Give 1 Save 1: Would You Help Our Friends?

There are so many people in need.

There are so many places to give.

It can be overwhelming. And let’s face it, with the economy teetering, the holidays looming and your own family’s needs, sometimes it’s hard to be generous.

But we must.

And I have the perfect (affordable) way for your family to make a difference today.

It’s called Give 1 Save 1.

Every week, there’s a new family or ministry or worthy-recipient.

You can give $1 today and make a difference. That’s all. That’s it. Just $1.

Our family has been blessed with some very good friends, friends that were an answer to our prayer for real life community:

And they were chosen for this week’s  Give 1 Save 1 Campaign! (click to get to know them). The Martinez Family are the real deal and they are nearing the end to bring a sibling group home from Ethiopia (My youngest is expecting new best friends, please!)

Would you give $1 today to help make this possible?

Leave a comment if you can contribute a $1 (or more) and our family will match it up to $100!

Bookmark Give 1 Save 1 today and start together as a family, saving change, changing a life.

Everyone can Give 1 Save 1.

What He Said

I’m sitting at the airport, looking out the window at huge lumps of snow, pushed into dirty piles. I’m a Texas girl and the blanket of snow that fell from Heaven was a gift.

It’s not the only one I hold in my heart today.

For two years, I’ve met God at Relevant. Last year, I quaked. He breathed courage to follow Him. And this weekend, I came emotionally and physically exhausted, the balance of juggling home, children, husband, writing, non-profit, dream-chasing teetered precariously.

But I let the tears come, laying the burden at his feet and leaned in to listen:

He revealed I have community wounds. But He showed me community would heal.

He uncovered my ugly desire for success. And He asked me to just be faithful. Because that’s how He defines success.

He reassured that I have a destiny. And promised to lead the way.

He reminded that what I’m doing doesn’t make me important, it makes me a Christian.

And He restored hope.

My spirit sustained as woman after woman shopped mercy.

I’m boarding the plane, tired.

But full.

Next time, I won’t wait for Relevant to hear what He wants to say.

I’ll just ask.

You should too.

He has a lot to tell you.


*Thanks @mamahall (pictured above) for setting up our table and serving and to Family Matters for sending me!

Make Pumpkin Carving Meaningful

We love to carve pumpkins every fall at our house. On Halloween, we dress up, pass out the good candy to neighbors and give out a printable like this. I’ll just say it: I have a beef with Christians who don’t take advantage of being a LIGHT on this night every year. I said it. My controversy of the week. (I’ve written about it before).
Updated: I think my “beef” comment was pretty judgmental. I’m sorry for doing the same thing I don’t like people doing to me. It’s a personal choice, so whatever you choose, I want to be respectful. Please forgive me.

This year, we helped our youngest carve her pumpkin to match this prayer.

Dear God,
As I carve my pumpkin help me say this prayer:

Open my mind so I can learn about You;
(Cut the top of the pumpkin)

Take away all my sin and forgive me for the wrong things I do.
(Clean out the inside)


Open my eyes so Your love I will see;
(Cut the eyes out in heart shapes)

I’m so sorry for turning up my nose to all you’ve given me.
(Cut a nose in the shape of a cross)

Open my ears so your word I will hear.
(Cut the ears shaped like the Bible)-we did rectangles

Open my mouth so I can tell others You’re near
(cut the mouth in the shape of a fish)

Let Your light shine in all I say and do! Amen.
(Place a candle inside and light it)

We found the prayer on this fun pumpkin bookmark.

Have a safe weekend and go light up the night with Him!

Raising Strong Kids

I watched a single tear escape his long lashes.

He quickly swiped it away.

Inside twisted, that wrecked feeling mothers get when children hurt.

But this wasn’t the kind of pain a band-aid could fix or a kiss on the brow. This wound was inside, out of my reach.

“I’m the weird one, Mom.” His words felt like a blow.

I grabbed his hand, the one with marker stains and chewed-nails and refuted his words. “There’s nothing weird about you!”

