Welcome to Summer

Well, we made it to the end of the school year.


The last two weeks have been exhausting. We’ve been living on whatever’s available in the pantry (don’t judge me) and wearing whatever happens to be clean in the laundry room. Which is the same 4 things for my youngest because I’m also behind on laundry, but still a control freak about what she wears. But not if it’s the same thing over and over, apparently.

My son cleaned out his backpack and found a smashed paper sack lunch from January in the abyss, which sort of explains the random odor. He also pulled out a handful of his favorite pencils, one-inch stubs he’s apparently been writing with since 2010. Gah.

Here’s to weeks without alarm clocks or schedules, to sibling fights, reteaching my children the fine art of sleeping in, wet towels and sunblock in the eyes…

Welcome to Summer

2013-05-29 21.31.01

I may never be Mom of the Year (see above), but I am above average at recycling old birthday balloons and a roll of crepe paper.


Sidenote: To all the teachers in our lives: thank you for making this year amazing!

The Day Love Didn’t Disappear: A Thank You

More than $15,000 was raised in less than 36 hours. You gave, tweeted, shared and most importantly prayed for someone you’ve never met. This is Christianity: spontaneous generosity for others. I’m so proud to be a part of this community.

“This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.” -I John 3:16-17

God’s love showed up through you. Thank you.

BeFunky_Mom's appreciation letter!!.jpgDear friends and extended families,

I greet you in the mighty name of Jesus hoping that you are well.

I want to thank God in a very special way for having done me a miracle. When I started treatment the doctors were talking of a big amount of money. I was asking myself where the money will come from since Maureen is the only one earning in our family.

One evening when I was seated aimlessly, I received a call from Maureen telling me, “Mom, guess what? The hospital bill has been raised all within two days. I was shocked and confused, the only word which came out of my mouth was “Thank you, Jesus the love and favor you have for me.”

I want to thank my sister Kristen in every special way for having mobilized people who don’t me know to do the fundraising. The heart and favor you have is not with many. My next thanks goes to all who contributed and those who participated in one way or another.. May the Almighty God bless you abundantly.

I cannot forget to thank CURE for permitting Kristen to fundraise my hospital bill. May God bless you.

I am kindly asking you to pray for me….

God bless you,

Jennifer, Maureen’s Mom

The surgery is scheduled for the first week of June. Thanks for your prayers for this special lady.

WFMW: Summer Backyard Funspiration


When my siblings and I would visit my grandmother in the summer, she would send us outside to play in the pasture behind the house. Then she would lock the back door. If you were thirsty, there was a water hose. It was farm life and we lived thru it.

While I don’t plan on locking the door, we do have a big backyard and I want my kids using it this summer. It’s a lot of grass and mud (we have never ending drainage issues. Oh the joys of home maintenance) and plenty of room for imagination.

Summer starts next week around here and I’ve been looking for some backyard inspiration:

1. DIY Tentclothesline + sheet = easy backyard fun


2. Backyard Twister

by Seaside Shelter

3. Backyard Hopscotch

Outdoor and indoor games for kids DIY tutorial on grass 2 via lilblueboo.com












by Lil Blue Boo

4. Angry Bird Game

by Holly’s Art Corner

5. Old fashioned slip n slide

6. Turn trampoline into a tent (with a tarp on top)

C’mon summer, we are ready for you! You work for us!

It’s Like Duck Dynasty, Only With Cows

There aren’t ducks, only plenty of cows.

But we are still happy, happy, happy every time we visit my in-laws farm in Oklahoma.

Since losing my sister-in-law in January, we crave time with family even more.

My husband, Terrell, took the kids and cousins down to one of the ponds to fish and drove grandpa’s truck since the ground was so wet. When my mother-in-law and I finished cleaning the supper dishes, we headed out to join them. Before we got there, we saw everyone hurrying to round up the cattle. The air was tense and my husband shouted, “Something’s wrong.”

My heart stopped as I searched for my kids and tried to figure out what happened.

While they were busy fishing, the cattle surrounded the pickup truck that normally delivers their feed. Terrell didn’t think anything of it until my daughter yelled that one of the cows running away, acting sporadic, had a fishing pole hanging from it’s mouth.

