The Price Is Real

25
May
2015

As I sit and try to gather my thoughts for a post that would even come close to recognizing what Memorial Day truly means in the heart of America, I get a bit tongue tied.

I think…. well, I know and I am embarrassed to admit I take for granted the things that others gave for me to live the life I have today.  Those sacrifices are not as embedded in my life and experiences as have been for those who grew up in more war torn era’s of previous generations.

What I am reminded of, as I think of those that lost their lives fighting for FREEDOM and our protection are the families impacted, and for me….. this year – for those spouses who are left behind when their loved one gets deployed.  

For me and my area of experience and sharing, I am touched with those moms who care for families for months at a time while their husband’s are out of the country. (Yes, I know there are many families who experience the opposite, they have a wife that is deployed and the husband stays home to care of the family, but for me and my sharing here, I focus on the mom, the one I can identify with.)

It helps me find perspective in the knee deep mess that I can find myself in when I feel desperate parenting alone, when my husband is gone – but he comes back every 3-4 days.  I gives me extreme compassion for that mom who has to fight through nine months of parenting alone…. keeping the fight strong because it is what you have to do.

You are remembered.

You are important.

You are treasured.

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I ran across Kristen Strong’s page over at Chasing Blue Skies:  Military Wives Resources (and those who love them!) that I wanted to pass along.  Even if you are not a military mom, I bet you would find some value pieces of empowerment here that you could use on a daily basis.

I do not live in a big local military community, but I bet I could find a military wife not too far from me who I could bless.  I loved these ideas she shared here.

How about you, can you “remember” this day all year long by finding a military family to bless?

21 Reasons To Send A Child A Greeting Card

18
May
2015

When was the last time you saw the face of a child light up and glow because they got a piece of mail with their name on it? Children love to get mail. My older children have lost that spark, but my five year old is constantly asking if they got mail.   I think special occasions are great to send mail – and usually around holiday’s or birthday’s they know to expect it, but what would happen if mail arrived for them on an ordinary day? 

Sending letters or greeting cards is a good way to foster a love of communication and writing in children. In our society, instant messaging, text messaging, and short emails have all but killed the art of good communication.

Studies indicate that the more a child reads, the smarter they are. However, it can often be difficult to get some children to read due to lack of interest. I bet there isn’t a child around that wouldn’t be interested in reading a card or letter addressed to them from someone they care about. And, of course, if a child is raised to expect that letters and greeting cards are a regular occurrence, they are more likely to become better communicators themselves.

Wouldn’t it be great to raise a child who would love to create the habit of sending cards or letters?

So take some time and send a greeting card to a child in your life. Here are just a handful of reasons you can use to send a greeting card to a child you know and help to make their day that much brighter. (If it’s your kiddo – even better!!)

1.  They got an A on a test or report card. Make the joy of doing well last just a little longer.
2.  They said, “Please”.
3.  It’s their birthday, Valentines Day, Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, etc  (I tend to give cards on some of these occasions, but mailing them is so much better!)
4.  They were well-behaved in a specific situation.
5.  They did something special for someone (even if it wasn’t you). It helps to foster the trait of good will when they get some feedback for what they have done.
6.  They helped with dinner.
7.  Just to say, “I appreciate you”. Do they really know how valuable they are to you?
8.  They said, “Thank you”.
9.  Just to say, “You’re Special”.
10.  They did a great job on their chores. Rewards for a job well done encourage more of the same.
11.  Because you haven’t seen them and want them to know you miss them.
12.  Say thanks for being my …(son, daughter, grandchild, niece, nephew, friend, etc).
13.  They made the honor roll.
14.  They helped in the yard.
15.  Remind them of an exciting event that is coming up.
16.  Remind them of a neat experience you had together.
17.  Tell them something special about yourself.
18.  Tell them something special about someone you both know.
19.  Share a joke you just heard.
20.  They brought home a warm fuzzy note from the teacher.
21.  Just to say you love them. Do you really need any more of a reason than that?

Will you be taking just a few minutes out of your busy schedule today to foster the emotional and mental development of a child in your life?  I know I will be more intentional in this simple act.

Here are some favorite places to stock up on cards to make it easy to send without a lot of planning:

1)  Drugstore – I gathered up a large selection of $.99 cards at my local drugstore and have them ready to mail.

2)  DaySpring – I love that I can buy boxed card assortments at DaySpring and they will have alway have the perfect message.

3)  amazon has some wonderful greeting card boxed sets too – grab a box that has free prime shipping and you are good to go!

Tell me who you are sending a card to and why!

Refreshing the Soul with Music

19
Mar
2015

Refreshing-Soul-Music

I need music – every single day!  There is something that just fills my soul with the words, the beat and instruments all put together.  We can often get so rushed that we forget to slow down and enjoy – the simple, the gifted and emotional connection with song.

Here are a few of my favorite finds lately that I wanted to share with you.  Most are worship songs, but there is one here by a favorite artist of mine that I will see in concert on Saturday night (date night!!) and it is certainly meant for that special someone in your life.

If you are viewing in your RSS feed, you will need to click through to view the videos and hear the music.  Make sure you give yourself a few minutes to truly sit down and enjoy the songs.  That is some good self-care!

Tyrone Wells – You’re The One  (from the Album:  Roll with It)

You will need to click here to hear a portion of the song…. it is so new there is no you tube video with the entire song yet – you can listen on amazon or iTunes – scroll down to the song!!  It is so upbeat and fresh – perfect for your honey!

Tyrone Wells – And The Birds Sing   (from the Album:  Metal and Wood)

This will pick up any blue day for sure – just try it!

