My Cluttered Heart

I’ve been home from Africa for nearly two months. I probably should be “over” my trip now, back to my old self. Living the life I left.
But I’m not the same. I don’t ever want to be the same again. I don’t really know where God is leading me (and my family), but it’s far away from the person I was two months ago.
In Africa I witnessed the simplicity of pure hearts. People who had nothing and everything. I looked at my own life, in my own heart and I saw poverty.
It was a terrible discovery.

I returned to my easy American life, so weighted down with stuff, closets bursting with clothes and toys, walls and shelves crowded with dozens and dozens of things. 2,000 square feet crammed with enough home decor to decorate several houses, a hobby turned into a distraction of accumulating more stuff.
Stuff that cluttered my home, but worse, cluttered my heart.
I held tightly to these objects, things I bought to fill empty places. Things don’t fill empty places, they just hide them.
For the first time, I understood the rich young ruler’s choice in Mark 10: Jesus said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.” The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
I looked at my own life, in my own heart and I saw poverty.
It was a beautiful discovery.
I decided to let go of the meaningless things that clutter my home and my heart:
(layer one)
I’m discovering that my materialism is like an onion…layer one has been removed, but I think I’m just getting started on clearing out the stuff (in my home and heart).
I thought I had stuff, it turns out it had me.
I want Christ. He is much greater than all the riches of the world. He fills empty places.
And cleans up cluttered hearts.

DIFOP-Mothers Give Back to NICUS

By far, one of the most challenging and emotionally barren seasons of my life was giving birth to my premature daughter. My third baby spent three weeks in the NICU (neo natal intensive care unit) and it was a roller coaster with high highs and low lows.
Every Christmas we return to remember and honor the people who saved our daughter’s life. We also empathize with the exhausted, new parents on their long and frightening NICU journey.

In honor of Mother’s Day and our new Do-It-For-Others project, I am pleased to introduce you to a brand new organization, Hailey’s Hope, born out of a grief most of us will never know. Kristin, Hailey’s mom, lost her precious daughter in January this year when she was just 36 days old. She has turned her sorrow into a beautiful testimony and ministry in her baby’s honor by blessing other NICU families with special gift bags.

The gift bags for NICU parents provide a gentle touch of comfort during a difficult time.
What we are collecting to add to gift bags (ITEMS MUST BE NEW):
  • Stuffed animals, stuffed rattles, stuffed animals w/small blankies attached
  • Preemie clothes-boy, girl and unisex (most Dept. stores carry preemie clothes, including WalMart)
Please let me know BY COMMENTING if you think your family can send an item!
Some of you can send a lot, some only a little. Please consider sending something (I will collect the items the month of May and send one large box to Hailey’s Hope).
We are THAT family
8000 Research Forest Dr. Ste. 115-110
Spring, TX 77382

Deadline for this project is June 1st. If you can participate, I have a treat for you, please visit my community for a chance to win something special for yourself or Mom on Mother’s Day!

WFMW: A Tip for Moms

I don’t know about you, but my life is hectic. (And that’s after we’ve all but minimized after school activities and extracurricular events). I’d like to just unplug all the clocks and throw my watch out the window. Oh wait, that’s called summer (and it’s coming…wheee!!!)

I thought I’d share a quick Mom tip with you. It helps me manage the household duties: designate days. Pick a day for errands, one for laundry, another for cleaning the house. I even have two days for writing in bulk and Sunday afternoons are for grocery shopping.
Sticking to designated days really helps keep me from feeling overwhelmed and wanting to tackle everything (or nothing) all at once!
It works for me!
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!

