WFMW: Amazon Prime

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I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for a few years and I still love it so much. I think I use it nearly every week.

Here are my favorite reasons:

  • I can shop from home- in my pajamas, from my bed. My typical order might be copy paper for Mercy House and shipping supplies or personal items like books from my reading list and dry shampoo for my upcoming trip to Kenya.
  • The prices are competitive-Amazon has some of the best prices around!
  • Super quick and Free shipping on all Prime items- speaks for itself!
  • The reviews are a huge help-if you aren’t sure what brand to go with or wonder if the product really works, Amazon reviews are awesome.
  • Amazon Prime cost $79 a year (which ends up being $6.50 a month), so basically that’s the cost of shipping one item.
  • Prime members can also watch free movies and borrow books.
  • You can sign up for a trial month of prime and Amazon Mom offers a 3-month trial. If you have a baby in diapers, you’ll want to check this out.

It definitely works for me!


Why Healthy Children Aren’t Always Happy

I’m always looking for books to read to and with my family–just a page or two after dinner, as we’re all seated around the table, before we clear off the dishes. My oldest is a brand new teenager, her brother is a month shy of 11 and then there’s our 6 year old, who has a death grip on being the baby of the family. It’s challenging because of the age differences, sometimes we are over their heads and other times, way under..which is why we ended up chalk-boarding our kitchen table. It works. Some nights. And then it doesn’t.

But we keep trying. (Current book attempt:Wild Grace P.S. Max Lucado has several other teen versions of his best sellers that have been successful for our family reading time with occasional omissions/edits.)

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And we keep failing. I call it a success if we can read a paragraph without starting over because of interruptions. And it’s a home run if a fruitful discussion happens based on what we’re reading and not digress on which Kindergarten boy pooped on the playground during recess. (Oh, you’d like to hear that story wouldn’t you?)

As we were finishing up our Resurrection Eggs two weeks ago (we did 3 every night for the four days leading up to Easter), I could tell we were losing my teenager’s interest and she tried to distract her brother. She was bored, but I continued because little sister was ALL ABOUT THE EGGS.

To make a long story short, before I could finish, my hubby had corrected my kids 3 times and had run out of patience and then one of my kids, actually threw the holy plastic egg at their sibling. It went downhill from there. I closed the book and pointed to the back yard.

Yes, I banished my children to weed pulling for the next hour. (We have a lot of weeds).

If having unhappy children was an Olympic event, I’d be wearing gold most days.

Side story:  As my hubby and I cleaned up dinner in silence, I said, “When you’re not angry, can we talk about this and maybe how you should pick your battles?” He was silent. So instead of waiting like I suggested, I let him have it.

My husband dried off his hands and said, “I’m going to go pull weeds, too.”

Well, that did not go as planned.

As I stood alone in my kitchen, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry or join the rest of my family outside. So, I apologized to my husband.

When it comes to parenting, I waiver between wanting peace to reign in my home, and not being willing to sacrifice everything to get it.

Someone I knew a long time ago once said to me as I corrected my strong-willed daughter for bad behavior, while hers got away with the very same thing, “I find that my child is a lot happier when I just give in sometimes.” We sort of stopped getting together after that because I couldn’t compete with her “happy” child who was also sort of bratty.

I realized right then and there, this whole mom thing was a lot tougher than I thought. Because an (immediate) happy child isn’t always a (longterm) healthy child.

Oh, I’m not anti-happy.  I don’t purposefully make my kids sad or angry. I just think it’s important to stick to my guns and the unhappiness kind of flows from that. Because here’s the thing: When they are unhappy, it generally means we are doing something right because often their unhappiness is a result of us trying to shape their wills into ours and ultimately, God’s.

My goal is deeper than happiness. I’m after contentment.  “A happy heart makes the face cheerful.” – Proverbs 15:13. True happiness comes from within.

True contentment is being okay with life whether you get your way or not. When my daughter wants another new pair of shoes or the latest scarf to add to her collection, I usually want to give it to her and that would certainly make her happy (for the time being.)

But since my ultimate goal is to reduce entitlement, feed gratitude and produce contentment, I don’t automatically buy it for her just because she wants it. While I do sometimes buy (or give in) my kids things just because, I don’t always and this alone can produce temporary unhappiness. I often make them save, work or wait for it and bless them after they’ve worked hard with something they’ve had their eye on.

Did you know that your job as a parent is not to create a happy child? That if your child is temporarily unhappy, when he or she does choose to put a happy face back on, life will be better for all of you?” -Dr. Kevin Leman

We live in a culture that is terrified of raising unhappy kids. We over enduldge, cater to every whim and often let them grow up much faster than they need to. When the Bible talks about trials and tribulations testing our faith and making it stronger, that’s not just for adults. It’s for believers. Some of the best lessons my kids have learned are through their own personal hardships (a fashion crisis can be a hardship to a pre-teen girl).

