WFMW: 5 Ways to Take Back Thanksgiving

“You mean we won’t be eating turkey?” my 6 year old asked in surprise.

There won’t be a turkey.

Or a pumpkin pie.

No, mashed potatoes or a food-coma-football game.

For the first time in our family’s history, we won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving.

We will be living it.

5 Orange Pumpkins In A Row

We will be holding babies in Kenya that weren’t supposed to be born. We will be hugging girls that should have died. We will be eye witnesses to the remarkable story that God has written.

“Will we even know it’s Thanksgiving Day?” she asked.

Yes, we will know, darling. Because Thanksgiving is more than food and parades and bounty. It’s testimony. It’s looking at what God has done-from the mundane to the miraculous- and breaking bread, our lives, in thanks for it. We will know.

Your Thanksgiving won’t look like mine. But I urge you to take it back. We live in a world that has turned a turkey into a god and God into something routine.

Five Ways to Take Back Thanksgiving:

1. Be intentional. Write down your thanks–on a paper tablecloth, pinned to a wreath, in a gratitude journal. Read it out loud. Share your thanks.

2. Share your table. Invite a single friend, a new divorced mom, neighbors, strangers and feast with them.

3. Don’t be a consumer. I’m all about a good deal, but let’s not turn this day of thanks into another day of shopping.

4. Give thanks by giving your life away. Find some way, someone to share your resources with. Look at your excess (toys, clothes, food) and find someone who needs what you have too much of.

5. Include God. It sounds trite, but it’s powerful and freeing to remember and acknowledge where every gift comes from (God in Heaven).  Offer gratitude to the One who gives us breath and hope.


Life Verse Design {Giveaway}

UPDATE: Gretchen N. has been selected as the winner of this giveaway.

If you stood in the center of my home and read my walls, you would get a pretty clear indication that I’m trying to send a message. I love inspiration.

Because sometimes you just need to walk in the bathroom on a Monday morning and see this on the wall:

Doesn’t that make you feel better?

The other day I was talking to a new Christian. She said, “I’m trying to figure out how to fit Jesus into my life.” The words were profound and I thought about them all day. I realized I spent the first 37 years of my life trying to fit Jesus in my life and the last 4 trying to fit my life into Jesus.

Life Verse Designs sent me this beautiful 11×14 gallery wrapped canvas. I love the reminder. The truth, especially in this season of Thanksgiving.


Words are moving. Scripture is powerful. I want to be reminded throughout the day and I want my home to reflect what God has done in me.


Life Verse Designs takes Scripture, inspiring words and pictures and creates art to decorate your life with. Check out some of these favorites.

Plus, check out these combined offers so you can get your Christmas shopping done early:

* FREE shipping on any order in the shop {no coupon needed}
* BUY 3 8×10 fine art prints & receive the 4th print FREE {do NOT put the 4th print in your cart or you will be charged for it; at checkout in “Other Instructions” box write in the name & color of the 4th print you desire}
Life Verse Designs is also generously donating a portion of any sale made to Mercy House. At checkout in the “Other Instructions” box, simply write in “Purchase to benefit Mercy House”.
Today, Life Verse Designs is offering one reader their choice of any 11×14 gallery wrapped art in the store (no custom orders). A $125 value! Tell me what you love for an entry.

When All You Have is a Half Empty Basket

I don’t have much to give.

But I have a lot to do.

Do you know that place? The one where you have a list a mile long, pressure that is suffocating, responsibility that is frightening and a host of people asking for more?

Sure you do. If you’re a mom, this is what you call life.

Yesterday someone asked me to email them a link and I burst into tears.  Apparently I found my breaking point and it all came crashing down with a recipe. A RECIPE, people.

My house is a pile of suitcases and lists and stressed out people. There have been ugly words this week, tears over lost things and grief over things we need to lose. We are the most unlikely crew to get on a plane at the end of the week and fly across the globe again to Kenya and spend our time serving these girls and their babies.

