My Kids Are Funnier Than Yours

I’m not a bumper sticker kind-of-mom.

But I think I’d put the title of this post on my minivan bumper. Because I’m wild and crazy like that. And also, I have pride.
My kids put the fun in funny.
Just recently:
We were eating pizza at the Sam’s Club cafe (which is a stretch of the word cafe, since there are 4 picnic tables and a soda dispenser), when my toddler noticed two kids at another table sitting by themselves. (Yes, we eat out at Sam’s. This is often a highlight of our week: $9.54 for all five us to eat fresh, hot pizza).
So, she says in the loudest voice possible (she wasn’t shouting, the child just talks LOUD (mental note-schedule hearing test)), “Momma, where are those kid’s parents?” and she points, of course. Just in case anyone was in doubt who the said abandoned children were.
Before I could shush her or even respond, she yells her own answer:
“They are probably dead.”
It’s too bad. Sam’s was the nice restaurant on our list.
[I think she’s entered the talking about “death” phase a bit early. Ever since our pet rabbit Marshmallow died, it’s been in her vocabulary. The other night it was cold and we decided for the first time to roast marshmallows….she piped up, confused and a little afraid, “But I thought Marshmallow died???” I’ll need to remember that story for the family counselor.]
Just thinking about leaving my kids Tuesday for another country, makes me weepy—so, today, I’m pushing those thoughts away and I’m asking you to tell me something funny your kids have said!
Ready. Set. Go.

Do Hard Things

I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie.

Half Pint was my friend. I cried when Mary went blind and fell in love with Almanzo like the rest of the world.
I didn’t bat an eye watching my TV heroines sleep in a one room cabin, wear their one good “Sunday dress” to every church service, wedding and special occasion. Life was hard on the prairie, days were long, work was consistent, and distractions were few.
I know life isn’t a television show. It’s not divided into 30 minute feel-good segments, all wrapped up with a tidy moral at the end. But there are some wonderful lessons we can all learn, not only from this wholesome show, but from the period in which it was set.
It was a time in our country when children lived under great expectations. There was early childhood and then there was adulthood. Teenagers were often newly married with land and babes of their own, working under tremendous responsibility.
I don’t remember any Little House on the Prairie episodes about “Laura’s challenging tween years” or “How much allowance should Mary get for making her bed?”
Now, I’m personally thankful for modern times and certainly don’t want to go back to the ways of yore (I love the word yore, don’t you?). But in reading Do Hard Things, a book written by two teenage brothers, who have rebelled against the low expectations of today’s culture, it’s pointed out that with money, technology and a shift in work ethic, we’ve made things easy for our kids.
We don’t expect hard things from them.
Instead of expecting greatness, we do something worse, we reward our 10 year old for picking up dirty clothes off the floor and our 7 year old for cleaning his plate. I’m not pointing fingers here, we’ve done it too, but in reading this life-changing book, I realized this has to stop in our home.
My kids don’t need an allowance for being a part of the family. They don’t need a reward for putting away their own laundry (that I usually fold!) They need to be challenged to greatness, pushed away from laziness and mediocrity. Our society expects our kids to do the minimum, filling their minds with low expectations.
We need to expect them to do hard things.
They don’t have to wait until they are out of college to witness of Christ to a friend or turn a certain age to raise money for the poor. They don’t have to expect comfort and ease and be okay with the status quo. They don’t have to be like everyone else.
Doing hard things is, well, it’s hard. It’s gut-wrenchingly hard to share your marriage testimony for the world (and your neighbors) to read. It’s scary-hard to squeeze another $38 out of your budget to rescue a child from poverty. These things are hard, but they are good.
I want my children to know that not only did we expect hard things of them, we did them ourselves.
When I announced I was going to Kenya, I received a comment from a stranger. Another Mom, just trying to make her mark on the world. She and her little girl were touched by a photograph of hungry street children in Kenya gnawing on the leg bone of a cow.
Nanyus boys
They could have just felt bad, even whispered a prayer. But they did more. They have done something hard. They created a company called Mom and Me Baking, a great little cookie bakeshop that profits the hungry in Kenya. In just the first two months of business, this mom and daughter duo fed 150 African people for a week!!
Are you expecting hard things from your children? Aiding them to make a difference and fanning the flame in their young hearts? (If so, PLEASE tell me all about it in the comments!)
In a few days, I’ll be doing something out of my comfort zone (and also have I mentioned, terrifying for me?) I will be asking you to join me as I travel to Kenya.
I will push you out of your comfort zone as you read along, exposing you to uncomfortable pictures and heartbreaking stories from Africa’s largest slum, a place without electricity or running water. A place where a million people survive and put their own sewage in a plastic bag and throw it out the door. A slum that is littered with thousands of plastic bags–
I’m asking you, today, to open your heart……
to get ready to do something hard. For Him.
[This book is written for teens. But we decided not to wait to share it with our 10 and 7 year old. As we read it aloud, we did so with their age in mind and edited out a few parts.]
I’d love to hear about your choice to do something hard in your life….tell me about it in my community and you’ll be entered to win three dozen cookies from Mom and Me Baking!! (this little giveaway is happening in my Blog Frog Community, not on my blog).


