Wednesday, April 30, 2008
We're rolling along just fine and everyone is growing so quickly. Here is a picture I took last weekend. If you are a member of facebook, you can see more through Joe's profile here.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Today, we replanted some tomatoes in the garden as the first batch all died a week ago during a late frost.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I have been thinking recently about the dichotomy between hospitality and entertaining. Like many things I ponder, my thoughts are influenced by things that I have read but can't remember exactly where. So, if you've heard this before, you must've read the same article and if you can remember where, let me know!
The premise behind the article was that there was a distinct difference between hospitality and entertaining and that we should strive for the former over the latter. Entertaining brings up images of perfectly laid tables, elaborate menus, a sparkling home, and an unhurried hostess overseeing it all with charm and grace. Hospitality brings more homey images to mind—warm fellowship with friends new and old, laughing until there are tears in your eyes. While entertaining is concerned with impressing guests, hospitality focuses on welcoming people into your home and your life.
Mark Driscoll speaks about the home as a place “where God and His people dwell together for purposes of ministry.” He says the same could be said about the the temple, the church, and heaven.
Does that change how we view our homes? Not simply places to sleep between mad forays into the daily grind of life, but centers of ministry whereby we love our families and reach out to a watching world.
Being hospitable is listed among the requirements for elders in Titus 1:8. Being hospitable is also the mark of a life lived in obedience to Christ as part of the attributes of Godly widows described in 1 Timothy 5:10. It is also generally proscribed to all Christians as a way to show love to one another through service in 1 Peter 4:8-10. So we know that it is Biblical, but do we do it?
Much has been written about the decline of hospitality in our culture and the varying causes and remedies. I will offer just a few short suggestions that have motivated and encouraged me as I have sought to help Joe in offering hospitality.
Throw away Southern Living and Martha Stewart!
Did I just say that and is there a band of sweet Southern ladies coming to tar and feather me as I sit here?
One of the main hindrances to hospitality is thinking that your __________ isn't good/fancy/expensive/big/whatever enough to offer to others. Realize that God has given you what you have, be content, and be willing to share. Americans who travel abroad almost always find themselves the surprised recipients of gracious hospitality from people who have little to offer, but offer what they have with sincerity and joy.
Do what you can
For our family, being intentional about hospitality means inviting people into our home and the craziness that is life with 4 small boys. I always serve the same meal. Homemade pizza with whatever toppings I have on hand and oven-hot cookies for dessert. Sometimes I make other side dishes, sometimes I don't have time to. Dinner is loud, the food is served buffet style, and you almost always have to refill your own drink. I do look forward to the days where I can be a bit more fancy, but this is where I am now and may God use it to His glory!
Pick a day
Once you get into the habit of practicing hospitality, it gets easier and easier. There are several families in our church that have two or three families and singles over for Sunday dinner after the morning worship service. I have been blessed to watch how these ladies invite not just those who are their close friends, but new attenders, widows, and people that they don't know well. Our family has been blessed by many gracious offers of hospitality from those in our church...and that is no small accomplishment! My boys are generally well-behaved, but there are 4 of them and they are little and so I am always so thankful that people have us over anyway!
We have chosen Friday nights to be our night for having people over for dinner and are just getting back into the habit of doing so after a hiatus when Charlie was born. Knowing that this is our intention every Friday night helps us to remember to invite people and be consistent about it.
Just do it!
It is fun. It is Biblical. It is part of living authentically and letting people into your life. Pray about it. Talk to your husband about it. And see how God might be calling you to offer hospitality.
Here are a few additional resources out there that I would recommend on this topic:
This sermon from Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle has a lot to say not just about hospitality, but about women in general. At just over an hour, it is a long sermon, but worth every minute! (***If you are on a slow internet connection like me, you can set your computer to download it just before you go to bed and that way won't tie up your phone line for hours during the day.)
This post by Thabiti Anyabwile is great and gave me a lot of my foundation for this post.
Making Money--here is where it gets fun!
If you have been following my series on Wellness360, this is probably the post you have been waiting for: how to maximize your money! Wellness360 is NOT a major money-making plan, but there are a few ways that you can use the site more wisely and maximize your earnings.
Watch your email and do the promotions
Every few days, Wellness360 has a portion of the site that they give bonus points for accessing and/or updating. This past week, every time you updated your medical history, you received triple points. This weekend, they are giving double points site-wide and triple points on the fitness profile. Watch your email and be sure to do whatever promotional offer they are currently doing.
Track your eating
This is one of the fastest ways to easily earn points. It make take a little time to learn the site and figure out how to do so, but entering what I eat is my major point-earner right now.
Read some health news.
It is fairly easy to spend a few minutes browsing the health articles. These points add up pretty quickly too.
Refer, refer, refer!
This is the way best way to make money with the site. You earn an additional 25% of the points earned by every person that you refer to Wellness360. In other words, if I refer Susie and she uses the site to make $50 this month, I will get an extra $12.50 in addition to what I earn by my own site usage. Now, if I refer 10 Susies, I would get $125! You can see the exponential possibilities.
Just like every good Avon lady or Mary Kay saleswoman will tell you, the trick is not just to sell make-up, but to recruit other salespeople. I had a friend in Jackson who was very successful “selling make-up” because she was good at getting her referrals to sell well.
So, the best way to maximize your $ on Wellness360 is to refer people and get them to make $.
The next post in this series will answer a few questions about the site, so if you have any please feel free to post them in the comments and I'll get to them next time.
To see all of the posts in this series, click here.
If you're interested, check out Wellness360 and see what you can do.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Useful site features
I mentioned in the previous post that one of the ways that you can make Wellness360 work for you is if you find personal value in the services that the site offers. This post will chronicle a few ways that I have used Wellness360 that have benefited me. So far, I have mainly used the site to track what I have been eating. I have explored a few other parts of the site that you might find helpful, however, and I've mentioned those here also.
