The Best Yes Online Book Study

16
Oct
2014

The Best Yes Online Book Study - Free to Participate!

I am absolutely THRILLED to announce officially our next online book study.  It has taken a bit to get things organized and finally, the day has come to share with you all.

The Best Yes, by Lysa TerKeurst Online Book Study is coming Monday, October 20th – our official start date.  Go grab your book now, paperback with Prime Shipping it will get to you in time, but no worries if not – grab a kindle copy or just start a couple days late…. WE WANT YOU!!!  {You can read the first chapter free here}

Details:

The book study runs here on this blog page, I will be posting on Monday’s with the weeks reading plan and then either on Tuesday or Wednesday I will share my thoughts in a short post.  Feel free to comment on what you are learning as well.

The built of the community and sharing will take place on our PRIVATE Facebook page, you can click here to join.   

The Best Yes Online Book Study - Free to Participate!

Questions, quotes and community will be shared there, so if you are looking to get a bit deeper into the study, I highly suggest coming over the to the FB page and joining us.

During the course of the Six week study, we will have three Facebook Chat’s – taking place on the PRIVATE group page, sharing with each other what we are learning.  This is a new feature I am trying this time around – looking forward to new adventures.

I am saving the best part for last!!!

This time around I have a group of like-minded moms from my community who have stepped up to help monitor the Facebook page and share in the journey.  This has been an incredible blessing to me and an answer to prayer.  I am only one person, and was feeling conflicted in how much I can continue to offer, so this was truly a miracle.

Without further ado – please meet your “The Best Yes Moms” who are probably very similar to you and I know will add a dimension and dynamic that will bless the entire group!

KimKimberly Gates

 I am a creative, thoughtful, nature/animal lover, God – loving, deal finding money saving Mom.  I am 45 years old and work full time as an Animal Care Supervisor.  I have been married for 13 years and have 3 children ages 21, 19 and 9. I am a stepmother (to the older children) and the youngest child was adopted.  My children have made my heart grow bigger and I am a better person and mother because of them, I love them dearly.   I enjoy encouraging and supporting other mothers, to enjoy and value time with their kids and to keep life simple. It’s a jungle out there!

KellyKelly Smith

I am a wife and mother of three kids, ages 10, 8 and 9 months.  We make our home near Birmingham,
AL.  I am a stay at home mom during the week, and an Occupational Therapist at an area hospital on the weekend.  I lead a small group at our church for moms with kids in all ages and stages.  My favorite activities outside of caring for my family are reading, writing, and running.  I believe we were all created to live in community and I am thankful for the women in my life that enrich my spiritual journey, both in person and online. 

Jess-LassJessica 

I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 17 years.  We have 4 amazing boys – ages 13, 12, 9 and 6 – all of whom have multiple food allergies and were blessed 2 years ago this month to welcome a little girl from Russia to our crazy house.  I am a SAHM who tries (and often fails) to balance family and a part time photography and cake business.  I love reading, home (little bit of a homebody…), Jesus, adoption and families – I am passionate about supporting other moms! 

allison-finalAllison Burke

I am 35 years old with 2 precious little girls – ages 4 & 12. I work FT as a paralegal at a reputable law firm in the Birmingham area. I love my family and feel they are the most important thing in this life that has God has so graciously blessed me with. If I had to describe myself I would say I LOVE to laugh and have a huge heart and always try my best encourage others. I consider myself to be pretty crafty and Pinterest is my guilty pleasure.

DanielleDanielle

I’m a Midwesterner at heart, married to my college sweetheart for ten years with four incredibly curious children (ages 1, 3, 6 and 8) who keep me on my toes!  We are a Navy family with four moves, a couple deployments, and an untold number of new experiences under our belts. Currently stationed in San Diego, I can most often be found trying to wear my children out at the playground, tinkering in my kitchen or garden, figuring out how to streamline some aspect of homemaking and trying to teach my kids to clean up after themselves to leave more time for family fun.  Mothering is by far the most challenging and fun role I’ve had in my life; I’m blessed to have a short term memory for the exhaustion and frustration that can accompany it!

I look forward to meeting you and sharing ideas about what struggles you face in identifying and living your Best Yes!  

Okay, I just got chills after reading through their introductions to you!!!  I am beyond thrilled with their backgrounds and unique giftings that they will bring to this study – so excited!

Here is our schedule  

The Best Yes - Reading Plan - Online Book Study -Free to Participate!

