Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Power of Menu Planning

I've had this post sitting in my drafts waiting for me to finish it off... a friend needs to do menu planning like NOW and in a big chunk, and hasn't done it before... and once I heard from her that some tips would be helpful, I also found Jamie @ See Jamie Blog looking for meal planning help - so all up, I figured it was time to get this finished and published for the world to see.

There's probably not much new here - there is a lot of menu planning information on the web. Though I must say, not much of it has ever really fit with me. Not the way I'd like it to. So after years of planning and not planning and trial and error I thought it time to pull together my thoughts on the topic. Hopefully you will find something helpful here!

I menu plan for 3 reasons
1. Sanity - knowing what's up for the next meal and never having to gaze into the fridge wondering what's for dinner. It's all too common that I have dinner cooking away, or we've even eaten dinner and friends are muttering on 'chat': What should I make for dinner???
2. Cost - it saves the horror costs of takeaway, my money is usually better used elsewhere. It allows me to make the most of good food prices and save a fair whack there too.
3. Health - if I don't know what we're eating and I'm having to come up with something last minute it would most likely be unhealthy. Most quick things are either takeaway and/or loaded with carbs.

There are two main ways of doing a meal/menu plan.
The first is to make the plan and then do the shopping.
The second is to do the shopping and then make the plan.
Both work, I prefer the second because it's cheaper! Lots cheaper!!

I shop weekly, I usually plan weekly. The two are rarely linked. I shop for the best priced, well balanced healthy foods and then I meal plan around it.

Getting Started
-If you've never done menu planning before, then just start with dinners. The evening meal. The main meal of the day. Leave breakfasts and lunches as something 'standard' till you get the main meal down pat.
-Write a list of all the meals you can think of. Do this in a way that you can add to it. Don't try new meals at this point, just the ones you know and can pull off with ease. This is your Master Meal List. I have mine divided into meat and meal types to make it easy to use. Use this as a reference when dividing up the groceries into the meal plan.
-Go shopping knowing how long you need the meals to last for i.e. is it one week? two? Buy enough meats to fill this time. Meals focused around the meat are healthier. Add in the vegies and a small amount of carbs and you're done.
-Buy the cheapest healthy things you can.
-Forget buying packets. They're not cheap. Even on sale. Even if they were free, they are loaded with chemicals that compromise your health.
-Buy meat. with fat. If you don't believe me, research it for a few hours. Buy enough for the number of meals you are planning. Or a bit more.
-Buy long lasting vegies or plan to shop for vegies more often
-Make use of frozen goods, especially vegies
-Buy for a couple of back up meals that are long lasting and either a)won't matter if not used or b)can be used at the end of the plan. I like tinned tuna in spring water for this.
-Make sure you have 1-2 (or more) super simple meals in the trolley. I'll post a few I use in the coming week - keep an eye out :o)
-Plan a 'guests' meal or two to have on hand, to save another trip out. Extra trips to the supermarket are extra expensive.

Once you've done your shopping, unpack it and carefully store it. Make sure meats are packaged as 'per meal'. Keep potatoes in the dark. Keep dry goods away from little critters - Tupperware is an awesome investment for this purpose!

Now that you have everything in the house, work out your life on paper.
Let's say you're planning for a week, as an example.
Write out the days of the week and make notes about what you need to consider on each day.
For example: One day you might be walking in the door at dinner time, another day you have friends over in the afternoon, right at dinner prep time. Another night family is coming and going at different times. Or you're going out for dinner and only the children need feeding.
Noting these things will help you make a successful plan.

For the night you are going to be walking in the door at dinner hour, this is the night you need to plan on something cold or cold and pre-cooked. or have had the crock pot on the go so it's ready and hot at dinner time with no last minute fussing.
The night family are coming and going, plan something that can either be cooked one by one, something that can be easily reheated in individual portions (No microwaves, thank you. Research it if you don't know why already), or something that doesn't need heating but can easily be served one at a time - like quiche and salad. Or something keeping warm in the crock pot like a soup or casserole.
Use your master meal list to give you ideas on how to use the different foods you bought.

I only plan a week at a time, sometimes less because for me it would be too insane to do it for longer. If I did up a whole month, too much would need chopping and changing as I went. More effort than it's worth. I'm just better off revisiting the planning thing each week.
I also plan according to weather. Here in Melbourne, that can change drastically from one day to the next.
Last night was cold enough that I could have cooked up a roast without an issue. Tonight it's going to be hot, so I don't want the oven on for a couple of hours, so instead have a light soup simmering away in the crock pot.

