Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday's Voice - Pakistan

Christian woman forced into slavery in Pakistan

A group of Muslims recently abducted Sana, a Christian mother of two, in Fatehpuh Kasur, Pakistan. Ejaz Masih, Sana's husband who works as a labourer, took out a loan in order to provide medical treatment for his ill father. When his Muslim landlord heard about the loan, he demanded that Ejaz repay it within two weeks, saying, "We'll come and take your wife and children to work for us as slaves. You have no choice [but pay].... You are lowlife and will always be our slave. We Muslims are superior to any other religion." A few days later, on September 3, a group of armed Muslims confronted the family, throwing Ejaz to the ground, abducting his wife and beating his father. When his mother called for help, neighbours came out but no one tried to stop the kidnappers. His brother contacted police but they refused to register the complaint. (Source: AsiaNews)

Pray for Sana's release. Pray for wisdom and comfort for her family.

Ask God to help them to respond in a Christ-like manner to this injustice.

Pray that Christians in Pakistan will exemplify the love of God through consistent love and prayer for those who persecute them (Matthew 5:43-48).
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall

I love fall.  I love the way it looks.  The way it smells - spicy and fresh.  The way it sounds - crunchy. 

Fall is mommy's season.  It is is the time of year that I actually love to do yard work and don't complain about the blisters.  Our family tradition is to rake the leaves and put them in pumpkin bags to decorate the yard.  The kids enjoy helping to rake the leaves and they especially enjoy jumping in mommy's piles.   This is the first fall that I get to jump in the leaves with all 3 kids. Sam is already fascinated by the leaves and the sounds they make when you walk on them. 

I've always enjoyed Fall.  I always felt like it was new years, probably because of the start of school.  I was always excited when school started.  New class.  New teacher.  New friends.  Everything fresh.  It was appropriate that I professed my faith in the Fall, a continuation of the newness I felt about my life.  It  also seems appropriate that Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls normally in September.  It is almost like God telling each of us that this is the New Year and to celebrate it.  

Some people think of Fall as the beginning of death as all the plants start to die and the leaves fall to the ground.  I don't.  I think it is the beginning of the promise.  The promise of new life in the bulbs we plant in the Fall and the sprouts that begin in the spring.  Just like Jesus.  He died on the cross to give each of us new life.  We embrace that death for the promise of the new life He gives each of us.  Yes there will be times when He seems far away and we are cold in the "winter" of our trials.  But if we hold on to the promise of Jesus, in the "spring" we will sprout new life and new possibilities.
Monday, September 27, 2010

Martha Monday's - Morning Routine

Here is what a typical morning looks like in the Slomp residence.

5:00 am to 6:30 am - Baby wakes up 

7:30 am - Wake up Nicole, make coffee, and get breakfast made

7:45 am - Empty dishwasher, get clothes out for kids, make beds,

8:00 am - Have shower/make sure Nicole is getting dressed

8:15 am - Get boys ready and make sure Nicole has made bed and is packing bag

8:30 am - Nicole leaves for school, Daddy goes to work and Mommy drinks her coffee

8:45 - 9:30 am - Devotion time

I have to admit that this doesn't always happen.  Sometimes there is complete chaos and screaming and tears, usually from me.  Once Nicole started school I quickly realized how much a morning routine was necessary.  It can make or break a day.  When the chaos reigns in the morning, it seems to follow me through the day.  When things go smoothly, the day seems to go smootly.  I have previously followed the Fly Lady and the Messies Anonymous systems and they both preach about a morning routine.  I used to scoff at this idea, however, after doing it found how necessary it is. 

I find making my bed and cleaning the bathroom in the morning assist help in keeping the whole house clean and organized.  I've started getting Nicole to make her bed, now if you have a 7 year old you know how clean their bedrooms can be, so in teaching her this I'm teaching her good habits early, even though she has accused me of teaching her how to be a mom.

Last year I read an article in Real Simple magazine where a family had their entry reorganized.  One of the things I liked was the To Do lists for Children.  


I have the lists posted by the side door (our normal entry) and at Nicole's eye level.  In the morning, I often have Nicole refer to them.  I believe that at some point children need to start learning responsiblity.  This also gives Nicole independence and teaches her that she needs to be accountable.  I do acknowledge that she is just 7 so mom always make sure she has everything and I have driven to school to drop things off if she has forgotten it.

