Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Amazing Grace

The movie Amazing Grace, opening in theatres this February, looks like it's going to be an excellent movie about William Wilberforce and the beginning of the anti-slavery movement in England. The director also hopes to spark some indignation and action concerning the current ongoing slavery problem in much of the world.

Micah and I will definitely be seeing this one! It comes out on February 23rd in theatres nationwide. Check out the website to find a theatre near you.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Evenings at Our Home

Ready for Our Starbucks Date

Sunday Afternoon at the Park

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Want to win $1,000,000?

Pillsbury's Bake-Off is going on now!

BTW, for what it's worth, I've tasted the recipe that won the $1,000,000 prize last time. Honestly guys? It wasn't that good. But the winner certainly got brownie points for creativity! (It was a chicken dish, served with stuffing made of pillsbury waffles of all things, and the syrup that came with the waffles was used in the chicken coating. Just a little strange:oP)

So my guess is that the judges are more interested in novelty. Or maybe they'll be more interested in taste this time, just to throw people off...who knows? Good luck to all the chefs out there!:o)

My Decorating Approach

I don't know if you could tell from all the pictures: I gravitate toward a kind of vintage/cottage/shabby chic decorating style. My colors are blue, sage green, lots of white (though there would be less if I could paint some walls:o), and a little red or pink thrown in here and there to liven things up. I have these same colors throughout the whole house, though different rooms tend to emphasize different combinations.

My home is a work in progress. I buy things as I find them, always looking out for deals at thrift shops, garage sales and discount stores. I like to look for cheap (or free!) things that can be fixed up. Thankfully, this ecclectic approach suits my style...for instance, I don't like things that are matchy-matchy. I mix white and brown furniture, and would be open to throwing some black in there as well. I'm not the type of person to ever buy a furniture "set" of anything:o)

Because I gather things for my home from all over, I coordinate it all by trying to stay within my basic color scheme and general "style". Even if something is offered to me for free, I don't take it if I won't have a practical use for it (or if it's just a decoration, don't have a good place that needs it), or if it won't "fit in" with the rest of the house. So far, I've been very blessed to find very cheap or aquire for free everything we need. I have so many stories of how each need has been filled...even down to God providing me with a free piano through unusual circumstances!

I wouldn't want to decorate my home any other way. How boring it would be to bring in a decorator and have him or her fill my home with impersonal, expensive things. I much prefer having my own story behind everything! I like how so many things in our home have meaning to us or reflect something about us. I love having a "home in progresss", because there's always new little touches to add and the enjoyment of hunting for "that perfect thing" (at a great deal, of course;o)

Thanks for letting me share some of my home! This was a lot of fun for me:o)

Our Home - Creative lighting:o)

This floor lamp was originally an ugly brassy color. (I prefer metals that are silver, black or white...anything but gold! That's just one of my things:op ) We were able to re-coat it ourselves with this pewter-colored coating very inexpensively. I'm sure that most metals can be re-coated for an updated look!
This "candle holder" is actually a plate. I received a set of four crystal dessert plates as a wedding gift. When one broke, I decided that there probably wouldn't be too many situations when I'd only need three dessert candle holders they became! There are so many different ways to use's fun to try to think how they might be "re-purposed".

Friday, January 26, 2007

Our Home - Some Bedroom Details

I don't like impersonal knick-knacks. I like to use special or meaningful things in my decorating. When I look around my home, I want to see things that make me smile, remind me of something meaningful, or uplift me in some way.
Several years ago, I gave Micah this wood box as a gift. (I got a good deal on it at Hobby Lobby, in case anyone's wondering:o) I wrote a personal message to him inside the lid, using a silver paint pen. The purpose of the box was to have a special place for us to "treasure our memories together"...special letters to each other, things like that;o) It's so much fun to go through it now and then and be reminded of our history together.
Just a peek now...;o)
This used to hang in my bedroom when I was little. I now have it hanging on my side of the bed as a comforting reminder.
This hangs on Micah's side of the bed as a reminder for him;o) I believe this is an old wood slat from a fence...I bought it at a flea market and hung it with ribbon. But I'm sure this would be easy to make with any old piece of wood, if you like the "shabby chic" look. You could make it say anything you wanted.

