Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Child's Spiritual Awakening

Welcome back, mommies! May I just do they know? How does my son know that I have just sat down at the computer to write? He should still be miles away in dream land, but I hear him stirring. They have a sixth sense. I imagine that his little brain thinks, oh, is mom doing something that requires peace and solitude? Sweet! I will start singing the "Thomas" theme song into the monitor to soothe her while she types. She'll love that :-) Our sweet darlings. Life would be way too quiet without them...

I wanted to share a precious experience that God allowed me to have with our son, yesterday. I have a cross wall where I hang crosses that are meaningful to us, either because they were given to us or because I bought them during a special time of our lives. After breakfast, Caleb was too quiet. I went searching for him and found him half way up the stairs. I asked what he was doing, and he clearly said, "I need to see Jesus!" He pointed to the top of the stairs, directly at the cross wall. After I regained my composure, I followed him up the stairs, and watched as he said "Hi" to the different crosses, and sweetly said, "Bye-bye, Jesus" before he tottled off to his room to play. Fast-forward a few hours to us at the Christian book store. We walked by this picture:
I was chit-chatting with Caleb, and I casually asked him who this was. He simply said, "Jesus, momma."

God encouraged me yesterday, and I want to encourage you. Every bit of spiritual teaching that you speak, show, and pray over your child is taking root. We put it out there, and God does the rest. If our little 19-month-old can make the connection between Jesus and a cross, and if he can recognize a painting of Jesus, then we can be confident that our parenting is being blessed by our heavenly Father. It's never too early to start teaching our children the foundations of our faith. Apparently pictures, symbols, and Jesus is a great place to start!

Because of these two encounters, you may think that we drill our beliefs into Caleb, night and day. That's simply not true. At this age, we teach him about Jesus mostly by modeling prayer and reading books. We are also blessed with a great nursery staff at church who affirm our teaching on Sundays. But, I truly believe that the spiritual connections Caleb has made have come from the Lord. His daddy and I do our best, but we are far from perfect examples. Yesterday, in these sweet experiences, God reminded me that Caleb is a unique spiritual child of His, and that Caleb and Jesus have a relationship that is just between the two of them. I am involved because I am Caleb's mother, but ultimately, the Lord carries my child in the palm of His hand. Just as you and I experience spiritual revelations and deeper understandings of God and who He is, our children will have their own experiences and revelations along the way...apparently beginning in toddlerhood.

Be on the look out for the spiritual development of your children. It is precious beyond words. Today, and everyday, be blessed! (Check out the links below!)

Click Here for Pinteresting Project #7!
Click Here for Organizational Tip #52!
Click Here for MMSM #68!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our Jehovah Rapha

Hi, mommies! Welcome back. I pray that my post will bring you lots of encouragement today, as His words spoke clearly to my spirit lately about this very subject.

Tonight, I want to talk about healing. In my experience as a Christian woman, I've found this to be a touchy topic. Few things can shake your faith as much as a prayer for healing that goes unanswered. Or, a prayer for healing that is answered with a solid "no." Pastors preach about a God who wants nothing more than for you to be healed. His Word presents true, historical accounts of children being healed and even raised from the dead. And the biggest conundrum at all...if God loves us as much as He says that He does, why does He allow us, and those we love, to suffer from maladies which could be taken away by a wave of His hand?

Let me assure you. God is our Healer. It is one of His names. God is Jehovah Rapha, literally the "God who Heals." He wants to heal, and He loves to heal. I did a post months ago about the amazing ability of our bodies (specifically my son's) to heal everyday...from wounds to colds, from the flu to another ear infection (poor little babies), from broken bones to surgical incisions. Our bodies heal all the time! And, who made our bodies? The incredible God of the universe. I don't want to ever forget the healing power He shows on a daily basis. How can we, as mothers? :-)

But, when that healing doesn't come as expected, or at all, we must remember that He is sovereign. Sovereign means 'paramount, supreme, independent.' Paramount is defined as 'more important than anything else.' He knows the entire picture. He knows the after effects of immediate healing, healing that takes longer than expected, and healing that never comes. And, He will always do what is best for us. Quite possibly, we won't know the whole story until we sit and talk with Him face-to-face for eternity (what a thought!), but we do have to love Him enough to accept the fact that His healing power is delivered at exactly the right times, to exactly the right people, in exactly the right amount.

Wouldn't it be amazing if this is what we heard every time we prayed for healing for ourselves?

"Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." Mark 5:34

I had an experience like that. A few years ago, I had a large ovarian cyst that was causing all sorts of problems. I was in a lot of pain, and the doctor was threatening to take the ovary if it didn't resolve on its own. Well, I decided that my only option was to take this to the Lord. I was in major prayer one evening, and I had a horrible pain. My eyes fell to this verse (if you read from chapter 25, you'll see that this passage applies directly to womanly issues), and I felt the Lord say that I was healed immediately. Well...I ended up at the E.R. that night due to my pain and bleeding, but you see, I didn't misunderstand Him! The cyst had ruptured, but I was totally fine, my body would heal on its own, and nothing further had to be done. The moral of my graphic story? Sometimes, He does heal immediately. It may be uncomfortable and not the way we imagine. But, He can and does heal on the spot!

Then...there is the healing that takes awhile. The following scripture is what inspired me to write on this tonight. I saw this passage in a whole new light, and I wanted to share it with you:

He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had spit on the man's eyes and put His hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put His hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:23-25

At first glance, it may seem that Jesus didn't put forth quite enough effort in the first attempt at healing. Oh, but we know better. Jesus didn't, and doesn't, make mistakes. He doesn't fail the first time and try again. Everything is done at the right time, with the right strength, for a the right reason. Here is my take on this passage. First of all, Jesus wanted the blind man to participate in his healing. He desired for the man to give feedback throughout his healing. I think that is a powerful and pertinent observation. How nice it would be to simply sit back and accept immediate healing from our Father! But sometimes, I believe that God wants to know that we're paying attention. He wants us to experience relational healing, in a sense. We have no healing power ourselves, but why wouldn't God enjoy conversing with us as He heals? Why wouldn't He desire to see positive changes in the way we live during a time of healing?

Second, notice that the man didn't complain, and he didn't refuse to allow Jesus to continue healing him. He simply answered Jesus' question, and then willingly desired for Jesus to continue. That takes trust. That takes faith, and that action takes hope. The man trusted in Jesus enough to allow Him to touch him, he had faith that Jesus had the ability to heal him, and still had hope that he might one day be able to see everything clearly. I believe that healing over time intensely deepens our desire for our Lord. Just as this man's trust, faith, and hope was built during this brief interaction, our trust, faith, and hope is built with our heavenly Father throughout seasons of healing. How can it not be? 

I have had many journeys of healing in my life. In fact, most of the healing that He has blessed me with has occurred over a season, instead of an instant. And through every experience, I have grown immensely as a daughter of Christ. Yes, it's painful. Yes, I wished for the instant gratification of a miracle. But, the fact that He loves us enough to heal us at all is a miracle in itself! I have learned to be grateful for healing, no matter the form it takes. As a wife and a mother, I have learned to experience sheer joy as I have watched Him heal my husband and my son. Whether He urges us to seek medical treatment, encourages us to try natural remedies to participate in our healing, or if our message is:

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14 

God knows what He's doing. We need to willingly join Him when He asks, but we also need to be willing to wait on His sovereign timing. He gets the final say. He gets the last word. And, it is always the right plan.

Finally, what happens when the healing doesn't come? I've had this experience, as well...most recently with my Grandma who passed away from ALS nearly one year ago. If you aren't familiar with it, ALS is a horrific neurological disease that slowly paralyzes its victim from the inside out, or the outside in. She was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and daughter of Christ. To watch her suffer made no sense to me. I wish I could tell you that I understand why this happened, and why He took her home. I simply can't. My human mind cannot justify what happened, and why it happened. Therefore, there is only one thing left to say. He knows why. And because He is the God of the universe who controls every breath we take and every star in the sky, I do believe His way and His reasoning is best. 

I pray that this song may bring comfort to you if you are in the midst of praying for healing that didn't come, or isn't coming. Be blessed, sweet mommies. I love you!

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Shrew??? I Choose No!

Happy Monday! I think I'm going to stop previewing what I plan to write about in the days ahead. No joke...every time I do that, something happens (usually something frustrating or unpleasant!) that pushes my blogging to a lower priority, and I feel stress and guilt over not keeping my commitment to my intended posts. I know it's odd, but it's my personality. Therefore, you'll just have to keep checking back for my new thoughts :-) And, by doing this, perhaps nothing frustrating or unpleasant will ever happen to me again!

I haven't mentioned this in awhile, so as a reminder, instead of visiting the page, you can follow me by email (located on the right side under "pageviews"), or simply become a "Follower" (located on the right side near the bottom of the page). I care not which one you choose...just do whatever is easiest for you!

Lately, I've been cranky. Like, super cranky. I started my complaint list in my last post, and you can add another unfortunate confirmation that Baby McNamee #2 is not on the way...again. This fact has upset me more than I was prepared for, and more than I would like to honestly admit. Add various other "life happenings" piling atop one another to Saturday's list, and by all earthly standards, I have a right to be cranky, to be mad, and to throw myself a pity party without caring who it may or may not affect.

But, God convicted me today. You know what verses He brought to my mind this afternoon?

