Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wifey Wednesday- Commitment


Commitment is hard thing. Sometimes commitments get to be way to much and you want to walk away from some of them. But there are three commitments you just can't walk away from- God, your husband, and your kids. Those commitments are just too important.

Remember that day that your husband proposed to you? I do. We went and picked out a ring. I didn't know when he was going to ask but I knew that he had the ring. Then later that night as he was dropping me off he asked. It wasn't the most romantic thing in the world but we had known that we were going to get married after 2 weeks of dating and it was just a given. We committed to getting married.

Remember the day that you got married? For me, that was 10 years ago next month. (Even though our actual wedding wasn't until May.) We looked at each other and made a commitment to love, honor, and cherish each other until death parted us. We made a commitment to each other and to God.

Every single day since then we wake up and chose to continue that commitment. Every single day we work at that commitment. That commitment forms the foundation of our marriage. We build on that commitment everyday. We set an example of commitment to each other in front of our children, our family, and our friends.

We were talking the other day about how many of our friends that we married around the same time we were have gotten a divorce in the last 10 years. Then we stopped and looked at how many of them were still married. It was about 50/50. We also looked at how many of those friends we still talked to on a weekly basis. The married ones won out. We surround ourselves with the ones who continue to make those same commitments to each other. We also laugh because it seems like of all the friends we have who are divorced it seems like they divided their mutual friends up and one or the other "got this friend in the divorce".

As a child of divorced parents, I feel like I put more emphasis on this commitment. I feel strongly about keeping this commitment. I am not saying that there are not extenuating circumstances sometimes where you just need to let go of that commitment. But I am choosing to pour my heart into this commitment and  keep it everyday.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Joy and Division- Mommyhood Monday

Today we continue with Days 2 and 3 in "Undivided Mom" by Kayse Pratt. This week we are talking about finding joy in the little things that happen everyday and how "distraction leads to division".

I love Day 2 because of the whole toilet paper story. To summarize, Kayse's daughter discovers toilet paper and they spend the afternoon making a mess with it in the bathroom. Believe me- toilet paper is one of those things that I am tired of finding all over the house. My kids use it to help make forts and parachutes (and y'all that stuff is not cheap!) I never really take the time to enjoy their creativity and delight in the toilet paper. Kayse reminds me that I should take that time. It's just toilet paper. It can be replaced and it can be cleaned up but the joy in the moment cannot be replaced. I need to stop and change my perspective. I need to look at life through the wonder and joy like my children do. I need to stop putting a halt to some of their mess making and creativity just because I don't want to have to clean up another mess. They are kids and their is a lot that I can learn from them.

Day 3 brings up a big challenge in my life. The juggling of spending time in God's word, completing a really long daily to-do list, playing with my kids, and all the other distractions that I have going on right now. In Luke 11:17 it is said,

"But He, knowing their thoughts said to them, 'Every kingdom divided against itself is laid to waste, and a divided household falls."

Think about that for just a minute. If we are dividing ourselves from God's word and from Jesus- we are going to fail. We need Jesus! We need to be dependent on him. We need to make him first. We need to teach this to our children. My children need to see me leaning on God, digging into his word, and putting him first.
"When we're walking with Jesus, though, beginning our days with Him and leaning on His strength for everything that comes our way, we can live Undivided lives." ~Kayse Pratt, "Undivided Mom"

I know that we teach our children that we can do all things through Christ and that we need to trust and rely on him but am I really just saying that to them or am I also showing them that I live that and teaching by example?

How do you teach your children: by words, by example, or by both?


Find out more about getting a copy of "Undivided Mom" by clicking on the button below!

Undivided Mom

Friday, February 21, 2014

"A Draw of Kings" {a review}


A few months ago, I sent out a post on Facebook asking for ideas on what to read. My friend Lani told me about a book called "A Cast of Stones". It was free on my Nook so I grabbed it. I was instantly drawn into this world. To the point that I jumped at buying the second book quickly later that week.

Enter the world of Errol Stone. He is the town drunk who is frequently beaten by the town priest for his sinful life. He is given the task of taking a message to the local hermit. From there he finds out more about himself, his past, and his future. He surprises everyone including himself.