You can print out the reading plan in PDF format HERE.

Also for those who enjoy Pinterest, here is the Pinterest board I have created for pinning posts, quote images and more.  

Make sure you are signed up to receive my blog posts – check the box right below this post to add yourself and they will be delivered automatically to your inbox.

Family Fun Traditions Matter

13
Oct
2014

Family-Fun-Traditions

Memory making and family traditions  are important for building strong unity within the walls of your home – especially when you are a blended family.  It is critical.

Six years ago I ventured to my husband’s hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico for the first time and had the amazing opportunity to see the International Balloon Fiesta where hundreds of balloonists come in to compete in different events and has taken place every year since 1972.  

Since that visit six years ago, I’ve been back two more times, bringing my son and now my 4 year old, rounding out the elements of a family tradition.  I am sure we will be back again.

If you have never heard of this International Balloon Fiesta – you’ll want to check it out and perhaps even put it on your bucket list!  My photos will not do it justice – by any means – but they are great memories for our family and I wanted to share with you things from my view point.

Being on the field when hundreds of balloons are blown up right in front of your eyes and lift off a matter of feet from you is amazing.  

This year was especially fun and I hope you enjoy the photos I could share here.  If you are looking for some really incredible photos please check out their Facebook page or their website.  It is certainly an event to try to make it to with your family.

Balloon-Fiesta-1

When you arrive at the field it is VERY early and dark!  {5:00 AM}  At around 6:30 AM the first few balloonists take to the sky to check the winds – they are the DAWN patrol.

From the website: The Dawn Patrol began at Balloon Fiesta in 1978, when two California balloonists developed position lighting systems that allowed them to fly at night. Dawn Patrol pilots take off in the dark and fly until it is light enough to see landing sites. Fellow balloonists appreciate the Dawn Patrol because they can watch the balloons and get an early idea of wind speeds and directions at different altitudes. On mass ascension days, about a dozen Dawn Patrol balloons perform the Dawn Patrol Show, a choreographed inflation and launch set to music that has been part of the Balloon Fiesta since 1996. Dawn Patrol inflations begin, weather permitting, at about 5:45 AM, with launch around 6:00 AM.

BF-2The balloons are cold inflated with fans and then get stood up by using a burner- which also ends up lighting the balloon up creating a really incredible sight in the early morning hours.  They take a different sort of beauty.

It truly is amazing as you stand and balloons are being inflated all around you – literally ALL around you!!

BF-3

BF-5

I stood at the end of this balloon as they began inflating it, from the basket base.  They use big fans to begin inflating and it takes only about 5-10 minutes to get the air in it and begin to take shape.

Balloon-7

One of our favorite times is during the special shapes inflation!  There are so many incredibly shaped balloons – it makes it a favorite for the kids {I loved the special shapes too!}

BF-8

We had the extremely privilege to stand right next to the POW*MIA ballon while their team inflated it.  My four year old was invited into the balloon basket to pretend like he was flying – a one of a time experience for sure!!  We watched the process from start to finish and waved them off as they went on their way.

What special family traditions have you kept alive? 

In Fact I am NOT a Supermom

22
Sep
2014

Super-mom-I am not

I get emails every single day from other moms, asking how on earth I do all that I do.  

I hear the desperation in their voice, even while just reading the text….. it’s hard, everyone feeling like the other person has it all together.  It is time to share with you all – in this big public space how in fact I do not do it all, nor do I ever want you to get the feeling that I do!

Last week my heart resonated with this post from my good friend Myra over at My Blessed Life.  She shared how in fact, she doesn’t do it all either!  I could relate to her post SO MUCH and felt it was time again…..to share with you all the stuff that is reality for me and my home.

I have a housecleaner

Yep, I do.  This started about a year and a half ago as my blog and coaching business began to require more time from me and I had to find something that could be done by someone else.   I honestly really do enjoy cleaning my house – I mean I developed the Weekly Household Planner so I could easily keep up with things and also wanted to help other moms, but there came a point when something had to give.

There was someone anxious to come clean my house and it helped their family as well.  A double win!!

My husband helps – A LOT

I am truly blessed because I have a husband who is very good at stepping in and helping me out.  You see, this can be very challenging as I HATE to ask for help.  I am terrible – or very stubborn is more the term.  Even though my husband travels three and a half days during the week, when he is home he is amazing.  He will do the grocery shopping for me, he will run errands and he loves to do ‘projects’ with our four year old.

