Tuesday, August 30, 2011


If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you've heard the "JOY" acronym.
You've probably heard it in Sunday school, sermons at church, Christian radio, and see it at least once a week in a forwarded email message covered with dancing smiley faces from that one friend that forwards EVERYTHING.

Jesus first
Others second
Yourself last


I don't care how many times I've heard it, I still need to be reminded daily.

Try this little experiment with me: Think about the last time you were in a bad mood. Now write down exactly why you were so grumpy in just a few sentences. Count the number of times you used the words "me", "myself" and "I". Now count the number of times you referenced Christ or someone else (other than to blame them for the reason you are so grumpy). If you are like me, your first number is in the double digits and your second number is zero. Where are we putting our focus?

Jesus first. Others second. Yourself last. The key to being joyful despite our circumstances is to keep our focus on God and others and less on ourselves. Keeping this acronym in mind during the day actually works! And do you know why? Because Jesus is the one who came up with it!

Matthew 22 talks about a group of Pharisees who wanted to put Jesus to the test. They asked Him what was the greatest commandment. Instead of replying with one of the 10 commandments they were familiar with, He gave them these 2:

  1. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." (v.37)
  2. "Love your neighbor as yourself." (v.38)
Not only did Jesus sum up all 10 commandments into two easy to understand laws, but He also gave us the J.O.Y. acronym. :-)

This is not a hard concept to understand, yet it is so hard for us to get over ourselves enough to actually put it into practice. Here are some simple things we can do to remind ourselves to have JOY:

  • Write it down and tape it up to the bathroom mirror... "JOY"
  • Get a good Christian friend or accountability partner to be a constant reminder.
  • Memorize 1 Thessalonians 5:16..."Be joyful always." 
  • Pray and thank God for all His blessings.
  • Spend less time complaining about our needs and more time meeting the needs of those around us.

Let's work on this together and be joyful followers of Christ!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Adventures in Cloth Diapering: Week #2

This week I haven't had as much time to work on diapers as I would like, but I did manage to get 3 more made. I finally have my pattern the size and shape that I want it & now I am working on my sewing skills & trying out different combinations of fabric.

Diaper #4, 5 and 6 have flannel covers with waterproof vinyl underneath. The liner and soaker are make from combinations of up-cycled fleece blankets, flannel sheets and cotton tri-fold diapers.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adventures in Cloth Diapering: Week #1

Week number one in our cloth-diapering adventure had its ups and downs, but over all was a tremendous success!

It feels good to be able to wash out a diaper instead of tossing it in the trash. And really, the washing was not as bad as I imagined. Of course, she pooped a super-nasty poop the very first time I put her in one, but it didn't even stick to the liner! I had nightmares about having to scrape it off with a spatula...seriously.

First cloth diaper, bought on Etsy
We are still not fully using cloth diapers yet because we have to build up our supply, and they aren't cheap! We ordered a few on Etsy and got one in the mail so far. Unfortunately, it was not the diaper that we ordered, but the seller resolved the problem and we ended up with a free diaper! It is an AIO (all-in-one) pocket diaper. It was cute and worked perfectly, washed up easily and dried quickly. My only problem was that it was very bulky because it's designed to fit up to 35 pounds.

My original plan was to try out a couple different kinds to find out what I liked best before attempting to make my own, but I just couldn't wait! So I read some tutorials on-line and watched a couple youtube videos, got my fabric together and took the leap...

First homemade cloth diaper!
After a bunch of mistakes (thank goodness for seam rippers) and two hours of being frustrated and wanting to give up, I pulled through and ended up with a diaper that works and is really cute! This one has an outer layer made out of vinyl tablecloth fabric, an inner layer made of an upcycled fleece blanket, and a 4-layer soaker made of up-cycled flannel burp cloths from my first kid! It is 75% upcycled (could be 100% if I had used an actual old tablecloth, but I bought the fabric).

There are definitely a few changes I am going to make for next time and I am super excited to make more! Thanks to all of my friends and family for your support and cloth-diapering advice :-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Restoring the JOY

I was really challenged by this Sunday's message at church from Romans 5:9-11
"Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."
Basically, how can we as Christians not have JOY after all the God has done for us? Why are we such a grumpy bunch of believers, constantly whining about one thing or another? Because we are focused on ourselves, not on on Savior and the amazing gift of our salvation!
One of the things Pastor asked was if we were "thrilled" by God. And later I started thinking of things that thrill me. The first thing that popped into my mind is money. Although I am ashamed to admit it, I think it's true for most of us. "I would be thrilled if I woke up to $100 every morning!" was my very first thought because once again I was focusing on myself.
But if I really stopped and changed my focus, I would notice something else on the table next to my bed every morning. It takes a while for my eyes to adjust to the light. Sometimes I need to brush of the dust...It's a love letter from my Savior. A love letter there waiting for me to read every morning. HOW THRILLING!

So this week I am praying for God to help me change my focus from myself to Him. And I am praying a prayer of David from Psalm 51:12
"Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."