In Draw of Kings, A (The Staff and the Sword), Errol's story continues with a new journey and a battle to save the kingdom and change his destiny. He travels North to a friend who holds the lost book of Deas through unknown territory and unknown dangers. His love travels in another direction to ally with a nation of outcasts. His friend, Liam, heads out with Errol's love the Princess on her mission and finds out more about himself while he is at it. When the time comes for the prophecy to decide who lives and who dies- the reader will have already taken a side.

I highly suggest reading all 3 of the books in this series in order simply because there is so much mentioned that you would not understand without the first 2 books. I found myself putting the book down at times just because I wanted to prolong the journey and I honestly didn't want to know what happened in the end. Because I took sides at the end of the second book and I was so scared I was going to be disappointed. Even though I took sides- I was not disappointed. Patrick Carr wrote the perfect ending for this series.

I am going to post a link for all 3 books because I really think that you need to read all 3.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wifey Wednesday- Why I Think A High Maintenance Marriage is Best.

I am going to be using the e-book "Worth the Fight" by Kayse Pratt for the next few weeks to guide my topics for Wifey Wednesday. At the end of the post I will post a link for you to get a copy of your own.

In the introduction of "Worth the Fight", Kayse talks about her marriage being high maintenance. I honestly believe that it is the best kind of marriage. Think about this. High maintenance normally has a negative aura around it but why? Because "high maintenance" means there is a lot of work behind it. If ever there should be hard work it should be your marriage.

"Marriage is hard. Loving is hard. Doing life with another person is hard. And that is worth acknowledging." ~Kayse Pratt, "Worth the Fight"

Marriage is hard. I agree. You are two individual people trying to make everything work smoothly. And that is work. And it doesn't always go smoothly. The work comes into play there too. Do you really want to throw away a commitment and a promise just because you had an argument over how to do laundry? I didn't think so. You have to work everyday to make sure that you are communicating, loving each other, and at being the best you can be.

So I am glad that I have a high maintenance marriage. I really do think that it is the best kind of marriage to have. Work at the commitment and vow that you made to this person before God. It is definitely "worth the fight."


Monday, February 17, 2014

Mommyhood Monday- Are you being present?

Welcome to the new series Mommyhood Monday. For the next few weeks of this series we are going to be using the book "Undivided Mom" by Kayse Pratt. We will cover 2 days each week. This week we are going to talk about the Intro and Day1.

"I want to be an Undivided Mom. I want my kids to know that I want to be their mom." ~Kayse Pratt

It is really hard to be undivided when we as moms are always checking Facebook, Twitter, or texting someone else when we are supposed to be spending time with our kids. I am very guilty of this. I tend to check Facebook at least once an hour- although it has been easier to just leave my phone somewhere lately. Then I spend an hour trying to remember where I left it. And in my defense there are parts of the month that if I couldn't text with John I wouldn't even be able to talk to him because of his work schedule. I am trying to be much more intentional about it now. All too soon, I will be alone during the day and I will have plenty of time to check Facebook. Now books are another story. I read a lot and most of the books I read are for review so there are deadlines for them to be finished. But I find myself asking Miles to leave me alone during the day so that I can read.

I also find that while I am putting off Miles during the day, I am also putting off my Bible. I am finding ways to make it more of a priority in the long term since apparently my short term doesn't keep going. Which brings us into Day 1.

Day 1 talks about Mary and Martha. I can see why Martha is annoyed. I get annoyed with the kids and with John when I am constantly left with everything when we have company. I don't get to enjoy the fellowship or the company for getting everything done and making sure that everyone has enough. But I am also doing that in my everyday life. I am putting housework, reading, writing, and a lot of other things ahead of Jesus. All he wants is my heart. And I am holding it back from him.

"She couldn't see past her to-do list to realize that the Savior of the world was sitting in her living room."  ~Kayse Pratt

What kind of example am I setting for my children? Right now- one where you do a lot of housework, have a short temper, and read a lot. Not one of having a serving heart and a deep love for God's word and desire to spend more time in it. I am distracted and not only a divided mother but also a divided Christian who needs to work on prioritizing in both areas.

