About Kim Uden

My name is Kim Uden. I have been married for 16 years to my husband Aaron, and we have 3 rambunctious little men of our own. I came to know the Lord around age nine in a small Baptist church in Florida, but it was in my mid to late 20’s that I really understood what it meant to be a follower of Christ. Since then the Lord has graciously shown me what it means to be His disciple, a Christian. I am on a daily journey to know Jesus more every day, and it is the adventure my heart has always been longing for. To catch a glimpse of my journey to know Jesus more, feel free to visit my blog at www.toknowhimjesus.blogspot.com

Redeeming Your Minutes (Part 1)

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Over the past few months I have been leading a group of women through Jennie Allen’s newest Bible study, “Stuck”.   I could write an entire article about this wonderful study, and how the Lord has used it to help our whole group draw closer to Him.  However, today I just want to write about one simple statement Jennie said during one of her video teaching sessions.   Her words were “How we spend our minutes… it turns out to be how we spend our life.”   That statement really resonated with me, and I wanted to do something about it.  I don’t want to waste my life.

So I had to ask myself the question;  “How do I spend my minutes?”  I would like to think that a good portion of my minutes are spent on things in life that are beneficial and profitable.  Things like taking care of my family and my home, teaching my preschool classes, serving in my church and other ministries, personal time with God.  But, if I am  really honest with myself a good portion of my time is spent on things that don’t count for much after this life is gone.   Things like the computer, tv, entertainment, books, movies, social media, and a slew of other “mindless” activities.   I am not saying that all the things I listed are necessarily bad, but for me at times I use them to fill a void in my life and that is not a good thing.

So how can I “redeem” the minutes of my life?   I believe the answer is simple although the application is not always easy.  In the bible it says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33).  That is my answer.  I can redeem my minutes by seeking God first.  I need to communicate with God through prayer and by reading His Word.  I need to give God the first and best part of my day.

Like I said before the answer is simple, but the application is difficult.  It requires me to “die to myself” and my fleshly desires to just tune out through the many “mindless” activities I do everyday.  With God’s help I can die to myself and  I can “redeem” the minutes of my life, and you can too.

In the last couple of weeks I have been taking small steps to redeem the minutes of my life.   Small changes are being made, and things are slowly changing.  I will be writing another article about “redeeming your minutes” in a month.  In my next article I will tell you about some of the practical ways that I have tried to redeem my time.   Until then, make every minute count :)

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Flooded with Thankfulness

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God’s provision can come in an infinite number of ways. This summer my family experienced God’s provision, although at the time we did not see it that way. Looking back we are so thankful that God is always working things out in our lives, even in the trials of life.

Two years ago, my family had a chance to move into a house that would give our growing family more space. I grew up in Florida so I was used to homes that were pretty much the ranch style homes, but my husband grew up in the Midwest and he was used to living in a home with a basement. Our first home purchase in the Midwest was a ranch style house without a basement, but we felt the Lord opened a door for us to move into a different house a couple years after we bought our first home (that is a whole different story).

This new home had a basement and soon after we moved in I understood why my husband loved houses with basements. There was however one thing that I didn’t like to hear about homes with basements; they could flood. I heard plenty of horror stories about basements flooding, including one pretty disgusting one from my husband about one of his childhood homes. Even though I knew what could possibly happen to our basement one day, I just put the thought out of my head.  My basement flooding was not an option. It happens to others, but it won’t happen to my family, I thought.  Well, my pie in the sky thinking didn’t hold up too long.

This past summer our state was experiencing a rash of super-cell storms. The rain was coming down at a rate of one to two inches an hour.  It was a wet mess. What we didn’t know at the time was that our sump pump had quit working. My husband starting putting the puzzles pieces together and he told me that he was pretty certain that our basement was going to flood. I was in denial and pretty much was thinking happy thoughts about how the rain would soon stop and we would be safe and dry.

