Tell Her You Love Her {Giveaway}

She wipes down the kitchen counters and wipes up the spilled milk.

She wipes away the stains and the bad days.

She wipes all the tears and all the rears.

She is a mom. And whether she’s your wife or your mom or you’re hers, she needs to know all the wiping is remembered and appreciated.

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And we have a beautiful way to celebrate mothers all over the globe this year for Mother’s Day. It’s just over a month away and we’ve made your shopping easy this year.

Introducing our brand new LIMITED EDITION gorgeous paper bead mother’s necklace in green and pretty pink handcrafted  beads made by our young mothers in Kenya at Mercy House. This is a beautiful, meaningful way to bless your mother, mother-in-law, mother friends as well as young mothers across the ocean:

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The first 50 sold also receive an adorable FREE Mother’s Day Card and all the proceeds go to bless mothers in Kenya!

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Inside card: Hope your Mother’s Day is loads of fun!

Back of card:

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Today, we are giving away two of these very special necklaces. Click over and read more about them and leave a comment on this post to be entered. (We are also selling them on leather cord necklaces instead of paper beads).

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Get yours soon because these won’t last.

But a mother’s love will.

9 Things We Should Add to Our Kids Lives to Help Them

The day after my husband and I got matching tattoos, we told our kids over breakfast.

And my straight-laced, rule-following, good-girl first born daughter burst into tears.

I could see the confusion etched on her face as she tried to fit the parents she knew loved God into her framework of right and wrong.

Right then and there, I knew we had made some mistakes.

And getting tattoos wasn’t one of them.

Somewhere along the line in an effort to teach our kids right from wrong, good from bad, we had inadvertently taught them that people who love God don’t get tattoos or don’t (fill in the blank). We had made faith about a set of rules.

More than I want my kids to live by a set of do’s and don’ts, I want them to follow Jesus and from that relationship, they will know what is right and what is wrong. Of course, we teach absolute truth to help guide their moral compass, but living life by strict black and white lines leads towards legalism, guilt and bondage.

And there’s no freedom in that.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote 9 Things We Should Get Rid Of To Help Our Kids. And crazy enough, it was read by 3 million people.

I think I hit a nerve.

But for everything we get rid of, we leave room to add something. I’ve been thinking about things we should add to our kids lives to cut out entitlement and produce well-rounded, grateful, God-loving children who put others first.

9 things we should add into our kids lives to help them

Here are 9 things we should add to their lives to help them:

  1. The words “It’s Okay” Because it is. And if it’s not, we will figure out a way to get through whatever tough spot we find ourselves. Knowing that there is grace to learn and fail is half the journey. Because our kids are going to mess up. And so are we. And at the end of the day, we just need to know that it’s going to be okay because love wins.
  2. Hard work: “A little bit of hard work never hurt anyone” as the saying goes, but it’s the lack of hard work that is crippling this generation. Kids who have never done physical, hard work are missing out on the pure exhilaration and satisfaction of completing something challenging. It’s okay for them to sweat a little. We are one of the only cultures in the world who pays other people to do all our hard work. Save some for your kids. It’s good for them!
  3. Perspective: Without a doubt, this word more than any other, changed our home. When we pull back the curtains and expose our children to different ways people live or struggle too, we don’t have to say much. And this can be done right in our own cities or across the globe. Exposing our kids to the needs of others will not only shift their perspective of what they think they need, it will also remind them of what they already have.
  4. Absolute Truth: I believe there are absolute truths that should guide our lives. I find mine in the Bible. In a culture that is constantly redefining truth, we need a standard that does not change. If we don’t teach our children absolute truth, they will be tossed around with every new wind that blows into their lives. Give them something to hold onto that does not change.
  5. Compassion: When we choose to live and abide by absolute truth, we are going to meet people who don’t. We  need to teach our kids tolerance for those who believe and live differently than we do. Love is more important than being right, even if we don’t agree with other people’s choices, especially then. We can stand for what we believe in without hating those who disagree with us.
  6. Jobs: We have regular chores we all share around the house, but we also have occasional jobs that pay a bit of money. It’s good for kids to understand the value of money because then they will begin to understand how hard you work for yours.
  7. A Bank: Give your kids a piggy bank or bank account or envelope marked “savings” and another one labeled “giving.” Start teaching them the value of saving for something they want and giving some of it away. It’s a lesson that will shape their future.
  8. Opportunity to serve: There is something beautiful that happens when children serve. Find tangible, practical ways to do something for someone else. Here’s a few ideas. It will touch your family in ways you can’t imagine.
  9. Their Own Laundry Basket: When kids start reading in my house, they get their own laundry basket. If you do it all, they will let you. Don’t. It takes a family to run your home, so put your family to work. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be completed.

It’s okay to add these things, go ahead and try it!

 

Take a 3 Day Marriage Challenge

I don’t know about y’all, but some days by the time I actually talk to my husband, I’ve got nothing left.

