You Were Made to Make a Difference

*UPDATED with WINNERS* Y’all, even if you didn’t win, you need to own this book! Here are the random winners: Heather E., Tricia Moore  (readers, no blog) and Kelly. Congratulations, y’all!

I picked up this little book.

Tucked it away to read

when I had a chance.

A few pages in, I knew

we should read it together,

as a family.

And that’s what we’ve been doing-

one page at a time, after dinner each night.

I can tell you–the effect– has been

moving. Inspiring!

I have wiped tears on my dinner napkin,

listened to my son talk about pressure,

my daughter share defeat,

my hubby lead us.

ENGAGE with my family….

But most of all, from the youngest to the oldest,

we are learning a very clear and profound message–

life isn’t about what we want,

it’s not about making our own dreams come true,

We are learning that we were made

to make a difference

locally

globally

in the lives of others.

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Read this, please? Find out what my hero has been up to this week….

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This book makes The Perfect Family Devotional for tweens and teens! And for moms and dads….

I’m giving away 3 copies today. Please leave a comment if you’d like to win one.

Have a happy weekend!

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How to Really Have a Family Devotion

We aren’t experts. We are actually quite amateur. No two devotion times are the same and the best ones are also the worst ones.

But we try.


We have our family devotion time at the dinner table, after we’ve finished eating because that’s what works best for us. It’s usually only about 15 minutes and it goes like this:

  • pray over our meal
  • eat
  • spill
  • complain about the “new dish”
  • ask for dessert seven times
  • clear the table
  • practice our weekly verse
  • insert laughter and crazy motions and a arguments over who goes first
  • open our Bibles, take turns reading a chapter OR a story from the Jesus Bible Story Book
  • read a chapter from a “devotion” book. I use that term loosely because it’s not always a formal devotional book. Right now we are reading and LOVING a book I will tell you about tomorrow (giving 3 away, too!)
  • Q&A time: We ask our kids questions about their day, feelings, things that are going on at school, etc
  • finish in a quick prayer, sometimes taking turns, each of us praying for our Compassion kids.

Bottom line: it’s messy, but it’s ours.

And it’s my favorite time of the day.

How to really have a family devotion:

  1. Be flexible-it will not always happen. Sometimes our youngest cries through the whole thing and we hurry through the process or just choose two of the four on the list above. And sometimes (last night) we eat on the floor and have a special family movie night!
  2. Forget perfection-it’s just not ever going to go exactly like you want.
  3. Choose a time that works best for your family…it doesn’t have to look like someone else’s to be right.
  4. Don’t give up- your kids will learn to love this time, even through the rough spots. Don’t give up!

Do you have a family devotion time?

WFMW: Recycled Fun

When our family travels to Kenya this summer to work at Mercy House, my hubby and I will be doing some staff development and teaching some skills, along with the staff there. The girls will be learning many things, including sewing, soap and basket-making, gardening, paper beads and beading and even paper mache art.

Mercy House will buy the products from the girls and sell them in fair trade coffee shops and online stores.

For months, we’ve been working on narrowing down ideas to four solid products-we have three so far: (handbags/headscarves from Kenyan fabric, unique paper bead necklaces (different from what’s out there) and funky paper mache mobiles for home decor.

This one didn’t make the cut, but it was so fun to learn, I thought I’d share it with you.

Did you know you can fuse plastic bags from the grocery story to make a heavy tyvek like material? It’s easy. You simply place the plastic between newspaper and iron it! Here’s a video tutorial.

Once you have your fused plastic ready, you can sew it just like fabric and make amazing things!

Here’s an easy business card holder w/a felt applique made from thin plastic grocery bags:

The sky’s the limit with this recycled idea!

P.S. Next week, for WMFW, there’s a suggested theme for those of you who may run out of ideas: Spring Cleaning Tip! You can link up old or new posts and you don’t have to follow the theme if you’ve got a good tip to share!



Mercy House Headquarters [a.k.a Our Garage]

Our local paper, The Houston Chronicle, wrote a beautiful feature on the work of Mercy House. While I wish the article had focused more on Maureen, Executive Director of *Rehema House  in Kenya, (Swahili word for mercy) the coverage brought a lot of awareness and some wonderful new financial sponsors. You can read it here.

photo by Mayra Beltran

Please consider requesting brochures so you can share this work with your community!

Praying for Your Boy(s) {E-Book Giveaway}

*UPDATED with WINNERS* Congrats to Jen of The Party  That Never Quits, Rachel Roland, Tina, and readers D, and Terri (no blogs),

I’m a boy mom.

I thank God for my son. He’s the creamy middle between two strong-willed girls (honored to be raising STRONG women of God, but that’s another post). He’s sensitive and caring, deeply loyal and kind.

He also would rather not take a bath, makes everything a sword, tells questionable jokes (insert poop here) and teeters on the edge of everything that makes my heart stop. (I named my blog We are THAT family after an emergency room visit when he knocked out multiple teeth–get the picture?)