Last week I spoke about menu planning and mentioned that I had just started menu planning for breakfast.  This has really eased the morning stress.  I get the breakfast on the table and then call the kids.  If I have planned something thats going to take a bit of time (ie Baked Oatmeal), I can prep it the night before and get it ready so that breakfast is waiting for them at their usual time.  As well, it's a great excuse to have a quick cup of coffee without any interruptions.  

Do you have a morning routine?  How does your morning look?  It doesn't need to be complicated, it can be as simple as :

Wake Up
Get Dressed
Eat
Pray
I know my tips are set up for a family whose kids go to school.  I'm interested in hearing how a home school morning looks. 
Friday, September 24, 2010

Caffeinated Randomness - I'm 10 Years Old Today!


Some people have a junk drawer.  I have a few of these.  However, how many of you have a junk cupboard?  I have one.  Don't ask.  It used to be my crafting cupboard, but now its just a place we put things that don't have a home.  While looking in this cupboard last month, I found a pile of cassette tapes.  Like I said, don't ask.  When going through these I found my Profession of Faith tape.  I realized looking at it the date that 10 years ago today I professed my faith and was re-baptized.


Here's my testimony I gave that day:
"Life is teaching me some painful lessons but it is from adversity that strength is born."
I read this quote a few days ago and it really hit home.  As my life has been filled with adversity from the get go.  My parents married young and foolishly.  Their marriage was very rocky from the start.  They both took their frustrations out on each other and when I came,  on me.   My parents drank and cheated on each other through out their marriage of 4 years.  My parents divorced when I was 4 and my sister was 2.  I never saw my father again and I have vary few memories of my father, if not disturbing memories of him. 
In my youth my mother lead a life of drinking and sex with different men, a life I would eventually lead.  It all came to an end when she tried to commit suicide after having an abortion.  My sister and I were made wards of the court and given to my grandparents.  My grandparents gave us a stable home. It seemed like they were the only people I could depend upon.  However, on several occasions I moved back with my mother and her new husband.  This marriage was as bad, if not worse than the first.  It was at this time that God first entered my life.  I had very little exposure to God, except the Lord's Prayer at school and Guides.  I took Catechism Classes and went to Church, normally alone as my mother or step-father were either too hungover or lazy to get up.  Usually I even beat the Priest to church.  I really began to believe that Church was my sanctuary away from the horrors of home. 

As I grew older, God became less involved in my life.  In my early twenties I began to lead the very life my mother had.  I equated sex to love.  Always looking for someone to fill the void in my heart.  I drank frequently and experimented with drugs.  I lived with two different men who abused me physically, emotionally and sexually.  I practiced the pagan/wiccan religion with my friends at the time.



I finally came back to Jesus when I met my fiance.  He was a Christian.  This did not discourage me as I thought I could change him, never thinking that he was the one who would change me.  After several months of dating and many lame excuses, I finally went back to Church.  The more I went, the more I felt like I was coming home.  I always refer to Leroy as heaven sent as he was there when God knew I was ready to come home. 



Then I took the Alpha course.  It was there that I learned about forgiveness, love and the Holy Spirit.  I kept wanting to learn more about Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  At the retreat during one of the small groups I kept thinking about the Robert Frost poem., The Road Less Traveled and how it applied to me.  When I told this to the group, I remember Pastor Phil telling me that Jesus had first said this.  I broke out into tears as I knew immediately that God had told me this.  I accepted Jesus into my life that weekend.



During Profession of Faith classes I continued to strengthen my relationship with God - learning even more about Him and the church.  My life with God is awesome.  I know and feel change is continuing to happen to me.  I feel God with me in good and especially when I am weak.  He gives me the strength to accept my past and to forgive what happened to me.  However, my new life is not without struggle as I change from my old and familiar habits to my new life with new change.  I find myself continuing singing One Day at a Time knowing that God is reminding me to take every day slowly and not linger on my past.  I have finally learned to forgive myself for my past, as I know God has forgiven me.  I have given my life to Christ totally and even though I sometimes question where He is taking me, I know He does this for my own good. 



I am grateful for all who have supported me and lead me to my new life.  God has given me the strength to face my future and take it for all it's worth. 
I listened to the tape while I transcribed this.  I listened with tearful joy of what God did in my life.  How He changed me and continues to change me in His image.  I remember feeling the water on my head and feeling of relief and cleaning that you can only feel when you accept God and the Holy Spirit begins to live inside of you.


