Monday, September 29, 2014

From One Extreme to Another

Where I was....

Vail, CO

Colorado Mountains

Where I am....

Back to regular posting soon!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

4 Tips for Getting Good Buys at Consignment Stores

Recently we went to a children's clothing consignment store to see what fall and winter clothes they had available for my 11-year-old daughter.  With the sizes she's currently wearing, I'm often able to find items inexpensively and in good condition.

We were fairly successful this time.  I bought her four pieces of clothing, one of which was a dress for church that still had the tags on it. 

If I'm buying clothing at a consignment or thrift store, I want to make sure I'm getting a bargain, so here are four tips I try to remember when we're shopping at these types of stores.

1.  Try on lots of clothes.  We always head to the dressing room with our arms full of clothes.  Since we're trying on a variety of brands, we grab sizes that might be slightly smaller or larger than her current size.  Also, since many of the clothes will have already been washed and dried, they might fit differently than when they were brand new. Sometimes my daughter will want to try a style that I'm not sure she'll like in the long run, but I can live with that if we're not paying much for the items.

2.  Set a limit on how much you will pay per item.  Basic clothing pieces like shirts from Target and Old Navy can be bought new inexpensively, so I won't pay much for those used.  However, for a church dress or a winter coat or a more unique item, I'm willing to pay a bit more.

3.  Look carefully for stains and check the condition in good lighting.  Even though I may be getting items for a good price, I still want them to be clean and neat.  Special occasion items (or heavy winter clothing in our area) won't have been worn as much so is more likely to be in great condition.

4.  Buy brands you know are of good quality.  We like Lands End clothing; most of what my girls have worn from the company lasts and looks great for a long time.  When my girls were younger, I'd be excited to find clothes from more expensive brands like Mini Boden or Hanna Andersson.

Do you shop for children's clothing at consignment stores?  What shopping tips do you have?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

5 Goals for Educating Our Children

Whether you send your children off to school each morning or teach them at home, it is helpful to set goals in the area of educating our children.  From toddlers to preschoolers to teenagers, our children are always learning from us.

As I evaluate the way I work with our daughters, I have come up with five primary goals for their education.
1.  Develop their relationship with God.  As a Christian parent, my highest priority is to encourage them to have their own walk with God.  In earlier days, one of the main reasons for teaching children to read was so that they would be able to read the Bible for themselves.  Beginning Scripture memory at an early age also plants the seed of God's Word in their hearts.

2.  Give them an awareness of the world around us and the people who live in it.  Teaching them how to interact with other children, adults, people from different cultures, those in need, etc., is a way to implement "love thy neighbor as thyself."  Traditional subjects like history and science fit perfectly into this goal as our children are introduced to the way the physical world works and how people have interacted throughout the centuries.

3.  Build character.  By reading books about Godly men and women and pointing out the moral traits and principles that characterized their lives, we can help our children see the importance of character in their daily dealings.

4.  Develop the talents God has given them.  Make time for pursuing their interests.  This may mean that they try several activities in order to find just the right fit for them.

5.  Create a thirst for lifelong learning.  No matter how much time we spend "schooling," we can never teach them all there is to know about a subject.  If I can help them to love learning and give them the skills for delving deeper into a topic, then they will continue to learn well after their formal schooling is over.
These are goals that I hope I can work towards with our children.  Let me know if you have other goals that you strive for as you educate your children.

This post was originally published on August 19, 2011.

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's Your Lawn

"There are no greener grasses, only different lawns."  Emily P. Freeman in A Million Little Ways


When we're tempted to think that someone else has an easier life, a more loving husband, better-behaved children, an easier road financially, or a problem-free existence, we need to remember that God has put each of us into the place He has designed for us.  None of us can see from our current vantage point what He is doing in the lives of others - or, many times, even in our own.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." ~Philippians 2:13

This week may we each be content with where God has placed us and seek ways to bring honor and glory to Him in our own place of service.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Salutes

A Prayer for the Mom with Small Children is the must-read post of the week.

I like Rachel's list of 18 Non-Toy Gifts for Children.

I made this simple Nanny's Snow Ghost Pie for dessert one night last week and it was gone super fast!

Interesting article about limiting your child's screen time in Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent.

Laura tells us How to Decorate:  5 Ways to Personalize Your Home.

Inspirational Quotes -"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Moment in the Life of Parenting a Teenage Girl

You hear so many horror stories about parenting a teenage daughter.

Honestly, I've been scared.  Having worked with elementary-school-aged children for years, I felt fairly comfortable when our girls were going through that stage.  Now that they're 13 and 11, I feel as though I'm entering a whole new territory.

