Deuteronomy 7:9-10 KJV

Deuteronomy 7:9-10 KJV

[9] Know therefore that the Lord thy God,

he is God,

the faithful God,

which keepeth covenant

and mercy

with them that love him and keep his commandments

to a thousand generations;

[10] And repayeth them that hate him to their face,

to destroy them: he will not be slack

to him that hateth him, he will repay him

to his face.

Deuteronomy 7:9-10

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Our first garden, and an instructional video for the “Back to Eden” gardening method.

I wanted to share our first gardening video, it’s expanded maybe 6x larger now, and it is a lot of fun for our family. Hard work, but fun. I’m so thankful for the hard work that my husband has put into it, and also my mom on the recent seed planting.

We started our little patch with just cabbage, broccoli, and lettuce. The cabbage and broccoli did great!

We now have planted 26 different vegetables, I’m so excited! I’ll update with another blog and the current garden eventually.

A lot of friends have asked about the “Back to Eden” gardening method we use, this is a good video that explains the process.

Why you should use your talents to play a musical instrument

Playing at our church service

The last two days in a row, my Bible reading plan has included chapters from the Bible that my husband and I have both made music for.  

Psalm 62 https://youtu.be/bMCyDlLSFlw

 and 

Revelation 15 https://youtu.be/fvvbJa9R68k.  

I am so blessed to have my husband inspire me, and I know that I inspire him also to push forward in the areas where we have talents.  I’m not talking about us being born talented or with some musical gift, though every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above.  What I mean are our talents entrusted to us by God, including our abilities, opportunities, resources, time, energy, money.  God has gifted these talents to us to be able to do work for him, for our family, and to be a blessing to others.  

See my sermon notes, and the sermon about this topic, and the video clip of the sermon that shook me to the core, and changed my life. https://withamerryheart.wordpress.com/2018/04/08/sermon-points-from-the-parable-of-talents-by-pastor-roger-jimenez/

My husband, and I have spent many years, even decades developing our musical skills.  I personally feel that once I got saved, and started learning the hymns is when I finally became interested in Piano.  I took lessons for years, because my mom wanted me to, not because my heart was in it.  That is key, you have to want to do it.  Whatever endeavour it is that you are pursuing, it has to be because you want to do it. 

Here are the ten reasons you should consider taking up an instrument this year.

https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/reasons-to-play-a-musical-instrument/

10 reasons you should take up a musical instrument

Learning to play a musical instrument has so many benefits – whether it’s building your confidence, enhancing your memory or widening your social circle. Here are the ten reasons you should consider taking up an instrument this year.

1. Playing an instrument makes you smarter

Einstein once said: “Life without playing music is inconceivable to me. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music… I get most joy in life out of music”. And as it turns out, Einstein was onto something: many studies show a correlation between musical training and academic success, in both children and adults. Learning to play an instrument stimulates the brain, improving functions like memory and abstract reasoning skills, which are essential for maths and science.

2. Your social life will improve

Playing an instrument isn’t only good for your brain, it’s also great for expanding your social circle. Joining a musical group at any age encourages you to develop relationships with new kinds of people. It also builds skills in leadership and team-building, as well as showing you the rewards of working with others.

3. Playing an instrument relieves stress

Music keeps you calm. It has a unique effect on our emotions, and has even been proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure. Psychologist Jane Collingwood believes that slow classical music is often the most beneficial. “Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music. This type of music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones.”

4. Playing an instrument gives you a sense of achievement

Messed up your double-stopping in rehearsal, then totally nailed it at the performance? Playing and succeeding at a musical instrument gives you a huge sense of pride and achievement, especially when you manage to perfect a passage you’ve been struggling with for weeks.

5. It builds your confidence

Playing an instrument helps you get comfortable with self-expression. As children begin to master their instrument, they will probably end up playing to a few audiences, starting with their music teacher or parents, and branching out to groups of other pupils and concert audiences. Playing in public can help children feel confident in presenting their work in a non-academic context.

6. Practising a musical instrument improves patience

OK, Franz Liszt wrote some insanely difficult music. But it’s an important lesson to learn that the more effort you put into something, the better the result will be. Dawsons Music advises to “give it a year” before you see big improvements in ability and confidence. “[Then,] you’ll look back and be glad of those hard first few months. Indeed, those first few months will forever be a badge of honour, saying you stuck it out and earned your stripes. There are no shortcuts to learning an instrument.”