10 years old.  No longer a child.  No longer happy with just the children's menu.   I'm ready to eat steak and potatoes.  I'm growing in spiritual maturity.  I've seen these changes in me this last year and enjoying every minute of it.  Some of that has to do with this blog and each of you and I thank you for it. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday's Voice - Somalia

Somali Christian killed, four children kidnapped

A member of an underground Christian movement in Somalia has been murdered by Muslim militants in a continuing campaign to eliminate converts from Islam. Area sources said al Shabaab militants entered the house of Osman Abdullah Fataho in Afgoye, 30 kilometres from Mogadishu, at 10:30 the night of July 21 and shot him dead in front of his wife and children. Fataho was a long-time Christian deeply involved in the activities of the small, secret Christian community, sources said. Area Christians said they suspected someone had informed the militants of Fataho's faith. The assailants abducted his wife and four children, later releasing her on the condition that she surrenders the little ones to be trained as soldiers. "We know they have taken the children to brain-wash them, to change their way of life from Christian to Muslim and to teach them the Koran," said one source. Abducted were Ali Daud (5), Fatuma Safia (7), Sharif Ahmed (10) and Nur Said (15). A Christian leader who attended Fataho's funeral on July 22 said that one of the slain man's relatives noted that the militants had targeted him because he had left Islam. The incident has spread fear among the faithful in the lawless country, much of which lies in the grip of ruthless insurgents' intent on rooting out any person professing Christianity. Leaders of the Christian underground movement have been forced to flee their homes to avoid being killed by the insurgents, said one leader who, along with seven others, has temporarily moved to an undisclosed area. (Source: Compass Direct)

Please uphold Fataho's wife and children.

Pray for them as they grieve the loss of their husband and father, and ask the Lord to intervene in this situation so that the children may be returned to their mother.

Pray for all Christian believers, particularly Muslim background believers in Somalia who follow Christ at great risk.
Monday, September 20, 2010

Martha Mondays - What's For Dinner Mom?

I know you've probably heard this already, but meal planning can not only help your time management but also your wallet.

I've been menu planning for apx. 7 years. I haven't always been faithful to it. There have been months and/or weeks where I haven't planned out our meals. I notice what these times are like to me and my family- chaotic, stressful and just hair pulling crazy.

I started menu planning when my daughter was 2 months old. I did it to make sure that we didn't go out for dinner during my parent's two week visit with us. We were just getting used to being on 1.5 income (I'm sorry to inform my dear American friends but we receive 1 year maternity benefits in Canada). I was also tired of eating out as we had done a lot of that during my pregnancy and I wanted to try to start losing that baby weight. So I made a two week plan. I drew a two week calendar and wrote down what I wanted to cook for those two weeks off the top of my head and then I made a shopping list of things I needed to get. Those two weeks went so well that I decided to continue to meal plan.

Over the years, I have tried out some prepared meal plans by other websites and authors. My favourite so far has been by Sandi Richard. Her book "Cooking for the Rushed" really taught me how to meal plan and that meals can be quick and easy and good. This book works on a twelve week meal plan, providing five meals a week. Sandi has a cooking show in Canada called Dinner Rush. While watching it I learned about Fright Night (not a Halloween party) - that night that you have only 10 minutes to eat and even less to cook. I've taken many of her helpful hints and used them in my own meal planning regime.

When I meal plan, I pull out my favourite cook books and make a handwritten calendar in a note book. I start writing down frozen left overs that I may have (ie spaghetti, chili, etc..). Then I usually try to break down each week with at least one pasta, two chicken, two pork and one crock pot meal (Wednesday night fright night meal). Fridays are the easiest day to plan as we usually have pizza or chicken nuggets for our Family Movie Night when I let the kids eat in front of the TV while they watch their movies. Plus, I'm guaranteed that they will eat all their food without any argument.
My Monthly Meal Plan

Once I've finished the month, I place them on my weekly wipeboard fridge magnets. I purchased them at Costco around the same time I started meal planning. I do this as I do a weekly shop. I tried to do all my shopping once a month, but ended up running to the store for something I forgot to pick up or to get fresh veggies/fruit or bread. However, since I have the month planned if I notice a great sale on something for two weeks away, I'll pick it up.

