Stand Firm

May 31, 2010

I love the Old Testament story found in the book of Daniel of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the three good friends of Daniel.  These young Israelite lads were serving in Babylonia after Jerusalem had been overtaken by King Nebuchadnezzar.  They were chosen from the royal family (see history in 2 Kings 20)because they were handsome, smart, quick to understand and qualified to serve in the king's palace. Years of training passed and soon Daniel, along with his three friends, were promoted to high service in the King's royal court.

Events begin to go sour when the King erects a huge idol of gold and proclaims that at the sound of music, everyone must bow down and worship this idol.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refuse to bow down and worship the idol and the King is furious.  He warns if they do not obey his decree, they will be thrown into a blazing furnace.

The three lads feel no need to defend themselves against the King and they STAND FIRM in their conviction.  They proclaim that even if their God chooses NOT to rescue them from the fire, they will remain faithful to their God.

This makes the King even more angry and he commands his army to turn up the heat of the fire.  It became so hot that the servants who escort the boys into the fire are killed by the heat! 

I'm sure you remember the rest of the story.  God rescues these faithful servants from the fire and King Nebechdnezzar issues a new decree celebrating their God and then promotes them again within his kingdom. (Daniel 1-3)

Why do I recount this story for you?  It was a famous Sunday School story highlighting the power and rescue of God.  But I would like to draw attention to the faith in STANDING FIRM upon your convictions.

Remember the beginning of our story?  The boys were smart, well informed, and quick learners. Was this by accident?  I'd like to suggest that these boys grew up learning and memorizing the Old Testament from their families.  Remember in the Old Testament the books of the law were memorized and passed down from generation to generation.  They were prepared to STAND FIRM.

In the New Testament we are told to STAND FIRM against the devil's schemes by using the tools given us as stated in Ephesians 6:11-17.

And my challenge today is this: 

Are we preparing our children to STAND FIRM?  

When presented with situations of right and wrong, can they STAND FIRM upon their convictions of faith to choose the right path? 

I'm on a mission this summer to "Train my children in the way they should go".  I'm starting with some Godly training (see yesterday's post).  Will you join me?  I'll be reviewing several other resources this month to help train our children to STAND FIRM.  I hope you will find something that you like that will help you prepare your children for battle.

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Bright Lights-Training Young Ladies to be Radiant in Godliness, Holiness and Testimony

May 30, 2010


I have been diligently searching for some summer time curriculum that I could do with my girls.  I am very excited to say that I have found something wonderful, and I am so happy to share it with you.

Bright Lights is an organization that was started by Sarah Mally, a seventeen-year-old at the time, who was concerned about the spiritual walk of many young ladies she knew. The Lord gave her the desire to begin a discipleship ministry in order to share with these girls some of the things the Lord had taught her. She decided to call the group Bright Lights. BRIGHT stands for Being Radiant In Godliness, Holiness, and Testimony. 

I recently talked with Sarah, and she graciously sent me their Discipleship package so I could review it.  The curriculum is full of critical information that our girls need to learn.  It is directly targeted for girls 8-12...perfect for my 8 and 10 year olds.

There are five sets of lessons, and each lesson has several parts to it, so it will easily last us all summer if we do a couple each week.  Here is a small sampling of the lesson titles:

  • developing a close relationship with your parents
  • accepting the way God created you
  • truthfulness
  • contentment
  • self-control
  • friends
  • courage to stand alone
  • complaining and murmuring
  • gossip
  • honoring your parents
Each lesson has a suggested memory verse, a small explanation of the topic, biblical examples, real life stories, and applying it to life.  The binder also comes with sections for Prayer, Daily Bible Reading, and a place to record special verses.

I have allowed my girls several days after school ended earlier this week to "decompress", but we will be jumping into this curriculum next week.  I will be sure to let you all know how it is going.  If you choose to order the package, please let me know.  I would love to hear your thoughts and progress.

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Welcome Summer!!

May 28, 2010

Summer has officially arrived!


We've been to the library to sign up for our summer reading program, we've had PB&J for lunch, and out comes the slip & slide!  The girls invited a friend from across the street, and the fun began!


And I am happily sitting on my front porch with my laptop watching all the fun, writing to all of you!


I love summer!!!!!

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Irreplaceable Mom

Stay at home moms spend countless hours with their children.  So when my kids have a hard time letting go of me when I am away from home, it always takes me by surprise.  Recently while I was away for a few days at a conference, I came home to this creature sitting on my couch.  Isn't she lovely?  That is me, minus my head.  My girls dressed a body pillow in my clothes, placed her on the couch and gave her my laptop.  I had my own mini-me!

As a Mom, I sometimes lose the vision of just how important I am in the lives of my children.  I get wrapped up in life: cooking, cleaning, errands, laundry, blogging, hobbies, chauffering, working, serving....you get the idea.  So when they build a statue of me while I am gone, it kinda gets my attention! 

God has entrusted me with these children to raise for the Glory and Honor of His name.  It is an immeasurable honor and I desire to make him proud. 

This summer I will be far more intentional in pouring into the lives of my children than I ever have before.  I am excited that I have found some terrific resources to help me along the way.  Come on back next week and I will tell you all about it!

