Friday, January 27, 2012

Cherishing Your Children


Imagine someone placed a gourmet meal before you to enjoy.

The meal included your favorite dishes and was presented on the most elegant place settings.  Your favorite people were there to enjoy it with you. 

You glance at the table, take one quick bite and say, “Gotta run!  I’ve got important things to do.  My to-do list is out of this world!

Oftentimes that is how we treat our days.

We are consumed with the activities and responsibilities of life, forgetting to consciously cultivate and appreciate the special people in our lives.

If you have children, God has placed a buffet before you, a platter full of goodies and tastes galore!

He has placed wonderful, living, breathing, thinking, lovable humans into your hands to enjoy with delight. 

Are you cherishing your children?


Are you delighting in these days that you have them in your home or are you secretly (or publicly) wishing them away, anxiously waiting for the day when they would “just grow up already”?

Do you see your children as interruptions or as the very meaning and crux of your being as a mother?

Are you relishing your children and soaking it all in – their cuteness, their strengths and skills, their affection, their hopes and dreams?

It’s time to start cherishing your children!

Be with your children as much as possible.

Snuggle with them throughout the day.

Kiss and hug them.

Tell them you love them.

Be aware of your children’s needs at all times.

Take time to talk with your children.

Rejoice with them when they rejoice.

Enjoy the time you spend with them and make sure they know it.

Take interest in their interests.

Plan special times at home or elsewhere with them – “date time”.


Life is short.

The days are long, but the years go by quickly.

Our children will be grown within a blink of the eye.


Let’s savor our children and show the world that, YES,

children are REALLY blessings!

Monday, January 23, 2012

“Something’s Better Than Nothing”–Hospitality in Our Homes

This past weekend we were scheduled to have some friends over for a time of fellowship after church.  Oftentimes when I have people over, I put a lot of pressure on myself to have everything perfect!  You know how it goes... You want to make the perfect meal, bake the perfect dessert, don the perfect attitude, and have a perfectly spotless house.
After a busy few days, I was unable to get to the grocery store in time for "The Big Event".  We were surrendered to that convenient idea of ordering pizza for lunch!  Part of me felt like a failure.  Part of me started to wonder if our friends would really enjoy their time as well, because, after all, everything would NOT be perfect!
You can probably guess what happened.  Yep, our friends politely excused themselves from the invitation and said, "Perhaps we can come another time".
NO!  Of course not!
After I sent my friend an email telling her I had “failed” and we would be ordering pizza, she encouraged me.  First and "foremost, she reminded me that I was not a failure.  I had spent my time on other purposeful, important things and that was good. Secondly, she reassured me that pizza would be great and that her family would think of it is a gourmet meal because they do not order out much.
When I received my friend's response, I felt a bit of relief.  I was reminded, once again, that people are not looking for perfection when they come to our homes, they are looking for love and friendship. 
Sometimes we do not invite people to our homes because we have fears of failure, fears of not being perfect.
The excuses are plentiful:
“We don't have enough space.”
“Their children will have nothing to do.”
“What will I do about my "hotspots"?”
“I will be so embarrassed if they see my home in this condition.”
“I won't know what to serve.”
etc... etc... etc...
and we lose out on the blessing of being hospitable towards someone AND lose out on deepening our relationships with others.

People would much rather be invited and bring a dish to pass or toys for their children than to miss out altogether.
Life is about community.
Life is about people.
Life is about serving and encouraging others.
No matter what your circumstances are, certainly you can do "something" to increase hospitality and fellowship in your home. 
Something's Better than Nothing!
It is better to open our homes, imperfectly, with love, than to neglect people.
1 Peter 4:9  Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
Challenge yourself to do just that!
Plan to invite someone over within the next month!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

White Chicken Chili


When I made this chili, my husband said, “YUM!” after he ate his first bite.

When he went back for his third or fourth serving, he said, “I love your cooking!”  That is when I know something is really good.  ~smile~
Everyone loved it!

The original recipe that inspired me is found here, but I changed it up a bit.

White Chicken Chili
Printable Recipe
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 WHOLE boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 (4oz) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 3 (14.5oz) cans great northern beans, undrained
  • 1/2 – 1 t salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add chicken, stirring often, until chicken is about halfway done. Add the onion to sauté pan and cook over medium heat until onion and chicken are well-cooked.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 30 minutes.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Inspiration for the New Year: Finale–Nuggets from the Week

Inspiration for the New Year button

Thank you for joining my blogger friends and me this past week for some “Inspiration for the New Year”.  I hope you felt encouraged and refreshed.  I did, and I had a great time joining up with our guest bloggers!  Truly, it was a lot of fun!