Our Home - Bathroom and Bedroom

Our one bathroom...again...small! There's hardly any storage space. I use the under-sink area for cleaning and a few other supplies. Extra toilet paper gets stored on the back of the toilet in that little basket. Because the bathroom is so small, I have a special area set up in our bedroom to do my hair and makeup. But you know what...a lot less work to clean!

These double doors lead from our bedroom into the back yard. I'll have a few more pictures of the bedroom after I pick it up a bit later:op

Our Home - Kitchen

I made these curtains out of an old bed skirt! It was super easy, because the ruffle was already there. I simply hemmed the edges, added ribbon, and sewed the bottom edge up in four places to create the scalloped look.
I also made the swag over the window as a Christmas decoration. I haven't taken it down yet because it brightens the kitchen up so much! What do you think...too Christmasy looking?

This is how I've expanded my kitchen just a bit. I placed this little island next to the counter. It provides a home for my crockpot, my potatoes, and my kitchen towels rolled up in the white bowl:o) The wire hanging baskets free up counter space and house more fruits and vegetables, like garlic and onions.

Thanks to Mrs. B, for this great idea to use a glass oil jar for dishsoap! Looks so much prettier than plastic!

The jars of strawberries on the window sill were made by mom many years ago. One of the jars contains strawberries made of cloth, and the other jar has strawberries made from painted walnut shells. Strawberries happen to be my favorite fruit, so I'm cheered by this little touch of red in my kitchen:o)

I bought this vintagey looking "Good Housekeeping" tin at an antique store. Makes me smile every time I look at it, and reminds me of what I'm striving for!

This is what happens when you don't have a pantry! I have to store a lot of stuff on top of the fridge that won't fit in my cupboards. But I try to keep it somewhat organized in the baskets from Ross:o)

I limit the stuff on my fridge to my shopping list and menu plan for the week.

Our Home - More Views

You can see our little kitchen on the left

All the walls in the house are white. I'd really love to paint some of them, but we probably won't since we're renting and would have to paint them all back:o(

The white bookshelf holds cds, cookbooks and part of my collection of boxes. (I collect wood boxes that have meaning to one my grandpa made, one I bought in Mexico, one my dad brought me from Egypt, one a friend bought for me in Italy, etc.) I know that's an eclectic mix of stuff, but in a house this size, we have to fit stuff in where we can!

My china and crystal...currently displayed on this desk. It's not very sturdy, so eventually I'd really like to buy a real china cabinet at an antiques auction. (You can really get some great deals at those!) The box underneath holds my good silverware.

And just let me's a miracle that that plant is still alive:o) I'm getting better at not letting stuff die! Maybe it's time to graduate to an herb garden?

Our Home - Living/Dining Area

The white table in the corner was my other free find off the side of the road. The coffee table is Simply Shabby Chic brand from Target, bought when they were clearancing it out for $40. We were also blessed to receive the couch and the table/chairs set as handme-downs from my parents when we first got married. That's the furniture I grew up with:o)
During cold spells, we use the fireplace a lot to help heat the living room. We bought the fireplace set at a garage sale for $10. That might seem high for a garage sale, but these are super-solid, heavy iron! I'd been looking for some for a while and had only found much cheaper-made ones for $30 and up.
The jar of dried rose petals sitting on the hearth are all from roses Micah's given me. Yes, I'm sentimental:o) Oh...and sorry to the people who hate carnations (my sister's one of them), but you can't beat the price! I just love having cheery, fresh flowers on my table!

Our Home - Entry

Mrs. B asked me to post home pictures...and the fact is that I was planning to anyway:o) I know I posted some about a year ago, but we've made some changes since then. I LOVE decorating and trying to make my home into a lovely and comfortable place to it will always be a work in progress. (I guess I partly inherited that from my mom who has never been without some home improvement project going on as long as I've been alive!

My challenge--which I actually really enjoy!--is trying to improve our home and decorate as frugally as I can (without buying really cheapo-plastic type stuff, that is!) I'll try to point out some of my "frugal innovations" in the pictures that follow.

Our home is pretty small...two bedrooms, one bath, and about 950 sq. ft. Here's the entry "nook". The crosses on the wall were all given to us as wedding gifts by different people. I really like them together as a set...each one is different. The one in the middle is inscribed with the love passage from 1 Corinthians 13.
In order to control paper clutter, I've established specific places for it to go. The file-box hanging on the wall is for incoming mail. (I bought it at that place!) Every few days (or at least weekly when I pay bills) I sort the mail, throw out trash, and file everything else.