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Gather Inspirit Twitter Party

May 27, 2010


Last week at our Gather Inspirit TV show, Amy mentioned we just might have something exciting to share with you all!  We also mentioned in the chat room that more information would be coming to you via a formal invitation today!  Well, here it is!
Join us for an Evening of Faith, Fun, Prizes, and Inspiration!!
“First Things First: Get Inspired”
What: A Twitter Party - Gather InSpirit Style
When: Tuesday, June 1st 8:00 - 9:00 pm EST
Where: TweetGrid (or hashtag #getinspired2)
And did I mention the awesome prizes we will have?? I can’t share the entire list with you just yet, but I can say there will be names like Serena Woods, Dayspring, and Max Lucado, just to name a very few!  So please join us for the hour! It will be a great time of fellowship and finding inspiration! Not a blogger? Does not matter! Join us anyway!  We promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Learn Something About Yourself

May 26, 2010


I've fallen behind in my reading, and have this stack on my dresser, just waiting for me to swipe off the dust and dig in!  Of course, I knew as summer approached I would {hopefully} be able to read more.  I usually take a book to the back yard, to the pool, or in my purse during the summer for those moments I am watching or waiting on kids as they play.

But as you examine my stack of books, what do you see?  Yes, 5 out of 8 books are about PRAYER.  Raise any flags to you?  Not that learning about prayer is a bad thing, quite the contrary.  But what if instead of reading all of these books about prayer, I just prayed?  I am willing to say that prayer is the area that most Christians feel the most inadequate.  That is why there are so many books about prayer, and they all sell very well!  After all, you can see that I have certainly contributed to the success of the book industry!

I love books, and I love to read.  But I want to keep myself from falling into a trap I had tripped into a few years ago.  I was reading so many self-help books, that the only thing I was garnishing was the fact that I needed help!  They only made me feel as though there was always something wrong with me that I needed to fix.

My stack of books above is simply a list of an area that I am feeling inadequate.  It serves to show me that by purchasing so many books on prayer, I have shown myself that I must be feeling that  I am not doing it right!

And most importantly, I don't need a book to show me how to pray.  God just wants me to pray to Him in simple, precise language.  I don't need a formula, I don't need fancy words, I don't need 5 books to teach me how to pray.  I need my Heavenly Father in a quiet place, where He will listen to everything I have to say and he will answer every prayer I mutter.

Will I get through these books eventually?  Probably.  But time in this book is far more important.



Seeds Of Faith For The Christian Mom

I've linked up with iFellowship today at Seeds of Faith.

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Wordless Wednesday

May 25, 2010



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Living Above the Fray

Welcome to our Home!

It sits high on a hill overlooking a spacious courtyard of green grass, flowering trees, and beautiful gardens.


NOT!



This is my house, ok yes, it does sit high up on a hill, and I do sometimes have a beautiful garden, but that is where the similarities end.  It is over 100 years old, the pant is peeling...again..., we have a leak in the roof we cannot find, the electrical wiring is original {yikes}, and something is always going wrong (see100 yrs old above).

It is also a house full of LOVE 
and a house full of FAITH 
and a house full of FUN.

Why the comparison?  Because I want our family to Live Above the Fray.  Our society screams of materialism and showmanship.  I live in a white collar, professional, 2-university town where everyone seems to want bigger and better. 
I want contentment.

I want my family to be rich in their faith.  I want my children to know they are worth more than gold to their heavenly Father.  I want my family to be overflowing with kindness and love toward others.  I want my girls to grow strong in the Lord where no storm will topple them, no circumstances will sway them, and no peers will influence them.

Living Above the Fray

a daily dependence on God
trust without understanding
faith beyond measure
richness in blessings
surrender
peace

Welcome to our Home
................watch that bucket................
the roof leaks.

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Brokenness into Beauty

May 24, 2010


My sweet friend, Mandy, over at Brokenness into Beauty asked me to guest post on her blog today about my journey of healing.  I hope you will come over and visit every Monday as she invites others to share their journey as well.
 
It is hard to imagine that anything that is broken can be made beautiful again.  But that is the power of God's redemptive love.  It is the full witness that God never gives up on us.

"I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Joshua 1:5
  
...continued at
Brokenness into Beauty

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New Beginnings

May 21, 2010

If you read yesterday's post, you saw that I am purging some things from my life.  Too many projects and spreading myself too thin had muddied my priorities.  So all afternoon I cleaned out my office.  I began packing up craft supplies that I had been dabbling in, and contacted someone else who may be able to use them.  I thought it would be hard to let go of, but IT FELT GREAT!

And look at my office now!


Yes that is the desk top and the floor you see!  I am feeling so good about this, and I can't wait to dive in to my priority list with 100% focus!

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Trading Good for Great

Have you ever heard a message a thousand times and not think it applies to you, and then one day you realize they were talking directly TO YOU!  Guilty!

I have heard over and over the message that sometimes you have to give up GOOD in exchange for GREAT.  For some reason this has never sunk in with me, or I thought it applied to other people, not me!  But the Holy  Spirit has been very talkative to me this week and I need to make some changes.

My sweet friend Teri Lynne over at Pleasing To You ran several posts this week about Anti-Balance(you'll have to go read it to find out what that is!).  One of her exercises was to write down EVERYTHING you do and then prioritize that list.  I didn't get my list down on  paper yet, but it has been simmering in my head all week.  I have decided that some good things need to go in exchange for concentrating on great things.

This blog has featured some of those "good" things of which I am choosing to let go.  I love crafty things.  If I see something on the internet that is total cuteness, I know I can figure it out and make it.  And I usually do.  But do I need to?  Take a look at what my office looks like right now:


Stop the madness!

Yes, you are seeing that right, there is hardly floor space to walk through the room.  (And those Pringles cans aren't mine, my 8 year old is addicted!)  I love crafting and creating, as you've seen in my Etsy shop.  But the amount of time spent on random projects is stealing time away from other things that I love even more.  