The Food Journal
To find the food journal, click on “Nutrition” on the top center header of each page. Then, look on the left sidebar. You should see several options which include an option to “Search for Food,” go to the “Daily Food Journal” or go to “My Refrigerator.” If you click on “Search for Food” you can type any food into the search box and add it to a meal in the Journal for that day. Then by clicking on the “Daily Food Journal” you can see the nutritional totals of all of the foods that you have eaten. Each time that you add something to your journal, it also adds it to your “refrigerator,” so that you can find that same food again next time by simply clicking on the refrigerator. This is great since I eat a lot of the same things and can then easily add them to my journal for the next day without searching again.
I have appreciated seeing the nutritional facts for what I am eating. If I were on a diet, this feature would be even more helpful because it even calculates how much you would have to eat to maintain your current weight, lose a pound a week, or lose two pounds a week and shows you all of this beside the totals of what you actually did eat. There is nothing that works like seeing the cold raw data staring at you in the face!
I haven't worked with this as much as the food journal, but the site does allow you to use a calendar to track daily exercise and you can even set it up to email you reminders to exercise! There is also a portion that will custom design a workout for you and has videos on how to properly do free weight strength training exercises.
Under the Resources tab, there is an option that allows you to either read daily health related news (articles, studies released, etc.) or to search for news on a specific topic. Very informative!
One of the aspects of the site that could potentially be very useful is the ability to upload medical records and store them digitally on the site. If Wellness360 gets wide enough exposure, it has the potential to allow health care providers (like EMTs and emergency room physicians, in particular) to access a patients medical records immediately through the internet.
I think this is a great idea, but won't work unless hospitals implement it too.
In addition to the Health Risk Assessment that you have to fill out to start earning points on the site, the login screen has links to 9 other areas of the site where you can enter data about yourself. These assessments (which include things like entering your family medical history and your currents medical statistics) allow the site to be further customized for you each time you provide them with more information.
Simply click on each area and follow the easy instructions to enter the correct information.
All of the areas that I have mentioned in this post are aspects of the site that I think people might find useful. And as I said earlier, if you can earn a little bit of money doing things that are beneficial to you....why not? Come back tomorrow for a few tips on how to increase your earnings with the site.
To join Wellness360, click here and start seeing your points add up!
To find the other posts in this series, simply click here.
I am reminded this morning that my job in mothering these boys is not simply to make them well-behaved (although it is my prayer that they would also be so), but that I primarily want to disciple them rightly in their understanding of sin so that they would rest on Jesus as their only hope. And that is a lesson for me too. That as I see MY short temper in dealing with them or see my inability to respond kindly, I would fly to the cross and say, "Here is my hope! Here is my sufficiency! Lord, make me more like Christ!"
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I have been using Wellness360 now for almost 3 weeks and am still pleased with the site. I am mostly using it now to track what I am eating and am also taking advantage of whatever promotion the site is offering each week to maximize points awarded. I am posting about it again for any of you that might have joined a few days back when I first mentioned it or who are considering joining. I will be doing a short series over the next few days to give more information about the site.
Still Under Construction
Though I don't know the exact launch date, I do know that the site is still in development. In just the short amount of time that I have been a member, there have been updates and kinks worked out. So, if a feature doesn't work now, be patient and realize that it will probably be fixed soon.
How it works
Advertisers and networking sites are forming new partnerships all over the internet that are changing the way that these sites are set-up. Facebook, by opening up to outside applications and allowing third party access to its site, is one example of how advertisers are capitalizing on the popularity of certain sites.
Another new trend in internet marketing is basically profit sharing. Wellness360 offers advertisers a chance to connect with people who have an interest in health and wellness. Companies pay wellness360 for letting them put up ads on the site. You can see the ads along the side edges of most pages on wellness360, if you don't have pop-up blocking software on your computer. In turn, wellness360 pays a portion of their advertising earnings to the users of the site (a small portion!) and they keep the difference as profit.
The point to money ratio
Each point that you earn is worth 1.5 cents. Most “clicks” on the site are worth 2-4 points, and more complicated actions like filling out your medical history, updating your fitness measurements, tracking your daily exercise, or adding what you eat to your daily food journal are where you really earn points quickly. If you only search for the foods you eat and add them to your journal each day, you'll probably earn $1-2 a day.
Where the money meets the road
If you are looking for a part time job or an easy way to make thousands, this is not it! Unless you spend a lot of time on the site, you won't earn significant money. However, that doesn't mean that they whole thing is pointless. If you can be intentional with the things that you do on the site to earn maximum points in minimum time, it can be a good deal. Or if you find value by using the site (i.e. reading the health news articles that they archive or tracking your exercise or eating) AND can earn a little money in the process, it is a good deal.
The next post will explain a few areas of the site that I have found valuable and the post after that will be about maximizing your point earning in a minimum of time.
*****If you are interested in joining, click here and check it out!
Monday, April 07, 2008
I have just spent a half an hour of naptime reading all through an old friend's blog. Kellie and I went to high school together and she is now the mama of twin girls who are just precious. I really enjoyed her blog and catching up on her life a bit.
Now I better get off of the computer and get some more done while it is quiet around here!
Sunday, April 06, 2008
The boys are doing well and enjoying the spring, watching the plants come back to life again and playing outside for hours on end. We've started some of our garden and look 3 and 4 times a day to see if seeds have sprouted or plants had grown taller. We've "harvested" a literal handful of broccoli and hope that isn't the totality of our crop. As I have said before, I am not a very good gardener!