My husband decided to dash to the hardware store to buy a replacement pump. During that time he told me to keep an eye out for flooding. He gave me a quick talk about what to do in case it started to flood, but I still was in denial and  didn’t really focus in on what he was saying. Once he left,  the rain started to pick up and I kept going downstairs to look into the sump pit and make sure the water was not overflowing. On my third trip down to the basement I was shocked to see the water in the pit was at the danger level of overflowing. I called my husband quickly and told him what was happening. He again told me what to do when the basement started to flood, and he said that he was almost home to help me.

After the phone call, I went downstairs and saw my worst nightmare…my basement was flooding. Fast forward (to make the story shorter), my husband came home and he helped lead the family into an action plan of saving as many of our personal possessions as we could. We all sloshed around in water for about 30 minutes until all of our things were on higher ground and safe from the water. Our basement had flooded.

It was a surreal experience in many ways, but even from the very beginning my family could see God working in all the details. We could see God’s provisions.

-Our first praise was that our basement was flooded with rain water and not sewer water.

-When purchasing home owner’s insurance my husband told me that right before he signed the papers he asked the insurance agent if the policy covered flooding.  Well they did have a policy that would cover a sump pump breaking and that is exactly what happened to us.  We were covered up to $10,000.

-One of our best friends came to our house the night of the flood (it was almost midnight) and he helped us to install a new sump pump.  He was like an angel to us that night because my husband and I were in a state of shock.

-All, and I mean all the people that we had to work with over the next couple of weeks were phenomenal with their customer service (insurance agents and restoration companies).

-Our carpets were totally destroyed, but as far as our personal items we only lost a very small amount of things and they were not anything that could not be replaced.

-The money we received from the insurance policy would end up helping to take care of our family in a time when unexpected financial burdens were placed on our shoulders.

I could go on and list other ways the Lord took care of us through this unpleasant experience, but the most important thing I can say today is that God provides for His children. Many times in life God’s provision comes in unexpected ways, but it still is Him providing for us. Today I am reminded to be thankful for God’s provision and His goodness, and I encourage you to do the same.

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Extreme Couponing was too Extreme, BUT…

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Inspired by the popular television series, “Extreme Couponing”,  I did my own “extreme couponing” experiment this past summer.  Well, the short story is I am no EXTREME COUPONER.  However, I did learn a few valuable lessons about how I could save money and be a better steward with what the Lord has given to my family.  Here at “A Martha Heart” we encourage readers to “sit at Jesus’ feet” daily, but I know that sometimes the worries of this world cause us to take things into our own hands.  One of the areas that we can stress and worry over is our finances.

Today I am going to share some practical tips about how you can save a little money, but honestly the best advice I could give you is to encourage you to turn over control of this area to Jesus.  Let Him have control over your finances.  I know this is easier said than done, but with Jesus’ help it is possible.  I know because He has helped me to grow in the area of my finances.  I still have a long way to go, but I am learning.

As mentioned above my experiment with “couponing” did not go as I envisioned it (saving hundreds of dollars a month), but I did learn some valuable lessons about how I could save anywhere between $25 to $50 dollars a month.   That adds up over a year!  Although, I am not officially “couponing” anymore, there were several things that I learned that I could do effectively and consistently that would help my family to save money.  Below is a list of some of the things I learned this summer.

1. Sit down and go through your last 3 to 4 grocery receipts.  Find out what you pay on average for the things that you continually buy (IE: meat, milk, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc).   This way you will know if you are getting a deal when you see your items on sale at other stores. I have done this with my milk purchases and I have saved about $10 dollars a month from just this small change.

2. Be willing to shop at other stores.  I have one main store that I shop at, but in order to get the best deals there are 2 other stores I will purchase specific items from.

3. Look at sales circulars.  Something so simple, but something I did not do before my experiment.

4.  If you can purchase a Sunday paper and clip coupons.  Clipping coupons can save you a lot of money, if you have the time and patience.  This is something I started out doing, but with my lifestyle and personality it is not something I could keep up with. 