Matt Maher is one of my ALL TIME favorite worship singers – so powerful in his words and his style just resonates with me.   This is a brand new album and I just got it last night – listened to it while driving my son to school and had to sit parked in the garage to finish it all – so good!

Matt Maher – Because He Lives (Amen)  (from the Album:  Saints and Sinners) 

This song is amazing…. truly…. the words, the voice, the feeling of renewal….. it is more than I could ever say.  Close your eyes and let it sink in.

It Is Well – Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music  (from the Album:  You Make Me Brave) 

  

Come As You Are – David Crowder  (from the Album:  Neon Steeple)

Enjoy!

If you are looking to find new music, I love my Pandora – it plays constantly in our house, I pick an artist I like and it creates a station and then other similar artists play – this is how I find new music.  Love it!

The Journey of Finding a New Church

16
Mar
2015

Old wooden cross against wooden background. Sepia tone.

Fourteen years ago I stepped into a church, as a non-beleiver, searching for more.  My heart needed to know what my purpose was, about this God other’s talked about who loved them so much and what my future could be.  

I walked in one Sunday and stayed for nearly fourteen years.  

I gave my life to the Lord in that church, baptized myself and my daughter in that church, worked the welcome desk with my small children greeting other first-time visitors, participated in women’s ministry, watched my husband get baptized, found an incredible small group of woman that invited me in to share life with them and grew in my faith.

But our family entered a new season and we’ve known our time there has passed.  It has been time to move onto a different church and we’ve been struggling and fighting the transition.

It is hard.  It is painful.  You feel vulnerable and most of all, you have to begin again getting to know others – and as an introvert, it is very scary and so uncomfortable.  

This has been our season for the past nine months.  Visiting church after church each week to find one that is a fit for our family.  (And to be honest, there were many weeks we just skipped church because it was too exhausting….. and we would watch an online church service, which was better than nothing, but I know not what God has for us).

I know I am not the only one who passes through this season, so I thought I would share what I feel is important to look for when searching for a new church home.  Not that I am right or there are only certain things, but I think there are certain aspects of a church that are key in finding a home that feels just that – like home.

Worship

This is one of my highest ranking criteria for a church – to find one where I can feel completely at ease worshipping, singing, lifting my hands and feeling His presence.  I need this in my hurried pace I live in each day, a place to calmly lay it all down and be still.  Music fills a spot in my heart that nothing else can.

Children’s Ministry

As a mom of a five year old, finding a church were I feel my child can experience God in new ways that are not just my ways is important.  Being with children his age is important and finding a church that offers a somewhat structured approach to sharing and experiencing God’s word is critical. 

Serving

My husband knows we are being called to a church where we can be used to help others.  We have strengths and gifts that we can offer to help impact others – it is extremely important to my husband and I.  We learn so much through our life and when we share our giftings by serving we truly bless others.

Pastor Message

I need to hear from the Word of God each week.  I can do my own devotional time, which is my own discipline, but hearing from a Pastor who is gifted in sharing the Gospel in a way that I can identify and respond to is what feeds me.  Everyone has different needs, but for me I need to feel connected to a Pastor that I feel is genuine, authentic and realistic in the struggles we all face daily.

Small Group Community

No matter the size of the church I feel I grew more whenI was in a small group community.  You can be growing together as a group and it is exhilarating to be held accountable, be supported and know you have someone to call at 4 AM when things are going rough.  This is a top priority for us, finding a church where small group community is valued.

What other items would you add to the list, I am curious?  

This is a personal journey for us, and one that has affected me a great deal – more than I would have otherwise not realized.  Being without that “place” where I belong in my faith has dampened my spirit just a bit.  But I know we need to persist and He will lead us to the place He has next for us.

Compassion Update!

9
Mar
2015

God's Provision

It’s that time for me to share with you some updates from “our girls”!  For those who are new here, this blog – through your wonderful effort of using my amazon affiliate link sponsor FOUR girls in India through Compassion.  I have an easy amazon button on my home page that you can easily use to click through when making any purchase; it doesn’t cost you anymore but every little bit helps.

We started a year ago with sponsoring Shine, then after I shared with you how I would add to our sponsorship if amazon affiliate payments increased, we were able to add two more girls, Gold and Hannah in May.  Then you all continued to amaze me and we added another, Judith back in November and we are again ready to add TWO MORE to our sponsorship!!!  Isn’t that exciting!

We will have a total of SIX girls we are sponsoring together.

Changing the lives of girls on the other side of the world because of a very small effort – using an amazon affiliate link!! 

Letters

Here are some updated letters from the girls – they shared about a recent trip they took, how well they are doing in school, asked for prayers for their family and also drew some fantastic pictures!!

Pictures

I will be writing back in the next week, one thing which I really love is the fact that I can write back using the forms on the Compassion website, so I can actually copy the letter to each girl and then change it up a bit to personalize it.  Obviously, by adding several new girls, this letter writing could get more time consuming, but I really appreciate that Compassion has made it a bit easier.  

I can also attach photos easily to the letters I send – which I know is fun for them to see.

I will be getting a new graphic created with all the girls photos on it, we will be a total of SIX – so hopefully we can make it fit.  We are waiting to hear back to try to get girls from the same village as the four we already have, but we may have to pick another location near by.

Do you want to know my dream?  It is to plan a trip to India and then be able to meet these girls!  Yep, I know God has an amazing plan here with this entire journey and you just never know what He has planned in the future!

Watch for the updated graphic in the near future and I will share on the Facebook page when I get the names of the two new girls.  I know they would love you praying for them as well.