WFMW: The Most Appetizing Way to Give Your Kids a World Perspective

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One of our favorite things to do as family is eat together.

And not just because we are hungry.

We love to experience new foods and my kids will try just about anything. (Well, except for one of them who insists on chicken nuggets in every kind of culture). We love Tex-Mex and comfort food. We love cajun and seafood. And I love having my family around the table. It’s our time to slow down and connect together.

But what we love most of all? Trying food from different countries. Last month we ate outstanding African cuisine we couldn’t pronounce in Santa Fe, New Mexico, of all places. Two weeks ago, we feasted on German sausage and bread. Last week, we had Bosnian food in a little Houston strip mall.

And with every bite, we talk about the way the rest of the world lives, about culture, about differences, about how we are the same. We compare bread from the Middle East to chapati in Kenya and injera in Ethiopia and naan in India.

As my son ate leftover cevapi (a Bosnian sandwich) for an afternoon snack this week, he said, “Mom, I want to go to Bosnia. I really want to see the country that makes this kind of food.”

We love using this Food Network On the Road App in every city we go to, even the one we live in, to discover delicious, unique food.  But really, it’s about a lot more than food. We end up talking about different cultures,  about war-torn Bosnia, oppressed people and much more.

Sometimes we don’t like an entree, but we don’t know until we try. Yo. Life lesson.

And sometimes you are served Kenyan-style egg rolls for breakfast and they are your new favorite meal.

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Every time I visit my refugee friends an hour from me, I smell the most wonderful aromas coming from their homes…spices and scents from Nepal and Burma –meals I hope to share with friends some day.

The best way to give your kids a world perspective–when you’re not able or ready to actually travel the world-is to introduce them to different foods and people groups right where you are.

Sometimes perspective is exactly what we need to taste. It may even satisfy a craving you didn’t know you had.

Go try something new and different today.

Trying new food works for us!

 


The Gift of Yes (Pre-Order Day for Rhinestone Jesus)

So, I wrote this book.

It’s my story of saying yes to God–it’s imperfect, it’s soul-splitting, it’s funny (there might be a scary picture of me in the book holding a doll while also wearing an afro. So there’s that).

It’s the broken and the put-back-together story of my life. My yes to God.

I’ve spilled out the chapters on these pages- from the gut-wrenching shattering of my marriage to the hard hard days of motherhood to the sheer fear and unspeakable joy of wild obedience in my mess.

With every word, I tasted healing and I wrote it so you might, too.

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There are also sections on practical, intentional living that will inspire you to make every day matter with your family.

Several months ago on my Facebook page, we were discussing raising our children intentionally and I asked how many families had some sort of devotion time or read the Bible together. There were varying responses, but the overwhelming consensus was “Help, I don’t know where to start, what to read or how to keep the kids at the table.”

And because I’ve been there (and still am), I wanted to provide a practical, tangible way to get our families around the table to break holy Bread together and so I wrote a companion ebook: Saying Yes to God As a Family: 30 Lessons for the Table from Rhinestone Jesus

And today, if you pre-order my new book before it’s May 1 release, you get the ebook and  some pretty great thank you gifts for free:

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These 30 lessons can be done in 30 days or 90. There’s no pressure in this easy-to-use guide that encourages family togetherness, conversation, connection and fun around the table.

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It’s designed to be read on a mobile device or printed into cute colorful cue cards. We’ve been going through the ebook  for several weeks:

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There are icebreakers, reading passages, occasional memory verses and a corporate prayer to say together. And very cute unique prints are included at the end of the ebook to frame and hang:

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And this brand new ebook is free with your pre-order purchase of Rhinestone Jesus today!

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If you buy 2 copies of the book, along with the family ebook, you’ll also get the very popular and meaningful Love Mercy Prayer Bracelet. While everyone’s yes to God is different, our family’s yes looks like Mercy House.

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And we can only accomplish this great endeavor through prayer. It’s mostly a reminder to pray for the most oppressed people group in the world: girls.

And I’ve partnered with my longtime friend and generous supporter, The Vintage Pearl. There are a limited supply of these gorgeous “rhinestone” Jesus necklaces that would make a beautiful gift to keep or give for those who buy 4 or more copies of the book to share with family and friends.

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I wrote this book out of obedience to Jesus. And these words are for his glory. 

I used to live my life, trying to fit him into the gaps and small spaces. But when I began to fit my life into Jesus–that’s when I really started living.

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Just to recap this special pre-offer:

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Plus part of the proceeds from every book will go to the work of Mercy House.