"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." Proverbs 25:24

"A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day..." Proverbs 27:15

Well thanks, God! I really was just hoping You would join my pity party! I looked up the word quarrelsome, and this is what is means: contentious - cantankerous - shrewish - scrappy. Eww...I don't want to be any of those things! But, I'm afraid that I have been all of those things. None of the situations that are currently annoying me are my husband's fault. Well, the lack of a huge bouquet of gorgeous roses (or even a card...) for Valentine's Day was kind of his fault, but it does not warrant days and days of punishment. Sidenote...the new living room furniture does make up for flower and a card, my love :-) Back to my thoughts...unfortunately, because he is the person whom I share my everyday life with, the majority of my "shrewishness" is directed at him. Yes, I have a "right" to be upset, but God asks us to choose to be joyful, no matter the circumstances. 

You may be thinking that choosing to be happy, joyful, and kind is a kindergarten lesson in the school of Christianity, but every once in awhile, He has to drag us (kicking and screaming) all the way back to elementary school. Satan loves to convince us that it's okay and totally acceptable, even encouraged, to act on our feelings. A hard lesson that I've learned is that my feelings are often wrong. And if I were to act on my feelings, I would be acting in an unhealthy and ungodly way. Spewing my frustration onto others, especially my husband and son, will not bring forth any edifying thing. Here is some scripture to back this up:

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29

"...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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." Colossians 4:11-13

As you can see, I have written the majority of this to remind myself. I do hope that it will minister to each of you in the way we all choose to wallow, or not to wallow, to snap at our husbands and children, or to speak with joy and love, or to whine at God because we have a bum knee, instead of choosing to thank Him in all circumstances. One last thing...

If He woke me up this morning, which He did, then I need to be exceedingly grateful and joyful for all that is before me. This too, shall pass. The frustrations always do. Today, and everyday, be blessed!

Click here for two new Pinteresting Projects

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Be Back Soon!

Sorry for my absence, mommies! Caleb has his fourth ear infection of the season, and now we're thinking about possibly doing tubes. I did some decent damage to my knee at the gym (see what I get for trying to get in good shape?!?) and am trying to keep it up with ice as much as possible. The hubby has been attending an all-day bicycle show for several days in a row, so that has left me with a lack of sleep, patience, and ability to get anything done other than the necessary. We'll be back in action soon, so until then, or until I get a wave of fresh thoughts to share, be blessed with your families :-)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Husband Weighs In...

Good evening, ladies! I had a massive post prepared tonight (after taking a few days off to gather my thoughts and suffer through P.M.S.), and I casually shared it with my husband before pressing "publish." Much to my surprise, he cautioned me about my subject matter and tone. This, my friends, has never happened. I didn't think it was anything too controversial, but he suggested that my words may come across as insensitive. What was the subject, you ask? The decision to become a SAHM vs. working full-time outside of the home. His thoughts were precious to me, and I feel compelled to share them with you.

Patrick reminded me that while there are some mothers who will choose to enjoy the pride of their careers and purposely choose alternative, albeit wonderful, care-givers for their children, the vast majority of working mothers would give up their jobs in an instant for the opportunity to stay at home with their children. So much so, that it could be painful for these mothers to read my posts advocating SAHMommyhood without the acknowledgement of their challenging reality. He says..."they might desire to stay at home, but they don't logistically know how to get there."  I need to ask God to give me the words of compassion as I lovingly write to these mothers. No family situation is black and white. They are all grey. I would love to hear comments from these mothers in hopes of writing helpful posts that offer practical advice.

Then, there are the moms, he suggested, that think they may want to stay home, but they aren't quite sure. They could financially do it, but these moms are scared. They wonder if they will like staying home. They question whether or not daily fulfillment will come from staring into the face of their baby for hours on end. He made me remember my time of doubt. I didn't immediately decide to stay at home when the two lines appeared on the pregnancy test. It was a journey that God had to walk me through. I need to remember my roots in order to empathize with mothers currently weighing their options.

And finally, there is another group of mothers. What is the number one reason moms choose to not stay at home? According to my husband, it's finances. He suggested that I create a page, which he would help me write, that focused solely on the following: "Would you like to be a SAHM? Here is a step-by-step guide to how we financially prepared for our son's arrival, and here are the daily ways in which we practice strong financial stewardship to maintain our one-income household." Great idea, honey! And all this time, I thought he was just nice to look at :-) Stay tuned for this new page, coming soon!

