Monday, March 29, 2010

Praise and Prayer Need--Update on the Preemies

In January, I asked you all to pray for two families in our church that had preemies in late December.
Aidan, my friend Lori's son, was born at 25.5 weeks, weighing only 1.5 lbs.  He has spent the last few months in Denver and his family is hoping he can come home within the next few weeks.
This sweet little guy who used to be able to wear his Daddy's wedding ring as a super-sized wrist bracelet is now over 5lbs. and thriving.  His greatest hurdle is to learn to eat properly.  After lots and lots of work, he's finally succeeding.  His Mama is pumping around the clock, since he is too weak to nurse.  It has been a tough time for this family as their other 3 kids, age 2, 5, and 6 have had to be shuffled to their grandparents in Nebraska, to living with Mom in the Ronald McDonald House in Denver, to living with Dad when he has some time off of work here.  Another challenge is that Lori has had 3 rounds (THREE ROUNDS!!!) of bed bugs in the last few months and is desperately praying they don't come home with her to infest her whole house as she's dealing with adjusting to life with 4 kids.  Pray for Aidan to eat well and the bed bugs saga to end.  Praise the Lord for blessing Aidan with health and strength!

The other family from church who had a preemie, Gabriel, who was born 2 months early, bid him goodbye last Wednesday night. He had a rare condition that experts all over the country could not diagnose or help. They were able to keep him alive for a few months, trying various surgeries and medicines, hoping he would gain strength, but there wasn't a way to help him.  His family needs our prayers now more than ever as they grieve this tremendous loss.  We are thankful that little Gabriel is free from pain and happier and more whole right now than he could ever be on this earth, but grieved by the loss of his presence here with us.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lovin' My Little People Recap #2

Lovin' My Little People is a challenge I made for myself to look for ways to show my children extra love this month.  Each day I write a Lovin' My Little People status on facebook.  Here is my post featuring my first 10 ideas.  Here are the next 10.  At the end of the month I'll post the remaining 11 ideas.

#11: Leaning on God's strength to love my kids. Justus kept me up the entire night on Tues. with tooth pain and Jer was up literally the entire night last night feeling sick. If I could get Jer to stop crying and go to sleep for even a few minutes, Justus would be awake, crying or whimpering ...or thumping my bed. Finally gave up on trying to sleep even for a few minutes 'cause it was futile.
*Note*  All 5 of us got sick in this 2-day span.  Justus had a fever and teething and the rest of us got a horrible stomach flu.
#12--Resting with and cuddling with the kids all day. Sooo thankful for my wonderful Mom! I hope I can be half as wonderful of a mom as she is. She brought us some movies and 7Up last night and left a bag of food, including Saltine crackers, which we just happened to be hungry for, on the doorstep this morning, and has been checking up on us in spite of being busy at work.

#13: Time to get some fresh air! Since we all got between 11-14 hours of sleep last night we're ready for a bike ride! Ali loves riding her new bike and the boys love riding behind Mom in the bike cart.

#14: Loving my kids means caring for their physical needs, which is why I've put them to bed an hour earlier at 6 or 6:30pm the last few days. It's help them recuperate from illness and adjust to the time change. And it's definitely been nice for Mom and Dad too!

#15:  My kiddoes love to paint but as it is they usually only get to do it once a week. Today we're going to do a painting clinic at the kitchen table and do a variety of painting and stamping so that they will get their little hearts' fill of it!

#16: Going to work with the kids on memorizing Phil. 2:14, a favorite verse for every parent!

#17: Green shirts and green snacks and little school lesson about St. Patrick, missionary to Ireland. We're also going to the library storytime "Peter Rabbit" play.

#18: It's so much fun to sing with your kiddoes. In the course of a busy life it's all too easy to forget to do this. Making an effort today to sing with my little ones.

#19--You can try to do everything right, give your kids the best education, buy them lots of stuff, keep them in the best health, and shelter them from harm, but if you don't teach them the meaning of life and how they can have Life beyond this life and ultimate satisfaction, you have given them... NOTHING. Putting together a lesson plan for Easter week and teaching my kids the Truth.

#20: Time for some family fun! The Children's Museum is having their 10th anniversary circus-themed celebration today!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

28 Today!

Today I'm the ripe old age of 28!
My friends took me out to supper for a Girl's Night Out last Saturday to celebrate.
My friend Laura put together this nifty spa kit with soaps, bubble baths, bath pillow, relaxing music, candle, etc.  I love hot baths!
My other friend, Lora, who planned the Girl's Night Out, gave me this little tin of flower seeds.