We don’t always know where our yes will lead us. And we don’t always feel qualified to follow.

But we go.

when you feel unqualified

I can’t help but think of a little boy in a Bible story from a long time ago. The one who said yes, I have a lunch to share in a mass of hungry people.

His basket was half empty or half full, depending on how you see baskets.

He didn’t have much.

His small offering wasn’t enough to meet the need. Sounds familiar.

But Jesus didn’t need the contents of his basket. He just need the little boy to offer it.

And today, with stacks of laundry teetering dangerously, arguing children, a sink full of dishes and loads of packing and decisions before me, I’m holding up my basket too.

It isn’t much, y’all.

My offering looks a lot like a couple of stale pieces of bread and left over fish.

Hardly worth giving.

But I’m holding up my half-empty basket to God. It’s filled with a desire to tell a story and a lot of fear and it’s all I’ve got. The world says it’s not enough to feed the mass, they say I’m not enough. And they are right.

But God is enough. He is strong where I am weak.

When God breaks my offering, He breaks me. I want to give my life away. Piece by piece. He blesses it. Multiplies my insignificant gift and makes it enough.

And maybe today you need a cup of coffee and a long break. A break from your half empty life, your not-good-enough offering. Your smallness. Your list that is too long, your messy house, your marriage that is half of what you want it to be, your bills that are too big, your calling that is too hard.

Listen, close. This is God’s truth whispered in your ear: God doesn’t want you to be a perfect mother or wife. He isn’t waiting for you to get your act together. He isn’t shaking His head at your pathetic basket offering. He simply wants you to offer what you have.

Because He will make it enough.

How to Stay Married In America

Exactly eight years ago, my marriage fell apart and my world with it.

My husband confessed a secret struggle and I was crushed under the weight of it.

One day we were discussing fun, romantic ways to celebrate 11 years of marriage without our two preschoolers and the next I was wondering how we would make it to our 12th anniversary.

Because while his confession floored me, the real devastation was the realization that my marriage wasn’t what I thought it was.

11 years is a lot of making beds and making ends meet. It’s a lot of working things out and working things in. It’s countless hours of saying I do. I will. It’s a lot of time to grow up or grow apart.

We both come from a long line of married people, couples who dug in and fought hard, but on this day 8 years ago, for the first time in my 33 years, I thought divorce might be the easiest option.

For the first time, I understood why people divorced. It was the day I stopped judging broken marriages and saw the two broken people behind them.

With our sleeping children tucked in beds upstairs, we stood across the room from each other that night, both quietly sobbing. Terrell had laid his burden down and I had picked it up. The knowledge of this devastated both of us.

We could feel the severity, this make-or-break-crossroad moment. It was agonizing.

I was contemplating if I could continue. Could I keep loving? Could I keep saying I do? Could I forgive? Was I strong enough to fix what was broken? I was weighing the cost of fighting for my marriage, considering the frightening road ahead filled with hard heart work, self doubt and daily forgiveness.

But in my grief, I knew I wasn’t capable of saying yes to any of these questions. I understood that our marriage could only succeed with God’s help and if both of us were willing to fight hell itself for a second chance.

I took a step towards Terrell that night.

Eight years is a long time to lay down pride, to walk in freedom, to forgive. It’s countless hours of hard, deep soul labor, but I thank God for that night, for the miraculous, for the fight. I understand not everyone can or will make the same choice. It takes three (two willing partners and God) and often the choice is made for us. I could easily have a completely different story…

Staying married doesn’t just happen. It takes intentional, purposeful daily work.

And honestly, it’s harder to stay married in America now than ever before. The odds are not in our favor.

