Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Read with Me

You Can Stay Home with Your Kids is the cutest covered hardback filled with glossy pages and incredible tips. If you've ever wondered if your family could go down to one income, allowing you to be a stay at home mom, this book is filled with the advice, money saving ideas and action steps that you can put into place. It's easy to read and topically divided. What a great resource.

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Even tough it is not the Christmas season, I was excited to look through this book. I plan to use it for my own personal devotions this holiday season. An Advent Devotional Unwrapping the Names of Jesus is a beautiful little hard back book. There are 4 weeks of devotions, dividing the names into these categories: Hope, Preparation, Joy and Love. Each week has 5 days with 5 different names of Jesus. There is also a list of activities for that week's focus. What a perfect way to get to know Jesus better while prepping for the celebration of His birth.

I received this book from Moody Press in exchange for an honest review.

Until we Find Home was a delightful read from my favorite, WW2 time period. The author was new to me, but I appreciated her writing style and character development. It was an entertaining, fictional read.

I received this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

Braving Sorrow Together is a perfect little book to help transform our way of thinking when life is hard. I felt like it would be helpful for both one that was hurting or one that was wanting to help the hurting. It was easy to read and full of insightful, encouraging truths. I also loved the quotes from other Christians sprinkled throughout.

I received this book from Moody Press in exchange for an honest review.

Daily Encouragement for the Smart Stepfamily  is filled with daily tips for the entire year. Each day features a tip or encouragement and ends with a brief pray of refocus. Some days include Scripture. It's more of a tip book than a devotional, but still full of great insight.

I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Potted Moss Topiary

The Lord has blessed our mom's group with the best team of servant-hearted ladies! My talented craft-minded friend has come up with the cutest and easiest projects for our moms to work on! And I view our craft time as more than just busy work. It's amazing to me that when hands are busy (hot-gluing or stringing beads), conversation happens. I also love watching the moms leave feeling a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.  That little craft may be the only thing truly completed that week (because we all know the dishes and laundry are never ending), but I pray that it helps those moms feel that what they do is important and does eventually have results.

 Using Dollar Tree items, these topiaries were the perfect nudge towards spring decor. 

 In fact, I picked up a few bags of the moss to make a wreath as well with this same technique. 

For this craft we used:
To help contain the mossy mess, we laid out plastic tablecloths at the hot glue stations. 

The strofoam cones would make adorable Christmas trees. A wreath form would work perfectly. And you could always purchase larger balls and pots for a larger topiary. I even thought about using a bamboo skewer to add another sphere or two on top of the potted one, for a stacked topiary look.  

It was easy. It was fun. And any time I can add some natural green to my home, I feel refreshed! 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Spiritual Confetti

The Word of God is so precious to me. Lately, I have been loving how personally the Lord uses His Word to change and encourage me. As I have been studying Priscilla Shirer's Armor of God Bible study, I have loved her emphasis on the belt of truth. The Word of God is our source of truth in which every part of our lives can be based.

"Your Word is truth."   John 17:17

"And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

There is great freedom in knowing that the Bible is my guide, my answer, and my measuring stick. It sure takes a lot of pressure off me. 

But the Word of God is more than just a rule to govern my life by - it is full of comfort and encouragement as well. 

We know the power of encouraging each other (Hebrews 10:24-25). And when I think of encouragement, I love this quote:  

"Encouragement is to friendship what confetti is to a party. It's light, refreshing, and fun,
and you always end up finding little pieces of it stuck on you later. " Nicole Johnson

If you have ever been around a little girl in a glittery dress, you have experienced the sticking power of glitter. It lingers on family members and furniture for DAYS!

And I can't think of confetti without remembering the hand fulls that "friends" placed in the air vents of our car on our wedding day. 

Still, 8 years later, on certain days when the air is on full blast, a sequined piece of colorful paper will fly out at our faces, reminding us that confetti has a powerful tendency to hang around. 

"What wonders a bit of encouragement can do! It's one of the most awesome treasures
God has given us -- the ability to inspire, motivate, and reassure others."  Barbara Johnson

But what about those lonely days or those times when you aren't able to share your difficult circumstances with everyone, but you are still in need of some encouragement? 

That's where the Word of God steps in! 

"I weep with sorry; encourage me by your Word."  Ps. 119:28

"Such things were written in Scriptures long ago to teach us. 
And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises
to be fulfilled."  Romans 15:5

"As soon as I pray, you answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength." Ps. 138:3

Just as parents at a kid's sporting event cheer for their children...."You can do it!"  "You've got this!" "I'm so proud of you!" "Keep going!"  "Yeah!!!" there are so many instances when God has cheered for me, His child,  with His Word.  

And when He does that in your life, journal it, memorize that verse, highlight it, cover the margin in washi tape, underline it, put it in your house somewhere...let the Word of God continue to change, guide and encourage you. Let that spiritual confetti stick around. 

