Monday, November 30, 2015

What This Forty-Something Mom Learned from a Football Movie

Believe it or not, girly movies aren't all we watch around here!

While we were on vacation last week, our daughters watched Facing the Giants for the first time Monday night.....and liked it so much that they watched it again on Tuesday night!

I had seen the movie - or at least parts of it - before, but I sat and watched it with them the first night.  A quote from the movie really stuck with me, and it's going to get a lot of use around here!

I love this line!!  If I or my daughters are having a bad attitude, it's because something "stinks" in our heart.  If my heart is right with God, I'll show kindness, I'll be patient, I'll forgive graciously, I'll be willing to put others ahead of myself.  If, however, I'm harboring anger, laziness, pride, or other sinful feelings and emotions in my heart, then my attitude will eventually reveal that.

Recalling this sentence will be a great way for us to remind each other that an attitude issue is, at its core, a heart issue.  Hopefully we can encourage each other to keep our hearts smelling sweet!!

This post contains an affiliate link, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase using this link.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving


I will be taking this week off from blogging as I spend some special time with my family.  I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, giving thanks to the One Who has so richly blessed us, and enjoying the fellowship of family and friends.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Book Review: Mama Needs a Do-Over by Lisa Pennington

I've enjoyed Lisa Pennington's blog for a long time, so I was excited about the opportunity to review her book, Mama Needs a Do-Over:  Simple Steps to Turning a Hard Day Around.

As a mom of nine kids, Lisa obviously has experience in this area of hard days!  In her book, she gives moms steps they can take when they feel frustrated or overwhelmed with how their day is going.  She has readers list their gifts, dreams, and problems, then explains how to match those areas up to overcome the problems.  For example, if you enjoy decorating, use that gift to address your child's struggle with organization and create a nice area where they can arrange their possessions in an orderly way.

Lisa emphasizes that we should always be willing to change a plan that's not working and, of course, the importance that our attitude makes when addressing a difficulty.  One of my favorite tips is using humor - doing something to turn a tense moment into a lighter one.

We can also fill our "success suitcase" with prayer, applicable Bible verses, and the fruit of the spirit to help us have the right responses to problems.  Most of all, she encourages us to enjoy motherhood by taking time to breathe and making real connections with our children.

Much of Lisa's book is written in the vein of her blog.  Lisa doesn't take life - or herself! - too seriously.  While I felt the book lacked flow in certain spots, I appreciated her perspective on mothering and her practical ideas.  You can tell she has a heart for moms and wants to help them along on their parenting journey.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my review.  All of the opinions expressed in this post are my own and I was not compensated for this review in any other way.

Monday, November 16, 2015

10 Simple Ways to Show Thanks

Last November, I did a series on 10 Simple Ways to Show Thanks, posting one idea each day.  I thought it might be helpful to gather all those ideas into one post and revisit it this November.  With ten days left until Thanksgiving, you could do one of these each day to lead you right up to the Thanksgiving holiday. 

I've just included a brief recap of the posts here; you can visit the link on each individual idea to read about it in more detail.


1.  Write a thank you note.

2.  Verbally thank someone.

3.  Sing a song of Thanksgiving.

4.  Write a list of 10 things you can thank God for today.

5.  Pray your list of thankfulness to God.

6.  Meditate on a Bible verse of praise and thanksgiving.

7.  Give something away.

8.  Post a picture of something for which you're thankful.

9.  Say a meaningful prayer before a meal.

10.  Share with your family a time when you saw God's blessing in your life.

What are some other practical ways we can show our thanks?

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Saturday Salutes


Lisa gives us One Surefire Way to Know You're Doing This Parenting Thing Right.

If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house, you may want to check out Amy's Free Printable Thanksgiving Meal Planner.

I love Terri's idea for an Acorn Gratitude Banner.  This would be lots of fun to make with your younger children.

Alicia has Christmas Planning:  5 Things to Do Now.

Since I'm in the same season of life, I really appreciated the encouragement in Elizabeth's posts Why I Still Stay Home (the why) and Why I Still Stay Home (what she does all day!)  I also had to include her What the Lady at the Grocery Store Didn't Tell Me to encourage all of you with little ones!

We'll be getting our annual family pictures taken this morning.  Fun times :) 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 13, 2015

My Five Favorite Podcasts

I've only had a smartphone for a few months, but one of my favorite uses for it is listening to podcasts, either when I'm working around the house or driving in the car by myself.

There are so many podcasts out there!  I've mainly found those I like through the recommendations of others and by searching some of the top podcasts in particular categories I'm interested in, such as Kids and Family or Religion.

At the moment, the five podcasts listed below are my favorites.  I'm subscribed to these as well as to a few others.  When new episodes are downloaded to my phone, I look at the title and description to see if the topic would interest me.  If not, I just delete that episode.  I don't feel obligated to listen to every single one (nor do I have the time to do that!)  Therefore, I can't say that I endorse all episodes of any podcasts, but overall, I really enjoy those listed below.


1.  Family Life Today.  Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine offer helpful material and practical ideas for building families and encouraging and equipping moms for raising their children.

