Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tough Parenting – A Lesson in Honesty

Pirate Treasure

Parenting is hard. And I realize that this isn’t a new idea, especially to those of you in the thick of raising a 3-5yr old child. But there is just something about those ages that is TOUGH!

And quite honestly, I often get lazy. I know that I am not always the best example but last night I needed to be a good example, even when it would have been easy to let this one thing slide.

Elijah dug some items out of his backpack before dinner. A pirate’s treasure if you will (see picture above).

I asked him where he got it and he said that his teachers gave it to him. Something seemed fishy about that so I started asking him some more questions.

When I came out and just asked him if he was lying…well his face turned down to the ground, he sighed and said yes.

He didn’t have to tell me…I already knew.

So I asked him to get a baggie (which he did reluctantly and with pouting) and told him that we had to bring the items back to school.

“But I really just wanted them mom!!”

Oh son, I know! I get it, I really do. And if I were judging this situation on the value of the items…maybe I would justify letting it slide.

But on principal alone it is important that he learn this hard truth about honesty.

I told him that God wants us to always tell the truth, that we can’t take things just because we want them…and that we were going to have to tell his teachers the truth.

He asked me if he could just sneak them back into the classroom. Oh yes he did!

I told him that wasn’t being honest either.

He knows it was wrong to take them, and he needs to admit what he did. I promised him that I would stand with him so he didn’t have to do it alone…and said that I was pretty sure his teachers would forgive him.

But telling the truth was necessary.

So tomorrow, on the day that they are also celebrating his birthday a few weeks early, we will be bringing cookies to class for treats and a little bag of pirate treasure and learning the heard lesson on being honest.

Hopefully, if he ever feels like taking something again that isn’t rightfully his, he will think about this experience and remember that there is a consequence when we don’t tell the truth…when we steal.

But he doesn’t have to do it alone. I will stand with him, encourage the good behavior and remind him that I love him even when he makes mistakes.

My God has done the same with me time and time again.

Sometimes the sting of my actions hurts and taking responsibility is something that doesn’t always come easily…but when I do, there is forgiveness and lessons learned.

I don’t expect Elijah or any of my kids to be perfect but I can work to teach them right from wrong. As parents it is all we can do to stay afloat most days, so have faith that you are not alone.

Yes parenting is hard, but I am so grateful that God is standing beside me encouraging me along the journey!

Laughter is Good for the Soul

Laughter. Well laughter, talking and chocolate, would be a good way to sum up the most amazing weekend that I just spent in Houston. 😉

From the moment we arrived there was a hum of voices over the house. Sisters gathering for learning, planning and soul feeding. All of that and more happened in the matter of a few short days.

Retreat 1

When Dominic asked what we did on Friday, I said we laughed and talked. Because really that is what we did. Gathered around Gindi’s table we share stories, and tears…we got “real” almost immediately. We shared past hurts and current struggles. We found that while each of us are different, there is something so very common binding us together.

We are a community. A sisterhood of women. (<====Click to Tweet)

When I woke up on Saturday morning I had a calendar reminder that it was Karlena’s birthday. While I will always feel sadness that she isn’t here with me…it was such a gift that I woke to these amazing women surrounding me.

Retreat 2

We spent the majority of the day on Saturday getting down to the business of the God-sized Dream site. I learned so much that day. From editing tips (which I obviously am still learning…ahem) 😉 to planning for the future direction and leadership of the site. Every woman brought so much to the table, it is quite amazing that God has brought such a diverse group of women together!

Then we had some fun when Gindi let us all raid her necklace stash and purse collection as we got ourselves all dolled up for a fancy dinner at the Galleria in Houston.

Retreat 3

This weekend was such a gift to me. And to add to that God gave me a couple of blog posts to write when I was flying home. (yay for getting my words back!!) Look for those in the next few months over at GSD.com.  🙂

I walked away from this weekend away grateful.

Grateful that God brought us all together. Grateful that so many of us were able to gather together on that specific weekend. Grateful for Gindi’s hospitality and how wonderfully that her home worked for all of us!  Grateful for all of the families that supported us as they were left behind so we could gather together.

The future is exciting. I am blessed to be a part of this team and can’t wait to see what God is going to do next! Thank you friends for loving me and blessing me in so many ways this weekend!

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Holy Ground

Rainbow

I could feel it even as we were flying. We were entering a space of Holy Ground. Not because of the “where” of our meeting, but rather because of the God that brought us all there.

