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Stop Comparing & Count Your Blessings

compare

In a society where comparing has become a national pastime, we can easily fall prey to this unhealthy habit from time to time. For example, ever notice the domino effect that takes place when you or a neighbor decides to mow their grass? Suddenly, everyone is summoned by the beckoning of their lawn to pay them the same attention- it quickly cues a symphony of revved up engines.  I mean heaven forbid someone’s lawn looks newly manicured- all the more showcasing the fact that yours could stand to be cut. Comparison can be found almost anywhere and has virtually no limitations! It’s easy to compare income, family, physical physique, lifestyles, talents, abilities, education, career…the list goes on and on!

Comparing is embedded in our culture and heavily influenced by our media- and I’m not even just referring to commercials, TV shows, and magazine ads.  The most tempting outlet for comparison is likely found at your fingertips.  Just take a scroll at the posts of your facebook friends- their beautiful new house, the amazing vacation they just went on or the professional picturesque family photoshoot that graces their profile .  Perhaps you see women who homeschool their five children, always maintain a spotless home, bake homemade organic chocolate chip cookies in their “spare time” and are somehow still a size 2. And your left thinking “I washed my hair today…”

So as a result, we are often left feeling discontent and discouraged, hungry for what we believe has the ability to make us happier or feeling more fulfilled.  The enemy already knows he’s lost the battle, but that doesn’t stop him from throwing a few jabs of inferiority.  We can quickly feel inferior when we compare our lives to others.  In truth, nothing this world can offer can fill the void of pure joy- a  joy that can only be found in a Savior, not in things or even circumstance.  I want to encourage you, friends, that life is not about competition- who has this or that.  Stop looking around you for what you don’t have and be grateful for the abundant blessings you do have.  Try remembering these verses when you are tempted to compare:

  1. Desire for more: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  -Hebrews 13:5
  2. When you can’t see past your circumstances: Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.  -Hebrews 12:28
  3. Feelings of Inferiority: But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.  -Jeremiah 17:7

In reality, who really knows what battles “supermom” faces, insecurities your CEO next-door-neighbor has or even the harsh truth behind those picturesque family photos you’re seeing on facebook. Don’t allow comparision to blind your eyes to beholding the countless blessings God has given you!

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

 

 

Uncategorized

12 HGTV Fixer Upper Copycats

Have you ever found yourself watching Fixer Upper on HGTV and wondered “if only the Gaines’ could come and remodel MY house!” Well, it sounds like you make up the other 99.9% of viewers on TV!  But since the Gaines can not physically  make- over every home in America, there are ways to bring the “Fixer Upper” look to your house without having to knock down walls, install French doors, and reframe your house in shiplap. Incorporating simple design elements as seen on the show can give your home the style you’re hoping for, but in a practical and budget-friendly way.

  1. Mason Jars/ Glass Bottles with Flowers or Greenery. Joanna loves to sprinkle color in small, sophisticated pieces through flower arrangements. And most often, the flowers are fake! She may use some fresh flowers once in a while, but this look is totally achievable and long-lasting. The green adds a warmth and earthiness to the room.

 

2. Distressed Furniture. You never find a lot of traditional- style wood in Joanna’s  designs. Her furniture is often simple, but elegant. But instead of pitching what you already have, consider trying to “fix” it or “Fixer Upper” it. You can sand furniture, paint it or stain it in order to give it the rustic look you desire. A good rule of thumb is to go light (such as white, cream, or beige) or dark (espresso, slate).  It just requires a little elbow grease! And don’t forget to consider different hardware to improve the appearance.  Simply giving  a fresh coat of white paint can brighten it up and bring a cherry wood finish into the 21st Century.  Proceed with caution- start off with a small piece of furniture to test it out first and practice technique!

 

 

3. Antique Pieces. Rather than spending a fortune at Pier 1 or Bed, Bath & Beyond, Joanna finds her decorative elements at antique shops and garage sales. Unique and creative décor is part of the “Fixer Upper” charm! Begin with less adventurous items like clocks, mirrors and picture frames, then work your way into other extraordinary pieces.

 

4. 3- Dimensional Wall Art. Most people tend to hang flat décor on their walls (mirrors, picture frames, etc.). But Joanna loves to hang art that stands out (literally). These offer interest and draw your eyes to small and large-scale focal points. And the pieces Joanna chooses are often found on the side of the road or other unlikely places and would otherwise be considered a bit of a misfit to most, but works beautifully.

 

5. Light Paint Colors. Even though you may not be able to afford white subway tile in your bathroom or a beautiful mosaic for your kitchen backsplash,  paint is the cheapest way to transform a room in a dramatic fashion with a humble budget. Maybe it’s time to re-think those 90’s saturated colors.  Joanna rarely goes outside the box of light colors. Often, her make-overs are glazed with soft grays, creams and beiges.