It will be hard to let go of some things:
  • I've loved beading for years, but I love stamping more
  • I've had fun making fabric flower barrettes for my girls, but I love scrapbooking more
  • I've had fun experimenting with polymer clay, but I love gardening more
  • I've had fun making washer necklaces, but I love blogging more
Trying to do it all just because I can has caused a lot of stress in my life recently.  When we spread ourselves too thin, many things suffer.  I am ready to concentrate on the top of my priority list:
  • Spending more time reading/studying my Bible and related materials
  • Surrendering everything to God in prayer
  • Pouring intentional Godly training into my 3 girls
  • Keeping my home running smoothly-groceries, cleaning, laundry, etc.
  • Husband knows he is always at the top of my list, but I'll concentrate on keeping him there!
  • Expanding my freelance Graphic Design business over at Heart & Soul Design Studio
  • Continue blogging here
I am really excited about this conscious change to reorganize my priority list  I can already feel some of the stress melting away.  Anyone want to come clean my office?  No?  I guess that is next on the list!

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Small Books Pack Big Punches

May 20, 2010

Yesterday I took my youngest to the dentist to have a cavity filled and a tooth pulled.  It was a great opportunity to be able to sit and read, which I hadn't made time for in quite a while.  I chose the book Husband had given me for Mother's Day, "God's Power to Change Your Life" by RickWarren.  Sometimes I like these small books because they are a quick read that pack a lot of punch!  I have read several of Warren's books and they are always good!

I had only made it to page 41 before I was stopped dead in my tracks.  I had to reread the paragraph.  I stopped reading, and stared out the window.  Ouch.  His words had hit me deep within my heart and I was feeling very guilty and extremely convicted....on page 41.


 "What do you pray about?  Whatever you pray about is what you are hooked into God about, what you are relying on him for.  Whatever you don't pray about is what you are trying to do on your own."


I have a lot of surrendering to do today!

After I caught my breath, I continued reading.  I only made it through about 10 more pages, and discovered that I was no longer processing these words.  The paragraph above was still bouncing around inside my soul.

The dentist appeared to give me an update on A.  My fog was lifted and I was shuttled back into the reality of my surroundings.   We came home and life resumed.  But I was different.  Later in the evening Husband even asked if I was alright.  He sensed something, but I am sure, didn't know what.  I was quiet, reflective, and continued to listen to the Holy Spirit whisper into my soul.

This morning, as I write this post, I am amazed at the work of my Savior.  Think of the chain of events:
  • Husband randomly chooses a book to give me as a gift
  • Book sits on my desk for a few weeks untouched
  • I need something to do at the dentist's office
  • Book is right in front of me at the computer, so I'll just grab it
  • It is a small book, should be an easy read, fits in my purse
  • Sit at dental office to enjoy a few quiet moments
  • BOOM! The Holy Spirit is in a talkative mood 
Some would say it is entirely random, but I know better.  I know when I have had a divine appointment.  And here is what I learned needs to change in my life:
  1. My recent prayers have largely consisted of things that I have no control over:  health, safety, friends situations, Husband, etc.
  2. I have not given over to God things that I felt I had under my control:  daily schedule, family decisions, involvement in church and community, etc.
  3. I need more time for reading and reflection. 
I'll be spending some time with God today rectifying this situation.  Then maybe I will be brave enough to pick up this book and read beyond page 41.  Like I said, small books pack a big punch!!



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Meet my Friend Rachel, A Cancer Survivor!!

May 18, 2010


I'd like to introduce you to my friend Rachel.  We've known each other for 14 years, and have been raising our families together.  She has four children.  Her husband Mark is a pastor, and he performed our wedding ceremony, so we've had lots of experiences together.  One experience that was hard for all of us was when Rachel was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in 2005.  It came as a big shock, as she was only 37 years old at the time. Everything in our worlds came to a hault as the news sank in.  It was especially troublesome to Rachel and her family as she has already lost both a sister and a brother to cancer, and her mother had battled breast cancer.

Because of her family history with cancer, Rachel chose a very radical form of treatment, Radioactive Iodine. She needed to be quarantined  for 5 days.  Rachel and I are kindred spirits in scrapbooking, so we
prepared ahead of time for this period of her life that she would be in seclusion.  So when she felt up to it, she could hopefully pass some of the long hours alone by scrapbooking her family.  It would be good therapy.

Where do you go to place yourself under quarantine?  With the great thanks of our church, a family that lived just down the street from Rachel were going to be out of town on a mission trip, and offered Rachel their house for her recovery!  God always works out those details!  I must admit, I couldn't stay away.  I felt the need to love on her and care for her during this crazy time of solitary confinement.  I went over for lunch one day to keep my friend company.  Oh she tried to keep me away, but I was persistent.

I've asked Rachel to share with you some of her fears and triumphs during this difficult time:

Thyroid cancer is a very slow growing cancer and the doctors kept telling me this, however it brought little comfort because I had no idea when the cancer first began...was today the day it would go from my thyroid to the lymph nodes...from the lymph nodes to my lungs?  Would it be tomorrow?  Waiting for the surgery was difficult.  I felt infected on the inside and wanted it out of my body..YESTERDAY!

And how did your faith help you through your cancer treatment?

I was blown away by the love and support of family, friends, and the church.  The help through this time was overwhelming.  It was especially helpful to find others who had walked this journey and have them share their experiences.  I have been able to be that person to others who have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and it has been rewarding to be the encourager saying "You CAN do this!".

My family was such a great example of how to deal with cancer because of the many times we had been through it together.  I rested on the knowledge that God was in control at all times.  I felt the prayers of family and friends, even strangers, as they were faithful in praying for me.  Fear has tried to overtake me several times as I ponder the magnitude that cancer has had on our family.  Three of five children had some kind of cancer, and my Mom with breast cancer.  It keeps me wondering not if my kids will get cancer, but when.  It is still a battle of fear, but I know that it is in God's hands, not mine, and I try to make the most of each day.

How is your health now?

I have passed the 5 year mark being cancer free and I am feeling great!


I can't express to you how blessed my life is by Rachel and her family.  We have had so many fun times together and I am so thankful that God brought her through cancer.

