STRONG… Like a Girl!

The video, #LikeAGirl, is excellent about the strength and uniqueness of being a girl!  We have all used “Like a Girl” in a negative way, time to change the way we use the words that we say because they can be damaging without us even knowing it. “Like A Girl” is a good thing!  Watch the video below!

Now the question is, are you Strong Like A Girl???

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Yes, this is my girl and she IS Strong… Like A GIRL!

Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions Giveaway!

I have had the great pleasure of reviewing a couple books by Tricia Goyer.  I have fallen in love with her writing, both fiction and non-fiction and have now been given the opportunity to review a devotional for children that she has been able to work on.  The devotional is Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions by John Avery Whittaker with help from Tricia Goyer and Crystal Bowman.

Mealtimes in our day and age are very sadly a dying thing.  Many people are so over-booked, overworked and overwhelmed to sit down and take a meal together because there just doesn’t seem to be enough time.  But what a wonderful thing for the family it is.  There have been many studies that show that families who eat meals together regularly have less troubles within themselves and with their kids as they grow older.  The family grows into a tight knit unit and I ask this…  how wonderful is that!

This devotional is wonderful because it gives the family something fun to chew on during that mealtime.  It gives your mealtime more meaning that just the fact that is is centered around food.  They are short fun little devotionals.  And each one is a little different.  Sometimes they require getting out the Bible, other times it is just about asking and answering questions.  Regardless, they are so great and filling.  I highly recommend it for your family.  They will love it as much as I do!  But the best test was my daughter… she is head over heals in love with this devotional and ask, “Do we get to do the devotional again!!!”  She can’t wait!

Here is a copy of the first several pages if you would like to check it out for yourself!

Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions!

Now after all that I have something exciting for you!  I have been given a free book to give away here on my site!  Yay! I am so excited I can hardly stand it!  So, if you are interested in winning this book there are a few ways you can enter to win it.

1.  Leave a comment below with your favorite devotional that you do with your kids.  Also, if you have a special thing you do at mealtimes to make it more meaningful, please share with us so we can have some fun too!  Also leave a note if you followed my blog, Facebook page or Twitter page as well.. so I can be sure to count those entries as well!

2.  Follow my blog 🙂  Easy peasy!

3.  Follow my Facebook page!

4.  Follow my Twitter page!

5.  Post on Facebook about this giveaway!

6.  Tweet on Twitter about this giveaway!

7.  Pin this giveaway on Pinterest!

If you post, tweet or pin an this please leave a link for me in your post below!  🙂

That is it!  There are 7 easy ways to enter!  I will be picking the winner June 22th!  Good luck to you all!  God bless!

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!!!

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!

Motherhood…

serendipity fwf word

I was looking for motherhood.  I had been longing for it for years.  I wanted nothing more than to be a mom to some little girl or boy and I wanted to have this amazing family.  My husband and I had been doing all the things you do to try to get pregnant.  Seeing specialists, taking tests, having procedures done and taking lots of hormones.

It seemed to be a lost cause.  I had been taking hormones for more than 2 years and we were getting into dangerous territory.  Any more time on the medication could lead to complications for me and possibly cancer down the road.  We didn’t want to take that chance.  If God’s answer was no, then it was no and we didn’t want to risk my life trying to do what God didn’t want us to.

Well after failed IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) and all the above mentioned trials we decided that this final month (March 2004) would be the last month we use hormones and if it didn’t work we would move forward with a life without kids or we would look into adoption.

I remember clearly that my heart was downcast and sad at the prospect of never having my own child and sad that I wouldn’t be giving my man a child of his own.  I was getting ready to call in my final prescription when I decided to take one more pregnancy test.  I knew Mark would be frustrated with me for taking one for no reason but I couldn’t help myself.  Why order new medication if I was pregnant right?  It was expensive stuff!

After taking the test all I could say was that I was in a state of shock.  I sat dumbfounded looking at the stick and remember clearly whispering these words, “There’s a line, there’s never been a line…”  I slowly walked out to the other room to show my man and his words were exactly the same.  Both of us in disbelief.  We had just had this serious conversation about not trying anymore and now there is this line.

Considering we were in such a state of shock and that the test couldn’t possibly be right, I took another test from another box and found the results to be the same.  I was amazed, excited and worried all at the same time.  What if the tests were wrong??? The only thing to do was buy another test and take another one.  Saturday night after church we went and bought another test from a different store and took it home.  And just like a big smile from God it showed the same results.