My Weekly Wipe-board Fridge Magnet

Lately, I've started to even plan our weekly breakfast and lunch menus. Not because I want to be that organized, but it has cut down on the arguments about eating around here. My middleman usually just wants nutella and toast or poptarts for breakfast. By meal planning breakfast, I can get the food to the table before he realizes what he wants. This allows mom to get some variety and healthier choices into him.

If you don't meal plan, you should try it out. Do one week. If you want someone else to do it. Google menu planning. There are actually sites where you pay them and they'll send you a meal plan and recipies. Experiment. Get together with friends. Go to your library and check out new cook books. Let me know how it goes and how it works for you.
Sunday, September 19, 2010

IT'S OFFICIAL!

It's finally official. The opportunity that I spoke about on Friday that I really couldn't talk about. I am a member of the Adori Graphics Team.


I have wrote about Louise before, especially after she redesigned my blog last spring. Louise is a very talented blog designer. She creates her own graphics and digital scrapbooking designs.

Louise started out doing free blog designs for people with disabilities or circumstances that wanted to blog through their journeys or community/church groups that wanted to let people know more about them. She then started doing more designs and tutorials. Then she set up shop as she had many people wanting her to design their blogs. She still continued to try to do the free blog designs, but was kept VERY busy with designing. She found herself doing this until ALL her spare time was involved in designing. She them decided to set up a team of designers, creative team, administrators and writers for Adori Graphics.

Are you wondering where I am in all this? I'm one of the Administrators. In fact, I'm job sharing the administration of Write From The Heart (the free blog designs). I review the incoming applications and make sure that all the "i"s are dotted and the "t"s crossed. Something I'm used to doing after working for lawyers. I can't wait to get started. We have done two trial runs and so far so good.

If you haven't already, go and check out Louise's blog Adori Graphics and see all the freebies, tutorials and designs that she has been working on.
Friday, September 17, 2010

Caffeinated Randomness - New Possibilities


There have been a lot of changes going on here in the Prairies, some good, some sad. This week I started my own meme called Martha Mondays, something I feel God has been leading me to for a while. I just had to figure out how to work it in during the week. Unfortunately and fortunately, Music Monday changed from being weekly to monthly. I'm sad for Shawntele and I'm sad that I won't be posting music that the spirit moves me to every week, however, I'm embracing the change and proceeding with my own meme. That doesn't mean that I won't take part in Music Monday occasionally. It just means that I can share music anytime with you.

Recently I was approached about possible writing opportunities, of which I'm still praying about and seeing if that is where God is truly leading me to or my own vanity. I have to admit I was a bit shocked. I compare myself with other bloggers and feel I fall short. I believe that we all feel that way when there are so many talented people around us. We will see if this is where God is leading me or what other opportunities He has for me.

There is one project I'm currently involved with that I really can't tell you about. But it is allowing me to serve others in the blogosphere. Don't worry, for those who know how nontechnical I am (thankfully, I'm married to a computer guy), I'm not doing any designing. that would be a big mess since I still can't figure out how to make my own header, even though I followed the instructions exactly. This opportunity is allowing me to help someone who has helped me and who continues to help many others. I can't wait to share this with you, but I don't want to share it until it is officially announced on her blog. I won't even tell you where it is.

The last change is the opportunity I have been given by our Caffeinated Chieftain (she will always be that in my eyes). Andrea has made the decision to following a new leading by God and to give up blogging. I'm so happy for her and sad for all of us. Andrea has been a true mentor to me in the blogosphere and in real life. In fact, this blog would not be what it is without her. When she first told me about her blog, I told her I had one but hadn't done anything with it. Then she called me out on her blog. I was inspired to change the focus and remember talking to her at our local paddling pool about possible names. Andrea is a friend who pushes me into areas that I really don't want to go, but know that I can through God's strength. She is also the friend willing to go on crazy bike rides in the summer or to the mall for a Starbucks/shopping run.

As sad as I am to see her leaving the blogsphere, I know that God is working in her life and she will not just be mentoring me, but also all the preschoolers in our area. We are so blessed to have her. I'm excited that she will be teaching my middleman this year and can't wait for her to teach our baby in 2 years.

