WFMW: “Mom, I’m Bored” Edition

This is my favorite themed WFMW (all tips are welcomed, but we’d especially love your boredom buster tips this week!)

Because it never fails, my kids get bored in the summer.

Since we’re spending the first 24 days of our summer in AFRICA, I haven’t exactly planned for the rest of the summer. I plan on saying (a lot) “how can you be bored? I took you to the other side of the globe this summer!”

My best tip for this summer: have a family brainstorming session at the beginning of summer. Have each person write down a few things they’d like to do in the summer months-but give them these stipulations-it must be FREE and CREATIVE.

Place all the ideas in a jar and each week, pick a couple!

Here are the lists of hundreds and hundreds of summer boredom tips from the last few years:

You can read the WFMW guidelines here.

The Most Amazing Gift: You Won’t Believe It!

I love Compassion International.

The trip I took to Kenya in 2010 started a chain of events that will lead me back to Africa 11 days from today. I cannot tell you what an integral part Compassion has played in helping behind-the-scenes with Mercy House planning.

I believe in their sponsorship program–so much so that we sponsor 11 children–from Africa to the Philippines.

We love these kids. We will meet 4 of the 11 in Kenya in less than two weeks. My kids will meet the children they have prayed for at bedtime and scribbled letters to–face-to-face.

I wrote about Precious on my blog nearly a year ago. She is 19. And she just happens to be my 4 year old’s best friend.

So, when I heard that the next Compassion Blogger trip was going to the Philippines, Precious’ country, I knew my 4 year old and I had to take a shopping trip. We tucked nail polish and flip flops, candy and treats into an envelope and mailed it to a blogging team member.

Precious writes the most beautiful letters in gorgeous English script. We feel like of all our kids, we’ve gotten to know her best because she’s older and writes often. She just graduated from high school, but will stay in the child sponsorship program until she’s 21 (part of the program’s initiative to stop child trafficking).

Oh, and she’s a beautiful girl, wearing purple flip flops, hanging out on our fridge.

So, this morning when I opened my computer for the first time at 9:30 a.m., I was surprised to find an alarming amount of tweets with my name. I followed the trail …..

to this post by Shaun Groves, who is leading the current trip to the Philippines RIGHT NOW.

You won’t believe what he discovered.

In an instant, I was bawling.

I can’t tell you how much I needed this. It didn’t convince me of Compassion’s stellar program-I’ve been a believer and advocate for a long time.

But it did feel like God was using this unbelievable “coincidence” to speak to my heart: “I know it all, Kristen. Every step. Every dream, fear. I care for you. I love Precious. A sparrow doesn’t fall without me knowing. I hold it all.”

As our family prepares to fly around the world to work at Mercy House and our dear Maureen and staff, actively recruit and interview pregnant girls this week, I just needed this reminder.

He holds us all.

Would you please consider sponsoring a child today?

God will use it to speak to you…maybe a year from now, when you need it most.

It will change your life.

Worship Music Jackpot {Giveaway}

UPDATED WITH WINNERS: Congrats to random winners: Lacy (winner Worship Together Set and Worship for the Family), Melissa Y, Melody, and Erin (winners of the Worship Together Set)

Nothing calms my day and quiets the craziness like worship music.

It’s good for the soul!

I love hearing my kids hum tunes and speak beautiful words. They are learning to worship.

Worship Together: 25 Favorite Worship Songs, is a collection of 25 BRAND NEW recordings of the most popular songs sung in churches today. This is the perfect collection for those who are looking for ‘songs they know and sing’ each week in church.

Today, I’m giving away Worship Together: 25 Favorite Worship Songs (2 CD set) and “Worship For The Family” (3 CD set) to one winner and 3 copies of “Worship Together: 25 Favorite Worship Songs” to three winners!

If you’d like to add these CD’s to your music collection, let me know in the comments as your entry.

This giveaway closes on Thursday.

You Don’t Have to Do Big Things for God

On Sunday, my pastor reminded me of something I tend to forget:

God doesn’t demand I do big things for Him in order to bring glory to Him.

He demands that I remember He is the Big Thing.

And I can bring God great glory as a mom and wife, if I honor Him in the little, every day choices:

choosing to say positive things to my hubby, not negative

giving my kids freedom to fail and fly, without controlling

being the first to say I’m sorry

being slow to speak, slow to anger

remembering it’s okay to be okay

Sometimes He asks Big Things of us (usually when we least expect it), but we’re never called to save the world and lose our family…

God doesn’t demand Big Things.

But the little things–some of beauty, others mundane– add up and become a Big way to bring Him glory.


We used a local Groupon deal to rent a boat and celebrate an early Father’s Day with the best man in town at a nearby lake. We loved every windy minute!

Have a beautiful Memorial Day!

Happy Weekend

I have looked forward to this l-o-n-g weekend for a l-o-n-g time. I love that Memorial Day means SUMMER around these parts!

I think we’re gonna swim and drink sweet tea and just be together.

I’m so thankful.


I’m excited to follow the Compassion Bloggers in the Philippines next week. I sent a package with one of them to give to Precious!

