Thursday, February 26, 2009

BFS #122 -- Say it with Flowers (FTD)

Blogger Friend School
Memory Verse - II Corinthians 4:18 - While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Introduction - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; isn’t that what we’ve always been told. I find beauty in many things and in most people. There’s beauty in a flower, according to FTD as well, there’s beauty in trees, animals, people, and I’d have to say, as I’m sure that most people agree that there’s beauty in watching a child grow.

Assignment - Look around your space, look into your heart and share the beauty you see or feel with the rest of us.

Please show us some pictures of the beautiful things in your life, not just your children, maybe a flower, a book, a special place you sit to find peace or it could just be a beautiful letter or note you’ve received.

One of the most wonderful parts of life here in Mexico is the beauty that surrounds us. Now, I don't mean that there was no beauty in Oregon. On our last furlough we ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the majestic pines and snow-covered mountains. There is great beauty in Oregon. There is beauty in Arizona, too. Last fall we spent some time in the Tucson area and were amazed at how absolutely gorgeous the flowering cacti were. The dark storm clouds rolling in each afternoon struck a great contrast to the sand and scrub brush which stretched on for miles. Beautiful indeed.

Here though, I see beauty a little more readily. It could be that since there is also much ugliness, poverty and sadness, the beautiful stands out more sharply. Maybe my newly-discovered photographer's eye is becoming more trained to look for beautiful (or at least interesting) things. Or maybe, just maybe, there really is just as much beauty in the States -- but I was always running around too frantically to see it.

The pace of life is much slower here. Neighbors come over to visit when you return from vacation. Church dismisses and the entire congregation stays to chat for an hour. The garbage man waits while you bring out more trash -- and then stands around talking for a few minutes, too. Cashiers strike up a conversation at the grocery store. There's always time.

Time to stop what you're doing and just admire the beautiful when you see it.

Beauty in the land around us...

Beauty in the creation of our Father God...

Beauty in the people we see every day...

Take time today to search for and enjoy the beauty around you!

Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He has made every thing beautiful in its time; also, He has set eternity in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What's going on at my house...

There's a lot of interesting stuff going on in Mexico right now. Unfortunately, I'm not there to enjoy it! lol

While we have been touring the Pacific Northwest, the Powell family has been exploring the culture of Las Glorias. Rachel has some great pics and stories over at her blog, so if you're curious about life in our village (as viewed by someone new to the area) I urge you to go check it out!

Click here to visit the Babymakers site!

I've been taking TONS of photos during our trip and have lots of great posts in my head. As soon as I get a moment free to organize my thoughts, I'll fill you all in on the life and times of the Coult family.

As of today, Tuesday, February 17, we are in southern California and heading south...slowly! Should be back in Mexico by the weekend, Lord willing!

BFS #121 -- Obey Your Thirst (Sprite)

Memory Verse:

Psalm 69:21 They put poison in my food; in my thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink.

Introduction: Obey Your Thirst (Sprite) In this Psalm, terrible things are plaguing David. He’s seeking the Lord, as he has that sinking feeling, that desperate thing of alienation and abandonment… and they try to poison him and give him vinegar - GROSS! How Vile! Sometimes when we’re sick, we have that sinking desperate feeling, we call out to God, we call out for healing.
Assignment: Tell us the most vile “remedy” you’ve ever had to consume in order to be rid of that “plague”. Was it something prescribed by a Medical Doctor? or was it an herbal remedy? We all know that Buckley’s commercial, it tastes awful, but it works. Would you take this remedy again? Did it work? Can you get your children to take it?

Oh Ladies, I’d love to see you in a photograph making that sourest of faces, - remember that remedy and remake that face.. or get your kids to make that face with you.. can you do it without laughing? Laughter makes the best medicine.

When I gave birth to Sarah (16 years ago) my midwife perscribed an herbal rinse to help with the "ouchies" I had after the birth (this is a family-friendly site -- I'm not going to get too graphic here!). She used 1/2 tsp of goldenseal root powder in a quart of water. Steep for 15 min and then apply with a peri-bottle. Worked like a charm. She also sprinkled the goldenseal powder on Sarah's umbilical cord. It healed in 3 days (looked gross at the time, but it healed!).