Relay for Life is also about celebrating those who have fought this disease and who are living examples of courage to the rest of us.

Would you make a donation today to celebrate those who have won the battle?



PLEASE DONATE




 Our crazy families on vacation together last year.

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Remembering my Father-in-Law & Friend

Fast forward to the year 1996.  I was marrying into a fantastic new family.  I had fallen deeply in love with their son, and couldn't wait to be married.  He had captured my heart without even knowing it!  They opened their hearts to me and my daughter, who was just 5 at the time.

Husband and I had two more daughters.  At two years old, K was absolutely enamored by her grandfather.  She followed him everywhere he went.  Watched his every move, not allowing him out of her site.  A was still very little, but always gave Grandpa her best smiles!

I had quickly grown to love this man.  He was funny, very smart, generous, patient, kind, a retired teacher, a continuous learner, a golfer, a model airplane enthusiast, and I loved him as my own father.

Then in early 2002, before we could even grasp what was happening, he was diagnosed with Cancer.  He slipped away from us in August.  It was heart retching, again.  I had lost another father to this insidious disease.

So we will walk, my Husband and I, on June 25 & 26.....a walk of remembrance, a walk of hope, a walk of grief, a walk of celebration.  Our team will continuously walk a high school track for 24 hours straight to raise money for the American Cancer Society in the hopes of stopping this disease from taking any more loved ones.

Will you help is fight back?

PLEASE DONATE

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A Great Saturday

May 15, 2010



It has been a very relaxing and fun day at our house today.  Strange photo you say?  Yep.  That is how much my husky is shedding EVERY DAY right now as she sheds her winter coat.  Isn't that lovely?  I am so glad she is an outdoor dog.  Can you image that in my house?  And that is only from about 5 minutes of brushing, because that is all she will tolerate.




More great things about my day:

  • got to sleep in until 9 am ! Yippee...one of my favorite things to do!!
  • had a snugglefest with my girls this morning, all in our jammies
  • spent some silly time laughing with my husband
  • cleaned out the refrigerator....can we just all say eww together?  Too long since last time!
  • watched my girls have fun with sidewalk chalk-quite the little artist isn't she?
  • worked on a new project for my blog (it is a secret)
  • played hide and seek with our family (can't believe my husband found me..it was a really good spot!)
So that is a look at our day today.  I hope you've had a great day with your family as well.

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Miley Cyrus Has Left Childhood

May 13, 2010

I finally had a few moments without little ears around to go out to YouTube to see what all the buzz was surrounding the new video by Miley Cyrus.  Can I just say "Oh My!".  It is difficult to believe that she is only 17 years old in this video.  Scantily clad, big hair, and loads of makeup lead the audience to believe this young woman is far beyond her young teen years.

I am happy to say that my girls were never over the top fans of Miley's.  They watched her show from time to time, but I didn't allow them to buy into the retail side.  I can empathize with so many mothers right now who are heartbroken by this turn of events.  It is disappointing all around, not just in Miley, but in her parents as well.

The website SecretKeeperGirl has offered some tips of how you can talk with your girls about this video here.  The post is broken into 2 parts, so be sure to read both of them.

Now go hug those sweet little girls of yours and hold on tight.

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Do Not Be Yoked Together

A couple years ago I hung out with a group of high school girls for bible study. I knew what they would be facing in their coming years as young adults, and there were several subjects that I kept coming back to in hopes of steering them in the right direction. We talked about it often, and they always had great questions:

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" II Corinthians 6:14-16.

How I pray that every young Christian could grasp this commandment. If only they could see that a relationship with an unbeliever will only cause separation and heartache. Why can't they see it? A lifetime of frustration and heartache will certainly follow. Think about the following:

  • a believer will most certainly be going to church alone
  • a believer will be making friends with other Christians, of which their spouse will not relate
  • a believer, when faced with a crisis, will seek their Father's comfort and direction, of which the spouse will call foolish and not participate
  • a believer will want their children to go to church, and again the spouse stays home, creating a division within their family and constant questions and confusion to the children
  • a believer has values based on their beliefs of God and his Word, while an unbeliever lives by the standards of this world
  • a believer will celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and Easter(alone), while an unbeliever will want to celebrate Santa and the Easter Bunny
  • a believer;s family will need the spiritual leadership of a Godly man, but will never get it
  • a believer will be constantly torn between choosing their spouse or their God

My heart aches for those who don't see the merit in this command. Over and over in the Old Testament God told the children of Israel to not co-mingle or inter-marry with those from foreign lands. In their disobedience, they fell away from God and angered him many times as they began to worship other idols because they were yoked with unbelievers.

I ask that if you are a parent, don't let this be a one-time conversation you have with your children. Keep discussing it, show them examples, find teachable moments to bring this truth home. And above all else, pray, pray and pray some more that they will obey this command and settle for nothing less than a Godly spouse. Their future depends on it.

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Train Up a Child

May 12, 2010

Do you consistently train your children?  I must confess that I often train "in-the-moment".  That means, I don't take time regularly to sit down with my girls in a teaching setting.  I teach as things happen.  While this is good, it isn't always quite as effective.  Sometimes emotions are running high, there are other people around, or there isn't sufficient time to discuss the situation.

This is an area where I greatly admire homeschoolers.  Not only are they teaching the school subjects, but they are able to concentrate on the eternal subjects as well.  I've said before that I have never been called to homeschool, so I need to find another avenue to intentionally train my children.

I am on the hunt for some summertime curriculum that I can do with my two youngest girls.  They are 10 and 8.  I recently ordered a book from Amazon called A Girl of Beauty by Carol Fiddler.  It is about building character in young girls.  This looked like a good place to start and I am anxious to receive it.