I hope you will all join me on Fridays for Caffeinated Randomness here at Lost in the Prairies. I can't wait to know each of you better and to hear your randomness in the craziness of life.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wednesday's Voice - Egypt

Christian community attacked by Muslims in Egypt

On August 13, Sheikh Tobah, imam of the village of Shimi, used Friday prayers to incite local Muslims to wage jihad against the local Coptic Christian community. Within hours an Islamic hard-liner named Mohamed Ali Almstaui had attacked a local Copt, Maher Amin, who was washing his taxi. That evening Mohamed led a mob of some 20 Muslims against the Amin family home. When the security forces arrived, they arrested the Christians, ignoring their injuries, so they could pressure them to accept "reconciliation." To uphold the Shariah provision that Christians may not testify against Muslims in court, the Egyptian government enforces "reconciliation" whereby Christians are forced to drop charges in exchange for Muslim assurances that the conflict has ended. However, less than 24 hours after "reconciliation" was brokered, Mohamed led a Muslim mob in another attack against Copts in their homes, on the streets and in their fields. The Copts are greatly distressed by their evident helplessness, knowing that in the absence of legal protection they are essentially without rights and are extremely vulnerable to further violence. Since the government started enforcing "reconciliation" in 2007, violent persecution has soared. (Sources: Assyrian International News Association, Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission)

Please pray Christians in Egypt will preach the gospel with boldness in areas where incidents of persecution continue to increase (Acts 4:31).

Pray the Lord will soften the hearts of those who currently oppose Him and His church.
Monday, September 13, 2010

Martha Mondays


I'm a Martha girl. I don't mean the one that went to prison and came out still thinking it was a "good thing", although I have been compared to her. No, I mean the other one. The biblical one. The one that I know many of us can relate to. Busy doing things and not sitting down and resting in the word as we are called to do. We all try to find the time to "rest" but with everything we have to get done (laundry, cleaning, cooking, watching the kids, etc...) when do we find the time. I'm sorry, I'm NOT a morning person so waking up early to do it doesn't work for me and I can't be the only one out there.

I believe the most dreaded woman in the bible was a "Martha" girl too. Yes, I mean the P31 woman. The woman that haunts each and every one of us. She would have had to have been to get the things described in the proverb done by the end of the day. How did she do it? Was she crazy? Did she often have nervous breakdowns? Did she complain about her lazy sister like our Martha?

I believe that she was just organized. Yes, there I said it "organized. " Now I'm not going to spout off how I'm an organized person or how easy my life is. I lose it now and again. My laundry isn't always done. There are many days that chaos reigns in the Prairies. I do believe though that there are areas in my life that I can share with you that work for me. As we journey together over the course of many Mondays, we may get to share ideas that work for you that may help me. That is the point of Martha Mondays. Not to tell you how to get organized in 30 days. How to declutter or polish your sink (even though I did love doing that). It's how we as woman can support each other in those tasks that seem to claim our time and lives so that we can focus on what's really important: God and our families.

I'm hoping that you come back next Monday when I introduce my first tip. If you have any tips your willing to offer let me know. I'm not perfect. I'm a work in progress. I know that through working on things together, we'll get closer to becoming a P31 woman and closer to God at the same time.
Friday, September 3, 2010

Caffeinated Randomness - The Best Cover Ever


I ran across a link that I just had to listen to while reading the Banner today. I thought I would share it with you today.



After I watched this, as my children where running around our family room, I was crying. It spoke to my heart. I know as a mom the range of emotions we have is crazy. We can go from immense joy to immense pain. From peaceful to chaos. From energized to worn out. And this can all be through a 30 minute period. Luckily, even though we think we are all alone, we aren't. We are all in the same predicament. Go to your local playground and ask every mother there and she'll agree. She may even say that a good cup of coffee helps (for me 1/2 L a day). No matter what you're going through in raising your children (terrible twos, potty training, tweens, preteens, and something I'm already dreading - Teenagers), remember it is so worth it!

Now go and share your randomness with the Chieftain today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday's Voice - India

Twelve Christians arrested in India

On August 15, police arrested 12 believers in Mandya district, Karnataka state, India. Pastor Satish and Ravi, an evangelist with India Campus Crusade for Christ, were conducting a service in a believer's home when approximately 30 people entered the building and started to accuse them of forcibly converting locals. Later that day, 10 of the believers were released; Pastor Satish and Ravi remained in detention at last report. (Source: VOM-USA, Christian Persecution Update India)

Pray for the release of these believers.

Pray that their testimonies of faithfulness amid adversity will draw non-believers into fellowship with Christ.

Pray that the Word of God will continue to be declared with clarity, boldness, love, and power in India (Ephesians 6:19-20).
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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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