5.  Find the websites that do the “saving money” work for you.   I get regular emails from a grocery store chain that lists all their sales prices and even coupon matches to help me find the best deals.  There are also reliable websites that you can purchase coupons from for a small fee. 

6.  Buy in bulk, and buy more than one item when it is on sale.  Again, simple advice, but something I did not do before.  I now do this with my laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, cereal and toilet paper.

7. Buy Generic when you can.  Generic foods do taste good :)

8.  Get the family involved, especially your spouse.  When everyone is on board with trying to save money it makes life a lot easier :)

Please feel free to share your own money saving tips here at “AMH” website.  Remember to  let Jesus  have control over the area of your finances as He knows what is best for you and your family.  Blessings friends…

 

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What Smurf Are You?

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What a title for an article, right?  My goal is to take a simple question and draw out the deeper spiritual meaning behind it, and that is what I hope happens today when you read this article.

I love to ask questions. I always have. When my girlfriends and I would get together to have a ladies night out, it was my job to come up with questions for all of us to answer and discuss around the restaurant table. So today, you (the AMH community) will be my “girlfriends” and we will answer some questions together. Sadly, there won’t be any chips and salsa, but we will still have fun and maybe learn a thing or two about each other.

Today’s question was inspired by the recent movie, The Smurfs. I was having a conversation with a couple of friends and we were talking about the smurfs. During that conversation I joked that if I had to choose smurfs that described me I would choose Panicky and Vanity. We laughed at the time, but in all seriousness those two little smurfs do describe parts of my personality. Actually, more like parts of my sinful nature.

I chose Panicky Smurf because of my struggle with fear and worry. Fear has been a lifelong struggle/sin for me. God has helped me grow immensely in my struggle with fear,  but it still exists more than it should in my life. One reason I love writing for A Martha Heart is this website’s focus of sitting at Jesus’ feet daily. I have realized that if I am going to get rid of the sin of fear in my life, it will be because I have come to sit at Jesus’ feet.

I also chose Vanity Smurf to describe me. I may not walk around with a mirror in front of my face, but I do think about myself more than I ought to. The Bible tells us to think of others as better than ourselves. I am not able to do that when I am constantly thinking of what I need. If I had to pinpoint this sin, I would simply say I am prideful. Pride cannot have a place in my life if I want to grow closer to Jesus. Again, I need to take time to sit at Jesus’ feet and place my focus on Him, not myself. Jesus needs to be the one in my mirror.

Below I have listed names of some of the Smurfs. Look over the list and see if you recognize yourself in any of these Smurfs.

-Grouchy -Dreamy -Greedy -Vanity -Scaredy -Harmony -Lazy -Nosy  -Weepy -Pushover -Nobody -Gutsy -Panicky

I would love for you to leave a comment about what Smurf name(s) you would use to describe yourself. I chose to focus in on some of my struggles and sins, but you don’t have to. Just make it meaningful. If you can’t relate to any of the listed Smurfs, feel free to make up your own smurf name. Just make sure to list the smurf name and then tell the reason why you chose that particular smurf.

Blessings friends, and remember to spend sometime with Jesus this week. I encourage you to pray about this question and see what Jesus may reveal to you as you answer it.

“La, la la la la la, la la la la la”  (You know you want to sing the Smurf song now :)

 

 

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The 21 Day Husband Project (Day 5)

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Ok ladies…this is the last day of our mini “Husband Project”.  I hope you have had a little fun with the projects, and that you may have been challenged to love your husband in a variety of different ways. I know I have.

Remember you can keep it going by purchasing Kathi Lipp’s book The 21 Day Husband Project.  Let me know if you do!

Now onto Day 5.

Project #5: E-flirt.com ~ Text or E-mail Some Sweet Nothings

“I turn on my computer. I wait patiently as it connects. I go online. My breath
catches in my chest until I hear three little words, “You’ve got Mail.” I hear
nothing, not a sound on the streets of New York. Just the beat of my own heart…
I have mail, from you.”
~ Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kennedy in “You’ve Got Mail”

Your Project
Send a flirty text or e-mail to your husband.