Then a bloggy friend had a post that mentioned Bright Lights.  This is a fantastic ministry started by a 17 year old girl to disciple young girls to grow into Godly women.  They have an exciting curriculum for Moms and daughters to go through together.  I will be ordering this very soon as well.  They even have conferences!

Do you have any resources you would like to share?  I'd love more ideas on training my girls to be Godly.

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Family Friendly Recipes

May 11, 2010

I have some recipes that my family really enjoys, but I sure get tired of repeating the same things over and over again. I've wandered through the internet and haven't had much luck.  Have you seen some of the recipes out there that supposedly family friendly?  My kids wouldn't touch it, and I don't have time to make it.  Sometimes I have never even heard of some of the ingredients!  I want some family tried and true recipes that I know people, and kids, really love.

I thought it would be fun to have a Recipe Exchange through some Linky Love.  I'll share one of our family favorites, then you can add your link to a favorite recipe you would like to share with us.

Fetticcini Alfredo
Trust me, if it wasn't easy, I wouldn't be making it!
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 Tbs. butter
2 cloves garlic(I cheat and use prepared minced from the produce section)
1 1/2 cup parmesian cheese(Get the 5 oz container in the cheese section)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 cup cooked cubed chicken
 Box of fetticcini

Start cooking the pasta, as the fetticcini takes longer.

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan, bring a boil to melt cheese and butter, turn down to simmer until pasta is cooked.  Be sure not to leave on too long, as the cheese will burn if it settles.  Don't add the chicken, as the cheese gets all stuck to it (Ask me how I know!)

I then drain the pasta and serve it up on plates.  I then add the cut chicken and drizzle the sauce over the top.

Easy and yummy!!

Your turn.....link up your favorite recipes.  You can even add more than one if you want!!



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Gather Inspirit TV!


I'm going to be a star.  I can see it now, bright lights, camera, action, autographs, paparazzi..............ok, maybe not, but did you now that Gather Inspirit has it's own web TV show on Tuesday nights?

Check in HERE tonight at 6pm Central time to see all the excitement!  We'll be discussing balance in our lives.  Who knows, you just might see me!

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Great Mother's Day

May 10, 2010

Another Mother's Day has come and gone, and I so adore my family.  I was treated to breakfast in bed, complete with an omelet and fresh hash browns made by my 10 year old, waffles made by my 8 year old, and milk made by Husband.(he didn't want to be left out!)  I was then presented with some beautiful handmade artwork from both girls.

And here is my other loot!  Yes, a webcam.  I'm not sure I am brave enough to use it, but we'll see!!  A very cute coffee mug planter, a new Rick Warren book, and a box full of wires.  Oh, strange gift you say?  Maybe, but Husband knows I want electricity run out to my gazebo so I can be blogging from the comfort of my back yard this summer.  Very exciting...now I just need him to actually do the work....he has a tiny procrastination problem.

Then it was off to my brother's for a day with family.  This was my first chance to meet my newest grand-niece.  Isn't she adorable?


And had a photo with 2 of my girls and my mom.  Oldest was studying for finals at college. I wasn't too dressed up by this time of the afternoon.  We had a very relaxed day sharing desserts with the family and playing yard games.


Then we headed home, made a fire in the back yard and hung out for the rest of the evening.  Great day with a great family.

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The 5 Love Languages - Physical Touch

May 6, 2010

We have made it to our final love language, physical touch.  The post I have dreaded writing all week!  This is my husband's primary language, and oh do I struggle with it! (This is where I have to hold myself accountable!

Right here at the start, it is important to note that the physical touch love language does not mean that sex is the only way to fulfill this need.  For those who have this love language, their love tank is filled by sweet caresses, holding hands, hugs, a touch to the face, and of course, sex. 

Many studies have shown the benefits of physical touch to everyone.  Babies are known to thrive under the consistent physical touch conditions.  And those neglected, held less, and never cuddled suffer in many ways.  The ramifications can last a lifetime.  Many people brought their children to Jesus for him to lay his hands on them as a blessing.  When Jesus healed the sick and the lame, he usually touched them in some way.  Touch is a powerful conductor of love.

Real Life

Yes, I fail miserably as a wife in this department sometimes....ok...a lot.  Husband and I are very physical with each other most of the time. We love hugs, hold hands quite frequently, reach out just to touch the others face or hand, sit close together on the couch watching TV, etc.  Our friends even make fun of us!  We still hear the "get a room" comment! But honestly, where I fail, is the quantity of intimacy.  By 10 pm every night, I am exhausted!  I know you can relate.  And I just don't have the need or the drive that he does in this area.  I continue working on getting better at this.

It is so important to remember that aside from the strong desire a normal man has in this area, when you add their physical touch love language to it, things can get a little intense!  But I have to remind myself that he doesn't stop showing me my love language just because he is tired, and neither should I.

And now, sheepishly I hand the computer over to Husband to hear what he has to say about this subject.  Needless to say, I am a little worried about what he will write.  But I haven't censored him so far this week, so I promise I won't start now!!

Husband here.  Yes, Physical Touch Good.  Me Like it.  

I write like this because sometimes I feel a bit self conscious how important it is to me.  Like a caveman.  I do love to be close to Wife.  Quite a bit of the time.  It just makes everything seem a bit more OK.  Just holding one another helps us keep perspective about what matters and what really doesn't.  And the intimacy of closeness helps makes it easier to be intimate emotionally and spiritually as well.  And it just feel great!

But it was very helpful to have my feelings validated by the 5 Love Languages book and how beneficial it is to show love and to be loved in this manner.  Our kids have learned how important it is as well and often want to snuggle and be close.  Saturday morning often involves the "Bear Cave" when all who are home get in Mom and Pop's bed and just be a Bear Family.  Occasionally we even get to eat fish in the Bear Cave.  OK - Slices of bread shaped like fish but still....the most important component of it is the snuggling and the closeness.  Many of the best conversations we have had with the kids have started by sitting close and snuggling first so they first feel safe physically so they can feel safe sharing their feelings.