  1. Nikki (Zapping Germs)
  2. How to Write a Killer About Page
  3. Smockity Frocks-Loading 7 Kids N a Van N<50 second
  4. HoosierHomemade{BlogFrog Community}
  5. Bulletin Boards – family info station!
  6. LifeasMOM – Mothers Day Dinner in the Freezer
  7. RobynOHSH{Eyedrops in Childs Eyes}
  8. This Side of Eternity(Percy Jackson Saves the Day)
  9. Lynns Kitchen Adventures -How to Cook Dried Bean
  10. Heavenly Homemakers (Homemade Frozen Hashbrowns!)
  11. Good Cheap Eats – How to Cut a Melon
  12. Kayren (Pillowcases That Fit)
  13. It Feels Like Chaos (one-on-one time)
  14. No room for a bedside table?
  15. Buying Garden Plants Before Planting Season
  16. A Spring Cleaning Tip That REALLY Works For Me!
  17. Amy @ Finer Things (Let them help!)
  18. Muses of Megret – Buttermilk Biscuits
  19. ElizabethG (Greening the Garbage)
  20. Homeschooling and What My Kids Arent Missing
  21. The Diaper Diaries (cleaning tip + GIVEAWAY)
  22. Coffee With Me (Saving Recipes)
  23. Amy @ Gospel Homemaking (vacuum cleaner uses)
  24. Janna – Stop losing Stuff -Use These
  25. Julie From Inmates (Bus Trip Games)
  26. Saving & Giving Build a Better Budget – Why Bother
  27. Kit. Redo-Marty @ A Stroll thru Life
  28. DIY Vintage Spoon to Keychain (and a giveaway!)
  29. Barb @ The Forever Neighbor
  30. Grow Your Own
    Birdhouse Gourds!
  31. iDreamofClean (Removing Dried Paint)
  32. The Lumberjacks Wife: Cleaning Tips
  33. Raising Arrows {Keeping a Pregnancy Journal}
  34. Grateful for Grace (easy birthday props)
  35. Kris @ Eclipsed (rationing fruit)
  36. Weird, Unsocialized HSers (3rd/4th grade picks)
  37. Recycled Wind Chimes – Homemade Mamas
  38. Tin Can Tea Lights – Homemade Mamas
  39. My Purple Brick Road (The Basket)
  40. Gen X Moms (Cooking for busy moms)
  41. How To Set Summer Goals With Your Children
  42. Free Recycling of Household Goods (Holiday-Haven)
  43. PRETTY VEGETABLES into Delicious Meals work for me
  44. A great way to save $$$ and Time (ilovemy5kidsa0
  45. Feminine Adventure–Homemade shampoo for oily hair
  46. Free 2 Be Frugal (Mamas, Think Ahead!)
  47. NerdFamily: Packing Lists
  48. Checbook Holders @ Robins Nests
  49. Amy @ A Day in the Life (Vinyl Chalkboard Menu)
  50. Call Me Laura Jane: Joy!
  51. The Saved Quarter – How I Saved $1, 100 in April
  52. GROCERY CART CHALLENGE (reuse dryer lint)
  53. Mama Says (Quick easy meal from pantry)
  54. Never-True Tales (Daily Bread)
  55. Marine Corps Nomads – Fun Kids Lunch
  56. House of Hepworths! Inspirational plate trio for $
  57. House of Hepworths! Wheatgrass tin decor
  58. House of Hepworths! Mini Mirror makeover
  59. A place for everything @ beautifulcraziness-
  60. Rachel @ T+E: recycled toy storage solution
  61. Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting
  62. 10 Simple Mission Projects to do With Kids
  63. How to keep fresh cut flowers fresh(Empty Handed)
  64. Simply Sweet Home (chicken mutz)
  65. “Throw out 50 things” Challenge
  66. Inexpensive Wall Art @ Organize & Decorate
  67. Mrs. WrightGoneWrong (Why I e-mail myself!)
  68. Pretty Summer Toes TRICK!!! @ MarytheKay
  69. Homemade Miracle Grow Compost Tea
  70. mistie
  71. Countertop Fruit Fly Trap
  72. VIDEO: How to Make a Mothers Day Cupcake Bouquet
  73. Molly Green (Vacation Decor)
  74. Molly Green (Vacation Decor – for real this time!)
  75. Blogging OPSEC & Family Safety. What r u sharing?
  76. Junkyard Chair
  77. The Misadventures of Cheri – Saving $$ on shoes
  78. home with little onees-Hallelujah Good Time
  79. Adventures of an Island Mom–Check for the Dents!
  80. Lamp Shade Re-Do that you can do!
  81. Jen @ Moms Sharpening Moms (Celebration Plate)
  82. Se7en Easy Things That Make School More Fun…
  83. Premeditated Leftovers (Reusing Tissue Boxes)