I have really allowed the Lord to guide my blog where He sees fit over the past year. Ultimately, my posts have been geared towards general spiritual encouragement towards any young mom, whether they stay at home or work outside the home. I feel in my spirit that this is His plan. Do I wholeheartedly believe in staying at home as the primary caregiver for your children? Absolutely. Do I realistically recognize that this is not possible for every woman regardless of her overwhelming desire to do so? Yes. Will I continue to pray blessings, specifically financial, over each of the working women reading my posts in hopes that she may be able to stay home one day? You can count on it. I also pray that mothers reading this blog who intentionally work outside of the home might reconsider this lifestyle through the sharing of the scriptures from our Lord and Savior.

My intention is never ever to make any mother feel bad about herself or the decisions she has made with her husband. My true heart is to encourage each one of us, myself included, through these challenging and rewarding years of early child-rearing. I'm going to continue to let the Lord lead this blog wherever He wants it to go. I pray that my focused posts and organized pages will be easier to navigate and a blessing to any mom that may stumble across this site.

Finally, I feel a special urging on my heart to acknowledge a precious kind of mother tonight. To all of you single mommies out there...I wholeheartedly pray that our heavenly Father has a special crown to bestow upon you when you meet Him face-to-face. The family of a single mother and her children always stems from loss. Either from the abandonment of the father, the death of the father, or the mother's decision to remove herself and her children in order to protect themselves. Let me just say that the single mothers whom I know personally have risen beautifully to the challenges set before them. You are a full-time parent and a full-time provider. The Lord considers a mother who is without a father to aid in child-rearing, a widow. And, He clearly instructs His followers, many times, to lovingly watch over and support the widows among us, just as He does.

"...Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." Isaiah 1:17

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

"The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but He frustrates the ways of the wicked." Psalm 146:9

Thank you, always, for reading. Thank you for giving me grace, and thank you for desiring to do motherhood according to His plan. I love being on this journey with each of you. Today, and everyday, be blessed!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Save Him some Silence

Good evening, mommies :-) I sit here writing to you, and I'm blissfully listening to "Solo Piano Radio" on Pandora (excellent station) while my little man peacefully snoozes upstairs. Daddy has been gone for a week now, and he won't get home for three more sleeps, as we call it. I'm tired, for sure! But, it's been okay.

I have to be honest with you. It's only been three days of "no TV past 6pm" for Lent, and I am loving this. I feel like God has blessed this decision of being intentional with my evening hours. I feel rejuvenated in the evening, I've enjoyed spending time with Him, I can calmly prepare myself and the house for bed, and I have actually welcomed the silence, instead of fearing it.

As SAHMs, I think the constant background noise of the TV can become a crutch. We spend a LOT of our time at home, and to be quite honest, the TV provides some grown-up talk amidst the constant toddler-talk! When Patrick is gone, the silence can be intimidating. I will even admit to turning the TV on in our room when I go to bed, just so there is noise as I try to fall asleep. I had a thought today. It's not a new thought, but a revived one. Isn't it interesting how we pray and pray to God to ask Him for answers on a specific something, but we rarely give Him the courtesy of silence in our lives in order to hear Him? No, I haven't heard His audible voice for hours on end the past few nights, but at least I'm finally giving Him the chance by turning off the noise!

This revelation was paired with a powerful verse from my Bible app this morning. Check this out!

This is God's Message, the God who made earth, made it liveable and lasting, known everywhere as God: "Call to me and I will answer you. I'll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own." Jeremiah 33:2-3 (The Message)

Umm...yes, please! I would love to know "marvelous and wondrous things"! He so badly wants to love us by communicating with us. As mothers with very busy babies to raise, husbands to care for, schedules to manage, homes to clean, bodies to exercise, relationships to nurture, and a million other things, it can be nearly impossibly to carve out time for silence. I encourage you to try. I don't know what this season of purposeful quiet will hold for me and my Lord, but I do know that He is always full of great surprises. 

Have a blessed weekend with your families, and check back next week for some new thoughts on the choice of SAHMommyhood. Until next time!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lent Decision...Odds and Ends

Well, I promised I would get back to you from yesterday's post. After praying and thinking about it last night and today, I've decided that I will give up TV past 6pm. At first, that may not seem like a big deal, but think about it. After dinner and kiddo bedtime, how easy is it to just lounge in front of the TV, mindlessly letting the hours of your evening pass by. If you're like me, you end up falling asleep on the couch, especially when your hubby is out of town, and you wake up with a stiff neck to some creepy show that's playing at midnight. Now, I don't do this every night, but it's become enough of a habit that it's time to make a hard change. So now...I plan to use these non-TV hours to enjoy time with Patrick, to read books, do some Bible study, listen to music, and get to bed at a normal and routine bed time. I don't plan for this to be time for more cleaning or organizing, but instead for rest and rejuvenation that doesn't involve the Bachelor or Grey's Anatomy.