7. It helps improve your memory

Researchers have found that learning to play a musical instrument can enhance verbal memory, spatial reasoning and literacy skills. Playing an instrument makes you use both sides of your brain, which strengthens memory power.

8. It increases discipline and time management skills

Unless you’re an out-of-this-world child prodigy, learning to play an instrument isn’t a skill you can master overnight. Learning music takes time and effort, and helps children understand that if they want to be good at something, they’ll need to put in the hours and organise their time effectively.

9. Playing music makes you more creative 

Practising and perfecting a piece of music does wonders for the creative side of your brain. No matter how much a composer annotates their composition, they cannot fully express how a piece of music should be played. So it is up to the player to put their own stamp on a piece, to inject some of their personality into the music. There’s a reason classical artists win awards for their performances.

10. Playing music is fun!

We can harp on about all the scientifically accurate benefits to learning a musical instrument – but what matters most is that it’s enjoyable for the player. While other hobbies like watching TV or flicking through social media are passive, playing music actively engages and stimulates the brain, making you feel happy and occupied.

https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/reasons-to-play-a-musical-instrument/

So what about you? Do you play an instrument? 

What are some talents that God has given you that would allow you to do work for him, for your family, or to bless others? Leave a comment below, and have a great day!

Psalm 142

Who do you run to when you are overwhelmed?

Psalm 142:1-7 KJV
[1] I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication. [2] I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. [3] When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. [4] I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. [5] I cried unto thee, O Lord : I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. [6] Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. [7] Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

Why do we procrastinate?

“I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, just not now”…and yes if you go to my church you know where this was taken. I needed the detail in the bricks for a painting that I’m working on 😊

I have always been a big procrastinator. Putting things off until later because I don’t have the time right now. Really though, it’s because I didn’t want to do it.

So I would procrastinate on dishes. Laundry, including cloth diapers that would literally get moldy 🤭😖 grocery shopping, making dinner, you name it!

And then when it’s time to go, I would try to finish cleaning up, and end up running late, and being stressed, and getting frustrated with myself, and everyone involved. That’s not how I want to be.

Putting away dishes really only takes 5 minutes. That’s nothing. Hand washing a sink of dishes doesn’t take that long either, especially if we’re focused and listening to something upbeat. Writing this little blog post while nursing a baby, instead of surfing the internet. Reading an edifying blog post is helpful, especially if you put to practice what you’re learning. Remember, see, do, teach! 😊

Having a routine in place helps to make those jobs that you don’t enjoy doing on autopilot. I’ve fallen behind on housework in some areas, but I’m determined to get back to a good routine with it again. It’s always when you add in extras, that the other things slack. Staying consistent with putting laundry away the same day turns into putting off cleaning the toilets, wiping down the sinks, and cleaning the mirrors. I’m just being real with you! It’s such a simple task, and I’m in the bathroom daily, so why wouldn’t I do it. Well I don’t want to now, I’ll just do it later…and later…and tomorrow…of course. Tomorrow is always the busiest day 😅. By creating a routine to make sure these things get done these mundane tasks become autopilot activities. Having the supplies you need *there* therefore, letting the path of least resistance principal take place and the job is more likely to get done.

The Flylady IOS app is awesome, that’s where I gleaned this bit of wisdom from today. I don’t like the website, and I don’t do the emails. The app usually has new useful content daily.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/flyladyplus/id1115477521

Ok, onto another new habit, exercise with some brass band music cheering me on. I feel like I’m in the high school Marching band again 😊

How to do the hard thing!

Your household includes you! Make sure you are taking care of you too! 💕

My friend recently told me how she listens to classical music when she exercises…whaaaaat??? Was my reaction. She explained that having been in ballet for years, the intense training was associated with classical music. And it clicked to me. I hate doing the dishes; however when I listen to a particular band called lucky chops, which is a very upbeat brass band, I can whip through them and not think of it as a chore that I dislike. It becomes fun. And that is because for years I played the saxophone, and had hours of tedious practice time; and then hours of marching in the cold and heat. That hard work became fun, and it helped change my mindset from dislike to enjoy. And now I have to pair that to exercise too. It’s time. I’m 30, I’ve had a migraine all day, my back is getting weaker, and I’m in pain most of the day here or there. Being a baby carrying mama I need to be stronger to keep up with the demands of my job. Stronger physically, stronger…what’s the word..mentally! 😅 and stronger spiritually. Spending time fellowshipping with some of my spiritually -giant- friends tonight was so edifying. Where would we be without our fellow laborers? 💕 encouraging, building each other up, and sharpening our swords and saws together 😊

The power of patience


I wrote this about 5 months ago after our families 3 month long sick season, and as Covid was just become big. I think this is applicable for many people during this time.


