Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Online Homemaking Tools

As a wife, stay at home mom and a full time homemaker I am always looking for ways to make my home run smoother. Below are some online tools that I have found to be extremely helpful in my home. Please be sure to click on the links below and to check them out for yourself!

    1. Flylady - I have been using Flylady for 6 years now. This an amazing site that helps you organize and keep your home clean. This site actually helps you eliminate Spring Cleaning and to declutter your home 15 minutes at a time. Flylady encourages you to always be company ready and to start your day off ready and dressed from hair to shoes even if you work in your home. She has many useful tips in keeping your home clean and you do it all with daily schedules. If you're not a natural scheduler this will change and you will love it, especially if you love a clean home. Please hop on over to Flylday and watch your home go from cluttered and stressed, to clean and welcoming. This website is free.

    2. The Grocery Game - The Grocery Game is a couponing website. Since using the website I will save up to 40-50% on my grocery bill, and the groceries I get are name brand. This website also encourages you to stock pile on food which helps you save even more. This website is easy to use and is in my opinion couponing for dummies, which is what I need lol. It is $10 every other month, but the money you save in groceries is well worth it.  

    3. Southern Saver -  Southern Savers is a similar website to The Grocery Game, only it is free! It does require a little more skill and thinking when it comes to couponing.

    4. Plan to Eat  - Plan to Eat is a meal planning website. I love this website. This site has made meal planning and grocery shopping so much easier for me. You have an online recipe book that you build of your favorite meals from breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks. You can even share these recipes with friends or keep them secret. Then on a calendar you plan your meal for a week, or just a few days or even for a whole month. From there you can make a shopping list for your week's worth of groceries and it automatically pulls up your ingredients that you will need for your meals. You can also click away the ingredients that you already have in your pantry, and then print off your list before you go to the store (Be sure to grab your coupons from thegrocerygame.com to save money ;) ). Meal planning made easy. This website is $39 a year or just 4.95 a month, and in my opinion it is well worth it! 

    5. Say Mmm - is a similar website to Plan to eat, only it is free!

    6. X3Watch - is a very helpful family tool to use on our tech toys, such as our computers, phones, tablets, etc. X3Watch is an online integrity and accountability tool. This tool can be used to keep eyes on what your children are looking at online and to keep you and your husband accountable on what the two of you are looking at online as well. We all need covenant eyes and this is a great resource to keep our eyes and our children's eyes away from online sin. 

    I hope that you find these websites just as useful as I do in my home. They certainly have helped me make homemaking just a little bit simpler, welcoming, on a budget, and safe. 

    Thanks for reading, 
    God Bless!

    Candice Brevard

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    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Women Bold For Christ

    Are you bold for Christ? Can other people really tell the difference between you and a non-Christian? Recently I have been studying some women of the bible and I have noticed that in both the Old and New Testament women are being bold. Women taking on bravery that actually surprised me considering their time, all for the love of God.

    Comparing myself to these women I notice that I do not have as near as many trials as these women had, in fact compared to them I have no trials at all. So why is it that I find it so hard to be bold for Christ? He died for me and provided me with grace, grace not for me to keep but to give away. So shouldn't I be living my life in away that is a reflection of Him, sharing His love with others? Being bold for Christ?

    Here are just a few examples of women being bold.

    Two unsuspecting women were the first to hear of the coming of Jesus. Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1:26-33 and Luke 1:39-45). Can you imagine in the time of Mary's life her having to explain to people that she a 
    virgin, is pregnant and not with her soon to be husband's baby? This took boldness to tell anyone that her baby was the Christ. She risked being thrown away by her future husband, cast out by her parents, and possibly even stoned to death, but because of her faithfulness and obedience she is called blessed to this very day.

    And then there is the woman at the well who tells of Jesus

    Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?" They came out of the town and made their way toward him."