"Jesus has called us to be wives and mothers, yes. But first and foremost, He has called us to Himself! He desires our hearts more than our service. If we've got our hearts in the right place, everything else is secondary." ~Kayse Pratt

As moms and as Christians we need to put God and our children ahead of things like Facebook, reading, and housework. I am not saying to not do any of those things, I am saying that they need to be behind reading God's word, serving our children, and serving our husbands. How many times do you wake up and the first thing you do is check your phone for new messages, Facebook feeds, and emails? For me that is almost everyday. I am working to change that.

**Want to buy the book that I am referencing and dig a little deeper? Click the button below and check it out.**

Undivided Mom

Thursday, February 13, 2014

NEW SERIES STARTING MONDAY!!!!!!

I have been thinking a lot about this blog and where I want it to go and how it has kind of veered off course lately. The tagline says "Where marriage meets motherhood and everything in between". But what I have noticed is that it has become "where there are a lot of reviews and not much else." SO this is what my goal is going to be. I will still be posting reviews because let's face it, I read a lot and I love sharing good books with you. But there are going to be designated days for that to happen. And in all of this thinking and planning, I have come up with a new series for Mondays called Mommyhood Mondays and a series for Wednesdays called Wifey Wednesdays. Then I am going to try and stick to reviews on Thursdays and Fridays unless they happen to work into the theme for Mondays and Wednesdays. Tuesdays will be my misc days and really I am giving myself a lot of room each week to have "off days".

To start off with, I will be using Kayse Pratt's "Undivided Mom" and "Worth the Fight" for Mondays and Wednesdays. You can pick those up by clicking on the ads below if you would like to follow along. They are wonderful resources either way. And they are $4.99 normally. And while you are there you may want to check out her printables.


Undivided Mom

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bubbles!

Last week, Miles begged me to go outside and blow bubbles. I finally gave in. (And yes, I realize that it is February and he is outside in his underwear but I can rarely get him to put on clothes and it was in the mid-60's that day.) We had spent the previous week stuck in the house due to rain, snow, and cold temperatures. This mom does not like being outside unless is it fairly warm. This kid sat here for over an hour blowing bubbles, taking turns handing me the blower thing, and also talking the the man who comes to read our meter. (Oh and waving at "Miss. Mail" when she came by.) I will be honest that this was far from what I wanted to be doing right then. I want to say that General Hospital was on but it may have been The Chew. I begged against his begging for him just to sit inside and color. I didn't want to take the time to go outside with him because I am not an outdoor person. I am glad that I did go out with him though because I learned all about "Miss. Mail" and "Mr. Three Notch", about his pet squirrel who lives in his house in the woods, about the monster who lives behind the house who is good, and about how when he was little with me, we used to go fishing in the pool in our front yard (a giant mud puddle right where I park normally).

Taking the time out of my own wants to give this little guy an hour of bubbles was worth it. I know that I need to do that more often. And I am trying to be more intentional with things like that. It is still an adjustment with it just being the two of us at home and not going every time my mom calls and asks me to go. My house is a wreck and of course there is no excuse since it is just us all day. So we are working on this and getting a routine going. But I will gladly take the time to blow bubbles if it will make this little guy happy.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mercy House Kenya teaches us how to show love

Photo credit www.wearethatfamily.com
I love the mission that Mercy House Kenya performs. They show love to these young women and their babies. They provide an education to the mothers and healthcare to the mothers and their babies. Mercy House is a perfect mission field. They take broken girls with little hope and they teach them about God and Jesus and offer restoration. They show the meaning of love in tangible, real ways.

This week is the #Spreadthelove campaign with social media and donations. Won't you visit here to find out more. Fall in love with Mercy House for Valentine's Day!