Losing patience, angry, frustrated.

Asked for a punching bag to kick, hit-to relieve-

anger, aggression, and blow off some steam.

Children sick on and off for 3 months.

Missing church, canceled events, sleep deprived, worried, agitated, an endless stream of incomplete, and failing to be a good helpmeet.

Today was rough, sleep deprived, felt all backwards and like I would barely survive. So much stacking up that I bring upon myself, extra responsibilities, extra chores, extra expectations that I can’t ignore.

It’s naptime, kids are asleep, I turn to prayer, Be still, and know that I am God-rings loud within my head. I look at the blessings hes bestowed, and focus on the one thing that will lift the gloom, and the fog that’s weighing me down. I clean out my desk, straightening and cleaning out clutter, my mood is elevated, and in the nick of time: Baby starts crying,

I ordered a humidifier…they send the wrong product, a diffuser, it’s nice but not what we need. and so my husband calls amazon and tells them he doesn’t want to go anywhere to return it, and asked if they could have someone pick it up instead, they don’t have that option in our area so they give it to us, scott free, and send the correct humidifier. It’s a blessing to me, I had been wanting a new diffuser, but didn’t want to spend money on another. Breathing in those nice smells from essential oils helps to lift my mood, having this unexpected delivery reminds me that every good and every perfect gift is from above. I just had to wait patiently after a very hard day for this unexpected surprise.

Later I pull out my saxophone and play hymns, and teach my children about the black and white keys on the piano. We go outside, to train and play with the puppy, clean up what’s needing, water the plants, and feed the worms, and look at worm eggs, and worm babies, long ones and small- we see the different stages, and ages, of these tiny little worms. Something so small, but they make a big difference, improving the soil conditions to help plants grow. 

Something so small, and seemingly insignificant, those are the moments that can put a smile on my face. An excited child, who squeals with delight, a compliment for a job well done. An unexpected surprise. So many little things to be thankful for, so much joy they bring, and all I had to do was wait patiently.

Philippians 4:7-8 KJV

[7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [8] Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

 

Every season comes with a new grievance,

But thankfully seasons come to an end. 

Things to look forward to,

Things to leave behind. 

Ignoring a popular trend, 

And getting back to the basics,

Like nurturing a friend 💕

Leading your home,

Teaching your children, 

which helps you to grow.

Making a simple meal, 

accepting suggestions for improvements.

Doing the hard thing, 

Keeping a melody in your heart,

Not being shy to loudly sing,

A verse in your mind,

A soft answer spoken just in time.

And if there be any praise, 

Think on these things.

Continue reading The power of patience

You’re stronger than you think you are…A fast natural birth story.

It’s something that I’ve heard my husband say often to me, “you’re stronger than you think you are.”    He repeated this phrase to me many times during this last pregnancy. 

When I became fearful, stressed, worried, or physically felt unable to keep up with the demands of motherhood, he would remind me, “You’re stronger than you think you are.”   

After 36 weeks, every night I would go to bed and think to myself, you might go into labor tonight. However, I would wake up with a hot cup of coffee instead. So I continued to wait, and prepare.  

My eldest son and I have a sensitivity to gluten, so we use einkorn flour, and I make a couple of sourdough loaves every week.  I figured the easiest filling breakfast for my husband, and myself to prepare during the postpartum period would be toast, and eggs.  So I kept up making the bread, slicing it, and freezing it.  Of course by the time I had gotten to 40 weeks, we had eaten a few freezer meals, and most of the frozen bread; this is to be expected as most women go through an  “end of pregnancy fatigue aka: I don’t want to do anything” phase.  