I just wanted to review the main thoughts from the week, to sum it all up, so we could grab the nuggets and push forward in our goals for the year ahead. 

Some of the week’s goals were practical, but many were perspective-challengers.  Isn’t that where our goals start – with our perspective?  If our hearts and minds can be fueled to feel and think the right way, we can accomplish so much more in life.

This year, as you plunge ahead, encourage yourself to:

New Year Inspirations with flower

If you are interested in printing this list, you can right click and copy the image so you can paste it elsewhere to size and print.

If you missed any posts from this past week, I encourage you to check them out! 

Evaluating the Essentials Lovin’ the Good Life!
Be Deliberate About Your Marriage The Not-So-Together Mom
Live It Like You’ve Got It! God Is Our Provider

Have a blessed and joyful 2012!

If you found this series helpful, please direct others here for encouragement.  You can follow “The Cozy Nook” via Google Friend Connect or Facebook.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Inspiration for the New Year: Guest Post–God Is Our Provider

Today’s post is from

Sarah Beth of His Loving Presence

God Is Our Provider!

Happy New Year!

Would love to share with you what the Lord has been teaching me on debt and to inspire you with a wonderful idea for the New Year!


Have you read George Muller’s biography? The book is his journal. He was a preacher in England who felt led by the Lord to not take a fixed income, simply put a box out for those who felt they wanted to give. He then opened a school and Christian orphanage. The Lord taught him to NOT rely on man, government or the church to provide for the orphanages needs: food, clothing, coal, medical and furniture. This man relied on the Lord alone for all their needs.. daily you learn how God provides! It’s amazing! George wanted to show people that you do not have to be in debt, the Lord wants to completely, 100% provide for His children.

I highly recommend this book; your faith will be strengthened!

I got to thinking after this book, how many times do I myself rush to the store to buy something we need instead pray for the Lord to provide? Even worse, how many times do we buy something that is on loan, creating debt?

The Average household debt in the United States has now reached a level of 136% of average household income. That is jaw dropping!

But what does the Bible say about debt?

"Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8

God wants us to come to Him for the things we need and trust in Him!

I remember credit card offers kept coming in the mail, once I picked them up and thought, why not..I have some upcoming expenses. But then the Lord whispered to me, I will provide.. those mean you don’t trust in me!

Oh Lord I do trust in You! in the trash the offers went! ...and he did abundantly provide for us.


My goal, that I want to inspire you

with, is to create a:

Journal of Prayers & Blessings

When you or your family have a need…clothes, coat, shoes, car, books, something repaired, etc. anything! Write it down and pray about it.

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:33

The Lord is so good and provides for us more then I even know, here are just a few things the Lord has provided me with:

I prayed for winter boots... just days after a family member gave me a brand new pair that she didn’t like.

I prayed for food to be provided for a family gathering during the holidays..A neighbor came by with oranges and a big ham.

I prayed for a new bed for my daughter..we had seen children’s beds for around $400.00. We found her a brand new, beautiful wood day bed with lil hearts carved and a un~used mattress, all for $30.00.

Found homeschooling books from my favorite publisher for $2.99

This journal will encourage you on those days you need it!

It is my goal to not rush to the store for things we need but to pray and give all the glory to the Lord.

I am not just talking about credit cards but also auto and home loans. In my mind I always thought that if our car acted up, we would just keep buying as new as possible, on loan. God has really opened my eyes on this type of thinking. God gave us the idea to make a payment into another account, save and use that money when the time comes and we need a new car. For now, my car isn’t brand new but it’s perfect for us!

There are so many ways to save, ask the Lord to fill you with creative ideas!