Each one of us faced a difficulty the week leading up to this trip. From struggles in marriage, the sudden loss of a friend, to health issues and disappointments at work…we all felt that the enemy was attacking us.

Personally, I forgot my boarding pass and my headache meds. I even stood at the completely wrong gate almost missing my second flight.  All of this after probably one of the most stressful and difficult days I have ever had on the office on Thursday.

I had left home with such a heaviness in my spirit. 

We each had similar experiences. Traveling from different areas of the country, and in spite of all the roadblocks, we came. We prayed over flights, we struggled with the fear of meeting friends in real life for the first time.

But we came because God orchestrated it.

He had called each of us.

We were gathering for soul feeding and in my bones I knew that He was meeting us there.

On my way out of town on Thursday I was leaving a vox for Mel, telling her about my awful day…and then I saw it.

A rainbow.

A rainbow where it shouldn’t be one. There were no rain clouds, I don’t know why it was there but it took my breath away.

I stopped what I was complaining about and told Mel that was a sign.

God’s promise for all of us.

I knew we would all be ok. No matter what the enemy tried to throw at us. God had called us together and He would meet us there in Houston.

We each have the opportunity to commune with God. (<====Click to Tweet)

He will meet us where we are. We just need to have willing hearts to seek Him.

The promise isn’t just for us here in Houston, it is for everyone. No matter what your day or week might have looked like, no matter what darts the enemy has tried to throw at you.

Have hope!

Remember the beauty of a rainbow and God’s promise to be there for us.  Enter a place of Holy Ground with Him.

He has a call on each if our lives.  You friend, have been called. Don’t ever doubt it!

We are celebrating His goodness and faithfulness right along with you, as we praise His name in this Holy space in Houston.

Photo Credit: rwangsa

Five Minute Friday – Friend

Allume Gindi 1

Today is the day that writers from all across the world join to write for five minutes – no edits…we share community over at Lisa Jo’s – join us?!

Today’s prompt is: FRIEND

Fitting isn’t it?

That as I sit in the waiting area of an airport, waiting to board a flight to go and spend the weekend with some amazing women, that the prompt for today is friend.

The picture above was taken when many of us were at Allume last October.

It was the first time that I met many of these dreamers in person. It was minutes really, after that first hug, that it was clear we were going to be friends for life.

These women, these dreamers that have filled my life to overflowing, are on their way right now to gather together in Houston.

What started out as just a website has become so much more.

Women joined in unity, chasing dreams, lifting one another up in prayer, doing life together.

This weekend we will celebrate that friendship in real life. Some of us have already met in person, while a few others will get first time hugs.

I have a feeling that there will be tears, but even more than that will be heart sharing, laughter, a unified vision for the site that brought us all together.

I am so blessed to do life with these women. They are more then just friends, they are sisters.

Thanking God for the gift of friendship today!

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The Gift of Friendship

Allume 6

One of the biggest blessings that have come out of the past year and 1/2 are these beautiful women. Women that have poured into me. Prayed for me and blessed me with laughter.

On Friday, really really early on Friday, I will be flying to Houston to spend the weekend with 10 of the 12 founding members of the God-sized Dream website. We are meeting to dream and plan together….to seek God’s vision for the site and of course to eat way too much and laugh. Oh how I need to laugh!

This trip, and my ability to go, is a blessing in so many ways.

Allume 4

The community that we build online is real. It matters, it changes us.

I wasn’t aware that I could be filled in this way. That I would have the opportunity to pour into others….these crazy ladies that I met online! 😉

Holley and I!

But it has happened, and the chance to spend even just a weekend in real life together, well I am almost beside myself in anticipation.

You see on Saturday is Karlena’s birthday….

Karlena 2

A birthday that I can’t celebrate with her in person. Her loss in my life is still there….

But God.

Oh how He has filled my life to overflowing with the presence of some amazing women. And that this weekend was THE weekend that worked for so many of us to gather?! That at a time I would be feeling extra lonely, I will be surrounded by friends that are doing the very things that Karlena did with me.

Praying for me, encouraging me, being that light….that example of faith.

Thank you God. Thank you.

While Karlena will never be replaced in my heart, I am so grateful that God has filled that need for friendship with some wonderful women.

Friendship, real life, true friendship is a gift.

My prayer for each person reading here is that you will have someone in your life that is filling your need for true friendship, and that you would be able to be that gift back.

