots of opportunities to get plugged in and to be in fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ!

“Normal” life for me is focused primarily on my family and our home.  I haven’t contributed much earned income to our family over the years, but I do my best to be a wise steward of our family income and stretch each and every dollar.  I try to be a producer, not just a consumer.  One way I have “produced” for our family is by cutting my husband’s and our 3 son’s hair.  I have done this since our oldest started needing hair cuts.  I have never calculated the total savings I have created over the years, but I know the 4 haircuts I did tonight (at $10 each) produced a savings of $40.  I like that!  Makes me feel good!!  We buy a quality set of clippers and about every 5-6 weeks I cut their hair.  I like it in the summer when we can cut hair outside on the back porch.

These are the clippers I have right now They are working great for us.  For less than $21 investment I create A LOT of savings for our family.  Over the years I have learned how to do a variety of cuts.  There are many you-tube videos available to learn from.

We use You-Tube a lot!  I am constantly amazed at how many things we can learn.  Ethan has started doing leather work (thanks to a Christmas gift from my sister).  You-tube has been a great source of information for him.  In the past I have learned how to crochet and become a better photographer all by watching you-tube.  A blessing of our modern life…. something people of the “Little House” era couldn’t even imagined!  I listen to a lot of music on You-Tube (as well as Pandora).

What am I reading right now??  For personal growth I am continuing to read “Living Forward” by Michael Hyatt.  I wrote a post last week about “How the Death Of A Loved One is Inspiring Me to Live”.  This book has played a key role in helping me to process and create a plan.  I want to live intentionally and live my life with purpose. As I complete the activities outlined in this book it is helping me create a clear picture of the life I want to live!

For a fun book I am reading Lyn Austin’s book called Wonderland Creek I’m enjoying it!  I like to have a fiction and non fiction book going….. My husband says he doesn’t know how I can have more than one book going at a time.  I guess it speaks volumes to my personality… I don’t like too much of one thing!  I’m a fan of variety.  Have you read either of these books??  Do you have a favorite book to recommend to me??

Well, I think this rambling post is long enough!!  I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into my life.  If you are a blogger please leave a comment below with a link to your site.  I would love to hop over to visit.

Have a great day!!!

*Disclosure: The above links are affiliate links.  If you purchase these items I will make a small amount, but it will not add to the cost of your purchase.  I so appreciate you using my links…. it helps me earn some income for our family.

 

 

 

How the death of a loved one is inspiring me to LIVE

Gripping the yellow rose tightly in my fingers, I  fixed my eyes forward, looking beyond my mother as she led us into the church.  Behind me bravely walked my four children and my husband. Following them were my sisters and their families, my three aunts and all my cousins with their families.  The melody of one of my Grandma’s favorite hymns floated from the organ and ushered us to the front of the church where each of us 12 grandchildren placed a yellow rose in the vase next to Grandma’s casket.  We all silently filled the pews, tears filling our eyes, our hearts tight with grief.

Outside the sun was shining, this fall day was beautiful and extra warm for mid-November.  It was the kind of day that normally beckoned me outside for one last adventure before the blanket of winter settled around my shoulders.  The kind of day when the sunshine and gentle warm breeze rustling the golden leaves stirred up life in my heart and inspired living.  What a gift the sunshine and warmth gave us to celebrate the life of our grandmother.  She lived in a way that brought sunshine and warmth wherever she went.

It is never easy to face the passing of a loved one, even when they have lived a full and long life.  The empty space their leaving creates in our lives is felt deeply.  As a Christ follower, we always try to focus on the joy of our loved one being with Jesus in our true home, but the earthly reality is that our hearts are filled with grief.  For our loved one in heaven it is joy, but for those of us left behind it is sorrow.

The tears spilled from my eyes and my heart squeezed tightly as the notes from the organ faded into silence and the reverend, also my uncle, stepped up to begin the service.  Yes, this celebrating life day, this gathering of family to say good-bye, would be a day that stirred up deep thoughts and contemplations.  Back and forth my heart would go, one moment full of joy for Grandma now living in our forever home, the following full of heartache knowing my days will no longer be brightened with her smile.