“All believers are called upon, in the simple confidence of faith, to cast all their burdens on God and to trust Him for everything." George Muller

"Prove the faithfulness of God by carrying your every want to Him." George Muller

"The borrower is SLAVE to the lender, Proverbs 22:7. So who named that "MasterCard" Anyway?" Dave Ramsey

For more information on being debt free, click here:

I hope that you are blessed by this idea and that it inspires you greatly! If you have anything to share, maybe what God has taught you or provided for you and your family, please share!

imageSarah Beth blogs at His Loving Presence where she loves to encourage women in the Lord.  She has been a helpmeet to her husband Jon for 7 years.  They have three beautiful children. She is a full-time mother and has been homeschooling for three years~loving it!  She loves to cook and make homemade everything from buttermilk ranch to laundry soap… She loves herbal teas, herbal medicine, and reading. She and her family have been living in Nevada for over 3 years but will be moving back to her home state of Michigan this spring.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Inspiration for the New Year: Guest Post–The Not-So-Together Mom

Today’s post is from

Lisa of Stop and Smell the Chocolates.

The Not-So-Together Mom

Some days in my world require a Venti Starbucks.  My life really isn't all that difficult - I'm not complaining!  But I'm a Type B C sort of person, laid back and a daydreamer.  Domesticity does not come naturally to me (in fact sometimes I wonder if I might be allergic to housework).  Homeschool Teacher and Chef are not at the top of my list of strengths.  Extreme stacker of paperwork sadly IS a strength.  I'm a procrastinator and a slowpoke and usually at least 5 minutes late.  I'm not so together.  I'm not perfect.  Not even remotely close.

I want to keep my house clean and dust-free.  I want my laundry to always be folded and put away.  I want my floors to shine.  I want all paperwork to be organized.  I want to cook a delicious and nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner for my family - all in the same day.  I want to be the best and most fun homeschool teacher.  I want to be a wife that always treats my husband with kindness and respect.  I want to be a mother that can solve any problem.  I fall short.

Sometimes the feeling of falling far short of expectations threatens to overwhelm me.  But I try not to let it.  Instead, I work on picking myself up, dusting myself off, and striving to do better.  I know that I will fall short again - probably tomorrow; more likely by the end of this day.  Why keep trying?  Why keep striving to do better when it seems that I am never going to have it all "together?"  Because the Lord has called me to be a wife, a mother, a keeper of the home, and His child.  I know that He will help me to do it all to His glory, even when I'm not so together.

Do you look at other moms and wonder how they do it all?  Or do you look at other blogs and think they must really be on top of things?  Remember that whether in real life or on a blog - you are only seeing an edited snapshot of a life. No matter how it may appear to you, every mom has a time (or maybe all the time) when she feels not-so-together.  None of us is perfect.  And that is a blessing and a comfort!

We're in this messy life together and we can encourage each other as we ask for God's help and strive to do better.  I think He likes us to be not-so-together because then we need Him more.  When we ask for God's help and put Him first in our lives, the rest of it starts to fall into place a little more.  It starts to come together.  And then there is joy.  Joy in the striving and the falling short and the trying again because of Love.  It brings our focus away from not-so-together and brings it toward together-forever, with Him.

I'm thankful for the many ways the Lord has blessed my life and that He helps me daily!  I'm thankful that He loves my not-so-together self.  And I'm thankful for Starbucks and chocolate too.  :)

Are you a not-so-together mom like me?  May I offer you a virtual hug today and let you know that you are not alone in your daily struggles?  Let's help each other to look Up for a moment and find joy.  Let's find the blessings tucked away in our not-so-together world.

Have a blessed day friends!

Lisa  :)

Lisa started blogging as a hobby in April 2008.  She is blessed to be a stay-at-home mom and considers herself an imperfect homemaker.  She blogs about many subjects, including yummy recipes, mainly at Stop and Smell the Chocolates.  She is also a contributor at Pennies and Blessings.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Inspiration for the New Year: Lovin’ the Good Life


Lovin’ the Good Life

Is your life good?

Is your life great?

Is your life excellent?

It probably is, and you aren’t even thinking about it!



Heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer.

A home to call your own.

An automobile or two!

Good Delicious (!) food.

The privilege of dining out.

Loving family members.


A committed marriage.

Money to pay the bills and beyond.


Computers and internet access.

Caring friends.


Pure water.

Information and knowledge beyond measure.

The freedom to worship God.


Peace that passes understanding.

and on and on and on…

Do you enjoy any of these blessings?

With such wonderful blessings, why would anyone ever think she doesn’t live a good life?!

The monsters of discontentment and perfection are there to help!


Have you ever thought your marriage was pretty decent until you heard a Christian radio broadcaster say you should be going out on a date once a week?

Have you ever felt so blessed to be with your children until they spilled the milk, didn’t empty the dishwasher, made a mess in the living room, and disobeyed within the span of five minutes?

