Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Big Announcement!

Are you ready, ladies?

First, our new header winner!






The other two options will be used on the page and within the group, so don't worry, you will get to see them!

Thank you all so much for voting, it means so much to me to have you all involved like this. I hope we can continue to do this in the future!


And now, my big announcement!

Please welcome...

CFHShop





I am so excited to offer this to you ladies! Here you will be able to find all of my organizing, family, personal and home worksheets for your use. Please do bear with me as I learn how to make these available to you. Technology is not my greatest strength haha!

I hope you all are having a wonderful night and are looking forward to this new year and new chapter as much as I am.


Blessing to you all in the coming year,

Audrey



Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Getting a Good Start

The new year is upon us and many are making resolutions. We have the best of intentions to follow these but often times, we set ourselves up for failure because of our own determination.


Diets, budgets, and all other goals should not be performed in a "crash" setting, Starting all at once will be one of your greatest enemies.

Set yourself up for success, give yourself grace and time to ease into your new routines.

If you are following along with the goal challenges here on the blog, we will be taking the month of January to pray, plan and prepare. We will work to lay a good foundation so that we do not lose our momentum by March.

The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.
Proverbs 21:5

Start now mentally preparing yourself. Start thinking about setting aside supplies to help you plan like pen, paper, journal and binder. I truly look forward to working with you all in a successful New Year!


Blessings,

Audrey

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

More Fun New Year Announcements

Only two more days until our header reveal and my HUGE announcement!

Today though I am announcing two more series.

Both are studies, digging deep into who God created us to be and what He wants for our lives.

The first is



and the second is



I hope you are looking forward to these new series! I cannot wait to share with you ladies.


Blessings,

Audrey

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Teaser and What I Do When I Have a Sick Little

If you haven't voted, head over to the group and cast your vote for our new header. Make sure you stay tuned, the new header will be announced December 31 along with an exciting surprise!


In the meantime, here is a recipe I use for my little ones when they are sick:

1 cup bone broth
1 clove garlic (smashed, then cut into pieces)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
pinch of good quality salt
a few grinds of fresh pepper
a pinch or two of nutritional yeast

Mix together all but the cut garlic and warm on the stove. Put the garlic in the bottom of serving cup and pour liquid over.

This helps to boost their immune system and ease the cough as well as nourish their little bodies when they are not eating much.

Another recipe I use is

1 cup water
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
pinch cinnamon
pinch clove
pinch good quality salt
pinch ginger (or small cut piece of fresh ginger)
1 teaspoon turmeric

Mix together and warm on the stove.

Lemon water is wonderful for keeping the body hydrated while apple cider vinegar helps to settle the stomach.

I hope you all are having a lovely holiday and if you have sick littles, prayers for health!


Blessings,

Audrey

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

First Voting Option is here!

Which would you like for the new header?

Option One



Option Two



Option Three



Cast your vote in the group!



Blessings,

Audrey

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Looking to the New Year

Every year, I try to end with the same enthusiasm that I started the year with.

One way I do this is to begin planning for the new year, but also to reflect on what I have accomplished this year.

In looking towards the new year, I select a theme I would like to use to keep me focused. I'm not a fan of the "word for the year" challenges, but I do appreciate the concept.


This year, my theme is "Make the Right Choices--Even When They're Hard".

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. 
Matthew 7:13-14

Throughout this year you will see posts on this and what it looks like for our family. You'll find posts about getting back on your feet after tough times, drawing close to God, bonding with family and friends and more. I hope you are looking forward to this year as much as I am!

Blessings,

Audrey

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Adventures in 2016

With 2016 only a few weeks away I am excited to announce our upcoming plans!

We are calling this year "Right Choices". Every year we pick a theme we would like to focus on in our move forward. This year, we will be focusing on making the right choice even when it is difficult. Digging deep into prayer, seeking mentorship and surrounding ourselves with good influence to do so.

At the start of the year I will kick of a few new series:
Monthly Fruit of the Spirit
A Room a Month
and Life Skills for Ladies


The Life Skills series will be various posts on different topics meant to encourage and inspire you in your daily life. Whether you are a stay at home mom, working mom, business owner, single mom, stay at home wife, whatever your season of life or location on this journey, I hope these posts will help you.


