Still striving for peace in my home, and by God's grace, we are doing well! I'm still lighting my candle, which, by the way, has lost one of its wicks in a pool of wax; still playing peaceful music; still watching my tone of voice. These intentional actions actually do make a difference, when they'e done as unto the Lord.

This week, we were to focus on tenderness, sharing sweet moments with our family members. Courtney at Women Living Well suggested 5 minute back rubs and a pillow party.

Here's what we did:

Throughout the week, I've given each family member back rubs (of course my children thought I was tickling them!). I held my son in my arms just a little longer, offered my daughters "just one more hug" at bed time, snuggled a little more with Husband. I've given extra hugs and kisses and pats on the back and a squeeze of the hand on purpose. I must say, my family has enjoyed these moments, and so have I. We've always been a close-knit family, so this type of affection was more than welcome. 

On Friday night, we surprised the kids with a pillow fight. I'd sent them up to get ready for bed and forgot that I wanted to do this as part of the challenge. So Husband said "Call them back downstairs and we'll just have one right now!" They came back down, we each grabbed a pillow from the couch and went to work! We laughed and ducked and screamed and ran and laughed some more!! Husband had to call out for help because the kiddos were triple-teaming him! Something as simple as that brought a boat-load of joy and a lasting memory.
The next morning, the kids came into our bedroom to cuddle and talk and watch a little TV before breakfast (as is customary for us on Saturday mornings--no schedules to keep; it's our free day). Husband and I are so thankful for moments like these to just be, as a family.

Tender moments. . .
They are priceless. May we never be too busy to give a hug, a kiss, or a smile. May we never be too pressed for time that we can't listen, play and enjoy. May our hearts forever be in tune to those in our families so that we know how to offer those tender moments that lead to an atmosphere of peace in our homes. (In Jesus' Name, amen.)

Now, on to the final week of the challenge. Strive for peace, ladies!

{This post is linked here at WomenLivingWell and here at}
My son and I were out running errands and we were listening to the radio in the van. We were about to get out and go into the store, but he said, "wait Mommy, I want to hear this song!" So there we were in the parking lot, listening to the music, praising and worshiping the Lord together!

Our own little jam session (which happens a lot around here!).
Fun times!

One of J.R.'s favorite songs...enjoy!
"I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
-Psalm 34:1

"Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy Name." -Psalm 103:1

A Boy and His Praise

by on Tuesday, October 26, 2010
My son and I were out running errands and we were listening to the radio in the van. We were about to get out and go into the store, but he ...
Worth more to its owner than others would pay.

The undying token of one glorious day.
It notes the beginning and shows of no end.
A constant reminder of one true, dear friend.

What is it?

It's not music. . .

Or a flower.

wedding ring. It is worth more as a symbol to its owner than its actual monetary worth. It symbolizes the start of a marriage and its circular shape implies no end. It reminds you of your spouse, "who is your true, dear friend."

-Posted by Husband

{Piano and flower pictures by Heart & Soul Reflections}

The Undying Token

by on Monday, October 25, 2010
Worth more to its owner than others would pay. The undying token of one glorious day. It notes the beginning and shows of no end. A c...
I am at the end of the 3rd week on this challenge of peace in my home. This week, we were supposed to focus on clutter, literally and spiritually. Are there areas in my home that are cluttered and are causing stress for me, making things less peaceful? Even more so, what areas in my spiritual life need to be cleared out and cleaned up because they hinder spiritual peace?

Talk about a challenge, huh?

In my home there are lots of little places where clutter can collect really easily. Because I don't want bore you (or scare you!) with pictures of all of them, here's one situation.
Before. . .

My family loves to watch movies. And often the shelf next to our TV can get pretty cluttered with a nice pile of DVDs. This clutter pile wasn't there because the DVDs didn't have a place to go, but it was due to pure laziness (honesty, here folks!). Just walking right by it, ignoring it.

How does this mirror my spiritual life?

When I think about it, it's simple. When I allow the clutter to collect (not asking God first, busy schedules, my to-do lists, not enough sleep, daily life burdens), I can easily become lazy spiritually (not praying like I should, not enough quiet, quality time spent with the Lord, excuses for why I can't stop to pray, read, or listen).
I'm "walking right by" the things the Lord would have me "put away." My life's issues, problems, tasks and duties have a proper place, just like those DVDs on the shelf. They belong to the Lord. Putting them in their proper place requires me to realign my priorities in the will of God. (God, Husband, children, then everything else).

 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you."
-Matthew 6:33.

When I yield to His will and to His way, peace prevails.

"You will keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You."
-Isaiah 26:3

Be blessed, Ladies! Keep pressing on for peace.

{This post is linked here at WomenLivingWell, and here at

How do love and respect fit into a Christian marriage?

The premise of this book is that a husband needs respect and a wife needs love. These needs are vital to the marriage, based on the Biblical example found in Ephesians 5: 22-33. From this passage of Scripture, many tend to focus on the duty of the wife respecting her husband and the husband loving his wife.

"Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself,
and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
-Ephesians 5:33

However, Dr. Eggerichs seeks to offer clarification on the importance of this obligation. Not only is it a mandate from our Lord, but men NEED respect and women NEED love. It is part of our make-up, and essential to the way God has created us. Dr. Eggerichs explains that if one spouse can understand this essential need of the other spouse, then the cycle of miscommunication and misunderstanding can often be broken.

Photo by Heart and Soul Reflections

This book is great for newlyweds, long-time marriages, and even engaged couples. It is written in a light-hearted, simple manner, which makes it easy to pick up and read again and again. I would recommend it as a general reference for Christian marriages or even as a small study group book. It also makes a nice wedding or anniversary gift.

I review for BookSneeze

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


I lay it all at your feet.

I am powerless.

I cannot not solve it.

I do not have the answers.

So, here I am, oh Lord.

I lay it all at your feet.

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time,
casting all your care upon Him,
for He cares for you."
1 Peter 5:6-7

by on Friday, October 22, 2010
Jesus, I lay it all at your feet. I am powerless. I cannot not solve it. I do not have the answers. So, here I am, oh L...
As I read the blogs of other Christian wives and mothers, one thing I've noticed is that many are homeschooling their children. Currently, I am not a homeschooling mother. I am a stay-at-home wife/mother, and have been for almost 8 years. However, 2 of my children are enrolled in school and one is at home with me.

I have taught my children from a very early age--letters & numbers, reading, writing, math, science, art, manners, respect for self, respect for others, rules and the like. This foundation is coupled of course with Biblical instruction, Christian living, love for Jesus, Creationism, character, purity, etc.
No pre-schools, no daycare, no church nursery, barely even babysitting by their more-than-willing grandparents! I've never been a mother who is ready to leave my kids with others, get them out of the house or rejoice because "I'm down to one at home" (as many suggest I do). It breaks my heart when the school year starts. But at the age of 5, off to school they've gone. I am not convinced that this is the only option I have, nor do I argue that it is the best one. Still, it is the truth of my reality.

A bit of background information. . . .

I have entered a place in my role as a Christian wife and mother where I am content and comfortable in an area so clearly defined by God. It has taken a while. But guess what? I am unapologetically a homemaker, trying to glorify God, honor my husband, and raise my children! I am so appreciative that God has given me these roles, but I still have a lot to learn. I feel very passionately about a woman's place in the home and the importance of it. I am wondering how homeschooling may or may not fit in for my family.

In my parents' home, growing up, homeschooling was not an option. Unfortunately, there weren't always positive attitudes in their home or in my community toward homeschooling. I will not repeat those attitudes or the things said, because I think there was a level of ignorance (lacking true knowledge/understanding of homeschooling) and insensitivity.

At any rate, I took on these ideas as a child and it wasn't until I had my own children that I began to change my perspectives--different perspectives on things like husbands and wives, mothering, training children, submission to my wonderful Husband, staying at home, and glorifying God in the repetition these roles bring. I see many reasons for and conveniences of homeschooling.

{Side note: I know that I have a tendency to want my kids to forever cling to me, to be smothered by my mothering and doting, and to stay dependent on me. . .which is unrealistic. I have to raise them to depend on God, and to be what He has called them to be, learning to let go when my "smothering" is hindering their progress. In that regard, would I be fair to them as a homeschooling mom?} 

What does God's Word say about it? As I go on seeking the Lord, and discussing the topic with Husband, I just wanted to open up a dialogue about the subject. I am interested in hearing from Christian, homeschooling mothers and non-homeschooling, Christian mothers. Please feel free to share. What are your thoughts and Biblical perspectives?

I am not arguing for or against, just seeking. . .

{This post is linked here at}


by on Monday, October 18, 2010
As I read the blogs of other Christian wives and mothers, one thing I've noticed is that many are homeschooling their children. Currentl...
Here I am at the end of week 2. I think this week was harder in terms of the circumstances I had to face, however I had a better handle on things. This, all due to the mercy and grace of God.

This week of the challenge, we were to focus on maintaining peaceful relationships and also play peaceful music during each day. (Click here for a "Song of  Peace")

How did I maintain peaceful relationships?

Using an even tone of voice; being slow to respond by thinking through my answers, especially with Husband! 

Husband and me
{My dear brothers, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry,
for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life
that God desires.

I also poured an extra dose of love on my children by telling them all the more (and at random times) that I loved them, or that I was proud of them, or giving them a hug or kiss, just because.

We also continued our family Bible study on the fruit of the Spirit, which ends with self-control. Part of my peace-making as wife and mother, is self-control, through the Holy Spirit. Self-control yields peace in my home.

What joy it's been to my heart to see God's faithfulness: sweetness in time spent with Husband, lots of long conversations. Watching my kids blush and giggle, receiving my own random hugs and even one of my daughters sang to me!

What kind of music did we listen to?