  84. Having Guests- Frugally (Penniless Parenting)
  85. Alicias Homemaking–Switching the Laundry!
  87. Summer Writing Journal
  88. LABB (Create Blog Button & Code)
  89. Training Happy Hearts (pay-it-forward with books)
  90. Trying a New Routine @ Married To The Farm
  91. Irish by Marriage (Books While Driving)
  92. How to Build a Raised Garden Bed (Feels Like Home)
  93. Monica @ DailyDwelling (personalized coffee mug)
  94. Fiskerelli Bellies (Just A Minute)
  95. HEALTHY SNACKS TO GO *Kitchen Stewardship
  96. Easy Dry Laundry Soap Recipe
  97. Window Wall Art
  98. Mom24–Reducing Rivalry
  99. Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet (Reminder Notes)
  100. Gathering Coupons for Shopping-Couponomic Stimulus
  101. Girls in White Dresses/earring exchange for girls
  102. Parenting Miracles (Raising Good Eaters- final pt)
  103. Tea Time with Annie Kate (Tasty, Easy, Frugal Ham)
  104. Fixing hangnails/Songberries
  105. Extracurriculars
  106. Rolling Pin for Cellulite (Melissa @ CI)
  107. NeverBored (keep a dictionary handy)
  108. Jeni @ Peace & Carrots
  109. 15 Tips To Design Your Own Landscape and Save $$
  110. Lisette (a quick and green grocery shopping tip)
  111. ACrafty Escape (Flower Pot for Mom)
  112. Frugal Creativity – Garlicky Green Beans (recipe)
  113. $3. 12 Window Box @ HowDOesShe?
  114. Its NOT Mine! @ HowDoesShe?
  115. TidyMom (Texing Google)
  116. Plantable Flowers @ HowDoesShe?
  117. HouseofHills (Ziploc baggies for freezer cooking)
  118. The Gaines Gang {PEACEOut B-Day Party}
  119. Kaye (Help Infants Grasp Food)
  120. Make Your Own Bag Tags – CLEANMAMA
  121. Kathleen(Batman birthday party)
  122. Jenny 867-5309 (Furniture 4 Kids)
  123. Everyday Oatmeal Bread
  124. How to Make a Duct Tape Wallet
  125. KLee- tips for Google Reader
  126. Alicia- scheduling blog writing time
  127. Sandra- finding pictures for blog posts
  128. Take a break – Gone Fishin
  129. Frugal Frontier (Meal Planning for your Toddler!)
  1. Kristinas 3under4
  2. (THE BEST) Fresh Strawberry Pie!
  3. Homemade Laundry Detergent-Works and Smells Great!
  4. How to do a Triathlon at View From the Shoe
  5. Johnlyn (Order from Azure Standard)
  6. Titus 2 Homemaker (exercising regularly)
  7. How to Make a Diaper Cake (The Parsonage Family)
  8. Family Stamping FOOD (“Pick Your Battles”)
  9. Feeding Four – Free Diapers!
  10. Erin @ LTC-Pearl Adorned Paper Blossoms
  11. Learning As They Grow – The Notebook
  12. MOM LOOP
  13. Save $$ DIY Foam Soap – Activity Mom
  14. Allergy Fixes (Unintended Housewife)
  15. DrKim @ FamilyNatural (homemade mixes)
  16. Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama (Allergy Diets)
  17. Rose @ Adventures In Savings (Cleaning out Coupons)
  18. CHORES FOR LITTLE ONES (the mommy on the bus)
  19. 9 months and beyond (taking a vacation day)
  20. Songbirdtiff- Window sill greenhouse (recycled!)
  21. Build a Floor Mirror, Fast & Cheap @ Remodelaholic
  22. Marsha @ Taste and See (vacation preparation)
  23. Cara (Basil Angeled Eggs- Nourishing and frugal!)
  24. Superchikk (Always Feel Like Your House Is Clean)
  25. Such The Spot – Crock Pot refried beans
  26. Frugal Follies – Thrifty Birthday Party Ideas
  27. Sunnymama (Non-Newtonian Slime)
  28. Making EXTRA Cookies {Bake at 350}
  29. silly eagle books: how I clean my books
  30. Becoming a more missional family(tiab)
  31. Trying my best to eat Local and Organic (Dee)
  32. Bead Board Photo Frame @ Love Stitched
  33. The Zucchini Project: Border Crops for Your Garden
  34. Ginny @ makeadiff21 (Kids and Money)
  35. Macaroni Improv: Phony Phried Rice
  36. Eden @ MothersWhoKnow (ER Bag)
  37. Easy pulled pork (tiab)
  38. Son up to Son Down (getting little ones to church)
  39. Car Roll UP
  40. Jute n Shell Napkin Rings. . . Jane @ FF