 

6. Letters, Words, & Phrases on the Wall. Most staging experts would advise to limit personal décor- like family portraits- to a minimum. In order to walk this line, but still incorporate a more personal touch, Joanna uses letters, words and phrases to capture the family’s sense of home.

 

7. Graphic Feature Wall.  This might sound complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy and affordable. And somehow, despite decades of horrifying wallpaper and border prints, wallpaper has made quite the comeback in modern design.  A DIY shiplap wall can cost as little as $40 (as seen on Pinterest)! Or you can opt for a more sheek look with a printed wallpaper accent wall. Joanna does not use wallpaper often, but when she does, it is a large, bold print and we all know her relationship with shiplap!

 

8. Stacks of Thick, Old Books. From a floating shelf to an end table or fireplace- Joanna will likely have a collection of books stacked. These books are not your “New York Times Best Sellers.” These books are more like something you would find in a historic Castle library- large, weathered and purely decorative.

 

9. Plenty of Throws. This can be easily attainable by scattering pillows on the couch and beds and draping a textured throw blanket over the back of a chair. These kinds of details bring a nostalgic, welcoming invitation for family and friends to sit and relax. Just like paint schemes, Joanna also chooses pillows with simple patterns and colors to compliment a light, airy space. Try using either bold solids, like yellow or subtle patterns.

 

10. Collages. In most designs, Joanna designates one wall for a collage. This collage could be random art, pictures or clocks. These collages act as a feature wall, creating a different kind of focal point not found in built-in structures like a fireplace or bookshelves.

 

11. Unique Light Fixtures. Joanna always manages to bring lighting to a space that combines the perfect balance of a polished, yet antique finish. She also does not steer too much towards the modern look and isn’t afraid to utilize a chandelier in non-dining spaces like bedrooms and living rooms.

 

12. Wood Textures. An important aspect of Joanna’s designs is containing décor pieces of wood. Maybe you don’t live in Texas and your house was not built with beautiful shiplap, but you can still bring natural wood through floating shelves, a bench, or DIY sliding wood shutters.

 

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

Food and Recipes

15 Must Make Crockpot Meals

As we get ready to brace ourselves for the back- to- school hustle and bustle, time-saving meals are like a life boat in a sea of homework, football practice, gymnastics and parent-teacher meetings.   But even though 30 minute meals in a skillet can help us cook up food in a jiffy, there is no better time-saving meal invention than the crockpot.

While the grill has been the star of the show this summer, it’s now the time of year to dust off our slow-cookers and say “hello!” to warm stews and the many other glorious recipes that miraculously deliver on the promise to be awaiting you when you arrive home from your busy day with a simple supper salvation.

What better way to kick off the new school year than with some new tasty recipes to add to our cooking repertoire!  So I have comprised a list of my must make crockpot meals from websites and food bloggers for you and your family to enjoy a marvelous dinner together!

  1. The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken and Broccoli 

chicken and broccoli

 

2.  Taste of Home’s Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soupbeef stew

 

3. Country Living’s Chicken Tortilla Soupchicken tortilla soup

 

4. Country Living’s Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwichesslow cooker pulled pork

 

5. Simply Recipe’s Chicken Rice Casseroleslow-cooker-chicken-rice-casserole-vertical-a-1200

 

6. 365 Days of Slow-Cooking’s Zucchini Lasagnacrockpot-zucchini-noodle-lasagna-recipe-with-sausage.jpg

 

7. Recipe Girl’s Ginger and Orange Glazed Pot RoastSlow-Cooker-Orange-Beef-Roast

 

8. A Southern Fairytale’s Rosemary Citrus Garlic Chickencitrus chicken

 

9. Slow-Cooker Chicken and Dumplings by How Sweet It Iscdumplings-2

 

10.  Picky Palates’s Lemon Honey & Dijon ChickenSlow-Cooker-Lemon-Honey-and-Dijon-Chicken

 

11. Add A Pinch’s Slow-Cooker Beef Zitislow-cooker-beefy-ziti-recipe-1-602x399

 

12. The Pioneer Woman’s Slow-Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce CupsSlow-Cooker-Asian-Lettuce-Cups-02-420x271

 

13. Crockpot Guy’s Pasta Fagiolipasta-e-fagioli-575x262

 

14. Spicy Steak Fajitas by Get Crockedspicy-steak-fajitas-new-web

 

15. A Busy Mom’s Slow -Cooker Adventure’s Enchilada CasseroleEnchilada

 

15 yummy crockpot wonders… over two weeks worth of meals…you’re welcome! Hope you take advantage of these easy recipes and more time spent with your family, not your kitchen!

