In our Living by the Book session today, I was to read and digest Proverbs 31: 10-31. Have you read this? Have you pondered how this section of scripture fits into your life as a woman? Do you think it is still relevant, or that, since it is Old Testament, it is no longer meaningful to our day and age? I'm interested to know what perspectives are out there. I know what I think, but I'll reserve my post on that for a bit. I am posting it here for your convenience to review:

10 [c] A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

With that, for today, I am thankful for my life, that I can wear many hats, even if they are all not on straight. Thank you, Lord, for the opportunites of the day. Each and every one.
Life has been more than expected the past week or so, and I am trying to process and survive. Priorities have been reassessed, and my blog or getting on the computer is not necessarily at the top of the list, which is good. But, I want to continue my thankfulness posts, even if they are sporadic for the remainder of the month. So, today...

Sunshine has filled my soul this week - God has created a beautiful world, and too often I am caught up in my day to day life that I fail to enjoy and relish the gifts around me. What a different sight it would be if my front window looked upon gray and gloomy colors and shapes. God has created variety in all things.

26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26

Special thanks to Sandra for hosting!

The weather in my neck of the woods:
Cool, but sunny. I'll take it.

One of my simple pleasures:
Reading a good book. Without interruptions. :)

On my bedside table:
Just finished my last Kristin Billerbeck novel. Loved the carefree reading.

On my TV:
Too many DWTS to catch up. Looking forward to Top Chef finishing up...

On the menu for tonight:
Not sure. Need to find something quick and easy.

On my To Do List:
Trying to get my room clean today. That's it...just that.

New Recipe I tried last week:
I tried these lazy chili rellenos from Pioneer Woman..they were pretty good...but a bit watery...don't think I drained our chilies enough.

In the craft basket:
Still buttons. Still.

Looking forward to:
Getting some issues resolved
Coffee later today at Caribou

Homemaking Tip for this week:
Always go to bed with your dishes done. It helps the perspective in the morning.

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
Too many to pick just one

Favorite photo from last week:My birthday girl

Lesson learned the past few days:
If you don't deal with it, it just festers and grows

On my Prayer List:
My pastor
My church leaders
My spouse and kiddos
Our military

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
Love chapter 12 in Hebrews which speaks to discipline. So encouraging for us as parents - and as Christians.
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:
"My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."[a]

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13"Make level paths for your feet,"[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Today, I rest in the Lord. I have been blessed beyond measure as I am able to wrap myself in God's Word. We attend a church where the bible truth is spoken without apology. I am transfixed and transformed in the Lord. I have been convicted to study my bible with an indepth eye, looking both at the details along with the big picture. May I never stray from your Word, Oh Lord, and may I continue to seek you out throughout all my days. Guide me as we raise our children, that they may know the truth of you.

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

Well, today's entry is about the easiest one to write...It's TJ's birthday, and I am eternally grateful for the blessing of having her in our family. This little pumpkin came into the world almost 4 weeks early at a tiny little 4lbs 15 ozs. She has grown and changed and evolved to a beautiful girl of seven, and we love her even more today that we did when we saw her for the first time. TJ, your exciting sense of adventure, love of candy, creative mind, and kind heart draw people to you each and every day. You take on the world and are ready for anything, but you are sensitive to know that you always want to do your best. You love Jesus and talk to him as your best friend. Never lose that love, dear one, and trust him with everything you have. He gave you life, and he loves you even more than we possibly can. May he bless and keep you now and forevermore. We love you!

I am finally getting to my computer while supper is cooking and my children are sitting in front of the tv. :) Can I be thankful for that??? Actually, they are watching a kids movie and I feel fine about them tuning out for a bit. TJ has been busy with play practice, and she is a bit keyed up about it, so some down time is good for her. They are blocking multiple scenes right now so she is trying to take it all in and keep up with where they are in the script. It has been nice being able to attend with her and help out. I applaud the directors for keeping these kids on task and getting as much done as they can. Wow.

The week has flown by so fast that TJ's bday has snuck up on us, despite the fact that she has been doing the countdown since the beginning of November. It is Saturday, and, had I been prepared, it would have been the perfect day for a party. But, as it goes, we are most likely just going to have a few of her friends over, let them play, and then eat some cake. Real exciting. But, playing will be fine with her, and if we end at a local pizza joint with some games, she'll probably be pretty excited about the day. But, somewhere between now and Saturday, I have to shop... egads.

