living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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My Favorite Job

As a child, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew-up, I would usually say “I want to be a mommy.”  Or a “cash register”–meaning I wanted to be a cashier.   :-)

For as long as I can remember, I just wanted to have my own family and my own babies and to take care of them. That desire was always there….but it got repressed.

When I was in high school, I got a piece of mail that advertised adoption.  The letter informed me that “age wasn’t a problem”.  (Of course, they meant that you could adopt even if you were older).   I took it to mean that I could adopt while I was in high school.   Ask my mom–I had it all worked out.  I was going to adopt a baby (while I was in high school).

I was soooooo upset at her that she wouldn’t even consider it.

Yes, I was that child.  I loved kids, especially babies.

I was so happy when my first nephew arrived.  I couldn’t wait until I had my own.

However, I also realized that children came with a husband and, after a few rocky relationships, I decided I would just be family-less.  Thus, that desire got pushed down farther and farther.

Those growing-up years were really full.  I volunteered at the library, was a Candy Stripper at the local hospital and worked as a shampoo girl at a hair salon.  I played violin in a county orchestra.  I had TONS OF FRIENDS, lots of parties.   I went to college, working as a telemarketer (don’t hold that against me) and as a secretary for that college.  I went to Europe three times and spent one summer in Africa.  I coordinated a ministry team that traveled around the States.  I counseled teenagers at a Christian camp four different summers and then, after graduation, became a school teacher.  Really, I had a FULL life.

During that whole time, my parents prayed for me.  They prayed that I would find a friend whom I could love as my future husband.  They prayed for that family I had shut out of my mind and heart.

To cut the story short, my husband and I met, were friends for three years before we knew we were mIMG_3257eant for each other, got married, had baby #1 two years later and then, another two years later, had baby #2.

That was a lot of introduction to say this:  In all my years, in all my jobs, in all the craziness of my life, I have NEVER had such an amazing job.  I LOVE being a mommy.  THIS is my favorite job.

I love that God gave me my two favorite kids to be MY KIDS.

I love the funny conversations my son and I have.

I love the giggles and kisses I get from my daughter.

I love coloring with my son.

I love to tickle his belly.IMG_1440 - Copy

I love stomping in puddles with my boy when it rains.

I love making my daughter giggle.

I love the way my daughter chatters.

I love dressing my daughter up in bows and frills.

I love our walks.

I love the way our family hangs out together.

I love mommy-hood!IMG_3267

I’m sure it helps that I have an absolutely amazing husband who is also called “Daddy”

I don’t know where you are in life, but I want to encourage you to think about something.  God created most of us to be help-meets, to be wives and mothers.  There is no 2nd place or shame in that.  Don’t let the world tell you that.  We are our sons’ first love.  We are our daughters’ first best-friend. We have the best job out there. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Is it easy?  No.

Is it the hardest job I’ve ever had?  Yes, probably.

Is it sooo worth it? YES!

Let my husband handle the workplace, the drama and stress.  Give me the little fingers and toes.  Give me the giggles and hugs. We are creating the next generation. What a privilege!

Give me mommy-hood because the best bonuses come in X’s and O’s.

Rejoicing,

Joy T.


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You ARE Important

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. I Cor 12:14-18

There is so much more in this passage…I encourage to finish reading the chapter.

We, as part of the body of Christ, and local church members are so important! There are SO many things involved in the function of a church. There are teachers, talented singers, musicians. There are janitors and those with specialties such as plumbing skills or carpentry skills.

I believe the Lord has a job for all of us to do in our church. You may NOT can carry a tune, but nothing wrong at all with lifting up your voice in praise. You may not have the talent to play an instrument. You may not feel comfortable teaching.

But let me encourage you…if you WANT to be a help in your church, just ask your Pastor what you can do. I promise there is work to be done.

And if nothing else PRAY. Be a PRAYER WORRIER. I think this may be THE most important thing we can do as a church member. Pray for your Pastor and teachers. Pray for your fellow members. Everyone has a burden.

Don’t ever feel unimportant because it seems you’re not “seen in the fore-front”. You ARE important. You ARE missed when you are not in your place in church.

And if you DON’T have a desire to help “carry the load” ….I certainly believe the Lord WANTS you to labor for Him.