P.S. Since we’re going to be in Africa for Father’s Day, I do have a little *something* up my sleeve for my hubby this weekend. I’ll tell y’all about it next week!

My Favorite Handmade Gift [Currently]

I keep meaning to show y’all my Mother’s Day gift. If we’re Twitter or FB friends, you’ve seen it. But I love it so much, I might tell you about it again tomorrow. But in case  I don’t, come back. I like to mix the crazy up.

[Speaking of crazy, I’m so busy packing 1000 pounds of donations in 18 suitcases, getting ready for Africa (leaving in 15 days!) and remembering all my kids  last-week-of-school activities, that I’m a pretty scatterbrained person right now. I have forgotten about 4 important things this week!]

Anyway, back to my pretty:

My hubby read this tutorial, bought some bronze wire, a few pearls (one for each of my kids) and a twist of pliers, he made me my favorite new necklace! He said it was surprisingly easy and inexpensive.

Every time I wear it, people stop and ask me about it. I brag that my hunky hubby made it. (I leave out the part about it being easy and inexpensive!)

I love that man.

P.S. I *totally* emailed him the tutorial.

WFMW: How You Can Help Joplin

I survived a deadly tornado when I was 18 years old. I was home from college for the weekend when an unsuspecting tornado ripped through our neighborhood, destroying homes and killing neighbors. My mom and dad dove on top of me to protect me from flying debris.

It was terrifying.

The war-torn aftermath and cleanup were heartbreaking. And the fear from such a catastrophic event stayed with me for years.

I’ll never forget going to the local school and digging through clothes from the Salvation Army shelter.

Red Cross drove up and down our street for days and days, feeding us as we began the tedious cleanup.

I can’t imagine if 75% of my town had been destroyed.

With the death toll climbing, Joplin needs our help.

Please consider doing something:

  • World Vision: Text”‘TORNADO” to 20222 to give a $10 donation. You can also donate online or call 1-888-511-6443 to support World Vision’s effort.
  • The Salvation Army’s disaster-relief efforts in Joplin can be supported by texting “JOPLIN” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. You can also donate through their website or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
  • Red Cross is providing shelter and distributing needed supplies. Text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or visit thewebsite to donate, give blood or volunteer
  • Make and send hygiene kits to Heart to Heart
  • Convoy of Hope is delivering food and water to Joplin. Those wanting to help can text the word “CONVOY” to 50555 to make a $10 donation. You can also donateonline or by calling 1-417-823-8998.
  • Christ the King Church, a local Joplin church, has a great list of ways to help
  • You can also mail items listed below to-

James River Assembly (link to give online thru this church)

Attn: *Cherish Kids* Adoption/Foster Families in Joplin

6100 North 19th Street

Ozark, MO 65721

-Rubbermaid type totes with lids—medium and large sizes -Hand sanitizer -Gift cards–Wal-Mart and Target -Cases of water -Bags of groceries filled with food items (non-perishables) -Diapers -Wipes -Snack items -Toiletries (soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, contact solution, feminine hygiene products, etc.) -work gloves, plastic tarps and -Pack and Play type cribs

  • Pray for peace, healing and comfort to those injured, grieving, displaced, suffering.

*Please don’t forget next week’s THEMED WFMW: Summer Boredom Buster Ideas!

[Maternity] Home School {Giveaway}

This past year has been — how do you say–UNEXPECTED.

I never thought my trip to Africa in 2010 would result in forming a non-profit to empower a young lady to open a maternity home in Kenya.

But God knew. (By the way, the not knowing part is called protection and prevention of ulcers)

Maureen, (who by the way is conducting Staff Orientation TODAY at the home) Executive Director, has a graduate degree in education. She values education and besides offering these precious pregnant girls basic necessities, like a home, the Bible, counseling, prenatal care, sustainable life and job skills, we also wanted them to receive an education.

And that’s how a homeschool classroom in a maternity home was born.

I’ve never homeschooled my children, so there was a big learning curve regarding the process, curriculum, etc. Since the girls will be speaking English (the school/trade language in Kenya), I knew I had some work to do. Some readers and Twitter friends walked me through the basics.

Well, it turns out Monarch, a premier online Christian homeschool curriculum was reading tweets. After working out many details (like having several new laptop computers donated by anonymous bloggers), Monarch has generously and graciously donated two licenses for every subject (excluding history) in grades 7-11 for the Mercy House to use  from Alpha Omega Publications! It’s around a $3600 value. (And in full disclosure, I offered an extended ad on my sidebar to them).

I’m so excited about what we will be able to offer these girls! I’m in the process of learning the ropes through these training options:

Ready for the rest of the good news?? I know so many of my readers homeschool….

They are also generously giving away a 5-subject Monarch set as well as 3 more subjects that 3 people will win!!

Please click here to “like” the AOPP Facebook page and here for the Monarch Facebook page.

Entry is easy. Visit this landing page to fill out the simple entry form!

I think the monetary value of the curriculum has obviously been a huge blessing to our small non-profit, but it’s the on-going partnership I’m excited about. From communicating with Monarch, I’m very touched by their sincere concern for the girls of Kenya. I know they will be following their progress closely!


psst….I’m over at (in)courage today. I’d love for you to join me.