Getting Creative

  • Use an e-card service (hallmark.com or americangreetings.com) to send a cute and flirty note.
  • Don’t know how to text? Ask any teenager in the general vicinity.
  • Most phones have a camera feature where you can send a photo message. Be sure to keep it G rated so that he doesn’t get in trouble at work.

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The 21 Day Husband Project (Day 4)

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Project #4: Heart vs. Stomach ~A Treat Just for Him

“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.”
~ Ronald Reagan

Your Project

Get a food treat for your husband that he’s not required to share with you or any other family member.

Getting Creative

Stumped for ideas? Here are some thoughts:

  • Get his favorite pint of Ben & Jerry’s and hide it behind the frozen chicken. Even if you buy it on Tuesday, you’ll have it ready and waiting for his special night later in the week.
  • Is there a certain cut of meat that your husband loves? How about having the butcher cut something just for him?  Most supermarkets will even do the marinade for you – one less thing to think about.
  • Is there a certain candy that your husband loves from his childhood? Check out www.candywarehouse.com. They have all the nostalgic candy you could want (Black Jack Gum, anyone?) while also carrying any modern favorite you could be looking for.
  • My husband’s family loves something called “noodles and mashed potatoes” (we lovingly refer to it as “The Starch Fest”). I learned how to make this special dish just for him.
  • My guy loves the smell of baking almost as much as he enjoys eating the treat. Have some brownies in the oven when he gets home from work or working out (I know, it negates the workout, but isn’t chocolate always worth it?).
  • Our friend Scott mentioned that he loves cranberry sauce, but eats it only at Thanksgiving. His wife intentionally made the holiday treat for him this past July.
  • Are you a wife who is an expert at low-cal salads and other forms of chick-food? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Man Food at www.kathilipp.com for ideas.

Keep going, we have one more day left of our mini “21 Day Husband Project” .  You can do it!!!

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The 21 Day Husband Project (Day 3)

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Project #3: You da’ Man ~ Spreading Great Gossip About Your Guy

Your Project
Say something nice about your husband to someone else. Make sure you tell him what you said, and to whom.

Getting Creative
Who are the important people in your husband’s life? Your kids, his parents, his friends? Be intentional about who you chat with when you brag on him – it’s almost as important as actually doing it.

Having a hard time coming up with something? I still brag on my guy for things he did years
ago. He loves when I tell the story of how brilliantly he proposed (there were waterfalls and stuffed portabella mushrooms involved…).

Here are some other areas to think about when crafting your brag:

  • His parenting skills
  • His patience level
  • The way he treats your mom
  • His culinary ability
  • His job

This is me speaking again… it would also be great if you can say it in front of him to another
person.  In my book (I don’t have a real book :) that earns double points.   Don’t forget to check in here at the AMH website and let us know how you are doing.

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The 21 Day Husband Project (Day 2)

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Project #2 ~ Back in the Day

Do Something He Enjoyed Before You Got Married

“Lust is easy. Love is hard. Like is most important.”

~ Carl Reiner

Your Project
Initiate an activity that your husband used to love. Whether it’s his favorite hobby, sport, or pastime, it’s time for you to get involved – be his buddy today.

Getting Creative
Many a man’s hobby has gone by the wayside due to matrimony. Is it possible that it’s time you learned to golf or fly fish? Don’t try to beat him, just join him.

Possibly the only thing your husband would enjoy more than playing chess with you is teaching you how to play chess. Ask for a lesson so he can teach you something that he is an expert at (or really loves). Just your willingness to learn will be a huge boost to your guy.

Pick up a magazine about your guy’s now dormant hobby. Ask him questions about why he loves it so much. Learn a couple of technical terms so that you are better able to discuss it.

Do a little research. Find out what the definitive website is on your husband’s favorite subject. Maybe there’s an event in town, a lecture to attend, or a game to watch.