Our Fruit of the Spirit series will focus on one fruit each month. I will do a few posts with Bible verse to study and how I am applying this fruit to my life.


And lastly, our Room a month series! This series is to help us get our homes decluttered, deep cleaned, organized and decorated one room at a time. I will share my tips, hacks, diy ideas, and more.

This, and so much more, await us in 2016!

I am looking forward to updating you all on our family and how we are working together to overcome our challenges. Thank you all for your love, prayers and support during this time!

Blessings,

Audrey

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Cocoa Recipe

Every year, I make "Christmas Cocoa" mix to gift in mason jars.

I love to give homemade gifts, especially food. It is so warm, loving and simple. It is always enjoyed. Below is my recipe for Christmas Cocoa. You can package these with peppermint sticks, chocolate chips, marshmallows or other favorite toppings in little cellophane bags.

Christmas Cocoa 

This recipe is meant to fit in a pint size mason jar

3 cups sugar
2.5-3 cups good 100% cocoa
1 Tbs fine salt

Layer in your mason jar or whisk until well mixed in a bowl then pour in.

For added flavor, add a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of clove or for something totally different try a pinch of cayenne for a Mayan style hot chocolate.

This recipe should be added to 1 cup of warmed milk. 1-3 Tbs is usually the preference. (If you put a peppermint leaf in the bottom of the cup it is simply divine!)

Gift with a tag that has measuring instructions and ingredients along with toppings and a sweet mug for beautiful package.


Blessings,

Audrey

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Relationships Part One

Ladies, I am hoping to do a few posts on this important topic: Relationships

Today may be a bit rambling but this has been on my heart and I feel needs to be said.

Ladies, I do not have time for negative, judgemental, or legalistic people.

Is this harsh? Maybe and I apologize.

My life is far too short and important to God to entertain people who are not going to love and cherish me the way He does.

The moment I realized I did not have to associate with people who were doing nothing for my life was liberating. I left Facebook groups, deleted people from my list and politely broke off contact with others.

You know how I feel? Great!

I have more time to spend with my children, with God and to repair my relationships with my husband and family.

Your worth is NOT defined by what anyone, even another Christian, thinks of you. You are worth far above rubies, priceless in the eyes of God.

Don't let the negative get you down. Banish it from your life. Immerse yourself in the positivity of God. You will never regret it.

God is the only person who can ever know your heart. He wants so much for you so please don't allow judgement, negativity and legalism rule your life. Reach for success in Him.

He wants us to be strong, to have strong relationships. He wants us to serve and to be served. He wants us to face trials head on and to lift up those facing trials. He wants us to always be learning and to be teachers. Learn from those who have gone ahead and teach those coming up.

Stay humble ladies. Be willing to be wrong and to fail. He will use every step for something good. He will show you the path of success in your life and bring those to you who would serve you and be a light in your life.

Ladies, I want success for you. I don't care if you watch Disney, wear skirts or pants, have short or long hair. Our relationship with each other and with God is so much more than that. I truly want to bring you all into a time of love, laughter, stability, security and prosperity in all areas. I love each and every one of you.


Blessings,

Audrey

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Expectations

Have you ever wondered about God's expectations for your life?

If you haven't, maybe you ought to take a moment to think about it. How many of us know exactly what His expectations are?


Let's take a moment to look at this verse from Proverbs 15:15

All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

This verse doesn't say "oh but there are strings attached" or "you must do this to get this". It simply says that a cheerful heart has a good life.

God wants amazing things for us but what amazing looks like will be different for each of us. Amazing for me may be a large family with a home in the mountains. For you it may be a certain car that allows you to reach out to someone in need. For someone else it may be money to support family falling on hard times. A good life happens regardless of circumstance according to God.


Have you set the bar impossibly low though? Have you set it at "just scraping by"? Are you missing opportunities that God is offering you because of your expectations versus His for your life? Are you rejecting His blessings because they don't fit your plan?

Planning is a wonderful thing! I am a planner by nature but I can tell you, it can be a huge stumbling block in trusting God. Plan so you know which way you are headed, but do so in prayer and hand your plans over to Him. Remain flexible in your path to get to your goals. God knows your heart, He knows what you want and He knows what is best for you. Stay in open communication with Him and be willing to work hard, not just in your daily life but in your direction for the future.