So let's hear it for Physical Touch.  Great for the marriage.  Great for making any day a bit better.  And the wife is doing great here.  All of her concerns are not justified and her being close is never taken for granted.   Woo Hoo!

Wow...I gave him an open door to tell the world how selfish I am sometimes, and he didn't take the opportunity.  Hmm...he must love me an awful lot!  What a great guy.  I am so thankful that Husband joined me on this journey for the week.  It was good for us to review this book again.  It provided some healthy reminders and some great discussions.

I want to wrap up our week by saying that although you will have one very distinctive love language, if you pay attention to all of them, sprinkling them throughout your marriage, you will both be very happy people!  Don't neglect the other languages just to focus on the top one.  Your spouse will still benefit from receiving little bits of his second and third language as well.

I can't stress enough how important it is to TALK ABOUT IT!  I know this is hard for some of you, but it is so imperative to keeping your marriage healthy.

If you still want to learn more, be sure to visit Dr Chapman's website for so much more information on this book and many other great books he has written.

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The 5 Love Languages - Acts of Service

Any Mom can relate to this love language.  Serving.  We perform acts of service 24/7 for our families because we love them.

But if this is your primary love language, its meaning goes a lot deeper.  You feel a deep connection to your spouse when he helps you with all those mundane chores:  washing the car, helping with bath time, clearing the table after dinner, walking the dog, making repairs around the house.

Jesus performed a fantastic act of service when he washed the feet of His disciples in the book of John.  It was not his place to perform this lowly task, but to show how much he loved them and how much he wanted to put them first, he did this act of love for them.

Unfortunately, someone who has this love language has the potential to serve her mate in this way for her entire life, sometimes without any notice or appreciation.  This can be dangerous, as it may become a lifelong grudge against her family, because she feels no one has noticed her years of service.  This is why it is so important to know each others love languages.  They must be reciprocated in order to be truly appreciated.

Sometimes you will need to overcome the traditional thinking of roles of husband and wife.  Especially if a wife has this love language.  Her husband may need to do some things that he is not accustomed to in order to serve her with this language.  Some chores that she may really need help with may not be his strong suit, but it will be important to learn to serve in ways areas that she needs help.

This is another area where communication is key.  If either of you have this language, talk about it, make a list of things that your spouse could help with that would really make a huge difference to you.  Follow through is very important.  This is a life-long language that you will need to get accustomed to.

Real Life

My love language is not acts of service, but my husband is great at this!  It is important to note that just because this may not be your primary love language, it doesn't mean that you are not going to appreciate and feel loved by someone serving you in this way.  The 5 Love Languages all work hand in hand to create a great symphony of acts of love.  Husband is great at clearing the table, doing dishes, he does ALL the laundry, mowing the grass, etc.  He is very hands on in our home, and I am so appreciative of that.

Here's what he had to say about Acts of Service today:

Acts of Service is one of those languages that is very easy for me to communicate but one that doesn’t mean much for me. This is the one I saw the most in my own family while growing up. Both my mother and father excelled at seeing needs and working to fill them. Through Boy Scouts and Church Youth Group, I got a lot of practice at serving others and really enjoy having the ability to help someone out in small or big ways.

In any marriage, there will always be opportunities to serve. Chores to be done. Kids that need someone to sit with them as they practice piano or do homework. A snack to be fetched. A dish to be washed. We have found that serving with the wrong motives causes me at times to keep score in my mind of how many things I’ve done and that after so many things done, I deserve a break, I deserve to be served. But this keeping score certainly sucks all the love out the serving. There is nothing that undoes all the good of serving like demanding reciprocity or even acknowledgement of the acts of service. You just need to believe that God above sees you and that is enough.

I’ll leave you with one my favorite quotes by John Wesley:
“Do all the good you can,
by all the means you can, 
in all the ways you can, 
in all the places you can, 
at all the times you can, 
to all the people you can, 
as long as ever you can.”


Thanks again, Husband, for providing us with great insights!

 

Join us tomorrow as we tackled the last love language, physical touch.

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The 5 Love Languages - Receiving Gifts

May 5, 2010

If you are stopping in from Gather Inspirit, make yourself at home. Scroll down to the next post and you'll learn more about my journey to Relevant!
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Our third love language from Dr. Chapman's book this week is Receiving Gifts.  This is probably one of the hardest languages for some people to understand if it isn't their language.  For some, buying gifts seems a frivolous activity and waste of money.  But to those with the gift language, it is a tangible expression of love.  There is no shame in feeling love through gifts.  It is the way God made you!  Dr. Chapman has an excellent explanation:

"A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, "Look, he was thinking of me," or, "She remembered me."  You must be thinking of someone to give him a gift.  The gift itself is a symbol of that thought.  It doesn't matter whether it costs money.  What is important is that you thought of him.  And it is not the thought implanted only in the mind that counts, but the thoughts expressed in actually securing the gift and giving it as the expression of love."

If this is your language, you probably love to give gifts even as much as receiving them!  Do you pick things up for a friend that she would just love?  Are you great at remembering to send cards for birthdays?  Do you always show up to dinner parties with a gift?  Yep, this is your language!!


Real Life

This used to be my primary love language. (yes, they can change!)  I can honestly say that in my first marriage, since we had no idea what love languages were, we failed miserably at this.  It is important to realize that by not giving any gifts at all to someone with this language, it may seem to them like love is being withheld.  For me it became an area of real insecurity.  When I remarried, we quickly learned about these love languages, and Husband was quick to be sure I received all the gifts I needed!  Now be sure to realize that gifts don't have to be something you went out to buy.  It can be a note (like we talked about yesterday), accompaniment to an event, something found at a garage sale, etc.  You get the idea!
Husband has been so great at adding to these posts, I asked him to join us again for his ideas on this love language.

