Moms Loving Moms {Limited Edition Giveaway}

Congrats to random winner, Tracy.
I became a mother thirteen years ago. I spent five years before that longing to be one. Little did I know eighteen-something years ago, I would get to connect moms here with moms in Kenya through my mom blog. It’s one of my greatest honors.

So, motherhood is sort of my thing.

We now have 11 moms, 8 babies and 3 on the way in Kenya and hundreds and hundreds of moms in the USA and Canada and other countries who make their residence at Mercy House possible. It’s mind-boggling, really. And it’s just proof of a great big God.

For a very limited time, you can bless your mom or a m0m in your life, by purchasing one of our unique mother/daughter necklace sets, designed specifically to benefit Mercy House Kenya this Mother’s Day.

Set includes both necklaces for $44  Buy Here.

Ribbet collage













All the proceeds will go to help us help more moms around the globe.


Mother’s Day is fast-approaching and I can’t think of a better gift to give to a special lady in your life that will also bless a mom and child across the ocean.

Perfect for adult daughters to give or receive…






or little girls to wear….


We also have gorgeous matching bracelets:


Every necklace/bracelet order between now and May 1, 2013, will receive a FREE gorgeous photo Mother’s Day card from Mercy House to give along with a necklace/bracelet.

We only have 50 sets of our Mother/Daughter Pottery Bird/Nest Necklace Sets and 75 matching bracelets. And we cannot guarantee more by Mother’s Day, so order soon. 

The set of necklaces is $44 each (2 necklaces).

Mother Nest Necklace is $30 (by itself)

Daughter Bird Necklace is $20 (by itself)

Matching Bracelet is $25

Today, I’m giving away a Mother/Daughter Set and a matching bracelet to one lucky reader. Tomorrow, I’m heading to Kenya to be with our moms and babies. Leave a comment about your mom or daughter as your entry.

[We have listed half of what we have. If we sell out quickly, we will restock. Please note: Jewelry will be shipped week of April 22, 2013]

WFMW: Amazon Prime


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.)


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?

Birthday pics! March 2013 070


Birthday pics! March 2013 069


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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.


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.

Playarea 003

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?


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.


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