Blessings,

Audrey

Where I Currently Am and Making It Work

Life has handed me a plate I never thought I would have in front of me.

When unexpected challenges happen we have two choices: to wallow in our own misery and self pity or suck it up and try again.


God doesn't desire for us to be miserable, so why would option one ever be an option for us? He wants for us to rise above adversity, to learn, to grow, to improve and to succeed.

So how do we make the choice to try again?

I could simply say, just do it. That would be the truth. However, when we are so accustomed to feeling sorry for ourselves and falling into depression this is not so easy. So here's what I do:

I sit down and make a list.

I examine where I currently am. What is my current struggle? What areas of my life aren't working for me? Is it finances? Relationships? Work?

Then, I dream. I put into words where I want to be in life. I spend significant more time on this and am careful to be specific because this helps my mind to get into a positive zone. I pray, I talk with God, I seek counsel. I plan.

Once I have these two areas defined, I game plan. I look at my first list and write out the steps I will need to take to get to my dream list. This list becomes my daily plan and helps me to find the necessary vehicle to make my dreams happen. Is it more time with God? A different job? Books? Mentors? Family help? Whatever it is, I identify it and seek to make it happen.

As a young child I was often told "Sailors never quit". This mindset has been emblazoned on my heart. I never accept defeat or no for an answer. Neither should you. You are worth so much more to God. He wants so much more for you. Seek to live His life plan for you rather than accepting defeat in your own choices.



Blessings,

Audrey

PS. If any of you ever need, please reach out to me. It is my pleasure to encourage you and assist you in any way that I can. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Three Lies

The World would have us believe three lies:

It cannot be simple
There are no instructions
Not everyone can succeed

How wrong they are.

The secular world goes to great lengths to convince us these are true though. There are commercials of mothers complaining about child rearing and household duties, encouragement for debt and divorce, and the greatest ever coming out of the public schools: Generation ME.





A whole generation being raised as self entitled brats.


Excuse my wording please but truly these up and coming soon to be adult frighten me.

They know nothing of the truth.

They don't know the basics
They don't know the Bible
They don't know the value of hard work

And here's what's worse---it's rubbing off on those who are already adults. Facebook has become the new breeding ground for these plagues.

The words "I can't" are seen everywhere.
Ignoring the wealth of knowledge of the Bible and the generations before us is rampant.
More status's are about TV shows than anything actually intelligent.

What are we doing to ourselves?!?

This is not what God would have for us.

Life is simple--Follow Him
There are instructions--open your Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
Everyone can be successful--keep your focus on Him and be willing to accept His gifts!

How many opportunities are we missing because we have bought into the lies the World tells us? How much longer will we keep listening to them and saying "I can't" instead of listening to God and saying "I believe You can"?


Blessings,

Audrey

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Where is Our Heart?

My heart is breaking writing this post but I feel it really needs to be said.


Ladies, we should not be enemies to each other. We should be the other's biggest support system and best friends. We are sisters in Christ!

Watching interactions on Facebook is just overwhelming and has many times made me want to leave or quit the internet all together. However, that wouldn't help. If we are not part of the solution then we become the problem.

I once had a fellow school mate tell me that she quit going to church because the ladies were "so cliquish and catty". My goodness ladies! What a tragedy!

This happens on Facebook every day. How many are we losing for Christ because of our emotions?

When we allow our emotions to rule, no matter the situation, we are losing moral ground and our credibility. Not to mention, respect.

The Bible praises women who are gentle, kind, meek, nurturing and loving. How often to we think on these before posting that sarcastic comment or arguing the same point for the thousandth time?

We need to develop servant's hearts ladies. Being right is so much less important than winning hearts and helping others succeed.

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2:3-5


Blessings on this Sunday,

Audrey

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Dump Post

It's been a crazy last week and I have another ahead of me. I had my family in town much of this past week and my mother in law is coming this weekend. I'm in "clean all the stuffs!" mode.

To wrap up last week:

We were working in our playrooms. Someone asked how do you know what to rotate?

Do what feels right for you.

I leave out open ended toys: blocks, balls, a few dress up items, cars and play characters. Everything else--the musical instruments, stuffed animals, play sets, puzzles, etc--get packed away to play with occasionally.