Happy Birthday Swag Bucks

Y’all know I’m a big fan (BIG FAN!) of the Swag Bucks program. I’ve been amazed at how many Swag Bucks I’ve earned by simply having readers (and real life friends, family) sign up under my referral code.

Let’s just say I have enough to buy a new house.
Kidding. Just thought I’d soften the blow before I tell you that I have enough Swag Bucks to pay for Christmas 2010. Seriously.
Swag Bucks is celebrating their birthday today and the launch of Swag Bucks 3.0 and they are hoping those of you who have been holding out will join in by entering this special code: THATFAMILY
Click right here to sign up and enter the code.
The code below will be active from Feb 25th starting at 6am (PST) and will extend to Thursday March 4th at 6am. The code is case sensitive. This is only available for new registrants.
Instead of earning the normal three Swag Bucks, you’ll earn SIX.

Just like that!




He Said/She Said (7): Warning Signs


Thank you for joining us in this very heavy topic for the last two months. It hasn’t been easy for us to write it or for you to read it. As we begin to wrap it up in the next few weeks, it’s our prayer that in the least, this series will open up some good discussion with you and your spouse.

She Said:

I’m going to be perfectly candid with you, I didn’t recognize the warning signs of lust and pornography that bound my hubby off and on in the first ten years of our marriage. I didn’t think my hubby was capable of being so terribly human. I thought we were above such a disgusting sin. I was wrong.
Looking back and knowing what I know now, there were some red flags. The last four years of our marriage, the transformation and deep level of intimacy we’ve experienced is proof enough. Sure, we had moments in those first years of marriage, but we didn’t live in the profound place of knowing each other in the soul’s lowest and highest moments, as we do now.
Once, I remember standing in the store watching my hubby’s eyes follow another woman. I remember being hurt and even making an accusation and picking a fight right there in the store. I clearly showed my hubby that I was furious with him and had a complete lack of understanding of man’s most natural temptation. I’m sure he buried his secret even deeper that day.
Whether or not you’ve walked this road, I want to encourage you in one thing: Don’t be afraid to ask your spouse if he struggles with lust, especially if you are suspicious. Suspicion only damages your relationship. Keep the line of communication open.
If your spouse is open with you, that is a good sign. If they are defensive or angry, you need to talk it out.
I gave my hubby an iPhone for our anniversary, his first phone that easily accessed the Internet. I wasn’t worried about him giving into temptation. I truly trusted him. But then we started this series and in order to answer and empathize with heart-wrenching emails and even phone calls, I had to go back to four years ago and to the place where my heart was broken in two.
I woke up one day and I just felt insecure. Rather than build a case against my husband or make a false accusation or hurt him, I simply asked my hubby if he would put a safety program on his phone.
He did so immediately and without hesitation. He said, “I want to do everything I can to be accountable and to make you feel secure.” And then he thanked me for suggesting it.
This man has been free for four long years. He wasn’t defensive, critical or even irritated. He was thankful. And that says it all.
He Said: DISCLAIMER: This “He Said” is mostly for women. I want to caution everyone about the intentions of this particular vlog. I do not advocate that wives or girlfriends go snooping around trying to “catch” your husband or boyfriend doing something wrong. If you are partnered with a Godly man just set down and have an honest conversation with them about lust and pornography and your concerns. Your goal is to have the most intimate, honest relationship possible. The “warning” signs that I talk about are for marriages where there may be a trust issue, or your significant other has been unfaithful in the past, or is unwilling to open up about this topic. I also want you to know that my heart is for you to have an incredible, intimate, Godly marriage!