2.  God Centered Mom.  I listen to most of these episodes.  Heather MacFadyen usually interviews a guest about subjects of interest to Christian moms.

3.  Insight for Living. This is Chuck Swindoll's podcast, which is usually just re-broadcasts of his radio show.

4.  The Big Boo Cast.  This podcast is for pure entertainment only!  Melanie and Sophie just make me laugh.  They're likely to talk about college football, beauty products, fashion, and whatever is currently going on in their lives.  If you're not sure if you would enjoy their podcast, just check out their blogs at Big Mama and Boo Mama as their podcast is in the same tone as their blogs.  Again, I don't endorse 100% of the content, but do enjoy their bi-weekly (or so) podcasts.

5.  Focus on the Family.  I almost always listen to the Focus on Parenting podcasts and sometimes to the Daily Broadcast as well.

Dave Ramsey's podcast didn't make this list, only because I typically listen to his radio show either on my computer while I'm ironing (seems to make the job go much faster!) or doing other tasks around the house.  I also have his show app on my phone so I can listen to it that way.  Otherwise, I'd definitely be subscribed to his podcast.

I also enjoy catching Money Saving Mom's videos on Periscope.  I usually can't watch them live, but she archives them on Katch and I will watch them later in the day, again while I'm cleaning or doing other housework.

If you have a favorite podcast, please let me know in the comments.  I'm always looking for new listening material!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

3 Ways We Unintentionally Train Our Children


I strive to do a lot of training on purpose...seizing teachable moments, talking with my daughters about situations they face, and encouraging them in their spiritual walk.

However, I've come to realize that there are three ways I am constantly training them, often without even realizing it.

1.  By what I say.  I don't mean just what I say to them, though that is important.  It is what I say about other people, what I say when I'm angry over a situation, what I say when a person cuts me off in traffic.  It is also what I say in praising the Lord and in offering prayer and encouraging a friend in a conversation.  My girls are always listening.

2.  By what I do.  We all know the old adage, "more is caught than taught."  Our children are much more likely to do what we do than to do what we say to do.  I find that I need to ask myself, Am I living in a way that I want them to copy?  Am I responsible and thoughtful and kind?  Do my actions match up with what I say I believe?

3.  By what I expect.  Do I expect my children to pick up after themselves or do I do it for them?  Do I expect them to treat their brothers and sisters with kindness or let them argue and call each other names?  Do I expect them to help around the house, to come to a meal without complaining about what's on the table?  If I want them to develop a particular character trait, I need to tell them my expectation in that area and then find ways to encourage them to meet it.

We all have a heart for training our children to know, love, and serve God.  Yet I'm beginning to realize afresh that how we live in front of them plays a large part in the training process. 

It comes back to my own personal walk with Christ.  If I'm spending time in prayer and Bible reading and meditating on truth from Scripture, then I'll have a much better chance of saying, doing, and expecting what I should.  And how thankful I am for God's mercy, that will carry me through when I fail in this parenting journey yet again, and for His grace that can minister to my children, at times in spite of their mother!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Letting Go, a Little at a Time

Last week, our 14-year-old daughter attended a fine arts festival at a college several hours away from home.

She's been to week-long summer camp before, so this wasn't a totally new experience for us, but it was strange for her to be gone for so long in the middle of the school year.

And while she was excited about going and I was happy for her to go, I have this thing - a worry, I guess you could call it - about all that might happen to her while she's away.  She could get sick (and she did text me one morning to say that she had a cough), she could forget to pack something she really needed and have no way to get it, she could get hurt or not know how to get to where she needed to be.

While she was gone, I happened to listen to a podcast by Chuck Swindoll in which he described the process of letting go of our children.  He said that each year of their lives, we release our children a little bit more.  It's like flying a kite; you gradually let go of the string, a little at a time, until it's up as high as it can go.

So it is with our children.  It starts out small...leaving him in the church nursery as a baby or with grandma for a couple of hours while we go out on a date with our husband.  Then it's letting them spend the day with a friend or a cousin, then sending them off to school or some other supervised place where mom's not around.  Each small step, each time we let out a bit more of the kite string, our child gains a little more freedom and independence and we gain a little more confidence in their ability to take on the world.

It's part of growing up. I wouldn't want my daughter to be fearful of ever leaving me, scared to try things on her own. I don't want her to never want to leave, but I always want her to look forward to coming home (even if it's for the food....when I asked her, via text, on Thursday if she was ready to come home, she replied, "Maybe...but I'm definitely ready for real food" - aka home cooking!)

Letting go is hard - it's giving up the control I want to have over her safety and her health and her well-being.  It certainly grows my faith as a mom as I have to let go of another fistful of that kite string and realize that even when I'm away from her, God's not.  He's right there watching over her, taking care of her.  He loves her more than I do and will use these times to grow both of us.  So the best thing I can do is to pray for her and entrust her to His care.

Yet how sweet the reunions are, hearing the stories from her trip and seeing, through my mother eyes, the lessons she's learning and the ways she's growing as a person.  I don't think these partings will get any easier as the years go by, but I'm learning in a new way every time she leaves how I can trust God to be all that we both need - and more.

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