Before my brother Colter left for Honduras a couple of weeks ago, he and Anna put together a nice meal and cupcakes for me as "surprise" early birthday party.  My mom and dad had a birthday meal for me last night and my brother, Grant, who recently moved back from Portland, was able to join us.  And my Thursday night Bible study group is going to share birthday dessert with me tonight.  My hubby is taking us all out for supper tonight and my college roomie and lifelong friend Hannah thoroughly spoiled me this year with a fun package.  So, all in all, I'm super blessed!
My friends had originally planned to take me to Thermopolis, a town in WY known for it's natural mineral hot springs.  But a spring snowstorm cancelled our plans so we went out for Mexican food and ended up talking for 4.5 hours straight!
Clockwise, starting on the left: Candis (my brand-new friend!), Laura, Jade, me, and Lora.
My mom popped in an hour late (she hadn't set her clock ahead for daylight savings time) and joined us for a couple of hours.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

He Cares

Photo credit: Amanda Kastner

Ever had one of those days as a Mom?  Where you are tempted to believe the lie that you can't do it anymore or that life is too hard?  Where the kids are driving you crazy with fighting and whining, or crying all night and not letting you sleep, or you have the stomach flu and have to care for everyone when you aren't feeling well?  I had one of those days recently.  I desperately needed encouragement.  I didn't feel strong enough to face the challenges of the day. 
And God stepped in, in His gentle way and reassured me that
Even though I don't deserve it.
Even though I continually look to other things to satisfy me.
Even though many others have greater trials than I do.
I was feeling desperate and all of a sudden I heard God speaking to me through a song from the Whirl n' Worship DVD the kids were watching.
It is a fun, upbeat, Jamaican-style song that says, "I can do everything, everything through Christ who gives me strength, oh, oh, Jesus gives me the strength I need, He gives me the strength I need, He gives me power from above...."
And the tears fell.
He cares
He gives me all the strength I need to get through this day, this difficult moment.  I'm not alone.  When I needed a word of encouragement, He was there, speaking through His Words set to a kid's song.

Train Cake

My friend Lora's son turned 2 on March 17th.  She made this really nifty cake which both William and brother Nicholas adored!  You can find the instructions here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blessing Other Through Celebration---The Party Stash

The Party Stash

Throwing a successful party or celebration starts with preparation.By keeping it simple, you will help yourself avoid burn-out.  By having a basic "party stash" you won't be caught off guard by special occasions and will have less to purchase for a celebration.

When Ali turned one, I went all out and bought Elmo party decor like crazy.  She loved Elmo and it was my first birthday party ever for my first kid.  Instead of using the plates and hats up in the days following the party, I saved them in my party stash bag.  I wiped the tablecloth down and it was as good as new (we didn't have toddlers at this point!)  I had at least half of all of the plates, cups, hats, napkins, etc. leftover.  So, it was a great thing that Jeremiah liked Elmo too because guess what he got for his first birthday party?  And the great thing was, his party was free!

One time I found cute baby shower plates on clearance for pocket change.  I didn't end up using them for a year or more, but when it came time to plan a friend's baby shower, I had them ready!  Having supplies on hand is especially important when you live 30 miles from the nearest Walmart and Dollar Tree. 

How to Acquire a Party Stash

1.  Collect festive tablecloths--I have 3 basic ones I love:
White--perfect for a fancier dinner, spring brunch, tea with ladies, etc.
Red--great for Christmas parties, Valentine's festivities, January birthdays, etc.
Christmas tablecloth

This summer I would like to find a summery floral tablecloth and a Thanksgiving/Autumn-colored tablecloth to add to my collection
For kid's parties I usually use a plastic disposable one from the Dollar Tree

Look at yard sales, thrift stores, end-of-season sales and clearances, request for birthday gifts, or ask your Grandma or Mom if they have any just sitting around that they wouldn't mind donating to you

2.  Save remnant supplies from birthday parties--instead of using the extra plates and cups up in the days after a party, stash them in a party stash bag in the pantry.  Use them for future parties or for tucking into a box with dinner for a new mom when you deliver a meal, or for a fancy touch when a friend comes over for tea.

3.  Stock up when you see a sale!  Especially for things that can be used for various occasions.  If you see fancy white napkins in the Walmart clearance aisle for 50 cents, nab them!  White napkins will work for just about any party.  See peach or pink plates?  These could work for a spring brunch, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, a girl's birthday party, a baby shower, a friend's birthday, a summer barbecue, etc.  Good places to look for party supply clearances:
Dollar Stores, especially end-of-season sales where everything is half off
Walmart or Target clearance aisles
Yard Sales--it's amazing how many brand-new, unopened things can be found at yard sales

