Train Up A Child…

The past several weeks my grandson has been in town and he and I got to have a wonderful time together, for which I am very thankful.  Now I absolutely love being a Nana, no doubt about that, but along with all that entails, I feel a huge responsibility also therein lies.  Going to the park, having treasure hunts, eating Tootsie pops together… all that is tremendous fun; but what I also want to share with him, as I did with my own children growing up, is that God loves him, has a purpose for his life and wants him to come to know His Son, Jesus.

I had waited a long time to have a child, not of my own choosing, and when I finally had this little, (no I can’t say that, because he was over 10 pounds) sweet large baby I was elated.  I was determined to do my best for him.  What that meant for me was, of course providing the necessities, food, clothing, shelter and, the thing that came most easily, love.  It’s love that gets us through those first weeks at home, getting thrown up on, losing sleep, changing diapers, and a whole new chapter of life.

I loved this child and wanted to do everything possible to raise him to be the best he could be, right?  What exactly did that mean?  I fed him nutritious food, kept him safe, taught him age appropriate skills.  This was all monumental to his future, but as a Christian I also needed to help him see the importance of God in his life.  The Bible has many verses pertaining to raising children.  I knew I had to teach him, his sister and brother that followed about the awesome Creator of them, and everything else in this world.

Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  So as much as possible, I poured things of God into them.  Even as babies I would tell them when we were outside that God made the sky and the grass and then next time ask them “who made the grass?”  When their little voice comes out with the answer “God,” that fuels the drive to keep up the task at hand.  As they grew, teaching them how to pray by doing something we called “STOP and pray” was a great way to keep prayer in all our minds.  When we would stop at a stop sign it would be one of their turns to name a person or incident and then pray.  Bible truths woven into their lives was what I was trying to accomplish.  It wasn’t constant because we weren’t perfect parents and  lots of times I had to apologize to my kids for my failures that came out right in front of them.  I believe telling them I’m sorry was just the right thing to do, if I expect them to be able to do the same thing.  I might add here that kids seem to always pick up on the things we don’t necessarily mean for them to, so be mindful that both good and not-so-good gets taught, whether we meant for it to or not.

See, the more you can get into them, I believe will help them as they grow up and get into situations that aren’t always, wholesome, let’s say.  If you’ve put God’s Word into them, it’s always there, I believe, even if it’s in the back of their minds and can come to the forefronts of their minds in times of need.  They aren’t gonna be perfect, because they are human and also, well  because they came from us.

I did, all that I did in pointing my children to God so that one day they would hopefully realize and accept what God’s son, Jesus, did on the cross for them and accept Him into their hearts.  Thankfully, they all did this, so now I can focus on the next generation in this respect.  As much as I wanted this for my children, the desire is ever so strong for my grandchildren as well.  And so continues the challenge.

I hope this will encourage you wherever you are in your journey to look at the children in your life, maybe not even your own, and find moments to point them to God thus fulfilling the verse that says, “Train up a child.”

Until Next Time, God Bless

Kathy

 

Until We Meet Again-Dedicated to my Mother

This post has taken me a couple of weeks to work up to sitting down and getting it done.  I’d like to dedicate this post to my sweet mother who we recently lost due to a stroke.  We always knew the possibility was there for her to have another stroke, but that doesn’t mean that you’re ready.  Then when it happens, and the realization hits that it’s not one that can be recovered from, life as you know it seems to come to a halt, and a sort-of fog ensues.

Our focus shifted to loving Mom into her home-going with as much comfort and peace as possible.  She held our hands in the beginning of our lives, and we held hers as her time ended here on this earth.  We let go, but will continue to love her in our hearts.  We will miss her very much, but knowing that many years ago she acknowledged the fact that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and asked for Him to be a part of her life, her home-going I referred to was heaven, and there’s great comfort in that.

So where did I think I should go with this post after saying that?  Kinda perplexing, I must say as so many different thoughts went through my mind. The Bible verse that kept coming to me was James 4:14, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

This is a pretty familiar verse and I’m sure you’re familiar with it.  Even as I type this, I’m still trying to decide which direction to take.  Really, there are lots of thoughts that could come from thinking about the fact that we have no control over exactly how much time we have in life.  Once you’ve lost someone dear to you, you realize just how valuable time truly is.  Life is valuable and much more so how we use that time.

The importance I would like to focus on deals with the fact that we as Christians would do good to stop and think about striving to use our time to help others come to know about Jesus.  As I said above, it gives me comfort to know that my mother realized that it was what Jesus did on the cross, and our acceptance of it that secures our place in heaven.  Lots of people today still don’t realize that, and so we need to be a person that shares Jesus with them.  We live in a world that sometimes points people to “being a good person” is good enough.  It’s not the reality of what the Bible says though, and we must have a boldness about us to help people understand.