  41. Island Homemaker {Preventing bread dough collapse}
  42. Young Wifes Tale – Motivation for Dreaded Chores
  43. Mini Flylady Control Journal @ Diapers & Hair Dye
  44. (Brandi)Save Baby Girl Items For Future Play
  45. Christian Frugal Mama (Help!)
  46. Angela @ Simply Practical (veggies for toddlers)
  47. My Heart My Home (Italian Rice Bake)
  48. Nichole gets her stubborn child to take medicine!
  49. PREVENTING LOST BUTTONS a little bit of everything
  50. MillerMix (school uniforms)
  51. Crafting with kids tips and ideas
  52. If you cant do anything else today, do this. . .
  53. Kelli @ writing the waves (FREE Kids Workshops)
  54. Joanna @ keeping feet (Staying Hydrated)
  55. Lisa @ BlessedwithGrace(Potty training journey)
  56. Understanding Reg E Opt-In (Smart Money Mom)
  57. Fairy Bower
  58. Bitterroot Mama (One Hour Kitchen Curtains)
  59. DIY Bathroom Remodel
  60. Catherine @ Adventures In Domesticity
  61. Frugalhomekeeping (“Crowded House” Cucumber Salad
  62. Felt Flash Cards Tutorial @ Sew Much Ado
  63. Homeschool Workboxes in the Garden
  64. Abbi @ Proverbs 31 Living (Parenting philosophies)
  65. Pennies & Blessings – Conquering WP
  66. Frugal Frontier-Chores Your Toddler Can Help With!
  67. Beth @ Not a Bow in Sight (A Good Cry)
  68. Old Jeans to Denim Tassels w/Tute
  69. Make a Frame from Flower Bed Border
  70. How to Organize Blog Buttons
  71. annies home – road trip tips
  72. Simple cure for hiccups! (Heather)
  73. Frugal Twilight Party Decorations
  74. Mothers Day sign
  75. Green Heart Mom- (Pre-scooped ice cream)
  76. EASIEST and most appealing breakfast EVAH!
  77. Recipes for Moms (Jam Stripe Cookies)
  78. Tips for Moms of Twins. . . me series.
  79. Kids and Budgeting
  80. Indiana Shannon-how to eat hot breakfast every day
  81. Seashells By The Seashore Party (on a budget!)
  82. DIY Halloween Decor
  83. Homemade Whole Wheat bread
  84. “From Paris with Love” Adorable little girl party!
  85. Swivel Sweeper
  86. Babys 1st Birthday – LOTS of Pics! @ LilLifeOfMine
  87. Flower Magnets and Memo Board
  88. Re-do and a GIVEAWAY!
  89. Extreme Jewelry Organizer
  90. EnviroBecca: tip for toddlers throwing a ball
  91. Another table @ junkblossoms
  92. Adding Veggies to Recipes @ Blessings Overflowing
  93. Judy @ Frugal at Home (Online Earning)
  94. Sticky sticker situations
  95. Duklings at Camian Academy (Clean Kitchen Sink)
  96. Everything Moms (Losing the baby weight)
  97. My latest addiction from the little green bean
  98. Simplify Lunch and GIVEAWAY! (Maria D. )
  99. OLbD- Convenient Storage
  100. Holly @ A Mommys Blessings (I love labels!!)
  101. Mothers day gift for grandma
  102. Amy @ Tiny Blessings (free BlackBerry apps)
  103. Retro ruffle pillowcase dress @ Simply Modern Mom
  104. Kelli @ SustainingCreativity (DIY Party Bookmarks)
  105. It is OK to CHANGEYOURMIND!
  106. FreezingBerries @ ButterflyKissesnTastyDishes
  107. Lindas Lunacy (Kitchen Island)
  108. Taras Faves (Preserving My Produce)
  109. Penny Raine
  110. Ouch Relief @ frugalcrunchychristy
  111. Cheerios Underfoot-Cheap, easy organization ideas
  112. Amyswandering (A Ducky Little Game)
  113. Tanya – Blogger in Draft
  114. Tanyas Table – Jiffy Pizza Crust
  115. Elizabeth {hand painted canisters}
  116. Science Experiment Birthday Parties
  117. Inexpensive Summer Pajam
  118. SAVE money for & on VACATION (Bora Bora pix)
  119. Container Gardening in the City
  120. Jenny @ Just Jennifer
  121. Paper Flower Arrangement TUTORIAL @ LittleMissMomma
  122. Fiddleheadin @ Marvelously Messy
  123. Welcome
  124. When I became a Mommy
  125. When I became, Mommy
  126. 2 are better than 1
  127. Little Girls – After Bath!
  128. MothersDay LOVE JAR * Kid
  129. Silver Birdfeeder
  130. This linky list is now closed.

