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Archive for January 13th, 2011

Welcome to Joyful Choices!  It’s a dreary, winter day here in Southwestern Idaho – what a great time to launch a blog about joy!  I truly believe we can make choices that lead to joy in every area of our lives, regardless of our circumstances (or weather).  For example, I’m currently homeschooling 2 children and cooking gluten free meals – yes, we’re “those people” – on a very tight budget while my husband is unemployed.  Sounds like an easy, happy life, right?  It’s not easy, but I have a deep peace and joy, even during these dark winter days.

I look forward to sharing with you some of the choices we’ve made that have helped us find joy in four specific areas  – faith, family, finances, and food.  Each tab on this site contains an overview of one of these areas.  I’ve also included another tab with my Gluten Free (GF) Survival Guide for those who are new to the gluten free lifestyle.  (I have a special place in my heart for you, dear one – there is hope!)  Here is a taste of what you’ll find in future posts for each of the topics:

JOYFUL FAITH

  • My daily reading schedule for completing the New Testament and Proverbs in 1 year – please join me!
  • Insights on how these scriptures and others apply to a joyful life
  • My testimony of how God has faithfully provided for our needs and guided our family
  • Encouragement to live a sold-out, Biblically-based, passionate life of freedom in Christ

JOYFUL FAMILY

  • Parenting strategies that have helped us have a more joyful home
  • Encouragement for parents who have strong-willed or “unique” kids (yep, we got ‘em both)
  • Fun family activities and adventures – I am the queen of fun on a shoestring budget (no, my family won’t let me wear a crown)
  • Homeschool units and activities anyone can use, regardless of where your kids go to school

JOYFUL FINANCES

  • Grocery shopping strategies and tips on local weekly bargains
  • How we set our budget and make the most of it
  • The keys to joyful finances for us
  • Encouragement for those who are on a tight budget in our consumer-based society – we’re right there with ya’

JOYFUL FOOD

  • Menu plans for healthy, inexpensive food that tastes great and is gluten free (you can easily modify it to not be gluten free)
  • The strategies and menus we used that helped my husband lose 40 lbs. (picture of him in his “Jared” pants to come)
  • Recipes for delicious gluten free meals and desserts (seriously, gluten free food can taste awesome!)
  • Gluten free products and restaurants with GF menus we like

Yes, this is a lot of material to cover, and it probably sounds like I’m a smarty-pants, know-it-all.  Trust me, I’m not.  I don’t have all the answers and I don’t claim to be perfect, but I will gladly share what we’ve learned from our successes and failures.  Most importantly, I want to encourage you in these areas where so many of us struggle.  If you struggle with a faith that is flat, a bickering home, a depressing financial situation, and discouragement over losing weight or trying to eat gluten free – I HAVE BEEN THERE, FRIEND!  My hope is that whatever encouragement I have received will be passed on to you.  Please let me know how I can encourage you by giving me feedback on the topics that are of the most interest to you, and I will prioritize my posts accordingly.

So why focus on joy in all these things?  Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!”  Further down in the passage, the apostle Paul explains how, and I will leave you with this thought because it is also my testimony: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:12-13).

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