It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

I’m borrowing the title from this movie, it seemed a fitting title.

If you listen to the daily news, that is the impression you would get.

If you go out into your daily life, you might see something totally different. I do.

Matthew 5:9 – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

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I know that there is a lot of chaos in our world and country right now.  Quite honestly though, I really don’t see much in daily life.  We go into our town and see people going to work, running errands, taking walks. We drive into the city to go to the eye doctor, to the grocery store, to the library etc. and most everyone I come across is friendly.  We went back to our hometown Detroit to spend my 50th birthday downtown. People were out walking around enjoying the sunshine, grabbing lunch, spending time on the boardwalk. People of all sorts of colors, backgrounds and languages milling about all around just living life in that moment being friendly. I’d like to think that THIS is what most people in the US are like. Do we have problems? You betcha. Are there some idiots out there? You betcha. Some great big ones. But I refuse to believe those that are portraying the majority of people in the United States like this. I just don’t see that in real life. Maybe I’m being a Pollyanna. Maybe I’m really in the minority and things really are as bad as the news tells us.

I’ve always believed that if you want change that it has to start with you. I also believe the Bible when it says do unto others.  Even if I’m the only one who does, I still will.  What about you?

Matthew 7:12 – So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Luke 6:31 – And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
1 Peter 3:9 – Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
Romans 12:18 – If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all
Leviticus 19:18 – You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Hebrews 13:2 – Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:12-14 – Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
John 16:33 – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world

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Prepper? Homesteader? Survivalist? Other?

2016Aug25Chickens“You’re NOT a homesteader!!”

Yes, I’ve heard that and no, I’m not.  I don’t fit into the homesteader mold nor do I fit the prepper or survivalist molds either.

While many things I do are popular in these lifestyles, I don’t really fit the mold.  I have a totally different philosophy and goal than most others.

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Making slippers for Christmas gifts,  just like mama did.

I’ve always been on the frugal side.  Sometimes more frugal, sometimes less.  Much of what I do is just what I had learned growing up.  I’ve always been interested in the outdoors, gardening, camping, hiking, farming etc.  Growing up in the city didn’t give me many opportunities for them, but I really enjoyed any chance to be outside with nature and camping/hiking became and still is one of my favorite activities.

 

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Celebrating my birthday with my great-grandmother…a homemade cake and homemade party hats.

I heartily understand the philosophy behind prepping and I agree with most of it.  I don’t feel like I need to live barricaded in militarized zone with 30 years of food and supplies put up in my hidden armored bunker.  If you do, that’s fine.  I do feel, however, that as the manager of my home I need to be as prepared as possible to care for my family in what ever situation comes our way.  We live in crazy, fragile times.  But I firmly believe that the extreme form of prepping goes against what the Bible teaches.  The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, to take care of the orphans and widows, feed the hungry, visit prisoners.  It doesn’t say only do these things when times are good and stop when “stuff” hits the fan.  I will do my best for my family, but together we serve God first.

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Canning grape jam.

There are so many ideas of what a homesteader is. To some it’s living completely off grid and to others it is simply adopting a more self sufficient lifestyle where ever you might be at.  Living off the land is hard, hard work, but can also be rewarding.  We live in a small town on a small lot, and while I do a lot of things that homesteaders do, I wouldn’t classify myself as a homesteader.  But again, a lot of these things I do I learned growing up.  For example: I learned gardening…organic gardening…from my grandfather.  In the big city.  I learned to make things by hand from my mother and great-grandmother.   I learned to be frugal from my grandmother…like using old clothing (read: underwear) to mop the floors and putting left over bread that is starting to stale in the freezer to use in the future for stuffing.  When I moved out on my own, I appreciated the farmers market that was right across the street, and I found out first hand how practical being frugal was.

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The garden goes all the way to the wood fence.

All these things became very real for our family when my husband lost his job a while back.  This area of Indiana suffered a great blow with many automotive, trailer and RV manufacturers laying people off or closing.  Hubby’s company closed and sent the work elsewhere.  Not being burdened by lots of debt and having a well stocked pantry with a garden got us through the hard times when many others were going under.  Not only were we able to keep our heads above water, but we didn’t have to rely on any assistance, food or utility programs.  And even then, we were able to help out others when they needed it.  I’m not saying it didn’t hit us hard because it did.  Only now are we starting to get caught up on things that we had to put off during that time (like getting our roof fixed, replacing appliances that stopped working etc.)  But being frugal, prepared and doing as much with our land as we could, we made it through when many others didn’t.

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Curing onions in the garage.

So I guess you can classify me under what ever category you would like.  I’m not prepping for any zombie apocalypse, but for real life circumstances for my family and those around me.  I’m not living on an off grid homestead with livestock, but we are trying to live more sustainable where we are.  If you asked me what I would call it…I guess I would call it living Proverbs 31.  I’m a homemaker.  Regardless of what circumstances arise, my main responsibility is to God first, then my family and my home, and then helping others as I can.