Another good use of time would be to be that encouragement, we all can use at times.  We are bombarded today with negativity from every direction.  Our kids, our husbands, friends, family members and everyone we come in contact with can be lifted up by some kind words that can come out of our mouth. Do the people we know and love know that they matter to us?  I sure want them to know that they do, how about you?  I’m pretty sure I’ve said something along these lines before, but I can’t stress enough the importance of this and really how easily it can be achieved.  At the end of the day when you think about how your time was spent, if you’ve tried to accomplish one or both of the above mentioned points, you’ll be able to smile knowing you made a difference in someone’s life and were, at the same time, pleasing God.

I will forever remember precious time spent with my mom and special memories.  I love you mom and it’s not goodbye, it’s until we meet again.

Psalms 90:12:  “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

Until Next Time, God Bless

Kathy

 

Clutter to Clarity

Happy Spring!!  I love springtime with all the beautiful green that starts showing and seeing the flowers pop their little heads above the ground.  The weather starts to warm up, or at least it will eventually, the baby bunnies are born, and if you live by a pond you just might catch a glimpse of the ducklings swimming around with their mother.   What a wonderful time of renewal and regrowth and a fantastic showing of the beauty God has created.  Psalms 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” His evidence is everywhere!  What a fantastic time of year.

This is also the time when you hear people talk about doing spring cleaning.  Don’t you wish this was the only time of year we had to clean?  I mean really, it never stops.  I supposed spring cleaning  meant things like cleaning windows, porches, etc.  I was curious about what it really means so I looked it up.  Here’s what the dictionary said: “a thorough cleaning of a house or room, typically undertaken in spring.”  So much for what I thought it meant.  Well, now you know, for whatever that’s worth.

Part of cleaning sometimes includes clearing out clutter.  For several months now I have been making it a point a few times a week to find an area that could use some attention. It might be to clean out a drawer, or go through stuff on a shelf, or everyone’s favorite, clean out a closet.  I find items that usually are not needed anymore and give them away or throw them away.  It’s so refreshing to look in a drawer that has recently been organized or a bookshelf that’s nice and neat.  The difficult part for me is getting rid of things…sometimes.

Take for instance, I’m currently in the process of removing the 4-inch square white tiles from the shower area in one of our bathrooms.  The last couple of  times that I have worked on tearing them off I found myself looking at perfectly good tiles that I just couldn’t resist keeping some of.  What am I going to do with them, you ask?  I have no idea.  I just know they will come in handy later…for something…useful or… well you get the idea.  Anyway, the point is we, or at least some of us, constantly want to hang on to things.  That’s not always bad, because some stuff comes in really handy.  It’s just figuring out where to draw that line.

You know, there is a good parallel here as far as clutter goes in our lives also.  It’s easy to keep things hanging around in our hearts or minds that really aren’t helpful or good.  In fact, they are quite the opposite.  Do you harbor hard feelings toward family members, friends, or co-workers?    As believers, we grieve the Holy Spirit when we do this.  Ephesians 4 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice (v. 31): And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (v. 32).”  I wouldn’t  want to be described as that first verse, would you?  I’d much rather let the second verse be what I strive to do, and I trust you would as well.  Let’s strive to get rid of this type of clutter and have clarity of heart in its place.

Another reason springtime is special to me is because it was this time of year, actually April 7th, many years ago that I realized my life was not my own and that Jesus’ life was given as ransom in my place.  I am thankful for His dying on the cross as payment for my sins and for His resurrection from the dead, as we just celebrated last week. I was not looking for Him but am so glad that He came knocking on my heart’s door and took a lot of clutter I had in my life back then and turned it into clarity to guide my future as I have lived striving to please Him.

Until next time, God Bless,

Kathy

 

Time Well Spent

 

Last week my five-year-old grandson was in town for seven days.  Anytime I was able to spend with him during those seven days was treasured.  I’m using treasured in this instance meaning “something of great worth or value.”  That’s how I felt about my time with him.  Treasured may seem like a strong word to use, but we are talking about a grandchild here. : )  I made good use of that time as well as the time prior to his coming over by doing housework or whatever so I could focus on him while he was with me.

We all have the same amount of time; that’s nothing new.  How we decide to use that time varies from person to person and situation to situation.  When my children were little, I can remember times when one of them was in a hard stage, like not sleeping all night,  teething, or there was more pottying in their pants than the toilet days, you get my drift.  During those times, I don’t remember that I said it out loud, but I thought to myself, that I would be glad when this hard stage passes.  Now 28 years later, I’m wondering where all that time went.