Can you shop for a month but then plan weekly - sure!! I'd build up though. I reckon it takes practice. It has for me, anyway LOL. If you jump in to do a big chunk all in one go, it can cost a whole lot more than you want it to because of wasted food, or food your family don't actually like!

I'm in the final stages of working out my 'Post baby 6 week menu plan'... a rare time when I will plan first and shop second. I can do this even though it will be slightly more expensive because that slight expense is worth the sanity of having 6 weeks of post baby meals figured out!! The expense of doing it 'backwards' as I call it, won't be too great because I am well practiced at this now and know my prices well, and what the family can eat in what duration of time. I'll share it once I've gotten it typed out - it's in the 'notes on binder paper' format at the moment!

Now because this is something I do with ease these days, I've quiet probably forgotten a bunch of things you want to know if you're just starting out. Ask away in the comments section and I'll be sure to help as I can!

PS: How to go insane with menu planning - just in case you want to do this the hard way
-pick a bunch of new recipes
-plan more than 2 weeks or even a whole month at a time
-go shopping for the exact items needed on your plan
-save planning time and don't match meals and life up as you plan


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The meal that won me my husband's heart

or that's how we like to joke about it!

This is the first meal I ever made Pete. Before we were even courting.
He was moving house and I'd been brought up to cook a meal for those that were moving and so I did.
It was rather funny though, as I cooked it the exact way I'd been taught, which was with whole peppercorns and you removed them as you ate vs munching on them.
I forgot to give Pete the warning, nearly called him to tell him and thought better of him 'nah, it's obvious, he'll know...'

Oops, he didn't LOL
I still hear about it today, more than 12 years on!!

He then thought I could handle pretty hot and spicy foods - thankfully that didn't come back to bite me before he found out otherwise.

I've since adjusted it and now use ground pepper instead!

This meal remains one of Pete's favourites - I'm just not sure how much of it is because of memories and how much the flavour... I reckon it tastes pretty good too, so it could be both.

Sorry - no exact quantities... it's a casserole!! I was cooking for 4 adults and 3 children last night.

Chicken legs (I prefer to use organic free range) 1-2 per person. I used 10 in the one I cooked last night.
Carrots - lots, I used 7 large last night. Peeled and cut into thick slices
Celery - about 1/2 a celery, in thick slices, approx 1cm
Mushrooms - sliced or quartered... I used about 2 cups
Onions - 2 large, quartered and sliced
Butternut pumpkin - 1/2 a medium one. About 1/2 of this in 1 inch chunks and the rest, about 1/4 of that size so it will fall apart on cooking which will help to thicken the dish.
2 Zucchini, quartered by length then diced to 1cm 'slices'
2 Massel chicken stock cubes  (msg free, trans fat free etc)
2tb lard or coconut oil
Sprinkling of ground black pepper
3 bay leaves (be sure to remove after cooking)
Boiling water/chicken broth or 50/50
To thicken: gravy powder/white flour

Brown the chicken legs in the lard
Add the onions and cook till translucent
Dump all other vegies over the top and spread out
Add stock, pepper and bay leaves
Pour boiling water/chicken broth over the whole casserole till sitting about 2cm under the top vegies.
Mostly cover (I just put a large cookie tray over the top of my baking pan and cook on about 180 for an hour and then 200 for 45mins.
At the temperature change point, remove from oven, poke and stir a little to make sure any dry vegies on top get submerged for the remainder of the cooking time.
Thicken before serving with 50/50 gravy powder and white flour... judge as you go.

Keep it low carb and eat as is or trigger a fat-storing-insulin-release and serve with rice, potatoes or pasta :o)

We keep it low carb ;o)


Monday, January 17, 2011

When life doesn't happen as planned

...even the smallest amount of organisation pays off!

I pushed myself too hard in the heat on Saturday and it took me all day Sunday to recover, including 2 serious naps... hopefully I will pick up the warning signs a little earlier next time.

What I did learn though is that I will keep on with menu planning - saves serious $$ when I'm not up to thinking about food... doesn't take much effort to cook something already thought out.

I also showed myself, once again, that the Out of Routine Recovery Plan is a life saver - or at least, a sanity saver! It doesn't even have to be me that does it - hubby's and kids can pitch in for sure!!!

By Monday morning it doesn't look like my weekend ended up with me in bed for hours, and I credit that to the above. (validation is a good thing!)