So, when our kiddos are pouting and mumbling and seem unhappy, take heart — You are doing a good job and ultimately raising healthy adults..

{Here’s where I got my happy wall hook decor}

We are Building a Playground in Africa

Do you want to know what the best thing about starting a maternity home in Kenya is?

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First

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Birthday

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Parties!

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Not only do we get to see young girls transform from scared, lonely, hopeless girls burdened with the world and child, we get to help them become mothers and watch them fall in love with their babies who were sometimes products of their abuse and usually unwanted.

We now have eight babies–six babies over 1 year old and two 10 month olds. (This past weekend we brought in new girls–more on that later, but please pray for this difficult transition for all involved).

Our adorable babies are healthy, beautiful and very mobile.

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Because we have so many living in our home, space is often a challenge, as is keeping areas toddler-proof. Maybe it sound familiar? The weather in our area of Kenya is beautiful most months of the year and we’ve been dreaming of a playground for our babies to roam freely and safely, with a gated area to keep them from wandering off.

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My sweet, pregnant friend, Stephanie (co-founder of (in)courage) is celebrating her miracle baby by throwing a baby shower over at incourage today with the help of Pure Charity! And Mercy House gets the gifts! You can be a part of building a playground for our babies and toddlers at Mercy House Kenya! You can learn more here.

I am leaving later this week for Kenya. I can’t wait to blog from our maternity home and share all that God is doing with your help!

This Isn’t Really About Victoria’s Secret: Follow Up

When something you post on your blog is shared more than 500,000 times, it means you hit a nerve.

I wasn’t really writing about boycotting a certain store because while that can be effective, that wasn’t the point. It’s not really about what Victoria Secrets is or isn’t doing. I don’t shop there because I can’t get past the nearly nude women on giant posters at the entry. We call that smut around here.

I was sent this article by a couple of people to dispute my post (I’m sharing it because I want to have integrity and show you both sides of the story.)– Apparently the new line at Victoria’s Secret that caused such an uproar (part of PINK collection) isn’t for preteen girls and it’s not a new line. It’s advertising for new colorful, barely-there underwear for girls ages 15-16.

And somehow that makes it better?

Anyway.

It’s not just about one store (you can find leopard print bras, padded bathing suits and teeny tiny panties at Justice, which sells to girls 6-12 years old) devaluing our girls, that’s just one small part of the problem. It’s about how our world views girls generally and specifically our own culture which is often manifested through what’s hanging on the racks. Victoria Secrets and a lot of other commenters defended the fact that clothing actually encourages our teen daughters to feel sexy about their bodies.

And I have a problem with that.

Of course, I’m a conservative Christian mom and there are countless people who criticize me for that alone. What I stand for isn’t going to make sense to the world. “Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.”- Francis Chan

I honestly think if we raise our daughters with a strong foundation on Christ and tell them these 7 things, they won’t need a lace thong to make them feel better about themselves.

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Check out my latest post at (in)courage this week.

The Truth About Parenting Kids in an Unsafe World

When I was a 9 years old, I snuck $3 out of my mom’s wallet and rode my bike to the corner drug store. I bought her a tiny china bud vase with “Happy Anniversary” painted in gold. I was a good-hearted thief and my mom loved the gift. While she may have questioned my pickpocketing ways, she never worried about my safety on the sidewalk, next to a busy road.

I knew dinner was ready because my siblings and I listened for my mom’s call throughout the neighborhood. We rode our bikes around town, to the store and to school, unchaperoned. We climbed in ditches and went inside our neighbor’s houses. We caught fireflies in mason jars and made yarn pompoms and went door-to-door selling them all summer long, just for fun.

When my husband was 10, my son’s age now, he put hundreds of miles on his BMX bike, riding from school to his parent’s print shop to baseball practice with his slugger bat slung around his back, and back home in time for supper. We didn’t have cell phones or websites that allowed us to check for neighborhood pedophiles.

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We simply lived in a different world. 

I look back on my carefree childhood and I grieve what I will never be able to give my kids: innocence.

Over Easter, we visited my in-laws rural farm located in a town with less than 500 people.

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With hundreds of acres to explore, my kids absolutely love jumping hay bales, picking wildflowers, filling the table with farm fresh food and roaming. Getting poison ivy, optional.

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On the way home from working with the cattle, and away from my kids’ ears, my mother-in-law told me about the recent trial of a crazy man who murdered two young girls walking along side the road in a neighboring small town a few summers ago. We wondered if drugs and violent video games led him to such a horrible act.

It saddened me to think even the “safe” places really aren’t any more.

A few hours later, I urged my 6 year old to go play outside while we worked on supper. She looked up at me and said, “But what if someone steals me?”