On this dresser next to the front door, I have a glass bowl for our keys, and another wood file box (also from Ross) for outgoing mail and other important papers we don't want to forget as we head out the door.
This dresser is one of two that we found on the side of the road for free several months ago. I repainted them, but this one still lacks handles. Hope to find those soon! We store dvds and games in the drawers.
The expanded view. Yes...I know I need pictures in those three frames by the door! I want to do some black and white ones, but I haven't decided of what yet.
My piano, to the left, has a big built-in mirror over it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Just trying out the new camera...

It works! (Hi Honey! ;o)

It's Here!!!:o)

My digital camera FINALLY arrived today, after almost a week of sitting at home waiting for FedEx to decide to show up so that I could sign for the darned thing! It's a long story...and I won't get into it now. Suffice it to say, I'm not too excited about FedEx' "I'm-so-sorry-but-we-just-can't-give-you-any-time-frame-for-when-your-package-will-be-delivered" policy!'s finally here, and I'm SO excited about being able to take some pictures!!! It'll be fun to get some new ones up on this blog.

Islam's Vision 2

(Continuation of Islam's Vision)

I took the following information from the book, Will Islam Be our Future? A Study of Biblical and Islamic Eschatology. I'm only posting the summary, but I encourage you to check out the entire book for specific supporting references and elaboration on this study.

Author Joel Richardson studies Islamic Eschatology, consulting Islamic sacred texts and traditions, Islamic spokespersons and scholars, as well as regular Muslim aquaintances.

Islam teaches that in the Last Day, a leader will arise to complete the work of jihad throughout the entire world. All men will be expected to embrace Islam, under the threat of death if they don't. This looked-for leader will be called The Mahdi.

Islam also teaches that Jesus will return. But the Islamic vision of Jesus is a bit different than the Christian understanding: he is not the son of Allah, but is merely one of many prophets. His job will be to assist The Mahdi in carrying out the spread and enforcement of Islamic belief and practice throughout the entire earth.

Islam also has a Last-day villian: The Dajjal. The Dajjal will gain a great Jewish following and claim to be Jesus Christ and fight against the Mahdi and the Muslim Jesus.

Now consider this point-by-point comparison of the eschatological teachings of the Bible vs. the teachings of Islam:

*Again, all supporting references and further elaboration are contained in the book I linked to above.

Bible: The Antichrist is an unparalleled political, military and religious leader that will that emerge in the last-days.
Islam: The Mahdi is an unparalleled political, military and religious leader that will emerge in the last-days.

Bible: the False Prophet is a secondary prominent figure that will emerge in the last-days who will support the Antichrist.
Islam: the Muslim Jesus is a secondary prominent figure that will emerge in the last-days to support the Mahdi.

Bible: The Antichrist and the False Prophet together will have a powerful army that will do great damage to the earth in an effort to subdue every nation and dominate the World.
Islam: The Mahdi and the Muslim Jesus will have a powerful army that will attempt to control every nation of the earth and dominate the World.

Bible: The False Prophet is described essentially as a dragon in lamb’s clothing. Islam: The Muslim Jesus literally comes bearing the name of the one that the world knows as “The Lamb of God: Jesus Christ.” Yet the Muslim Jesus comes to murder all those who do not submit to Islam.

Bible: The Antichrist and the False Prophet establish a New World Order. Islam: The Mahdi and the Muslim Jesus establish a New World Order.

Bible: The Antichrist and the False Prophet institute new laws for the whole earth.
Islam: The Mahdi and the Muslim Jesus institute Islamic law all over the earth.

Bible: The Antichrist is said to “change the times.”
Islam: It is quite certain that if the Mahdi established Islam all over the earth, he would discontinue the use of Saturday and Sunday as the weekend or days of rest but rather Friday, the holy day of Islam. Also, he would most certainly eliminate the Gregorian calendar (A.D.), and replace it with the Islamic calendar (A. H.) as is used in every Islamic country.

Bible: The Antichrist and the False Prophet will both be powerful religious leaders who will attempt to institute a universal world religion.
Islam: The Mahdi and the Muslim Jesus will institute Islam as the only religion in the earth.

Bible: The Antichrist and the False Prophet will execute anyone who does not submit to their world religion.
Islam: Likewise, the Mahdi and the Muslim Jesus will execute anyone who does not submit to Islam.