The cow had a giant hook in his tongue and was foaming at the mouth. In a matter of minutes, my 70 year old (next month) father-in-law was in action. He quickly and skillfully separated the injured cow from the herd, with the help of my husband and a few grandsons. They got her in the shoot and carefully located the fishing hook and removed it by attaching a medieval looking device called nose pliers to hold her still.

I think they would be an excellent child rearing tool.

We all sighed in relief and laughed about the biggest catch of the day.

Second biggest:


I didn’t catch any big ones, but I did catch the most (9!) And all the guys were asking me for fishing tips (ha!) So, there’s that.

My kids loved playing with their cousins. And doing the Harlem Shake, of course:

[From left to right]

1. Cousins playing football (skins won) 2. Field of flowers 3. My kids found a turtle (poor thing) 4. Cows  (or I like to call them Dinner) 5. My nephew: He thinks he is famous now 6. Sunset  7. My daughter’s playmate 8. Windy Family pic 9. Grandpa passing down a gun to his namesake


The kids swam in a blow up pool for hours. When I went out to check on them, I discovered they were swimming with a family of small frogs they had named Willie, Corry, Si and Mrs. Kate.

And that’s what you call a dynasty.

Or a wart bath.


It was a wonderful weekend and we rode off in the sunset.



Dayspring is offering their first of the year coupon on your entire purchase over Memorial Day weekend. Get 25% off your total order with code MEMORIAL25.

Some of my favorite items are already on sale, so you can grab them at a great price. We gave these at Teacher gifts last week:

I love this long, funky necklace and wear it all the time!

Redeemed – Beautiful in Its Time – Framed Necklace

Reg $16.99 on clearance for $6.99, with 25% off, now $5.26

Redeemed - Framed Necklace

I’m giving my niece this to take to college in the fall. It opens to a really large bag, perfect for jewelry or cosmetics:

Redeemed – Everything Beautiful – Toiletries Bag

Reg. $29.99, on clearance for $12.99 with 25% off, now it’s $9.72

Redeemed - Everything Beautiful - Roll-Up Toiletries Bag

Deer keep eating my flowers, so I just planted some in this cute Redeemed planter box to keep them safe.

Redeemed – The Goodness of the Lord – Wooden Planter

Reg. $24.99 on clearance for $9.99 and with 25% coupon, now $7.51

Redeemed - The Goodness of the Lord - Wooden Planter

Shop ahead for next school year…

Redeemed – Truly Blessed – Insulated Lunch Bag

Reg. $24.99 on clearance for $9.99 and with the 25% off coupon it’s now $7.51

The coupon is good on anything at Dayspring, including the Redeemed Clearance page.

Hope your weekend is great!


Grab this beautiful ebook by my friend for free today here!
It’s also available on Amazon:

An Opportunity to See More Clearly

I want to tell you a story:

There were two men sharing a hospital room, each struggling to recover from devastating illnesses. Two things made them friends: loneliness and opportunity. One was blind, the other old.

Every day, the old man would describe what was happening at the park, just outside his window to the blind man. He would describe the children playing ball and the young couple arguing on the park bench.  His words painted a picture describing the way the wind blew the kite a little girl was flying and the way the trees were blossoming.

Every detail was described. The old man helped the blind man see what he couldn’t.

The day came for the old man to have surgery, but sadly he never returned to the hospital room. He passed away. When the nurse told the blind man the news,  he wept. He said nostalgically, “Before you leave Nurse, could you just tell me what’s going on at the park outside the window?”

She opened the blinds to a brick wall, “What park?” she asked.

Sometimes we have to be blind so we can see.

We have the opportunity to make the world a brighter place. We can change someone else’s world with our words and our actions.

Today, I’m going to show you an opportunity to help save someone’s life and I pray you see the world more clearly.

If my 6 year old discovers a tiny hole in her leggings on the way to church, by the time we get home, it’s the size of her head.

It just keeps getting bigger.

Because sometimes once it starts, there’s no stopping it.

I feel like the more good we do in Kenya, the bigger the hole gets. Every time we rescue a new girl at Mercy House (4 more this Spring) or have a new baby (1 newborn and 3 more on the way) for a total of 24 lives in our home by summer, the spiritual attacks increase. Satan is relentless. The more we do, the more work there is to be done.

But the victories are greater.


I know our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, but the attacks often are. It can be discouraging.