Photo credit: www.wearethatfamily.com

Friday, February 7, 2014

Write- Five Minute Friday

Writing is hard. Once you put into words what you are thinking and put it out there for the world to read (or even just one other person) you are opening yourself up to the world. They agree or they don't. They offer tons of criticism and only a handful of praise. They tell everyone what you wrote and that becomes a topic of debate in a crowded room. Writing can turn you into the bad guy when all you've done it express your beliefs or opinion on a subject. Or writing can turn you into the good guy who lets you know that you are not alone. I get plenty of criticism and have even had a post I have written so publicly debated and so many negative remarks that I removed it. I have been hurt by what others have written. But I still write. Because there are the ones who let you know that you made them realize that they are not alone. There are the ones who need to read what I have written. So they are why I still write. They are why I keep going even when the people I am closest too tell me I am wrong and publicly humiliate me over what I have written. Writing is powerful. Writing is necessary. Writing is giving hope.    

Shades of Mercy {a review and a giveaway}

 

  Shades of Mercy is a touching coming of age story. Mercy lives in Maine on her parents farm. At 15, her life long friendship with Mick changes into something more. Then tragic events and old prejudices rear their ugly heads and life changes forever.

Such a touching read. The prejudices present in this book are still around today in one form or another. And so much of the lessons learned can be applied to everyone's lives. This is a great book for a book club or even in a class. I am excited to be sharing this book with you.

I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for my review AND I have 3 copies to give away. So I tell you what. Sign up for my newsletter, leave a comment, or go like my Facebook page and I will enter you in a drawing to be held February 14th.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Self Image- How we are ruining ourselves forever

I admit I have put on a lot of weight in the last year. As in I weigh more now that I ever weighed pregnant. I have one pair of jeans that actually fits and only a few shirts that fit without the spanx. I hate having my picture taken because it reminds me of how big I have gotten. Obviously my sub-conscience is okay with it though because I can't seem to find the motivation to take it off. This morning I looked at this picture.
We took this picture last week after a funeral. I was so sick and it was rainy and cold outside. (As a matter of fact it snowed that night.) Our oldest took this picture after John said that we should get a picture because he wouldn't be this dressed up again for awhile. I didn't look at it right away. I should have because the lighting is horrible and I should have gotten another one from a different angle.

I bring up this picture because of the fact that I hate the way that I look. I love the shirt and the jacket. The pants are not my favorite but they are the only ones that I can button in my long line of dress pants. But to me- I look horrible. So for the most part I avoid taking pictures. I was looking back through pictures the other day though and realize that I only have a handful of pictures of my children with me in them. Of course I also only have a handful of pictures with me in them at all. I don't remember that this is what I look like. I don't like it to the point that I am taking myself out of memories.

I realize that my not liking myself  image is also damaging my children. They constantly hear me complain about being fat. They don't have pictures of me with them to show their children one day. And in a very real sense I am undermining everything that they hear being said about loving yourself. If I showed them that I lived a healthy lifestyle and took care of myself and more importantly didn't keep putting myself down, I would be teaching them and myself a lesson in loving myself.

John never tells me I'm fat. In fact, he goes out of his way to tell me that he thinks I am beautiful. I contradict him 9 times out of 10. I am not teaching my boys how a person should respond to a compliment or to the love of a spouse. I know that John does not always think that I am beautiful. I can only imagine how bad I look to him when I am sick. But it doesn't matter. He loves me enough to tell me that to him I am beautiful everyday. I want my boys to think that their wife is the most beautiful woman in their lives and for them to tell her everyday. Not because looks really matter, but because helping her to have a good self image is important. But I also want them to have a wife who tells them that he is handsome. Who also builds his self image. Because all those problems I have with my own self image- I hear the same things coming out of John's mouth.

I also don't want to put a lot of pressure on the boys about their weight. Yes, eating disorders are a big deal with boys too. I have one son who is built different from the rest. He is more blocky. However, he is not fat at all. But he thinks he is. He has even been on a kick about not eating any fats or butter for a couple of years. It makes it hard. There is a fine line that is easily crossed.

How much importance am I placing on image overall by my attitude about myself? Am I teaching my boys that it looks are more important than character and values? Sometimes I really think that I am. And I hate it. I don't want that to be what they base the important decision of picking a girlfriend or spouse on. I want them to care about a person's character, beliefs, and values over what they look like.