I'm not going as far as turning off the TV all together. I like watching the news, and I enjoy the noise as we're bustling about the house during the day. Also, I suspect that Caleb is too young to give up "Thomas" shows for Lent :-) I would love to hear what you and your family are choosing to go without during this season of sacrifice. Please feel free to comment below!

Enjoy the few new tips I have listed below, and check out my new post in Pinteresting Projects...Today, and everyday, be blessed!

MMSM #66

No one really needs a box of cookie cutters, but if you have a toddler, they sure are handy! For instance, they are a great tool to use when playing with playdough (check my Pinteresting Projects page), you can use them for a fun way to practice the alphabet and numbers, and if your son is obsessed with can use a train cutter to make his sandwich appeal to him. Just a thought! Check out this awesome deal on 100+ cookie cutters (link below)! They are priced at $9.99. Use a 20% BBB coupon, and you only pay $8 plus tax. Score!

Tip #51

Oh, sweet Dollar Store. You make my heart sing! I ventured to the Dollar Tree to find some inexpensive Valentine's decorations, and I stumbled upon a myriad of organizational options...ALL for a dollar. The next time you have a few minutes, make a list of items that could be stored away in bins, baskets, and buckets. Head to the $ store and shop 'til you drop. This week, with one trip, I organized our bath toys, his toys in our master bedroom, started a dirty clothes basket for the downstairs, and he has a larger toy basket for his bedroom. Want more Dollar store organizational ideas? Visit House Organization.

Don't worry...I didn't forget the holiday! Happy Valentine's Day, mommies!
If you read my post at The 5 Love Languages, you know I'm a "gift" girl. Well, no one understands that better than my momma! She surprised Caleb and me with a balloon bouquet, chocolates, and a teddy bear yesterday. We have thoroughly enjoyed her gift, and the fact that she thought of us all the way in Kansas made me smile!
This was Caleb's gift back to Grandma. I sure did enjoy spending my day with my little Valentine while my big Valentine is on a business trip.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent - A Season of Sacrifice

Happy Ash Wednesday! Today marks the first day of the season of preparation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While Ash Wednesday and Lent (the forty days of sacrifice proceeding Easter) are typically thought of as a Catholic tradition, my hubby and I heard a fabulous sermon a few years ago on the importance of acknowledging the Lent season as followers of Christ, Catholic or not. Our pastor's take on recognizing the season was not based in rituals or in doing an act to receive favor from God, but simply in intentionally foregoing something you enjoy for three reasons:
  • to mimic, on a very small scale, the way Jesus felt when He fasted and was tempted in the desert for forty days
  • when we sacrifice something we enjoy, our minds will naturally dwell on that thing we are missing. We should intentionally turn our minds to Jesus when we think about that sacrifice, thereby strengthening the discipline of leaning on Him.
  • to love Jesus by showing that you are willing to give up something you truly enjoy in order to grow your relationship with Him
Participating in Lent should not be done in a way to please God, but with the desire to show God your love for Him. As we have discussed us loving our husbands and God loving us in this week leading up to Valentine's Day, I also wanted to take the time to discuss our decision to love God.

Do you still love God even if you don't participate in Lent? Of course! We are not saved and in relationship with Him by works, but only by grace. But, have I seen the fruits of a season of sacrifice in years past? Absolutely. Two years ago, I fasted coffee for forty days. Last year, I fasted gluten (a.k.a. wheat). Both fasts were challenging for me, and both fasts drew me into a deeper relationship with my Savior. For you, coffee and/or bread may not be that important to you. Find something that doing without would cause daily decision and commitment. Maybe it's TV, maybe it's Facebook, maybe it's cleaning the house (just kidding!). It will be worth your efforts!

If your children are old enough, I think Lent participation is a beautiful way to start teaching sacrifice. As Christians, we are called to use our bodies as a living sacrifice to Him. We are asked to say, "God, do with my heart, mind, and body what you see is best." That's a tough concept for a child to grasp, but starting with the baby step of Lent is a great tool to use. Maybe they can put a certain favorite toy away for this season. Maybe your child can fast dessert for forty days. Maybe your pre-teen son can fast video games in order to spend time reading his Bible. There are tons of things that we can fast in our life, and I imagine this would be a fantastic conversation around the dinner table tonight.

I should have written this yesterday, but it got away from me :-) If your fast starts tomorrow, don't sweat it. God is a god of grace! As for what I will be fasting this year? I honestly don't know yet. Lent snuck up on me, and I am making it a point to pray about it throughout the day today, and to let God speak to my heart. I'll let you know tomorrow :-)

Today and everyday, be blessed!

I completed another project! Check out Pinterest Project #3.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Free Gymboree!

I'm not sure how long this will last, but Gymboree Play & Music is offering one free class for you and your little one(s)! I wouldn't sign up for a membership, since it is $69/month (eeks!), but it's a fun activity to do with my little man. We're going tomorrow. Check below to find a Gymboree near you!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Super Mom!