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker

Uncategorized

Part 2 of Submission: Submitting with Grace

submit

Before feminists declare “off with her head”! I want you to know I didn’t always have this humble opinion of submission. In fact, I was very much against it. But as I grew closer to God, He changed my heart to be more like Him. I realize discussing a topic like submission to women in today’s culture may have rattled some cages, but I deeply desire for women to know the truth- and realizing that submission is actually designed for our benefit rather than our burden. Just to re-cap, submission is a heart attitude. Even when it is difficult to submit to our husbands, always remember that we do our work as unto the Lord, not man (and that even includes your husband). As we surrender our will and act in love and grace, we are ultimately serving and obeying Christ.   Although submission is something that comes through God’s strength, there are practical ways we can model submission and show honor to our husbands.

  1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. God designed women with a desire to be loved by their husbands. Husbands, likewise, have a desire too- it’s called respect. Listen up when I tell you ALL MEN WANT TO BE RESPECTED- it’s just how God wired them.  Although this is a broad topic, there are a few important areas of respect I want to cover. First, speak well to your husband. This includes your body language, facial expression, tone of voice and consistent communication.  Secondly, speak well of your husband. This means don’t vent to everyone when he makes a mistake or when he makes you mad. Have the respect to honor him, even if his behavior or actions haven’t been honorable.
  2. Avoid Disagreement/ Confrontation in Front of the Children.  Submission often gets mistaken for silence- you have no say whatsoever- you’re just a doormat. Thankfully, this is not true. We are called to be our husband’s helpers, and sometimes (ok, a lot) this role requires us to offer suggestions or opinions of parenting, decision-making and matters of your relationship.  But it is important to keep these conversations away from little ears and eyes. Children always seem alert when adults are speaking. Be mindful of your tone and speech. Your children will pick up on any disrespectful attitude- this teaches them that they too can question authority and attempt to show disrespect towards a decision they are displeased with, which can negatively alter our goal as parents to instill obedience.
  3. Shower Him with Love. Just because God designed women to desire love doesn’t mean our husbands could care less about affection. Men love to know they are needed, important and appreciated.  When your husband walks in the door after a long day, how do you greet him? Are you excited to see him? Do you quickly say hello and give him your immediate “honey-do” list? Even though our children require so much of our time and attention, make sure you make every effort to let your husband know you love him! How does this relate to submission, you ask? Because when men feel that the children are always the highest priority to you, he will feel as though he comes second. But your most cherished relationship under your roof is the one between you and your husband- and he desires to be the apple of your eye.
  4. Ask His Opinion First. This is another area of respect. Notice a theme?  It is also an area of good communication. Be sure to discuss matters with your husband before making a decision. If you’re invited to an event, talk it over with your husband before you commit to make sure he didn’t already have something planned.  Before you buy something, talk with your husband first. Of course, I’m not referring to obvious purchases like groceries, gas for your car, household items, etc. But let’s say you decide you want to splurge on a beautiful outfit that just so happens to be on sale, but your husband didn’t have that in the monthly budget, you may end up starting World War 3 (not really, but he still may not be thrilled about it). This again, undermines his position as the leader of the home- in this case- the financial leader.
  5. Don’t Be Manipulative. Maybe you’re saying “whatever do you mean? I’m never manipulative”! Almost believed you! We all know men have certain weaknesses and sometimes it’s tempting to use those as leverage to get him to change his mind or shape the decision in your favor.  But sometimes what we want may not be the best thing and our husband’s role as the head of the home is not to lord over us by saying “yes” or “no,” but if he has made his decision about something, we need to be respectful of that decision without attempting to alter the results. And remember that acting in a manipulative way is not acting in love.
  6. Don’t Nag. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We have all done it! But nagging is unbiblical under two foundations: it causes dissention and displays discontentment.  The Bible describes nagging to the equivalent of a leaky faucet- one that constantly drips until the point of madness.  When we submit ourselves to our husbands, we must do so without causing argument or complaint.  Again, this is not to say we don’t have a voice in our marriage, but we should be striving to remain temperate. We may not always be content with the circumstances, but instead of nagging to our husband, try a more effective approach by praying for him instead. Remember that your husband needs his own share of grace, but it is not our job to remind him of that. Consider praying for your husband the next time you find disagreement. And keep in mind, sometimes it’s not our husband’s heart or mind that needs changed, it’s ours.

Our Savior, Jesus, submitted to the will of God when He died on the cross for our sins. He asked God to remove the cup of suffering, but yet remained faithful to His purpose. Would you consider our King a doormat?  Submission is not weakness! It is the condition of our hearts who desires to honor our husbands, and ultimately,our Lord!

There is strength in submission and beauty in walking in obedience with God.

God’s Blessings,

The Humble Homemaker