Saturday, April 25, 2015

Saturday Salutes

Roses from our backyard rosebushes

I need to review this list with my girls - 10 Specific Manners Your Kids Need to Know.

Kate has a fun Alphabet Sticker Game for helping children learn and review their letter sounds.

I shared this post with my daughters - 10 Things I Wish I Knew Going Into Middle School. 

Brooks lists 4 Verses to Pray to Help Your Son Be a Man of God.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

3 Truths About Kids and Marriage


It's an exciting day when your family begins to grow, from the two of you to three (or more, if you have multiples), then to four or more.  My husband and I were married for almost ten years before we brought a baby home, so it was definitely an adjustment at first!

I am blessed to be married to a wonderful man who's a great father to our children.  He always seems to have wisdom for the situations that I struggle with - and has learned to just listen and sympathize when I need to pour out my mommy woes!

There are many lessons I'm learning about how marriage works through these years of parenting, but here are three that I've found helpful.

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1.  Having a partner in raising your children is priceless.  Who else on earth loves your children like their other parent?  You have someone to bounce ideas off of when it comes to discipline or training; you have someone to commiserate with when those ideas don't work and you don't know what else to try; you have someone to share your concern and pray with you when a child is sick; and someone to hold you when you cry as they head off for their first day of school (or overnight camp...or college).

2.  My relationship with my spouse comes before my relationship with my children.  I've often read about the importance of putting your marriage relationship ahead of your relationship with your children.  It isn't easy in the early days, when your children seem to need you constantly and you're tempted to let your spouse get by on his/her own.  But, as our girls are getting older, this truth is becoming even more of a reality to me.  Our daughters will leave - sooner, now, rather than later - and I want to still know my husband and keep up with his interests as we approach those years ahead of us.

3.  Talking positively about your spouse in front of your children will help them to respect you - and him - more.  As a child, I remember sitting in the car with my dad and siblings, watching my mom go into the store to get a few groceries, and my dad talking to us about what a great mom we had.  I do this with our girls on occasion, but I'm challenging myself to do it more!  I want them to appreciate the wonderful dad that they have.

Each season brings new truths about these relationships to light.  What other truths about kids and marriage do you think are important to remember?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Two Things I Need in This Season of Motherhood


Every day is new territory.

I'm fast approaching the days of having a high schooler and a middle schooler.  That also means that in six weeks both daughters will be in the church youth group and officially out of the children's programs.

Questions plague me often.  Am I doing this right?  Am I expecting too much or not enough?  Am I letting go at the right pace or still being too overprotective, cultivating independence or stunting their personal responsibility?

Learning to parent through this new stage comes slowly for me, but I'm hopeful there's progress.  I'm seeing the value of keeping my mouth shut at times, of letting them learn a few lessons through their own life experiences.  I'm trying to listen more, empathize, hold back from judging a situation until I've heard the whole story, not offering an opinion unless I'm asked for one.

I'm no longer parenting little girls; they're clearly on their way to becoming young women. Two things I need more than ever these days are wisdom and grace.

I need wisdom from God's Word to know how to parent and wisdom from those who've walked this road ahead of me and can share their insights.  They understand the current challenges and can offer me much-needed encouragement.  Making time to seek this wisdom needs to be a priority, to study my Bible, to pray claiming James 1:5, and trust that God will grant the wisdom I lack.

I need grace for all those times I mess up, yet see God work in the lives of my children in spite of me.  Grace pulls me to my knees, seeking what I don't deserve and praising Him for the blessings I can see and those I trust Him for.  Sometimes I feel that grace at the end of the day when all I can remember are my failures, yet the handwritten card left on my pillow by one of our girls sweetly tells me that I'm a great mom.

These precious daughters are His gifts, created for His glory, entrusted to my husband and I to prepare and send forth as lights in His world.  How thankful I am that He knows the way to lead us through this journey together, enriching our relationships with Him and with each other as we pass these new milestones.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday Salutes

First, a few pictures from the past week....

The girls at our resort in Palm Coast, FL

Getting ready to board the bus at the Kennedy Space Center

Hammock Beach

The ocean view from our balcony

Kristen shares 5 Things My Daughter Is Teaching Me About Changing the World.

Ann's Easy Spring Porch Refresh has inspired me to see what I can change about my front porch!