*Unless you have a specific theme in mind for someone, stick with general party colors when stocking up ahead of time.  Solid colors, neutrals, general kid themes (like balloons, bright colors, alphabet, etc.) or non-gender specific baby shower plates, etc.  Buying spiderman plates may be wise if your son becomes a spiderman maniac someday, but if he doesn't, it was a waste, even if it was on sale.  Don't buy loads of decorations that you'll never use, cheapy little party favors that parents will just throw away immediately, or items that will only make your party more complicated for you.*

4.  Invest in quality dishes that aid in hospitality.  When I was hoping to switch my dishes over to Corelle a year and a half ago, I was thrilled to see the white set on 50% markdowns after Christmas.  White may be kind of blah to some people, but for me, it was the perfect color for a variety of parties and occasions!  By changing the tablecloth, the placemats, the cups, or the dining area, I can totally alter the theme of the meal, in spite of using the same white plates.  They are so versatile!  I love them for everyday use and for fancier meals with company! 
If you entertain a lot, look for functional kitchen pieces that can be used for dinner parties or celebrations.  I love finding pottery bowls, large baskets for breads/rolls/tortillas, or wooden salad bowls at yard sales.

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Haircut

Can I just say that I discovered I am the most un-photogenic person alive?  It took a lot of picture-taking attempts, and a lot of photo-editing just to be able to share these few photos on my blog!
My typical style for the last couple of years has been to twist it up in a clippy like this.

New Haircut:
She took about 4 inches off and layered the sides a little bit and used a straightener to fix it
It's still long enough for me to pull up the sides with clips if I so desire. 
My hair has natural wave so it looks fuller than the "salon-look" if I don't straighten it.
I like it!  I can also use hot rollers for a really curly look if I want to look fancier.
Because I had trouble getting an appointment with my favorite couple of hairdressers in town, I went to someone I didn't know.  Can I just say she was the most unprofessional hairdresser I've ever seen?  I seriously thought I would be crying when I left.  She complained about her work, used an unwashed comb and dirty apron, called her hubby and argued with him on the phone while cutting my hair, told me all of her problems, and acted like she was done after 5 minutes.  She also had greasy, unkempt hair and a grubby outfit on (not the greatest way to inspire clients) and insulted my current part ("Lose the butt crack on your head!"), even though it was a side-part, not a middle-part.  However, because she was mad at her husband she ended up taking 30 minutes on my hair instead of going home right away and did ask me for lots of input, so I ended up being really happy when I left the shop.  And at least the haircut was only $15!  But I definitely won't be going back there!  I'll plan ahead and call a few weeks ahead for an appointment at a more professional place!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fun at Home

Fingerpainting with butterscotch pudding
Dissolving foam capsules in water
(Are we the only family that received tons of these for Christmas?)
A & J made a puppet show and
came up with their own song for it
Painting is Ali's favorite past-time! 
Here she is painting jumbo macaroni shells.
(She did her own hairstyle that day )
On St. Patrick's Day
What happens when little brother wants to stamp with his siblings too
Jer loves the scooter! 
Ali loves her new bike!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mommy Cards

About a month ago, I read this post at Life as Mom about how you could get 100 personal cards for $1.99 at Vista Prints.  I had never heard of "Mommy Cards" before, but I got to thinking, "I could really use those!"  Anyone who knows me knows that I routinely meet new moms at the park, at ballet, at swimming, at church, etc. and love introducing them to other moms or inviting them into our group so they can make some friends.  I'm always having to search through a jumbled purse to find a scrap of paper to write my blog address or phone number on.  And my Dad too, is always asking me, "What's your blog address again?  I told some gals I met about it." 
So, I ordered 100 Mommy Cards and was excited to see them in the mail a couple of weeks later.  They have my name, phone number, e-mail address, and blog address on them.  I sealed them in tiny ziplocs and put some in my camera case, purse, park backpack, Ergo carrier, and van so that I'll always have them handy whether I'm on foot or driving.  I can't believe the emotional boost I got just from having my own colorful business card!  Even if I never used them, (but I know I will!), the emotional perk would be worth every penny of the $1.99 (+ shipping) that I paid for them!  I highly recommend them if you are a mommy that likes to meet new people!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blog Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Kristin, winner of the blog naming contest.  Her suggestion for my blog, "Faithful Homemaking" won the blog poll's most votes and was also my favorite out of all of the wonderful name choices you all came up with.  Because Kristin is planning to begin homeschooling this fall, she won a copy of the excellent book "Honey for a Child's Heart" by Gladys Hunt, which I hope will be very helpful to her.
Kristin and I met 10 years ago when we were attending the same small Christian college in northern MN.  Then when we were both newlywed couples in the same large apartment building, she and Nate lived directly beneath us (oh the stories they could probably tell about us =).  I think they started locking their door 24/7 after my husband barged into their apartment, thinking it was ours, having gone up 2 flights instead of 3 flights!  We've enjoyed being friends with them over the years, even though we now live 1,000 miles apart, and her blog is one of my favorites because of her witty and cheerful perspective on mothering and her excellent photos of her kids (I can't share this wonderful blog with all of you since it's private!)