Bible: The Antichrist and the False Prophet will specifically use beheading as the primary means of execution for non-conformists.
Islam: The Mahdi and the Muslim Jesus will use the Islamic practice of beheading for executions.

Bible: The Antichrist and the False Prophet will have a specific agenda to kill as many Jews as possible.
Islam: The Mahdi and the Muslim Jesus will kill as many Jews as is possible until only a few are left hiding behind rocks and trees.

Bible: The Antichrist and the False Prophet will attack to conquer and seize Jerusalem.
Islam: The Mahdi and the Muslim Jesus will attack to re-conquer and seize Jerusalem for Islam.

Bible: The Antichrist will set himself up in the Jewish temple as his seat of authority.
Islam: The Mahdi will establish the Islamic Caliphate from Jerusalem.

Bible: The False Prophet is said to do many miracles to deceive as many as possible into supporting the Antichrist.
Islam: The Mahdi himself is said to control the weather and the crops. His face is said to glow. We can also assume that since Jesus is viewed as having been empowered by Allah to work miracles when he was here on earth the first time, he will most likely be expected to continue to do so when he returns.

Bible: The Antichrist is described as riding on a white horse in the Book of Revelation
Islam: The Mahdi is described as riding on a white horse (ironically from the same verse).

Bible: The Antichrist is said to make a peace treaty with Israel for seven years. Islam: The Mahdi is said to make a peace treaty through a Jew (specifically a Levite) for exactly seven years.

Bible: Jesus the Jewish Messiah will return to defend the Jews in Israel from a military attack from a vast coalition of nations led by the Antichrist and the False Prophet.
Islam: The Dajjal, the Islamic Antichrist will gain a great Jewish following and claim to be Jesus Christ and fight against the Mahdi and the Muslim Jesus.

Bible: The antichrist spirit specifically denies the most unique and central doctrines of Christianity, namely the trinity, the incarnation and the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross.
Islam: Islam doctrinally and spiritually specifically denies the most unique and central doctrines of Christianity, namely the trinity, the incarnation and the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross.

Bible: The primary warning of Jesus and the Apostle Paul was to warn Christians of the abundance of deceit and deception in the last-days.
Islam: Islam is perhaps the only religion in the earth that practices deceit as one of its tools to assist its own ascendancy. It actually has a specific doctrine which allows and even calls for deception to be used to achieve its desired end.

Bible: The specific nations pictured in the Bible as being part of the final empire of the Antichrist are all Islamic nations.
Islam: All Muslims are commanded to give their allegiance to The Mahdi as the final Caliph and Imam (leader) of Islam.

Bible: From the Bible and History we learn that the final Antichrist empire will be a revived version of the Empire that succeeds the Roman Empire
Islam: The Empire that succeeded the Roman/Byzantine Empire was the Islamic Ottoman Empire

Bible: When Antichrist emerges, there will already be some form of system in place that will be poised to receive him as a Savior and to give allegiance to him.
Islam: Islam is already the second largest religion and will at present growth rates become the largest religion within a few decades. Islam is awaiting the coming of the Mahdi with a universal anticipation.

I tend to think that the way these belief systems overlap may not be mere coincidence. I have felt for a while now that, yes, Islam will be a MAJOR future player. I don't know when it will happen, but I think it will happen.

Muslims are charged right now with the responsibility of reaching for the goals that they believe the Mahdi will eventually come to fulfull completely. The study of Islam reveals this: Jihad and world domination are not just a mutation of Islam. They are the goal of Islam. Muslims who aren't reaching for these goals aren't really living out what their faith teaches.

I'm really not trying to be depressing here or to incite fear! In a way, my faith is strengthened when I learn these things. If Islam is the vehicle used to fulfill biblical prophecy, then that is just one more proof that God knows what he's talking about. If I can trust Him for a future that sometimes looks scary, I can certainly trust Him for the little things as well.

Let's be watchful. Speak out when we need to stand up for truth, and PRAY. Oh...and let's not forget who eventually wins this battle!