 Lord, Thank you. Thank you for the gift of friendship. Thank you for filling my life with wonderful women who love You and love me so well. I lift up anyone who is feeling lonely today, who is searching for that friendship but doesn’t have it now. May they feel your peace and love even more today. In Your Great Name, we praise you! Amen

Each Wednesday we meet to join Holley in her 2014 Encouragement Challenge. If you need a little uplifting for your day jump on over and join us won’t you?!

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150

Why Our Individual Stories Matter

Journal 1

The word “blog” was something I hadn’t even heard of until early 2008. My husband and I had tickets to attend a Selah/Point of Grace concert and we heard that the lead singer of Selah wasn’t going to be able to attend. His wife was carrying a baby that was “incompatible with life” and she was due to deliver the same week as the concert.

The radio station gave the name of Angie Smith’s blog, and asked us to pray.

I wasn’t even sure what I would find on this blog, but I wanted to read more about this family. So that night, while using my incredibly slow dial up internet service, I logged on and found myself engrossed in a story I hadn’t expected.

Here was a woman, who had made a choice to carry a baby they were being told wouldn’t survive, and she was praising God in the middle of it.

I was heartbroken for her and yet inspired by her faith. My own prayer life changed as I found myself praying for Angie and her family. I watched as a community of strangers left comments and encouragement, offered up prayers and showered them with love.

Until that time I didn’t know that community could be formed online.

And then in February of that same year my husband and I had a miscarriage.  I was really struggling with the loss, even though it was early in the pregnancy, and I needed a way to process everything.

I had journaled as a teenager and thought that maybe this blog thing might help me. And so my first family blog was born.

I had 4 readers, literally 4. My parents and my grandparents. 🙂

Initially, I was writing for me….finding a way to work out my faith in this grief process I was going through.

The writing was healing for me and while I didn’t have an audience of 10,000….I was so encouraged by the community that I had seen form online that I kept going.

Then somehow I stumbled onto a few more blogs and “met” other women who were dealing with pregnancy loss and infertility struggles. I was not alone. And while none of us had the same story, I recognized that each individual story mattered.  (<=== Click to Tweet)

I am sharing the rest of the story over at Laura Rath’s blog today – will you join me over there?!

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Original Photo Credit: Walt Stoneburner modified by Kristin Smith

 

We All Need a Little Grace!

grace

 The sound of something spilling all over the floor brought me running into the kitchen.

There was Elijah, my almost 5 year old, with a look of fear on his face. He had made a huge mess and spilled his juice all over the chair and the floor.

Maybe it is because I have been sick the past few days and unable to keep up with my everyday responsibilities let alone parent well….

Maybe it was the look on his face, I don’t know….but I didn’t respond the way that I normally would.

I didn’t get angry or yell at him. I have little patience for stupid mistakes. (I am serious…patience is NOT a virtue that I was blessed with and it becomes more and more clear as I struggle to parent a 3 yr old and almost 5 yr old well!)

Normally I would let something like this really upset me….I wouldn’t see it as an accident, but a careless mistake.

But this night was different.

This night I just grabbed a rag and started to clean up the mess and told Elijah it was just an accident (which it was)….

I told him that he needed to be more careful about where he left his cup on the table so it didn’t happen again – but I was calm and kind.

Grace.

We all need it don’t we?

I am not above stupid mistakes, heck I make them all the time! And I expect grace from others don’t I?!

Why am I not as willing to extend it then?

Just that afternoon I had left work for an extended time to take a nap because I was feeling so terrible. I need grace too, just like everyone else.

God really used this little incident to speak to my weary heart.

I don’t want my kids to always be afraid that I am going to get angry when they do something wrong.

I want them to learn how to give and receive grace. (<=== Click to Tweet)

I want them to know that their mistakes don’t define them, but God’s grace for their lives does.

As we enter the final days of Holy Week, I am more and more grateful for the amazing gift of grace that was shown to me.

God sacrificed His ONLY Son, to be a Savior of all mankind. Even when He knew we would be sinful, even when He knew we would curse Him, would fall away and turn from His love….He loved us THAT much that in spite of who He knew we would be, He still made a way so that we could spend eternity with Him.

Wow – that kind of grace is overwhelming isn’t it?!

Grace.

We all need it.

I am grateful that I had an opportunity to practice grace in a real way with my kids. I won’t always do it well…in fact now that I have written this post I will probably fail in a BIG way in the coming days. (I’m just saying….I am the chief of hypocrites)

But I hope that I can be more quick to remember to extend grace instead of react negatively.

Because we all need a little grace!

Joining the lovely Holley Gerth today in her weekly 2014 Encouragement Challenge.