Having experienced minor braxton hicks for a few weeks, I had no real sign that labor was imminent.  So before I tucked in for the night, I put a loaf of sourdough in the fridge to “rest” after its first rise was completed: by the way…doing this has worked wonders to getting an easy to manage loaf that is not super sticky!!  I woke up at 4 am with pretty intense contractions, that were steady and not letting up.  I tried to go back to sleep, but with that obviously not happening, I followed my midwives advice-use the bathroom, and eat something with protein.  Well, granola with raw milk is close enough-at that hour I didn’t want to wake everyone cooking bacon.  I also popped that dough into a bread basket while the oven preheated, I mean, I’m in labor, but we still have to have our daily bread!

Of course, my 4 year old son wakes up anyways.  So we bust out a couple of rice packs, and proceed to get cozy on the couch.  The comfort, and warmth was so soothing.  I am so grateful that our postpartum group made these.  The thought that my friends made this for me, and that I knew I had good friends praying for me was very encouraging in the wee hours of the morning.  I tried to hide my face, not wanting to show my son the pain I was experiencing, but he could see that I was hurting.  I had told the kids for months that when the baby comes mommy would be in a lot of pain, and would probably cry, and yell.  “It’s ok mommy.” He said.  Oh my sweet little boy.  

Around 4:45, I call my mom who will watch the kids at the birth center.  I let her know the contractions are about every 5 minutes, “Honey, you need to get to the birth center.” “Mom, I can’t, I  have bread in the oven.”  We agree that I’ll give her a call by 6:30 if things are progressing.   

By 5, things are progressing.  My son is asleep on the couch, so I snuggle next to my husband and let him know I’m having pretty consistent contractions.  He sees me grimacing during a contraction, “Oh no, we’ve got to go now, you’re grimacing  The baby is coming!”  “We can leave in 30 minutes, I have bread in the oven.” “You are so silly.”   He starts timing my contractions, they are now closer to 4 minutes apart, and lasting a while, and visibly very painful.  The timer goes off, and I peek at the bread, “Oh look at this bread, it’s perfect.”  I am pleased, and feel prepared enough to now have my baby.

To be fair, I go into a state of denial when I’m in labor, and I think to myself that it’s going to be a long labor.  At my daughter’s birth, the midwife arrived at our house with 10 minutes to spare before the baby was born.  I’m so grateful for my husband who very wisely states, “we’re calling the midwife.”  So call the midwife he does, well, pages the number, and whoever is on call will deliver my baby.  My heart leapt for joy when my favorite midwifes’ number popped on the screen to return the call!   

My husband gave her the details, and we agreed that we would start to head over…but of course, we need to eat breakfast first-my idea of course.  I pull out some frozen bread and begin to toast it in my largest cast iron since my toaster had broken a few days prior.  I proceed to have a very painful contraction, rush to the bathroom because laboring on the toilet is a real thing, I realize that I left the bread on the pan, and ask my husband to check on the bread, which is burning, of course *facepalm*.   “Sarah, we need to go now.”  “Oh but it’s not so bad…” what if they go away, and it’s only false labor?  As I have another contraction, I’m brought to my knees, while trying to get dressed.  I’m starting to shake, and the midwife calls and advises us to get going so we can try to avoid rush hour traffic on the 60.  

I grabbed a jar of peanut butter, a spoon, some fruit, and the burnt bread.  I stood there debating whether I should bring the coffee I just made…will it make labor worse, or will it help??? My husband tells me to bring it, and drink it as a reward once the baby comes. Great idea from my anti coffee drinking husband. So we are finally ready. 

We get to the car, while my husband buckles up the children.  I sit in the car, proceed to have another contraction and hop out of the car because sitting was becoming unbearable.  “What are you doing, get in the car Sarah!”   We finally leave, and I pass some pears back to the children.  I nibble on another pear, and open the window to try to cool down.  It’s early in the morning, but I am so hot, and then cold, and then hot again.  As we are about to get on the freeway, my husband sees a police officer, and rolls down his window, “My wife is in labor, can you escort us?” He tells us he can take us to a Mesa Banner hospital, but not to Phoenix where the birth center is.  “Well, can I book it?” The Officer said, “I’m not DPS(department of public safety) was his response. So he put on our hazards and we get into the HOV lane…surrounded by heavy rush hour traffic, which seemed especially slow. 

