Monday, April 29, 2013

Great Gifts For Mother's Day & Promo Code!

Are you getting ready for Mother's Day?

Tell me…what mom doesn't love a piece of handmade, sentimental jewelry?

Well….here's some of the cuties from my shop { Clip Clip Hooray } that your mom just might love

And, because I so appreciate you following me I'm going to give you a discount code too!

Use FREE15 at checkout to save 15% off of everything!!

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To find many more unique, and custom items check out my shop!
Thanks for looking.

Now go and spoil that special mother (maybe that's you).

Happy Monday Friends!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Letter To Micah

Dear Micah,

I love you. I love who you may become and I love your spirit.

You are the boy who is always busy.

Always running, jumping, yelling, growling, dirty, and messy. So messy. So very, very messy.
You put your feet on the table. You never wear pants (it's adorable), you are constantly covered in food and scratches. You snore, you drool, and you can't seem to figure out that a spoon is more useful than your fingers.
You spill nearly every meal. You just don't pay attention.
While these things may not seem like qualities any mother would love, I love them because they make you who you are.

You adore to cuddle, kiss, hug, and touch. You always want to express your love for others. Telling me I'm pretty, and telling daddy he's so strong. You tell Ella she's cute, and JoJo that he is the best. You express your love and you can turn even my worst mood into a great mood. You make my heart sing.

Your spirit amazes me. I wasn't expecting a child like you. You are so strong, so courageous. When you jump into the water, you go head first. You are fearless, you are bold, you are relentless.
You don't complain when you are sick, or hurt. You don't even notice if you are bleeding.
You will be a bold man of God. You will have a deep desire to speak truth, and you won't be afraid of those who don't agree with you.
You are a protector. You always fight for me, and Ella; I don't see that changing anytime soon.
You will be outspoken, courageous, and humble. You will be a person that people want to follow, but you will never notice how they adore you and desire to be like you.

And you are so handsome. Like, really handsome. I'm a bit nervous about you and your dashing good looks. I'm going to have to fight the girls for you. Don't worry, I'm praying about your future, and the future of your wife. She'll be a lucky lady. 

I mean, who wouldn't want…

All. Of. This.



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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Giving Our Kids A Vision

Home by Phil Phillips on Grooveshark

James and I love to sit down and talk about our kids.
Not just how they acted throughout the day, or what they did. But more of who they are, and who they may become.

Before they were born we chose a life verse for them. We have prayed these verses over them, taught them, and they have memorized them (minus the 1 year old of course).

This wasn't something that we struggled to figure out how to do together, it's just something that we love to do. We love to look at the qualities God has given our children and imagine what He may do with those.

Then we share those positive qualities with the kids. We tell them that they are bold, compassionate, caring, funny, strong, or smart. We tell them the ways that they can use these qualities now, while they are young.

We know that by putting these thoughts into their minds, they will be thinking of the greatness they could accomplish. When we tell them they are naughty, rude, or unkind their minds are filled with these things. We want our children to grow up knowing that we see the good in them, even when they are acting badly.

Here's some really practical ways we do this.

1. Choose A Life Verse
For Josiah we chose 1 Timothy 6:11 (the latter part) "Pursue rightness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness". (He always adds "Fight the good fight for God!)
For Micah 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." (And he adds "Fight the good fight for God!)
For Ella Matthew 5:14,16  "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise you're heavenly Father."

A good way to start to look for some of these verses is to ask people what their favorite verses might be and why. Or here's a great site full of life verses. 
Read them to your kids, and have them memorize them. Speak this truth into them, and let it soak in. 
We see these verses beginning to show throughout their personalities even now. 

2. Look for their Strong Qualities and Encourage Them
For example Josiah can be very shy, quite, and sensitive. If you just took those qualities at face value you would miss all of the wonderful things that they have to offer. He is a great listener, he is compliant, and he is full of compassion. We tell him that we see these wonderful qualities in him and we praise him when he acts compassionately toward somebody else.

3. Encourage their "Bad" Qualities for the Better
My sweet Micah can tend to be loud, defiant, and super stubborn. It is so easy to look at this and be frustrated and annoyed by this strong personality. But when I'm  an engaged parent I can look at these and tell Micah that even though his behavior is not okay now, one day he will grow to be a bold man of God. We can tell Micah that  because he doesn't care how others think of him, he can be bold for Christ despite persecution. 

4. Tell Them Professions They May Love 
Josiah always talks about wanting to be a superhero. Help others, save them, and fight for them. James and I have talked about how we can see Josiah becoming an activist. Speaking up for those who can't speak for themselves. I can see him doing a lot of humble, volunteer work for the needy. When I see his compassion showing through, I'll say things to him like; "Wow Jo, you care about people so much. Maybe one day you will be a doctor, or a teacher. You will be such a people lover!"

5. Teach them to Pray
Our kids have learned a little song that we sing around the dinner table. It gives thanks to God in a easy way to remember. But as they begin to grow we want them to learn how to pray. It's crucial that they understand how to speak to God on their own. We teach them that they don't need to be kneeling beside their bed, or even have their eyes closed. Prayer is constant communication with God. Just as you would speak to a friend, speak to God. We have also taught them to pray for those we love, and those who are needy and unfortunate. We do make them pray even when they don't want to. It's critical they understand the importance and the power of prayer.

