Thankful Thursday!

It is Thankful Thursday time and since I have been so busy the last month that I have hardly had a chance to share I am here to say I am thankful for being here!  🙂

There is so much to be thankful for, even for busy schedules sometimes.  But as I think on my life, what is in it and who is in it, what I am truly thankful for is my family.  They are a true gift from God and I am 100% blown away by how amazing it is to have them in my life!

This man is the most amazing man I know. He is my best friend, lover and God given gift. He is an incredible dad and husband. I am so proud of the man he is and the man he is becoming. I am so very thankful for him!

Here is my man with my Muppin… another wonderful thing I am thankful for! If you can’t tell what they are doing in the center… He is throwing gold fish into the air and she is catching them. Such a wonderful day!

I am also thankful for my daughter’s amazing imagination! She builds amazing things out of whatever she finds, and has so much fun doing it. Creativity is a true gift from God as He is the ultimate creator!

What are you thankful for?  I would love to have you join me and shout out what God has done in your life that you are truly thankful for.  There is so much that we take for granted.. Don’t!!! 🙂

Join Divas With A Purpose ~ Thankful Thursday!

Thankful Thursday

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Summer of Service A.C.T.S.

The summer is winding down as evidence by the crazy whirlwind that my life is right now!  I have been busier than ever and it isn’t going to slow down for a few more days.  In just hours I am off to our yearly women’s retreat at our church to serve and minister to other women and to hear what God has to say to me.   As I prepare to leave I am reminded of something wonderful that begins next week.  So before I leave I wanted to share A.C.T.S. (A Call To Service) with you!  It is not for us adults.  Us mom’s know how hard we serve already.   😉    This is a program to get our kids to serve!

Why serve?

Our culture puts an extravagant amount of energy into raising kids who will grow up to feel good about themselves. In schools, clubs, homes, and even at church, adults have made a decided effort to bolster children’s “self-esteem” –not by actually encouraging kids do something that’s worthwhile, but by simply telling them they are important and valuable.

At the turn of the century, researchers predicted that the next generation would respond to these efforts of raising self-esteem by being filled with optimism and civic duty. Unfortunately, recent research shows the opposite. Kids coming of age today are more self-centered, disrespectful of authority, and depressed than ever before.

In a very real way, then, the best path toward building selfless, confident children is to help and encourage them toward a growing and thriving faith in God. And that includes obedience to what God teaches—not because it makes kids feel good, although it often does—but because they’re following God’s instructions to love Him and serve others. That builds a faith they can count on and carry with them into adulthood—which is the greatest gift any parent can bestow on their child.

Join Adventures in Odyssey this summer to discover how fun it can be to serve others!

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=dcb1346767&view=att&th=13e8ec22ea82a46c&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P873rJS1u4yrBsktQqV7xgG&sadet=1368747677139&sads=s6tVvE2OvIhx3WQIqkOJHfMLY3QAdventures in Odyssey, the beloved audio series from Focus on the Family, has encouraged kids toward a stronger faith for 25 years. Whit, Connie, Eugene, and the other loveable characters from Odyssey have shared countless adventures with kids across the world in the classic audio dramas, books, videos, and devotionals, fulfilling the AIO promise to help kids discover, imagine, and grow.

This summer, Adventures in Odyssey is joining with Christian bookstores across the country, inviting kids to participate in a Summer of Service. They’re promoting the biblical message, “When you serve, everybody wins,” encouraging kids to serve their families, their communities, and their world. Whether it’s baking cookies for an elderly neighbor or putting together a care package for missionaries overseas, kids will discover that serving can be a blast!

How the A.C.T.S. (A Call to Service) challenge and contest works:

Kids who join A.C.T.S. can pick up a service log and collect fun character stickers for hours served at participating bookstores throughout the summer, or download a serving log online at whitsend.org.  At the end of the summer, kids can record and upload a short video telling how they serve and why they’d like to become an Adventures in Odyssey Ambassador.

A hundred winners will get the brand new AIO Album, and after online voting, two grand prize winners (one boy and one girl) will get to travel on an exciting Good-Goers Mission Based Adventure trip to another country with a parent!  The out-of-country destination will be announced on a live podcast May 22—hosted by AIO actors Katie Leigh (Connie) and Chris Anthony (Chris)—which you can watch at whitsend.org/acts. You don’t want to miss it!

Just to show you some love you can download a free mp3 file of the AIO Service episode, Business of Busyness as well as the free PDF download of summer service ideas for kids.   Enjoy!

What will you be doing with your kids this summer to serve?  I look forward to hearing some fun ideas!  God Bless!!!