Have you ever been happy with your home and family life until you visited someone else’s perfectly clean and decorated home and then felt like a failure?!

Have you ever felt pretty good about your appearance until you saw the latest beauty queen on the front of a magazine?


Imperfection is everywhere!

Competition is everywhere!

For us, the challenge is to get away from “everywhere” and live right where we are, “in whatever state I am”.

Philippians 4:11

…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.

Are you content with your life? 

Are you livin’ the good life and not even knowing it?

Step away from the ruler of man and step into the good life that God has given you!

Ecclesiastes 5:18 –20

18 Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. 19 As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.

May God help us love our GOOD lives!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Inspiration for the New Year: Guest Post - Live It Like You’ve Got It!

Today’s post comes from Leslie of “Three and Me”.


Live It Like You’ve Got It!

It was one of the scariest moments of my life. Our 6 year old daughter was having her third and most severe seizure, right there in my arms. For ten heart wrenching minutes, we pleaded to God to make it stop and to help our little girl. I honestly felt like I could lose her at any moment, frantically watching her breathe and feeling her heart beat out of control. Finally, she stabilized, and after a few hours at the hospital, we were sent home with more questions than answers. Unfortunately, some of those questions were answered a week later, when a doctor told us she had epilepsy.

Even though I figured that would be the diagnosis, it still hurt to hear it. Why did she have to go through this? She had been through so much in six short years- a congenital heart defect, eye surgery, and now this. I was feeling very discouraged and worried.  Immediately, I ran to my friends and family for support, sharing it on Facebook, and asking for advice. I got many encouraging and helpful comments, along with heartfelt prayers. It made me feel better but somehow not peaceful. My husband, on the other hand, was confident and calm, and it bothered him that I "announced" the diagnosis on Facebook as if it were true. What? Um, a doctor told us it was true. Did my husband not see what I saw? I was not only confused, but hurt that he was discouraging me to talk so openly about "my problems". Isn't that what they say helps to get through things? What was wrong with getting support and advice from friends, as well as prayer for our daughter? Of course, there's nothing wrong with that. What right did he have to say that I shouldn't be talking about it like this? Apparently, every right, because unlike me at the time, he truly believed his little girl was already healed.

Therefore I say unto you, what things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:24

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:5-6

We've all heard the phrase "I believe it and I receive it!”, but do we? Or are we only believing it with our heads, and not with our hearts? If you are still speaking negatively, or in a way that is claiming the problem instead of the promise, then you are not receiving the healing! It is not penetrating your heart. You are still living like you have the problem. I said that I believed my daughter was healed, but then when she'd get a headache or get sick, I'd fall right back into the thinking of "what if". I was like that wave, tossed by the wind.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. Hebrews 11:1

What is the evidence of your faith? It’s believing the things unseen! In our natural mind, we believe in what we can see. I could see my daughter having seizures. I could see the doctor giving the diagnosis. What I couldn't see with my natural eyes was her healing. That was the thing unseen. Yet that is what God calls having faith. That was the thing I needed to see with my spiritual eyes.

For we walk by faith, not by (natural) sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (my emphasis)

I heard this quote recently, and it really touched my heart:
Faith is the picture of the completed plan that you see in your spirit, and the living out of that plan in obedience as if it is already done.

For me, that boils down to, "Live it like you've got it!" You have to live your life as if the thing is already done, as if your situation is already taken care of, even if that is not what your natural eyes see. To God, it is done, it was done at the cross (Isaiah 53:5). It is up to us to start not only believing and receiving, but believing and LIVING!

So in this new year, will you strive with me to "live it like we've got it"? Will you look at your life through spiritual eyes, seeing what God sees, seeing the unseen? It is the only way that we will truly have victory in our lives.

For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say to this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith. Mark 11:22-23

May God bless you this coming year with His healing, His heart, and His eyes!

Leslie blogs at Three and Me.  She is a Christian wife to a wonderful husband and is a homeschooling mama to the “best three kiddos in the world”!  She is learning to follow God's leading in all she says and does, even if that means taking the narrow road.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Inspiration for the New Year: Guest Post - A Deliberate Marriage Relationship

Today’s post comes from
A Deliberate Marriage Relationship

Next month my husband and I will celebrate 16 years of marriage. When we were first married, I couldn’t imagine that I would ever have to work at my marriage; I loved this man so much and it had been so easy to fall in love with him.