This has nothing to do with my post today, but I heard a scary statistic this weekend. Apparently, moms who stay-at-home have a 54% higher chance of developing cancer than moms who work outside the home. They say it's from our daily use of toxic cleaners and our extended exposure to their fumes because we are home so much. Don't quote me on it. It's from the movie Chemerical, but it is something to think about. On my to-do list this week? Search for some natural cleaning tips on Pinterest. Just a thought!

Daddy left for a business trip last night, and I was in need of some extra quote love today. I saw this and was blessed. I hope you are, as well:

While it is probably true that our kiddos wake up each morning and think of us as Super Mom, something else is true about this quote. As I was reading it through, I felt the Lord say, "I feel the same way, Kindra." As we move through our love week towards Valentine's Day, I want to talk about God's sweet love for us today. Yes, we fail as wives, mothers, and daughters of Christ on a daily basis. But God does not hold a score sheet marking us down for every unrighteous act. In fact, He does the opposite:

"For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." Hebrews 8:12

God does ask us to acknowledge our sins and repent, meaning asking for forgiveness, but then it's over! He doesn't dwell on them, He doesn't bring them to the surface each morning as a reminder of our failed human nature, He doesn't even remember them. You know who does? The Enemy. He would love for you to obsess about your daily shortcomings as a mother. He would love for the ways in which you don't live up to the perfect wife to overshadow the ways in which you do care for you husband. He would love for others' words to dig into your heart and shame you for following your calling of staying-at-home. When we hear those condemning words, we must remember that they are NOT from God. They are from the Enemy, and we have to rebuke them immediately. 

God looks at us each morning and says, "There's my girl! Super Mom is awake and ready to take on the day!" He cheers for us, desires to bless us, and wants so badly for us to lean to him for our many decisions throughout the day. He wants you to pray about your frustration with potty-training. He wants you to lay hands on your child and ask Him to protect your sweet baby from the flu. He wants to show you how to love your husband when he walks in the door tonight, or at the end of the week :-) He desperately wants to answer our prayers with a resounding, YES!

Someone once told me that God always answers prayer. He either says No, Yes, or Wait. Well, I would have to agree! I think we can get caught up in his Nos and Waits, and forget how often he simply says Yes because He loves us so much. Read below:

"I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and know you by name." Exodus 33:17

Keeping a prayer journal is a fantastic way of seeing God's work. He gave us our children, He hand-picked us as mothers for our unique children, and He thinks we are doing an amazing job. He is our biggest cheerleader! He wants to bless us with answers about toddler eating, behavior difficulties, and getting the stinkers to sleep through the night. But, Super Mom, you have to take your burden to him first! He wants to hear about it and work with you to solve it!

A sweet friend of mine once said that there will be a special crown for each mother when she gets to heaven. No, it isn't biblical, but the fact that the statement made every mom in the room tear up tells me that Rachael just may be on to something. This beautiful and challenging gift of motherhood was not given in vain. He gave our children to us while saying, "Well done my good and faithful servant."

"Sons (and daughters) are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him." Psalm 127:3

He thinks you are Super Mom, and so do I. Let Him love on you, and let Him show you how to raise your children. You simply have to ask, and I imagine He will give you a resounding, YES! Today and everyday, be blessed!  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The 5 Love Languages

Greetings from the Y! My sweet husband gave me the opportunity to have a Starbucks date with myself today, but my ancient laptop couldn't find the Starbucks wireless internet. So...instead of foregoing my chance to have some alone time, I'm fully using all of the benefits our monthly gym membership. Don't worry...I wore yoga pants so people would think I worked out before lounging in the couch area :-)

Recently, my hubby and I had a big breakthrough in our relationship. I wanted to write about this a few weeks ago, but I thought I would save it for "love" week! I've mentioned that I've started to read The Five Love Languages many times, but I've never been able to get through the book. It's a great book, but I always get side-tracked into something else. Now, the author has included the love language quiz, and explanations of the five languages, on their website! Check it out at this link:

I took the quiz, read through the explanations, and was pleasantly surprised to see that I had actually guessed the order of my love languages with great accuracy. Here are the ways in which I love others, and how I enjoy receiving love from others:
  • Receiving Gifts - 11 points
  • Acts of Service - 7 points
  • Words of Affirmation - 6 points
  • Quality Time - 3 points
  • Physical Touch - 2 points
I'm not that hard to figure out. Give me lots of presents and don't touch me! Just kidding :-) In his book, Gary Chapman explains that while we all need to be loved and to love others in all of the five methods, our hearts and spirits respond the most to our top one or two love languages. Meaning? My natural inclination is to love others by giving them gifts, and my heart leaps at a small token given to me in thoughtfulness. It's easy to think of "gift people" as materialistic. But in fact, it's almost the opposite. I don't accept gifts and buy things in order to collect stuff. To me, there is a story that I remember behind every trinket, each piece of home decor, and every Christmas or birthday present. The act of giving a gift to someone makes me just as thrilled as when I am accepting one, and I get pure joy out of simply shopping and buying things for others (on clearance and with coupons, of course!).