Now onwards with a productive week, and hopefully me pacing myself a bit better while knowing the improved weather will also help towards that.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Art Success!

With bubs due in only 15 weeks, I'm trying to keep things simple and one of the ways I decided to do this, was with Art.

The children now each have their own art bags with a visual art diary, paints and art pencils -and.... Ta Da: Their own 'How to Draw' book each.

On Friday, they each did their first lesson with it and I have to say, I am pretty impressed with the results.
It's not JUST a drawing instruction book - it includes water colour, collage and a couple of other art styles. The best bit is that it is all hands OFF for me... I just need to keep the camera handy!

This is Melinda's (8.5yo) Giraffe from 'How to Draw Animals'

and Nathaniel's (7yo) Diplodocus from 'How to Draw Dinosaurs'

One great thing about them having different books is that they work on their own project without comparing their results as they would if both pictures were 'meant to be the same' IYKWIM.
Once they finish these books, they can swap, and start over!

I bought these books sight unseen and was happy.
Once I got them I was excited.
And now I am seeing them in use I am so thrilled - they are more than I had hoped for!


Treasured Moments


This week's treasured moments (click on the picture about to find out more, read others' and to join in yourself!)

1. Doing the grocery shopping with Melinda (8.5) I could do it so much faster by myself but deliberately take her of an evening to enjoy being out together. As a bonus, it teaches her some home management skills LOL
I love that when I whisper to her 'do you want to come shopping with me tonight?' that her eyes light up.

2. I love baking from scratch... and I have some to do today too... white choc and macadamia cookies (Thanks Jen, I'll go get that recipe shortly!) as a rare treat, a loaf of bread and a home made chicken loaf because we prefer to avoid processed meats. I love seeing the results and enjoying the smell of fresh home baked goods

3. I love learning new ways of being a better home maker, educator, wife and mother. Especially through reading. The book I am working through at the moment is 'Homeschooling with a meek and quiet spirit'. Love the light bulb moments that come with learning and the chance to keep on at it till I'm where I want to be.

4. I am so glad we have sunshine again because I love listening to the children's happy voices as they play outside - they're just not the same when inside... different types of fun happen. When outside they forget I can hear them and get much more involved in role play etc. Nathaniel and Timothy in particular have a great sense of mischief and an often hilarious imagination.

5. I love planning FUN... like this week's surprise party and this next week my sister and I are going shopping on Friday evening with Melinda who needs some clothes... a fun girls night starting with dinner. Very much looking forward to that - love spending time with my sister... I can see this happening again and again over the years as Melinda grows up.

What about you? What have you been enjoying?


Friday, January 14, 2011

Thinking of tweaking the plan again...?

Let me know what you think please - am I on the right track? why/why not?

Our home ed not-so-scheduled-schedule is working well. Very well. So there's no reason in that department to change it.

I'd like a more relaxed day, at home, in the week.
Wednesday is pretty relaxed, but I spend it at my sisters - ALL day.

I'm thinking of trashing the current Friday program and putting the Science lesson on to the Thursday. Art would then go to Friday.

Friday would then be a day for catch up - if needed. And otherwise a day for art/crafting. Melinda's latch hook, my sewing, pottering around the garden, baking if desired. More of a 'fun being at home' day. Friday is also the day we go to the market every 2-3 weeks.

I think we can afford to do this, because at the rate the kids are going through their bookwork, they will be done in just 2-3 terms if I do keep Friday as a bookwork day.

I'd like to be able to set up the sewing machine from time to time and just work on one project without packing up mid project, and not be fussed about where bookwork is up to for the day, or if they've spent the day playing Lego inside or a bunch of outside play adventures...

Weekends don't lend themselves to this sort of day for us... for a bunch of reasons... they just don't.

Is this worth pursuing? or might it backfire?


On My Mind

This 'zucchini' was hiding under the pumpkin leaves... we usually harvest them when they're small - 15cm long. This is well over 30cm and weighs almost 2.5kg. I need to dehydrate it (today?) so I can store it easily for winter soup making

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Surprise Party

One of the children's friends turned 7 on the weekend... we invited them to come for lunch today but made no mention of a birthday surprise **grin**
Melinda and I worked out a menu and planned a cake, Nathaniel helped with balloons and setting the table.
She was sooo surprised and thrilled - it was such fun to do this!

The Cake

Opening Gifts

Enjoying a different kind of lunch than usual!

Laughter at the speed and success of blowing out the candles

A happy day.


Monday, January 10, 2011

2011 Home Education Plans

I thought you might like to see how we're working our home ed this year. The kids and I are loving how it is working out.