Even though I saw the benefit of herbal remedies, I still didn't really get "into" herbs until after my twins were born (thirteen years ago). I decided to do an in-house trial -- one twin got goldenseal on the umbilical and one got the regularly recommended alcohol wipe at each diaper change. After three days, the goldenseal umbus was healed and the alcohol one was red and angry-looking (beginning signs of infection). I quickly discontinued the hospital's recommendation and switched to the herbal remedy. Two days later, the infection was gone and the umbus was healed.

Since then, I've become a STRONG proponent of herbal medicine. There's so much I want to learn!!! While I can't become an expert in all things overnight, I decided to work with what I already knew.

When I was little, whenever one of us kids had a sore throat, my dad would say, "Go gargle with salt water." I hated that. But it always worked. Salt has great antiseptic and disinfectant properties, no side effects and is dirt cheap. Gargling with salt water is gross, but there are many worse things in the world!!!

One of those "worse things" is an herbal concoction I use to stave off sinus infections. I was in a pretty nasty car accident when I was a teen and broke a few bones in my face. Ever since I was about 17 I've been prone to really bad sinus infections. REALLY bad. Like, "my-eyeballs-are going-to-explode-out-of-my-head" infections. When they got bad, nothing would help. I tried all sorts of home remedies and perscription junk and absolutely nothing helped.

After coming to the realization that goldenseal and salt were two of the best options for fighting off infections, I decided to become my own guinea pig. When I felt the beginnings of a sinus infection coming on, I brewed a batch of goldenseal tea (1/4 tsp in 1 cup of water) and added a teaspoon or so of salt. I cooled the brew slightly, put it in a syringe and squirted the concoction up my nose. YUCK!!!!!!!!! I don't know why I ever thought that salt water tasted gross! Goldenseal is absolutely HORRIBLE!!!! And it burns!!!!!

I haven't had a sinus infection in almost 6 years. (Except for the one I had las December because I thought I had kicked it and stopped irrigating my sinuses after 2 days instead of doing it for 5 days like I usually do. Dummy.)

So, my favorite home remedy for throat infections and sinus infections: irrigate the infected area 3 times a day for 5 days with a mixture of 1/4 tsp goldenseal root powder and 1 to 2 tsp salt in one cup water. (As salty as you can stand it.)

For serious cuts on humans, smashed fingers, gunshot wounds on cats, dogfight cuts on dogs, torn out feathers on ducks and any other wound that looks really bad, but you're otherwise at a loss for what to do (and don't want to pay a vet) -- mix 1/2 tsp goldenseal powder in a quart of hot water and steep 15 minutes. Use this mixture to rinse the wound 3 times a day until all danger of infection is past. (Usually a week, but it depends on the depth of the wound.)

For not-so-serious cuts on humans or animals alike (like when you cut yourself shaving!) -- sprinkle dry goldenseal powder on the affected area and cover to keep the wound clean. Goldenseal will tend to cause the cut to clot and stop bleeding. Uncover the wound at night to speed healing. Air is a good thing. Bacteria love warm, moist, dark places. A clean, dry, uncovered cut will heal much faster than a covered one.

Pictures...hmmm. I have an idea...

"OK kids -- time to gargle with saltwater and goldenseal! Whadaya say???"

Their reactions:

Those things which don't kill us make us stronger.

My verse for this assignment:

Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

BFS #120 — You Deserve a Break Today!

Introduction: You Deserve a Break Today (McDonalds) –After all this crazy weather, the economy ups and downs and now a new President for the United States you all do deserve a break today. I want to give everyone a ‘break today’ and have the ANNUAL SHOPPING SPREE!!!

Assignment: I’d like to stick with a theme for the spree though. The marriage bedroom! I’m also being a little selfish on this one because my husband and I are getting ready to demolish our room, my office, and our ‘guest’ room and make ourselves a master suite. I need some great ideas on linen, wall colors, curtains, pictures…anything that would help me to decorate our new room. I do want a soft and sanctuary type theme. Are you willing to help me? Your budget is $1500! I gave you a raise from last year…since the economy is so bad right now…LOL. Make sure you use the banner and code on the right side of this page to show us your assignments!

Well, this assignment was really hard for me. I didn't have internet access for most of the week and plus -- we were really busy!!! I had fun, though, doodling on my Publisher program and making this "what it could be like" picture.

If I had $1500 to spend, I would start with this...

Order a load of bricks -- $300.

Haul them to the roof.

Buy a few bags of mortar -- $100

Mix the mortar and haul it to the roof.
Hire Alfredo to come over and lay bricks -- ($7 per square meter) $170
Build a roof over the new room area (this would be the part that would push the budget, but for another $1000, we could probably swing the entire roof...maybe!)