My husband will be the first one to tell you that he never quite got this concept until we both took the quizzes and explored what it meant together. I mean, he really never got it. Look at his love language profile:
  • Words of Affirmation - 8
  • Physical Touch - 8
  • Quality Time - 6
  • Acts of Service - 6
  • Receiving Gifts - 1
My top two languages are his bottom two, and Receiving Gifts is nearly off his chart. It's not that he's just naturally bent in other ways of love, he truly doesn't see the need or the point of gift-giving and receiving. All of those painstaking hours I spent creating the perfect, and ginormous, sparkly Valentine for him, searching out for a ridiculous amount of perfect Christmas gifts, wrapping everything just perfectly in paper I had found to look exactly like out was how I naturally chose to love him. He always graciously accepted, but it was strange to me that he would rather keep a stack of my heartfelt cards easily accessible in his "man treasure area" (a.k.a. his corner in the basement!). I wrote a card for him in bible study a few months ago, and he hung it open on the side of the fridge for all to see as soon as they walk in the room. Wouldn't you want to display that fancy new snowboard instead?!?

Here's the point...I didn't get it, and he didn't get it. I would have said the physical touch was his top love language (by far!), but then I learned that he's just a man :-) He would have said that quality time was my top love language, but really I just like to hang out with him. He's kinda cute :-) Honestly, we have struggled over the years with me nagging him to bring me something fun from his business trip, or to pick up some flowers for me at the grocery store, or to leave me a note with my favorite snack downstairs before he left for work in the morning. On the other hand, I always thought he acted way too sensitive if I criticized his behavior, whined about how much time he spent at work, or used the "never" and "always" words when we would fight. Unlike me, hurtful words don't just bother him, they scar him. You see, as much as we enjoy receiving love in our primary language, we can get hurt the most when that language is used to attack us.

We have had several wonderful conversations since taking this quiz, and I truly feel like the Lord will bless our desire to better understand each other. I am making a point to shower my husband with affirmations, encourage him daily whether he needs it or not, and to keep a guard on my tongue whenever I am speaking to him. He is going to try and better understand how to love me with gifts. Gifts have always equaled money-spent to him, and for the sweet cheap-o that he is, it's a hard balance. But, gifts don't always mean money. Gifts simply mean a token that represents someone's feelings for another. We want to love each other better, and this book will definitely set us on the right track.

I pray that you and your husband will take this quiz together. It's super easy, fast, and you can even do it with The 5 Love Languages iPhone app! We really have no excuse to not figure out how to love each other better. Today and everyday, be blessed!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Purity and Reverance

"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see purity and reverence of your lives." 1 Peter 3:1-2 (emphasis added)

Purity:  chastity - cleanliness - cleanness - innocence - clarity
Reverencerespect - veneration - esteem - regard

As we embark upon the week before Valentine's Day, I'd like to take a few posts to focus on our relationships with our husbands. This, sweet mommies, is one powerful scripture. When we take the time to truly define words used in the Bible, a verse can really have a ten-fold meaning! If my behavior towards my husbands needs to show purity, by definition it means remaining sexually faithful to him, keeping myself clean physically, spiritually, and mentally, holding an innocence by not dabbling in things of the world and not of God, and not withholding my deepest thoughts, desires, and revelations from my husband. Now, let's move on to the next loaded word! To live in a state of reverence to my Lord and to my husband, I must practice holding God and my better half in the highest respect, I must have a profound awe for my authority figures, and I need to look up to my husband with the highest esteem and regard, whether he deserves it or not.

All of these attributes practiced on a daily basis will not only work wonders in the heart of my husband, but because I'm following a command of the Lord, my heart will be indefinitely changed as well. We know that every good and perfect thing comes from Him. If we dutifully and joyfully follow His instruction for how we are to live our lives, He wants nothing more than to bless us.

As we show gratefulness to the many people God has placed in our lives to love, and to love us, I pray that we take an extra measure of time to truly love our husbands. According to this verse, we are to keep our behavior in check, daily! Each man was hand-picked by God to love his individual wife, and each woman was hand-picked by God to love her individual husband. It's hard to remember that during the seasons of angst, frustration, and distance. But, setting a godly example for husbands can only help, never will it hurt.

To close, here is a neat website with a list of apps to encourage connection between spouses: Marriage Apps. Maybe you can choose one of these to cover him with blessings in the week to come! Today, and everyday, be blessed!