I fail

There are many days when things just do not get done, even from me – the QUEEN of to-do lists.  I have yet to really find a balance for myself on what I can realistically expect to get done in a day, but it is a process for me.  Learning more about myself as I ‘grow-up’ here!  Yes, I am 47 and still not grown up.  I learn that when I cram too much in my day, I get cranky, bitter and lose my patience just like other moms.  Instead of dwelling on that, I pick myself up – brush myself off, apologize to the person whom I just lost it with, and persevere. 

“I don’t know where you are today, you may be hanging on by a thread.  I write this to remind you that even in the ashes, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  It is HIS Grace that will carry you.  Because it is amazing.”  –  Kristen Welch, We Are That Family

I do not have an organized pantry

I try….but rarely is my pantry organized!!  I like to keep things neat, but hey – I have a total of six of us in the house, plus a dog!  And I am out numbered with boys in my home too.  I will never have one of those Pinterest rated pantry’s.  Never, and I am okay with it!

I do not always get up at the crack of dawn 

This is something I feel strongly about, finding my time with God and settling into my day – even if I harp and harp on this topic, there are days where I just don’t make it early.  I may have stayed up too late or just need some extra sleep.  I have to give myself grace, I am in a season of my life where my body is fighting back and when I am not forgiving, everyone around me suffers.

Chronic Depression, which I have thankfully been able to managed well with a healthier lifestyle as well as symptoms from Lupus can really impact my ability to enjoy certain things others may take for granted.  I must celebrate the little things and be grateful.

So there you have it – the real side of who I am and what really happens on this side of the screen.  I have never said I was perfect or that I can manage it all myself, but I think it can often be seen that way, by those of you who come here.  My desire is to encourage you and empower you in your role in the home, so bringing a touch of reality into the picture is truly important.

I must keep in mind several things each day and I encourage you to keep things in perspective as well:

I am 47, not a young mom by any means. I have a house of 6 – a 21 year old, 17 year old, 13 year old and a 4 year old and my husband all coming and going (oh, and a dog that needs my attention too!)  Our schedules are really messy – especially as a blended family.  My life does not look normal by any respect.  Each day is completely different – and add in that each week my husband travels different days.  I have two home based businesses that need my attention, a home to care for and a body that had some unique challenges.  

There are some days I do not get out of my pajamas – YEP!  That is true!

So I give myself grace and try to keep perspective.

What areas do you find you need to give yourself grace?

9 Fall Family Fun Ideas

18
Sep
2014

9-fall-fun-activities

The mornings are getting cool and the leaves are turning – fall is in the air.  I am definitely one who enjoys the cool, brisk mornings, the warm beverages that you can hold in your hand and sip and the routine that fall brings.

Over the years our family has shared a few fun fall activities to bring in the season and create tradition.  Perhaps incorporating one or two of these into your fall season would bring some needed change and family bonding, they have for us!

Hayrides

We done a few hayrides during my years as a parent, I am going on 22 years now as a mom – we were out of that season for awhile, but with a four year old in the house – it is time again to enjoy this fun fall tradition.  Even though we have many allergic to grass/hay in our family – we’ve got a remedy for that!  

Decorate

We have fun bringing out the fall decorations at our house.  This is something I didn’t really know my kids looked forward to until one year I didn’t bring them out fast enough.  Hanging a simple fall wreath on the front door and changing some decor inside, really freshens things up.  I love this printable I found too – perfect in my frame by our front door.

Make Apple Butter

Fall means apples, especially in our neck of the woods – The Pacific Northwest!  You can certainly go pick apples at a local farm, find a farmers market and buy a huge box, or just use what you have.  I just made a great batch of Crock Pot Apple Butter (this recipe is the easiest and my hubby’s favorite!) and it is the perfect way to ring in apple season.  

Homemade Apple Cider

Homemade is always better, in my opinion, for so many reasons.  You can change ingredients to fit your taste as well as make it healthier.  I found this easy recipe for Homemade Apple Cider and I am going to mark it on our calendar!

Leaves

One of my most favorite things to do as a child was to rake leaves and jump in them.  We had a huge yard with the biggest Maple tree – which filled our backyard with leaves.  It is fun to run and jump, but why not do a few crafts with leaves and/or press them to use in your home for decorating.