I used the think I wanted the best for him (insert my strong will). But now, I just want what God has for him.

And that’s why I love Brooke McGlothin’s E-book, Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in Areas They Need it the Most.

It’s a 21-Day Guide into the heart of the Father for our boys. It’s practical and it’s easy to follow.

What I love the most? It’s a call to action.

What boy (man) doesn’t love action? But it’s not a lesson book on mom fixing it, it’s a in-depth guide to PRAYER. Praying for our boys is truly the only way to reach their hearts.

You can also join a host of other boy moms in community to link up a weekly post of how your 21 day journey is going. Because boy moms need support!

You can buy a copy here.

I’m also giving away FIVE copies today.

Leave a comment and tell me about your boy(s) as your entry.

This giveaway ends on Thursday.

All Drains Lead to the Ocean (as Do Stars)

She bathed the dog, washed the car, pulled weeds, and traded me the balance on a leftover Target birthday gift card.

She wrote out her budget.

She read and researched.

She was finally ready to buy two Betta fish and a Deluxe Kit w/ Organic Food (even!) Meet two of the newest members of our family:

Little Debbie and Hostess

(I may have had some influence on the naming of my favorite snack cakes, I mean, fish).

And then there’s Darla…..

I mean, my youngest:

She did a few odd jobs, but mainly begged and dug quarters out of every nook and cranny. My hubby reminded me that all the four year olds in our house had a first fish (sucker for her big brown eyes).

Meet Shina.

[I asked my 4 year old what her name meant: (rolling her eyes) Ya know, like stars in the sky shine.]

I forgot how fun (sarcasm) it is to remind a 4 year old over and over that we mustn’t carry the small fish tank (sloshing pee water as my son points out) into every room.

Let’s just say Shina could use some prayer.

I Want to Tell You a Story

A man decided that he would change the world.

But, he wasn’t successful.

So he decided to change the country.

But, he wasn’t successful.

So he decided to change his community.

But, he wasn’t successful.

So he decided to change his street.

But, he wasn’t successful.

So he decided to change his family.

But, he wasn’t successful.

So he decided to change himself.

AND HE WAS SUCCESSFUL.

AND HIS FAMILY CHANGED AND THEY AFFECTED THEIR STREET.

AND THE PEOPLE ON THE STREET AFFECTED
 THEIR COMMUNITY.

AND THE PEOPLE OF THE COMMUNITY AFFECTED THEIR COUNTRY.

AND THE PEOPLE OF THE COUNTRY AFFECTED THE WORLD.

[fable credit]

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After returning from the Idea Camp last month and it’s focus on how to help with the global orphan crisis, I was inspired, but felt overwhelmed at the size of the problem. It’s easy to feel like we can’t really make a difference, like it’s too big and we’re too small. And we’re right. We are too small to change the world, it’s an impossible job for us. But that’s not really what we’re called to do.

I can’t change the world, but I can change me.

Which might be changing the world, after all.

—me

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Special thanks to Give Every Day for coming to help us sort Mercy House donations a few weeks ago! This family of four is taking a year of their life to travel the United States to give every day! I love world changers!

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I’m attending Christian Alliance Orphan Summit in KENTUCKY in May (representing Mercy House and speaking on a panel)… wanna come?

The Christian Alliance for Orphans’ annual Summit has become a national hub for Christians committed to adoption, foster care and global orphan initiatives rooted in the local church.

How to Really Make a Home

I used to think making a home required loads of money and an eye for style.

I was wrong.

(Good thing because my money tree is withered and I’m nearsighted).

It has so little to do with square footage and updated flooring and *stuff*.

Making a home has a lot to do with perspective and inspiration.

I’ve had a millionaire in my home with more money than I can imagine. I watched their eyes take in my small space and simple taste. I wanted to offer excuses.

I’ve had religious refugees in my home with less earthly possessions than I can imagine. I watched their eyes take in my wealth and excess. I wanted to offer excuses.

Perspective: My house is big to some, small to others, but it is more than enough. It may get smaller next year or it may get bigger in five years. Size doesn’t matter, decor isn’t important. It’s putting myself in the shoes of the people who walk through the door and realizing that there is no comparison. What I have is a gift.

I don’t have designer brands or well-known pieces, but I have inspiration on my table:

I have soul-stirring words at every glance:

I have reminders of perspective in my kitchen:

And words to live by on my walls:

Pieces of the globe perched in view, celebrated like memorials, so I will never forget:

Simple invitations to stop and give thanks for life’s simple gifts, bird and nest:

Inspiration: Making a home is really simple. It’s providing a safe, warm place for the inhabitants to grow closer to each other and God. A place that encourages them to love one another and Him….

How do you really make a home?

Where I got my inspiration:

*I’m not getting paid to link some of my favorite things, but there are a couple of affiliate links thrown in.