For Girls Like You {Giveaway}

UPDATED with Random WINNERS:

Congrats to JHollyhock (aka Jennifer H.) and Jen Robinson

When my kids were 6, 4 and a premature newborn, I thought my hands were full.

Motherhood was so physical. My tired body was in high demand and I needed another arm or two and a super nanny.

Now that my kids are 13, 11 and 6, the physical demand has turned to an emotional one and it’s a different kind of hard.

Lately, I’ve spent a lot of my time focusing on my older children. They need my ear and shoulder, a warm hug (not in public, please) and $10 constantly.

The baby of the family is hardly a baby any more. She’s lost a tooth, can blow a bubblegum bubble and reads books allbyherself. She’s also quite sassy.  I’ve always read good books with my kids and I sensed a need to move past bedtime stories with my youngest and transition into girl time.

FGLYmag-Logo

Recently, we started reading For Girls Like You Magazine together. I love the mission behind it:

At For Girls Like You Magazine we are dedicated to exposing girls (age 6-11) to all the things they love (travel, positive role models, creative projects, etc.) without the negative imagery and advertising that often appears in mainstream entertainment. Instead we want every article, interview, and photo to support a Christ-centered system for our young girls. Connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.

My little girl loves it! And as a mom, I feel like a resource like this helps me tell her some of the 7 things I want her to know.

MegaCover-e1358998881120

Today, I’m giving away 2 packs (two winners) that include The Magabook, A Journal and a copy of the Spring 2013 magazine.
Leave a comment with your daughter’s age(s) if you’d like to be entered.

In Which I Sign Away Movie Rights

When I got the 23-page contract for my next book, my (amazing) agent highlighted some areas for us to discuss.

Which is code for: I have no idea how to read a legal contract and needed a smart guy to explain it to me.

One of the sections he wanted to talk about was Movie Rights.

Yes, you read that right. You can laugh now. I did.

He said, “Now this would be a one in a million chance, but some books do get turned into real life movies, so we need to talk about it. I was folding laundry at the time. Riveting movie material, huh?

We went thru the legalese and I agreed that I wanted to add a clause that required my permission for any future plans to “sell my story for movie rights.” I got off the phone and cleaned the toilets. Clearly, I can handle TLC.

At dinner, we did highs and lows around the table, everyone sharing the high and low point of their days. When it was my turn, I told my family about the movie rights because that certainly doesn’t happen every day.

I was explaining how contracts cover everything and while there was no way a movie was in our future, it was fun to laugh about it.

My 13 year old had a dreamy look on her face and said, “Hmmn…I wonder who would play me in a movie about our family?” And then she started tossing out different teen actresses who were stunning and fashionable, of course.

I died laughing.

My son and little sister jumped into the conversation and before I knew it, they had cast our entire family, including the dog and cat. Let me tell you, it was quite a cast of characters.

We are all about reality down here in Texas.

It was hysterical and completely out of control.

Then my husband said, “I think Brad Pitt would play me.”

Obviously.

Because even I have dreams, people.

 

 

*Updated: I thought Angelina Jolie could play me, but my family picked Ginnifer Goodwin from Ramona and Beezus (she played Aunt Bea) and considering she’s at least 10 years younger and 20 pounds lighter, I’m not complaining. My 13 year old finally decided on Jennifer Lawrence from The Hunger Games (she played Katniss). My son will be played by Gabe from Disney’s Good Luck Charlie. My 6 year old is going to play herself, so will the dog. We didn’t argue with her on that. The cat will be played by the devil.

Why We Always Keep an Empty Bed

We keep an empty bed at Mercy House.

SBP_2563

Even when we are overwhelmed and understaffed.

Even when Rotovirus runs through the house and lands three babies in the hospital for three days and the unexpected bills add up.

Even when we don’t think we can handle one more thing.

It’s our tangible step of faith. We openly declare that God is building this house and we will depend on Him to meet our needs.

And He has every time.

SBP_4303

Violet’s Story

Twice now, the empty beds have been filled with girls we didn’t expect.

SBP_3355

Edith’s Story

I don’t consider myself brave.

I still marvel at how we built something from nothing.

But I’ve learned even scared people can say yes.

And I’m reminded who’s really in charge.

Our scaredy-cat yes encourages other frightened people to do the same.

brave

I look at young girls who came to us more desperate than you can imagine, alone and terrified. I’ve watched them transform, one brave, shaky step at a time. They have worked through their inner turmoil, fallen in love with a child they didn’t want, learned skills that will provide for their futures.

SBP_4108

They are courageous and they make me want to say yes again and again.

Even when I’m scared of the unknown, overwhelmed with mothering and just life.

Our empty bed is actually a mattress on the floor right now. We have 20 full beds and cribs.

It looks like God is sending us another scared mom-to-be this weekend.

So, we are having 2 iron beds made. One for the mattress on the floor.

And one to keep empty.

I think when we leave room for God to show up, He does.

[Our 9th baby was born this week! He’s a miracle]

Quiet Faithfulness and Its Reward

He gets up at 4:30 a.m. most mornings, gets dressed in the dark, returns from pushing his body to its limits with Crossfit in his fight against diabetes. I start my day nearly 2 hours later, often to the bath water he runs for me or the sound of him making school lunches.

I am married to a good man.

We met in Bible College more than 20 years ago. I married a Pastor, we served The Church together the first nine years of our marriage.

When we left full time ministry nearly a decade ago, we were desperate for a break and a breakthrough. We ended up discovering a whole lot of brokenness. While we loved working together (offices next door and some killer youth illustrated sermons and vacation bible schools), our glass house needed some attention.

So we quit the only thing we knew how to do.

And spent the next five years finding Jesus in the broken places.

faithful

What started out temporary ended up being transforming and more permanent than we could have imagined.

Those first 5 months out of ministry were like a breath of fresh air. They were also terrifying. We were jobless and homeless (staying in a family member’s rent house). On the sixth month, my husband got a job offer.

He took it and has had the same job for 9 years and 4 months. That’s sort of a long break. And I’m pretty sure we can’t call it a break any longer.

So, this pastor-turned-sales-rep reinvented himself. He is smart and hard-working. And his daily faithfulness to the mundane takes my breath away.

My husband’s dedication to his secular job is the only reason we were able to start Mercy House three years ago. His hard work and consistency provides for our family, and has offered me the freedom to serve without being paid.

I’m still married to a pastor. He shepherds our family. He prays with co-workers and shines Jesus in his work. He is a light in our dark world. He spends evenings and many weekends quietly serving in the work of Mercy House.

It has been a hard road. One with turns and obstacles we didn’t expect.

“Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.” -John Piper

But Jesus has been with us down every path. And as we dream of the future and ask God for direction, His invisible hand guides us. For His glory.

Hindsight is enlightening. God rewards faithfulness. Here’s what I’m learning:

  • God uses our brokenness for His purpose
  • What He puts back together, heals stronger.
  • Loving people is a full time ministry (title, position, pay, not necessary)
  • God plots our course for His glory.
  • There are setbacks and tragedies in our journey.
  • But there are also rewards (and sometimes they look like Hawaii!)

[P.S. We just found out that after nearly 10 years on the job, my husband earned a once-in-a-lifetime trip for two to Hawaii in August for being one of the top 10 sales reps in his company.. We are going to Hawaii!]