I've been thinking about my thankfulness post all day, and that is also part of the reason why I haven't taken the time to sit down and write. I have been feeling kind of chippy today, and haven't felt much like giving thanks for anything. Then, I felt guilty for not wanting to change my attitude, which then made me mad that I had to feel guilty, and so on and so forth. Bottom line, I was fighting my pride and ego, and feeling like I just didn't want to have to do something I didn't want to do. Talk about being a stubborn child - child of the King, that is. It goes back to a day or two ago when I was feeling hurt about something, and I just wanted to hold on and harbor those feelings. Heck, I think it is safe to say that I am still gripping them in my hand, because letting them go "sounds" to me like I am saying I wasn't "right" in the situation. I want to stomp my feet and yell that I was justified to feel like I did (do) and that I am entitled to hold a grudge.

Guess the feelings are still a bit fresh.

I suppose that's where the rubber hits the road, so to speak. Do I do as I should, or do as my human nature begs me to do? Do I release it all, and give it over to God? Do I harbor my foolish pride and keep feeling wronged? Well, I know the answer, but sometimes knowing and doing are two different ends of the spectrum. I need to let it go, suck it up, and move forward. And, doggone it, that probably means I have to apologize as well - for my down in the dumps, poor me attitude. Ugh. That's not fun. Interesting how, when something doesn't go your way, there's a reactionary response, isn't there? As a result, I'm just as "guilty" as the offending party. So, I guess I have to ponder this awhile and look to what I need to do to repent and change. Sounds like I have my thankfulness post for today:

I am thankful that my God loves me, despite my shortcomings, my failures, my sinfulness. Thank the Lord that he does not judge me on my attitude, or lack of consideration for others. I am grateful that he is a God of second (and third, and fourth...) chances.

Psalm 51

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts [a] ;
you teach [b] me wisdom in the inmost place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
We have school today, much to the chagrin of my children. I told them that there is no better way to honor the veterans than to study them in our real life history class today. :) They don't need a day off to realize how important these people are in our history, and in present day America. But, they do need to be taught the importance of looking at the past to help guide us in the future. The past does not need to be rewritten to make it "look better" or to erase mistakes. We don't need to dwell on the past and wring our hands at the problems we have faced. No, instead, the past helps us see how far we've come, how we need to continue to change, and how we are not perfect. Only through our living God can we be made whole and perfect - in Him. That is our future.

I am thankful today for all the veterans. I am thankful for those who have gone before, without thought for the life they may lose, but only for the freedom in which they believe. I pray for all those who willingly sacrificed their hopes and dreams in order to bring hope to others. I am thankful for the families that have parted from their loved ones as they travel to fight the good fight. Thank you for putting others first. You are an example to us all!

I read this today with your selflessness in mind...

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever."[a]
10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Cor. 9:6-11
This morning, my husband needs me to run an errand for him across town. So, I'm heading out, all three kids in tow. The beauty of this morning is that we have our backpacks all filled up with school subjects so we can stop at a coffee shop and get some work done. Making memories while helping them learn!

Today, I am thankful for the opportunity to school my kids at home. I realize this choice is not for everyone, but it is the choice for us. We are blessed to have a curriculum which provides a solid and comprehensive education, and I have such gratitude for my husband for working so hard to allow me the chance to teach my kids in our home environment (or, at the coffee shop, like this morning!).

11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,

13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.

14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
Psalm 34:11-14

Today, since it is Monday, I am thankful for coffee. Now, that may sound petty and small, but coffee represents so much more than a warm drink to me. It is comfort, it is tradition, it is a ritual, it is my daily life. You see, I am blessed to be able to fill my coffee cup, and my counter, at my own coffeepot, any time of the day, whenever I please. That is because I am blessed to be home, with my family. I am wrapped in the cocoon of my home, nestled within the joy of my family. This is a gift that I constantly take for granted, so I try to think of it often - as often as I fill my coffee cup.
18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Want to join along? Post a daily thankfulness post from now until the end of November to share with others the blessings that God has poured upon you!
Special thanks to Sandra for hosting!

The weather in my neck of the woods:
Gorgeous weather - love Indian Summer...not as warm today, but at this point, we'll take any day without snow we can get.