For this week:

I decided to keep working in the same area so I'm cleaning my children's rooms. I know I usually have pictures, but I'm writing this post with a baby in my arms so I'll have to add those later haha!

In my life:

Some of you know I have had a very throw uppy baby. We have figured out most of her triggers now and she is feeling much better. We had a good night's sleep for the first time since she was born!

My son has been doing very well. We are back to homeschooling! We spent time yesterday learning Latin declensions and some basic French. He truly enjoys learning and spending time with mama.

My husband and I had been through some struggles, as some of you know. We have found a wonderful mentor that is counselling us and in the last week, our lives have drastically changed.

My other bit of news:

Prior to my sweet baby being born, I had a dream of starting a business. I was on track to do this but I was a little unprepared for what two children on my own will be like. I am happy to announce though that I am now working from home in my own business! This means so much to me and my family and could mean big things for this little blog in the future!

I hope you all are having a wonderful week and I'm praying for you all daily.

Blessings,

Audrey

Monday, November 09, 2015

Preparing for Christmas Cleaning Challenge: Play Room and Toys

This week, we are cleaning play rooms and going through toys!


If you do not have a play room, take this time to still go through toys and think about where you are keeping them.

I like to go through toys well before Christmas so I know what is broken, missing or otherwise needed.

Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Ladies, begin with prayer. This area can often feel so overwhelming, especially when we are over flowing with toys!


Gather your bags and boxes to sort into. We have more categories this time: trash, donate, for another room, keep in this room and keep for rotation.

I strongly believe in rotating toys. Big toys or toys with many pieces are lovely for this! I like to keep very simple, open ended toys out regularly and pull out our castles, ride on toys, etc only occasionally.





After you sort your toys, immediately take out the trash and load your donations into the car. Then pack up your rotation toys.


Now we are on to our regular day toys.

Group your toys by type. Keep all the cars together, puzzles, books, dolls, dress up items, whatever you have sort them. Put each of these categories into separate bins, boxes, baskets or bags.

Now, make a commitment that you will train your children to only have one category out at a time. This will make clean up a breeze.

Ladies, toys and playrooms should bring joy but also should inspire creativity, education and cooperation. If you find these to be lacking, cut back on the toys. Spend time in the space with your children, watching them and encouraging them to play, work, and enjoy time together.

As with our other spaces, take a few moments to jot down notes on what you may be lacking in this space. Jot down gift ideas, organization ideas, and decor ideas. As you are out shopping, look for good deals. Spend a few minutes the night before you go out to check your list and look for coupons online. Planning ahead can save you significant money.

I hope this encourages you ladies!

Blessings,

Audrey

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Kitchen and Pantry After Pictures

This week, instead of showing pictures of a pristine kitchen, I thought I would show you all what a Saturday really looks like for me.


I routinely make broth, bread, soup and other bulk meal items for the week on the weekends. This is what my kitchen looks like after a day of cooking and already doing one load of dishes.


I will share pretty pictures of my pantry now organized though!

Each bin hold a category of food. It is more bare right now than usual because my bulk items are not in here (I have been keeping them in the garage because they are too heavy to move).


My current categories are snacks (down on the bottom), grains and beans, and junk food up on the top.


To the right I have teas and other drinks, nuts and seeds,dried fruit and breakfast items.

In my fridge I keep drinks up on the top. We currently have a large supply of kombucha (yay sales!) and fresh juice. Our milk is kept on the door with electrolyte water.


Below this I store our left over containers on the shelf with our prepackaged items (like yogurt and some fruits) below. The large pot is my broth cooling.

At the very bottom of the door, my son stores his cups. This makes it easy for him to get a drink whenever he needs. For the same reason, I keep the snack bin on a low shelf so he can grab something if he needs (or if I am nursing and unable to assist).

I hope this encourages you ladies. It's not about perfection. It's about daily life and making that more functional so we have more time to spend on the things that really matter.


Blessings,

Audrey

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Structuring Your Day to Focus on God--Setting a Good Foundation

The last few weeks I have been talking about focus, attitude and simple mission statements to help us stay on track.

These all sound so inspirational and great in theory, but how do we go about applying this?


Simple, good, and focused foundation.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Matthew 7:24-27

 The start of this foundation will be structuring your day to focus on God. How might we do that?