In the next few years we had 4 beautiful children. We grew older. Time passed, and most days seemed like any other.

A couple years ago, I was going through my day and realized that I hadn’t kissed my husband in 4 days. That would have been unheard of in our first couple of years of marriage! What had happened? In some ways I think I had gotten too used to his presence. He would come home at the same time each day; we would eat dinner, play with the kids, read a little and then off to bed. Our marriage was not in any danger of ending, but maybe it was on its way to becoming stale.

And from some conversations with others, I knew I was not alone.

Why is it that our marriages get dull? Maybe I was taking my husband for granted. I needed to remember that being married was a blessing; his friendship was cherished. Or maybe I came into the relationship thinking I could change him. Maybe as we aged, both of us changed. But that shouldn’t matter; my perspective as a wife needs to be to love my husband for who he is, not who I want him to be.

Marriage does need work. I needed to put effort into our relationship. To become romantic again. To remember that he was and still is my best friend. Really, my relationship with him, after my relationship with my Savior, is the most important one I have. Someday my children will be starting their own families, and the friendships I have today might be gone or changed. But the one constant relationship I will always have until I die, is with my husband.

We need to be deliberate about our marriages and put the effort into it when it becomes uninteresting; before we grow so far apart that we don’t get along. And being deliberate means making some plans. One of the few things I have done is to plan a date night at least once a month with my husband. Sometimes it is out for a nice dinner, other times it is just a walk to a coffee shop. I make a point to kiss him at the door when he comes home at night. I make an effort to engage in conversations with him; good, meaningful talks about things that he is interested in. And we try to leave the kids with their grandparents once a year and get away for a couple of days, just the two of us.

The marriage relationship is so important. This year, don’t neglect your spouse. Be deliberate about your relationship. Make plans to foster your marriage. Remember your love.

We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, [being the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary challenge of marriage is learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married. --Stanley Hauerwas

Charlotte blogs at Joyful Hearts and Faces.  She lives with her family in sunny California where she is growing in grace every day.  She is a help meet to her husband, a stay at home mom to her four precious children, a homeschool teacher, and everything else that goes along with that description.  She enjoys cooking for her family, gardening, amateur photography, reading to her kids and spending quiet evenings with her husband. But most important she is saved by grace, unconditionally by our sovereign Savior.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Inspiration for the New Year: Evaluating the Essentials

Inspiration for the New Year button
January 8 – January 14
Welcome to our week of inspiration!
I am excited about the week ahead.  Each day I have something to share with you, from myself and four other blogging friends!
Enjoy and be blessed!

Evaluating the Essentials

"Take Care of You!!!"

That is what the sign at the health center shouted at me.

It is also what the Lord and life have been shouting at me.

Life has taken me by storm at times.  The demands upon my life have exponentially increased within the past few years, draining me in every aspect of my life.  Sometimes I wonder how I can keep going, how I can take care of all of these people and needs all the time.  It can be overwhelming at times.

One day it dawned on me... I am not taking care of myself as I ought.

I began to think about the some of the key areas of life, necessities for a good, strong thriving life.


When I evaluated each area, I realized why I have felt so tired and unable to push ahead so often.  I am taking care of myself very poorly.  I am failing in just about every area.  How can I expect to keep pushing forward and drain water from a well that is becoming dry?

I ask you this New Year, as you long for change and good things in your life:

How well are YOU taking care of YOURSELF?

Grade yourself.  Write down on a sheet of paper how you are doing in each area, between 1 and 5, with 5 being exceptional.  When you are finished, total the numbers.  What is your grade point?  25 - 30 = A, 19 – 24 = B, 13 – 18 = C, 7 – 12 = D, lower than 7 = E,  Are you happy with your report card? Even if your overall score is pretty good, is there an area or two GLARING at you? 

Think about how you can take better care of yourself this year. 

When we take better care of ourselves, we can be better people for Jesus, better wives for our husbands, better mothers for our children, and better friends for those we love.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Starting January 8: "Inspiration for the New Year" with Guest Posts!

January 8 through January 14

Join us next week as we welcome the new year with some encouraging and inspiring posts from some special guests and a word or two from little ol' me.

Marriage, motherhood, faith, and more!

Pour yourself a cup of tea, grab your notebook,

and prepare your heart for the year ahead!