One of my simple pleasures:
Reading, uninterrupted, with a cup of coffee in hand. Have I said that already? Probably. Oh, well.

On my bedside table:
Anything and everything Kristin Billerback. She makes me laugh with the way she writes. It is just fun writing. No brainer reading. Also on my bedside, Living by the Book. Love that bible study.

On my TV:
I think we're going to ditch all the recorded DWTS. Otherwise it's the same ol' same ol'...Top Chef date with my dh on Wednesday. I look forward to that all week.

On the menu for tonight:
I don't know. I plan to get to the store while JD is working on the set for TJ's play.

On my To Do List:
Laundry - tons of it! Oh, my. Colder temps make so much more laundry due to the jeans and sweatshirts!

New Recipe I tried last week:
I always plan to write them down, then never do! I made TOH's Seafood Enchiladas

In the craft basket:
Buttons, still

Looking forward to:
TJ's bday at the end of the week - need to get planning on what we're going to do to celebrate

Homemaking Tip for this week:
You know, I just got nothin' on this today. All I see is dust right now, which is clouding my tip knowledge

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
Tiffany tipped me off to this great post about yelling...

Favorite photo from last week:
It's not from last week, but one I haven't posted boys at Grandma's. They love all her books.

Lesson learned the past few days:
Everyone needs a friend. It's just harder to be one to some people than others.

On my Prayer List:
My pastor
The military and their families
My spouse and my kids

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:Sometimes, an attitude of gratitude is not natural - at least for me. But, by focusing on it each and every day, and looking for God's blessings daily in my life, I see his glory and outpouring more clearly, and appreciate it even more!
thankful thoughts
Special thanks to Mom of One for the great button link! She is onboard with the daily attitude of gratitude and made a wonderful button to link it all together. Won't you join us in the daily affirmation of all the things we are thankful for? Please make sure to let me know so I can read about your blessings as well!

Today, I am thankful for the freedom to worship my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I was able to get up this morning, pray in the comfort of my own home, drive to our church, and openly and freely sing and praise my God. We did not have to be secretive about our meeting place, quiet about our praises, but instead, we could shout it to the rooftops that we are saved by God's grace and through the death and resurrection of his son, Jesus. I take for granted this right that we have here in the United States of America, and I am truly blessed to be able to say I am free -

1 It is good to praise the LORD
and make music to your name, O Most High,
2 to proclaim your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night,
Psalm 92:1-2

God's blessings to each of you today!
It is a gorgeous day! Wow - I love it when the temps creep up and surprise us with extra days of warmth. It does bring out the boxelder and beetle bugs, but that is a small price to pay for the beautiful sunshine and warmth that is streaming into my house. We may just get the Christmas lights up in temps above freezing!

I've already whittled away part of the day, but enjoyed some time just relaxin' with my hubby. Which brings me to my gratitude post of the day:

I am humbly and blessedly aware of the amazingness of God in his selection for my mate. I am truly, truly blessed to have been led to Brad as my husband. God's divine hand has been apparent throughout our life. From high school to present day, this man has grown to love me more and more despite my insecurities, my failures, and my inadequacies. He has done this through deepening his relationship with Christ, and he is such a godly man and an example to me. God has shown me unconditional love, and my husband has worked hard to do the same. He is my soul mate, my confidant, my best friend. May I take the time to thank God for him EACH and EVERY day!!!
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12

Have a great day!
My friend, Karen, is trying to blog each day about something she is thankful for. I love that challenge as we gear up for the Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas season. So, from now until the end of November, I am going to post something each day that I am thankful for...and, if I am truly inspired, I plan to attach a bible verse along with it to keep my focus where it should be. Won't you join me this month in listing daily your countless blessings? It can be a simple two line post, or attached at the end to an unrelated posting. Just take the time from now until November 30th to share the thoughts on your heart. If I knew how, I'd design a cute little bloggie button to post, but, instead, just let me know you are up for the challenge so I can check in with you and see your blessings!