OK Ladies…make sure to check in by leaving a comment and letting us know how things are going with your trial run of the “project”.

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The 21 Day Husband Project (A 5 Day Trial Run)

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Hello A Martha Heart Friends,

A few weeks ago I was listening to the Focus on the Family talk radio program, and I heard author Kathi Lipp talking about one of her books, The 21 Day Husband Project. I know the title of the book seems kind of strange, but as I listened to the program I was so intrigued.  Kathi talked about how we honor God when we serve our husbands, and I agree as the Lord has been teaching me that lesson over the last decade.

Later that night, I went online to look up information about Kathi’s book. Basically, the book is a 21 day Challenge/Project for a wife to love her husband through acts of service, affirmation and other ways.  I quickly decided that I wanted to buy the book because my husband has really been going through a difficult season, and I knew that he could use the encouragement and affirmation.

While online I visited Kathi’s blog and found a mini 5 Day Husband Project that anyone could post on her blog/website.  So before I bought the book, I decided to try the 5 Day project on my blog and with my Facebook friends.  So far, the project has been well received and it has been great to hear about wives finding ways to love their husbands through Kathi’s “projects”.

I asked the editors of the A Martha Heart website if I could post the 5 Day project here as well.  They agreed quickly and I am so happy to let you get a little glimpse of what the “21 Day Husband Project” is all about.  If you complete the 5 days and you want to keep going,  you can purchase Kathi’s book The 21 Day Husband Project (visit www.kathilipp.com ) and complete the entire project.

The project is meant to be completed consecutively for 21 days, but for our trial run here I will post a new “project” every 3 days or so. That way you will have a little time to complete the project and then come back here to the AMH website and let us know how it went. I will also keep you updated on how things are going with my husband :)

So are you ready?  Below is Day 1’s project…

30 Minutes is All it Takes

Create Some Free Time When He Gets Home

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”

~Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

Your Project
Focus on your husband’s transitional 30 minutes today. Would he like to be left alone to rest and rejuvenate, or does he want some undivided attention from you? The point is to let your husband know you value what he does out in the world, and that he has a safe loving place to come home and get refreshed at the end of the day.

Getting Creative
There are plenty of reasons why it might not be easy for you to give your husband some transition time at the end of the day. You need to look at what can work for your relationship. Be creative, like the stories listed below. Brainstorm with your friends until you find a situation that will work for you and your guy.

  • My friend, Joann, purposely scheduled her daughter’s dance classes twice a week at the same hour that her husband gets home from work. That way, her hubby comes home to an empty house. He gets some quiet, and she gets a more peaceful man.
  • One husband has his workshop out in the garage. His wife encourages him to go and hang out there for a while before dinner. (Since starting this arrangement, her husband has started helping out with the after-dinner clean up. Nice side benefit.)

Crockpots are The Husband Project’s best friend. Set your crockpot to be finished thirty minutes after your husband gets home from work. Let him know that you don’t need anything until dinner is ready. Don’t know a crockpot from a flower pot? Check out the recipes in The Ultimate Guide to Man Food at www.kathilipp.com

Does your husband already have a great transition routine after getting home? Find some other little thing to bless that time. Maybe it’s making sure the TV is available, his favorite sweats are clean and ready to be changed into, or there’s a cold soda waiting for him in the fridge. It may be so small that he doesn’t even notice. That’s okay – you’ll know what you did.

What if your husband works from home? Maybe the best way to help him relax is to ask what he would like the schedule to be. Does he want dinner before or after he gets some time to recharge? Ask him what would make his night better.

“Lust is easy. Love is hard. Like is most important.” ~ Carl Reiner

OK, you have Day 1’s project to complete.  Make sure to come back here to the AMH site and let us know how everything turned out.  I can’t wait to hear your stories.

Oh,  and by the way, don’t tell your husband you are completing a “project” on him.   Just let him be the recipient of all your loving kindness and encouragement :)

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