For our music selection, we tried something new. Normally in our house, I play traditional Gospel music. . .I love it, my roots are there. However, a few days this week, we ventured into other genres of music. One day we tried smooth jazz, the next was classical, and then another day we listened to contemporary Christian. I asked my children what they thought about it and they enjoyed each one. One of my daughters even asked, "Mommy, can you please turn on the music that relaxes me?" :o)

our 3 ducklings
For as much fun as I've described, I was not without stressful moments (one daughter sick, the other with an upcoming surgery, doctor's appointments left and right--yikes!). But, I remember who my Helper is, I remember the Prince of Peace, I remember that prayer still works! I've been taking lots of deep breaths, still lighting my candle from time to time, and praying for peace.

Now on to week 3--be encouraged Ladies!!!!
{This post is linked here at}
Here's a cute craft idea that I found here from the "Happy Little Homemaker" blog. (ETA: that blog is no longer available. Sorry!) It is so easy and is fun to make. The materials the girls and I used are just slightly different from the original craft, but worked just fine.

  • roll of toilet paper (pumpkin)
  • twig from the yard (pumpkin stem)
  • orange fabric pieces (18 in x 22 in)
  • grocery store ads/flyers
  • scotch tape
  • scissors
  • fake leaves (optional)
  • green ribbon
  1. Roll up a piece of the store ad and tape (vertically) to the roll of toilet paper--gives it a pumpkin shape (see pic above). You'll need about 7 pieces, depends on the size of the toilet paper roll.
  2. Set the toilet paper in the middle of the wrong side of the fabric; bring fabric up around the toilet paper and stuff excess fabric in the middle of the roll.
  3. Insert the stem in the middle, add leaf and ribbon, and you're finished!
  • We painted our twigs green (just one coat) to add a hint of green color (optional)
  • The original craft calls for raffia, which we didn't have, so we used green ribbon instead.
  • I found fabric pieces at Wal-Mart for $1 each in different color patterns .
  • This craft can double as Autumn decor for your home.
I hope you give it a try. I thought it was clever and inexpensive. Enjoy!

SJ likes her pumpkin

TM showing mommy a little love!

The girls' pumpkins
entry table
wood stove

Making Pumpkins--Craft

by on Sunday, October 10, 2010
Here's a cute craft idea that I found here from the "Happy Little Homemaker" blog. (ETA: that blog is no longer available. S...
Here's a song the Lord put on my heart that helped me through a busy situation and brought me peace. I hope it is a blessing to you.

{Song/lyrics by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir based on Psalm 21}

A Song of Peace

by on Friday, October 08, 2010
Here's a song the Lord put on my heart that helped me through a busy situation and brought me peace. I hope it is a blessing to you. ...
So I'm nearing the end of the 1st week and boy, what a challenge! I am learning a lot because the Lord is using this time to shape me.

Every morning, I light my big, orange candle and I remember to pray for peace in my home whenever I glance its way. Since joining the challenge, I am more aware of my tone of voice. . . if I'm intentional, the way I say things can often add peace to a situation.

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)

This post is linked here at Women Living Well.
Read Courtney's post for week 1. . .such a
I've shared the goal of this challenge with my husband and with my kids. Throughout the week, as a family, we've discussed different ways to display a peaceful attitude, focusing a lot on the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)

What the Holy Spirit has shown me specifically to help create an atmosphere of peace are the following:
  1. Prepare ahead of time (as much as I can) during the day for the following day. This helps free my time in the evening for activities as a family when my husband comes home.
  2. GO TO BED!!!! I'm usually up later than everyone else, trying to "fit in" things I didn't do earlier. The Lord is showing me that this is not always wise, because then the next day I'm tired and then a nasty cycle of sleep deprivation, crankiness, and unfinished tasks has begun. When I'm rested, things are just better, more peaceful.
  3. Start my day off right--in the Word. This is hard to do when I'm grasping and groping for an extra 15-20 minutes of sleep, right?! If I set the tone of my day with the Lord, then I can use His strength (not mine, because I'll surely fail!) to set the tone of peace for my family.
  4. I try not to turn my computer on before 11am. This just happens to be around the time when I've completed other duties with my children, house work, running errands, etc. I've been practicing this for a few weeks before the challenge began, because I noticed how distracted I became with just having my computer on. If I walked by it, I would think of just "one more thing" I needed to look up or check on.
These are just a few practical things the Lord has shown me. I am not perfect and there certainly were bumps in the road this week. But I feel so grateful to be groomed by the Lord in this area. Looking forward to week 2!

Photo by Heart and Soul Reflections

 The Autumn sun, rising. . .

Shining its morning light in my kitchen.

Offering warmth and that feel-good "I'm at home" feeling.

It's like all my good memories at once.

Pouring in through the windows, in every corner.

My mom says, "Stacie, the sunrise in your home is so pretty.
I just love it."

Husband says, "Did we leave the lights on downstairs?" happy

Autumn sun. . .bright and brilliant.

"His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from His hand,
where His power was hidden." (Habakkuk 3:3)

Autumn Sunrise

by on Tuesday, October 05, 2010
 Photo by Heart and Soul Reflections    The Autumn sun, rising. . . Shining its morning light in my kitchen. Offering w...
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