Kristin is married to a super-fun guy named Nate, whose sweet Christmas gift to her was LASIK surgery after he noticed her having trouble reading the clock every morning when she woke up.  He's always looking for ways to bless his wife and is always making people laugh.   They have two darling kiddoes, Madison (4), and Noah (2) and live in northern MN but are in the process of moving to North Dakota in the next week!

Congratulations again to Kristin for her winning title! 
We wish you a very safe and successful move!

I'm so happy with my new blog name!  Thanks to all who sent in suggestions, those who voted, and to everyone who reads my ramblings here!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Blessing Others Through Celebration--Keeping Your Party Simple

Last week we covered


If you are new to party planning or want to keep things simple because you don't have a lot of help or time, here are some tips:

  • Where:  Have it at your home, a friend's house, or at your church
  • Who to invite?  Invite fewer people if possible.  Focus on the people whom the person is closest to.
  • What time:  Go with a time in the mid-morning or afternoon or after dinner to avoid having to serve a full meal.
  • Food: Opt for one main thing, like cake or ice-cream sundaes, with some small appetizers on the side: nuts, fruit, cheese and crackers, etc.  Simple drinks: water, hot tea and coffee, pink lemonade, koolaid, milk, pop.
  • Avoid games if you possibly can.  Games are fun and can make a party memorable, but if you are trying to keep things ultra simple, skip the games.
  • No need for music or entertainment, unless you want to just pop a favorite CD in for some background music
  • There is no need to really decorate if you want a simple party.  Decorations are the thing I probably like least.  I had fun doing a few things for my daughter, but most of the time I skip decorations or get a talented decorator friend on board with me when I do an event.  Often, they seem like a waste of time.  I've been to showers where there are tons of decorations and showers where there are none, and I think both were just as nice.  The thing that made the party special was being together, sharing in someone's joy, and blessing that person, not the decorations.  So, to keep things simple I usually limit my decorating to a nice tablecloth, a vase or two of flowers, and the occasional bouquet of balloons.
  • Party supplies:  Next week we'll talk about The Party Stash.  You can keep party supplies very simple by purchasing coordinating plates and napkins and cups at the Dollar Store for a few bucks.
  • Gifts:  In a couple of weeks I'll write about the gift stash and how to keep giving gifts simple for yourself. 
  • Invitations: In lieu of a formal, printed invitation, it's often very appropriate to send an e-mail invite, call folks on the phone, or talk to them in person.  This could save you time AND stamps!
Next week we'll talk about The Party Stash.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Monthly Menu Plan System

At the beginning of the month I print one of these calendar grid pages off of the internet and fill it in with all of the meals I hope to make during the month, based on what we have in the pantry, what I'm cooking for bulk cooking days, and what we like.  Then each night, I cross off what we had for supper so I know what we have left to choose from the next day.  This way I can be "prepared" but still eat according to what "sounds good" each day.  Of course the last couple of days of the month I don't have much of a choice!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


After 5 months of being on my weight-loss kick with my good buddies Hannah and Lesley, I've finally reached my main goal!  I sure wouldn't mind being 5# under my first goal for a final weight, but it's taken a lot of work to reach this goal, so I'm going to celebrate!  I do have to admit that the reason I reached it this week was because the kids and I got a horrible stomach flu and were pretty sick on Thursday.  However, I'm planning to eat very lightly in the next week or two as I recup and not just eat a lot and gain it all back.

My reward for reaching my goal is a new haircut, at a salon, which is a mega treat for me!  Being frugal in our house means we always do our own haircuts, but I've wanted a new style for a while, so I've been waiting and waiting, unable to shake those last few pounds no matter how much I get out and exercise with the kiddoes and walk the river walk. 

I'll be sure to post pics of my new-do!  I currently have longish hair that I twist up into a claw clip pretty much every day.  Time for a change!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lovin' My Little People Recap

Inspired by a friend who did a special emphasis on treating her kids extra special during the month of February I decided to challenge myself to Lovin' my Little People on facebook.  Each day of March I have been posting my plan for showing my kids extra measures of love for the day.  It's been a wonderful way to keep my priorities fresh and focus on showing my kids in new ways how much I really love them.  I tend to be a task-oriented Mama so it's helping me to be more of a "free-spirit" Mama.

I wanted to publish my daily ideas here 3x during the month to inspire you all to use some of these ideas to bless your own children.