JulieAnn offers 10 Character Qualities to Teach to Children (and Ourselves).

I made Christy's Country Casserole last night for supper and it was very good.  I'm thinking of making this Coconut Fudge Pie as a belated birthday treat for myself. :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Salutes


Christy tells us The Answer to That One Question He Really Wants to Know.

Lisa shares How a Mother of 8 Keeps Her House Clean (or at least tidy).

Leigh Ann writes about How We Do Family Devotions.

Mary has 5 Ways to Raise Readers.

Stephanie lists 8 Easy Tips to Freshen Up Your Home.

Mandy discusses The Heart of Modesty.

I probably won't be around the blog much in the next few days.  We have another full week coming up, but I hope to get back to regular posting soon!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, April 10, 2015

I'm Glad I Answered That Phone Call

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I don't usually answer my cell phone if I don't recognize the number on the screen.

However, yesterday I was waiting on a return phone call from a furniture store, so when I glanced down at the ringing phone and saw a strange number, I answered.

I'm so thankful that I did.

It was my best friend from high school.  While we've kept in touch periodically through e-mails and special occasion cards, it's probably been over twenty years since we talked on the phone.  She had remembered my birthday earlier this week and decided to call.

It was so good to hear her voice.  She's a four-year breast cancer survivor and the mom of a one-year-old son that she and her husband adopted.  She's a sister in Christ, and we talked about the church they've found since their move back to the East Coast and the way God has blessed our families.

We caught up on all aspects of each other's lives.  I asked about her parents, doing well at ages 85 and 80.  She was amazed that my "baby" sister now has three kids of her own. 

We browsed through a couple of old memories....I was eating supper at her house with her family one night (while I can hardly remember what I cooked a few nights ago, I still remember that that meal was spaghetti!) and we bowed our heads while her dad prayed.  We opened our eyes to see one of their cats on top of the table poised to partake of a supper of her own!

Now that Susan and I have reconnected by phone, I hope it continues.  I plan to call her around her birthday in late July; if nothing else, we can begin a new tradition of talking on the phone twice a year.

God puts special people in our lives in different seasons.  Looking back, I remember my freshman college roommate, a couple of co-workers with whom I grew close during my pre-baby days, another new mom that I came to know well as we shared all of our babies "firsts."  How thankful I am for those in seasons past that still touch my life and those in this season that are walking this journey with me. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Review: The Power of a Half Hour by Tommy Barnett

 The Power of a Half Hour by Tommy Barnett


While not specifically a time management book, Tommy Barnett's The Power of a Half Hour:  Take Back Your Life Thirty Minutes at a Time gives thirty ways you can use a half hour to improve your life.

The overall theme of the book is developed by encouraging readers to designate thirty-minute time slots to better their spiritual walk, advance their dreams, enhance their relationships, and help others.  Rather than view thirty minutes as too small a block of time to accomplish anything, the author challenges readers to seize that time and use it in a profitable way.  He shares many personal examples of how his life has been changed or improved in just a half hour.  A personal action plan you can use for each "Half-Hour Power Principle" is included at the back of the book.

This book is easy to read and was a good reminder to use little slots of time purposefully rather than just let them slip away. 

Blogging for Books provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.  All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own and I was not compensated for this review in any other way.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Fashion 2015

I started putting this post together several weeks ago when I couldn't wait to shed the sweaters and boots for some light and bright spring clothing!

I've seen such pretty colors in some of the stores lately, so thought I'd share a few outfit ideas that I like for spring this year.  You can see more on my Pinterest Fashion Board.

This would have been perfect for our cooler Easter Sunday yesterday, though I couldn't handle those heels!

"Black & white polka dot dress" by lisariverarph on Polyvore
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I'm not sure how these sleeves would look on me, but I love the color combination.

Love this color combination!
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Here's a cute, casual outfit for weekday or weekend wear.

"Mint and stripes"
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I really like blue and yellow together (though I don't know if I'd be bold enough to wear this skirt!)

Love the navy blazer and yellow striped top!  Not sure I could pull off that skirt.  White & navy anchor skirt, yellow & white l/s shirt, navy blazer, white heels.
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I just ordered a white denim vest; I'm hoping to put together an outfit similar to this one.

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And here's our girls' Easter fashion from yesterday.


Do you have a favorite color or style for spring?