    This woman of a poor reputation avoided other women by going to the well in the afternoon while the others went in the mornings. She threw aside any feelings of being uncomfortable and went and proclaimed to the town that she had spoken with the Messiah and because of her others gathered to Jesus.  

    Mary Magdalene was an amazing example to women on how to be bold for Christ. Did you know that she was the first evangelist telling people the good news that Jesus Christ has risen?( Mark 16:9-11 and John 20:1-2What an amazing, devoted and brave woman she was. She was one of Jesus' followers and with boldness she and a group of other female disciples supported Jesus out of their own pocket and went about proclaiming the good news of God's kingdom (Luke 8:1-3)Mary followed Jesus to the end of His life, even while His male disciples scattered. It was she who was brave enough to stay with Him until the end, she was even there by the cross when He died and she was the one who was brave enough to go to the guarded tomb of Jesus, and it was she who first encountered the risen Christ. She ran to Jesus' men and proclaimed the good news that Christ had risen from the dead. With Mary as our example, we too can fearlessly follow Christ leading others to Him spreading the good news.

    In Acts 18 and in Romans 16:3-4 we find Priscilla the teacher along with her husband committed to Christ. They were kicked out of their hometown for being Jews, but together they were bold and risked their lives 
    teaching others about Christ. Priscilla was even hospitable inviting others into her home to talk about Jesus.

    I think for a lot women, and people in general they feel nervous or uncomfortable when it comes to witnessing. Our fear may be that we think others will be uncomfortable with us, they may reject us, or its just not the popular thing to do. But looking over the lives of the women above how can we use feeling uncomfortable with a reason that holds us back? It is time for us to get over that, it is time for us to be bold for Christ and one simple way that we can start  is by asking a co-worker or a friend or neighbor "is there anything that I can pray for you about". I believe that is something simple and yet bold enough get started. After that start witnessing to them. Each person needs a customized way of seeing God's light. Some may need to just witness the way you live and know that they want that light in their lives too, while others are going to need to hear the scripture and know the facts, but no one is going to be won over by judgement. So be loving, be kind, be patient and be bold. Live your lives out loud for Christ in love, for we do have something to share and to be excited about!

    Psalms 68:11 NIV 
    "The Lord announces the word,
    and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng:"

    Proverbs 31:30 NIV
    "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Restore Haiti

    In my previous post, "Haiti's Community" I talked about how beautiful the community of Jacmel Haiti was and how it inspired me. I mentioned how amazed that I was to see people who were so poor, yet so giving and so in love with God. I came across many people who were truly living a Christ centered life and I couldn't help but be in awe of God while I was there. However there is of course a heartbreaking side of their community and this is the reason why we went.

    There are many starving families and orphans in Haiti. These families are so poor that they cannot afford to provide a decent shelter for themselves. Most cannot afford to feed their family everyday, to put shoes on their children's feet, or to send their children to school. You will find many families of 10 or more living in a small one room home or tent. Parents are being intimate with each other in the same room as the children. You will find diaperless babies sleeping on dirt floors, children begging for food, children barefoot on grounds covered in trash and broken glass, and in some instances teenage girls are prostituting themselves just to go to school. Unlike America, school is not free and children are actually desperate for an education. To see or hear of any of this will break you, but hopefully inspire you to help. Isn't it just amazing that even with all of these trials you still see them praising God and doing His work?! How can we with so much more not lend a helping hand? I don't mean to guilt anyone by telling you these things, but after seeing them first hand I cannot help but be passionate and desperate for them, even if all we can do is to put a band aid here or there on their community.

    Many projects were worked on while over there. We brought over cases and cases of shoes donated by the people of our church LifeSong Church, to pass out to adults and children. We sanded and painted a house for a family who was living in a one room tent, but who is now able to live in a 3 room house. We fed and loved on many starving children who were desperate for both food and attention. We played soccer and we painted finger nails, but my most important task is my return home task to get people inspired to help. You can help by sponsoring a child. Sponsoring a child will feed a child a meal a day, for most that is their only meal, your sponsorship will also pay their way through school, and provide their family with a chicken or a goat a month. This sponsorship will be life changing. If you are not ready to make a monthly commitment, you can also make a one time donation, those donations will help build houses for the homeless, provide beds for those in need and other related projects. 