What about you?  Do you fit the mold or are you an outlier like me?

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

Matthew 25:34-40 – Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

The Good, The Bad, and The Unpredictable

bald_man_combI saw a meme the other day that said “My luck is like a bald man who won a comb.”  That about sums it up.

My life is NOT awful at all.  I’ve been through and continue to go through lots of challenging situations, but even though some of those situations are pretty bad, my life as a whole is still good.  I have a pretty awesome husband.  We have a crazy wonderful son.  We live in a great area.  We are children of an amazing and powerful Father God.  When I lay my head down on my pillow at night, that is what counts.

The challenges are still hard.  For example, after hubby being on unemployment for a while, we were just starting to get back on our feet.  Then one by one, our appliances started breaking down.  First the stove, then the dryer and the fridge.  Also during that time…BOTH vehicles had to be replaced.  We also had to replace our roof.  The washer is now on its last legs and now our water heater needs replacing.  It feels like we are taking one step forward and two steps back.  It doesn’t feel like we’ll ever catch up.

It’s overwhelming at times especially when you see so many other people who manage their obstacles much easier. I know behind the scenes they are probably just as overwhelmed as we are.

The Bible tells us not to be anxious about tomorrow “…for tomorrow will worry about it’s own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 I tend to be a worrier, especially when it seems that everything that could go wrong, has. I am TRYING to focus just on today. I’m telling myself I can’t do anything about the washer or the water heater right this moment, but I can take care of the things that I can right now…and the rest will wait in God’s capable hands. Then I will do the same tomorrow.

So that’s it. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you run a marathon? One step at a time. And man’s steps are ordained by the Lord, how then can man understand his way? (Proverbs 20:24) I just have to keep repeating this to myself, reminding myself that we’ve made it through worse, and keep counting my blessings.

Until next time – live simply and love abundantly!  Grace and peace…

Ann’Re

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh to to me? Psalm 56:3-4

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

New Year Bible Reading

bibleOne thing I want more than anything else this new year is a deeper walk with the Lord.  I want my relationship with Him to be my biggest priority.  One of the ways I can do that is to spend more time in prayer.  Another is to spend more time in the Word.

I fully admit that I am not good with Bible reading plans. I start well, but finish poorly.  It took me two years to actually finish a one year reading plan.  So I don’t commit to them anymore.  I don’t want my quiet time to feel like an obligation or drudgery.  At the same time, I do want to read through the Bible cover to cover, otherwise there are books I would never read otherwise (like, for example, Leviticus.)

My reading plan is simple: I start in Genesis and just read.  Some days it might be a few chapters, some days a paragraph or two.  The key for me is there is no schedule and no pressure to finish by a certain time.  It could take me several months to finish or it could take a few years.  I can take my time and meditate on Scriptures as the Spirit prompts, or just read and read when my heart is just hungry for the Word.

Taking away the pressure of schedules and deadlines also takes away the guilt of not sticking to the plan or not finishing.  It allows me to enjoy my Bible reading with the freedom to slow down or speed up reading based on His leading, not my schedule.

Do you use a Bible reading plan?  I would love to hear about it and how you use it!

My Desire To Be A Godly Woman

bibleIt has always been a struggle for me to learn what it really means to be a godly woman. I still struggle today. I wasn’t raised in a godly home. Growing up we lived with my grandmother because my mom and dad divorced when I was 5. The home was unkept, we were mostly lazy, neither my mom or grandmother cooked much, and my alcoholic “grandfather” lived in the home even though he and my grandmother weren’t married. My mom dutifully took my brother and I to our Catholic church each Sunday, but I never got much out of it.  I feel this way of living was etched into my life and hard to overturn.

When I became a Christian I didn’t have anyone to take me by the hand and help me learn and grow as a Christian. I’ve only had one lovely women in my life who reached out and taught me some of what it means to be a godly woman, she is with the Lord now. Most everything I’ve learned about being a godly woman, wife and mom hasn’t been from human example like in Titus 2, but from my own research and Bible study. Right or wrong, everything I’ve learned about keeping a home I’ve pretty much taught myself. It’s been a hard road to break the bad habits I’ve been raised with and to re-learn a better way. I’m still working on it. It’s a daily process. I continue to pray for the Lord to send a wonderful godly Titus 2 woman into my life, but in the mean time I am blessed with lovely Christian women online, studying the Bible and listening to the Lord…He is the ultimate teacher after all!

This weighs on my heart and I so desire to be the godly woman I didn’t have in my life to other young Christian women who are going through what I went through. It’s heartbreaking that there aren’t more Christian women in today’s churches who are living out Titus 2, but also more younger women who are willing to receive such a mentor. I hope that you will pray about reaching out and touching the lives of younger (spiritual or physical age) Christian women, and that you will pray about allowing older (spiritual or physical age) Christian women to reach out and mentor you. It’s not a mere suggestion for a few select people, but a responsibility for all Christians…and we need it now more than ever.

Titus 2:1-5: But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.