Begin your day reading His Word and praying. I like to read Proverbs with my children every day. One chapter a day. I love having my little ones cuddle in bed with me before we begin on the day's work.

Then, get out of bed and get yourself dressed. While doing this, listening to Revive Our Hearts or Proverbs 31 can keep your heart and mind focused. 

You can set your little ones up to listen to Life at the Pond or Adventures in Odyssey while you make breakfast and get a few chores done. 

As you go through your day, turn on hymns on Pandora or elsewhere. Listen to Christmas music to get in the spirit. Your children may like Hide 'Em in Your Heart to learn Bible verses. 

The afternoon can be for learning. Just as your children are learning in their schoolwork, we need to keep learning in the Lord. Resources like Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Embassy Institute, Focus on the Family, Answers in Genesis, Thru the Bible and Zig Ziglar may be inspirational for you. Almost all of these resources are free or very low in cost. Other great options are Titus2, No Greater Joy, Above Rubies and Doorposts.

In the evenings, commit to a personal Bible study. You can pick one from the links above, or join in this audio version at Naomi's Table.  

When your day is built around Him, everything else will fall into place. Make yourself a promise not to overbook yourself with activities so you truly have time to spend in learning and prayer. Commit to church and Bible studies. They are far more important than sports or other activities. 

I hope this encourages and inspires you ladies!

Blessings,

Audrey

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Where is Our Attitude the Moment Our Feet Hit the Floor?

There is a meme making the rounds on Facebook that says:


Have you ever stopped to really think about what this means though?

Often we read these and even repost them thinking they are "deep" or "clever" but giving little thought to the actual message.

What kind of women would the Devil actually fear?


It is easy to point to Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 and say "There! That is the kind of woman we should be!"

It is equally easy to say "I could NEVER be that perfect!"

Stop.

Take a step back.

Let's start at the very beginning.

God is concerned with our heart.

I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings
Jeremiah 17:10 

Our hearts, what we are committed to, will direct our thoughts and actions.

So ladies, what do our attitudes say we are committed to?

Do our attitudes say we are the Daughters of the King? Or do they say we are concerned with the world?

If someone knew nothing about us other than our attitude and conduct today, would they know we are a child of God?

Ladies, perfection is not the point. God doesn't call us to be perfect, but he does say through his son to be like him.

He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
1John 2:6

Often, we get so caught up in whether we should celebrate a holiday, wear certain clothes, or eat certain foods we miss his point: what attitude did Christ live with?

 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-11 

Are we humble to God and obedient--even unto death?

I know that personally, this hits my heart deeply and often.

Do I go about my day without complaining or arguing? (Philippians 2:14)
Do I find joy in my work? (Proverbs 31)
Do I rejoice in my children? (Psalms 127:3-5)
Am I a gift to my husband? (Proverbs 31, Proverbs 12:4, Proverbs 18:22)
Do I treat my sisters in Christ with love and respect? (Titus 2)
Do I conduct myself with grace and wisdom? (Proverbs 31:26)
Do I speak faithfully? (Proverbs 12:18)

Others to consider:
Do I choose to uplift my brothers and sisters in Christ, or to tear them down?
Do my words hurt or help?
Do I extend a hand when needed?
Do I joyfully work or avoid it?
Do I humbly take pride in the work given to me?
Do I celebrate all days in Christ?
Am I a good steward of what I have been given?
Am I thankful for what I have?

Ladies, do we begin our days with an attitude of gratitude and joy? Do we get out of bed thanking God for the day and eager to tackle the work to be done or do we get out of bed thinking "Oh great another day, I wonder what will go wrong today?"? 

Blessings,

Audrey

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Do you have a mission statement for your family that is simple and focused?

Even a child is known by his deeds,
Whether what he does is pure and right.
Proverbs 20:11

Several months ago, I wrote a post about creating a mission statement.

How do we get from this paragraph or whole page to a simple, easy to remember and apply statement though?

Our family mission statement was a rambling one touching on our relationships with God and family as well as friends and other people around us. Even having it posted where we could see it, how on earth was I ever going to teach a five paragraph paper to my 3 year old?

It was leading to frustration for all of us.

While watching "19 Kids and Counting" with my son, God gave me an idea.