These plans were first worked on at the end of last year and we had about 3 weeks of a 'practice run' with the then current curriculum. Once the new curriculum arrived and we began it just after Christmas I got a better idea of how it was going to work for us and what needed tweaking.

So last week we had off 'book work' because of daily swimming lessons and I spent my weekend home ed planning time (a weekly essential here) tweaking the schedule.

These 4 pages should give you an idea of how I fit it all together. Timothy doesn't get any record keeping yet, at 2.5 he has a life of ease.... for him it's all eat, play, sleep - even when he's helping out with housework he thinks it's play time. Sweetness!

I'm pretty sure that if you click on the pictures, it will bring it up larger - easier to read if you want to see the detail.

Everything we want to cover, my scheduling then followed

The Weekly Schedule - on the kitchen cupboard and in my home ed binder so I can keep track of where we're up to

Melinda's record keeping. At the moment I'm working on 6 of these being a term's work and we have 5 terms in our year. There's a whole lot more learning that goes on that doesn't get recorded on these sheets of course!

Nathaniel's record keeping - same as Melinda but for his work - we just cross it off as we go. 15min on each is enough. Sometimes this work will get done in a week, sometimes 4 days and sometimes 2 weeks depending on what else life throws at us.

History, Read-Aloud's, Spanish, Piano practice etc aren't on this schedule but happen/will happen. History and Read-Aloud's are both read on the go or in the evenings with Dad. Spanish happens in the gaps of life or when I'm tied up - they don't need me for it.

I'd love to see your home ed schedule too - so once you've blogged it, add the link here and comment below.
Be sure to use the link to the scheduling post and not just to your blog home page!

Menu Plan for the week ahead

B: Eggs, sour cream, smoked salmon, oranges and raw milk
L: Sandwiches with chicken, cheese and salad... and lots of butter of course
D: Hot dogs and salad - easy because we're off to the community garden to have dinner and get some digging done

B: Roast potatoes and corned beef with creamy white sauce. Raw milk
L: Party food to surprise a sweet 7yo for her birthday: Watermelon, Grapes, Fairy bread, Party pies, Potato Gems, Cake, Tuna salad
D:Beef Casserole (already cooked)

B: Baked beans on buttered toast with grated cheese on top. Raw milk
L: Smoked salmon and cream cheese on bread
D: Pan fried chicken fillets with buttered corn cobs and fresh garden salad

B: Breakfast muffins & Raw milk
L: Tuna Salad
D: Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne with fresh garden salad

B: Fried eggs, soaked porridge, fruit & Raw milk
L: Zucchini slice
D: Tango meatballs with roast vegies and cheese sauce

Snacks are fruit, cheese, yoghurt, raw milk and left over corned beef.

Will we stick to this? Mostly
Why? The food is already in the house and the thinking done
What could change the plan? A significant change in the weather or my health and ability to prepare the meal as needed or on a whim.
What would a change look like? We might swap days around or cook something totally different - yet still aiming for the health of high animal fats, high protein, plenty of eggs, lots of veggies and fruit and low carbs - with the ideal of dinners having only 2 'carb nights' in the week.
Why? Because we can FEEL the health benefits; non biased research supports it i.e. research paid for by independent bodies vs pharmaceutical companies, vegetable oil companies, the soy industry etc.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Treasured Moments


Click on the picture to find out more about 'Treasured Moments'. I think this is a great way to be deliberate in enjoying our families; to be inspired and to encourage.

1. Anything Timothy (2.5) gets excited about - yesterday it was that he could see the water coming out of the water filter and into the jug. He shouts with joy and jumps about 15cm off the ground - life is fun with Timothy around.

2. Gardening with the children one on one as we chat about the amazing creation we live in, apply biblical truths to the gardening tasks like weeds and sin and just enjoy serious conversation in such an easy way

3. Waking the kids for our Annual Pyjama Ride - sometime before Christmas we wake the children once dark, load them in the car to go look at a bunch of beautiful lights and then wind up with a late night supper at McDonalds.

4. I love listening to Nathaniel (7) as he reads his readers - he's improving so fast at the moment and it's great to see his face light up with a determined and excited **I CAN do this!!**

5. This week I am determined to do what Timothy wants more often (once a day?) when he says 'Play a me mummy! Please play a me!)