Back then, I tried to make the best of my time, I think.  Honestly, I’m not sure how much focus I put on time to always make  sure it was well spent.  I mean it didn’t cross my mind the same as it does now.  Looking back, if I’m honest, I’d have to say that there were times I should have stopped and played a little more often or read one more book.  Sure, there’s a hundred things that you need to do, but your kids are gonna grow up way faster than you can imagine,  and there’s always gonna be laundry, right?

I mentioned about spending more time with children while they are growing up in the midst of our busy lives, but there are other people, as well, in our lives that we might take for granted that they will always be there to go visit.  When we think about this in reality, we know that’s not always the case.  Time spent with loved ones usually isn’t something we regret, it’s the time we should have spent and didn’t that we regret.

James 4:14 says “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”  We can’t predict or control the future, so therefore we have no idea what tomorrow holds.  Our lives go by so quickly that sometimes we miss out on making the most of our time.  I want to make sure I’m not guilty of this and I hope you do as well.

Who of us would come right out and say we waste time?  But we do.  Usually we don’t think of it as wasting time, valuable time at that.  We let bad moods, anger, or other negative aspects control our mind, thus wasting that time while we are in that frame of mind.  I’m not saying we should never be upset, but if something’s happening that we can’t change, there’s no sense wasting time worrying about it, is there?  There are other time robbers we allow in our lives such as TV and our phones as well.  No need to go into detail there, I’m pretty sure.

Wouldn’t you agree that life is a huge balancing act?  Time seems to be one of the hardest aspects in this life to balance.  Sometimes all it takes is a gentle reminder of what’s really important to us- that being our loved ones, friends, and other people in our lives.  Striving to stay on top of this on a continual basis will help us to not have regrets down the road.  This will be time well spent.

Until next time, God Bless,

Kathy

 

This Little Light of Mine…

You’ve probably heard that song “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”  I’ve sang it countless times with my children and grandson without thinking about how important “our light” really is.

Philippians 2:15 says, “that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”  Wow, did the importance of that song, mostly sung by children, smack me upside the head after reading that verse.

No doubt, we are living in a “crooked and perverse nation.”  Sometimes it’s easy to be a party to the thinking that all that is going on is bad.  It’s very true that there is a lot of bad going on, but we don’t have to let that squelch down the “light” that is in us.   What is being a light, you may ask?  It’s striving to have the brightness of a diamond that points others to the God that made them and loves them.  This is not to say that you are perfect, because none of us are, but that your striving to please him and doing your best to show his love towards others.  If we’ve lost that shine we once had, just take a look at our lives and see where we are slipping and then confess sin, if necessary and get back on track.

This is so important in all of our lives, but especially being a wife and mother.  Our families need us to be strong light bearers, for their good.  In fact, we as women can be tone setters in our homes, jobs, circles of friends, and bring that light out anywhere we are.  I know you’ve heard the phrase, “if momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.”  Well there’s some real truth in that.  Isn’t it true that if we are in a bad mood, everyone knows it?

The verse right before Phil. 2:15, v. 14, says: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings.”  This would be a great place to start when it comes to being a light.  There are lots of things to murmur and dispute about, but doing so makes that light, that can shine bright, go very dim, and then we become not much good as light bearers.  We should focus on our real reason for letting our light shine, that being, v. 16: “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”  We are to live to glorify God and do good unto others, directing them toward Christ.

When we realize that in everything we do, we are doing it to let Christ show forth in us and pray to be used that way, God is in that desire and will help you when you pray and ask.

We can be different this way, a difference that others see; but it points them to God and not to us.  When we have that positive attitude and joyful spirit because we want to make a difference in other’s lives, we will make a difference, and our lights will shine.

Until next time, God Bless

Kathy

The Power of Encouragement

Isn’t it a great feeling, especially after a busy day, to have someone tell you, “that meal was delicious,” or “wow, the house looks great,” or “thanks, Mom for coming to my spelling bee,” or those sweet words out of that two-year olds mouth, “I wuv you.”  It just does something inside us that gives us that encouragement we needed.

I imagine some of you are thinking, right about now, that you would pass out onto the floor if some of those comments were said to you, right?  I totally understand.  We know how good it feels when someone encourages us with kind words; it inspires us with hope that we are doing a good job.  There’s real power behind those words that let a person know you’re backing them up.

Now, we may not hear these words as often as we may like to, in all reality.  BUT, if you can push that aside and focus on Proverbs 31:26 that says “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness,” we can become a powerful encouragement to our husbands, children, family members, co-workers, and virtually anyone we have interaction with.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our day to day lives and just do what needs to be done without really thinking about how we are doing it.  In our hearts we, of course, want to be using wisdom in what we do right?  And then, of course, we want everything that comes out of our mouth to be kind, right?  Believe me, I know from my own failures in this area that this isn’t, most of the time, what happens.  It’s extremely hard to be encouraging when someone tracks mud across your freshly mopped floor.  I guarantee you lots of times the “law of kindness” did not come out of my mouth.