Over the years, I have bid farewell to several loved ones, each one leaving their legacy in my life.  I carry their fingerprint etched on my soul.  That is the way of life, each of us leaving our fingerprints on the hearts of those we touch.  Grandma’s fingerprint has stirred deep contemplations in my heart.

The days have come and gone, one by one, passing two months’ time since that warm November day.  I have thought a lot about life and death in these passing days.  Death is not something I fear, my heart is sealed in the grace of my savior, Jesus.  But the reality of death is real.  We each will live our days and we will each be ushered from this life into eternity.  None of us know the time or year, but we are each given a breadth of days to live on earth between the two chasms of eternity.

Saying good-bye to a loved one can be something that forces us to examine our own life more deeply.  This can be extremely good and valuable.  What kind of fingerprint am I leaving with my life, what legacy will fill the hearts of those I love?  When my time on earth comes to an end, what treasures of lasting value will my life have?

Big questions, intimidating ones!  Questions and thoughts that we often don’t take the time to contemplate.  Life is so busy, we rush from one day to the next just trying to keep our heads above water.  We live in survival mode more days than not.  We wake up tired and crash exhausted at the end of the day knowing that our to do list did not get done.  Is this living?  Is this creating the fingerprint and legacy I want my life to leave?

I am currently reading two books that are helping me process life and focus on living a life that creates the fingerprint and legacy I really want to leave.  I am reading Driven by Eternity (by John Bevere) and Living Forward (by Michael Hyatt. Intentionally living, not just surviving, is what I want.  Intentionally living with eternity as my perspective.  I am DOING the activities recommended in Living Forward and they are helping me create a clear picture of the life I want to live.  It has been a powerful experience that has been spurred on as I contemplate the lives of my loved ones that have passed on.

Saying good-bye to loved ones fills our hearts with loss, but can also be the push we need to evaluate our own lives more deeply.  The emotions of grief that we feel can facilitate growth and purpose in our own living.  Our own living of life can become more purposeful when we take the time to treasure the life of a loved one.  Grief is powerful, grief is hard, grief is long, but walking the journey of grief can become an opportunity to embrace our own intentional living!

Please share with me…. has the fingerprint from a loved one left on your heart challenged you to look at your own living in a different light?  Has the journey though grief ever nudged you to evaluate your own living?  Is intentional living a desire or focus for you right now?  Are you tired of just surviving and you want your legacy to be valuable??

I know… a lot of questions!!  But this life, this living, our time on earth is just so short!!  From the bottom of my heart I want to live well!  I want to leave fingerprints that are a blessing and a legacy that draws others to Christ.  I want to live intentionally and I want to do this with others desiring the same thing!  Would you like to join me diving deeper into intentional living??  Please leave a comment….  I want to create a community here that encourages living fully!

Also, join me on Facebook at Simple Faith and Family.  Let’s encourage each other to live intentionally, to process our life and to leave a lasting legacy!  TOGETHER!!!

These books are powerful tools helping me to evaluate my life!!  Have you read either of them??  If so, how have they helped you?


**Disclaimer: The book links in this post are Amazon are affiliate links.  If you purchase through my link it will not cost you any more, but will provide me with a small amount of commission.  I thank you in advance, as a stay at home mom any income I earn from my Amazon links is helpful financially to our family.**

Does having a “WORD” for the year make a difference??

Over the past several years choosing a word to represent the New Year has been gaining popularity.  It is starting to become more and more common to choose a special word.  But does it make a difference??  Does it have lasting impact or is it just like the resolutions that get forgotten by the 2nd week into January??

I’m not sure the answer, and I’m going to guess that it depends on the person.  I don’t think it really matters what effect it has on the masses as long as it is something that makes a difference for me, or you.  Is it a tool that we can use to help give us focus, clarity or purpose?  Does it help us reach goals, grow or facilitate change?

I have chosen a word a few times in the past.  Some years it has had a bigger impact than others.  Some years it has been very powerful, in others the word was just a haze the background.  Life is like that…. no two years are alike.