Three Ways You Are A Leader in Everyday Life … and how to be a better one

Tricia Goyer is one of my favorite authors and I have the privilege to be able to have her here as a guest blogger!  Her most recent book, which you might have heard me talk about, is called “Lead Your Family Like Jesus.”  It is a book written by her, Phil Hodges and Ken Blanchard.  You can see the first of my three reviews here, “Lead Your Family Like Jesus.”

LeadYourFamily_1.99In her guest blog with us she is going to discuss what it means to be a leader and how to be a better one.  I hope you are truly blessed by her wisdom and for a limited time you can get her book on Kindle for only $1.99 which is an amazing deal.  Without further hesitation, here is Tricia.

Three Ways You Are A Leader in Everyday Life … and how to be a better one

Many people are confused about the term “family leader.” As I’ve blogged about moms being leaders I’ve had both men and women pipe up, “But wait, the man’s supposed to be the leader in the home, right?” Yes, but women are leaders, too, in many ways you may not realize.

1.  You are a Leader in Your Role As Spouse. Yes, friends, I believe in the “S” word … submission. I believe God has called men to be the spiritual head of the home, and the one to care for and provide for his wife and family and lead the family unit. I believe wives come under their headship in willing submission … yet women are leaders too.

Any time you strive to guide the thoughts, behavior or direction of another person we are a leader! Or as John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Go ahead, read that again. Mom, you are a leader! Wife, you are a leader! Your thoughts and attitudes guide your closest relationships. Family leadership can be as intimate as offering words of guidance and encouragement to a discouraged loved one, or it can be as directive as issuing specific instructions on how to drive the family car.

2.  You are a Leader in Your Community. A man or a woman’s position as a family leader also extends beyond the four walls of the home. Just think of your roles at your work, at your child’s school, and in your neighborhood. Influence can also be exhibited in your roles as church volunteers and community leaders. These are important roles in our every day life, especially since many couples today are often not well-connected with siblings and parents. Many families are spread out, living far from extended family members. This causes many couples to create their own “family units” with like-minded friends. These are the people they vacation with and spend free time with. Seeking God in roles is important because it’s then couples realize they can be a positive influence in their church and community outside of their own home.

3.  You are a Leader in Your Extended Family. Sometimes this is the hardest place to be a leader. We can’t choose our relatives, and sometimes the relationships with parents, siblings, aunts, uncle and cousins can be the hardest. Often people are put into “roles” within their family. Yet in your actions and reactions you are showing leadership—whether you like it or not.

In each of these areas … you make an impact!

As a leader you …

  • Build enduring relationships within the home that can have far-reaching impact beyond the home
  • Set the basic direction of life values, character development and relational behavior
  • Involve seasons of personal sacrifice to promote the spiritual and physical well-being of others
  • Sustain love, loyalty, trust, mercy, forbearance, forgiveness, and sacrifice
  • Mature and grow
  • Foster values of love, compassion, trust, commitment, honesty, and grace within its members.

Think your role as a leader doesn’t matter? Think again. The #1 way you can be a better leader in each of these areas is to pray.

Today take a few minutes to pray for your role as a leader.

Pray for your leadership in your family.
Pray for your leadership in your church.
Pray for your leadership in your neighborhood.
Pray for your leadership at work and school.
Pray that God will show you how to lead.
Pray you will submit to His leadership in your life.

The impact we can have in the lives of people around us can’t be underestimated … and only prayer prepares us for the work ahead!

Leader Everyday Life Photo 2

Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions Giveaway!

12-Day Diverting Dinnertime Giveaway  

Do your kids clam up at dinner time? Are you tired of asking them how their school day went that being the extent of the conversation? John Avery Whitaker of Adventures in Odyssey’s Whit’s End has just the solution for you: Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions. Tricia Goyer and Crystal Bowman helped him come up with 90 ideas to help build your kids’ faith and your relationships.

To celebrate, Tricia is hosting a 12-day Diverting Dinnertime Giveaway! From April 20 to May 1, visit this page for a new giveaway each day. Only those in the U.S. are eligible to win. Oh, and don’t forget to come to her Facebook party on May 1 (RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/350106761758181); you might see a few familiar Adventures in Odyssey characters.

Head here to enter Tricia’s 12-Day Diverting Dinnertime Giveaway!

I have personally used this devotional with my daughter and she loves it!  Look for my review soon and a giveaway for that as well!

Homeschool & Horses!