He told me how different he felt from most of the other boys at school. The other 4th grade boys who cussed and bullied and wore tough.

And then my little boy said, “It’s hard being a Christian. It makes me odd.”

And then I felt my own tears, press hot against my lids. I closed my eyes and remembered the feeling. The one I lived with growing up.

I couldn’t discount his words or his pain, I knew they were true. He’s just so young to experience it.

“Were you ever the weird one, Mom?”

And so I told him my own stories. I whispered words I prayed would heal his heart, knowing they wouldn’t fix the problem.

We are called to the problem, to be the strangers of this world, to follow a different road, to live counter-cultural.

I told my son that we didn’t expect him to be perfect. We knew there was pressure to give in and I told him we’d love him no matter what and then I told him of times I’d tried to fit in. He looked at me with steel-eyes, “I know I can fit it, I don’t want to fit in.”

I marveled at his strength.

I walked down the stairs, heavy. I made a playdate the next day with one of the Christian boys who stood at the pole with us. I called a friend from my community group with a son the same age, grade, struggles. We devised a plan so our boys could find comfort and strength with each other.

And then I cried.

Because sometimes I feel like the weird one too.

It took a little boy to remind me that it’s exactly how I’m supposed to feel.

Do you ever feel that way?


If grace-based parenting has taught me anything, it’s to try and raise my kids the way God raises me–with infinite grace, unfathomable love and room to still be me. Today, I’m flying to the Relevant Conference and I’m proud to have Family Matters as my sponsor. Make sure you stop by the Mercy House table!

WFMW: New Ways to Write Your Sponsored Child

Yesterday, we got a Final Letter from one of our Compassion kids. Precious graduated from the program. Yes, this special girl.

It was bittersweet. My kids begged for another child, but we still have ten and honestly, we have to pay the sweet college student giving my kids piano lessons, something.

We logged on to Compassion’s site since we’ve heard great things about their new letter writing options. Let me just say: AWESOME. You can choose from a variety of fun templates, upload pictures of your family (!) and even duplicate the letter for multiple sponsored kids. Within 15 minutes, all of our kids got a Christmas letter with pictures.

But we did send Precious one last letter and my youngest drew her a picture, that was well, precious.


What? You haven’t changed a life in a third world country and given your children a global perspective by sponsoring a child?

It’s the single most significant thing we’ve done to ignite compassion in our children.

Click here to do so.

Attn: David Crowder Fans {Giveaway}

UPDATED WITH WINNER: Comment #245 Ashley

I’ve been listening to Christmas music.

I know. It’s too early. We just hit 60 degrees down here in South Texas and I saw a leaf turn orange. One.

But I love the David Crowder Band’s Christmas Album, Oh for Joy, because it’s a happy mix of worship, caffeine and celebrating Jesus. It’s not too Christmasy, ya know?

This is their last tour and they will be missed. I love their gospel-centered songs and I love that they made the familiar Christmas songs their own. Plus, have y’all seen David’s hair (see above nutcracker)?

My favorite is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. My little girl digs Go Tell It On the Mountain (although she prefers her version which includes a stick horse and made up words).

Today, I’m happy to offer ONE WINNER, the entire David Crowder Band CD Collection! It includes:

  • Oh for Joy
  • Church Music
  • Remedy (Club Tour Edition)
  • A Collision
  • B Collision
  • Sunsets & Sushi
  • Can You Hear Us?
Just take a listen. Leave a comment. And you’re entered!
This giveaway ends Thursday.

Real Life Parenting Tips

I wanted to title this post How to Go From Good Parenting to Great Parenting. But it’s hard to write about great parenting, when you’ve had one of those weeks.

Of course, my next title might have been: Objects in Picture Aren’t As Happy as They Appear. (Because driving to family pictures creates the perfect storm, dontchaknow?)


So, I thought it might be better to just be real and share some tips that are working for us . It’s something I do best, share my junk, the good and the bad.