I am truly ruining myself and my children by the emphasis that I put on my looks. I need to stress health, character, and a strong Christian faith more than whether or not I am fat or if my clothes all fit. I need to make some changes fast.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Elevator- Behind the Scenes

Yes I am doing the Behind the Scenes post a day late. I am okay with that. Mainly because I had not decided on a picture yet. So here we go. I couldn't decide on just one so I am going to do a series of pictures from the same event and the same "room".


This is the elevator at Allume. Oh yes, this elevator was a great meeting place. I met so many people in this elevator. But these girls are from the Dream Team. I don't even remember what was going on to where we were all in the elevator together. But at this point we crammed into the elevator and the conversations kept flowing. See the thing about elevators is that there is not a lot of room. So when you have more than 2 people in there you have to be up close and personal. You also have a choice in an elevator. You can strike up a few seconds of conversation and get to know a new person OR you can be silent and not acknowledge anyone else. You can meet great people like the ones in the pictures above, Jesse Hoover, Sarah Mae, Lisa Jo Baker, etc. You can step out of your comfort zone and maybe make a new friend. Or you can do what I normally do- act like there is no one else in this elevator and be silent. I can't even begin to tell you how many great conversations I had in the elevators. Yes, they may have been short but they were good and many continued out of the elevator. So the lesson I learned is that you should always take a chance and speak up in an elevator. You never know whose life you will influence in there.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lone Survivor, Grown Up Dates, and the Super Bowl

This past Sunday was a very full day. At some point Saturday I had mentioned to John that it would be great if we could find a sitter over the weekend for a few hours and just go somewhere without the kids. Saturday night at the church's annual Wild Game Supper he mentioned that same thing to his sister. Well she made it happen. So Sunday after church we all loaded up into her truck and John, his sister, her husband, and I went on a grown up date. On the agenda- lunch and Lone Survivor. I will be the first to tell you that I really didn't want to see that movie. I knew it was going to be good, it just wasn't my normal movie type. But I was out voted 3-1. I am so glad that I was.

Lone Survivor is such a great movie. I warn you to bring tissues and also if you have any military family be prepared to picture them in this movie. Based on a book that I had not read, this is the true story that will make you understand why we are fighting in the middle east. This movie makes you proud to be an American. I don't know how anyone can leave the theater without some kind of pride and sadness running through them.

After the movie, we headed home. We didn't make it before the truck had trouble. After cruising it home and making it there just in time for me to clean up the kids and make it to church (15 mins late), John and Danny set out to fix the truck. After church, Val and I watched the Super Bowl. I have to admit that I was disappointed in the whole thing. It was a horrible game, the commercials were not that great, and Bruno Mars was a little disappointing too. Although I do appreciate that my kids could actually watch the show this year. No twerking, no wardrobe malfunctions, and good clean songs. Just not what I expected knowing how much he was paid. But oh well.

SO how was your weekend? Anything exciting?

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Dancing Master {a review}

 
  The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen features Alec as a dance master in a town that does not allow dancing and Julia as the lady of the manor whose life changes through their friendship.

I will be honest with you, this book was not one of my favorite. And I will probably not re-read it. Sluggishly written at times, it was hard to get into the book until over half way through and the characters were not easy to like. The last quarter of the book does somewhat redeem itself, making the time reading the book worth it. All that said, I feel like if you like historical fiction then you will like this book. Just be aware that it does take some time for the story to take off.



**I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

Is your marriage "Worth the Fight"? {a review}

My dear friend, Kayse, is at it again. She has tackeled home management, motherhood, and now she tackels marriage.


“High maintenance. That's the kind of marriage I've got. And although 'high maintenance' might sound daunting, I want you to consider that perhaps all marraiges should require some maintenance.”

When this amazing e-book starts off like that, how can you not want to find out what she means. Kayse introduces five elements that are critical for marriage with a new perspective on each. She is also very open how each of these elements have affected her marriage.

With a fresh perspective and a open heart, Kayse's new book “Worth the Fight” is worth the time to read and apply to your marriage. After all,

“Marriage is hard. Loving is hard. Doing life with another person is hard. And that is worth acknowledging.”

Head on over to Kayse's site and check out this e-book and her other e-books today. If you order "Worth the Fight" this week, you can use the code worththefight20 for 20% off your order.