Day #1:  Say "yes" to requests that I really want to say "no" to because they are an inconvenience to me.
Day #2:  Since my kiddoes spend hours each week coloring pictures for me, I'm going to surprise them by getting into the art supplies and making pictures for each of them!
Day #3:  In my kid's minds LOVE=TICKLES so I will plan to give each one of them a Tickle Torture today.
Day #4:  Took Justus swimming while the older kids had lessons so he wouldn't have to stare longingly at the water from the bleachers. He giggled with glee riding the "Mommy Boat" around the pool.
Day #5:  Going to pull out Grandma's special tea set and have a little tea party with my kiddoes on the little table in their bedroom.
Day#6:  Foot massages for their tiny toes, complete with a foot soak and peppermint foot lotion.
Day#7:  Daddy and Ali are going on a Daddy/Daughter Date to pick out a new bike for her, so it's just me and the boys. Going to bless them with their favorite foods for supper (after all...the way to a boy's heart is through his stomach!)
Day#8:  Let the kids, and not my schedule, determine when we stop reading library books today. I sure hope I have a voice left tomorrow!
Day#9:  Since training my kids is a part of loving my kids, I'm going to work with Jeremiah today on how to make his bed by himself, Alathia on how to sweep up the kitchen floor properly, and Justus on how to pick up toys.
Day#10:  One of our kids lacks confidence and motivation. We have decided as a parenting team to invest extra time, energy, and affection into this little person to help them grow and develop. Lots of training and one-on-one time and lots of praise, encouragement, and affection.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cute Gift Ideas

Ali's preschool teacher from last year, Miss Jenny, is uber-creative when it comes to gifts and cards.  When her daughter attended Ali's birthday party, this is what she brought: A butterfly net with a flower magnifying glass and some things for catching and examining bugs, including a tin pan she had stamped with paints in little bug shapes, and this little surprise for me, encouraging me to relax after the party.  Thanks Miss Jenny!
You can find the butterfly net here,
and the flower magnifying glass here.
And they have boyish butterfly nets here
and snake-shaped magnifying glasses here.
And last but not least, check out these little bug houses.
I wanted to share this idea with you all because it would make a darling, and educational gift for a little kid having a birthday this spring!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Swimming Safety Alert

Yesterday was a strange and scary day.  I saw a sweet, 3 year-old boy nearly drown at swimming lessons.  It occured while three lifeguards were in the vicinity, two of whom were supposed to be watching the 7 little kids in the class.  While the child wasn't choking or crying when he was finally rescued, he had been under the water for over 20 seconds (confirmed by 2 moms who were there). He wasn't being naughty, just leaned over to pop a bubble in the pool and fell in. 

It was terrifying for us moms in the bleachers, who alerted the unknowing lifeguards by screaming at the top of our lungs and pointing to get their attention.  We were all ready to dive out of the bleachers and into the pool when the lifeguard pulled him up.  He had come with his babysitter, who brings him with her son.  Thankfully, he seemed to be okay and not even scared of the water after being rescued.   However, when I later called his babysitter, she did say he kept trying to go to sleep afterwards, in the car, and spitting up a little bit, possible warning signs of dry drowning

Meanwhile, the lifeguards and us moms in the bleachers were pretty messed up for the rest of day.  Our hearts were racing and our eyes were glued to our children.  Because this same kind of incident happened when I was a child in swimming lessons, with no one assisting a little boy in my class who fell in until I reached down and pulled him up, I have been ULTRA paranoid careful about watching my kids in lessons, never leaving them at lessons to run errands, or letting them swim at a friend's house unless I'm present.  There will be a time for that when they are older and can swim well, but yesterday confirmed my suspicions that mothers must always be vigilant in protecting their children, even if they are in a seemingly safe place with trained professionals.  This doesn't mean they can never go anywhere without me, but learning to swim is a risky activity, and I want to be there when they are at risk.  I know my kids well.  I know how hard it is to keep them alive when they are precious little members of our family that I have cared for for thousands of days and nights and love with all of my heart.  Therefore, I know that no one, other than God, of course, (and I need His help) is going to look out for their best interests more than I.

Because a lot of moms read this blog I wanted to share this to encourage you to keep an eye on your kiddoes in the water, even if they are with trained professionals whom you trust.  Don't let your kids drown while they are learning how not to drown. 

In addition, work with your kids on how to scream for help if they see a friend fall in. There was a lot of screaming at my house yesterday as I encouraged my kids to practice yelling for a lifeguard.

Also, the little boy who fell in was at risk for dry drowning, which is a rare thing, but nevertheless, every mom who bathes her kids, lets them swim in the kiddie pool, or takes them to swimming lessons should at least know what it is and what the symptoms are.  Drowning doesn't have to occur only in water.  It can happen within 24 hours of a water-swalllowing episode while a child is napping.  So, become educated, and be vigilant. 
Safe Swimming to all of you!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blessing Others Through Celebration--First Steps

The first step to planning a successful celebration is that "P" word I'm forever talking about on this blog. 