An attitude of gratitude - November 6th, 2009
Today, I am thankful for my children. God has given me three wonderful blessings who now, amazingly, sit at the ages of 11, 9, and almost 7. Many times over I wonder at the thought that I am not only a mom, but have been for almost 12 years. The time has flown quickly, and it seems like only yesterday that I found out I was pregnant with my first. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for showering the blessing of children upon my husband and me. May we never take our responsibilities lightly, but raise them as you would instruct us to do. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

God's blessings to each of you this month!
I can't believe it is Friday already. The week has flown by, as they usually do. Today, we are supposed to be having temperatures in the mid 60's, so we have our Indian Summer groove on. We're hopefully going to complete our schooling by noon, and head out for an afternoon of fun at the park. However, if my sleepyheads don't get out of bed, there won't be much time for anything!

I am excited for the weekend - it sounds like it is going to be nice, and hopefully we can get the Christmas lights up on the house. Last year, we did it in frigid temps, so maybe we can be a bit more proactive this year! Don't worry, there's no chance they will be turned on until after Thanksgiving.

JT made Brad and I breakfast in bed this week. We were technically awake, doing our bible study in the warmth of our blankets. JT came up with a tray of scrambled eggs, two washed apples, a knife, and toast. Such a sweetheart and love how he has uch a caring heart. (I also love how they think they are surprising us, despite the clanging of pots in the kitchen! :)) As I write this now, I am hearing him unload the dishwasher, unprompted. I am so proud and honored to be his mom!

Since I love fall, I wanted to share with you a great, easy recipe for my favorite bread. I love any and all breads, and have found such joy in baking all of our bread from scratch over the past months. Here is a fall favorite of ours!

Pumpkin Gingerbread

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 (16oz) can pumpkin
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp.
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 ½ cups
2 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 (5 x 9 inch) loaf pans, or 6 (5 ¾
x 3 ¼ inch) loaf pans. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs. Beat
until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Beat in pumpkin and spices.
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Add dry
ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are
incorporated. Divide batter between 2 large or 5 small prepared pans. Bake until
toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour for large pans, or 45
minutes for small pans.
Yield: 2 large or 6 small gingerbreads

**Make it fast and furious tips…Skip combining the dry ingredients
separate – put directly in with the pumpkin mixture.

* Can, most likely,
do ½ cup applesauce and ½ cup oil with same results
* If using whole wheat
flour, reduce to 3 ¼ cups flour

And, finally, you know my fascination with is one from last Saturday. Have a great day!

Special thanks to Sandra for hosting!

The weather in my neck of the woods:
Beautiful...we're finally getting our fall season...I was afraid we had jumped to winter to stay!

One of my simple pleasures:
Sneaking my kids' Halloween candy. Just kidding. Reading in bed with my electric blanket. That's my pleasure.

On my bedside table:
A bunch of Kristin Billerback books. A bunch. I've got a whole passel of them and have to figure out which one to read when, in what order. I'm in the mindless reading phase right now.

Except that I have the ultimate contrast to the mindless reading also on my bedside table...Living by the Book. A long overdue promised post about that coming soon.

On my TV:
DWTS, Top Chef, Survivor - that's all we watch, well, except for Viking football...Go Vikes!

On the menu for tonight:
Just like last week, I am thinking we need to grill due to the weather. Did I say GORGEOUS???

On my To Do List:
Baking bars and cookies for church on Wednesday
Menu planning
Volunteer meeting tonight for TJ's play

New Recipe I tried last week:
Tried two new breads with good success - paired them both with chili yesterday.

In the craft basket:
Nada, nothing...well, buttons to put on a coat, mending, hemming, hmmm. I guess I do have stuff in the craft basket

Looking forward to:
Is it too early to look forward to our vacation in January? We're heading to California! Yeah! We've got car and airline tickets booked, along with our second week of accomodations. Still need to finalize the first week.

Homemaking Tip for this week:
Make sure your towels get all the way dry or they will smell sour. Yep, they are on their second trip through the washer as we speak.

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
None - but lots of good reads out there - can't pick a favorite!

Favorite photo from last week:
Need to download some more so I'm sure you'll see some new ones soon

Lesson learned the past few days:
  1. I can't believe how much work it is to get our house clean before company comes over. I never think it is that bad until I think of someone coming ;)
  2. If I don't get my bible study done first thing in the morning, the chances of it getting done significantly decrease
  3. Having Halloween candy in the house greatly increases the odds of me getting fat

On my Prayer List:
My family
My pastor as he shepherds the flock
Our country
Our military

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3: 16-19

Have a great week!