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Photo Credit: Share the Word

Clothed in Love Krafty Kash Fun! {And a Giveaway}

kraftykash Delonna fundraiser

Wow what an amazing few days it has been…I have seen community in action and have been blown away by your love and support of my dear friend Delonna.

As many of you know last Thursday was Clothed in Love’s 1 year Anniversary. And for 24 hours there was this amazing Matching Funds Donation Day. And we were all blown away at how many people responded and gave.

Delonna is SO close to having her goal completely funded…all thanks to so many of you!

I know of one woman who gave all she could, feeling like it wasn’t much…..she probably didn’t have that amount to give in the first place but she gave anyway. I am praying that God returns her gifts back to her 100 fold.

You are all a light.

You showed great love in supporting another’s God-sized Dream.

Delonna’s heart is to love on orphans, to show them that they are wanted and special. By giving to Delonna’s Pure Charity account you are also spreading love to these beautiful children!

Thank you. Really those words seem so small, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Several weeks ago I came across a beautiful Krafty Kash necklace on Facebook and immediately I thought of Delonna.

Kashoan of Krafty Kash makes these fun necklaces using old pages from dictionaries. She is a sweetheart and when I emailed her about possibly doing a fundraiser for the last remaining amount that Delonna needed to raise she jumped on board immediately.

They have created 3 beautiful necklaces with words that reflect Delonna’s ministry and hope for all orphans.

Love, Light and Heart.

You can see the actual necklaces in the photo above!

Each necklace is $24 + $2.50 S/H. For each necklace sold Delonna will get $12 to be put in her Pure Charity account!

I have one of these necklaces that says “Home” from a different fundraiser and they are really nice, unique pieces. Maybe a fun Mother’s Day gift idea?!

If you are interested in helping you can purchase one of these necklaces here.

In order to get the word out about these necklaces I am giving one away to one of you who helps me spread the word.

You can get an entry for each of the following below (please comment for each thing you do and make sure that you leave your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner!)

1) Share this giveaway on Facebook and come back and leave a comment saying you have shared it.

2) Click on the the Click to Tweet below and come back an leave a comment that you tweeted! (Clothed in Love and Krafty Kash joining forces to raise funds to love on orphans) <=== Click to Tweet)

3) Purchase a necklace and come back and tell me and you will be entered to win a 2nd one for a friend!

Giveaway will end on Monday April 21st!  **UPDATED – Congrats to Lisa – I have sent you a message and will order your necklace once I know which one you want!! Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word! **

Thank you again for your support, prayers and encouragement of Delonna. She sends her love from South Africa right now!!

Where Two or More are Gathered…..

Holding HandsMatthew 18:20 “20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Right now Isaac, our oldest, is over at the High School taking his ACT test.  I was up early to make him some breakfast and when the younger kids came down stairs I told them that we needed to remember Isaac and be praying for him because he had a big test today.

Isaac (for right now) says he is interested in Pharmacy. He thinks that he will attend SDSU and they have a program there that allows for early entry into the pre-pharm program as a freshman if you get a 27 or higher on the ACT. You are also eligible for more scholarships if that happens….needless to say he has a pretty high expectation of what he wants as a minimum score on the test today.

I remember taking my ACT test and not getting the score I had hoped for….it wasn’t terrible, but I was sure I was smarter than the test said I was. 😉 So as a mom now I have anxiety over this for him too!

I put out a call for prayer to some of those most amazing prayer warriors I know. It is good to have a circle of friends that will lift up even the smallest prayer requests!

Then as I was cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast Elijah (almost 5) came up to me and said that we should pray for Isaac!

So we sat down in the middle of the kitchen together and held hands.

I said “Did you know that the Bible says that where 2 or more are gathered together in God’s name, that God is there with them?”

“God is here right now Elijah, with us, hearing our prayers for Isaac!”

His eyes got big and he smiled….and then we prayed a prayer over his big brother.

It was 8:03am….right as Isaac was getting ready to start his younger brother was praying over him. I can’t tell you how much I love that!

I don’t know how he will do…or if he will get the score he wants.

I do know that our kids hear us. It is important to talk about God and prayer even in the most general of conversations. And when our kids come to us and want to engage us in prayer…stop everything and do it!

My heart is full this morning.

Regardless of how it turns out – Isaac left knowing that there were women across the country praying for him, that his siblings were praying for him…. and THAT is better than any positive test result.

Thank you for praying for my children – for covering them with blessings. I am so grateful to have a community here that loves me and my family so well!!

Photo Credit: fromcolettewithlove

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