You are needed.

You are special.

You are important.


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This “TWO” Shall Pass

“This too shall pass.”  I heard my dad say it a thousand times when I found myself in an undesirable situation.  Such simple yet profound words.  His matter-of-fact adage has helped me many a time to press on through the disappointments and challenges of life.

Now I find myself the mother to seven children, three of whom are currently toddlers…they are 3, 2, and 1. And amidst the exhaustion of constant training and disciplining and thinking, “Why on earth would you do that???!!!!” my father’s words ring in my mind…just with a slight change in spelling: “This TWO shall pass.” They will not be rambunctious toddlers trapped in their “terrible two’s” forever. But what do I do with them in the meantime?

There are many wonderful Christian parenting books available, but I’ve come across one recently that has helped me immeasurably, especially with my toddlers. It’s Raising Godly Tomatoes by L. Elizabeth Krueger, homeschooling mother of 10 children. I’d like to share a little with you about this book and how it has helped me, but let me preface this by saying that the tools offered, however Biblically-based, will be ineffectual for you if you are not filled with the Holy Spirit and guided by His wisdom; and that comes by abiding in the Eternal Vine through prayer and Bible reading. If you have not taken time today to read your Bible, I’d respectfully recommend that you spend your time, not in WordPress, but in the Word!!Image result for tomato staked

Here is an excerpt that summarizes Krueger’s message:

“Every gardener knows what I mean by ‘tomato staking.’ A tomato plant grows fast, big, and wild. If left unattended, it soon sprawls out into an unwieldy heap. As the fruit grows, it weighs the plant down to the ground. Propping by this time is too late. Any attempt to retrain and redirect the growth of the branches will result in breakage and substantial loss of fruit due to rot, disease, and pests.”

The converse, then, is what the author calls “Tomato Staking.” The Bible show us that we can learn many valuable life lessons from the world of gardening. This is one such analogy. Kruegger continues to make the point that the way to “stake our tomatoes” and sufficiently guide, train, and correct them is to be with or near them pretty much all the time. Toddlers should be in close range as often as possible. Older kids should be in a place where parents can keep tabs on them and recognize if an attitude problem is taking root. As they earn trust, they earn freedom. When there’s a problem, you bring them closer. Obviously, in a 258 page book, there’s much more to it than that, but I believe this summarizes the gist of the book.

I’ve made some changes in our daily flow as a result of reading this book, and these alterations have made a huge difference!!! One of the main changes is this: I used to have one of my bigger kids supervise my two toddlers in their bedroom where they were out of my sight and mostly out of hearing range. This breeded a lot of problems. Now I’ve made an effort to come up with activities that they can enjoy in the living room or dining room while I’m homeschooling, still with the involvement of the older kids. I also try to have my toddlers working Image result for tomato stakedwith me more while I’m cleaning or putting away laundry, etc. It can be tiring to include them in the work, but not any more tiring than dealing with the huge messes or fights that result from a lack of supervision. And the benefit is that the home is much more peaceful. It is a more productive exhaustion!

I’ve also made some changes with my older kids. If I hear that they are having trouble getting along, for example, they will need to bring their school work to the dining room table instead of the classroom where I can observe and interact with them more.  Once I can see that their hearts are joyful and cooperative again, they may return to the classroom.  It is not a punishment, per se.  On the contrary, as long as my own attitude is encouraging and not harsh, these ‘tomato staking’ occasions have been an enjoyable time for me and the kids.

This book opened my eyes to some areas in which my kids were demonstrating subtle defiance, and I hadn’t even recognized it! Within one day of “staking my tomatoes,” I was achieving quicker obedience with my toddlers, and after a few weeks of pulling my older kids closer when they were struggling rather than addressing problems from another room or sending them to their rooms, we have a noticeably more harmonious home. Everyone is happier!!

Kruegger covers almost every imaginable scenerio with various solutions for the situation, and she accompanies every single subtopic with Scripture. While this book is perhaps a little longer than some parenting books, I believe it is worth your time to read it.Indian Lakes 221_

Stake your tomatoes now, and enjoy the rich fruit for the rest of your lives!!

God bless you on your journey.

~Teresa~

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