One of the things I love about homeschooling are the opportunities you might not get if you are going to a public or private school all day.  One of those things is horse riding lessons!  And yes, they are part of our homeschool curriculum, can you say life lessons about responsibility!  horse lessons 8

This was Muppin’s first lesson for riding and as you can see she is thoroughly in love already!  Right from the start she was given the opportunity to do things for herself, something that I loved.  My heart did skip a beat when she was standing next to that huge animal… she looked so small!  But she had no fear and lapped every second up.

Horse lessons 9

She got to do everything that you would need to do to be a good rider.  The only thing left to her trainer was saddling the horse, she was a bit short to do that 😉  But still, she helped with that part too.  She has a great trainer (Josie at Gillespie Performance Horses) who shows great kindness to her and the horse.  Muppin was riding by herself within in about 10 minutes and did wonderful.  I was shocked really.  She is truly a natural (in my untrained eyes of course).. and truly in love!  That is all I have heard about over the last few days, and I love it!

It is time to get out her horse unit study again and start adding to it!  Her book is getting big and so is her smile.  Do something fun with your child today in your homeschool!

Enter to WIN an iPad Mini from @TriciaGoyer & RSVP for a Live Webcast Event

Celebrate the release of Lead Your Family Like Jesus with Tricia by entering her iPad Mini Giveaway and RSVPing for the Lead, Momma Lead LIVE Webcast Event (with MomLife Today’s Tracey Eyster) on April 16th.

LYFLJiPadGiveaway300

One winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini
  • A Tricia Goyer library

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 15th. Winner will be announced at the “Lead, Momma Lead” Live Webcast Event on April 16th. Connect with authors and everyday moms, Tricia Goyer and Tracey Eyster, for an evening of sharing and perspective-changing encouragement for leading your family. Tricia and Tracey will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Lead Your Family Like Jesus and join Tricia and Tracey on the evening of April 16th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 16th!

Keepsakes

Kellie Elmore has a wonderful little thing she does each Friday called Free Write Friday and each week she comes up with amazing prompts.  This week her prompt is “Keepsakes”.  What is the one special item that we have and what does it mean to us?  Or maybe our keepsake is a memory or a special moment in time we will never forget.

~Monkey~

It was difficult for me to think of my special keepsake at first.  I have lots of things that mean something to me but nothing really that was coming to the front of my mind. Then I thought of my daughters little monkey.  We got Monkey (monkey’s official name) in September 2004, two months before my daughter was due.  We were on an early anniversary trip to the coast because my doc didn’t want me that far away from home so close to my due date.  It was an amazing trip and that is where we saw this little monkey in one of the toy stores and knew we had to have it.  It was so small and cuddly that it would be perfect for her to love on while she was little.

My pregnancy was not easy to say the least.  It took a long time to get pregnant and we thought maybe we would never have a child because of the problems.  Then once pregnant I seemed to have one difficulty after another, from severe nausea/vomiting throughout the whole pregnancy, nerve damage in my leg,  and gestational diabetes to name just a few.  The scariest parts of my pregnancy though, would come when we got home from our trip that brought us Monkey.  For the last almost month before my doctor insisted on taking her early my daughter had stopped moving and growing in my stomach.  This little monkey became so important to me and I remember thinking that I can’t lose my little girl, and I held that monkey many days when I was home alone just praying she would be ok.

charis 3 weeks

My silly little Muppin and Monkey at one month old.

My daughter was brought into this world only two weeks early yet she was so tiny.  What an amazing day it was to bring her into this world.  She was beautiful, full of life.  We ended up in the hospital all week because she was not thriving as well as they hoped, and I had some minor complications because of a reaction to the drugs, but we were ignorant to that because to us she was amazing!  We were only allowed to go home over the weekend if we brought her back on Saturday for more tests to make sure she was ok.  I remember the first couple weeks (maybe more) going to the doctor’s office every other day, yet thinking nothing of it, because that is what you do… right?

I am so glad I was not all with it in those short weeks!  If I had known how sick she was I might have fallen apart. Monkey though was with her through it all.  She was in her little bed at the hospital, next to her many nights and days at home, and while she was meant to bring my daughter comfort, it was me that she really soothed.  Monkey was a silly little gift from God that no one would really understand.  And to this day it holds a special place in my heart.  For me, it tells the whole story of the joy and trials of my daughters entry into this world.  And what a wonderful thing that is.

Charis 8 years

And my beautiful little Muppin today with silly Monkey! What a joy she is in our lives and what a joy Monkey still is in hers.

If you have not joined Kellie Elmore for her Free Write Friday prompts you are missing out.  Click the picture below to go to her site, you will be blessed!