6. Teach them to Love Others First
Doesn't it just melt your heart when you see your child share a toy all of their own accord. When Micah runs up to one of his friends and says; "look I found the yellow Batman, you can have it first"; it brings a sense of pride to me even though it doesn't happen often…yet. We try to be diligent in teaching them the "why" behind our actions. We try to instill empathy, and love, and compassion into their tiny, little, moldable minds. We tell them why it hurts people when you take their toy, or say something stupid unkind. Teaching them love at this young age will hopefully stick with them as they grow into adults. Love is powerful, love can change the world. Just look at Jesus!

Don't get me wrong! I'm not always doing this with them. Sometimes I'm throwing them in their rooms for being naughty, without explaining to them about the vision of their future. Life is messy, busy, and dramatic. It is impossible for me to always see the good in the bad, but when I strive to do so, I find I'm a much more compassionate mother. When Josiah comes to me being way too oversensitive crying about his feelings, it's not always practical for me to say; "Oh JoJo, you are going to be such a compassionate man of God." It's just not going to happen all the time. But sitting down with James and talking about the tantrums and being able to find the good in them, it saves our sanity and gives us a glimmer of hope. 

I want to encourage you to do the same with your kids. It is fun to picture them grown, and serving the Lord…and not behind bars

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Better Than Bakery Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Oh. My. Word.

This is the best bread I will ever make.
There is a local bakery that sells this delicious cinnamon raisin bread….mine is better.
Seriously. Not to brag…but when I found this recipe I knew this would be an awesome bread!

So without further adue ….

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

2 cups lukewarm water
1 cup buttermilk (if you don't have it on hand 1 cup milk and 1 tsp. lemon juice)
1½ T yeast
1½ T kosher salt
1½ T sugar
6½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
butter for greasing the pan
3 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup raisins (if you are using them)
Egg Wash

This is where I cheat a bit. I throw all of the first 6 ingredients into my bread machine and have the machine mix it up for me. I actually think it mixes and kneads the dough SO much smoother than I could ever get it myself.

Then I remove the dough from the machine and place it in a large glass bowl and cover it with Saran wrap  bowl (I spray the bowl and the top of the dough with Pam so the dough will not stick {it's a sticky sticky dough}).
I then turn my oven on for about 1min and let it warm up. Then turn it OFF.  Put the glass bowl in the oven and allow it to rise for about 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

Once it is nice and puffy remove it and punch the dough down.
Cut off a piece of dough (thirds for smaller loaves or halves for bigger halves.
On a clean surface that is generously floured (remember it's sticky!) roll out your dough into a nice rectangular shape.
Beat an egg with about 1 Tbs of water, make sure it's nice and frothy. And brush the dough with the egg wash.
Sprinkle it generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture and sprinkle with the raisins if you are using them.
Next, begin to roll the dough starting at the end, roll and pinch the ends of the dough together. This will prevent it from oozing out when it's baking. 
Butter a bread baking dish and place dough seam side down into the pan and brush egg wash evenly over the dough.
Place a cloth over the top of the dough and allow to rest for 40 min in the oven with the light on (it adds just enough warmth to the oven).
Bake at 375 for 35-40 min or until bread sounds hollow when you tap it. 
Cool on a wire rack and try not to eat the entire loaf alone.

I'm not even going pretend that I wait until it's cool to slice and eat. I usually burn my tounge with my first bite.
It's worth it.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Thoughts On Tragedy

Worn by Tenth Avenue North on Grooveshark

What a week.
What a terribly, wretched, tragic week.

I am worn and I am tired of all this tragedy.
It's exhausting to hear the news of so much death, and destruction.

Evil is so prevalent today. It will still be prevalent tomorrow. There is no way around it. No way to avoid it. I feel the temptation to hole up and keep my family safe at home.

I feel the pull to keep my kids close to me, to keep them at home with me all the time. Never let them out of my sight. Never let them experience this wretched, wretched world. I don't ever want them to lose their perfect, and beautiful innocence. I don't want to wipe their tears of sorrow away. I certainly don't want to tell them about abortion, and terrorism, and murder. I want to keep them in our happy little bubble.

But this train of thought is not from Christ. It's directly from the devil. He is preying on our fears, and our insecurities. But Jesus directs us differently

Joshua 1:9"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Isaiah 41:10'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
There is hope, there is a future. He has a plan. Right now evil is allowed to run rampant. But one day….one day…this will be gone. And He will remain. He has overcome this world and we have nothing to fear.

John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

And even in these times of evil, good still exists. There are heroes, and do-gooders, compassion, and generosity. In these times of sorrow I try to look for the good, as hard as it may be. When looking for the good, you may even find Jesus.

I adore this quote from Mr. Rogers.

I also adore this ad from Coca Cola. 

So even in these hard times. We have hope in Christ. There is still good in the world.
I can tell you one thing is for sure, I can say this with great resolution...

"Come, Lord Jesus, Come."

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Snow Thankful

 Is it really mid-April?

Are you sure?

Because we have about a foot of snow in our backyard that says differently.

So mid April, James took a snow day.
We all needed a snow day.
A day for family, a day for fun, a day just for us.

Sledding was fun when I was a kid. But now it's even more fun to sled with my husband and my kids.

So yes, I'm thankful for snow med April. Even if it's a bit confused about what season it is.

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