Join in and share your Treasured Moments - I'd love to know what they are.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Most FAVOURITE Savoury Muffins - Zucchini & Fetta

Add to a bowl
1 large grated zucchini

2tb sour cream
1/2c vegetable oil
2 Eggs

Mix together

Add 1c Milk

Mix together

Add 250g diced danish fetta cheese (1/2cm)
and 3tb toasted pine nuts

Mix together again

Add 2.5 cups of self raising flour

Mix for a final time and scoop into well greased muffins pans.... this recipe just made me 12 regular muffins PLUS one tray of 'Tuppermuffins' which is 7 smaller ones

Bake at about 180 degrees C until starting to brown
Turn out onto cooling tray and allow to cool completely before storing.... so tasty while warm though!!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 - Looking back

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"
Charles Dickens, opening line A Tale of Two Cities

and that sums up 2010 in a nutshell!

the long version might be a tad more interesting to read though LOL

The year started off mid health crisis, my MS was causing lack of confidence in doing my part of the family business and this had 'not so good' financial repercussions and so Pete was looking for work. He quickly found a job and by the end of January we felt relief even though still waiting on that first pay check.
After a couple of months we could see light at the end of the tunnel and were making strong plans to get back into a better financial position.
That all went out the window a couple of days after Mother's Day - Mother's Day itself was made rather AWFUL by the landlords visiting unannounced and YELLING at us because.... well, um, for no good reason... that in itself is another long saga and lessons were learned and trusts broken.
We were given notice to vacate and so the search was on... turning up nothing. We ended up moving out, keeping things in storage and staying with friends for about 10 days and the same at my BIL & SIL's in the city. It was a CRAZY time of too much driving, too little sleep, loads of stress, no bookwork happening and I soooo don't want to go there again.
God blessed us with the house He wanted us to have - He will provide when we allow Him to choose what He wants to provide. The house leaves a LOT to be desired and yet I've not felt so peaceful about living ANYWHERE in years. Knowing you are walking the steps He wants you to walk, provides that promised peace that passes all understanding.
So after what felt like an eternity but was only a few weeks we moved into the 'crooked little house' (anyone know that song/poem? I vaguely remember it from my childhood)
The move cost us thousands we didn't want to spend this year and we've only just gotten over that financial hurdle.
We've now been here 6 months, in the house that is about 1/2 the size... the one with the laundry in the back yard... yes, my laundry needs mowing on a regular basis. And we've only just finished the major unpacking and decluttering that is required when one makes such a seemingly backwards move - when most others are moving bigger and better LOL
The main reason the unpacking etc has taken so long is all the other hurdles that we've had to deal with in the last 6 months.... the flu, right when we needed to be in Geelong for a funeral - a friend from years ago lost his brief battle with cancer and I so wanted to be at the funeral to support his wife, also a friend from long ago. Within a week, a close friend lost her 5yo son to a drowning accident and again we were unable to attend the funeral. Such sadness in the middle of our moving.
Election day #1 saw me sprain my ankle and I wasn't on it much at all for a couple of weeks and didn't drive for 4. This was only about 5 weeks after we moved in and about 1 week after the final gathering of our boxes from storage. Needless to say, that did set things backwards.
October saw us with the chicken pox in the family - all 3 children - for about... well yes, about a month... it was November before we were all clear... only 'just' in time for Timothy's dedication and Pete's baptism at church. We'd made many attempts to gather the family for Timothy's dedication over the last 2+years and when it came down to it, still no one from my side of the family was able to come and only Pete's parents.
One of our close family friends came, the other was tied up with sport on the Lord's day.
Still, it was a great day of celebration.
Just after that, gastro went through the family and we had to cancel the BIG BBQ we had been planning for months... it will happen, but not until March 2011.
We were able to get to the funeral of my step-grandfather which I was so pleased to be able to do though it was a mad mad drive to Sydney and back while the chicken pox were still lurking.... the boys came out in spots the night of the day we left *sigh* and so on the road, we needed to make other arrangements for where they were to stay while we were gone.
So this last year we've missed funerals, birthday parties (one special one in particular of some precious precious twins that I was so sad to miss), our BBQ celebration, girl's nights at church, too many home ed meetings that I love so much, much much bookwork (still working on catch up), we missed out on camping at Christmas time and oh so many other things. I feel like each time I turned around there was something else we were having to ditch - oh that's right, Christmas in July at a dear friend's home in Geelong, Pete and Nathaniel attending Boys Brigade Father/Son weekend even though it had already been paid for, many many play dates with a friend... and yes, more.
Amongst all this though, there has been joy. There have been blessings.
The effort our friends went to, to come to the dedication & baptism was such an encouragement in the midst of disappointment.
A friend driving Melinda to Girl's Brigade for a few weeks while I was unable to.
The blessing of this new baby, due only about 16 weeks from now.
Practical help with moving house - some unexpected help too which is always extra special
A delightful BBQ afternoon with a much loved family
Pete's job being made more secure as his contract was about to run out. Many many others didn't keep theirs' with the industry changes.
2 Fellowship lunches through church have helped us to get to know more people there, we've settled in and are about to become members.
Lower rent.
An awesome vegie patch.
The discovery of fruit trees at this house - including a kiwi fruit vine now laden with hundreds of kiwi fruit... just need to find out when to expect them to be ripe.
A LOVELY day this last week, raspberry picking and a picnic with friends.
I DID get to the funeral of a friend's father who passed away.
We've met some lovely new neighbours.
We were blessed with free accommodation for a week's holiday on Phillip Island, which we managed to do - the chicken pox arrived as we were packing up to come home. Am going to have to be looking at house swapping for some more time away I think!!
and again - probably many more blessings than this. They sure have been hard to see at times, but I am so thankful they have dotted this year of trials.
Last but not least - the two most important in fact. This year we have been keeping much more on the narrow path that God requires us to walk. We have ditched more of the worldly things that creep in and are so much closer to God because of this. Considering what is at stake, I'd not give that up for ANYTHING.
Also, it has been our best year of marriage thus far (almost 11), by a LONG shot!! And for this I am so grateful.