To be that encouraging and empowering person we want to be, let’s look back to what the Bible verse said.  “She openeth her mouth with wisdom.”  One way to interpret that would be to think before you speak.  That takes practice I can tell you from experience.  Then apply the second half of the verse, “And in her tongue is the law of kindness.”  Ouch, that hasn’t always happened either. That’s pretty self explanatory. Trust me, through prayer and practice, these are both quite attainable, most of the time, anyway.  I’ve also learned, (this is one of those things, ladies, that if you start now, you can save yourself lots of let’s say discussions) there are times to just say nothing.  Sometimes people need us to just listen and not say anything.

Wives, our husbands need us to be their cheerleader, if you will,  and not focus so much on their shortcomings, or those habits that he’s had ever since you married him.  Let the kind words come and resist the negative.  By doing this, we empower our husbands by boosting their confidence and draw them closer to us.

Moms, our children need our positive reinforcement and praise as much as possible.  Simply rephrasing and turning a negative comment into a positive one can make a difference and then you don’t feel like you’re always “on them.”  This empowers them with a confidence to want to please you.

Ladies, whether we’re married, have kids or not, we all have opportunities where we can encourage people.  When we reach out to be an encouragement to others,we are not only building their confidence, but our own confidence as well, which in turn encourages and empowers us.

NOW THAT’S POWERFUL!

 

 

Serve or Be Served?

So, when it comes to staying home and cooking and serving a meal, or going out and letting someone else cook and serve you, which would you rather do?  Well, my hand would be raised voting for letting someone else serve me.  Now, I’m all for staying home and cooking a nice healthy meal as well…but sometimes it’s just nice to be served, right?

Here’s what I’m really getting at.  I spoke of serving above as literally being served food, probably because that’s one of my favorite things.  I’m referring to “serving” hereafter as anything we do for someone else.  Our society has made the entire concept of serving others not necessarily something to be desired, but rather promotes the idea that we deserve to be served.  I’m afraid the idea of serving others isn’t something that our minds easily relent to.

Take a newlywed couple for instance.  Sometimes the thoughts of getting married center around what the other person is going to do for you and how that makes you happy.  Sure, you strive to please your spouse, but if your thinking doesn’t revolve around the fact that we, especially as believers, should focus on living to serve and putting the desire to be served in second place, then I think problems can arise.

Mark 10:45 says “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many”.  Seems like this is a good example to follow.  Honestly, I believe this “being served” attitude is one reason that causes many couples starting out in marriage to have problems, even ultimately leading to divorce.  It can also sneak into our marriages after we have children and we start to feel overwhelmed with the daily routine of running a household.  It can be very taxing at times and as a wife and mother we feel like all we do is do for others, not to mention the fact that a lot of women work outside the home.  Even if the person/people we are serving seem to not notice, care, or do the same thing, we still will be better off to go ahead and do what we know is right, and that’s serve.

If we really want to be happy in anything we do, or have to do, then let our mindset be that of serving out of love.  Love for God, love for our spouse, love for our family, or any situation where we find ourselves serving someone.  It’s not always easy, but you can do it.

I truly believe that when we are serving out of LOVE, we are the ones who will reap the benefits!

Until next time, God Bless

Kathy

And So Starts a New Journey…

Hello!

Thank you for stopping by Fine Tuning Our Lives.  I’m delighted you’re here!

Don’t you just love it when someone shares something with you that saves you time, money or helps you with a struggle you might be experiencing?  There have been countless times that I’ve thought, “I wish someone would have told me that sooner.”  That is exactly what I want to be able to accomplish here.

If you read my “About” page, you know that this blog stems from a desire to help the younger generation in ways that will encourage and equip them to be more excellent wives, mothers and homemakers.  If that’s your desire, and I know it is, then let’s start this journey together and see where it goes.

I know many years ago as a young wife and then later a mother, there were times that I would have benefitted greatly from a wiser woman’s perspective.  This wisdom comes from experience, and I just didn’t seek that out.  Now, I’m talking about back in the 80’s and the internet wasn’t around to look to.  There were older woman at my disposal; I just didn’t think to approach anyone.  So some of the things I will be able to share will come out of my own failures, as well as just ordinary life experiences.

I have come across many books over the years that have been helpful and will suggest those from time to time and hopefully be able to provide links to places that offer them to help you access them easier.

So all that being said, I am anxious to get going, and with God’s help provide encouragement, instruction or inspiration to help you as you strive to fine tune your life.  This could be  the beginning of a great relationship, and I look forward to hearing from you! God bless.

Until next time,

Kathy