Call Lionel, the window guy, and have him build and install 3 of these great windows -- $300

Then our house would look something like this...

Of course, the stucco would come later and paint probably MUCH later, but hey -- we'd have walls, and then our current bedroom could finally become the dining room it was meant to be.

Cost of the addition (minus the roof) -- $870

Add an extra $1000 for the roof of that section of the house: $1870

View from my future bedroom -- priceless! "The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory." Psalm 97:6

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

BFS #119 -- Be All That You Can Be (US Army)

Memory Verse: 1 John 4:16 (NIV)
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

Intro: Sometimes “being all you can be” is a challenge. We are trying to balance being a godly wife, mother, teacher, keeper of the home, and much more. None of us are perfect and we all struggle in our own ways with being able to achieve what we feel needs to get done.

Assignment: This week I thought we could share what great ways we have found to help with all we have to do. Besides the obvious getting face down in front of God, what have you found that works? Have you done a great bible study that deals with this area? Do you have a certain “thing” that really helps you like a planner or gadget? Do you have a certain bible verse that just speaks to you and you have it posted so you see it all the time? Is there a website that is really valuable to you in this area? What do you do that if someone else found out about it, they could benefit from it?

Back in September I posted about how we manage chores/household duties. You can read a little about our system here.

But what about all the "other stuff"? Life is, after all, more than housework. Really! It is!!! How does the busy mom make time for things of more lasting value than laundry and dishes?

Well, I don't pretend to be an expert, but I'll share what I've learned from the past 17 years of trying to be all things to all people:

  • Get up early enough to have your quiet time before your kids get up. In this post I addressed the "why and wherefore" of that. If you're saying to yourself, "Oh, no! I'm not a morning person." Too bad. Neither am I. I know ladies who can do their quiet time in the afternoon, but if you have small children and a husband at home, you will find (more often than not) that as soon as everyone else is up and moving, your time is no longer your own. Grab those quiet moments and guard them diligently!
  • Enlist help. Everyone reading this who has kids who help around the house is nodding in agreement. My challenge to you is to step up the level at which the kids help out. Of course, if you have 5 kids and the oldest is 7 you just know that for a couple of years more, you're going to have a lot of housework. However, there are TONS of things that a 7-year-old can do around the house that will free up time for you to do really important take a shower. Whatever your kids do now, consider increasing the amount (gradually, of course!) until you feel like the kids are making a sacrifice to help. (Not just a slight inconvenience, but more like the amount a normal person needs to keep a house clean.) I'm a big proponent of training our kids to the reality of housework. I was oblivious as a child and suffered a rude awakening when I had to keep a house for myself. I want my girls to know what's ahead of them, and I want my boys to appreciate what their wives do. 'Nuff said.
  • Realize that you can't do it all -- and you don't have to. We all need to learn how to say, "No. I don't have time for that." I don't know what that "final straw" is for you, but for me it was sports. At one point (in the States) I found our family "going" every single night of the week and sometimes 2 or 3 activities in a day. Even our Sundays were sometimes chaotic -- Go! Go! Go! When the kids all decided that they wanted to play soccer, I said, "OK." and we stepped up the insanity to new levels. When soccer season ended, I was sick for a week. I have since decided that my children will not grow up to be deviants simply because they didn't have private music lessons, swim lessons, dance lessons, Karate lessons, 4H, sports, drama, orchestra, yada, yada, yada... They might, however, if we try to do all of that stuff and sacrifice our family time. Even the "good things" -- women's ministry committments, AWANA, scouts, etc. -- pale in importance to time spent doing things as a family. Scale back your obligations outside of the house until you feel like you're actually able to keep up. Even if the entire women's ministry committee rebels and boycotts your house, your husband and children will thank you. Ultimately, you will stand accountable before God for the way you trained your kids -- not for the way you planned the women's retreats.
  • Find your happy place. I'm borrowing that phrase from my friend, Shari. Thanks, Sis! For me, my happy place is making something with my hands -- scrapbooking, blogging, sewing, etc. Shari likes to repair things and do interior decorating. My friend Cheryl likes to take a walk or read. Basilia likes to garden. Whatever it is that makes you smile and helps you to feel more like a woman and less like a maid, do it. Spend a little time in your happy place every day.

Well, that's the extent of my wisdom (and my free time) for the day! Hope you all have a blessed week...with a few more hours in it!!!