Enjoy Chilly

Bundle up and get outside!  Take a walk in the woods, ride bikes on a trail take a stroll down to grab a hot beverage or make some hot chocolate at home before heading off outside.  Hats, scarves and down jackets are perfect for bundling up and enjoying the outdoors.

Pumpkin Pie

Why not try making a pumpkin pie completely from scratch!??  I know sounds crazy – but what an experience and memory making.  Buying or even picking the pumpkin fresh from the field, cooking down the fresh pumpkin and making the crust – this would be an all day project, but worth every penny!  Take pictures to keep the memory alive, you likely won’t want to do it again!  :-)

Marshmallow Roast

Bundle up after dinner and head outside to roast some marshmallows, drink cocoa and make s’mores!  We purchased a fire pit (like this one) and have not used it as much as I would have hoped….. so I am determined to get a bit more excited about gathering everyone up after dinner and having some fun around the fire pit rather than just the TV.  Conversations develop that would not otherwise, I know this and it takes intentional set-up to make it happen.  We might even pick a book that would be fun to read through and do that while keeping warm and watching the flames.

Corn Maze

I admit – I hate corn mazes – but others in my family love them.  So….. I go too.  A few years ago we went to a pumpkin patch which had a maze and in the center was a small baseball field.  It was just like out of “Field of Dreams” – and to this day my four year old talks about that corn maze.  Memories…….

What is your favorite fall activity to do as a family?

Mary & Martha Giveaway

11
Sep
2014

mary-martha-win

A few years ago, I was involved with a fun direct selling company called, “Blessings Unlimited” –  you may remember them, they were part of DaySpring and gave moms the opportunity to share products for the home and family through home gatherings.  It was fun and I did it – to be honest to get a lot of cute stuff for my home!!

They recently changed names and are now, Mary & Martha and I was thrilled when a reader of my blog, Jenny wanted to offer me a few products for review and do a giveaway!  

Mary & Martha is a division of Hallmark and Dayspring companies.   They are a Christian company dedicated to empowering women to share their love for God and make a real difference in people’s lives. They provide shared experiences and inspiring products that welcome, serve and connect people while bringing them closer to each other and to God.  Love that mission!

Now, remember, I only ever share products with you that I would buy and I find helpful.  Your time is valuable and your money is too, so know that I do this with a very careful heart. Jenny kindly offered me a few different items – which included some beautiful decor for the home, but I chose two items from their “For Kids” line – the ABC Magnets and “God’s Light in me” for boys.

My 4 year old was very excited when a box arrived for us and I told him the items were all for him!!  

Book-post

Here is what we got:  

ABC MagnetsABC Magnets

Each has a letter and corresponding faith-building word and quote to creatively remind them what God wants them to be. 26 magnets.  These were a hit – he has enjoyed playing with them on our dishwasher and will use them to spell words.  I really love the words that accompany the letters – for example on the letter “C” it has Caring as the word and a definition “Show love in little ways”.  Very fun way to engage and have conversation around characteristics  I would love for us all to have in our home and outside.

God’s Light in Me – for Boys

God's Light in Me BThis board book is made just for boys.  It is full of  biblical principles, captivating illustrations, and rhyming encouragement and we had fun reading it.  It is a great reminder that even the most rough and tumble little boys have God’s light shining through them.   I did think it was a bit on the pricey side for a board book, at $18 – but it certainly was quality and would make a wonderful baby gift from a dear friend.

Here is my guy playing with the ABC Magnets – he really has enjoyed them!

ABC-magnets

Are you interested is having an online party to enjoy and share some Mary & Martha goodies for your home?  You can contact Jenny through her website >>>>  CLICK HERE  – hit the CONTACT ME link, or give her a call, her phone number is listed.  

If you happen to live in the Southwestern Missouri area, she would happily chat with you about the possibility of  doing an in-home gathering for you and your friends.  Perfect for the upcoming Christmas gift giving season – what better way to save some money by hosting a gathering and earning some free products!  They have great hostess benefits – so you’ll want to check that out!

Now, enter to win your choice of ONE copy of one of the three books shown above:  God’s Light in Me (for girls), God’s Light in Me (for boys) or God Made Just One.  Please use the rafflecopter entry below.  Retail giveaway amount $18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given a copy of the board book, “God’s Light in Me – for Boys” and the ABC Magnets for an honest review.  All opinions are my own and were not influenced by the compensation.