We will be resume with the last post in this series week after next, Rebuilding Trust.

P.S. My hubby has lost TWENTY pounds since his first vlog! Just wanted to brag on him.

WFMW: Traveling Without My Family


Please mark your calendars for the temporary move of WFMW for the next two week’s (March 3 & 10) . While I’m in Kenya with Compassion Bloggers, Shannon of Rocks in My Dryer, will be welcoming you all back to her place as she hosts WFMW for two weeks! There will NOT be a special theme for March 3, link any tip you’d like!


As most of you know, I’m heading to Africa in six days (or 126 hours, 14 minutes, 9 seconds to be exact).

Not that I’m a nervous counter or anything.

I’m nervous about the 30-something hours I’ll be spending in airports and airplanes. I’m a bit worried my queasy stomach will rebel with all the unaccustomed smells and travel. Not to mention, seeing the unfathomable hardships of a third world country will surely change me forever.

But spending 10 days away from my hubby and kids is what I’m preparing for today. That’s a long time. I know I will be extremely busy and with the time change on different continents and all, it might make daily contact with my loves difficult.

So. In order to help them not miss me as much (read between the lines–me missing them like crazy), I have done some pre-trip preparation to stay connected. Whether you travel for a weekend or a month, being away from your kids can tough, so I hope these tips help you sometime:

  • I have small journals for my two older kids. I’ve written them a note and tucked away pictures for each day that I’m gone. I’ve included little memories, scripture, and even jokes. I also tucked a $5 bill in the back, so their Dad can take them for a treat.
  • For my toddler, I bought a book at Hallmark called “All the Ways I Love You.” It’s a recordable storybook with my voice reading to her. There’s even space to record a little love message.
  • My hubby is completely capable, but just to ease his burden, I’m leaving him with a stocked pantry and some pre-made meals in the freezer. Since he’ll be juggling all my duties plus his own with the help of his mother and mine, I’ve left detailed instructions for each day.
  • I also have a family gift for my kids and hubby to open halfway thru my trip (some fun music, books).
  • Skype-While I was a Blissdom, I found an empty hallway and tested Skype out with my family. I think this little bit of technology is going to make a huge difference!
Do you have any ideas to add to this list? I’d love to read them!Thank you for joining me for WFMW! {You can read the guidelines here.}Have a Works-For-Me Wednesday tip you’d like to share? I’d love for you to join us!


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Bel Kai Designs {Giveaway}

*UPDATED with Winner* Thanks everyone for entering! Congrats to random winner Celeste!
Just when I think I’ve seen a sampling of all the beautiful jewelry out there, I find a place like Bel Kai Designs.
I love this unique, personalized jewelry. It’s meaningful and elegant. Just look:
Image of Photo Pendant Necklace
Image of Custom Japanese Blossom
Image of Square Initials Necklace
Bel Kai Designs sent me the Spring Cluster Necklace to review. It’s absolutely lovely! I’m wearing it today in utter protest of the forecasted snow in my part of the deep South:

Image of Spring Cluster Necklace

Go visit and tell me your favorite! Bel Kai Designs is offering one lucky reader a $50 gift certificate!

This giveaway will end on Thursday.
Bel Kai Designs is supporting Compassion International with this giveaway.