One of the little Duggar children was explaining their family rules and said:

"Amendment JOY: Jesus first, others second, yourself last"

Brilliant.

It's easy to remember, even the smallest child could explain it!

So we went back to work on our mission statement. It now reads:

In making choices in our family we first ask:
Does this please God and improve our relationship with Him?
Does this help our Family and improve our relationship with them?
Does this serve Others and draw them closer to Him?

Gleason Family Mission Statement: GFO--God, Family, Others

Simple, focused and applicable.


Blessings,

Audrey

Monday, October 26, 2015

My Cleaning Schedule

When I was a very little girl, I was often asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would very matter of factly tell whomever asked:

"A ballerina princess mermaid mommy"

It often got a laugh but as I grew, my desire to be a mother never changed.

I loved children and I loved the work that came with them.

Then, I discovered Martha Stewart.

I would pour over her magazines and books. Carefully cut out pictures and articles to save in my dream binder.

I still have much of it today and I still hope someday to be as organized as she.


Inspired by this, here is my cleaning schedule:

Daily
One load of laundry (washed, dried, put away)
One load of dishes (washed and put away)
Wipe counter tops in the kitchen and used bathrooms (we have 4 so I only clean the ones we really use)
Wipe out the sinks in kitchen and used bathrooms
Sweep the mudroom and kitchen (our cats litter is in our mudroom)
Gather trash and take out to the garage
Pick up toys and items laying out (I have a basket I collect the random items in to return to their proper homes)

This is the minimum of what I do to keep my home functioning. In the evenings, I try to prepare for te coming day as much as I can by collecting the laundry together etc.

I also aim to tidy two zones a day if I can.

Monday: Entry areas, laundry room and halls
Tuesday: Living room and play room
Wednesday: Kitchen and Guest suite
Thursday: Master Bedroom and Office
Friday: Dining and Children's rooms
Saturday: Bathrooms, Closets and car

The goal with tidying these spaces is to put items back where they belong, do a quick dust and vacuum and keep the rooms fresh.

Deep cleaning each of the above zones takes me about a week. It may take me longer, I don't push myself to finish in a certain time frame and I don't deep clean a room if it doesn't really need it.

A deep clean includes the following:

Moving furniture to vacuum underneath
Wiping walls, doors baseboards and switchplates
Cleaning light fixtures
Cleaning windows
Shampooing rugs
Washing all linens
Decluttering
Cleaning and polishing furniture
Checking to make sure all electronics are working
Replacing bulbs or anything else that may needs to be replaced

Seasonally I check
Lint traps
Clean the dishwasher, fridge, stove, washer and dryer
Fire alarms
Gutters
Garage doors
Exterior of the house
Drains

I hope this helps!

Blessings,

Audrey

Preparing for Christmas Cleaning Challenge: Kitchens


This week I'm working in my kitchen ladies and I hope you will join me.

This room really is my trouble spot. It turns into a war zone every evening. I'm sure many of you can relate!


But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'
Matthew 4:4

Expect this room to take more time and energy. Try to plan to have some time to yourself to do your sorting.

Start by first washing anything that is dirty, get all your dishes clean and have a clean surface to sort on.

Then sort out trash, donations, keep in the kitchen and go to another room items.

Immediately move trash and donations out of the home.

Wipe down your cabinets and maybe lay some pretty paper down before putting dishes away.



As you put items away, match lids to storage devices and check for broken items. You can make note of these in the notebook from the previous week's challenges so you can keep an eye out for replacements.

Be mindful of how you use your kitchen and how you want it to feel. This is a room of fellowship so maybe have some favorite hymns playing while you clean and spend some time chatting with God.

As you finish up, make note of any organizing items that may be helpful in your notebook and any decor you want to look out for. Remember, look for these at thrift stores and on sale with coupons. Don't over stretch yourself by paying full price. Your home is where you live, not a place to compete with other homemakers.

I hope to see your before pictures in the group and after pictures on Saturday!

Blessings

Audrey  


PS: These pictures were taken after I did one load of dishes and started to clean some this weekend. I stopped and took pictures for this challenge. Prior to this, every inch of my counter was covered in dirty dishes and empty containers. It's a crazy life moms live!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Where is Our Focus?

What we focus on with passion is what we get in our lives.