Do you choose a word?  How has it made, or not made, a difference in your life?  I would love to hear about it. How has a word impacted your life?

As a Christian I go to God for a word.  I know he desires to lead me in deeper walk with him.  This year as I prayed about a “word” for 2017 my heart kept being led to two words, Let Go. ” Let Go”.  I had to do a lot of praying and soul searching about what these words meant and what they would require to live out.  These kinds of words seem more challenging than some of my previous words like “peaceful, clarity and simplicity”.  Ugh.  Let Go!!

In the past four years, since our oldest was diagnosed with leukemia, I have learned to “Let Go” of a lot of things and put my faith, put my child, completely in God’s hands.  I honestly felt like I had make great progress in the “letting go” department.  However, as I prayed and listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit He revealed lots of areas in my life that I tend to keep white knuckled.  While I have learned to surrender so much into our loving Father’s care I do still hold on tight to some other things I want to control.

So this year I am bravely baring my heart and leaning in more deeply into our savior to give me the strength to LET GO.  After all, I really have no real control anyway…. it is all just a façade.  It just FEELS like I’m in control but it isn’t very productive or truthful.  I desire the peace that comes from giving it all to Jesus.

As the New Year was approaching I was driving to town (us country folk know what that means) I was praying.  Drive time has been a good praise and prayer time for me over the years.  As I was driving, and praying the Lord gave me a gift of a BEAUTIFUL sky!  His handiwork spoke powerfully into my heart.  “I am the creator of all things, I love you, I want good for you.  I made the heavens and the earth, your heart belongs to eternity but you live here for now.  I want you to LET GO of all things you hold on tightly  to and give me the reigns.  I will not let you fall, I will guide you into my purpose.  Let Go and let me!”

The visual promise God gave me as he spoke His word, LET GO, into my heart.

I slowed the van way down… almost to a complete stop on our quiet country road.  I pulled out my phone and snapped a few pictures of the sky…. of God’s words to my heart.  LET GO!

So, here I am…. LETTING GO.  I have a journey to make.  I need God to reveal the things I am holding tightly trying to have control over and I need to let go and leave my hands open.  I will have to grow in my faith in Christ and not try to snatch things back and lock my fingers around them! Already I’m seeing areas, already I am loosening the grip.  I want to embrace this and not let fear stop me!!

Have you ever had a WORD for your year that is “scary” or intimidating??

Do you have a word for this year??  Would you be willing to share it with me and what God spoke to your heart about this word??  Do you have a visual picture?  A song? A moment?

I’m excited to learn from you all, too!!  Can a word for the year really make a difference??

 

 

Stepping WAY out of my comfort zone

Well….. Here I go.  This is NOT in my comfort zone…. but I feel that God is calling me to share an important word.  It just had to be done in video instead of the written word.

There is so much anxiety in our nation right now.  Anxiety in personal lives, about the election and in our country as a whole.  It is tearing me up!  Please find encouragement in this.


 

Want to get to know me better??

old-school-stlye_edited_editedWhen blogging first came out blogs were mostly online journals where people shared their lives.  I really loved reading blogs and “met” some great people along the way.  I used to have a blog that is now completely “vintage”!  Oh, my how fast the online world changes.  If you want to check out my old blog feel free to hop over to “Choosing Simplicity” (I haven’t really kept it up since before our son was sick with leukemia).

ANYWAY… now blogs are very polished, fancy and much like online magazines.  Everyone is an “expert” and sharing their knowledge with us.  I enjoy learning and I enjoy teaching so this current style of blogging can work for me, too.  However, I MISS getting to “know” bloggers since fewer and fewer share their real life.  While I want to learn….. I also want to connect with a blogger.  I miss the VINTAGE blog style.

When I was working (both is social work and as a teacher) my professional motto was “No one cares what I know until they KNOW that I CARE”!  I think this holds true in personal life and in blog life.  I want you to know me and know I care about you.  I don’t just want to blog to create an online name or presence for myself…. I want to be an encouragement, a light, a living example that Jesus is our savior and that God is BIG (and wants to be BIG in our every day life)! I want you to know that I care…. I want to be real and transparent.  I know life is HARD, I know that life is a struggle and I know that through all this hard life in Christ is Victorious.