Islam's Vision

I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on eschatology (study of the end times). Though it can be interesting, I know that we'll never know exactly what will happen until it does. The Bible gives us some clues--things to watch out for--but also reminds us that only God holds complete knowledge of the future.
That said, I do believe God wants us to stay alert and to be aware of the true nature of the forces at play in our world. In the New Testament, He warns us numerous times to be watchful, be prepared and to be careful of being deceived.
The fact is: westerners--despite our stated ideals of enlightenment and rationalism--are especially vulnerable to allowing ourselves to become deceived. Political correctness demands that we accept, tolerate, and even encourage everyone's right to self-expression (except for white conservative Christians...but that's a soapbox I won't get on right now!). If (almost) everything becomes sacred, discernment becomes unacceptable. What right do I possess to say you're wrong? To claim that your ideas are harmful? To question your honesty? (Especially if you belong to a cultural minority?)
It's time for the world to wake up and acknowledge the reality of the socio-political-religious vision of Islam. No...not all Muslims are inclined to commit acts of terrorism. But the system of Islam is based upon jihad, which means "striving". Islam compels its believers to "strive" by any means necessary to make Islam the sole political and religious authority on Earth. Considering that Islam is currently the 2nd largest religion on Earth and will soon surpass Christianity to become THE largest religion (if current birth rate trends continue, possibly within 15-20 years), this is something we need to take very seriously!
We cannot have a vague vision for the future. Islam doesn't. Their doctrine concerning the "Last Day" is one of the primary tenets of their belief system. According to the Quran, there are five basic things a Muslim must believe in order to be a Muslim:
It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets…-Surah 2:177 (Pickthall translation)
Within Islam, the Last Day is not just an interesting, passive footnote. The Islamic Vision of the Last Day demands the action of all Islamic believers. Through jihad, They are responsible to help bring about the Last Day...that is, the ultimate triumph of Islam as the sole world order, and Allah recognized world-wide as the only god.
My next post will elaborate on what, specifically, Islam anticipates about the future, according to their sacred texts and traditions. I think you might be surprised, and startled, as I was, to see how Islamic belief lines up with what the Bible teaches.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Need Encouragement?

Barbara Curtis shares pictures from yesterday's March for Life in DC, attended by masses of people despite the horrible weather. Barbara writes:

As a former radical leftist, I attended many demonstrations in Washington, DC. Now having attended the March for Life two years in a row, I'm amazed at how under-reported the March for Life is - and all too aware of how that under-reporting contributes to the rampant stereotyping of pro-lifers as middle-aged white males. I actually saw very few of those today! What I saw were hundreds of thousands of people willing to brave the cold (DC had its first snow of the winter the night before) to affirm that a baby in the womb is not property to be destroyed, but a person that those committed to human rights must defend.

HT: World Magazine Blog

Friday, January 19, 2007

My impatience is killing me!

We've finally entered the 21st century, and ordered a digital camera with some Christmas money! It was supposed to arrive today, but thanks to the dictates of some unknown force in the shipping world, will now not arrive until next week. I can't wait! For one thing, it will hopefully enliven this blog. I'm kinda sick of getting on here and seeing the same 2 1/2-yr-old picture:op

Frugal Printer Toner

We go through a lot of printer toner for Micah's work. So...I was very excited to find this website! We'd been paying almost $60 for generic-brand toner at Office Depot, but we can now order refurbished cartridges online for almost half that price (including shipping!). We've already had one very smooth transaction with this e-store purchasing both toner and a new printer drum, and I just made another toner order yesterday. We didn't notice any difference in printing quality. I hope some of you find this useful and have the same good experience!

More frugal ideas at Biblical Womanhood. Thanks, Crystal!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quiet Times

Confession: I'm really bad about having regular quiet times. I just don't have them. I wake up, take a shower, get dressed, then go about my day. I read a lot, and much of what I read is spiritually encouraging. I also pray little thoughts here and there throughout my day. I read the Bible...sometimes. Like every once in a while. After all, I already know what it says.

I've been convicted about this recently (if conviction is that uncomfortable feeling...that little voice telling me that my focus is often superficially attempts to do things in my OWN strength might be failing for a reason...that God doesn't want just our brains--our intellectual agreement with His existence and His principles--He wants our hearts too. He wants a relationship. And I have to spend TIME with someone in order to have a relationship.)