Hello all.  Husband here again.  Gift giving was an adjustment for me.  Growing up we got gifts at Christmas and Birthday and that's it.  And it was fine.  So now being the Husband to the Wife who found gifts a way to be loved I needed to learn how to give gifts for no reason at all.  And me being a relative cheap guy, this was a challenge.  It's probable that along the way I started giving less gifts at birthday and Christmas time just so I had extra gifts for other times but I don't want to come out and say anything definite in case Wife reads this part too.....
Anyway, back to what I'm supposed to be sharing, I learned that to be a good gift giver, I needed to be a good listener.  If she mentions a book or CD she might be interested in, I'll buy and sometimes keep them for present time.  I've also learned that Wife appreciates the effort of the wrapping of the gift and not just pulling it out of the bag and saying, "Here, I got you something."  One of those overpriced greeting cards with a personlized message on it qualifies as a gift here at home.  And she can't return it.  Because there's nothing that takes the wind out of the gift-giving sails faster than Wife returning a gift that you took the time to buy.

That's all for today.  Back to Wifey.  This post is the gift to my Wife today.  Enjoy, Baby!  Love, love, love!

Oh I just love that man!! 

Children 
 
Somehow several years ago for birthdays we gave gifts to each of our girls.  Of course, the bday girl got the most gifts, but everyone else got one too.  Well here we are many years later and we are still doing this!  The girls have loved it so much.  We may have inadvertently coached them into gift receivers! 

If your child treasures every gift ever received and keeps precious items in special places, she is probably a gift receiver!

Join us again tomorrow.  We'll be discussing Acts of Service.




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Road to Relevant

May 4, 2010

Welcome!  I am so glad you stopped by today!  I hope you can stay for awhile, read an article or two, and enjoy some of my  photography, scrapbooking and crafts.

I am so excited to be going to The Relevant Conference in October!  I happened across it quite by accident.  I really only started seriously blogging very recently.  That happened after I started reading some other blogs, and realizing that there were some really cool women blogging about their family and faith, and I wanted to be a part of it.  I happened across Sarah Mae's blog, Like a Warm Cup of Coffee. and started reading every few days.  Then I saw her announcement about Relevant.  It just looked so cool!  Then I decided I needed to figure out this Twitter thing so I could learn more about it.  Oh boy, what a whirlwind!  But I have met so many fabulous ladies that I now call friends.  I can't wait to meet them at the conference.

And out of those cool relationships I was building on Twitter, I started conversing with a wonderful lady by the name of Chele.  We just seemed to always be tweeting at the same time I was, and a relationship began to blossom.  We could both quickly tell that we love to encourage others.  I was so excited and honored when she asked me to part of a new blog she was starting called Gather Inspirit.  I was even more excited when she asked if I would like to design the logo for Gather Inspirit.  Since we began, I now create a lot of the graphics for the site, provide photos for the posts, and help with writing some posts.  We are so excited to be encouraging others in their blogging journey.

With only 6 months to go until Relevant, I am doing my best to raise
money to pay for my trip to Pennsylvania. 

  • I recently created an Etsy Shop called  Daisy Corner Designs.  I love to play in all kinds of crafts, so you just never know what you might find in my shop!  Right now it is mostly jewelry and some home decor.  This is also where you can order the Relevant Pendant.
  • I am also designing blog buttons, headers and series banners. Feel free to email me if you would like something created just for you!
I'd like to invite you to follow me here and on Twitter @MySoulReflects.  Let's get to know each other!!  Relevant here we come!!!

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    The 5 Love Languages - Quality Time

    May 3, 2010

    The second love language in our study of Gary Chapman's The 5 Love Languages is Quality Time.  This sounds simple, right?  Not so fast!  Giving quality time means giving your undivided attention. For some, that means without TV, without kids, one-on-one conversation.  There are many different levels of quality time, and it may take some time to find the right balance for your loved one.

    Quality time also means quality conversation.  For some, this is especially hard if this is not their love language.  But like all the other languages, if it isn't yours, it may require some extra work to be able to communicate in this foreign language for you.  But your spouse is worth it!!  Remember that conversation is both listening and sharing.  Some people may only be good at one of those!  Sometimes men may need to be reminded that just because his wife is sharing about difficult situations at work, it doesn't mean that she expects him to fix it, it means she wants to be able to talk it out and share her frustrations with him in a meaningful way.  She may need to be specific with him that he doesn't need to offer advice, but just listen and be sympathetic.

    Quality activities will also act as a great way to show your love for one another.  Finding activities that you both enjoy and can participate in together will grow your relationship.  But it may also mean that one spouse needs to "learn" to participate in activities that may not necessarily be their favorite.  I can guarantee that a husband would love nothing more to take his wife to a basketball game with a team he loves and explain the game to her.  Who knows, she may end up loving it as much as he does!  There are plenty of activities you can do together where no one will feel out of their element:  taking walks, bike rides, concerts, picnics, etc.  Both spouses need to be willing to try new experiences.

    Real Life

    This is an area in which I have had to grow.  I can tend to get busy with many hobbies and outside activities, and forget that my husband needs my time as well.  I'll let The Hubs share more:

    Husband here again!  Quality time continues to be an important love language for my wife to share with me.  Oddly enough this was something I had to encourage in her early on in our marriage.  In our first few years, I worked outside the home and my wife didn't work full time.  What she did do was sell Creative Memories back when that was taking off and was gone quite a bit doing parties.  And when she wasn't gone, she was scrapbooking!  I know none of you would ever let a little hobby like scrapbooking impact your family :) but it was something I encountered.  To make quality time with my spouse, I actually scrapbooked with her.  (the reason I refer to myself solely as Husband.....)