Babies: The Movie {Huge Giveaway}

Thanks everyone for entering! The random grand prize winner is Gypsy Mama!
The 4 winners of the filled Eco bags are: Embrace the Circus (I don’t think there’s a blog, I emailed you), Jen, Lisa (sent you an email), and Rohal Call !!

Babies and Mothers. They belong together.

In honor of Mother’s Day, Babies is premiering in theaters Mother’s Day weekend, May 7th!

I can’t wait to see this film. As a matter of fact, when I was contacted and asked to help celebrate this ground-breaking, unique movie, I didn’t want them to send me any of the amazing prizes they are giving away on my blog today. I just asked for movie tickets for my family for Mother’s Day weekend. We’ve got plans, baby!


The adventure of a lifetime begins…

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Thomas Balmès, from an original idea by producer Alain Chabat, Babies simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from birth to first steps. The children are, respectively, in order of on-screen introduction:

Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia

Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani

Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan

Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco.

Re-defining the nonfiction art form, Babies joyfully captures on film the earliest stages of the journey of humanity that are at once unique and universal to us all.

If you have a minute, watch the short movie trailer. You’ll be glad you did!
In celebration of mother’s all over the earth, Focus Films is offering this:


One (1) Grand Prize Winner will receive:

Kodak Pocket Video Camera 12 megapixels w/ video

– Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD)

Safety 1st Healthcare Basic Kits

Tasty Baby Eco Bag filled with snacks

Four (4) Additional Winners will receive:

Tasty Baby Eco Bag filled with

    • Box of Tasty Brand Organic Fruit Snacks
      Box of Tasty Brand Organic Cereal Bars
      Bag of Tasty Baby Organic Infant Cereal

Retail Values:

Grand Prize package retail value is $215.00

Additional prizing retail value is $17.99

Just leave a comment telling me your favorite thing about your mother or about being a mother! This giveaway ends on Thursday.

P.S. You don’t have to be a mom of a baby to enter…if you win, you can keep some of the prizes or give it away to a friend!

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This


I’d like you to tell me about one (or seven) of your really hard days.

Why, yes, I’d love to start. Thank you.

Last week, my Mom had pneumonia and my Dad had a nasty stomach bug. I strapped my kids in the car and drove the half hour to my parent’s house to drop off some chicken soup. When I got there, my Mom was in pitiful condition and my Dad had gotten dehydrated, so much so, that he needed to go to the emergency room. My Mom was in no shape, so I drove him into town and waited in the emergency room with my children. My toddler ate a yellow Skittle off the floor while I checked my Dad in. I gagged. My son and oldest daughter got an education as the room filled with very sick people, even a gunshot wound. My hubby took them home after hour one and bathed them in Purell and I stayed with my Dad-another 7 hours. Turns out he had food poisoning and needed iv fluids, while sharing a room with a drunk granny. She had fallen pouring herself a third glass of Vodka. I’m not kidding. When I finally fell in bed at midnight, I remembered that I totally missed my monthly girl’s night out. My Mama said there’s be days like this.
My mama said.
Well. I feel better. It’s your turn. Tell me all about it:
[insert you]
In honor of you, I’m writing about motherhood this week…stay tuned for a couple of great giveaways just for Moms!

  • God and Adoption-Please read this post. It was so thought-provoking for our family. We are weighing the cost of international adoption against child sponsorship and asking God to lead us… I don’t know what we’ll do, but we will do something. (Thanks Robin, for sharing this with me).
Here’s the one I bought my daughter (but I wear sometimes) from a Kenyan woman who made them to support her family:

  • A few weeks ago, a sweet blog reader emailed me and asked me to pray for her baby in utero, Reagan Grace. She wasn’t doing well. I told I would pray and encouraged her to start a blog, so the world could carry her burden. She started a blog…in her daughter’s memory. Please help me pray for this young military family as they struggle with their great loss.

Rescued From Wealth

“I avoided coming to visit the poor for a long time. I was afraid my heart would be broken by their condition. Instead, today, I found my heart broken by my condition.”
-a quote from the book Too Small to Ignore,
by Wess Stafford,
President of Compassion International
A little girl’s dream of a refrigerator covered in faces is coming true:

Do you have room on your refrigerator for this face (an orphaned boy from Ethiopia)?
Tell me about your sponsored child….or your plans to sponsor one…..
*Shaun Groves inspired my title