Eight Ways to Defeat the Odds and Stay Married:

  1. Talk it out: Poor communication is the biggest factor in the statistics above. Stuffing questions and concerns, keeping secrets, clamming up, internalizing hurts contribute. I would add a three-way conversation, praying for your spouse, communicating with God alone and together is a great way to open clogged communication lines.
  2. Put money in it’s place: Money matters and it’s been known to break apart countless marriages. But I think it’s the love of money that is our downfall. Overspending and debt bring a lot of pressure to a marriage. Don’t let money rule you or it will rule you.
  3. Be attractive to each other: For better or worse, includes that receding hairline and that stubborn baby weight. Being attracted to each other is more about your commitment than a pant size. Choosing a healthy lifestyle can be super sexy, but again, this is a heart issue because we are aging and changing daily. Serve your spouse and reignite your marriage.
  4. Keep your eyes and heart at home: Flirting at the office, comparing your spouse to others, pouring into Facebook friendships with people you feel attracted to, these are a recipe for infidelity.
  5. Share responsibilities: Marriage is a partnership. And in the busyness of life and parenting, this can often get out of balance. But when it stays off-kilter, it can add stress and strain. Give more than you take with your mate. You’ll never regret it.
  6. Think of your kids, but don’t put them first: Statistics prove that divorce is devastating to children. Some divorces are unavoidable, but if you’re considering leaving your spouse because you aren’t attracted to them or because they don’t do enough around the house, consider the lifelong impact your choice has on your kids. But don’t just stay together because of the kids, find ways and reasons to fall together.
  7. Don’t tempt yourself: The Internet is destroying marriages every minute by way of online affairs and pornography. It’s not just a weakness, it’s destruction. Set up accountability, real life and with filters. Don’t play with fire.
  8. Learn self control: It’s not just about filtering bad thoughts and images out of your mind and off your screens. The key is asking God for self control and displaying it. We live in a sinful world and are exposed to things daily that could be a temptation. Getting closer to God will provide more self control.

Whether you are on your first marriage or second, I urge you to fight to stay married. It’s worth it.


infographic source

Some {of Our} Favorite Things

Do I have something fun for y’all today: $300 in fabulous goodies!

With Christmas just over a month away, a group of us thought it would be fun to host a giveaway of some of our favorite things. Every little bit helps with the Christmas list, doesn’t it? I’m honored to be hosting this giveaway with these women. I love each of them and respect their voice in the blogging community. I hope you’ll take the chance to get to know them!

This giveaway is hosted by:

Jessica from The Mom Creative
Kristen from We are That Family
Kristen from Rage Against the Minivan
Lisa-Jo from Lisa-Jo Baker
Lisa from Lisa Leonard Designs
Maggie from Gussy Sews

Use the Rafflecopter below to win one of these six prizes:
    1. A Quinn infinity scarf from Krochet Kids. The scarf is handmade in Uganda. Krochet Kids creates sustainable economic development programs that support holistic growth of individuals and communities living in poverty.
    2. $50 gift certificate to Krafty Kash designs – jewelry with your favorite word featured from a vintage dictionary.
    3. $50 gift certificate to Lisa Leonard Designs, a company that creates hand-stamped jewelry and gifts
    4. $50 gift certificate to Gussy Sews, a handmade shop full of brightly colored ruffled and sassy accessories
    5. A beautiful scarf and leather wallet ($50 value) from fashionABLE, a non-profit organization supporting women in Africa
    6. $50 gift certificate to anything @ The Mercy Shop, a fair-trade marketplace for products (art, jewelry, inspiring accessories) made by residents at Mercy House Kenya

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Thursday everyone!

WFMW: Free Ebook For You {Including 800+ Tips}

For more than seven years, the blog carnival, Works For Me Wednesday has been a hub of helpful tips for every area of a busy woman’s life. Hundreds of bloggers link up every week and thousands of tips have been shared over the past years.

Nearly two years ago, we compiled more than 800 of the best tips into 24 popular categories in e-book form.


This e-book offers a categorized, organized place for more than 800 practical, “aha!” tips to make your life run smoother. That Works For Me! is a celebration of the WFMW community, with tips from hundreds of different blogs. It won’t organize your linen closets or remove stains, but this e-book will offer you a good place to start. We’ve searched and compiled and created an organized e-book with 24 popular categories, featuring the best of tips in each group.