Powerful statement isn't it?

What we focus on with passion is what we get in our lives. Goodness, what kind of responsibility does this mean we must accept?

Do we need to accept that maybe our poor relationships, debt, illness, etc may be our passions?

Every day we have a choice: we can complain or we can be thankful.

When we complain it does nothing for us except expend our energy. We get nowhere and is does nothing for our relationship with God.

But when we are thankful, oh! This changes our lives. It brings us joy!

Being thankful keeps our focus on God. It keeps our focus on what HE would have us be and do. It creates passion in our relationship with Him.

Wouldn't it be amazing to have a passionate relationship with Him every day?

To be truly in love with Him. To allow Him to lead us. To be sold out to His plan.

What a difference that could make in our lives.

When our focus is first on Him our paths are directed by Him.

Don't make Him your second thought, make Him your first!

Your family, job, bills, home, even yourself--those come second. We may not want to think this at first, but we can live without all of those things. We cannot live without Him. He gives us the beauty that is in our lives.

So make your first thought in the morning "What would you have me do today Lord?". Set your sights on being a woman after His own heart.

When you do this, you will find your heart will change, your attitude will change, your world will change.

When you struggle ladies, and we know that we will, stop. Turn on some hymns. Pray. Reset with some of these verses. (For more verses, click here)

We must learn to accept the responsibility that when it feels like our lives are falling apart, we need to cling to God rather than try to fix things on our own. Dig deep into His Word. Nurture your relationship with Him.

And believe ladies.

Believe that He has you right where you need to be and where He wants you. Rather than praying He take life's current challenges from you, try asking Him what He is wanting you to learn. Remember, your current reality is only a season. Through Him all things are possible. Your current state doesn't define you, He does! Rejoice in this! He is your future so make Him your focus!

I hope this encourages you sweet friends!


Blessings,

Audrey

How Can I Serve You?

This blog started out as a way to keep myself accountable but has grown to be so much more than that.

Moving into the new year, I would love to know how I can best serve you?


What would you like to see CFH become?

What would you love to see me write about?

Share your ideas here, on the page or in the group!



Thank you all for reading and blessings in the week ahead,

Audrey

Why Not Today?



What holds us back from starting right now?

That project we've been wanting to try? That business we've wanted to open? Even something as simple as cleaning up the home....what holds us back?

Is it fear?

Fear that we'll fail.
Fear that it won't be good enough.
Fear that we won't finish.
Fear that there isn't enough time.
Fear that there isn't enough money.

God tells us

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Philipians 4:6

What do we truly have to fear with God on our side?

How many verses are there in the Bible telling us to trust Him?

Here alone, there are eighty!

How can we possibly think we know better than God when he tells us just to trust him and all things will work together for good?

We may not succeed, but he will give us strength to try again.
We may not be good enough but He will love us still.
We may not finish but he will delight in our hard work.
We may not have enough time but we will be with Him for eternity.
We may not have enough money, but He promises to provide.

Truly, what do we have to worry about? What do we have to fear? What do we have to not trust him on?

In all we do, let us surrender to Him. His plans for us are so much more incredible for us than our own!

So why not start today? Tomorrow is not a guarantee


For more verses to study: click here. and here


Blessings,

Audrey

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Happy Birthday Rho

You are now 3 years old!


Three years ago, we didn't know what your future would look like.




But today, you are a big brother growing so steadily with God.


I am so proud of you and blessed to be your Mama.

Happy Birthday Rho, I love you.



Blessings,

Audrey

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Would You Like to Join Me?


If you enjoy reading my blog, please consider joining me on Facebook:

On my Page for regular updates

Or our group to chat with other ladies!


Blessings,

Audrey

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Birth of Our Evie

September 27th began like most other days. I made breakfast for Rho and tried to straighten up the mess from the night before. On my list for the day was unpacking the boxes for the family closet and getting everything labelled. As soon as we cleaned up, I got started.


I was 38 weeks. A huge achievement for me after two preemies. My husband had deployed the day before (Saturday) and I was anxiously waiting to hear if he had made it to his base.

I kept myself busy, getting little projects done (I believe I started 16 different tasks haha) before my phone pinged at 4 pm. He had landed! He was safe. I could relax and get things ready for the evening.