When we had previously discussed getting me and the kids to the birth center, I thought I would be able to drive us there if my husband was working…boy was I wrong. While I squirmed in my seat, nibbled on my pear, and grasped my brow, I could only think that I needed a distraction. I changed the CD to track #23 on the FWBC Christmas CD.  We like to call this and #13 the glorious music, straight piano, and just so glorious to me. I later learned the song title is greensleeves. While the song is on repeat, I try to relax, and breathe, looking out at the surroundings while the music plays. 

Finally, 25 minutes later we arrive, and no other cars are there…where is everyone? I see my midwife in the front room through the glass window, and she comes out to us right away. I am relieved, and ready. 

6 months later…because having a baby makes things slow down, and when circumstances change, your technique and methods of doing things change too! Anywhoo, back to the story…

I had been conflicted about the birthing rooms. One has a wall full of mirrors which as one assistant told me would make excellent photos…I knew my photography loving husband would love this, I however was not enthusiastic about that at all. Thankfully my midwife whisked me into the nicer of the two birthing rooms, I immediately got on all fours and started swaying my hips to try to relieve the pain. 

I get into the warm birth tub and am immediately relieved, and so relaxed. I grasped the handle bars during a contraction, and found myself getting angry, and frustrated, even hitting at the water. I was not expecting this. To feel so helpless, and just knowing that the pain was imminent. My husband comes in and is on his phone looking at something, “what are you doing??!” I am not the most patient, gentle, or understanding person when I am in labor. “Asking for prayers from the church FB group.” Boy do I feel like a jerk! He goes to check on the children, and another midwife comes in and starts breathing next to me loudly, of course, I’m supposed to be doing that too, I need to relax and be less tense right now, except there’s another person breathing right next to me. This was a helpful reminder to breathe, even though I was very irritated in the moment. Really, your birth is never going to go perfectly as you planned. Case in point, my midwife checks the water, and it’s too warm, so she adds cold water…did I mention I hate cold water, did I mention how often my husband surprises me with water and ice thrown into the shower or tub…I digress.

I move away from the cold water and she checks the babies heart rate. She tells me that its slowing down whenever I have a contraction, which could mean the cord is wrapped around the babies neck…oh dear. I would really love to lounge around, procrastinate, and put off the impending excruciating pain that I know is coming, but hearing that flicked a switch in my brain.

I have to get down to business, the business of birthing, and getting this baby out into the world safely. I am determined, I start out of the tub, with assistance, and clamber onto the bed. Its too bright, so they dim the lights. I know squatting is supposed to be helpful, but all I can think of is laying on that bed, and getting my baby out. With the contractions, I squirm on the bed, I have to ask them how to push because really I know, but I don’t want to. It gets to the point that I’m asking, am I done, is the baby out??? No, ok, well finally with good pushing instructions my baby comes out. And they tell me the gender, a baby boy. My husband knew it! The cord had been wrapped around his leg. He is healthy, safe, and finally in my arms.

My sweet Midwives feed me berries, which I end up vomiting, and freezing cold hydration drinks…did I mention I really don’t like the cold?? My children are eating burnt peanut butter toast, and I have my baby in my arms, nursing right away. It’s not the perfect scenario, but I am happy. After Vomiting I am toasty, an assistant waves me with a fan. “It’s ok, I can do that” I tell her. “Please, you just had a baby, let me love on you a bit.” So I lay there, being fed berries, and am being fanned. It’s not what I envisioned, it’s better. I feel so humble, so grateful, so blessed to be where I am. Being married to the man I have. Having these three little children. A birth center with caring Midwives and a very helpful Doctor, and exceptional assistants. I explain the burnt bread to the assistant, feeling ashamed that I let it burn, “you wanted to cook while in labor…? You have it more together in labor, than I do not in labor.” Ok, that felt good. We discuss his name, I was convinced baby was a Julia-nope, my husband had just done a job for a jerk named Jason, but the assistant reassured us that she knew a very cool Jason. So after reading the Bible where his name is from we decided, Jason Dean it is.

Really, just the best expierence, the best people involved, the best birth experience, it was all just a huge blessing that I ended up where I did.

If you read this last post you will Understand a little of the ins and outs of this pregnancy.

Continue reading You’re stronger than you think you are…A fast natural birth story.
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