Every week I want to write a “VINTAGE” Style blog post that is personal and more old school blogging online journal style.  Share some real life living!  Life is messy…. not all picture perfect…. but that is OK!  Life is good, not perfect!!

Soooo….. What is going on in my life this week???

I am feeling so much better as I recover from the flu I had last week.  Wow, did that knock me on my tush for a few days!  I literally spent 2 days in bed.  Thankfully, Wes (our oldest son who is a leukemia survivor) did not get it!  His body is still re-building from the second bone marrow transplant he had last fall.  He landed in the hospital this summer with the Para Influenza #3!  We want NO repeats!!

While I was down with the flu I did get some of the fall pictures I took of our kids edited.  I also got Wes and Robyn’s senior pictures edited.  I have loved taking pictures of the kids every fall and this year we just took some extra for senior pictures.  It has been bittersweet.  I am THRILLED that they will be graduating and moving on in the next season of their life.  We are especially thrilled that Wes is ALIVE and here with us to do all these things.  Before leukemia changed Wes’ life he was a year ahead of Robyn in school, but now they will graduate together.  However, it was tinged with sadness for this Mama Heart knowing that this is the LAST fall I will take pictures with all my kids still living at home.  Transitions can be hard on a mama heart! Can you relate to that??

Here are my four kiddos: From Right to Left: Robyn (17), Nate (12), Ethan (13) and Wes (19)

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Now that I am feeling all better I have been in a CLEANING frenzy!  I know that a lot of this is the mama bear in me coming out to destroy any germs in our house!  I also have been feeling like our house is too cluttered and needs not only a deep cleaning be some stuff purging.  So far I have deep cleaned and purged the Master Bedroom, Master Bath and the living room.  I cleaned from top to bottom.  Curtains washed, walls wiped down, everything cleaned, stuff purged!  Ahhhh it feels SO good!  I will continue tackling one room each day until the whole house is done!  Just in time for the Holidays.

Tuesday started the month of November.  Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday.  I love food and I love being thankful (so much power in a thankful heart)…. I also love that there are no HUGE expectations that surround the holiday…. so we can just ENJOY family, friends and food!  I came across a Scripture Writing resource to be used during the month of November.  I posted it on my personal Facebook  a week ago asking if anyone wanted to join me.  As of today there are 50 people doing this with me!!  How BIG is our GOD??? So BIG!!  This month we are coming together to focus on developing a heart of thanksgiving and praise!  We would LOVE to have you join us and jump in!!  (see picture below for the daily verses) My middle son, Ethan, is also joining me…. Perks of being the only home schooled kid!

thanksgiving-prayer-list

What am I reading right now??  I always have 2 books going.  I have a fun fiction book and I keep a non fiction (spiritual or personal growth focused) book going.  Right now I am reading “A Home in Drayton Valley” by Kim Vogel Sawyer as my “fun” book.  I’m over half done and am really enjoying it.  The characters have both captured my heart and the story line is keeping me reading.

I am reading “Driven By Eternity” by John Bevere as my growth book.  I just started it this week and it won’t be a book I move through quickly.  I am reading a few pages at a time with my Bible by my side.  I read, and then I have to take time to meditate and let it really sink deep into my Spirit.  I don’t just want to read a book to check it off my goal list…. I want books to be tools that help me GROW in Christ!  Speed is not the issue, growth is my goal.

This week marks another “First” for our youngest son, Nate.  He is in 6th grade and is playing on a “real” basketball team for the first time.  He LOVES basketball and has been practicing hard.  This week he will have his first game.  One EXCITED kid!!  I have been fully enjoying having 2 older kids with driver’s license.  They have been helping me with transportation to and from practices.  One more thing I will miss when Wes and Robyn go off to college next year.