However, I'm here to say that ten months into having a teenager, I'm finding moments to enjoy.

On the way home from school one day last week, my older daughter was telling me about her day.  She described a situation involving a classmate and told me how she had responded.  Then she asked, "Do you think that was the right thing to do?"

Pick jaw up off floorThis is a special moment.  Don't lecture. All of these thoughts flooded my mind as we began our discussion.

This conversation with her really encouraged me.  Yes, I have and will deal with attitude and a messy room and raging emotions.  I know there are challenges ahead that will find me seeking God's wisdom at a whole new level.

But I hope we get the chance to have this same conversation over and over.  I know there will be times when she makes the right decision...and other times when she won't.  But with much prayer and God's grace, my goal is to keep the lines of communication open so that learning and teaching can take place. 

Thank you, Lord, for these moments that remind me how blessed I am to parent a teenage girl.

[I did have my daughter preview this post; I know they can be sensitive about what's said about them in a public forum at this age! :) ]

Do you have a teenage daughter?  What are some of the best moments you've shared with her?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Top Ten Influential Books

As much as I love to read, I was excited when Nikki asked me to compile a list of the ten most influential books I've read.  It was hard to narrow my list down, but here's what I came up with for this fun challenge.

1.  The Bible.  Where I find wisdom, guidance, and strength, it's the one book that never grows old and that I can continue to learn from each and every day of my life.

2.  Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss.  The struggles of the main character mirror mine; she is so relatable!  In spite of her failings, God molds her into His image as she matures in her walk with Him.

3.  On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo and Robert Buckman.  With its suggestions for scheduling your baby's hours, this book gave me confidence as a new mom and guided me into a lifestyle that worked well for our family.

4.  The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.  This book opened my eyes to the many ways in which I can pray for my husband and helped me realize the importance of my prayers in my husband's life.

5.  Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey.  Here's where, early in our marriage, my husband and I found the basic financial principles that we try to live by.  I believe these principles have kept us from many money arguments over the years.  There truly is peace in our marriage when we're on the same page with our goals for the money with which God blesses us.

6.  In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.  A simple yet eye-opening book about eating real food.  This book was the first one that really inspired me to take better care of my body and my family's bodies by ensuring that - at least most of the time! - we eat real food.

7.  David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.  This book showed me that I could enjoy classical literature!  It contains one of my favorite lines of all time.  As Dickens describes the miscarriage of David and Dora's baby, he writes, "The spirit fluttered for a moment on the threshold of its little prison, and, unconscious of captivity, took wing."  So many plots weave through this story and love is displayed in so many rich and unexpected ways.

8.  The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer.  A must-read for any parent, homeschooler or not, it's full of guidance for how you can build an excellent education for your children.

9.  Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  This actually represents all the series (Betsy-Tacy, the Melendy Family, Trixie Belden) that remind me of growing up and all the happy hours I spent reading at home!  I was so blessed to be read to as a young child, which I believed instilled in me a lifelong love of books.

10.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr., and Eric Carle.  This was a particular favorite of one of my daughters and just one of the childrens' books I memorized by virtue of reading it repeatedly!  The joy of spending so many hours reading to our girls has created memories we'll never forget.

Honorable Mention: 

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare for making me shed more tears over a book as an adult than I may have as a child.

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss.  I was thrilled when, during my senior year of high school, our Speech teacher had us select a children's book to read aloud to the class.  Having worked with children in our church nursery and day care, this was one speech assignment I felt comfortable with - and it earned my best grade of the year in that class.

Heaven by Randy Alcorn made me think more deeply about our eternal home that Jesus is preparing for us and how much more wonderful it will be than we can even think or imagine.

What books have been influential in your life?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Majesty in the Mundane

"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."  ~Colossians 3:17


It's Monday.

That means I'll spend the morning cleaning our master bathroom, catching up on laundry, and getting the house back in order after the weekend.

It's not the stuff of legends, won't make the front page of the newspaper, or even earn me a "Mom of the Year" award.  No one outside of my family will know what I accomplished today.

But I can do these tasks - and any other task ahead of me today - as to the Lord.  I can choose to tackle these mundane chores with a grumbling spirit or a servant's heart.  And when I do them as to the Lord, I'm bringing glory to Him.

Not only should I do all these things in His name, but also give thanks while I do them.  What can I be thankful for in the midst of spraying and scrubbing and switching laundry loads?  A family to serve, clothes to wear, a house to clean, physical strength, and so much more.

Whatever it is we're doing today - taking a child to the doctor's office or grocery shopping or making lunch - let's embrace it as our calling and do it for Him.  After all, we're serving the King.