Here’s a sample page:


And guess what? It is now absolutely FREE to everyone who subscribes to my blog! Fill in your email address below and you’ll get a confirmation email with a link to download it absolutely free.

*And for those who are already email subscribers, watch for an email for your free download link…coming soon. RSS subscribers…check your feed.

I hope that works for you!


Lilla Rose {Giveaway}

UPDATE: Katheryn is the winner of this giveaway. Congratulations Katheryn!

We’ve talked about hair before.

I’m in the s-l-o-w process of letting mine grow out. My goal is pony tail length because I’m wanting to take my hair care to an all-new casual level.

My teenager has amazing hair. Proof:


And she can recreate just about every hair braiding tutorial she’s ever seen. It’s a gift. Because I’m in charge of my 6 year old’s hair and I can do two things: one pony tail or two pony tails at the same time. I think that’s called gifted.

Lilla Rose, a new sponsor on my blog, sent my daughter a beautiful beaded hair band. She wears it several different ways. You can look that cute and cool when you’re a month shy of 14. She also dresses me now.


There are all kinds of cute hair accessories, like the hair sticks, bobby pins and really cool flexi clips.

Today, Bokerah, Independent Lilla Rose Consultant is giving away a $50 gift certificate so your hair can dazzle. Check out their products and leave a comment with what you’d like to try.

What Our Kids Really Mean When They Say “I Hate You”

It might only happen once. It might happen more than we care to admit or maybe it’s just hateful behavior. But here’s what I think it means.

It started out as a simple disagreement about who’s turn it was to clean the kitchen or who changed the kitty litter last or who left the emptied art box scattered all over the floor. It’s the way most arguments begin, a real who done it. It’s not uncommon in our house and while I don’t enjoy rocking the boat, sometimes the boat is a big mess and I need help cleaning it up.


Most arguments like these aren’t really about undone tasks, selfishness or even bad attitudes. They are about control. The kind our kids fight for and the kind parents need to display.  I could feel my child’s anger turn into fury, like a violent orchestra about to crescendo. And that’s when the words were spit out.

I hate you.

Automatic hands clamped over both our mouths.

Apparently neither the hearer nor the doer could believe it had come to this.

I can remember when I said them to my mom, the white rage I felt two seconds before the deadly words escaped and the slow minutes after when I longed to take them back. In that exact moment, I understood why her face fell and she slowly walked away, shoulders slumped.

I took a step back, away from my child, the same one who I begged God for and gained 54 pounds for and then risk my life pushing into this world, now pushing me away. This very same child who I would kill for, killing me with words.

I could see the regret already, the way we try to take back words that fly like piercing arrows.

You don’t hate me, I whispered.

I read the raw emotions on my child’s face--I hate the way I’m feeling right now. I hate the heated words between us. I hate the way I’m acting. I hate that you won’t listen. I hate me right now.

Not you.

I step two steps toward my child. And I choose to look past the harsh words and look into the heart. I see a hurting child there.

What they really mean when they say they hate your or act like they do:

  • This isn’t About You: There’s a battle raging in our kids from time to time. It’s the same one we fight, flesh against spirit. And even though our kids hurt us, they trust us enough to show their raw feelings.
  • They Need You Now More Than Ever: Our natural response is to react, to hurt them back with our words. Don’t. Resist the urge to engage. When you want to push them away for hurting you, instead pull them closer.
  • Look past the behavior and into their heart: Throughout the Bible, God tells us that behavior–our speech, our sinful actions, etc–are a direct implication of what’s in our heart. When your child is struggling, angry, hurtful….look past the behavior and discover what’s in their heart. Often you will find a wound that you can help heal.

My kids and I have hurt each other with words. But at the time time, we’ve used our words to heal each other. We’ve spoken life into dead places and encouragement into brokenness.

I hate you is powerful. But I love you defeats it.