    For more information on sponsorship please visit Restore Haiti. You can be a huge difference in a child's life. 

    "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Haiti's Community

    I have recently returned from a mission trip to Jacmel Haiti and I am in awe and in love with their community. What an amazing knowledge they have to offer to us on what a community should be.

    Their hospitality was overwhelming and refreshing! Each person or family that I met welcomed me into their home, some even kissed me as a greeting or as a thank you. If they had a chair they brought it to me to sit in. If they had a mango they gave it to me to eat. If my hands were dirty they washed them for me, and  they did all of this not just for me, but for everyone. Their door was always open, children, friends, and neighbors were always running in and out of each others homes. It was beautiful and I was envious of their togetherness. I love how their family time is not centered around a television, but rather outside on their front porch or roof with their neighbors. The children stay active with each other playing soccer, singing songs and playing hand clap games. The women cooked together, braided each others hair, and all seem to have a part in discipling each other's children. I was amazed to witness that when someone had something that they did not need or something they could not use then they simply gave it away to someone else instead of hoarding it or selling it. They take care of each other, they stay busy with each other, they love each other, and they stay focused on community. This is how we should be!

    Their church is amazing!

    I love how they worship so freely. I myself was even able to worship more freely, without having anyone nearby to gossip about my style of worship. No awkward stares when I took a spontanious moment to stop and pray to God. I love how they celebrated God. They sang and danced to God, they even sang and danced while giving offerings. This church, as poor as they may be feeds the starving children that live just outside their doors. As easily as they could just ignore them or say, there is nothing we can do, they instead take action. They even build houses and give them away to homeless families! Some families even take in abandoned orphans into their homes as their own. They share and provide for each other and they do it joyfully! The church meets several nights a week to praise and worship God, to pray for each other, to learn about Christ, His love and how to treat their family, neighbor and how to live in the light. Even with voodoo being the main and most popular religion, even with it being in your face and on the streets you still find them worshiping and going all out for God.

    There are so many things that I took away with me in my heart while in Haiti. Some of those things were friendships, while others were life lessons. One of the biggest things that stood out to me was that community is key and worshiping should be done freely. I learned from the poor that if I have more than I need (which I do) then I should joyfully give what I do not need away. I need to have more of an open door policy and more hospitality. I don't need all of the luxuries that I have, most of which are just distractions from living a truly fulfilled life. All I need is my God, my family, my friends, and my community. I need not be so lazy and selfish. I need to get rid of my pride, study more, and witness more. I need to get rid of my distractions and I need to sit down more with my children rather than with my computer and I need to pray more with my husband. I need to play more, spend more time braiding hair, painting nails, playing ball and building blocks. I need to read more to my children, and I even need to discipline my children more to respect authority. I need to always love with all of my heart, God must always be in the center of all that I do and I must always remember that I am my God's daughter and humble servant.

    We have no idea how rich we are, and maybe our riches makes us selfish. Our things certainly distract us from our time that is suppose to be spent in the word, with our family, and even our neighbors. The question is, can we have a close knit community like theirs, even in our own culture and society? In my opinion I say yes, but we have to all put effort into it, which means limiting our tv time, focusing more on the family and actually introducing ourselves and getting to know our neighbors.

    This small community in Jacmel Haiti are truly living in the light. I went to witness to them but instead they have witnessed to me, showing me the real love of Christ.

    The things I took away were not Jacmel Haiti created, but rather lessons straight from the bible.

    Matthew 22:36-39
     "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
    Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment.And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself."
    Luke 3:11
    John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."

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