You know how the day can go:  crack of dawn breakfast and lunch-making motions, working hard and long all day, waiting in carlines, carting kids to music lessons, fixing dinner, starting laundry, falling into bed and then hitting repeat all week long.

And then when Terrell and I finally sit down together, it’s to pay bills.

Not exactly hot romance up in here.

We’ve been in such a crazy-busy season of life and ministry lately. I’ve noticed the wear and tear on our marriage. If we aren’t intentional, life will lead us instead of the other way around. And then we realize one day, we’ve gone weeks without connecting with our spouse.

Take a 3 Day Marraige Challenge

So, here’s the challenge I’m taking this weekend. I’m going to try and do these things for the next 3 days and I dare you to join me:

  1. Laugh Really Hard Together: I mean like at least one gut-busting moment. I already can’t wait.
  2. Kiss For 10 Seconds: Because that’s a really long time. Ya know?
  3. Flirt: Give him The Look. Pat her backside. Try it, you’ll remember.
  4. Stay up late and talk: Sometimes those moments of whispering in the dark are just the best!
  5. Show Your Love Out loud: Compliment your mate in front of someone else. Or even better, wear your affection all day.

 Who’s in?

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Deal Alert for my readers: Union28 is offering WATF readers $8 OFF any of their Rhinestone Tees!  (Original price $27.99 / Sale price $19.99)  Use Code U28bling8 at check out and $8 will be deducted for every Rhinestone tee in your cart!  Click Here to shop all Union28 Rhinestone tees:

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WFMW: AmazonSmile

Amazon.

Y’all know I’m a big fan. It’s the only place I can knock out half my To Do list with a click.

And now, you can support your favorite 501c3 charity when you shop at Amazon. Click here to sign up.

What is AmazonSmile?
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.
How do I shop at AmazonSmile?
To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to AmazonSmile to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile.
And you can give back to Mercy House through Amazon Smile.  Pretty cool, huh?
How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?
On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. We will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation.

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Plus, now until March 31st, for every new person who signs up, Amazon will GIVE $5 bucks to Mercy House if that’s your charitable choice. Click here to get started (it’s super easy and a very quick click!) 

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It definitely works for me!

Living in Daily Grace {Giveaway}

Winners: Congrats to random winners-Tracey, Jerralea, and reader Jen. Check your emails, ladies!

You know what I need every day?

(Besides sweet tea)

Grace.

I need daily.grace.

It’s the air I breathe, the only way to make it through tough moments, bad days, fear and wild faith.

Grace is getting what I don’t deserve.

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I absolutely love Dayspring’s new Daily Grace everyday tableware.

It’s simple, yet elegant and inspirational. It’s a great reminder to receive grace. Daily.

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Today, Dayspring is giving 3 of my readers this lovely memo board!

Daily Grace - Grateful Heart - Memo Chalkboard


Take a look around
this lovely new collection and tell me your favorite in a comment as your entry.

Maybe We Should Stop Entertaining Our Kids So Much

15 hours. One way.

That’s how long it took us to drive to New Mexico on Spring Break. Getting there, my children were delightful. On the long drive, they occupied themselves with reading, drawing, watching a couple of movies and asking questions about the change of scenery, and they got along well.

Clearly, we were amazing parents.

And then we piled in the car a few days later to come home. We arrived in the Land of Enchantment with one set of children and discovered they had morphed into entirely different ones for the long road home. Because all their books had been read, movies watched, pictures drawn.

There was squabbling and bickering and mostly, a lot of boredom.

While I wasn’t looking forward to the drive home either, the getting home part is sort of unavoidable, you know?

The complaining heightened to an all time high and at some point a kid from the backseat actually demanded, “Give me something to do.”

In other words, entertain me.

And this is the price we pay when we constantly entertain our kids: They cannot entertain themselves.

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Remember when we used to play outside for hours?

Now we have half a dozen screens to choose from between ipads, ipods, iphones, iii-yii-yii

Remember when kids used to use their imaginations?

Now we over schedule them with extracurriculars. .

Remember when going to the park, zoo, circus, playplace, you-name-it-in-kid-entertainment used to be reserved for a special occasion?

Now we do something every other day because our kids aren’t the only ones who are bored. Parents are too.

Maybe we should stop entertaining our kids so much.

Maybe they will start creating fun instead of depending on us to manufacture it.

Because it’s really way more about entitlement than entertainment.

Now, I have done it all. I’m a guilty parent entertainer. But I’ve realized the more I do, the more they want and the less they do for themselves. 

We live in a culture that thrives on entertainment. We crave the thrill of it. And that’s great for special days, but maintaining it constantly is doing more harm than good.

If we stop doing it, they will stop expecting it.

Because sometimes we have to wait.

Sometimes we don’t get our way.

Sometimes we are bored.

My kids ended up surviving the road trip. There was sleeping and made-up-game-playing and just old fashioned car-riding imagination.

Life isn’t always entertaining.