Today at Mom's group, a friend shared of the struggle in motherhood to grumble, complain and worry. It's not that we hate our lives, its just easier to focus on the hard parts of the day. Easier to feel alone. Easier to just grumble. And that affects our children, our's not good. 

She told of the power of the Word of God and how it has changed her attitude...

"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again -- rejoice!
Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 
Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. 
His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:4-7

After some praising, confessing and praying took place, her perspective changed. She saw how God was at work and how He was helping her. And He did guard her heart and mind! The Word of God is that powerful. 

I gave the moms some little index cards to write out some spiritual confetti of their own. Verses that the Lord specifically led them to. Verses He had used or was using to encourage and point them back in right direction. And it was so powerful to hear the verses discussed at my table - the way that God's Word had done exactly what God promised it would do! 

His Word is the answer. It is truth. It can change us. It can encourage us. We just have to dig into it! 

What are some verses that the Lord has used in your life? What's some of your spiritual confetti? 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Folded Book Photo Display

A few weekends ago, my sister and I went "treasure hunting"...also known as shopping in antique stores and home decor places.  We bought a few things and gathered lots of ideas. Its the best place to find inspiration and ignite my creativity.

Beside the cash register at one of these stores was the cutest little folded book where business cards were adorably displayed.

As soon as I saw it, my mind started thinking of how I could recreate it.

This morning, I grabbed one of my favorite books to re-purpose...I love the colorful cover that I will use for another project. I love that the pages are a little discolored, thanks to their age. I love the size. And I love that it came from the free box at a local used book store. Give me all the Readers Digest Condensed Books. ha.

But any book with this same thickness will do.

It doesn't even need to be a hard backed book, because the first step is to remove the cover.

Then, I started folding. I folded each page in half. (Perfect movie-watching activity)

And if I came across a page that had an illustration, I just adjusted which way I folded the page to hide the picture. In the end, it didn't matter which way each page was folded.

Instead of business cards, mine will display photos or cards received. (Snail Mail Forever!!)

I've been wanting to host another Crafternoon...this may just be a featured project. It was easy, cheap and the end result was rewarding.

Who would be interested in a future Crafternoon...I'll come up with the projects, you'll pay a small supply fee, and we will all craft together!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

changing our attitude...

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.
When I look at the night sky and see the works of your fingers -- 
the moon and the starts you set in place --
what are mere mortals that you should think about them, 
human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God 
and crowned them with glory and honor. 
You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority -- 
the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, 
and everything that swims the ocean currents.

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! 
Psalm 8, NLT

I know that the Word of God is alive and active and powerful (Hebrews 4:12). I know that God is omniscient. And I know that He orders our steps and directs our days. But it still continues to amaze me how His Word can be so in tune with my day! 

The kids are now in bed, the day is almost over, I am just now getting to have my time in the Word.  As I read Psalm 8, the passage mentioned in my Bible Study, I couldn't stop smiling, knowing that the Lord intended for me to meditate on this exact chapter at the end of this exact day. 

The morning seem to start before I was ready for it to begin. The day was full of wiping noses, filling juice cups and building train tracks. We had some adventures. We looked at some NASA pictures (Hudson's favorite thing)    

vs. 3  When I look at the night sky and see the works of your fingers -- 
the moon and the starts You set in place --

We did a little cleaning. We counted the robins in the yard and marveled at how God made them to know where to dig for worms. 

vs. 6-9   the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, 
and everything that swims the ocean currents.

O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! 

By dinner time, our home probably seemed like all other homes with small children. Dinner to bedtime is often a struggle. It's not impossible...but everyone is tired, today my kids weren't feeling well, its dark so early this time of year...I hate to admit, but I am often just counting down the hours until we begin the bedtime routine.

I scrambled some eggs for dinner, realizing that I needed an attitude adjustment for myself. I started to play some worship music. Music has always had such a powerful influence on my life. So, I started telling the Lord that I wanted Him to be the King of my Heart. It changes my whole day just to declare His goodness.

vs. 1  O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Less than 30 seconds into this first song, the kids were right there singing with me, twirling around the kitchen. Nora even had some silverware to use as her microphone.

We then praised the name of Jesus.

vs. 1  O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

And at this point, the kids were asking for some of "their worship songs." As I finished dinner, I loved hearing their voices sing along.

vs. 2  You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.

The kids were happy. Our focus was on the Lord. It was amazing what some spontaneous worship did to change our evening.

vs. 2  You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.

Lord, You are worthy of all our praise. Your name leads me to worship. Thank you that your creation points to how great you are. Thank you that children's worship matters. I love that YOU are the One who has taught them to tell and sing of Your strength. 

Kid's worship matters. Focusing on Jesus changes everything.