 A party doesn't plan itself! 
Starting a month or two in advance will ensure plenty of time to get everything ready.

So, grab a notebook or your home management binder, find a pen, and begin scratching down the framework for your celebration.

Who is it for?
Where will it be?
Who will be invited?
What time will this event occur?
What will be served?
Will games be played?  If so, what games?
Will there be music or entertainment?
Will there be a speech/talk or devotional?
Decorations Needed:
Party supplies Needed:
Gift(s) for the special person?
Invitations?  When will they be sent out?

And most importantly.....WHO WILL HELP YOU?????

The biggest key to throwing a successful celebration is sharing the load.  Now, if you're just planning to make a simple cake and have a bite of cake after dinner with a family member for their birthday, you may not need help.  If you're meeting friends at a restaurant for a quick bridal shower over lunch, you can skip some of the details and probably won't need to share the load.  But if you have quite a few people coming for a large birthday party, shower, etc., do not try to do the celebration yourself.  I repeat....
I need this reminder because I tend to be the type that would attempt to do so.

The fastest way to burnout as a "Celebration Manager" is to try to do the snacks, games, decorations, devotional, games, and coordinating  for a big event with no help. 

So....when contemplating WHO WILL HELP YOU, think about the relatives, friends, church acquaintances of the person you are throwing the party for and drop some hints or make some calls.  Many times, I have discovered that while I was planning on doing a shower for someone, their other friends were also thinking about it and it was a relief for both of us to come together and "share the load" instead of one person planning everything.  And even though I did most of the birthday party prep for Ali's Angelina Ballerina Birthday by myself, I did invite my mom to help with crowd control and serving the food, and was grateful for a few moms who stuck around and helped me with the games.  Even for a kid's birthday, which isn't on the same scale as throwing someone a large shower, it was wonderful to have help!

Events I have planned/helped plan so far this year:

Birthday party for a friend
Birthday party for my mom's 50th
Ali's Angelina Party
Birthday dinner at a restaurant for a friend
Birthday Bash for two gals in Bible Study having milestone birthdays in January

Events I have coming up so far this year:

Modesty Night for teen girls in late March
Bridal Shower for my friend Amber who eloped in November
Baby Shower for my friend Tracy
Easter Dinner with my family
Mother's Day lunch with my folks
Father's Day picnic with my folks
Baby Shower for friend in June
Celebration Picnic for my parent's 30th Anniversary
(which was last summer, but we never did get around to having a party)
Bible Study Baby Shower for a "miracle baby" in July
Attending at least 6 other baby showers this year on top of those listed above
Mother-Daughter Night at Church for teen girls and their moms
Jeremiah's 4th Birthday Party with friends
(which he currently says will be a dinosaur theme,
but we won't hold our breath as it changes often)
Justus' Second Birthday Party (with family only)

As you can see, this is going to be a busy year!  Last year it seemed everyone under the sun got married and this year there are countless people we know having babies.  There is a lot of celebrating going on! 

Which means I'd better dig out my notebook and get busy!

I'd love to hear how you prepare for a celebration and how you have shared the load with others in the past.  And what events do you have coming up this year that you are responsible for?

Next week we'll cover:

Keeping your Party Simple

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Blessing Others Through Celebration

Ali holds my friend Tracy's 3 day old baby, Samantha

As the years go by, I'm discovering that one of the primary responsibilities of being a Christian woman, wife, mother, and light for Christ is "Celebration Manager."  Whether it's a birthday luncheon for a roommate, a brunch for your husband's co-workers, a shower for a friend getting married, or your children's birthday parties, every women finds herself in the midst of many celebrations during the year.

Because "celebrations" of various kinds are a frequent part of life and a tool for ministering to others, I want to spend some time focusing on how to throw a successful celebration to encourage those of you who get chills thinking about hosting a party. 

I encourage those of you young women who are still living at home to train in the area of hospitality by reading books about parties and group games, by experimenting in the kitchen, by taking a cake decorating class, by throwing birthday celebrations for your siblings, etc.  The more you practice now, the easier it will be when you are managing the celebrations in your own home someday.

So, look for a weekly post on Blessing Others Through Celebration beginning this Tuesday!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


One of my good friends pointed out to me that this post ended up publishing on my blog accidentally a week ago, leading her to believe that she had somehow missed a pregnancy announcement.  I'm not sure how it happened but I just wanted to point out to all of you, especially my feed reeders, who may have got it in your inbox that it was first published February 25th, 2008 when I was pregnant with Justus, and somehow accidentally published again on February 25th, 2010.  I fixed the mistake as soon as I saw it.  Sorry for the confusion!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Truth that Sets us Free

I've been posting about the Lies Women Believe and today I will share The Truth That Sets Them Free!