My son was overtired at this point, he had skipped nap that day so I opted for an early supper and bath followed by cuddles and a movie. At 6 pm when I put him in the bath though, I went to the bathroom and noticed I was lightly bleeding.

I immediately called my mother. My step father was an EMT at one point and started asking me several questions before telling me to call my midwife. I have a history of very quick labors and at the time, we weren't entirely sure of the situation.


I chatted with my midwife and we decided I was in the early stages of labor! My contractions were mild and irregular so she suggested I call my family to get everyone ready. About an hour later (it was now about 9 pm) my mother and father arrived at my home to help out.

By this time, my labor was picking up. My back and hips were hurting badly. I had to stop talking and sit during several contractions. Around 10 my contractions were becoming more regular so my midwife had us prepare to come in. At midnight I was admitted to the birth center.

My husband still didn't know that I was in labor! I had sent him a message, but the time difference is so great, I knew the earliest he would get it was about 5 am our time. I figured things were going so quickly, the baby would be here already and he'd wake up to pictures. However, my body had other ideas.

I was 4 cm upon admittance and about 80% effaced, but at 3 am there had been no change. At 4, my husband was able to get in touch with me and we actually got to speak on the phone! My contractions were painful. I was breathless. I was exhausted. I had been up for almost 24 hours (my son went to bed at 1 am he was so excited). By 5 I couldn't talk anymore. The assistant midwife suggested I lay down to get some rest. We were all sure the baby would be here very soon.

At 7 when I woke up though, there was still little change. I had stalled. My contractions had almost stopped. I was still exhausted and feeling discouraged. I walked, bounced on the birthing ball, stretched, did everything we could think of. The contractions picked up again and we decided to try for another rest laying in a position that would help me continue to dilate.

But again my labor stalled. It was now mid afternoon. I was hungry and ready to be done. This was my longest labor. Already double my previous birth. I was worried because we didn't have much at home that we needed (we now knew that sweet baby would not fit into her cloth diapers nor much of the clothing). My husband was waiting for his next flight and we were just praying baby would get here before he was unavailable again.

So Mom and I decided to go shopping. We went to Babies r Us and picked up some preemie sized clothing and diapers. Then went by her school to finish up some work for her students for the week. I walked the stairs and we could see a change. We knew these contractions were working.


We headed back to the birth center to get checked. I was 5 cm, 6 during contractions and 90% effaced.

We were faced with decisions. It was 5:30 pm. We couldn't break my water yet so I could either go home or I could let my midwife soften and move my cervix.

I was so ready for the second option.

About 30 minutes later I was fulled effaced and 7-8 cm dilated. We could break my water!

My husband was now sitting in an airport messaging with my mother keeping up with all that was going on (very cute conversation haha).  My contractions moved quickly. I was still able to talk but feeling ill (a good sign for me, it means I'm about ready to start pushing).

We got out the birthing stool, hoping to support my back and hips which were now throbbing. I was instructed to start to slowly push when I felt contractions.

And then it happened...my left hip locked up.

I couldn't feel my leg from my lower back to my knee. I was in agony and numb at the same time. And I was absolutely frightened. (For those who may not know, I was a ballet dancer in my younger days and suffered several back and hip injuries during the time.)

We moved to the bed for more comfort and support, but I couldn't put any pressure on my left side without excruciating pain. I rolled partly to my right side for the next three small pushes, but baby was descending quickly and we all just wanted her out.


My midwife and assistant got me back flat and told me if I could give one good push, baby would be out. So I tried. I pushed hard. The pain and exhaustion were getting in my way though and this became a problem. Now baby was part way here but not enough. They helped me push one more time and she was here!

Neither of us were completely out of the woods though. My hip was still locked and I had heavy bleeding (I have in the past struggled with borderline anaemia) and sweet baby had slightly low blood sugar.


She was here though! She cried and nursed well (with the help of a little glucose) and a few hours later we were headed home.

The best part: my husband was able to know the moment she arrived!

We are so thankful for our beautiful Evaliene Faith (Eh-va-leen). She is certainly blessed and much prayed for.

For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him
1 Samuel 1:27

Our rainbow baby. Our sweet girl. She is now with us and in our hearts forever.




I hope you have enjoyed our story!

Blessings,

Audrey