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To receive your free gifts in the next couple of weeks, just follow these simple steps:

1.       Pre-order Rhinestone Jesus from any book retailer.   Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Christianbook.com

2.       Email your receipt to giveaways@tyndale.com. If you’ve already preordered it, you can send your order confirmation. (No links, please. This can be an order confirmation email, a pre-order cash register receipt or a screenshot of your order. If you want to send a photo of the receipt, please attach it to the email as a .jpg file.)

3.       In the email, tell me your name, email address you want the e-book PDF sent to, and mailing address—so we can send you all of these great gifts!  (United States residents only). This pre-order offer ends May 1, 2014.

 

And most of all, thanks for being a part of my yes to God.


15 Ways to Teach Kids How to Work Hard

It was the first day of summer in 1984. He was 14 years old.

His dad woke him up before work and said there’s a load of sand in the driveway and shovel. He told him by the time he got home from work, he wanted the low spots in the backyard filled.

There were similar projects all summer long.

That’s how my husband was raised.

(I was raised scooping dog poop in the hot Texas sun, so don’t feel too sorry for him.)

There was also summer fun for both of us -bike riding and baseball playing,  But there was also a lot of hard work. We didn’t sleep until noon or play video games until the middle of the night while mom fixed lunch everyday and did all the laundry.

We have come along way, huh? Maybe it’s time to backtrack.

Because when I declare it’s yard work day at my house, it’s like the End Times around here. We ignore the groans and moans and wailing and push through). Because hard work is good for kids. Not only does it teach them to be grateful for what you do all day long, it creates a work ethic in them that will carry them into adulthood.

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Here are 15 ways to teach kids how to work hard:

  1. Don’t do everything for them: It sounds simple, but kids will let you do everything for them as long as you do everything for them.
  2. Require them to take care of their own space. They won’t clean it up you say? Try the age old “you can’t do or have this (fill in the blank) until you clean up this (fill in the blank)” and I bet they will.
  3. Make them sweat a little. Like literally get their hands dirty picking up the busted trash in the street, washing the car, or the bottom of the trash can. It’s okay. They will survive.
  4. Start early.
  5. Make work part of your family routine. This is just something we do. We take care of what God has given us.
  6. Let them learn from their mistakes (don’t jump in to fix or redo everything they try to do) Let it go.
  7. Make work fun (chore roulette).
  8. Be an example of hard work-Let them see you working hard.
  9. Serve as a family (perspective is everything). This has been huge for us.
  10. Be an encourager (and not a control freak).
  11. Let your kids be in charge of dinner (from grocery shopping to putting it on the table). Last week my son prepared dinner for the family. I needed his help and he did a great job. He doubted at first, but ended up really proud of himself.
  12. Give them a chance to earn money, so they can learn how to handle it. This has been the single best thing to eliminate the gimme gimmes.
  13. Teach them to save and give a % of their money.
  14. Give them projects that require time management skills (like dirt on the driveway)
  15. Be consistent

I married a hard-working man. And I need to tell his parents thank you.


The Surprises of Motherhood

Motherhood has surprised me.

And I’m not just talking about my third child.

Every phase and every stage have left me saying, “Well, hello, there. I wasn’t expecting you.”

Like the burping-everything-you-say-phase–I’m so over you.

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We are also currently in the siblings-arguing-over-every-little-thing-stage.

This one might kill me. Or cause me to kill. I actually said the other day, “I hope you have three kids just like you!” And then I think I heard my dear mom laughing wildly somewhere.

But there have been good surprises, too. Phases I didn’t know would bring me so much joy- like my son’s quick wit or the way my teen daughter helps dress me.

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Or the way it feels to hold my children-as crying babies, or sulky teens, we are a perfect fit and even when we hurt each other, we heal each other.

Motherhood is hard.

I lay awake at night and pray for my children and mostly for their mother.  I am torn almost every day. Am I hurting or helping? Do they need grace or discipline? God help me to know which to offer when.

Motherhood is beautiful.

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I see glimpses of who they are becoming. It takes my breath away–these small moments of glory when they choose well, put others first, live out integrity when no one is watching.

Yes, I have been surprised by motherhood.

If you’re a mom or have a mom, I encourage you to read my friend Lisa-Jo’s brand new book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom. It’s a beautiful, uplifting story that will remind you to look for the breathtaking moments in the mundane. It will encourage you to keep up the good, hard work.

And on a tough day that leaves me speechless or a good one that surprises me with delight, this book works for me and it will for you, too.


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.