Speaking of college…. Robyn submitted her application to Purdue last night and Wes is finishing his.  Tonight we go to Ivy Tech to learn more about their community college option.  They have both been working on scholarships and we filed the FAFSA form.  It is a big job (LOTS of hours) to get all this stuff done!  I’m kind of glad we are doing it all for 2 at once!  We are working as a team helping each other!

Well…. I think that sums up my week and hopefully gives you a peek into my life and helps you to get to know me better.  I’ll be back next week with another “Vintage style, old-school” Blog post!

Last week I shared with you the “BLESSINGS” acronym I use to pray for my husband, ChrisPrayer is SO POWERFUL!!!  I hope you find this acronym as helpful as I have. I’m praying some BIG things right now for Chris and for the kids and for others.  To help you pray using scripture I have put together a simple e-book full of Bible verses that go along with each of the letters in BLESSSINGS.  Praying the WORD of God is the most powerful prayers you can pray.  GOD’S word is always lined up with God’s will!!!  Have you seen the movie War Room?? If not, I highly recommend it!  It will inspire you to pray the word of God!!


 

(Note: some links in this post are affiliate links. I will earn a small percentage if purchase through the links)

 

 

 

Be your husband’s PRAYER WARRIOR!

blessingsThere is SO much power in prayer!!!  One thing we have learned over and over the last 4 years as we have traveled with our oldest son down the path of leukemia is that prayer is powerful!!  Time after time we have seen the hand of God move!!  God doesn’t always answer prayers in the way we WANT, but always in the way that is BEST!!

Praying for my HUSBAND is one of the greatest things I can do for him.  Several years ago I heard on the radio someone sharing using the acronym “BLESSINGS” to pray for our husband.  I have tried to find who shared this, but I haven’t been successful.  However, I have USED this to pray for my husband ever since!

Sometimes we get stuck in a rut praying for our husband.  I get that and want to share with you this tool that has empowered me to pray BOLDLY and SPECIFICALLY for my husband!

 

Have you watched the movie, War Room??  If you haven’t I highly encourage it!  This movie shows the power of prayer, specifically praying scripture.  God’s word does not return void and He is so faithful!

Over the years I have seen God answer my prayers for my husband time and time again.  I am so thankful for that day I heard this acronym on the radio, it has been such a helpful tool.

daily-_blessings_-prayer-for-your-husband

Click HERE to download  a set of bookmarks with the “BLESSINGS” prayer.  Place one in your Bible, hang one on the bathroom mirror, put one in your car and share one with a friend!

Praying SCRIPTURE is the most powerful way to effectively pray.  I have put together a e-book with Bible verses for each of the letters in “BLESSINGS”.  Sign up below to receive this in-depth resource.

My life motto is GOD is BIGGER (than anything we face here on earth).  Join me in praying some BIG prayers!  Our husbands will be BLESSED!!

Thanksgiving Scripture Writing Plan

I found this incredible Thanksgiving Scripture Writing Plan over at Sweet Blessings.

I shared it on my personal Facebook page and I have several people that are going to join me doing this starting on November 1st.  Each day we will rthanksgiving-prayer-listead, write and focus on a scripture to help us have a heart of thanksgiving.  What better way to enter into the season of Thanksgiving!

I don’t know about you…. but the holiday season can be a tad on the stressful side.  I want to enjoy this year and have my heart focused on the right things!!

Who else would like to join me??? Leave a comment to let us know you are joining! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

credit: Sweet Blessings She has LOTS of fabulous scripture resources and pintables!  Hop over and check them out!!

 

 

 

10 yummy popcorn recipes! Make your next movie night really *pop*!

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Click here to download popcorn recipe booklet!!

Our family LOVES popcorn!!  Yes, yes we do!!  We eat popcorn a lot around here…. and NOT the microwave kind.  It really isn’t hard to whip up a batch of fresh popcorn.  I have put together a booklet with 10 yummy popcorn treats.  These are sure to be a hit with your friends and family!

Chocolate popcorn??  Bacon popcorn??  Peanut butter popcorn?  YES!!!  ENJOY!!!