And, a new link on my "HOT Deals!" page:

Through February 14, 2013
Get a BOGO Starbucks drink with this coupon: Valentine's BOGO

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Two Blog Recommendations

Hello! I found a fantastic new blog through the bible study that I attend. This woman's blog aims to "empower wives to joyfully serve." I love that! She has a whole page devoted to FREE printables that can be used just for you and around the home. Latefully, I've used these to pray on as I prepare our morning coffee:

I did cut them out, but I couldn't find a ring or a hole-punch. They just set nicely beside the coffee maker, and I flip one over each day. I love looking at it throughout the day as I'm cleaning up another something in the kitchen :-)

I also want to mention to each of you, as my readers, that I'm in the process of hiring someone to re-design my blog! There is so much about the blogging world that boggles my mind, but one of my 2013 goals was to better understand what I'm doing each time I write and click publish! If you have any comments or suggestions that would make my blog easier to read, easier to navigate through, or simply more visually appealing, please let me know! This is such a fun journey to be on, and I am honored to do it with each of you. 

I'm off to make FREE printable toy labels for Caleb's things. The organizer within me can no longer stand to see trains, legos, and blocks mixed up in a shopping cart. Want to join me? Check out this link...Free Printable Toy Labels. Today and everyday, be blessed!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Family Ski Trip...on the CHEAP! (part 2)

Welcome back! To you and to me :-) We enjoyed a beautiful weekend in the Colorado mountains, but we were reminded that the days of complete and utter relaxation are behind us...toddlers are toddlers no matter where you sleep! Nevertheless, we loved sharing one of our passions with our son, and we all came home a little more tired, but with a weekend full of fun memories!

I promised pictures and more money-saving tips, so here you go!

If you venture to the Colorado ski resort area, check out the outlet mall in Silverthorne. You can find awesome deals while you let the men go hit the double black diamond slopes. I scored a few shirts for Caleb at Oshkosh for $1.25 a piece, and few shirts for me at Rue 21 for $3 each! We also enjoyed playing dress up while waiting for my friends to finish their shopping.

Don't be scared to venture out at night with your little ones! Bundle them up nice and snug in their strollers, and check out the many FREE festivals, shows, and activities that the mountain towns have to offer. Breckenridge was hosting the international snow sculpture festival. Very cool (no pun intended)!
You know how airport food is crazy expensive because they know you're starving and have no other option? Well, ski resorts are the same. Before you leave your condo, pack your coat (or a small backpack you don't mind wearing) FULL of granola bars, trail mix, a bottle of water, or a favorite healthy snack. You are already paying a pretty penny to ski. You don't want to waste prime skiing minutes eating lunch in the village! Use your time on the lifts to re-fuel then hit up a village restaurant when you're done for the day. The lifts typically close at 4pm, and worn out skiers start straggling in around 3ish (myself included). The restaurants will offer great food and drink specials around this time of day.
Need some alone time with your honey? We didn't use this option this time, as we had friends who we traded for babysitting time, but some of the resorts offer complimentary (a.k.a. FREE!) child care if you spend a certain amount of money in their village at restaurants and shops. Most of the time, your kiddo needs to be potty-trained, but look online or call ahead to your resort for details. For the evening babysitting at Copper Mountain, check out Copper Kids' Night Out.
Unfortunately, Caleb was a bit too young to ski :-( The ski school instructor strongly advised waiting until your child is 3 to begin lessons. They need strong quad muscles and a longer attention span. He did enjoy playing with his friends  at the condo and drooling all over someone else's home. He will only be 2 1/2 next year, but we're totally putting that kid on skis. It's just too much fun not to share with out little man!

Two more tips, then I'm off to make dinner.
  • Some of the resorts only have a paid parking option, but others have a free parking option. With free parking, you have to do a bit more walking and take a shuttle to the lift area. At $25 per day at Vail (yikes!), I'll walk a mile in my ski boots to park for free. Be on the lookout for the free spots at your resort, OR have one of your traveling companions drop you off at the lift if they aren't skiing that day.
  • I had no idea about this deal until I got there, but check this out: BOGO Lift Ticket. This is a fantastic deal if you and your honey, or a friend, are only skiing for one day. Buy 10 gallons of gas at a participating Shell gas station (look at the link for legit stores), and you get a voucher for a BOGO lift ticket at several different resorts! At Copper, a walk-up single-day lift ticket is $109. If you use this coupon, you and your buddy can ski one day for $54.50 per person. Score! If you are skiing multiple days, it is better to purchase a multi-day pass at a local ski shop or online.
I hope these tips help you and your family have a fantastic, and less expensive, vacation! Blessings to you, mommies!