And the sooner our kids realize that, the sooner they realize they have the power to change that.

Use Words When Necessary

Her name is Bipana and every time I see her she wears a bright yellow shirt that matches her personality. She has the kind of smile you can’t ignore.

Bipana is an ethnic Nepali. She is 26 years old and spent the first 20 years of her life in limbo in a refugee camp in Nepal after her family fled Bhutan for racial discrimination.

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The refugee camps didn’t have electricity, the conditions were very cramped and the outbreak of fire was always a concern. Bipana attended a makeshift school within the walls of the camp. As she got older, she became a self-taught beautician.

Life in a refugee camp was very harsh.

Bipana resettled in the United States just one year ago as my neighbor with her toddler daughter and husband and she picked up English easier than most.  Her husband works at a factory 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

And while she dreams of being a beautician in America one day, she spends her free time knitting beautiful items to help buy diapers and other necessities for her family.

My first day with the refugees was her first day in the new Art Business Class that my friends asked me to help lead. We were drawn to each other –with her willing heart and my need for a translator.

Sometimes you don’t need to speak the same language to be able to understand each other.

When she walks into the room with a bag full of knitted items, she looks for me. We hug and grasp hands. We are connected. We are friends.

Someone asked me why I haven’t told her about Jesus yet.

How could I not share Him with this Buddhist woman?

I was hungry and you fed me.

I was thirsty and you gave me a drink.

I was homeless and you gave me a room.

I was shivering and you gave me clothes.

I was sick and you stopped to visit.

I was in prison and you came to me.

They reply, “Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you? Then the King will say, I’m telling the solemn truth:  Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked and ignored, that was me—you did it to me.” –Matthew 26: 36-40

I’ve spent the last six weeks loving this woman. My friends and I have taught these beautiful refugee women a few things and learned much more. We are helping with their basic needs and with navigating this new culture. We are building relationships.

“There is such an emphasis on church buildings in the United States that we sometimes forget that the Church is the people-not the place where people meet… The church –a group of believers-is God’s ordained place for the discipleship process to take place. God’s Plan A for the redemption of the world is the Church, and He has no Plan B.”” K.P. Yohannan

My new friend may never step inside a church, but that doesn’t mean the Church can’t go to her.

Because we are God’s plan.

We are the Church.

Every week, new refugee women join the Art Business Class and something amazing has happened. Instead of us teaching them, faltering with the language barrier, they teach each other. I’ve watched Bipana countless times show a new woman how to get started.

I hope one day we can talk about what compels me to drive two hours a week to be a part of her life.

But really, I hope that as I follow Jesus, Bipana will follow me and find Him. And then she will teach her friends about Him.

This isn’t just a social gospel –doing tangible things like sharing our wealth with the poor. It’s more. It’s a life-changing Gospel that makes dead people alive. But it’s not one or the other. It’s both.

Sometimes we use words to share the Gospel.

Other times we just live it.

The Reflection in the Mirror

I used to hate mirrors.

I avoided them as often as I could. I would get ready in the morning for school—squinting and inwardly criticizing my reflection and then I would avoid looking again until the end of the day.

It wasn’t the mirror I hated, really. It was the reflection.

It was me. Because all I could see was imperfection.

I spent a lot of those teen years wishing I was taller, curvier in some places, thinner in others. I longed for my boring brown hair to be less wavy, for my skin to be clearer, for more beauty.

I wanted to be beautiful. But, really, I wanted others to think I was beautiful.

It wasn’t just outward approval I longed for; I wanted to be liked. Loved.

But it’s a futile journey-this self-loathing and it leads to ugliness that runs deep.  And no cosmetic magic makeover can ever repair the broken reflections. We won’t ever be enough in those mirrors.

People spend millions of dollars in lotions and potions and peels and injections trying. It’s artificial.

“Until you are convinced of God’s incredible love for you, you will continue looking for replacement love everywhere,” Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval – and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes.

I found true love for myself and mostly others when I accepted God’s great love for me.

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I put away the mirrors that compare and contradict and condemn and I traded them for something pure and holy. I may never understand its depths, but in that deep pool of unfathomable love, I saw myself as a reflection of Christ.

It changed everything for me.

The overwhelming, ever-present need for approval lessened. I realized it was okay to be unapproved by others because I was preapproved by God. Nothing else required. Just like I am.

I remember the first time I saw a picture of myself and thought, “She is pretty.”

It was startling because I realized that she was me.

I was being transformed from the inside out.

I still had the same unruly brown curls and average face, but I saw a different reflection.

And it had absolutely nothing to do with what I looked like.

 

I dare you to trade in the mirrors in your life that crave approval. It’s time to exchange them for always-sent preapproval in God’s eyes. Love Idol by my friend Jennifer Dukes Lee will help you find the acceptance we long for. I loved this important book and you will too!

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Today, she is graciously giving away two copies. Please leave a comment to be entered.

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And if you really want to know how God feels about you, click here now.