I've always been bad about the quiet time thing, because it seems overly pious..."staged" if you will. When I picture quiet times, I envision someone sitting in a dark (invariably cold!) room at 4:00 in the morning, trying to stay awake and focused. They read the requisite passages, trying to conjure up some nugget of spiritual enlightenment through their sleep-deprived fog. I've tried being that person before, and it always lasted for about 2 days. (Especially because, perfectionist that I am...I had to do it RIGHT and start out at 1 1/2-2 hour quiet times. I suspect such long periods of time take some working up to;o)

But truly, if quiet times are simply about relationship, then I need to remember that waking up at 4:00am and sitting in the cold is not the part God cares about. He simply cares about me giving Him my time...and my focus. He deserves that. And I NEED that. (But maybe not at 4:00am:o)

So...don't mind me...but I may be using this blog as a form of accountability as I start making more regular times in my day to stop and focus on Him. I may occasionally post some verses I read or some thoughts about Him as I try harder to put Him first in my life. After all, I'd like HIM, not me, to be front and center on this blog as well as in my life.

Reflections on a Year at Home

We returned last week from a six-day trip to Arizona to visit with Micah's parents and sisters. Since then, we've been trying to get back into our routine. (Funny how one week away can throw things off so much!)

Our home business(es) are a major focus right now. After a successful summer with some of our business ventures, we got too comfortable and busy with other things and let a few things slide as Autumn came on. So our New Years resolution was to get back on track and STAY on track this time! It's the only way to achieve what we're seeking...a nice supplementary income, and eventually--hopefully--our full income. As I've written about many times, we HAVE to make as much money as possible so we can get out of of our debt bondage! (a la Dave Ramsey) It's not an needs to happen! So I've been spending a lot of my time trying to help my husband to this end. I'm so thankful that the internet allows me to be able to help make an income from home!!!

I've now (as of Christmas) been working at home for one year and feel so incredibly blessed to be here. It's all the little things that have made my work over the past year so worthwhile: When Micah calls from a job site and needs directions somewhere or other information, I am free to look up whatever he needs and give it to him. When he's home at odd hours (his job has a varied schedule), I'm here to greet him. Many days we get to have lunch together:o)

I love knowing that I'm not under the authority of any man (or woman) other than my husband. No one else is making the first claim on my time and energy! (I cannot serve two masters...) It's a wonderful thing to be free to serve the one person I love the most, and to also be accountable to that one person who loves me the most and has my best interests in mind and at heart. Micah certainly knows who I am, what I'm skilled at, what I love to do, and what I aspire towards better than any boss I've ever had. Over the past year, he's been so willing to support my career and give me room to grow and make mistakes. (I often marvel at his patience with me!) In return, I'm able to do the same for him. Much of my time is spent doing things that support his income-earning endeavors, from working with him on home business stuff, to packing his lunches, to keeping the house running so he doesn't have to worry about having clean socks in the morning.

Other blessings: My dog is not at home by herself all day! (I enjoy having her follow me around as I work:o) I am SO not missing commutes and rush hour traffic. I get to listen to stimulating talk radio shows while I work around the house! (Yes, I'm a talk radio geek. But not the screaming ultra-political sensationalist sort. I really enjoy cultural commentary/philosophical type shows.) I have more time to learn and study things I want or need to know about. I have the time to keep things around here a lot better organized now. (Some of my successes this year have been to develop a system--that has been working GREAT!--to keep track of our personal finances, and I just finished developing one for our business finances as well. I've gotten rid of most of our clutter, including the bane of my existence...paper piles! I worked out a system to organize or get rid of paper clutter and am now better prepared to deal with it before it overtakes our house!) I have more time to prepare homemade meals. The house (generally) stays cleaner than it used to. We spend less money now, because I have more time to be frugal and do more things on my own. I sometimes get to enjoy lunch dates with my mom, or days at her house working on projects together. I'm overall less stressed out and more peaceful. And last but not least, I enjoy my work SO much more now!!!

All this being said, I don't want anyone to get the impression that everything's always peachy keen. There have been MANY times over the past year when I've failed to manage my time wisely. I'm not always in a wonderful mood. Our debt continues to cause financial pressure (though not necessarily more than before!). My relationship with God still isn't everything it should be (I often struggle with trying to do things myself instead of turning to Him) In short, I'm as imperfect as they come, and I'm certainly no domestic superwoman! But's wonderful to be heading in the right direction. I asked my husband if I've seemed happier since being at home, and he said, definitively, "yes." I then asked him if he likes my being at home better than when I was working away, and he said "yes!" That's good enough for me!:o)