[My kids are at that age where I want to protect their privacy, so I’m going to keep their struggles private for now, but still share what I’m learning]

On Sibling Rivalry:

I told my hubby the other night of my two oldest, I never argued like them. He said, Remember you told me fighting drove your parents crazy? Me: Oh yeah, my twin and I would fight in the closet–very quietly. Do you know how hard it is to quietly beat each other up?

Your Kids Will Not Get Along 100% of the Time– Do you? My hubby and I don’t yell and scream at each other, but we do argue sometimes. It’s actually pretty  healthy for us to get something settled, or find out how we both feel about it. Occasionally, we agree-to-disagree on stuff. It’s called living together and we can’t expect less from our kids. When my kids are really arguing, I let them, as long as they are being respectful, keeping their hands to themselves without bullying or intimidating. I want them to learn to give in and to stand firm. It’s a dance for all of us, but in the end, we want to be better because we’ve worked something out that needed to be dealt with.

When Your Child Crosses the Line-It will happen, especially with older, stronger siblings. Finding a way to positively correct is challenging. We don’t always get this right. We are still learning as and as our children get older, it changes. But we won’t allow bullying in our home.  A few weeks ago, I sat down with one of my children and explained that they were intimidating their sibling. I asked for them to write an apology letter. This could have gone either way, but I was moved by the letter from one of my kids to the other. I’ve seen a heartfelt change in both since.


On Discipline:

Some things that have worked for us:

  • Writing sentences, writing Scripture —these are not appropriate punishments for kids who LOVE to write. (Yes, learned this the hard way)
  • Reward charts- stickers for positive attitudes, helpful behavior, great school conduct, chores, etc
  • B doesn’t happen before A- We got this from the book Have a New Kid by Friday. It’s awesome. If A is “clean your room” and B is “go play with a friend” B does not happen until A happens. It gives your child the responsibility of doing what you asked them to do. This is not easy because they might whine, cry and throw a fit about B. Just FYI
  • Chore jar is our newest one (thanks, Karen!)- if there’s a bad attitude or an ugly remark, my kids go get a chore and have to complete it immediately. It’s great because this helps me not to engage  and turn a sassy remark into a battle.

On Responsibility:

I think every child over 1 should have age-appropriate responsibilities, whether it’s picking up toys that were played with or doing your own laundry.

  • Don’t make their room a battleground. I’m type A, this is one of the areas I’m most challenged in. My hubby helps me (not have heart palpitations) by checking for me and pointing out areas that need work to my kids. We’ve recently started a weekly check (instead of whenever we walk upstairs). We just felt like our kids needed more freedom in this area and if they want to spend one whole day cleaning up their room to get it back in shape, that’s up to them.
  • Don’t do everything for them-My kids share the heavy load of laundry (get it?) Each weekend, they help wash, fold, dry, hang up the laundry they wore during the week. They also make their own lunches for school each day.
  • Don’t constantly bail them out-When my oldest lost her retainer (again), we asked her to explain it to the Orthodontist. And although we knew she wasn’t in a position to pay, we asked her to make our bed for eternity or until it’s payed for.
Bottom line, there are no perfect families because they are made up of imperfect people. Don’t beat yourself over the head. Learn from your mistakes and be the best parent you can be. Plus, prayer goes a a long way!
Tell me your real-life parenting tips. I could use some!
* family photos by Suzanne Box Photography

Fall{ing} For the Perfect Treat

I fell in love with chocolate peanut butter acorn cookies on Pinterest.


This is my kind of baking:

Buy three ingredients, use the microwave instead of the oven and assemble.

It’s so easy, a child could make these (and my daughters pretty much did).

Take half the bag of mini chocolate chips and melt them (10 seconds at time, stirring). Chocolate glue is the best!

Apply a bit of chocolate glue to the bottom of the Hershey’s kiss and attach it to the Nutterbutter. After it dries, attach the acorn top (mini choco chip).

Share with friends! [like awesome neighbors who constantly bring you goodies-looking at you Bridget]

We were going to take some to other people, but we ate them all. Turns out we aren’t that nice.

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