    But seeing how I couldn't talk about my fondness of scrapbooking with the boys at work, I felt it would be better to actually share with my wife regarding my need to have the time to talk, listen, empathize, and find other things to do together.  So she did listen, she did respond appropriately, and it did improve our marriage.  Now she no longer sells Creative Memories, has more free time in the evenings and I have discovered poker so now the situation is a bit reversed.  We all need to realize that the work of making quality time with one another is a marriage long process that does pay big dividends in the end.  (Though it would still be great if she played poker......)

    I never know what he is going to write!!  Thanks Hubby, for sharing with us! He's awesome!


    Children

    For your children, picking out who has a love language of quality time is usually pretty easy.  This is the child who wants your undivided attention to play a game, read with you, do a craft together, go to lunch with just you!  Often if your child is not getting the quality attention they need, they may act out in inappropriate ways because it still gets them attention, it just happens to be of the negative type.  Giving the love language of quality time to this child will pay off 100%.  They will thrive!

    Come back and join us again tomorrow.  We'll be discussing the third love language,  Receiving Gifts.

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    The 5 Love Languages

    May 2, 2010

    This week we will be on a five day exploration of Gary Chapman's book The 5 Love Languages.  This book has been on the market for quite some time now, but continues to have a deep impact on marriages, including mine.  The premise of this book reveals that every person interprets love in a different way.  Therefore, if you have a different love language than your spouse, chances are you may be having trouble communicating your love for each other.  It would be like speaking Chinese to an English speaker.  It just can't be understood.  This will make much more sense once you get involved in the book.

    Over first three chapters, Chapman explains the difficulties that many couples experience in their marriage.  Don't skip over these chapters, as they are essential in understanding the love languages.

    Our first love language for examination today is:   
    Words of Affirmation

    If this is your love language, you are a lover of words!  You thrive on compliments and words of encouragement.  These life giving words and phrases can carry you for weeks on a natural high!  These are verbal communicators of love.  There are many pieces to this language:

    1.  Encouraging words.  These are words that spur your spouse on to try new things or expand on an area of interest.  You are showing them that you believe in them and their abilities.
    2.  Kind words.  These are words spoken in gentleness and kindness, not dripping in sarcasm or in accusation.
    3.  Humble words.  In humbleness we make requests, not demands of our spouse.  Demands only create hostility within the marriage.


    It is so important to realize that if this is your spouse's love language and not your own, you still need to use HIS love language to communicate with him!  If he needs to hear words of affirmation from you, like "thank you for working so hard to provide for our family",  giving him a gift to show your appreciation will not have the same effect on him.  Learning your spouse's love language is crucial!!  Your marriage could go for years on rocky terrain simply because you and your spouse are not feeling and receiving love in your own love language.  I urge you to continue reading in the book so you know how to put this into practice!

    Living It!

    This is my love language! (although it didn't used to be, more on that later!)  I love to receive encouragement from others!  Words of thankfulness, compliments, and affirmation can carry me a long way.  This is also why, as a blogger, I LOVE comments.  It affirms that I am connecting to people.  It translates that readers like me and want to hear more from me.

    On the flip side, negative comments or critical words from friends or family cut me to the quick and are hard to recover from. They create loads of self-doubt.  For those with this love language, be cautious that Satan does not use this against you!  I have found that he likes to twist the words of others in my mind to offend me, causing a rift in relationships where there ought not be one.

    From my husband, it means that I thrive when he encourages me.  If I haven't taken time to scrapbook in a long time, like this weekend, he encourages me with words to take some time to enjoy this hobby.  He then backs that up with making sure he is available to take care of the kids all day.  When I expressed an interest in returning to college to study graphic design, he was 100% behind me.  He continued encouraging me every step of the way!

    I asked my husband to share how he shows me love through words of affirmation.

    Hello all, Husband here!  Here's how I found out my wife gets so much out of Words of Affirmation.  When I was younger, my mom made my lunches and EVERY NOW AND THEN wrote a little note on my napkin.  And I liked it.  So when I started making lunches for our 1st daughter, I would occasionally write notes to her. 

    But what I wasn't prepared for was my wife declaring that she felt left out and that she would like notes too!  So, when my oldest got a note, Cherie got a note left at home.  Well, our daughter is now off at college but I'm still writing notes now EACH DAY to bless my wife while I'm off to work.  It may be a phrase, a quick doodle, a sentence or two reminding her how much I love her and how it shows in our lives.  So, I'm glad to keep nurturing our marriage by reminding my wife in these notes and with spoken words of all the ways I love her and what she means to me.  It's an easy and CHEAP ( :) ) way to make my marriage stronger.  And to make my bride smile another day!

    Thanks Husband!!

    These notes have such a profound effect on me each and every day.  So much so that I have kept hundreds of these notes over the years and I keep them in a scrapbook!
    Speaking the correct love language to your spouse will change your marriage.  I GUARANTEE IT!

    Likewise, ignoring your spouse's love language can DESTROY your marriage.  I can guarantee that from experience as well!

    Children

    These languages apply to your children as well.  If you consciously observe them through this lens, you should be able to decifer their language.  Words of affirmation can be gold to a child.  You will see their eyes light up and their heart burst when hearing encouraging words from you.  Likewise, harsh and critical words will last a lifetime in their minds.  It can create low self-esteem and a life time of self doubt!  Be sure to guard your words with your children.

    Curious to know what your love language is?  Check out The 5 Love Languages website for a quick quiz!

    Join us again tomorrow when we discuss language #2, Quality Time.

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