Truth sets us free, protects us, and sanctifies us.

1.  God is good. (Ps. 119:68, 136:1)
God is good and everthing He does is good.  I may not see His hand, but I know His heart.
2.  God loves me and wants me to have His best (Rom. 8:32, 38-39)3.
3.  I am accepted in Christ (Eph. 1:4-6)
4.  God is enough (Ps. 23:1)
5.  God can be trusted (Isa. 38:16)
6.  God doesn't make any mistakes (Isa. 46:10)
Everything that comes into my life has been "filtered through His fingers of love."
7.  God's grace is sufficient for me (2 Cor. 12:9)  God is drawn to my weakness.
8.  The blood of Christ is sufficient to cover all of my sin (1 John 1:7)
9.  The cross of Christ is sufficient to conquer my sinful flesh (Rom 6:6-7).  I don't have to sin! (rom 6:14)
10.  My past does not have to plague me (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
My past failures can become stepping stones to greater victory and fruitfulness
If I will let Him, God will cause everything that has happened to me to work together for my good and His Glory.
11.  God's Word is sufficient to lead me, teach me, and heal me (Ps. 19:7, 107:20, 119:105)
12.  Through the power of His Holy Spirit, God will enable me to do anything He commands me to do (1 Thess. 5:24, Phi. 2:13)
There is no one I cannot forgive (Mark 11:25)
There is no one I cannot love (Matt. 5:44)
I can give thanks in all things (1 Thess. 5:18)
13.  Forgiveness is a choice.
14.  Contentment is a choice.
15.  I am responsible before God for my behavior, responses, and choices.  (Ezek. 18:19-22)
16.  I will reap whatever I sow (Gal. 6:7-8)
17.  The pathway to true joy is to relinquish control (Matt. 16:25, Luke 1:38, 1 Peter 5:7)
of my life
of my husband
of my children
of my circumstances
18. The greatest freedom I can experience is found through submission to God-ordained authority (Eph. 5:21)
The husband is the head of the wife (Eph. 5:23)
The wife is to respect and submit to her husband (Eph. 5:23, 33)
The heart of the king is in the Lord's hand (Prov. 21:1)
19.  In the will of God, there is no higher, holier calling than to be a wife and mother (Titus 2:4-5)
20.  It is more important that I be holy than that I be happy (Eph. 5:26-27)
Happiness is not a right.  I have a responsibility and calling to be holy.
21.  God is more concerned about changing me and glorifying Himself than about solving my problems (Rom. 8:29).
22.  It is impossible to be holy without suffering.  Suffering is the #1 tool in the hand of God to conform me to the image of Jesus (1 Peter 5:10)
23.  My suffering will not last forever (2 Cor. 4:17-18)
24.  It's not about me.  It's all about Him!  (Col 1:16-18, Rev. 4:11)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lies Women Believe

Yesterday I listed the lies women believe from the mini-retreat I attended.  It was based on Nancy Leigh Demoss' book called Lies Women Believe.

As I listened to the sessions and began check-marking the lies that I found myself believing or tempted to believe lately, I was amazed at how many there were.  I need LOTS of work!  Here are some of the lies I caught in my own life:

*God is enough

I know He is intellectually, but so often I dwell on what I don't have (like a house) instead of Him

*God should fix my problems

I want instant relief from trials and hardship. 
But God is not a genie in a bottle, whose wish is my command.  So often my prayers revolve around pleas for help and for answers to my requests, instead of focusing on Him and what He is doing for His glory in my life.

*I cannot walk in consistent victory over sin. 

Time and time again of blowing it in a certain area can make you feel that you will never see progress or change.

*I can make it without consistent time in the Word and in prayer. 
I know this isn't true, but so often I allow the "urgent" demands of the day steal this time from me.

*I don't have time for everything I'm supposed to do! 

The truth is that I don't have time to do everything I want to do or that others want me to do, but I do have enough time to do what God asks of me.

*Children are a burden. 

While I would never say this to my friends, I do communicate this to my kids much of the time.  Frustration with the constant messes, irritation over having to stop my work to wipe a poopy bottom or get them the 100th thing for the day says to my kids that they are a burden and an inconvenience rather than a blessing and a joy.

*I can't forgive or love a difficult person in my life. 

*I can't help the way that I feel. 
I can't control my emotions.  I can't do what's right when my emotions are out of whack. 

*I just can't take anymore. 

(I caught myself saying this just a few days before the seminar when my hubby was working a 60-hour week and I was virtually a single parent all week long.

*If my circumstances were different
(like, if we had a home of our own, or didn't have to move again) I would be happier.