2011 is now here. Whatever trials come our way, God will see us through. Whatever joy we have, is a gift from Him and will be treasured.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Piff-a-thon Tally #2 & #3

DEC 18th

51 things from the last tally


1 odd bootie
1 pair of booties (again I ask, what is it with these??)
1 cosmetic bag
1 perfume
1 toothbrush holder
1 hair band
1 bottle of mineral health mixture, past date
1 unused journal
1 perpetual calendar
1 unopened dvd - deemed to not fit with 'whatever is pure and lovely'
1 handbag
1 tape measure
1 toddler shape sorting toy
1 make up palette

JAN 4th Tally

65 things already

2 european pillows now gone
1 dolls house
6 items of dolls furniture
a whole bunch of little ponies - let's say it was 15 but I know it was more than that, a whole bunch of pony hair brushes went with them
3/4 of a tea chest box of clothing - will count it as 20 but again it was MORE
1 old hard drive
1 wine bag
1 candelabra
4 notepads, partly used - we have too many too keep for future use
1 computer mouse
1 Barbie
4 melamine rice bowls
8 picnic plates
4 floppy discs (total for this count is 69)

so that's now a total of   **134**

There was a whole bunch more that I can't remember LOL... It was all going out the door so fast in the end... so I shall have to do some more to get to my official 150... and as soon as I can figure out photo's from my mobile to here in the next couple of days, I'll show you what we tackled!

BTW - If feels sooooooo good! Has anyone else been working on decluttering?
Plenty of local people have - Pete had to go to another opshop this morning when dropping off a boot load, the big Salvo's store wasn't taking any more donations as they're full up with the big Christmas decluttering many have been doing LOL


Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year?

aah, so many blog posts going around and around my head... I'm still chewing the whole Christmas thing at the moment... might come back to it at some point, this year or next.

Happy New Year  though?

no, that's not my greatest wish or desire for you my friends.

Instead I hope and pray your year will be your most godly year yet - that, is my deepest desire for my family and I. And I can wish for you no less.

If happiness comes as well, wonderful - but may it not come instead, that would be most.... sad.

Seek FIRST the kingdom of God

Consider what areas of your life you are holding onto that really ought be God's.... our God is HOLY and this is too often underestimated and pushed aside with the 'theology' of God's sense of humour... behaving as we like and brushing it off as allowable because of God's sense of humour... or we just do as we feel like and refuse to align it with His holiness... thinking the way we live is fine because it's 'not as bad as it could be'.

We are exhorted to fill our minds with things that are of God
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
(and thus, not other things)

What of your TV viewing needs to go? reading? internet browsing? hours in the day? thought life?
What needs to be added in?

Living a 'smidge' above the standards of the world is easy. God doesn't call us to that standard though.

I pray that you may have a hugely challenging year, as you measure your standard instead against God's holiness and not the filth in the world.

May happy not be your goal... let that be something God might add when you live the goal of holiness... godliness...
May you walk every step of 2011 right with Him, who created you and I, for His glory.