Her fear hits close to home.

This is the world we live in, where our Kindergartners understand lockdown drills because school (even church, movie theatre and university) shootings have become a sick twisted  way of life. And my little one thinks about abduction?

And while I refuse to live in fear of what could happen down every dirty road or at the park across the street from my house, I also choose to take smart precautions. So, where does that leave us? Longing for an innocence that doesn’t exist as we raise our children in a world vastly different than the one we grew up in.

But we take heart because Christ did not leave us hopeless or with fear as a companion.

Truths We Must Take to Heart:

We Aren’t Really in Control– Ultimately, we have to relinquish the myth that we can actually keep our children safe and our homes secure and our lives out of harms-way. Oh, we can be wise, but we can’t be in control. As a parent, this is the hardest lesson. If you watch old home videos of me with my kids, I say “Be careful” 4256 times. But I didn’t give them breath and I can’t determine when they take their last. I can shepherd and walk beside them, but they are not my creation. They belong to God. Living in this freedom has allowed us to traipse all over Kenya, Africa, and trust God to do His part as we do ours. We might not be in control, but we cling to the promise that He is and works things out for our good. Romans 8:28

God Does Not Call us to be Safe– I love safety. I’m a seatbelt-wearing, vaccinating, precaution-taking mother. But if you read the Bible, you don’t find promises of safety. Actually, you discover the opposite. Safety can keep us frozen in place, it can distort adventure, it can paralyze us with fear. “Followers of God don’t always know where they are going, but they know who they are with. We do not bow at the alter of safety.” David Platt. So, while we long to provide safe homes and environments for our children, we can’t swallow the pill of ease because we’ve convinced ourselves we are safe. On the contrary, radical obedience to Jesus can be risky. James 1:12

This is Not Our Forever Home-And this is the truth that I cling to. It offers comfort when I am afraid or worry has found a foothold. The house we live in isn’t really our home. The swinging hammock in the back, the chalkboard table we crowd around–these are temporary. We are ill-fitted for this world, we stick out like sore thumbs and are urged not to conform–why? Because Jesus is preparing our forever home with him. This is our blessed hope, the promise we cling to in our changing world. I Peter 2:11

Perception is still Perception– Whenever I hear about local crime, I tell my friends about it. News spreads quickly as we try and look out for each other and then there’s the news on TV, Internet, etc.  I’ve updated this post with these stats. It shows that overall crime against children has gone down, but perception of crime has gone up. So we are safer, but feel less safe, mostly due to media coverage and constant access from living such connected lives. So, is the root of our fear based on violence in our world? Or is actually from overexposure and access? [Deep Thoughts]

Above all, there’s no room for fear to rule our hearts because that’s where love lives. And perfect love casts out fear.

WFMW: Funky and Fun Necklace Holder

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Instead of hiding away my funky paper beads, fabric necklaces and stamped silver in a jewelry box, I hang the colorful collection on the wall in my bathroom as functional decor.

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I love the way it looks and it’s super handy.

My necklace holder is a simple piece of wood with small glass knobs. It’s a fun DIY project that is quick and affordable to make.

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It works for me! Learn more about WFMW here.



My Walls Talk

My husband pulled the old windows out of a condemned building 10 years ago. Our life was crumbling, our glass house fragile, a lot like the dilapidated building. He brought them home and I cleaned them off and they’ve been on our walls since, serving as a reminder of our brokenness and more importantly, of how God put us back together.

Maps made their way into our lives, as we traveled to places here and there. They serve as the perspective we so desperately need in our safe little world, so we don’t forget all we’ve seen and how the rest of the world lives.

The colorful fun bunting is a simple reminder to have fun, be happy and not take life too seriously.

The large funky letters cover most of my living room wall. They are a proclamation of our emancipation. They are a freedom cry.

REDEEMED.

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Definition of REDEEMED

1a: to buy back : repurchase
b: to get or win back
2: to free from what distresses or harms: as

a: to free from captivity by payment of ransom

b: to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental

c: to release from blame or debt : clear

d : to free from the consequences of sin

The word embraces and encapsulates the very essence of who I am because of Who He Is.
I work from home, live and spend 90% of my time here. I want it to reflect the deep transformation that has occurred in my heart and my family.
What does your home say?

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Today, I’m so happy to tell you that I’m partnering with Dayspring and offering the large beautiful REDEEMED letters at their lowest price ever! They are regularly $49.99 and are on clearance for $19.99. Use this unique code: WATF30  for and additional 30% off and that makes them only $13.99.

Redeemed – Inspirational Wooden Letters – Set of 8

 

This code is good on ALL Redeemed Clearance for an extra 30% off! The code will expire Tuesday, April 9th at midnight CST. My affiliate link included above.