What lies do you find yourself
believing or living out in your life?

Cake Tip

I mentioned that I made the Angelina cake a couple of days before the party to save myself stress the day of the party.  How did I protect it in a small house with lots of little children that love cake?
My first thought was to grab a cardboard box to put it in, but then I thought of the dust, dirt, and smells that it could absorb if I went that route.  So, I decided to raid my kids' closet.  I am a container-freak and have all their playsets and homeschooling supplies in plastic tubs so I had plenty on hand.  I just dumped one out, stored the games that had been in it on a shelf temporarily, rinsed it out, flipped it over, and kept the cake safe!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lies Women Believe

I had the priviledge of attending a mini-retreat on Saturday with my Mom at her church.  It was on "Lies Women Believe and The Truth That Sets Them Free."  We watched a few Nancy Leigh Demoss talks on this subject, had some good discussion, and had an excellent lunch and encouraging fellowship.  I came away feeling convicted of many of the lies I had been "buying into" and challenged by the Lord to think on the truth.  A couple of my good friends asked about what the lies were and I got to thinking that it would be good to post them so that all of my blogreaders could benefit.  Some are controversial and need to be taken in context. 


1.  God is not really good.  If He were, He would.....
2.  God doesn't love me.
3.  God is just like my father.
4.  God is not really enough.
-God's Word is not really sufficient to deal with my problems.
-Someone/Something else can make me happier than God can.
5.  God's ways are too restrictive.
6.  God should fix my problems.
7.  I'm not worth anything.
8.  I can't help the way that I am.
9.  I have my rights.
10. Beauty is external and physical.
11. Physical beauty matters more than inner character.
12.  I should not have to live unfulfilled longings.
13.  It's okay to do whatever I need to do to get my needs met.
14.  This body of believers doesn't really need me.  I can just hide here.
15.  God can't forgive what I have done.
16.  My sins aren't really that bad.
17.  I can sin and get away with it.
      a.  I won't get what I deserve.
      b.  The choices I make today will not have consequences.
      c.  I can play with fire and not get burned.
18.  I am not responsible for my sinful choices and reactions.
19.  I cannot walk in victory over sin.
20.  I can make it without consistent time in the Word and prayer.
21.  A career outside the home is more valuable and fulfilling than being a wife and mother.
22.  I don't have time to do everything I am supposed to do!
23.  I have to have a husband to be happy.
24.  It's my responsibility to change my mate.
25.  Marriage should be a democracy.  Equal say.  Equal rule.
26.  My husband is supposed to serve me and make me happy.
27.  Both mates are responsible to provide for the family.
28.  If I submit to my husband, I will be miserable.
29.  If my husband is passive, then I've got to take the bull by the horns and do something.
30.  My marriage is hopeless.  It can never change.
31.  I'm better off getting a divorce than staying in an unhappy marriage.
32.  If my husband doesn't love and respect me, I have the right to leave him.
       (This is not referring to situations of abuse).
33.  If my husband isn't faithful to me, I am free from my vows.
34.  I should not have to put up with suffering in my marriage.
35.  If my husband were unfaithful to me I could never forgive him.
36.  I would be happier if I left my husband and married another man.
37.  We should determine the size of our family based on how many children we want, how many we think we can handle nad how many we think we can provide for.
38.  Children are a burden.
39.  All children will go through a rebellious state.
40.  If I weren't tied down by children I could do more to serve the Lord.
41.  We are not responsible for how our children turned out.
     (Not that this guarantees they will follow Christ or that we can be prideful in our children)
42.  Children need to get exposed to the real world so they can learn to function in it.
43.  I just can't forgive so and so.
44.  I just can't love so and so.
45.  I can't help so and so.  She needs a professional counselor.
46.  I can't help the way that I feel.  I can't control my emotions.
47.  My emotions area  reflection of the truth.  If I feel unloved, that means I am unloved.  If I feel alone, that means I am alone.
48.  It's understandable to act like a shrew at certain times.
49.  My depression is probably caused by a chemical imbalance.
 (Sometimes this is the case, but is often blamed when it is really spiritual depression)
50.  I can't do what's right when my emotions are out of whack.  Tiredness is not an excuse for carnality.
51.  If my circumstances were different, I would be different.
52.  I am a victim.  (Past offences, upbringing, circumstances)
53.  My circumstances will never change.  This will go on forever.
54.  I just can't take anymore.

Tomorrow I will share the lies that I really struggle with and the following day I will share the truth that replaces those lies we women believe.  Prayerfully read over this list and consider, "Which lies do I seem to be living out in my life?"  We may say we don't believe them consciously, but our actions speak louder than words.  We may say time in the Word is of utmost importance, but do we LIVE it?  Which lies are you LIVING OUT in your life right now?

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