The last few weeks have been hard. The kind of hard that makes you want to pull the covers over your head and cry UNCLE.

Many of you who have supported Mercy House since the beginning, know of the personal loss Maureen, our Executive Director, hero and girl rescuer, has endured. She lost her beloved sister and nephew in her immediate family while we were opening the home in 2011 and the battle has been personal.

Jennifer, Maureen’s mom, has been a huge support. She has endured so much loss in her 53 years, but she has been faithful, volunteering her time and skills to help us help girls in Kenya. Our family fell in love with Jennifer several years ago and she is our extended family now.


The day after we rescued our newest girl from the grips of darkness, Jennifer, Maureen’s mom, was diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumor that has already caused her to go blind in one eye and her other eye is at risk and ultimately, her life.

What a blow.

Thankfully, it’s not cancerous and brain surgery will save her life. (She is tentatively scheduled to enter the hospital June 2, 2013)

Most people with her medical condition in Kenya would die. And without a financial or healing miracle, Jennifer does not have a chance. The surgery and recovery cost $15,000.

I have struggled with my faith lately, just feeling overwhelmed and exhausted and a little whiny. I know God is able, but the hole fills up with water quicker than I can bail it out.

What better way for satan to attack the good work of Mercy House than to try and cripple our beloved Maureen?

God keeps asking me to believe for the impossible. Probably because He keeps coming thru. I just want to shake myself and say, “Don’t you get it, Kristen!”

Please, pray, there are obviously many risks involved.

It’s a big hole, but God is bigger.

You can help Jennifer by giving a charitable donation here. You can also follow her journey to healing by liking this Facebook page.

We are grateful to the amazing work of an organization called CURE Kenya, who is helping to facilitate this surgery on the ground.

About CURE:

More than 100 million physically disabled children in the developing world can be cured through surgery.

These children have conditions like clubfootbowed legscleft lips,untreated burns, and hydrocephalus. Without treatment, they won’t go to school and will have little hope for a future. Many will die from their condition.

That’s why CURE exists. We’re a non-profit organization that operates hospitals and programs in 27 countries worldwide where patients experience the life-changing message of God’s love for them, receiving surgical treatment regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, or ability to pay.

Since our first hospital opened in Kenya in 1998, we have seen over 1.9 million patients, provided over 138,000 life-changing surgeries, and trained over 6,100 medical professionals.

[We are collecting donations thru third party Pure Charity so they will be tax deductible. We don’t have a way to receive a tax deductible donation via Paypal at this time.  If you don’t want to pay with credit card/debit card online, you can send a check here:

Pure Charity
2003 Horsebarn Road, Suite 9
Rogers, AR  72756
in the memo line we would need to have “CURE International 58-2248383, Jennifer’s Brain Surgery”


Will you help one precious life  see the world clearly? 

Introducing Jewelry Boxes by TVP {Giveaway}

Updated with Random Winner: Congrats to Julie, commenter number 7!

How sweet are these?


The Vintage Pearl, an Oklahoma based business, has been my go to hand stamped jewelry shop for years. I love the heart behind the company, the quality of their products and The Cute. Because seriously, they have mastered both.

For example, earlier this week when the Oklahoma tornado devastated Moore, they offered this gorgeous piece and gave 100% of the proceeds to the Red Cross to help aid in relief efforts. They have raised an incredible $150,000!! Amazing.

love for Oklahoma

I love these new Sweetheart Jewelry Boxes because you can customize them for a special event and put a sweet secret message inside. It’s the perfect place to keep your special silver necklace too.

The perfect little trinket box to hold your lovely little keepsakes!

This jewelry box measures about 3 1/2″ across. It’s a 2 piece heart box with a lid that was hand molded in our studio and then cast in fine silver– it has handmade imperfections that make it perfectly imperfect. This handstamped jewelry box looks beautiful on your bedside table, ready to hold your favorite tvp pieces and keeping them safely stored when you’re not wearing them. You can customize both the lid and the inside of the heart by handstamping them with names, dates, an inspiring quote, an inside joke, favorite scripture, whatever is meaningful to you– making it a unique custom keepsake.

This jewelry box makes a sweet gift for mom, grandma, a new bride, a graduate and more!

Today, I’m excited to give away one custom jewelry box to a lucky winner.

Tell me what you love at The Vintage Pearl as your entry.