True serendipity through and through.  We longed for this little life, but after many years and trials had lost all belief, all hope it would happen, and had absolutely no expectation what-so-ever that God would honor us with such a gift.  God is so good.  He waits until it will mean the most and then gives the best presents we could ever want.  Our Muppin is such a perfect fit to our little family too.  We are truly The Three Amigos!

Don’t forget that when you least expect it, God will deliver to you a serendipitous moment you will never forget.

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This was written from a prompt from Free Write Friday.  The topic was decided by the photo at the top of the page, Serendipity!  To join the writing prompt click the button below and it will take you to Free Write Friday’s page.

Grab a Button!

The Child Training Bible (CTB) Part 2!

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It has been a couple months now that I have been using the CTB (Child Training Bible).  In simple terms, it is an amazing tool!  I must admit that I do not use it all the time.  However there is a notable difference in my Muppin’s behavior when I do!  And the only reason I don’t use it all the time is simply that I can be lazy… sigh.  I need to work on that 😉

I found out about CTB about 4 months ago and it truly intrigued me.  I mean really, use the Bible as a source of correction and growing up our kids?  Who would have ever thought of that?  Oh yeah, God!  lol  He is the most perfect parent and if we just lean on Him we can do what we need to as parents.  Anyway… I wanted one the first time I saw it.

Now the CTB takes a bit of work to put together but it is really pretty easy.  To see my thoughts on assembling the CTB click this link to my first review ~ The Child Training Bible (CTB)

When you order from CTB you don’t actually get a Bible, you get the CTB Chart Set but on that same order page there are convenient links to all the other supplies you will need as well.  You will need to get a Bible, and the Charts only fit a particular size so I recommend using the links on CTB‘s site to find one right for you.  You will also need highlighters or pens and tabs.  It is really pretty simple.

The idea behind CTB is when your child is acting in a way that isn’t Godly, such as arguing, then you go to the CTB and read to them the verses that talk about that and help them learn that they need to act differently because God created them to be different.  For a great video tutorial check it out here ~ CTB Video Tutorial.

For me, once my daughter was upset because she had been called on her attitude or whatever the situation was, it worked but didn’t have the desired affect I was hoping for.  So this is what I did.  Each day I took a section and we read the verses together in the morning, when we were both in a great mood.  We talked about them and discussed why they were good and why God wants us all to act in such a way to bring Glory to Him.  This seem to have the most influence on her.  During our time reading together she would bring up things she has done in the past that went against what we were reading and she had real remorse.  During the day she seems to stop herself quicker and she is easier to guide.

So for us this has been an amazing tool even though I had to use it slightly different than the way it is intended.  For my daughter I had to be proactive instead of just reactive.

CTB has truly been a blessing in our home.  I pray you take the time to check it out, I believe you will be blessed.  Thanks Mindy Dunn for letting the Lord work through you to create CTB.

If you have used CTB I would love to hear your feedback.  If you use something else to help bring your children into awareness of their behavior I would love to find out about that too!  God bless!

Disclaimer ~ I received the Child Training Bible Chart Set for free in order to provide you with this review.  However, all of these thoughts, ideas and opinions are my own and have been given with all honesty.  Thank you!

Lead Your Family Like Jesus

tricia goyer launch teamI am so excited!  I absolutely love Tricia Goyer and her writings.  She has some amazing books out there, fiction and non-fiction.

Lead Your Family Like Jesus:  Powerful Parenting Principles from the Creator of Families is Tricia’s new book  that will be coming out in a couple months.  I am so excited that I get to be part of her launch team and read this book soon.  If you don’t know much about it you can click on the picture and it will link you to the book so you can take a look at it and even pre-buy it.

Ken Blanchard wrote the amazing book Lead Like Jesus.  Tricia, Ken and Phil Hodges all worked together using the same principles in Ken’s book and have come up with this amazing new tool for parenting.  I for one and excited to get to read all that God has shown them.  Look for my new review of this book coming soon.

What is your favorite parenting book?  What was the best thing you took from that book that you feel is a life saver for your family?

A great way to connect with your kids!

In today’s day and age it is very easy to lose connection with our kids.  Alarmingly, it happening at younger and younger ages.  God has put this on my heart and I have thought about it a lot.  I have a 8 year old daughter and the thought that we may someday be separated by silence is heart wrenching and quite frankly it scares me.

So, with that thought and much prayer I set out to come up with a way to keep us connected in some small way.  Something that would strengthen the bond we already have and I think it is a fun one at that.  Can you see me smiling?!

Journaling!  Now, to some this may originally sound boring.  I know some people do not like to journal for many different reasons but hear me out.  This is not just any journal it is something that will be fun for both you and your kids.  It will also give your kids a way to say the things they would never say out loud!

If you do this set out to make something special.  You could choose to go and buy a journal.  If you did make it fun by making it a date and pick something out together that really speaks to the heart of your child.  My daughter is super crafty and creative.  UNLIKE ME!  I am not.  So I decided that I would create her journal even though it would be a challenge for me.  I made it for a couple reasons.  First I needed cheep, we are on a budget like many families and sometimes you have to do with what you have.   A novel concept anymore I know but a good one none-the-less.  And second because I knew it would mean a lot to her and that is what mattered most.

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So here is what I did, first I took a small notebook I had and since I didn’t want that white paper on the front that looks so boring I decided to add a cardboard front too it using rubber cement.  I forgot how stinky that stuff was!

After bonding the cover over the original I decided to put a name on it so Muppin would know what it was to be used for.  It was a journal for us so I put our names on it.  She helped me decide where the flowers and hearts went and decided when we were done drawing.  She had an incredible time doing this but still didn’t know what it was going to be used for, it was a surprise!

Before I put the cover on and before she knew what I was up to I wrote a note inside the journal.  The note started out, “My dearest Muppin! I love you so much…” and went on to explain what this journal was for and why I was doing it and then finally how to use it (we will get to that in a moment).

I can’t explain to you the excitement in my daughters eyes when she read the words on those pages.  You could see that she was feeling really loved and cherished.  She was feeling like she was super important and that she was going to be heard and really listened to.  Now she is only  8 but being heard and understood is still important to her.

My heart soared with excitement knowing that she was going to be sharing with me and I with her all the things that are important too us.  We were on our way to strengthening our bond we already have, making it unbreakable.

As for the practical use of the journal here is how you use it.  You give it to your child and after you read to them, do their devotionals, cuddle or talk… you know, all those bedtime things we do together?!!  When those are done and you have kissed them good night it is their time to write.  See, a lot has happened in their little day and this helps them get it off their chest.  They can write about what happened with friends, what happened with you, the family or the dog.  They can also write about what has upset them, made them happy or things that confuse them.  They can ask questions about God, boys, friends, or your family relationships.

Most importantly when there is something that is too difficult to say out loud, they can write it here and not fear what will happen.  It gives them a sense of release and the sense of an open door.  They know they will be listened too.  Now when they go to sleep they put it on their side table, dresser or book shelf and go off to slumber land.  The next morning it is up to you to go get it, take it to a private place and read it.

The most important thing you will need to remember I believe was something the Holy Spirit really wanted me to convey and it is this… never act shocked, shaken, angry or freaked out over what you read!!!  I repeat, remain calm no matter what!  Or you have lost them.  This must always be and remain a safe place remember?!

Once you are done reading what they have written you then write back to them, answering all their questions, giving them advice kindly, and most of all telling them how much you love them no matter what they let you know.

I have told my daughter that I might come talk to her about some things once in a while, but that it will always be out of love.  And if it doesn’t sound like I am being loving she has my permission to tell me so.

Her heart was so filled with excitement.  She is ready to communicate and to connect.  This will be a lot of fluff for a while I am sure.  She is only 8 you know.   But as she gets older, and this tradition continues… How much more valuable will this be?

I would love to see your thoughts on this… and pictures of yours.  Share your blog links and pictures and how things are working out for you.  Most of all… may your relationships with your kids always be blessed!

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School With a View!

school with a viewSchool has gone much smoother since we moved Muppin’s desk in front of the window!  She now has school with a view!  Instead of dark rooms lit with light-bulbs (it is dark in the Pacific Northwest when it is the rainy season) she now gets natural light and she gets to stare out at our beautiful yard and watch birds, our dog and the weather!  She has several acres of country to look at and even though there is a lot to see, she is more eager to do her work and will do it for a longer period.  She adores seeing God’s beauty while she learns.

Who knew all one needed to do was give a child beauty to help them learn!?  Oh, I guess Charlotte Mason and John Holt might have.. hehe…

If your kids are having trouble learning or staying focused try something like it yourself.  Her desk may now be in the kitchen which is not the most attractive place for it, but most definitely the best place.